Monthly Archives: September 2015

Physical Sources of Light

Studies in Genesis 1

And 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, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:14-15 ESV)

We are faced with a conundrum. On the first “day” God created light. Actually, He said “be light, and there was light” (Genesis 1:3 ESV). He created all of the material in the universe and there was darkness over “the face of the deep.” He then said “be light” and He separated darkness from light.

Here, God says “be lights.” Where there was nothing He created specific bodies which provide illumination. There is a difference between the word “light” and “lights.” “Light” means illumination without designating a source. “Lights” are the actual sources of light. It takes a lot of imagination to realize God is the source of light during the first three “days” of creation, just as God is the source of life created on the third “day.”

Our conundrum is one of imagination. Because of the laws of nature, written and implemented by God, we know without light there is no life. We cannot imagine light without a physical source. Yet, for the first three “days” God did not designate a physical source of light, but there was light and still created life. Vegetation demands physical light to germinate, grow and propagate. There was physical light and this light could have sustained life for as long as God demanded.

We know what God has told us. On the fourth “day” he created the physical sources of light, the sun, stars and moon.

 

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On The Third Day

Studies in Genesis 1

And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. (Genesis 1:13 ESV)

On the third day God created life.

I do not believe in coincidence. God takes into account everything, every contingency, every possibility. He is not caught unawares or tricked or duped. Yes, bad things happen. But to say God is not in control is to misunderstand Him and how He works. Yes, God allows bad things to happen to those who are His. These bad things do not change who He is or how He works.

There are many “third” days in Scripture. On the third day of creation God created life. Before the third day there was no life on the chunk of rock. By the end of the third day of creation God covered a dead rock with life, sustenance for the life to come later.

There are at least 49 times in Scripture where the “third day” has significance.  Here are two from the Gospels.

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee (John 2:1 ESV). Jesus performed a miracle, a sign, showing He was God. He took water and created wine. Wine is from the seed of the grape vine. On the third day of creation He created vegetation. Only God can create life.

Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day. From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Matthew 16:21 ESV). Ten times Jesus declares He will die and be raised on the third day.

On the third day, when Jesus was raised from the dead, God gave the gift of life to those who are dead. What God does on the third day He does with purpose and design.

What God Does is Good

Studies in Genesis 1

And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:12 ESV)

Three times God creates and works and “sees” what He has done is “good.”  To “see” is to look upon something with approval, joy and pleasure.

On the first day God said “let there be light” (Genesis 1:3 ESV) and “saw” the light was “good.” He specifically differentiates between light and darkness.

Then, on the second day, God separates the water on the chunk of matter which will be Earth, making an expanse between the water above from below, creating an atmosphere for the planet.

On the third day, He separates the waters from dry land, making oceans and seas, raising the land into mountains and valleys. What He “sees” is “good.”

Now He covers the dry land with life, vegetation, plants, grasses, herbs and trees, each species unique, suitable for the climate of the mountain or valley, able to reproduce and make more, covering the land. What processes He starts will not stop until He declares they cease.

He covers and fills the earth with food. There are no animals, only plants and trees. He “saw that it was good.”  This word “good” has a number of implications. Everything God does is according to His eternal personality and character. God is good, therefore, what He does is good.

But that which is good also demands purpose and function. When He separates water from water, first making an atmosphere and then the land from the sea it was to allow for the growth of vegetation. When He created the vegetation it was to provide food for that which He will create.

God works and will not stop until all is finished.

God’s Pleasure

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. (Genesis 1:11-12 ESV)

One of the pleasant experiences we may have is the combination of perceptions tickling our senses in Spring. Barren trees and plants sprout blossoms in preparation for growing fruit. We smell the new growth and see light and colors of the growth. We can feel the gentleness of a rain and breeze, which helps the growth, and the texture of the flowers and trees. We taste the fruit. Our whole person may be engaged in the wonder of what God has done in creation.

