Tag Archives: Universe

God is Self-Existent and Immense

“According to the foreknowledge of God the Father” (1 Peter 1:2 ESV).

God has no beginning or ending. God is not dependent upon any force outside of Himself for His existence, which is unconstrained by either the physical universe or time. God exists outside of both. We learn this from the first verse in Scripture. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1 ESV). When He spoke to Moses, commanding him to lead His people out of Egypt, God gave His name as I AM. “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: “I AM has sent me to you”’” (Exodus 3:14 ESV). I AMmeans to be, to exist without cause, to remain (eternally) and continue (without beginning or end). Jesus uses the same phrase to describe Himself, which exacerbates the hatred of the religious leaders toward Him. “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’ So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple”(John 8:58-59 ESV). John has already told the world who Jesus is.

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)

How big is the universe? No one knows. Scientists have tried to measure the observable universe but they can only provide educated guesses. Currently, Scientists suggest the distance from earth to the edge of what they have observed is over 46 billion light years, making the diameter closer to 96 billion light years, if Earth is the center. This is only an estimated measurement of what they can see and cannot include what they cannot see. The universe is huge, unimaginably large.

God tells us that He is larger than the universe. He declares that He fills heaven and earth. “Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:23-24 ESV). Not only does He fill the universe, He surrounds it. “You have set your glory above the heavens” (Psalm 8:1 ESV). Solomon recognized how puny he was and how small was the temple built for Him. God does not live in a physical place. “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27 ESV). Just before Stephen was stoned for his witness for Jesus, he spoke about Solomon’s words and the temple built for God.

But it was Solomon who built a house for him. Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?’” (Acts 7:47-50 ESV; see Isaiah 66:1-2)

Jesus gives the same analogy in the Sermon on the Mount. “But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King”  (Matthew 5:34-35 ESV). God doesn’t just sit in the heavens and place His feet on the earth. This analogy is an anthropomorphic illustration used to help those created in the image of God and corrupted by sin to understand God’s immensity and power.People tend to think about God as if He were one of them, having the same size and limitations. We are limited by space and time therefore, God must also be limited by space and time. We occupy a physical place in the universe, therefore, God must also occupy a physical place in the universe. Theology tells us that God is immense, which means He is unlimited by the physical universe and cannot be contained within its boundaries. He is eternal. As the Creator of the heavens and the earth He must be larger than that which He made.

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River Eden

Studies in Genesis 2

A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. (Genesis 2:10 ESV)

Eden was watered by an unnamed stream. From this stream came four named rivers. God determined the names of the rivers and tells us but He does not give us a name for the stream which watered Eden. We do not know the exact location of the Garden of Eden nor of the rivers God mentions.

God, created the universe and the Earth to operate within specific laws, obviously placed the Garden of Eden high in altitude. The stream He used to water the Garden was the headwaters for four rivers. We cannot know for certain but the stream probably began as a spring or series of springs gushing out of the side of a mountain, growing as other streams merged with it finally breaking off into four directions. With this stream God watered the entire Garden.

“Watered” means to drink or irrigate. Every living creature, whether flora or fauna, needs water to survive and flourish. On the second and third day of creation God made an atmosphere for the planet then collected the waters on the face of the earth in low areas making oceans and seas. Yet, He also made rivers and streams to water the ground, for the next day He would create all the plants, herbs and trees. He surrounded the earth with an atmosphere and covered the earth with vegetation. While He could have easily sustained life through His will, He instead created an environment to sustain life. Most probably, the whole earth was well watered and filled with vegetable life. And the water was pure.

While God planted a Garden, a paradise named Eden, in the East, we can surmise He desired the entire planet would be a paradise. Relative to the small stature of Man, the Earth is huge, and God did not just dump Man somewhere but gave him a home. His home was filled with every kind of tree that was pleasing to the sight and good for food. He had pure water to drink, delicious food, and a comfortable and beautiful home. People were blessed to fill the earth and subdue it.

