Tag Archives: Day

Life and Death

Studies in Genesis 2

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17 ESV)

God uses the word “die” twice in this verse. Many have translated the verse “you shall surely die.” But God actually says “die die.” What does He mean?

“Die” means to have someone killed or executed, to intentionally take the life of another. But, it also means to simply die, or to cease living, because of natural causes. The former is a deliberate act of one person against another while the latter is a natural consequence of mortality. Thus, the phrase probably means that first is physical death followed by execution by God for rebellion. How can anyone die more than once?

From the study of the word “day” in Genesis 1 I have drawn the conclusion a “day” is not a 24 hour period of time. A “day” is a period of time determined by God with a specific beginning and ending time. God accomplishes specific acts of creation on each of the first six days. I also believe God, who exists outside of time, created life mortal, with a beginning and an ending. Birth is the beginning and death is the ending of physical life. He set in motion life according to specific and well defined laws. He is intentionally involved in creation and all created things exist according to His determination. He knows the beginnings and endings of every created thing.

Because the beginning of time suggests an end of time, so the beginning of life, physical life, suggests there is death, or an end of life. Plants, fish, birds and all land animals live, reproduce and die. There is no indication in Genesis 1 that either flora or fauna were created to live without dying.

There are two immediate implications to this line of thinking. First, Adam would know about death. Dying would not be foreign or unexpected but something he had seen firsthand. Death would not have startled him. Secondly, Adam knew he would eventually physically die. His body would live as long as God determined and then he would cease to physically live. He was not afraid of death because he knew death was not final but the beginning of a different life. How did he know this?

Of the uncounted trees in the Garden there were two trees named by God. Adam had permission to eat from every tree but one. Adam had the freedom to eat from the tree of life at any time. Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was prohibited. Disobedience to the single prohibition would bring, not physical death, because he will already die physically, but a different kind of death, an execution where God deliberately caused his further death.

There is a second death.



God, The Ultimate Authority

Studies in Genesis 2

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. (Genesis 2:4 ESV)

From Genesis 2:4 though the end of Scripture God tells the history of Man created in His image.

When God speaks of the “generations” of His creation He is not talking about seasons and years and specific times and rhythms of nature. He established these rhythms on the fourth day of creation when He set the sun, moon and stars in the heavens. He is talking about the successive “generations” of people, who live and breathe and reproduce and then die. “Generations” means descent, family, or family history and genealogy, is a noun and plural and feminine and is used 39 times in the Hebrew Scripture to give an historical account of a family’s history. Genesis 2:4 is the first time the word is used (see also Genesis 5:1 and 6:9). “Generation” is a name for a group and the related successive groups in their entirety. As a feminine noun, it denotes a successive line of people born through the natural reproductive cycle.

God uses the phrase “heavens and earth” and then reverses it to the “earth and the heavens” to denote, not the totality of creation but the created space-time reality of those people that live, breathe, reproduce and die. God’s heavens and earth, as non-living, material stuff, exists from a beginning, brought into existence by Him, until an ending, through an expanse of time beyond comprehension. The material of the heavens and earth does not live, breathe or reproduce, and as such, cannot die. Heaven and earth will cease to exist, but that which does not live cannot die.

“Created” is the same word used throughout Genesis 1. God spoke and brought into existence all material stuff, ex nihilo, out of nothing. He then took that stuff and began forming, or creating, all which now exists, including that which has life and that which is not alive. God also uses the same word for “day” here that He uses throughout Genesis 1-2:3. Here the word “day” cannot mean a literal 24 hours, for He includes all He created on days three through six in this one day.

Finally, God gives Himself a more complete name. He is “LORD God.” LORD is the Hebrew word YHVH. The Hebrew language does did not have vowels. Scholars have added the vowels to the word, using the vowels from adonai, and transliterated it “Jehovah,” a word so ingrained in the modern Western evangelical mind people believe that is how it has always been written and pronounced. Yet, Hebrew writers considered God, and His name, so holy, they would not pronounce it, but would instead say adonai or “LORD.”

Yehova eloheem means God, the self-existent One. He is responsible for all of creation, having brought all into existent through divine fiat, for His purpose, according to His will, with His design and function. He names Himself. Eternity does not have a dimension as we could know or comprehend. Nor can those who are finite know or comprehend God, the Eternal. We can know what He reveals to us about Himself because we are in His image. From the beginning of the history of Man, to its end and into eternity, God reveals Himself to those who are His as the ultimate and only authority.

