Monthly Archives: June 2015

Light and Life

Studies in Genesis 1

“And God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3 ESV)

Light allows creation to see. God gave much of His living creation the ability to see. He created plants to need light to grow. Plants respond to light. But, He created living things, such as fish, birds and mammals with organs of sight. He wants them to see. Light and the awareness which comes with sight are integral to life.

This is especially true for people. God not only wants people to see what is happening around them He wants people to see Him. Light reveals and illuminates truth and reality. We see and understand. We see and respond. We see and grow.

When Jesus came as the living Word He brought light and life. His life, death, burial and resurrection were given so all would know God. John states Christ is the force behind all of creation. He is the “Word” and all things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1, 3 ESV). John also states He is light and life. In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4 ESV)

John also tells us the message he and others heard from Jesus. God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5 ESV). Literally, “God shines” not just as the source of light but as light Himself. God is light and life not because He shine and lives but because His nature is light and life.

Light

Studies in Genesis 1

“And God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3 ESV)

Light.

Not just the light found in the universe but light for the Earth. Light to illuminate the dead rock which God is changing into a place of life and vitality.

Light is energy, atoms excited by other atoms. How light works is mysterious. Light acts like a particle, photons traveling in a straight line. Light acts like a wave, undulating through the spectrum. Scientists have suggested light cannot be both therefore it is neither. Light is something else.

Light travels fast. In “empty” space light travels at 186,282 miles, or 299,792 kilometers, per second.

Light is filled with a wide spectrum of color, seamlessly blending from one color to the next.

Without light and its energy the Earth could not sustain life. Plants could not grow and dispense into the atmosphere the molecules and chemicals needed to continue to grow anything. Without light the Earth would not maintain a temperature needed to sustain life. Without light water would not evaporate and travel through the atmosphere to other places. Light is essential to stabilizing a dead rock to fulfill God’s purpose.

Light is the first essential ingredient for life. God created a universe which operates within specific boundaries, adhering to well-defined laws. So, the creation of Earth follows these well-defined laws. While God can certainly suspend those laws and work outside of them His creation runs and operates within the laws of the universe.

God is fully involved in the operation of the universe and of the earth.

“Be light, be light”

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:3 ESV)

“’Ĕlôhîm ầwmar, hâyâh ồr, hâyâh ồr.”

“Hâyâh” means to be, or become, to come to pass, to make happen. “Ồr” means illumination, lightening, bright. God said, “be light, be light.”

First is the command. Second is the result of the command.

For God a command is the whole act from beginning to completion. His result is part of His command. We need to challenge how we think when we think about God. There is danger in doing this. We must continually rely upon the direction and instruction of the Spirit of God while being continually aware of our desire to control.

He does not identify a source of light for earth until the fourth day. Physically, I assume this means at this time there was no solar system, no group of planets revolving around a sun. I also assume God is the source of light for earth. It was He who created the dead rock and it was His Spirit which moved over the earth. He deliberately and with eternal logic made the earth and makes it after His design and according to His purpose. My assumptions may be wrong.

Ambrose of Milan, living in the late fourth century states “God is the Author of light” (Hexaemeron*). Augustine differentiates between the “light born from God” (Jesus, the light of the world, see John 1:4-5) and the “light made by God” (On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis*). One of the eternal characteristics of God is light. We look forward to eternity with God where we will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light” (Revelation 22:5 ESV).

[*See “Genesis 1:3” from the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Old Testament, Volume I, Genesis 1-11.)

 

God’s Word

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said. (Genesis 1:3ESV)

Every word between “In the beginning” (Genesis 1:1 ESV) and “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” (Revelation 22:20-21 ESV) is the Word of God spoken to those created in His image. God has revealed Himself and what we need to know. Revelation is God telling us information we could not otherwise know, especially about Himself. We call the Holy Scripture, comprising the Hebrew Scripture and the New Testament, God’s Word and revelation to us.