Eden had physical boundaries though probably not surveyed and marked with signs that said “leaving the Garden of Eden.” Perhaps the boundaries were physical mountains surrounding a large valley with an opening through which the river flowed. We do not know and we should not allow our imaginations to dictate an unverifiable perception of reality. However, Eden was a true place with a true geography, filled with real trees and plants. An actual river flowed from Eden. God placed a real, historical Man in that Garden. Though we cannot state emphatically what Eden looked like we can use our imaginations to help us understand. Trying to imagine eternity and heaven is futile. Imagining the Garden of Eden is not because we can go to places and see and experience what may have been. Eternity is an unimaginable paradise.

As the river of Eden flowed out of the Garden it split into four rivers. God does not concentrate on Eden to the exclusion of the rest of the Earth. As the plants and animals, and especially people, reproduce, multiple and fill the Earth God readies the earth for His complete blessing.

Principle of Separation

Studies in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. (Genesis 1:6-8 ESV)

From the beginning of creation through its end God established a principle of separation.

God separated that which is below from that which is above. He made a “firmament” which may better be translated “expanse” but which means much more than expanse.  It can mean a solid surface, a flat base or support, or the space above a solid, firm surface. On the earth it is the solid surface which supports the waters, the oceans, lakes and rivers.

God calls the expanse above the earth “Heaven” which could be simply the atmosphere which surrounds the earth and holds the gaseous waters for rain. Beyond the atmosphere the Sun, Moon and stars are placed. So, the firmament is the expanse above the earth which includes the atmosphere and everything else surrounding the earth in the universe.

God uses the word “water” five times in these two verses. “Water” does not mean the chemical compound H2O as we know water. Here, water means a liquid “juice” such as urine. It is a waste, a dangerous mixture some have called a “primordial soup.” God separated that which is good, wholesome and healthy, that which is needed to sustain life, from that which is dangerous and adverse to any and all life. Without knowing exactly how He does this it would seem He begins to strain the hazardous liquid through the atmosphere to separate that which is good for life from that which is deleterious to life.

God separates out the earth, a place which He will fill with life, from the rest of the universe. He names the atmosphere and everything beyond it just as He named the period of time of light and darkness. God separates out the chemicals needed to sustain life from those which are adverse and kill life. God separates the solid earth, a small speck of dust in a beyond imaginably vast universe, from the universe. God separates.

This principle of separation He uses from the beginning of creation through its end. He separates that which is not life or harmful to life from that which is life and sustains life.

 

Alive

Studies  in Genesis 1

And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. 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. (Gen 1:20-23 ESV)

When God created the heavens and the earth, the universe in which we exist, He knew both the beginning and the ending of time. He exists outside of time and space looking down upon that which He created from a vantage point, seeing everything that is, was and will be. That which begins will also end. Nothing in the physical realm was designed to last for eternity.

Yet, we know from the words of Christ and the plain teaching of Scripture, that God created Man for Himself, for “everlasting life.” Physical bodies are exchanged for spiritual bodies which are just as real as the physical. Time, which begins and ends, is surrounded by eternity, which has neither beginning nor ending.

God tells us in Genesis 1 the creatures He created were “living” in Genesis 1:20. This word in English is a combination of two words in Hebrew. First, a word for “breathing” or “vitality” combined with a word for “alive” “fresh” and “strong.” Every animal which is alive breathes and moves. Plants take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide and grow but do not move. Both are alive. One the third day God created life which does not move. On the fifth day God created life which moves. All of this life He placed on a planet, in a solar system, in a galaxy, in a universe which is not alive, does not breathe, yet moves. God created that which is not alive and that which is alive.

When God created plant life on the third day He did so as food for the animal life He creates on the fifth (and sixth) day. Plants are food for animals. Are some animals food for other animals? This is true now, at this place in time. But were these animals, the fish and birds created on the fifth day, created as food for the animals He will create on the sixth day? Was that which had life created and given life to eventually die?

