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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

March 4, 2015

Genesis 1:1-19 Introduction

  1. On the last time I taught, we began to take a look at the structure of the Old Testament as it is compiled in your Bible. Today we will begin to look at the book of Genesis. Genesis is the first book of the bible and it is the first book in the Five Books of Moses. It is traditionally said that Moses recorded these books, but we are not really sure. The story of Genesis surely was around long before Moses was born. Moses most likely compiled the story from what was already Hebrew history.

  2. Before we take a detailed look at Genesis one, let’s take an overview of what we see, because I believe there are some points for us to recognize within the text. The text is not just a text recording History, but a spiritual message for all mankind. We don’t want to miss that spiritual message.

    1. The Creation account is not the “ultimate beginning” of all things, but rather on the beginning of the world as we know it, and especially on man’s beginning – the origins of the human race. Scholars attempt to explain this in a variety of ways, but the end result is that Genesis doesn’t really start at the absolute beginning.

    2. The creation account does not describe the creation of the world in terms of being made out of nothing, but in terms of beauty and order being created out of a chaotic mess. Genesis 1 begins with something already in existence, which is formless, dark, watery, and chaotic. I believe this is a chaotic mess that was the result of the earlier fall of Satan (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-15). The original creation was created out of nothing, but the creation of the world as we know it, and of life as we know it, came out of chaos.

    3. The creation account of Genesis 1 and 2 is the description of a process that took place over a period of time. Specific Ages not 24 hour periods that we call days. Days to God are not Days to us. The apostle Peter tells us with God "A thousand years is as one day" (2 Peter 3:8).

    4. The process of creation involved separation and joining. Repeatedly the term “separate” occurs in Genesis 1 (see verses 3, 6-7, 14, 17). The waters in the heavens above are separated from the waters beneath (verses 6-7), and then God separated day from night (verses 1-15). God also caused things to assemble or join together. The waters on earth were gathered to one place (verse 9).

    5. The creation account describes a work of God that comes about at the command of God. Creation results from the mere speaking of a word by God (John 1:1).

    6. The creation account suggests to us that just as God was intimately involved in creating the world and mankind, He remains infinitely involved with them.

    7. The creation account informs us that God designed man to have a relationship with Him. Closely related to the last observation is the inference that God created man to live in relationship with Him. We must be very careful, however, as to how we view this. God did not create man to meet His own unmet needs. God is totally sufficient within Himself.

    8. The Genesis account describes the creation of man as the crowning event of the creation process. Man is not only the last living thing to be created; his creation is presented as the climactic conclusion of the entire process. God not only creates man last, He creates him in a very special way – He breathes into his nostrils the breath of life (2:7).

    9. The creation account reveals God’s sovereignty over all creation.

  3. Verse 1. Many of you know that I am a trained chemist, I am a man who believes in God and believes that God is much more complex and creative than we usually teach. I believe in what has been called the "day-age" interpretation of Genesis one - that is, that each "day" is actually a long period of time during which God created life. This interpretation is not figurative in any way, but adheres to the scientific method in its analysis of the biblical texts. At its foundation is a literal translation of the Hebrew word, yom, which can mean a twelve hour period of time, a twenty-four hour period of time, or a long, indefinite period of time. Genesis 1:1 lets us know what is about to be described. The creation of the universe that we know and the earth that we know were already created at the time of our account recorded here. God had created them, but we don’t get a description of that initial creation which we can describe as the ultimate or beginning creation of the universe. The actual creation of our earth as we know and life as we know it begins in verse 2. Most people read the Genesis creation account without using the scientific method and, therefore, make assumptions that are not supported by the text. For example, the first rule of the scientific method is to establish the initial conditions, or the frame of reference. Genesis 1:2 clearly states that the frame of reference is "the surface of the waters" of the earth. Most people have made the mistake of assuming the frame of reference of Genesis 1 is heaven or somewhere above the earth. What does the text specifically say? The heavens (universe, solar system, sun, earth, etc.) were already created before the first "day" (Genesis 1:1, 14 billion years ago). Science tells us that the entire planet was covered in a global sea soon after its creation. In Genesis 1:2, God was "hovering or brooding" over the seas of the newly formed earth (4.4-3.8 billion years ago,). We know from science this is where the first unicellular life forms first appeared. The Hebrew word, rachaph, translated as "hovering or brooding" is used only twice in the Old Testament. The second reference is to an eagle caring for its young or incubating an egg . Therefore, it seems likely that the use of the word rachaph in Genesis 1:2 may be referring to God creating the first life forms in the sea. Both science and the Bible have told us that at the earth's creation, it was covered with a dense layer of clouds and gases which would have made it dark at its surface. Genesis 1:2 says, "darkness was over the surface of the deep."

