Creation, Chaos, and Restoration

ORIGINAL CREATION

WHO HAS NOT GAZED AT THE STARS on a clear night and wondered at the origin of the universe? Who has not marveled at the order and precise workings of our own planet and pondered its cause? Finally, the most profound mystery of all: How did life begin? Did our complex, orderly universe simply explode into existence by chance alone? Did lifeless matter accidentally spawn living organisms over millions of years, or was everything created instantly by an omnipotent designer? Debate over answers to these questions is as ancient as the pyramids and as recent as your morning newspaper.

    Science can merely guess at solutions to these mysteries. No scientist witnessed the creation of the universe or the origin of life. These beginnings lie outside the province of scientific observation and verification. Today’s theories can be revised or destroyed by tomorrow’s discoveries. Whenever hypotheses and conclusions cannot be verified, science degenerates into the realm of speculation. Scientific conclusions are no more valid than their premises.

    The universal law of cause and effect requires the existence of God. When you ask, “What caused this effect?” then, “What caused that effect?” you must eventually confront an original cause. Since the universe could not cause its own existence, its creation requires an uncaused cause outside of itself.

    The order and arrangement of the universe demand a Designer. Observations of the tiniest microorganism or the largest galaxy reveal design, purpose, and adaption that require a Master Planner. The intricate harmony of all matter, from the structure of an atom to the configuration of galaxies, is as likely to occur spontaneously as a Shakespearean sonnet in a can of alphabet soup. If we exclude God, then the existence of the universe becomes an unsolvable mystery and our lives become meaningless.

    The very grandeur of creation displays the majestic glory and attributes of God.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
    (Ps. 19:1)1
 
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they [unbelievers] are without excuse. (Rom. 1:20)

God is the Creator; only He can accurately answer questions about the beginnings of the universe.

By Faith We Understand

    Since no one except God and the angels was present at creation (Job 38:4-7), all views on the origin of the universe and life must be based ultimately on faith rather than upon direct observation. Faith is perception of reality based on the authority or veracity of God or someone else. After examining the evidence marshaled by evolutionists, one scientist correctly observes that the idea of life beginning spontaneously is a “matter of faith on the part of the biologist.”2 Evolutionary science is hypothesized upon confidence in the authority and veracity of the theories of mankind that reject biblical teaching. At best, faith in mankind is tenuous.

“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind
And makes flesh his strength.” (Jer. 17:5a)

    Conversely, anyone who accepts the biblical teaching that the universe was created from nothing “by the word of God” also does so by faith. As the writer of Hebrews affirms, the issue is not intellect, science, or empiricism, but faith in the Word of God.

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. (Heb. 11:3)

Either we express faith in the Word of God the Creator, or we express faith in man’s speculative theories that exclude God. But either way we exercise faith.

The Veracity of God’s Word

All Scripture is inspired by God [θεόπνευστος, theopneustos] and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. (2 Tim. 3:16)

    The apostle Paul specifies the source of the Scriptures. Though men were the agents of divine revelation, they did not originate the content of the Bible. God revealed the content and guarantees the accuracy of every word of the original autographs. The Greek word theopneustos, translated “inspired by God,” literally means “God-breathed.”

    Breathing involves inhale and exhale. The ‘inhale’ of Scripture was the ministry of God the Holy Spirit, who supernaturally communicated to the human writer God’s complete and coherent message. The human writer ‘exhaled’ Scripture when he recorded in writing the divine message. God the Holy Spirit so directed each writer that his individual style, personality, vocabulary, intelligence, and emotions were not waived. Divine inspiration guaranteed that the Bible, from beginning to end, in its original words is the exact record of the mind and will of God as He intended it to be. The entire text of the Bible is equally and completely from God, the very words bearing the authority of divine authorship.

“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
    (Num. 23:19)

    Moses, a man who had both the gift of prophecy and the office of prophet, chronicled God’s creative work in Genesis 1. Though Moses was not present at creation, the Holy Spirit ensured, either by direct revelation or through oral and written records, that Moses would accurately record the origin of the universe and the origin of life. Divine inspiration did not override Moses’ human genius, or waive his distinctive vocabulary, his remarkable personality, or his literary style.

For no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2 Pet. 1:21)

    God’s narrative of creation was permanently recorded in Hebrew, the original language of Genesis. Since only God and angels were present at creation, the first chapter of Genesis is the eyewitness account which He communicated to Moses. How futile to spin web-like theories about the origins of the universe that deliberately exclude what God has spoken.

In the Beginning

In the beginning [בְּרֵאשִׁית, bereshith] God [אֱלֹהִים, Elohim] created [בָּרָא, bara] the heavens and the earth [הָאָרֶץ הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאת, hashamayim we’et ha’aretz]. (Gen. 1:1)

    God the Holy Spirit succinctly announces the magnificent creation of the universe. Such a brief summary of the origin of the universe demands attention to every word for accurate interpretation. It was not God’s intention in Genesis 1:1 to provide a detailed account of how the universe came into existence, but merely to reveal sufficient information for man’s understanding of God’s power in creation.

    In the Hebrew this verse begins with the prepositional phrase bereshith, a combination of the Hebrew preposition be, meaning “in,” and reshith, meaning “beginning.” This term literally indicates, “In the beginning which was not the beginning.” This was the beginning of the universe, but not the beginning of eternal God.

Before the mountains were born,
Or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.
    (Ps. 90:2)

    The first phrase in the Gospel of John recalls the creation recorded in Genesis 1:1.

In the beginning [Ἐν ἀρχῇ, en arche] was [εἰμί, eimi] the Word, and the Word was [eimi] with God, and the Word was [eimi] God. (John 1:1)

“Was” is a translation of the imperfect active indicative of the verb for existence, eimi, “to be.” The imperfect tense describes continuous action in past time. The Holy Spirit used this tense in this verse to communicate that “the Word,” the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:14), preexisted the creation of the universe. This thrice-repeated verb emphasizes the undiminished deity of Jesus Christ and His coexistence with God the Father throughout eternity. Jesus Christ did not come into being at any point in time—He always “was.”

    Bereshith divides eternity past from the beginning of the universe. Prior to Genesis 1:1, no universe existed; there was no matter, no energy, no time, nothing but the triune God and His angels. Verse one breaches the barrier of eternity to proclaim the sudden origin of the universe—the only verse in the Bible to do so. Six or seven days were not required for God to create the universe. God spoke and the universe instantly came into being.