Light Overcomes Darkness

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 1:14-19 ESV)

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7 ESV)

Where there is darkness God gives light. There is a spiritual element to light and darkness as well as a physical element. God does nothing arbitrarily but thoughtfully, with ramifications which cross physical boundaries into the spiritual, eternal realms. Man, whom He created for eternity, is embedded with the eternal light of God. But darkness corrupted Man. Darkness cannot corrupt light.

Where there is darkness He brings light. On the fourth day of creation God filled the heavens with lights. He made the Sun to “rule the day” and the Moon and stars to “rule the night.” He separated day from night but did not allow complete darkness to rule the night. Night was dark but there was always some light. At times the light reflected by the Moon would be strong or dim. When the Moon was hidden by the earth there were the stars. Until God rolls up the heavens, bringing an end to the universe, stars will shine. Only when eyes are hidden from the light will there be no light to see.

A brief look at history will show God working according to the principle of light and darkness, and of separation. God separated out a people from the rest of the population, not because they were special but because through them would come His Son. Yet, He gave these people His laws, both civil and criminal, and rules for living. He made them different than from the rest of the people of the world. Giving them His law made them a light to the world. His law was the light and the people were the instrument used to shine the light. No matter how hard they tried to suppress God’s light, to exclude any not “chosen” according to their traditions, God used His light in them to bring many people to Himself.

Through the nation of Israel came His Son, God’s absolute light to a world enveloped in darkness. God’s chosen are not the nation through which Christ came but those who are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, chosen by God. Jesus is not simply a vessel or instrument of light but the actual, spiritual light to physical people corrupted by sin, filled with darkness. His righteous light overcomes the spiritual darkness of sin.

Finally, God set His Church in the world, scattered throughout as many points of light. Each person filled with the Spirit of God is not only the vessel but a source of light.

God separated people from Himself because of the darkness of sin. Yet, His purpose since the fall is to draw people toward Himself. He came and dwelt with the nation of Israel, shining His light through them to a world enveloped in darkness. He sent His Son, completely God and completely Man as God originally intended in Adam, as the absolute source of light, both physical and spiritual. When Jesus ascended, God sent His Spirit indwelling those who are His while they continued living in a world covered in darkness. Throughout history God has provided light, even a dim light, to a world darkened by sin. Until the end of time, which will come, God shines light in darkness. Ultimate separation from God is absolute darkness while absolute inclusion with God in eternity is refulgent light.

Day Separated From Night

Studies in Genesis 1

God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Genesis 1:5 ESV)

Day and Night. Why do these two words cause so much questioning and so many arguments among Christians? Especially when it comes to the timing of God’s creation during the first six days? God created darkness and called the darkness Night. God formed light, said “let there be light” and called the light Day. From the context of Genesis chapter 1 Day is a period of time of light. Night is a period of time of darkness. Since God is not constrained by time, existing outside of the space-time universe, the period of time is determined by Him, not by us.

Day and Night are used in literal and figurative senses. Day can mean a literal 24 hour period but Night never means 24 hours. Day can mean the time from sunrise to sunset and Night the time from sunset to sunrise, splitting the total 24 hours into segments. Day can also mean a period of time of a particular occurrence, such as “the Day of the Lord” (see Isaiah 13:6, 9; Amos 5:18, 20; Acts 2:20; 1 Corinthians 5:5) or an indefinite time of prosperity or trouble.

Day also has figurative meanings. A Day’s work is a period of time of labor. Yet, “work while it is day” (John 9:4 ESV) suggests labor during a period of time of enlightenment. Genesis 2:4 is the beginning verse of the second description of Creation. “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens” (Genesis 2:4 ESV). God calls the time He spent creating “in the day that the LORD God made” the whole time of creation. So, Day can be from human perspective a set time or an indefinite time. Since God has determined all things He knows exactly how long each Day, or period of time, lasts. We do not necessarily know.

Night is a period of time of darkness, either literally or figuratively.  Darkness is not just an absence of physical light but also and absence of knowledge and understanding which brings despair and chaos. Night is also the end of the opportunity to work or to gain knowledge, understanding and insight. Night is a time of sin, where the works of darkness reign and where a person will spiritually stumble.

Night is for those who rebel against God while Day describes a time when those who obey and follow Him receive His promises.

They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (see Psalms 90:2-4). The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:4-10 ESV)



Studies in Genesis 1

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31 ESV)

We, in the Western world, think of evening as the end of the day and morning as the beginning. Yet, the Hebrew nation considered a day beginning at evening and ending the next evening. Passover, the Sabbath, special days, every day begins at dusk, or evening and concludes at the same time the following evening. Our question is not what meaning we place on the words “evening and morning” but how God uses the words during creation.