  4. Verses 3-5. Day One. God removed much of the cloud cover but not all, when He stated, "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3). This was the light of the Sun (already created) which now "separated light from darkness" (Genesis 1:4). It is very clear from the text that the sun had already been created and the earth was rotating on its axis, since there was light (day) and darkness (night) (Genesis 1:5). This is also a spiritual picture of our salvation. God doesn’t create new light but removes the blinders off of his children so that they can see the light that is already there.

  5. Verses 6-8. Day Two the atmosphere. Genesis 1:6-10 describe the initiation of a stable water cycle and formation of continents through tectonic activity (~2.7 billion years ago). When God’s light comes in things come together and the Spirit flows in our lives preparing us for the new life God will spring forth in us.

  6. Verses 9-13. Day three. Plant life was created on the third day (Genesis 1:11-13, ~1.0 x billion years ago). These verses are probably the strongest argument for the day-age interpretation. The verse says quite clearly that the earth sprouted (or brought forth) vegetation and fruit trees bearing fruit. The English word translated "vegetation" on the third day comes from the Hebrew word deshe', which refers to small plants, such as grasses and herbs. The other word, ‛eśeb, translated "plants" is even more generic, referring to any kind of green plant. So, the "day" encompasses the time from the formation of the first plants until the formation of the flowering plants and fruit plants. The process described is clearly similar to what we see today. Fruit trees take years to bear fruit, testifying that the third "day" could not possibly be just 24 hours long. Recent scientific evidence shows that plant life began on the land ~1 billion years ago.

  7. Verses 14-19. Day Four. Next the second cloud layer was removed so that the sun, moon and stars shown through. Notice the unusual construction in Genesis 1:14 which states, "Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years;'" "Let there be" is an unusual way to describe new creation (see also verse 1:3). I believe that at this point God removed the translucent cloud cover from the planet to allow the stars, moon, and Sun to be seen from the surface of the earth (the frame of reference of all Genesis 1). The text then reiterates what God had already done in Genesis 1:1 regarding the creation of the sun, moon, and stars. The time frame describes events over days, seasons, and years - obviously more than 24 hours long. Less than a billion years ago. This second layer was needed so that the atmosphere could develop to handle the rays of the sun. God protected the life of the earth from the harsh rays with the atmosphere that was created through plant life producing gases.

  8. 1:15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth "; and it was so.

    1:16 And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.

    1:17 And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth

    1:18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.

    1:19 And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

    Birds (13) (~70 x 106 years ago), whales (14) (~50 x 106 years ago) and sea mammals ("swarms of living creatures," where "creatures" is the Hebrew word nephesh, referring to soulish animals - those that can form relationships with humans) were created on the "fifth" day (Genesis 1:20-21), which would correspond to the end of the Cretaceous period/beginning of the Tertiary.

    The fifth day describes a period of time longer than 24 hours as swarms of living creatures are multiplying in the sea.

    Day 5

    1:20 Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens."

    1:21 And God created the great sea monsters, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

    1:22 And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth."

    1:23 And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

    On the sixth day God created the "beasts of the earth" (in Genesis 1:25 the Hebrew word is chayyah), which is best translated as "wild animal," usually referring to carnivorous mammals (15) (the extinct families Miacidae and Viverravidae, appeared ~50 x 106 years ago or current families Canidae, Felidae, Mustelidae, and Viverridae appeared ~30 x 106 years ago ) and the cattle (the Hebrew word is behemah, from which we get the word behemoth, the artiodactyls (large grazing mammals) appeared ~15 x 106 years ago) and the rodents (mammals that "creep on the ground"). Therefore, the wild and domesticated mammals and rodents were created on the sixth day.

    Day 6

    1:24 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind"; and it was so.

    1:25 And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

    The last creation of God was mankind, who was also created at the end of the sixth day. What about humans and three million year old fossil remains of bipedal primates? I believe in a literal Adam and Eve, although I do not believe they lived millions of years ago. The Bible indicates that Adam and Eve had a relationship with God (Genesis 2-3) and the text says that unique among all the animals, humans are endowed with a spirit (Hebrew, ruach, Greek, pneuma), by which they are able to communicate with and love God. Scientists have found no evidence of religious artifacts before about 25,000 to 50,000 years ago (16), which is the point at which I propose God created Adam and Eve. The Bible states that the covenant and laws of God have been proclaimed to a "thousand generations" (17). A biblical generation, described as being 40 years, would represent at least 40,000 years of human existence. However, since the first dozen or more generations were nearly 1,000 years, this would make humans nearly 50,000 years old, which agrees very well with dates from paleontology and molecular biology (see Descent of Mankind Theory: Disproved by Molecular Biology). Therefore, I believe that bipedal primates that existed before Adam and Eve, were just part of the animal kingdom, and were not endowed with the characteristics that make humans distinct from animals.

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