The Order of Beginnings

    The Bible records four distinct beginnings. The first, which was not a true beginning, is of eternal, self-existent God. God has no beginning or end. The second is the origination of angels. At some time in eternity past, before the creation of the universe, God created the angelic host. In speaking to Job, the Lord confirmed that the angels preexisted creation because they were on hand to observe the fingerwork of God (Ps. 8:3).

“Where were you [Job] when I [God] laid the foundation of the earth!
Tell Me, if you have understanding,
Who set its measurements, since you know?
Or who stretched the line on it?
On what were its bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
When the morning stars [angels] sang together,
And all the sons of God [בְּני אֱלֹהִים, bene Elohim] shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7)

    Bene Elohim is a technical phrase used five times in the Old Testament (Gen. 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). This phrase is always used for angels whether elect or fallen. But when God “laid the foundation of the earth” the angels were undivided; Lucifer and one-third of the angels had not yet rebelled in arrogance. Therefore, “all the sons of God shouted for joy” (italics added).

    The third beginning is that of the “heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). The universe was created as the domain of the angels. Here they ruled and performed whatever responsibilities and tasks God had for them. During this span of time, Lucifer rebelled against God and enticed one-third of the angels to follow him (Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:12-18; Rev. 12:4a). The battleground of this prehistoric angelic revolt centered on one tiny planet in the universe. Along with sin and evil, Satan’s rebellion brought chaos upon the earth.3 As part of God’s judgment against the rebellious angels the planet was enshrouded in darkness; without light or heat the raging waters of the “deep” froze into an ice pack (Gen. 1:2). Before the earth could again be inhabited, restoration would be necessary.

The Four Beginnings

    The fourth beginnings is of the human race. God renovated the earth for His final creation, man.

And He [Jesus] answered and said, “Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE?” (Matt. 19:4)

“God Created”

    The beginnings of the universe in Genesis 1:1 provide no details of God’s handiwork. The terse summary simply indicates creation was performed by Elohim. This plural Hebrew noun for God refers to all three coequal, coinfinite, coeternal persons of the divine Trinity.4 Elohim emphasizes God’s essence or character. God is said to be one or identical in essence (Deut. 6:4; 1 Tim. 2:5), but three in person (2 Cor. 13:14). Essence describes the being or character of a person, what that person is like. Each person of the Trinity possesses every characteristic of deity. 5 All three members of the Godhead were involved in creation, although God the Son, the preincarnate Jesus Christ, was the actual creator.

All things came into being by Him [Jesus Christ], and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:3)
 
For by Him [Jesus Christ] all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him. (Col. 1:16)

    The object of God’s first creation is summarized in the phrase “the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). Hebrew contains no one word comparable to our word “universe.” The universe is communicated through the phrase “heavens and the earth.” “Heavens,” hashamayim, is in the plural indicating all the planets, stars, galaxies, black holes, nebulae—everything in the universe except earth. Ha’aretz refers specifically to planet earth. How remarkable that God singles out from the entire universe this one small planet for a unique role in His plan!

Four Words for “Create”

    Old Testament Hebrew employs four words to depict the work of God in creation. The first, bara, is used exclusively with God as the subject. Generally, this word means “to create or to bring into existence by divine command.” Twice in Genesis 1 the context indicates bara has the more specific meaning, “to create from nothing.” God created both the universe (Gen. 1:1) and the human soul (Gen. 1:27) from nothing. Theologians call this creatio ex nihilo.

    עָשָׂה (asah), the second term, generally means “to make.” In some contexts it has the more precise meaning, “to create something according to a pattern.” When used of the creation of the atmosphere (Gen. 1:7), sun, moon, stars (Gen. 1:16), and animals (Gen. 1:25), asah describes God’s restoration of the planet after the chaos of Genesis 1:2. More specifically, asah describes the origin of the human soul to emphasize its creation based on the pattern of God’s invisible essence (Gen. 1:26-27). The Holy Spirit employed both bara and asah to emphasize the uniqueness of the human soul created in God’s image.6

Then God said, “Let Us make [asah] man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” (Gen. 1:26a)
 
And God created [bara] man in His own image, in the image of God He created [bara] him; male and female He created [bara] them. (Gen. 1:27)

    The third Hebrew word, יָצַר (yatsar), is used for forming something as a potter molds clay. Isaiah 45:18 uses yatsar to describe the restoration of the earth after the chaos of Genesis 1:2. Yatsar also describes the forming of Adam’s physical body from the “dust” or chemicals of the soil, while the creation of his soul life is depicted by bara and asah.7

Then the LORD God formed [yatsar] man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [soul life]; and man became a living being. (Gen. 2:7)

    In contrast to yatsar, which described the creation of the body God constructed for the male (Gen. 2:7), the fourth creation verb, בָּנָה (banah), “to build,” depicts the divine sculpting of the woman’s body.

And the LORD God fashioned [banah] into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. (Gen. 2:22)

    The use of the first three of these words together in Isaiah 45:18 confirms the distinction between God’s initial creation of the universe (Gen. 1:1) and its later restoration (Gen. 1:2).

For thus says the LORD, who created [bara—from nothing] the heavens
(He is the God who formed [yatsar] the earth and made it [asah—restored it from existing material],
He established it and did not create [bara] it a waste place [תֹהוּ, tohu],
But formed [yatsar] it to be inhabited),
“I am the LORD, and there is none else.” (Isa. 45:18)

    The prophet Isaiah explicitly states that God did not create (bara) the original earth a wasteland (tohu). The initial creation of the universe was perfect in every respect. The phrase “heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1) is a Hebrew phrase for an organized, orderly cosmos, not the disorderly chaos of Genesis 1:2.8 Later, because of the tumultuous upheaval resulting from the satanic revolt, God judged the primordial earth and covered it in darkness (Gen. 1:2). It became an uninhabitable wasteland. God then restored and formed (yatsar) the earth for the habitation of humanity.

CHAOS

And [But] the earth was [became] formless and void [וָבֹהוּ תֹהוּ, tohu wabohu], and darkness was over the surface of the deep [תְהוֹם, tehom]; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. (Gen. 1:2)

    The ominous and foreboding tone of verse two is in marked contrast to the straightforward statement of verse one. Since we know God is perfect and His work is perfect (Deut. 32:4; Matt. 5:48), then we know the earth was not created imperfect. Yet Genesis 1:2 evokes an image of an earth which had become a different place than what God originally created.

