Tag Archives: Universe

“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.)

 

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Darkness

Studies in Genesis 1

The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. (Gen. 1:2 ESV)

Not only was earth a chunk of uninhabitable rock there was “darkness over the face of the deep.” Darkness is absence of light. As part of the physical environment of the rock darkness lends further description to the state of the non-planet. We can’t even call the rock a planet yet. For darkness implies there is no sun about which the rock revolves which would shape it into a planet.

Life cannot exist in the total absence of light.  Nor, could life exist without an atmosphere to sustain the food, which is also life, needed for life. When God created the heavens and the earth there was no life in the universe.

But what does God mean by “over the face of the deep?”  Is He describing the universe or an abyss found within the rock filled with unknown stuff? We do not know because no one was there but God. We must rely upon His description for our understanding.

Being careful of our imaginations I would suggest that not only was the earth incapable of sustaining life but was actively hostile toward any natural life. Were there even a possibility of life such life would be extinguished by the turbulence and aggressively inhospitable environment.

God took a mass of metals and chemicals surrounded by darkness and filled with everything detrimental to life and formed it into something which will not only sustain life but the unimaginable variety of intricate life He will create.

A Blank Canvas

Studies in Genesis 1

The earth was without form and void. (Gen. 1:2)

When God created earth it was a rock, a hard place in the heavens. God describes the earth for us. He calls it “without form and void.”  Something which is “without form” is a desolate waste land, a desert where nothing lives or can live. It is a worthless thing. It has no purpose and no value. It just is. Earth was one of the known only to God chunks of rock hurtling through the universe.

Not only is the earth a wasteland it is “void.” There is nothing but rock. There are no active chemicals. There is no atmosphere. There may be metals like nickel or iron, gold and silver. Everything on the rock is inert. It is a dead piece of rock.

But isn’t this a description of most of the matter in the universe. When we look at our moon do we not see a ball of rock which does not and cannot sustain life. NASA has recently discovered the Moon does have an atmosphere and a small amount of water. But, the necessary requirements for life are not found on the moon. So the earth, when it was first created, was nothing but dead matter.

Without stretching an analogy, God created a blank canvas upon which He would paint an intricate and complex image. Before God created the earth He decided that it would support life. However, without His direct and purposeful intervention life on the earth would never have developed.

God Knows

Studies in Genesis 1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. [Genesis 1:1 ESV]

God has a plan and a purpose for everything He creates.

He, the Eternal Designer, finishes what He begins. He exists before creation and when creation ceases to exist He will continue.

When He created the heavens He also created the Earth, suspended in the heavens and revolving around the sun. All which exists has a nature determined by Him while moving in a universe governed by specific natural laws as set in place by Him. These statements are assumed true just as the existence of God is assumed true by the first sentence in Genesis.

We do not know if the Earth is unique of all the planets in the universe. We can say God focuses His attention upon the Earth. Genesis chapter one suggests God designed the Earth specifically for people. Of all He created on the Earth people are unique. When the time comes we will examine the image of God in Man.

Since God exists outside of space and time and sees the beginning from the end, He is fully aware of Man’s spiritual condition. He sees and intimately knows the thinking of the heart of every person. When He created the universe He knew He would create the Earth, knew He would create people to live on the Earth, knew people would rebel against Him. He knew He would send His Son as the only means of reconciliation between Himself and those He created who rebelled.

We must keep this in mind as we continue the study of Genesis 1.

Size Matters

Studies in Genesis 1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. [Genesis 1:1 ESV]

Look into the night sky, on a clear night and far removed from the ambient light of civilization, and you will see thousands of stars, maybe a few of the near planets and possibly the Andromeda galaxy. You may even see the Milky Way, the galaxy in which the Earth is placed.

It does not take much imagination to realize how small the Earth is in relation to the rest of the universe. Yet, I think few contemplate the size of our planet or the size of themselves on our planet. People are unique, built with an awareness of self which tends toward self-absorption, which places self at the center, unaware of anyone who does not exist within a small circle of influence.

When God created the universe He deliberately placed the Earth in its precise location. Relative to the rest of the universe the Earth is smaller than a speck of dust. Stars have been seen which are so large they would hold an estimated 70 quadrillion planets the size of the Earth.

There are 15 zeros behind the 70 (70,000,000,000,000,000).

Considering the size of the universe and the fact of life on Earth many speculate there are other planets in other solar systems, inconceivably far away, which support life. This is pure speculation. An imaginative science fiction grows from this speculation.

We know about the Earth. Life on Earth is not speculation but a reality. God designed and created the Earth for human life.

By Design

Studies in Genesis 1

In the beginning, God created the universe. [Genesis 1:1 ESV]

God built and designed the universe. Before, there was nothing. Then there was something. He created ex nihilo, out of nothing. Then, from matter and energy God brought into existence He designed and fashioned all there is in the universe. He built the elements, made stars and solar systems and galaxies and set everything in motion.

Each galaxy is made of billions of stars with the greatest concentration toward the center. This massive concentration of stars has a gravitational pull which keeps them within the confines of the galaxy which moves and spins at a constant rate of speed.

Every star is unique and may be smaller than our sun or so large our solar system would fit within its diameter. Every star has a different color, level of energy, mass and temperature. Every star has gravity pulling near objects toward its self. Orbiting objects maintain a steady speed and distance from its star because of the exact pull of gravity.

There are uncounted galaxies filled with uncounted stars. We may make educated guesses about the number of galaxies and stars within each, but cannot know. Yet, God knows the exact number of galaxies and stars because He created them and placed them in the universe by design. No star is birthed or dies without His knowledge and direction. Every galaxy, star, solar system, planet, object with their mass and speed and unique characteristics are there because of the design of God.

Timeless

Studies in Genesis1

In the beginning, God created the heavens. [Genesis 1:1 ESV]

Scientists, astronomers and others have dated the age of the universe as close to fourteen billion. In 2013 a group of astronomers saw a blur of light and through a series of tests determined it was the oldest galaxy yet discovered. 13.1 billion years old. Astronomers have suggested this galaxy came into existence a mere 670 million years after the Big-bang.

Throughout the history of the Church many Christians believed the universe was, at most, somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,000 years old. There is an ongoing disagreement over the age of the universe between old and young Earthers. This debate is a subterfuge meant to direct attention away from the God who created everything to speculations about when God created the universe. We are confronted with mysteries known only to God and cannot force Him to share these mysteries.

How old is God? He is timeless. We do not get to use words which signify time to describe God. When these words are used they misrepresent who He is. He is not constrained by time just as He is not constrained by space, or matter or energy or any other being.

He is infinitely larger than our universe. I imagine God holding the universe in His hand. Since He exists outside of the universe then the boundary of time has no effect upon Him. We must be careful to never think of Him as if He were created and constrained.