I think hay-fever, the allergic reaction to the pollen of growth, is a consequence of sin. Many do not, or have not, enjoyed what God has done (me included) because of this. I am jumping ahead of myself.

When God covered the Earth with plant-life He was the only One around to enjoy His creation. He created for His pleasure. I do not know, but I imagine God’s senses are eternally and exponential fine-tuned. He sees, feels, smells, tastes and hears eternally, deriving immeasurable pleasure in all He does.

We nibble at the wonder, then refocus our attention on a distraction, or sneeze.

If this is true then we must pause for a moment and reflect, not on Creation, but on the Passion of Christ. At His crucifixion every sense was overwhelmed with the excruciating. And He was separated. He experienced immeasurable agony.

Then He rose to eternal pleasure. He offers a gift to use who sneeze at Him. Life filled with the eternal wonder of God the Creator.

“And it was so.”

Declaring His Plan

Studies in Genesis 1

The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:12 ESV)

Why does God repeat Himself? He has already said “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth” (Genesis 1:11 ESV). Perhaps He is not repeating Himself. Instead He is announcing His plan in one statement then seamlessly executing His plan.

Theology suggests when God states something it is done. He does not speak just to hear His voice. What He says happens. His plan is finished. This is true for everything God says.

Perhaps there is another reason. Being eternal God sees the beginning from the end and all things in between. His plan includes all that will happen. This has astounding implications.

“The former things I declared of old; they went out from my mouth, and I announced them; then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass. Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass, I declared them to you from of old, before they came to pass I announced them to you, lest you should say, ‘My idol did them, my carved image and my metal image commanded them.’” (Isaiah 48:3-5 ESV)

God knew those created in His image would rebel against Him and declare Him powerless. So He tells us what He has done and will do. There is no excuse or made up reason to believe otherwise. He works for Himself yet is mindful of those created in His image.

For His Pleasure

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:11 ESV)

God created plant life in all of its variety. Within the deepest cellular structure of each plant are those characteristics which make it unique from all other created plants. He created species of grasses, herbs and trees “each according to its kind.”

When He separated the waters above from those below He created an atmosphere and began preparing the land for life. When He separated Land from Sea He made a place for the grasses, herbs and trees He had determined to create. He placed each grass, herb and tree in the environment He developed and determined they would best grow and thrive and reproduce. He blanketed the Earth in Life.

This does not mean He began with rudimentary plant life and formed other plants out of the first single plant. He has done this with the elements, creating matter and then fashioning other, distinct things from the initial matter. One of God’s essential characteristics is His creativity. He creates.

And such life! God created unimaginable variety. We regularly find species of plants previously undiscovered. But God also created incredible beauty. For His eyes only. He is going to create Adam and Eve in His image. Yet, all He does is not ultimately for them or us but for Himself. Yes, Earth is prepared for them and us but it is not theirs nor ours. Earth and everything on it belongs to God.

According To Its Kind

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:11 ESV)

God introduces a phrase He uses more than any other phrase in the first chapter of Genesis. “According to its kind.” God uses this phrase when He speaks to living things. He does not use this phrase for non-living things. Buried deep in this phrase is a description of what every thing is and what it is not.

God tells us the plants He created had seeds. Seed means both fruit and to plant, as in to put in the ground to grow. So, the plants and trees are given by God the means to reproduce and propagate. God put within the plants and trees the natural ability to make more plants and trees after their own kind.

He does not say one type of plant, herb or tree propagate a different plant, herb or tree. Each plant and tree reproduces “according to its kind.” God implanted in the cells of every plant the DNA, the program, which determines what the plant is. Every plant species has a genetic makeup. Wheat cannot make apples. Apple trees do not grow cherries.

Buried deep in the cellular structure of every living thing is that which makes it what it is and not something else. This is a hard yet important distinction. By making each species individual from other species God has effectively separated the species, one from another. This separation does not make one species more valuable than another. This separation does make each species unique in creation.