    Most English versions wrongly translate verse two as sequential, “and the earth was,” instead of as a contrast to verse one.9 If verse two were sequential, “formless and void” (tohu wabohu) would be connected with the initial creation of the universe. The first verse would then be a description of God’s creation of an imperfect and defective universe. Verse one would depict only raw materials which were “formless and void.” This contradicts the perfect character of God.

    But verse two actually begins with a disjunctive clause, “but,” followed by the Hebrew verb הָיָה (hayah), “became,” in the qal perfect. When correctly translated “but the earth became,” it is clear the earth had undergone a cataclysmic change. The contrast emphasizes the dramatic and total transformation from a fully formed and perfect planet to barren waste. Tohu wabohu always depicts the results of divine judgment (Isa. 34:11; Jer. 4:23-26). Tohu means “waste, desolation, a disorderly muddle.” Bohu means “empty, void.” What prehistoric judgment could have so devastated the planet?

The Cause of Chaos

    Following the creation of the universe and before the creation of man the volition of angels was tested. Would they, from their own free will, serve and obey God or rebel against Him? It was Lucifer, the most powerful and brilliant of all the angels, who arrogantly lusted to be like God (Isa. 14:13-14). Through negative volition one-third of the angels followed Lucifer in his revolt (Rev. 12:4a). As the leader of this rebellion against God, Lucifer became Satan, the adversary of God.10 In judgment God cast down Satan along with his fallen angels to one tiny planet in the universe, earth (Ezek. 28:17-18). A state of war existed, with earth as the central battlefield.

    God convened a trial to judge the fallen angels. In perfect justice and righteousness God pronounced Satan guilty and sentenced him and all his minions to eternity in the lake of fire (Matt. 25:41).

    God’s judgment also extinguished the lights in the universe, the arena of the angelic conflict. An absence of light means an absence of heat. Without heat the waters covering the earth were frozen. After Satan’s hordes destroyed the planet, God flooded its surface, then packed it in ice.

    “Darkness” and “deep” connote sinister events throughout Holy Writ. Darkness is often a metaphor for evil and spiritual darkness (Ex. 10:21-23; Ps. 35:6; Joel 2:2; Matt. 4:16; John 3:19). The Hebrew word tehom, translated “deep,” was symbolic of chaos and death. Together with tohu and bohu these words paint a scene of malevolent destruction.

    Satan, now as the adversary, challenged the divine verdict. His defense: How could a just and loving God cast His creatures into a lake of fire? Satan impugned the grace and righteousness of God. Though God could have instantly cast the offending angels into eternal perdition, He did not. God granted Satan’s appeal to demonstrate His grace and righteousness to the angels for all eternity.11 God would restore planet earth and create the human race to resolve this angelic conflict.

Summary of Events between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2

  1. In verse 1 God created perfect the heavens and earth. The earth was not in a state of chaos.
  2. Following this verse, a catastrophe occurred in the universe which centered on planet earth.
  3. This catastrophe was the fall of Satan (Isa. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:11-19) and the subsequent angelic conflict which turned the original earth into desolation and chaos.
  4. Therefore, the prehistoric angelic conflict originated between verses 1 and 2 and eventually will be resolved by human history.
  5. The destruction of the original earth is directly related to the fall of Satan and the angelic conflict (Isa. 14:17).
  6. The divine judgment pronounced against the fallen angels (Matt. 25:41) included enshrouding the earth in darkness.
  7. Between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, the earth was packed in ice. Beneath the ice everything was chaos (tohu wabohu); above the ice, darkness.

RESTORATION

    With rapt anticipation the angels awaited God’s response to Satan’s appeal. In amazement they saw His attention focus on the very planet that had been the center of the evil rebellion.

And the Spirit of God was moving [רָחַף, rachaph] over the surface of the waters. (Gen. 1:2b)

    The earth, covered by the ice pack, was void of life. Only God could generate life in a barren world. Restoration from chaos began with the renewing activity of God the Holy Spirit. The grace of God would transform chaos into order.

    The Hebrew rachaph means “to move gently over, hover, or brood.” Mother birds brood over their young to warm them and to give them vitality (Deut. 32:11). In a similar way God the Holy Spirit warmed and moved over the frozen earth, melting the water to prepare the earth for restoration and habitation.

    The darkened, chaotic earth resembles the condition of the unsaved man. Every human being is born into this world a sinner and under the penalty of sin, spiritual death, which is separation from God.12 Like the lifeless, primitive earth, the spiritually dead person is enveloped in spiritual darkness (2 Cor. 4:3-4), with no hope of eternal life. The only hope of spiritual life comes from God. What the Holy Spirit accomplished for the earth in renewal, He does in regeneration when a person believes in Jesus Christ for salvation (John 3:5-8).13

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5)

The First Day: Light and Darkness

Then God said [אָמַר, amar], “Let there be light [אוֹר, or]”; and there was light. (Gen. 1:3)

    Over the black chaos the Spirit of God had moved to prepare the earth for the creative Word of God. While the Holy Spirit was the primary agent in the first acts of restoration, Elohim, the plural word for “God,” indicates the Father and the Son also played a part. The verb amar, a third masculine singular, means that only one member of the Godhead, the Father, spoke. Amar means to speak with a voice and presupposes planning and purpose. The writer of Hebrews confirms that God spoke and the earth was restored (Heb. 11:3).

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made [asah],
And by the breath of His mouth all their host. (Ps. 33:6)

    During the six days of restoration and creation God spoke eight times to proclaim a divine mandate. The same grammatical Hebrew formula is used to record the divine command and fulfillment: the phrase “then God said” followed by a qal imperfect verb used as an imperative, “let there be.” Moses uses “then God said” to express the command of God the Father. Fulfillment is stated in the phrase, “and God created [bara]” or “and God made [asah]” to describe the work of God the Son or God the Holy Spirit in carrying out the decree of the Father.

    “Then” translates the Hebrew waw consecutive, literally “and then,” which connects verse three with the circumstances described in verse two.14 The earth was a darkened, chaotic ruin when God spoke on the first day of restoration.

    “Let there be” is a qal imperfect of hayah used as an imperative. God commanded light to come into existence, and there was light.