God uses this phrase six times in the first chapter of Genesis, almost as an exclamation for each successive day. Let us note He does not use the phrase in Genesis 2 for the end of the seventh day, the day of rest. He does not use this phrase anywhere else in Scripture with one possible exception. “The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now” (Daniel 8:26 ESV). This is a description of Daniel’s first vision of prophecy after his dreams and life illustrate his intimacy with God to an ungodly people.  This phrase speaks to what comes after Daniel in time. God worked in the past in creation, knowing the future because He knows all things.

What does God mean when He states six times “and there was evening and there was morning”? Perhaps, because He begins creation in chaos and darkness and ends the first day with the creation of light, He begins His “day” at dusk and ends His “day” with light. We know the word “evening” means dusk, or twilight, which implies some light before dark, which He calls “Night.”  We know “morning” is the beginning of a time of light, which He calls “Day.”  So we can state with some assurance that His “day,” evening and morning, are a period of time separating darkness and light.

During each “day” God creates specific things, building each new thing upon that which He previously created. During each period of time He calls a “day” He separates. Darkness from light. Water from water. Dry land from the seas. Day from night. Creatures of the seas from creatures of the air. Man from animals.

Evening is the end of a time of light while morning is the beginning of another time of light. In between evening and morning is a time of darkness called “night.”  Each of the periods of time God calls “day” ends with a period of time God calls “night” separating darkness from light and one period of time of creation from another.

Beginning and Ending

Studies in Genesis 1

And God saw that it was good.

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, the fifth day. (Genesis 1:21-23 ESV)

If we accept the archeological evidence on its face, without adding any theory as to how animal life came into existence, then we can draw several inferences. First, a massive number of species of marine animals came into existence over a relatively short period of time almost 500 million years ago. Somewhere between 150 and 200 million years ago birds came on the scene. These times are assumed because no one was there and there is no physical evidence of shorter timeframe. Everything looks old.

Whatever the dating used the circumstantial evidence suggests a long period of time between the first marine animals and birds. How much difference for us is there between hundreds of millions of years and simply millions of years, or even shorter thousands of years?

Next, these animals reproduced, lived and died. Their lifespan was not long but short. While some trees live for thousands of years most plants live only a single or a few seasons. So, too, the animal life which filled the Earth lived for a relatively short time, during which time they reproduced and then died.

Next, the circumstantial evidence suggests some of the animals ate other animals. God did say He gave the plants and fruits for food. This does not preclude some animals eating plants and other animals. Whales open their mouths and scoop anything in the way.

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:29-30 ESV)

Finally, the evidence tells us not all species of animals which originally appeared so long ago are still in existences.  Many species have become extinct.

Most people hold a theology which demands death not happen until after the sinful disobedience and fall of Adam. Yet, there is Scriptural evidence and physical evidence death was known by God and accounted for in creation. From the beginning there was “darkness” before God instituted “day” and “night.” Both “darkness” and “night” suggest physical death and dying and the possibility of spiritual “death” and “dying.” It would appear physical “death,” a beginning and end, is a natural part of creation. God exists outside of space time creation, began creation at His discretion and will end creation by His authority.



Studies in Genesis 1

And God made the two great lights — the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night — and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:16-18 ESV)

Our universe, the universe which God created and in which we exist and live, is filled with real, physical places. Though no one will ever see these places they exist and move according to the universal laws of nature dictated by God. His laws are not different, nor work differently, from one place in the universe to another. They are the same throughout.

Heaven is just as real as the universe. It is a place not defined by physical laws but by spiritual laws. As with the physical universe God determines and dictates the spiritual laws of eternity. Just as the physical universe shows the evidence of God’s handiwork so the physical laws shows the evidence of the spiritual laws of eternity. Yet, we cannot test and prove the spiritual laws of eternity as we can the physical laws. We must rely upon God’s special revelation for our information about eternity. He does not answer the thousands of questions we have.

Eternity is outside of time and has no physical boundaries. There are no days in eternity. Light in eternity comes from God. Yet, there is darkness. There is in eternity a real place filled with darkness. Hell is a real place governed by the spiritual laws of God which govern eternity.

Even in eternity God separates light from darkness. We are told in Scripture, that God judges those who rebel against Him, those who are “cursed”, which means tried, convicted and sentenced for crimes against God. Their sentence is eternal separation from Him. Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Mat 25:41 ESV).

It is the fourth day. God has created life. Yet, there is a hint of death in creation, found in the separation of light from darkness. His purpose transcends the physical and fills the eternal.