General revelation is God showing Himself through creation to everyone created. Creation is the evidence of the reality and truth of God and the determined efforts of His work. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge” (Psalms 19:1-2 ESV).  Paul is more explicit.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. (Romans 1:19-20 ESV)

Special revelation is God telling those who are His all they need to know to fulfill His eternal purpose for them. Jesus is the incarnate Word of God. His inherent characteristics (homoima) and outward appearance (schema) is of a man and His form (morphe) is of God (see Philippians 2:6).  He is fully God and fully man and when He spoke His words revealed that which none could otherwise know.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3 ESV)

God has not stopped speaking.

“God said” in Genesis

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said … (Genesis 1:3 ESV)

Ten times in Genesis 1 the words “God said” are used to denote God’s deliberate action in creation (see Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28, 29).

It is fitting God use the words “God said” in the first chapter of Genesis. Not only does using this phrase establish God as deliberately and actively working in creation but it also shows God’s continued presence in what He has created. He does not simply wind up the universe and let go becoming an absent builder or disinterested observer. What He has begun He will see to completion, involved in every step.

Here are other times the phrase “God said” is used in the book of Genesis.

After God created Adam He determined it was not good for him to be alone (see Genesis 2:18).

When God confronted Eve and the Serpent it was with deliberate intent to show their rebellion (see Genesis 3:13-14).

When God ejected sinful Adam and Eve from the garden it was to deliberately keep them from the Tree of Life (see Genesis 3:22).

God deliberately chose Noah, directing him to build an ark for a specific reason. “And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth’” (Genesis 6:13 ESV; see also Genesis 8:15; 9:8, 12. 17).

When God chose Abraham and made a covenant with him it was to deliberately show the lineage of His Son Jesus Christ. “And God said to him, ‘Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations’” (Genesis 17:3-4 ESV; see also Genesis 17: 9, 15, 19; 21:12).

When God chose Jacob and changed his name to Israel it was to affirm the lineage and genealogy of His Son, Jesus Christ. “And God said to him, ‘I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body’” (Genesis 35:11 ESV; see also Genesis 35:1, 10).

When “God said” at creation He meant for all time.

God Uttered

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said. [Genesis 1:3 ESV]

Elohēm awmar. God uttered. God declared. God spoke.

These two words are a simple and elegant phrase of God’s creative being.

Behind these two words is the infinite intelligence and purpose of God. He determined before He created what a thing is and how it will act within the larger context of all things and how each acts and reacts to every other thing.

He created all matter ex nihilo, out of nothing. All matter exists. Now, in these two words, He begins to shape matter into different elements according to His eternally determined desire.

Words imply laws, such as grammar and syntax. Yet, words also suggest the physical, moral and emotional laws which govern the speaker and about that which is spoken. Physical laws and moral laws are absolutes. Everything exists and moves according to an established boundary encompassing existence and movement. Nothing can break a law without suffering specific consequences.

God established the laws which govern the universe.

Words also imply action of will. God does not just speak to hear His own voice. When He speaks something happens. He may speak into existence, changing matter from one element to another or He may whisper to people direction, rebuke, insight or encouragement.

When God uttered His full being was engaged in creation. He is all knowing, omniscient. All He creates is irreducibly complex (to borrow a phrase from Michael Behe) things from their inception. All parts are present, working together as they are designed to work, for the thing created to exist and move in a universe built especially for all the universe contains.

God Tells Us

Studies in Genesis 1

The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. [Genesis 1:2 ESV]

Only God can tell us what He did during the creation of the universe. He does tell us in a way which does not satisfy the scientific demands and curiosity of the skeptic. For atheists nothing God states has value because God cannot state anything. He doesn’t exist. For agnostics nothing God states can be attributed to Him. They cannot know He spoke therefore His words may be His but also may not be His. Even people who know God exists struggle with His statements supposing one thing or another based upon their assumptions of what God is like.

Genesis 1:2 has three statements which describe what follows the creation of the universe and God’s actions in designing the earth. They are vivid descriptions of the uninhabitable chunk bare elements. Yet, the last of the three statement points to God. He is the controlling intelligence behind everything which exists and the power driving the ways and means used to form the earth.

God continues His creative work and His Spirit moves, broods over, cares for and acts upon the elements which are the earth. He knows what He is going to do, having planned from eternity the process and the final results. “Water” actually means either “urine” or “semen.” God is changing that which is a waste into that which is alive and growing and vital.

He tells us what He has done and we can see and examine the finished work of His hands.