For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast. (Ps. 33:9)

Light And Darkness Separated

    God began restoration with the creation of elemental, physical light, not light from an illuminating body or a reflector. Light is radiant energy which makes the existence of life possible. Darkness cannot sustain plant, animal, or human life. The ice pack that had acted as a swaddling band around earth had been melted. The creation of light would sustain life and prevent all the surface water on the earth from freezing again.

And God saw that the light was good [טוֹב, tov]; and God separated the light from the darkness. (Gen. 1:4)

    God declared the light to be good, but not the darkness. “God saw” is an anthropomorphism to explain to mankind God’s attitude toward His own creation.15 “Good” (tov) is an affirmation that the light created was exactly what God planned.

    The creation of light did not completely dissipate the darkness. Genesis 1:3 was the beginning of God’s work, which will conclude with a future age when darkness no longer exists (Rev. 22:5). In Genesis 1:4 God separated the light from the darkness and assigned to each a specific realm of activity.

    Throughout Scripture darkness belongs to the devil and is a metaphor for sin, spiritual death, and the kingdom of Satan. In contrast, the realm of God is light. God Himself is light and “in Him there is no darkness” (1 John 1:5). The Incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ, is the “light of the world” (John 8:12). The written Word sheds light on the believer’s soul (Ps. 119:105, 130). The Gospel is light (2 Cor. 4:3-4; 2 Tim. 1:10). When a person believes in Jesus Christ as Savior, God transfers the believer from Satan’s kingdom of darkness into God’s kingdom of light (Col. 1:12-13).

“To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:18)

    The devil cannot produce light, create life, or provide regeneration. Satan can ultimately do nothing constructive for mankind, this earth, or the universe. God allowed the darkness to coexist with the light just as He permits fallen angels to continue to exist with the elect angels and unbelievers to coexist with believers. But when Christ returns to establish His kingdom at the Second Advent there will be no darkness, for the entire earth will be lighted by His presence.

“No longer will you have the sun for light by day,
Nor for brightness will the moon give you light;
But you will have the LORD for an everlasting light,
And your God for your glory.” (Isa. 60:19)

Day And Night

And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening [וַיְהִי־עֶרֶב, wayhiy erev] and there was morning [וַיְהִי־בֹקֶר, wayhiy boqer], one day [יוֹם, yom]. (Gen. 1:5)

    All created things must have nomenclature. This phrase, “God called the light day,” emphasizes the importance of words and terms in the Scripture. As God separated and distinguished aspects of His creation, He used specific vocabulary to express those distinctions. The first distinction was “day” and “night.” This precedent for crafting nomenclature emphasizes the importance of vocabulary for thinking and conceptualization. In subsequent revelation the words and terms used by God the Holy Spirit enabled mankind to think precisely about the doctrine communicated by God. Words, vocabulary, and categories were thus established from the inception of the restoration as necessary for thinking and indispensable for understanding God. God named aspects of the creation only during the first four days of creation. This initialized man’s vocabulary sufficiently so that man could fulfill the mandate in Genesis 2:19 to take over the process of naming and categorizing God’s creation.

    After God separated the light from the darkness, the elemental light was concentrated above the earth. This unique light did not radiate from any luminaries or light-reflecting bodies. God had not yet localized light into the sun, moon, and stars (Gen. 1:14-16). Half of the earth was bathed in light, the remainder in stygian darkness. Light and darkness were designed to continue sequentially for specified intervals.

    When correctly translated, the Hebrew wayhiy erev means “then it became dusk.” Wayhiy boqer means “then it became morning.” Why did it become evening and morning? The earth had begun to rotate on its axis. As the earth rotated, the surface gradually became dark, then reemerged into the light as the rotation continued. Thus ended the first twenty-four-hour day.

The Length Of The Days

    Certain theistic evolutionists attempt to reconcile the biblical creation account with the theory of evolution by equating the six days of Genesis 1 with the geologic ages.16 Were these days extended eons of time or literal, twenty-four-hour days?

    In the Bible the term “day” can designate extended periods of time. “The day of the LORD” describes the combined 1,007 years of the Tribulation, Second Advent, and Millennium (Isa. 13:6; Joel 2:1), and “the day of God” specifies eternity (2 Pet. 3:12). Also, “day” infrequently designates a period of time shorter than twenty-four hours. “THE DAY OF SALVATION” (2 Cor. 6:2) depicts the moment a person believes in Christ. “The day of Christ” (Phil. 1:10) describes the Rapture of the Church which takes place in “the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:52).17 Context always determines when “day” refers to a length of time other than twenty-four hours.

    The Hebrew of Genesis 1:5 literally reads “then it became dusk and then it became morning, day one.” Whenever the word yom, “day,” occurs in the Old Testament with a numeral, this grammatical construction always describes a twenty-four-hour solar day. Further, a literal understanding of Exodus 20:11 confirms a sequence of six, twenty-four-hour days in the Genesis account of restoration (Gen. 1:22:4).

“For in six days the LORD made [asah, restored] the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.” (Ex. 20:11)

The Second Day: The Atmosphere

Then God said, “Let there be an expanse [רָקִיעַ, raqiya, “atmosphere”] in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made [asah] the expanse [raqiya], and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. (Gen. 1:6-7)

    On the second day God formed the atmosphere, a layer of gases separating an upper layer of water from the lower, surface waters. The Hebrew word raqiya means an “expanse” from the cognate verb meaning “to spread out.” This expanse is described elsewhere in Scripture as a transparent pavement of sapphire (Ex. 24:10), “strong as a molten mirror” (Job 37:18), spread out like a tent curtain, a canopy covering the earth (Ps. 104:2; Isa. 40:22). Such vivid imagery portrays the properties of the atmosphere blanketing the earth.

    Above the earth now existed a vaulted atmosphere surrounded by upper waters; below stretched the vast sweep of lower waters, which would become the seas and oceans of the planet. The landmasses of earth were still inundated by the water. In addition to the water above the atmosphere and on the earth’s surface, immense stores of water existed below the surface.

    Until the worldwide flood of Noah, no rain fell upon the earth. The antediluvian earth was watered through a system of evaporation and condensation, like morning dew, with no precipitation (Gen. 2:6). Water for the worldwide flood of Noah’s time fell as rain from the upper atmosphere and “burst” from the enormous subterranean reservoirs.

