Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Bereshit bara eloheem et ha-shamieem ve-et haeretz
In this the first verse in the Bible we are told that God existed before the beginning or to say it another way before the beginning of time began. In fact the apostle Paul writing to Timothy stated the same thing in:
II Timothy 1: 9a For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time (NLT)
We need to realize that the New Testament affirms one component of Genesis 1: 1 by stating that God acted before time began. Other things happened before time began which are revealed in Scripture too such as the rise and fall of Lucifer the anointed cherub (Ezekiel 28). When he sinned and had his fall he became Satan (Hebrew for adversary) and ruined everything he could touch including the earth where he lived in the mineral garden with jewels and no seas or lakes. In fact Christ said He saw Satan fall (Luke 10:18). God is perfect in all he does and perfect Himself. He created perfect heavens and earth as stated in Genesis 1: 1. Something happened between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 to provide for the description in verse 2 of the earth being waste, void and dark. These are not words to describe God’s perfectness in creation. Therefore when Satan fell it must have caused the chaos described in verse 2.
The first verse is foundational to the entire Bible. It describes the fact that God was in existence before any creation efforts were put forth. It has often been pointed out that coming to an understanding of the early chapters of Genesis and believing them makes the rest of the Bible easy to understand and believe. These early verses demonstrate the degree of control over all things that God has and exercises.
This one verse refutes all the isms. It refutes atheism, pantheism, polytheism, materialism, dualism, humanism and evolutionism. All these philosophies are just different ways to say there is no God. They are all expressions of unbelief. Genesis takes the existence of God for granted. The Bible begins with God and moves into the creation account. Those who believe in other forces all start with some preexisting matter or force to bring about cosmic changes which then develops into extremely long periods of time to finally get the planet and humans where we are today. They never answer the question of “what started those forces or matter?”
Only God can create. Mankind is not able to do this. He can manage, rearrange and form. He cannot create matter out of nothing ex nihlo. This is the Latin meaning for “out of nothing.” (Hebrews 11:13) The use of the Hebrew word to create, Bara in Gen 1:1 means that at some point God spoke the creation into being. God alone is infinite and omnipotent. We then have a choice. Is matter eternal or is God eternal. God is a person who claims to be the person of Jesus of Nazareth who the Bible says created all things. (John 1) If matter is eternal where did we come from, how did we get here and why? Everything has a cause and effect. Our human reasoning tells us that.
God created the heavens. The heavens here refer to space. So the beginning of time was then followed by the space of the universe. Our entire universe only consists of three components. They are space, time and matter. The Hebrew word shamayin is that used of the space component of the basic space-time-mass universe. This is followed by the Hebrew word erets, which is translated as earth but primarily refers to matter. Matter of course is anything that has weight and takes up space. At the time that matter was created there were no bodies in the heavens. They were created on the forth day. The term matter is understood to include energy.
In the beginning is a direct reference to the creation of the physical property of time. When we ponder the concept of time we find it impossible to arrive at a suitable definition. Einstein came close in his quest to understand the basic fundamentals of energy in the universe. He saw time as bending, having a velocity and decaying. Time is not uniform: It is a physical property that varies with mass, acceleration and gravity, among other things. Particle physicists insist that we exist in more dimensions than we are aware of. These are all products of the time domain. What is important to understand is that time had a beginning is in existence now and will have an end. These are concepts the human cannot fully understand. Consider our awareness spectrum while we are in these bodies. We are aware of events transpiring at the present. We can remember the past. We cannot predict the future because we cannot see it. Now God who lives outside of time (not where there is a lot of time) knows the future. In fact one might say “God Remembers Tomorrow!” Such is the unique characteristic of time and the limitation of knowing it that God has placed upon us.
The unity of the three components of our existence, time, matter and space are all independent and coterminous with the whole. The universe is not part time, matter and space. It is rather all space, time and matter.
Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
God clearly did not create the earth in the waste, void etc. described in verse 2. Isaiah affirms this.
Isaiah 45: 18 For thus saith Jehovah that created the heavens, the God that formed the earth and made it, that established it and created it not a waste, that formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah; and there is none else (ASV).
The Hebrew term for darkness refers to death and evil which is not conducive to life. Darkness is a symbol of divine judgment throughout the Old Testament (Exodus 10:15; 21-23; I Samuel 2: 9; Psalm 35: 6; 105: 28 etc.). In the New Testament darkness is also associated with Satan and his demons (Ephesians 6:12). The Hebrew term for waste and void describes the earth as it became undifferentiated, unorganized, confused and lifeless as a result of the sin that Satan brought upon the perfect. Void means empty of the order, form and perfection God initially gave the earth. It now became formless and empty as a result of the sin.
What all this means is that God originally created the earth perfectly and it was the place that Satan was living. He was the guardian over the earth in its original form. It had no seas or oceans and was a beautiful mineral garden, which exuded light. This beautiful earth was made waste and void of its original design by Satan’s sin. When the book of Revelation discusses the new earth coming sometime in the future it describes it like the old earth that Satan polluted.
Every word of these early verses is vitally important to the development of a sound understanding of God’s created universe. Some expositors claim that there were “millions” of years between verse one and two. Even though there is nothing in the Bible to support that. Some who believe in evolution have tried to reconcile it with the creation account by inserting it here between verses one and two. This verse simply says that earth initially had no form. The initial creation after Satan’s fall was not perfect for the first of God’s six-day plan of creation. It was empty and uninhabited. Elements of matter and molecules of water were present but, not yet energized. The forces of gravity were not yet fully functional producing a sphere of definite form. Neither were the electromagnetic forces yet operational and everything was in darkness. The physical universe had come into existence but everything was still and dark-no form, no motion and no light.
It was the work of the Spirit of God to bring about the energizing action to activate the power of The Word of God. This happened when God’s Spirit moved. The Hebrew word is ruach, which is also the word for wind or breath. The Hebrew suggests a movement back and forth in rapid motion. For example in engineering for any movement or energy production there must be prime mover.
The operation of energy in the cosmos is in the form of waves-light, heat waves, sound waves and so forth. In fact except for nuclear energy with its breaking of the fundamental structure of matter itself there are only two fundamental types of forces that operate on matter-the gravitational forces and the forces of electromagnetic spectrum. All are associated with fields of activity and with transmission by wave motion.
Waves are oscillations and are produced by a mechanism, which is a wave producer of sorts. Energy cannot create it self. It is most appropriate that the first impartation of energy to the universe is described as the “vibrating” movement of The Spirit of God Himself!
As the out flowing energy from God’s Spirit began to flow outward and to permeate the cosmos, gravitational forces were activated and water and earth particles came together to form a great sphere moving through space. Other such particles would soon come together to form a sun, moon and stars throughout the universe. The earth was then ready for light, heat and the other forms of enlivening energy.
To be continued. Daniel E. Woodhead