For Man physical death does not mean spiritual death. I have been saying for years that Man, each individual person, was not created to cease to exist but to exist in eternity, outside of space and time. Is this also true for all life created by God? We have circumstantial evidence only.

Equilibrium

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)

God created stars and planets. I am stating the obvious but we tend to ignore the reality and immensity of these objects. They are real places. They are far away. Yet, they must be there to maintain the balance of the universe.

Within close proximity to the Earth, which by the fourth day is covered in vegetation, God placed a “greater light” the Sun, “to rule the day” and a “lesser light,” the Moon, “to rule the night.” God placed the greater light in the center of the solar system with all of the planets revolving around it. He placed the lesser light an orbit near Earth.

Earth revolves once every 24 hours on its axis around the Sun. As the Earth revolves part of the planet is facing the Sun receiving its light while the other part is facing away from the Sun. This does not mean the part facing away is in total darkness. God placed the Moon, which revolves around the Earth once every 28 days, to reflect the light of the Sun. He also placed in the heavens the stars which also give light to that part of the Earth facing away from the Sun.

While the Sun emits light the Moon only reflects the light which bounces off its surface from the Sun. The Moon is a dead chunk of matter. Yet God placed it in the heavens to reflect light from the Sun onto the Earth, along with the stars, so there would not be complete darkness. He created day and night, just as He created darkness and light.

Our solar system is in equilibrium, everything placed exactly where it will provide the most stability to Earth to maintain life.

Equilibrium is a law of nature. God determined, from the creation of all matter, that His universe would balance. God made the universe stable. Even though everything in the universe is constantly moving the movement is within a system and along a path determined by God. The forces which cause movement are countered by the forces moving against the object.

Nothing God does is random or arbitrary. Everything He creates has purpose and is governed by God, the Creator.

Time

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) 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)

God created time when He created the universe. Time is not a thing. It has no material substance, no form and no shape. You cannot touch time. Yet, time is as real as anything we can touch. Our imaginations suggest time can bend or, in some way, be manipulated. These notions are theories, philosophical science fictions, considered possible, because we think anything we conceive is possible.

God placed lights in the heavens for us, to help us measure time. He tells us twice that on the fourth day He placed lights in the sky so we can know the seasons, days and years. These lights give light to the earth. They also separate darkness from light.

We often associate light with speed and think, in some cases believe, moving fast will allow us to move back in time, or forward in time faster.

God governs time, just as He governs all of creation. He has set time as a boundary, a natural law which cannot be broken. This does not mean we should not study to understand time or experiment with time to grow our understanding. It does mean we should take care to never remove God from the equation of our studies and experiments.

Since God transcends the universe He exists outside of time. When He looks at us He perceives all of time at once, knows all which occurs in time perfectly, sees the beginning and the ending of time. Existing outside of time does not mean He is uninvolved. God created and sustains the universe and all which exists for as long as He has determined it will exist.

God governs all which exists, including time.

Day One Summary

Studies in Genesis 1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 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. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5 ESV)

God created the universe as a closed system, and all of the material found in the universe ex nihilo, out of nothing. As a closed system nothing can be added nor taken from the universe. He established the Laws of the universe determining all creation adhere to those Laws. God exists outside of the universe and all He created.

His Spirit moved throughout the created universe, through the darkness, over the waste. He is active and mindful of all His creation. He has absolute control.

God then took the material He created and shaped and formed it into other things.

God spoke. When God speaks He assigns purpose and direction. Out of the existing material of the universe He made “light” which is energized matter moving at a high speed. God approved of light.

God separated light from darkness, beginning the process of building a place where life can exist and grow. God separates that which He deems “good” as measured according to His eternal standards from that which just is. Yet, He takes that which just is and shapes it according to His will. His first act of separating is light from darkness.

He called the light “Day.” Day means a period of time of light. With light comes life.

He called the darkness “Night.” Night means a period of time of darkness. With darkness is waste and desolation.

Everything God creates is perfect, fitting His design and specifications.