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. (Gen. 7:11)

    The band of atmosphere God placed around the earth is vital for sustaining life. God designed an atmosphere with a complex mixture of gases, including oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, helium, carbon dioxide, and a variety of trace gases. The atmosphere supplies all living beings with the air necessary to live while retarding the destructive effects of solar radiation. On the primordial earth, the interrelationship of the water above and the air below provided perfect environment for future life.

And God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. (Gen. 1:8)

    Again God demonstrated the importance of conceptualizing through nomenclature and vocabulary by naming the expanse “heaven.” In verse 8 “heaven” refers to the earth’s atmosphere, the first heaven. In other contexts “heaven” may also refer to the universe, the second heaven, or to the throne room of God, the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2). The cycle of light and darkness concluded the second day of restoration.

The Third Day: Oceans, Land, and Vegetation

The Division Of Seas And Land

Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered [קָוָהל, qawah] into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. (Gen. 1:9)

    On the third morning God concluded His work of separation and designation. On this day God established the seas and oceans. He restricted the waters to specific areas and dry land appeared.

    The day’s work began with the command for the waters to be localized, to “be gathered into one place.” The niphal imperfect of qawah is derived from a root word meaning “to gather the strands of thread together to be twisted into a strong rope.” Since the niphal is passive, it should be translated “be assembled.” God’s command included the establishment of permanent boundaries for the waters. The assemblage of the waters into depressions and basins on the earth’s surface caused the continents to emerge.

“When He [God] established the heavens, I [wisdom personified]18 was there,
When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep,
When He made firm the skies above,
When the springs of the deep became fixed,
When He set for the sea its boundary,
So that the water should not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth.”
    (Prov. 8:27-29, italics added)

    Though often violent and turbulent, the oceans remain within their boundaries. Floods, tidal waves, and storms may temporarily ravage the land, but the water always recedes to its appointed boundaries.

And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
(Gen. 1:10)

    Again God exercised His sovereignty over the earth and oceans by naming them. God then expressed the perfection of His creation by pronouncing it good for mankind.

The Creation Of Plant Life

Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation [דֶּשֶׁא, deshe], plants [עשֶׂב, esev] yielding seed, and fruit trees [עץ פְּרִי, etz peri] bearing fruit after their kind [לְמִינוֹ, lemino], with seed in them, on the earth”; and it was so. (Gen. 1:11)

    Upon God’s second mandate on the third day the unadorned, lifeless landmass was clothed with a luxuriant verdant carpet. Elohim commanded, “Let the earth spout vegetation.” The noun deshe is a general term for vegetation, broken into the categories of plant, esev, and fruit tree, etz peri. Every species of plant and tree was represented: flowering plants and plants that produce fodder for animals and nourishment for mankind. Every type of fruit-bearing tree appeared, including those that contain seed in nuts or cones, as well as shrubs or bushes producing berries. All trees produce fruit for reproduction, though not all such fruit is edible for man. In grace God provided an abundance of food and fodder to sustain life on earth.

    All vegetation is seed-bearing. Verse 11 emphasizes the ability of plants and fruit trees to reproduce after their own kind. Plant life sprouted from the earth and propagates within its own species.

    The phrase lemino, “according to its kind,” indicates divinely established boundaries between species (1 Cor. 15:38-39). In other words, evolution from one species to another is impossible. Science has never discovered one example nor proven the theory of the transmutation of species in either the animal or the plant kingdom.

    This does not negate microevolution which is development, change, or cross-breeding within a species. Different breeds of dogs may develop, but the result, whether Norwegian elkhound or Cairn terrier, is still a dog. Dogs do not produce cats; oak trees do not produce apples; no random activity over countless millennia can cross the boundary between species.

    “And it was so” means instantaneously. In accordance with God’s mandate the numerous species of plant life were formed fully mature and immediately able to reproduce through their seed. God had instantly created a complex, fully developed, self-perpetuating vegetation system.

And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. (Gen. 1:12)

    After surveying the results of His creation, God pronounced it good. Each aspect of the third day of creation conformed to His plan and purpose of providing a perfect environment for the future human race.

And there was evening and there was morning, a third day. (Gen. 1:13)

    As night followed day, the restoration work of the third day was complete. During the first three days, the triune God had separated light from darkness, divided the waters from the dry land, and blanketed terra firma with vegetation. God had brought order out of chaos, reversing the desolation and emptiness (tohu wabohu) of the earth.

The Fourth Day: Restoration of Lightbearers

Then God said, “Let there be lights [מָאוֹר, maor] in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs [אוֹת, ot], and for seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. (Gen. 1:14-15)

    The first day of restoration saw the creation of light and its separation from darkness. Throughout the first three days, God furnished the light that shone upon the earth without energizing any illuminating agents. Then on the fourth day, God concentrated the elemental light into luminiferous bodies.

    From antiquity pagan gentile nations surrounding Israel had deified the sun, moon, and stars, identifying them with a complex pantheon of gods. The worship of these astral gods was based on elaborate astrological charts of planetary alignments and eclipses which allegedly influence the affairs of men. Such worship is refuted by Genesis 1:14-15 which declares the heavenly bodies to be the direct creation of the sovereign God. He alone controls human history. He alone is worthy of worship.

    The Hebrew maor is distinct from the or, “light,” of verse three. Maor refers to lightbearers: sun, moon, stars, planets, comets, asteroids. Since these luminaries were included in “the heavens” created in verse one, the reference in verses 14-15 is to the restoration of light to these heavenly bodies. Though the stars may be thousands or millions of light-years from the earth, their light appeared instantly on the earth.19

    Three purposes are given for the existence of the heavenly bodies:

  1. The lightbearers were to divide the day from the night. The sun is a lightbearer for the day, while the planets, stars, and moon illuminate the night.
  2.  
  3. The lightbearers were to designate signs, seasons, days, and years.
     

        The Hebrew ot means a “sign, ensign, flag, token, or monument.” These lightbearers display God’s workmanship (Ps. 19:1), have been used by God to reveal the “signs of the times” such as the birth of Christ (Matt. 2:2; cf. Matt. 24:29; Luke 21:25; Jer. 10:2; Joel 2:30), and are used by man to predict changes in the weather (Matt. 16:1-4). These signs are not to be construed as the astrological signs of the zodiac.20

        The lightbearers vary their positions in the heavens, thus dividing the year in relation to seasons. These changes determine the times to plant and to harvest (Eccl. 3:2).

        The lightbearers regulate days and years. A year is measured by the revolution of the earth around the sun; a day is measured by the time it takes for the earth to make one complete rotation on its axis. Apparent solar time, a simple standard for calculating time, utilizes the daily motion of the sun from east to west as the earth rotates. A more precise time standard, called ephemeris time, is based on the revolution of the earth about the sun and utilizes the observed positions of the moon, sun, and stars. But whether solar or ephemeris time is used, both depend on the luminaries restored on the fourth day.

  4.  
  5. The luminaries give light to the earth, thus providing not only illumination but also energy. Photosynthesis, the process by which green plants synthesize carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the atmosphere, uses light as its energy source.
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 [הַכּוֹכָבִים וְאת, we’et hakokavim]. (Gen. 1:16)

    This verse records the work of God the Son in restoring light and assigning the specific tasks of separation to the luminaries in the heavens. The “greater light,” the sun, rules the day. The “lesser light,” the moon, a reflector of the sun, rules the night.

    The Hebrew uses only two words to describe the restoration of light to the stars, we’et hakokavim, literally, “and the stars.” This brief description of the restoration of the universe stands in marked contrast to the detailed account of the restoration of the earth. That the Holy Spirit uses such brevity to describe this vast accomplishment indicates the limited significance of outer space in human history. The earth is the focus of God’s creative work in preparing a habitation for mankind, the central figures in the angelic conflict. Despite man’s speculation and attention given to the existence of extraterrestrial life, the Bible mentions only angels as inhabiting outer space.

And God placed them [the luminaries] in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. (Gen. 1:17-18)

    God set the heavenly bodies in their appointed positions to perform the three assigned roles. The roles are described through the literary device chiasmus, verses 17-18 being the inverse of the original order in verses 14-15.21 The exact placement of the greater and lesser luminaries was ordained to provide perfect environment for the earth. If the earth were any closer than 93 million miles to the sun, the temperature would be too warm for the sustenance of life. If the earth were farther away, the temperature would be too cold. The precise distance of the moon also affects tides, a vital aspect of earth’s environment. With the completion of this work, God pronounced it good, the perfect distribution of light upon the surface of the earth.

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

    For the fourth time God focuses our attention on the rotation of the earth once every twenty-four hours. But for the first time the rotation was marked by the setting and rising of the sun.

The Fifth Day: Sea Creatures and Birds

Then God said, “Let the waters teem [שָׁרַץ, sharatz] with swarms [שֶׁרֶץ, sheretz] of living creatures, and let birds [עוֹף, oph] fly [עוּף, uph] above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens [atmosphere].” And God created [bara] the great sea monsters [תַּנִּינִם, tanninim], and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird [winged creature] after its kind; and God saw that it was good. (Gen. 1:20-21)

    On the fifth day God generated living creatures to fill the two newly restored earthly habitats, the crystalline ocean depths and the luminous atmosphere. At the command of God the waters instantly “swarmed,” prolific with all manner of aquatic life. The Hebrew sheretz sometimes refers to small reptiles and quadrupeds (Lev. 11:20, 29), but in this mandate, it specifies the array of water-dwelling creatures from plankton to whales.

    Bara is used for creating both the material universe (Gen. 1:1) and the immaterial soul of man (Gen. 1:27), ex nihilo, “from nothing.” However, in verse 21 the Holy Spirit uses bara in a general sense to distinguish a higher form of creation, animal life, from the already created vegetation. Here, bara emphasizes the direct exercise of divine creative power. Plant life was a preface to the appearance of animal life. Plants did not evolve from the organic chemicals of the soil that nourish them; neither did plant life evolve into the animal life that it sustains.

    Then the Holy Spirit singled out the great sea creatures, the tanninim, which include various large water mammals, such as whales, porpoises, and dolphins. Along with the great sea creatures, God made every living thing in the sea. Through the first four days of creation only the general categories of plants and animals are mentioned, but no specific species until “the great sea monsters.” Why?

    These creatures are mentioned because they were feared and worshiped as gods, especially by the Canaanites. In the ancient world, the pagan religions recounted legends and sagas of giant sea dragons, called Leviathan in the Old Testament (Job 3:8; 7:12), doing battle with the gods. This Scripture taught the Israelites to reject such mythology. These enormous denizens of the seas were simply another creation of God, attesting to His power and glory.22

Praise the LORD from the earth,
Sea monsters [tanninim] and all deeps [seas]. (Ps. 148:7)

    God’s second command that day filled the air with every species of flying creature, oph. Every category was included, from swallow to swan, canary to condor, butterfly to bat (Lev. 11:19-20). God then pronounced His divine approval.

And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. (Gen. 1:22-23)

    The sea and air creatures were each given their own means of procreation. Having originally created them, God then blessed their generative ability by commanding them to reproduce and multiply within their own species. They were to populate the sea and the air with their offspring. Thus concluded the creative work of the fifth day. The earth was prepared for the crowning creation.

The Sixth Day: Animals and Man

The Beasts Of The Earth

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures [נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה, nephesh chayyah] after their kind: cattle [בְּהֵמָה, behemah] and creeping things [רֶמֶשׂ, remesh] and beasts of the earth [חַיְתוֹ־אֶרֶץ, chayeto eretz] after their kind”; and it was so. And God made [asah] 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. (Gen. 1:24-25)

    God commenced His sixth day of restoration by dotting the lush landscape with animals. Each species was created “after their kind,” possessing the ability to reproduce within their own species. ‘Which came first, the chicken or the egg?’ Verse 24 reveals the answer since the creature preceded its offspring just as the tree preceded its fruit. The divine command to reproduce after their kind precludes any type of evolution from one species to another.

    “Living creatures” is a translation of the Hebrew nephesh chayyah, a reference to three categories of land-dwelling animals. First, behemah, “cattle,” refers to all animals intended for domestic use. Second, remesh, “creeping things,” includes all small reptiles, crawling insects, and worms. Third, chayeto eretz, “beasts of the earth,” describes all wild animals, including elephants, lions, tigers, bears, rhinoceroses.

    “And it was so” again means these things came to pass instantly. “It was good” signifies that the magnificent and diverse creation of the animal kingdom was complete and exactly as God intended.

The Image of God

Then God said, “Let Us make [asah] man in Our image [בְּצֶלֶם, betselem], according to Our likeness [דְּמוּת, demuth]; and let them rule [רָדָה, radah] over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Gen. 1:26)

    Verse 26 begins with a waw consecutive which signifies a sequence of events. Each aspect of creation is integral and dependent upon previous creative divine action. God completely restored everything necessary to provide perfect environment for the human race, “then” God created man.

    God the Father conferred with the other members of the Trinity, “Let Us make [asah].” Asah here means “to make” or manufacture something after a pattern. The pattern God followed in making man was Himself, “in Our image, according to Our likeness.” What is the image and likeness of God? Betselem conveys a spiritual rather than a bodily facsimile, a “shadow image.” Man is not a duplication of God, a blasphemous thought, but has an inferior, finite correspondence to God. Shadow image describes the essence of man’s soul, which was patterned after divine essence only in the sense that it is immaterial, spiritual, rational, moral, and relational.

    God’s essence is real but invisible. As the shadow image of God, human essence is also real but invisible. Like God, human essence can be defined only by its characteristics, which include self-consciousness, mentality, volition, and conscience. As the image of God, human beings are the only creatures who uniquely reflect God.

    The image of God distinguishes man from the lower creatures and inevitably guarantees the supremacy over them that God intended. Man was created to rule creation. God delegated to man authority over every living thing on the earth.

And God created [bara] man in His own image, in the image of God He created [bara] him; male and female He created them. (Gen. 1:27)

    Jesus Christ carried out this divine mandate (John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:10). The Lord created (bara) the male soul and the female soul out of nothing, each with an essence following the pattern (asah) of God Himself. The details of the creation of the man and woman are further revealed in Genesis 2:7, 22.

Then the LORD God formed [yatsar] man of dust from the ground [biological life], and breathed [נָפַח, naphach] into his nostrils the breath of life [נְשָׁמָת חַיִּים, neshamat chayyim, “soul life”]; and man became a living being [נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה, nephesh chayyah, literally “a soul having life,” that is, human life]. (Gen. 2:7)
 
And the LORD God fashioned [banah] into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. (Gen. 2:22)

    The verb naphach, translated “breathed into,” resulting in neshamat chayyim, “the breath of life,” exhaled by God into man’s nostrils, paints a verbal picture of incorporeal soul life bestowed directly to a human being by God. Neshamat refers to the breath, or spark of life, God Himself breathed into the first man (Job 33:4; Isa. 42:5; John 1:3, Col. 1:16). First, God formed the tangible flesh, blood, and bone of biological life from the chemicals of the soil. This was only biological life, not yet human life. When God exhaled His breath into the first man, he became “a living soul” in the image of God Himself.23

    The verb banah, “to build” (v. 22), depicts the divine construction of the female body. As with the formation of the male body, the building of the female body included conveying biological life. Biological life and soul life were given simultaneously, first to Adam and later to the woman.

And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue [כָבַשׁ, kabash] it; and rule [radah] over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen. 1:28)

    Having created mankind, God commissioned them to procreate, to subdue, and to rule the earth. The command to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” reveals God’s intent for the man and woman to enjoy sexual relations. Mankind was given dominion, radah, over the fish, the birds, and every living creature. The word “subdue,” kabash, designates man’s position of sovereignty and control over nature. Together these five verbs—be fruitful, multiply, fill, subdue, and rule—express the divine mandate for human history: to create and extend civilization throughout the earth under the suzerainty of the human race.

    God appointed man as custodian of nature’s resources which are to be responsibly developed and expanded for the benefit, enjoyment, and progress of the human race. Nature is to serve mankind; mankind is not to be subservient to nature.

Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. (Gen. 1:29-30)

    God intended for mankind, His highest creation of the six-day period, to use all plants for nourishment and sustenance. The prescribed diet of both human beings and all other creatures was vegetarian. In the perfection of original creation, all creatures were herbivorous. After the Fall, animals were divided into two groups: herbivores and carnivores. Not until after the Flood (Gen. 68) and the beginning of a new civilization did God permit mankind to eat meat (Gen. 9:3).

And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Gen. 1:31)

    Distinct from the conclusions that the previous day’s creative acts were “good” is God’s pronouncement that His final work was “very good.” The addition of “very” signifies completion.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. (Gen. 2:1)

    With this simple statement, the authentic chronicle of creation comes to a close. The panorama of the firmament, the planet, and all they contain are now exhibited before us in synchronized perfection. “All their hosts” includes the sun, moon, stars in “the heavens,” and all living creatures on “the earth.”

    Man is the apex of creation. The environment God brought into existence is indestructible by man. The divine laws of nature established are immutable. Even though man will fail and bring a curse on the environment, God will never forsake His creation. God’s work of providence will continue unabated and His redemptive work would shortly begin (Gen. 3:15). God now rested from His creative work.

The Seventh Day: The Sabbath

And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done [asah]; and He rested [שָׁבַת, shavat, “sabbath,” meaning “no work”] on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. (Gen. 2:2)

    If God finished His work on the sixth day (Gen. 2:1), why does He now speak of completion on the seventh day? In the context of verses 1-3, the dawn of the seventh day was the first full day of the completed restoration.24 Genesis 2:1-3 establishes the precedent for a day free from creative endeavor.

    Omnipotent God needed no rest. He was neither wearied nor tired from His labors (Isa. 40:28). The Hebrew word translated “rested,” shavat, literally means “to cease work.” God ceased His creative labor because His work was finished, for man’s every need had been met.

    Doing no work illustrates God’s grace. Grace is God’s undeserved blessing freely bestowed apart from any merit on man’s part. God performed everything necessary for the sustenance of the human race. Man could never add to the perfection of God’s creation. Thus, Sabbath commemorates the unmerited benefits of grace to mankind. Perfection continued for an unknown period of time until Adam disobeyed God and sin once again fell upon the earth.

    Sin first infested the earth when the satanic rebellion against God erupted throughout the universe. After God judged the devil and his fallen hordes, Satan obviously appealed the sentence. God graciously granted his appeal, as demonstrated by the elapse of time between the sentencing and its fulfillment. Then God created the human race endowed with volition. Through volition the human race would determine the outcome of the angelic conflict and man’s destiny. Through volition mankind would demonstrate that God is just and righteous in condemning those who choose against Him.

    God placed man in the perfect environment of the Garden of Eden. All the fruit of the plants and trees was available for his food—all except the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This tree was the test of man’s volition. The penalty for eating the forbidden fruit was spiritual death, separation from God (Gen. 2:17; cf. Rom. 5:12).25 In omniscience God knew man would sin, so His plan also included a perfect solution for the fall of man. God would send His Son Jesus Christ to die as a substitute for mankind. God’s gracious gift is eternal life through faith alone in Christ alone. Anyone who accepts God’s gift by faith receives eternal life (John 3:36). God’s eternal rest is always entered only by faith in Christ, never by works of man (Heb. 4:1-3, 10).

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (Eph. 2:8-9)

    Grace excludes all human works, ability, merit, and emotion. Jesus Christ was judged for every sin in human history (Rom. 5:8; 1 Pet. 2:24). As man could do nothing in creation, man can do nothing for salvation. By nonmeritorious faith we recognize that we cannot earn or deserve salvation. Christ receives all the merit for His work on the cross. By faith we cease all work and we rest in God’s salvation.

    The next mention of the Sabbath in the Old Testament occurs in connection with the divine emancipation of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Six weeks after being rescued, the ungrateful Israelites began to complain incessantly about their hunger in the wilderness (Ex. 16:1-3). God responded by miraculously providing quail in the evening and manna, “bread from heaven,” on the ground with the morning dew.26 Divine directives about the use of manna were linked to Sabbath observance to illustrate reliance upon God’s grace.

    The Israelites were instructed to gather only enough manna each morning as would be needed for that day (Ex. 16:4-5). Manna stored for more than one day immediately rotted and bred maggots. The exception was the Sabbath; manna gathered on the sixth day for the seventh day did not spoil. The divine mandate was “no work,” a day of respite from gathering the manna God had provided (Ex. 16:22-24).

    As God worked for six days and ceased on the seventh, so the Old Testament Jews were to work six days and cease labor on the seventh (Ex. 20:11). Cessation of labor signified reliance upon God. The preservation of manna on the Sabbath taught the principle that God’s provision for the physical and spiritual sustenance of believers is always divorced from human works. Manna exemplifies spiritual food, God’s gracious provision of Bible doctrine for every believer (Jer. 15:16a).

“And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD [Bible doctrine].” (Deut. 8:3)

    Manna sustained the Jews in the wilderness until they entered the temporal “rest” of the land God promised to give them (Heb. 3:184:11). The believer who daily learns and applies the manna of the Word of God appropriates God’s temporal rest in the Christian life.27 Only when the Christian ceases striving for divine approval and exercises nonmeritorious faith can he relax in God’s provision and plan for his life.

Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (Gen. 2:3)

    When God is the subject of the verb “to bless” the emphasis is on His grace. God set the Sabbath day apart as a memorial to His grace. It is a reminder that God granted everything for man in perfect environment. After the fall of man, God in grace continues to dispense everything necessary for salvation and the spiritual life.

Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness [the spiritual life], through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (2 Pet. 1:3)

    The omnipotence of God that transformed chaos into blessing, darkness into light, and generated life from lifeless matter is the same power now available to every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. This power is manifested first in the Gospel (Rom. 1:16). When a person trusts Christ as Savior, he is immediately regenerated, given a new spiritual life. As part of this new life God provides His power for living the spiritual life through the filling of the Holy Spirit and Bible doctrine.

THE GRANDEUR OF CREATION

The Seven Days of Restoration and Creation

    The creation narrative in the first two chapters of Genesis is a theological rather than a scientific account of the origin of the universe and the beginning of life on earth. The brief and simple description engenders confidence in the God who restores order, life, and meaning where there was only darkness and chaos. Throughout the account, every detail draws our attention not only to the sovereign majesty and glory of God but to the entire panoply of divine attributes.

    The God who made all things is the sovereign ruler of His creation. Neither man, chance, nor government is in final control of events.

“Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the LORD, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.” (Deut. 4:39)

God rules and preserves everything from microscopic particles to vast galaxies by His limitless power. The promises of God can never be abrogated by human innovations or natural catastrophes.

And He [Jesus Christ] is the radiance of His [God the Father’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. (Heb. 1:3a)

The instantaneous creation of the universe reveals His omnipresence. Man cannot hide, escape, or be isolated from God.

“Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee.” (1 Kings 8:27b)

Absolute veracity and perfect wisdom were the standards by which God created. All the precepts of His Word reflect the realities of life.

He has made known to His people the power of His works,
In giving them the heritage of the nations.
The works of His hands are truth and justice;
All His precepts are sure.
They are upheld forever and ever;
They are performed in truth and uprightness. (Ps. 111:6-8)

His incomprehensible love provided for His creatures in every conceivable way.

To Him who made the heavens with skill,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
To Him who spread out the earth above the waters,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting;
To Him who made the great lights,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting:
The sun to rule by day,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
The moon and stars to rule by night,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting. (Ps. 136:5-9)

Divine omniscience—the unlimited intellect of God—designed the intricacies of the universe and knew eternally the mystery of life itself. Every detail is in God’s mind at all times, and always has been. There is a rational plan to the universe and a divine basis for thought and meaning.

He counts the number of the stars;
He gives names to all of them.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength;
His understanding is infinite. (Ps. 147:4-5)

The fixed laws of the universe reflect His immutability. In justice God provided man with a perfect standard by which to live. He is the foundation for unchanging absolute truth.

“The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.” (Deut. 32:4)

    Eternal God, the source of all life, personally breathed life into Adam and continues to do so for every person born into the world. Additionally, God imputes His own life—eternal life—and His own righteousness to those who express faith in Jesus Christ, guaranteeing they will live forever in His presence.

“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)
 
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption. (1 Cor. 1:30)

    The testimony of the grandeur of creation is sufficient for man to recognize the essence and nature of God. Mankind cannot observe God, cannot comprehend His overwhelming power, cannot conceive of the extent of His glory, but mankind can observe God’s remarkable creation. After viewing His majestic handiwork, rejecting the existence of the God of the universe and His Son, the creator of all substance and life, is unpardonable.

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deeps in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD;
Let all the the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.
 
 
I Will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From whence shall my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
 
 
To Thee I lift up my eyes,
O Thou who art enthroned in the heavens!
 
 
Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For He commanded and they were created.
He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.