I am super excited to share with you this study in Genesis. As we walk through the book, I hope you will really begin to appreciate and adore the planning that God put into this universe and how we were ultimately created to worship and love Him.
As a means of context I want to help you understand a little bit better why I think the study of Genesis is so important. It’s a bit like that one friend who sat down to watch the Marvel Avengers End Game movie with you. But as the movie unfolds, your friend begins to ask a bunch of questions about the various characters, plot lines, and events. All of which are plain enough to you, the veteran Marvel fan steeped in lore, but to your friend (who has now admitted that they have not watched any of the Marvel films) it is not very clear what is going on. They may get the gist of what is happening, and they appreciate the acting and the great job the artists did of rendering a believable scene. Yet your friend doesn’t understand the ending because they do not fully understand the beginning. And so it is with many Christians. They know the story of Jesus, and have placed their faith in Him as their savior. But they still do not understand many things from the beginning, and that means they lack complete understanding.
So if you are ready, and I think that you are, lets dive in to Genesis. Starting in Chapter 1. By the way, I am a fan of the Modern English Version (MEV), but I will utilize different versions throughout because many versions will give us a better overall feel for the text. If not noted, it is MEV. Let’s go!
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 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. So the evening and the morning were the first day. Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the expanse and separated the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse. And it was so. God called the expanse Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day. Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. Then God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth produce vegetation: plants yielding seed and fruit trees on the earth yielding fruit after their kind with seed in them.” And it was so. The earth produced vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind and trees yielding fruit with seed in them after their kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day. And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs to indicate seasons, and days, and years. Let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. Then 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 divide the light from the darkness. Then God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures and let the birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters swarmed, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. So God made the beasts of the earth according to their kind, and the livestock according to their kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is on the face of all the earth and every tree which has fruit yielding seed. It shall be food for you. To every beast of the earth and to every bird of the air and to everything that creeps on the earth which has the breath of life in it, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
We have basically all heard or even read this passage, or bits and pieces of it, since we were children. Even those of us who did not grow up in the church, there was usually someone or even a TV show that gave us the basic idea of this chapter. However, there is a lot more in here for us to cover, and make more sense out of, than meets the eye.
“In the beginning, God…” The first few words tell us a lot. God was there before time, before anything in the universe existed. In fact, God does not exist, but rather subsists…being able to be without help from anyone, or anything. We also derive that at the moment God decides to start creating He undoubtedly starts a timer, one which is still ticking, but the last book of our Bible, Revelation, tells us that one day the timer will run out and this universe will end. In verse 1 we see God creating all that there is in our universe. He exploded onto nothingness, everythingness. I know that is not a word, but imagine it. This is the actual “Big Bang”. It was God creating absolutely every atom, quantum particle and energy with His very words in an instant. Based on what we know do God from the rest of our Bible, we know that He is a God of order and of life. Furthermore, when we see “God” in the Bible it is usually an interpretation of the various words used by the Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek writers to express different attributes and characteristics of God. In this instance the word “El” is usually used to denote a god, ruler or judge, its is like saying sir to the police officer. However, the “El” most often used in the Old Testament is actually the masculine plural, “Elohim”. This tells us that there is more than one person who is God, but that they are God. So right here in the first verse of the Bible we see hints at what theologians have ascribed as the mystery of the Trinity.
When we read verse 2 we see that the Earth is in disorder/chaos and void of life. The Hebrew words for this are “tohuwabohuw”. Quite fun to say, actually. But they point to a place of desolation and destruction. Based on what we know about the character of God from the rest of the Bible, does tohuwabohuw truly define our God? I say no. In fact, I would venture to guess it defines that which is not God, but opposed to God. While I do not claim to know exactly what is meant here, my research is leading me to a place known as the “Gap Theory”. Now, before I lose you here, I have my own perspective on this that is not in line with mainstream Gappers. Let me explain. When I read about the creativity, the order, the planning, the predestination, the allowing of free will, and the desire to see His creation return to Himself, I see what the Bible uncovers as our God. I do not see God being sloppy, destructive or lazy. As a side note God will bring judgement on people or places as shown in the Bible, but He does not provide wanton, unwarranted destruction. You know who does? Lucifer, also known as Satan. We read in numerous places that Lucifer was the lead angel, created to lead worship, manage creation and be the light bearer for the universe. His name means one that carries the light. Unfortunately, Lucifer chose to rebel from God and was therefore ejected from Heaven, where on his way out he swiped one third of the other angels along on his delusional ride out of God’s graces. From what I read and witness in my astronomy studies, there seems to be a connection to Lucifer’s fall and the state of the Earth (the universe in fact) as tohuwabohuw. We do not see God creating Lucifer in this creation account. But we know that in Chapter 3, Satan was already present in Creation and was seeking diligently to derail the communion between God and the Humans.
Let’s think about this for a moment. If the “general manager” of the universe was ripped away from his position and things began to spin out of control, what would be the end result? The Bible points to the various planets as the playground of the angels. And in fact if you look at closeup images of various planets you can see the unmistakable sins of water erosion where now there is no water. What happened?
What I believe happened was that Lucifer not manning his post as manager of the universe allowed the universe to come into tohuwabohuw. Furthermore, this chaos resulted in the loss of life on Earth and maybe even the water from the other planets.
Check out the image above, notice that there are no planets that spin on the exact same axis degree. Furthermore, notice that Uranus spins sideways, and Neptune spins backwards! These may all be signs that point back to Satan’s hands being ripped off the steering wheel and the universe suffering from multiple wrecks. What I am trying to get at is that there appears to be trauma in our universe which does not appear to line up with God who is of order and of life. What we do know of God, however, is that He is a great redeemer and reviver of Life. In the end of verse 2 we see the presence of the Holy Spirit, hovering over the chaotic waters, just waiting to go into action with the command of God to regenerate, revive, redeem and recover what was lost. That is what I see our God does when I read the rest of the Bible, and that is what I believe I am reading here in these verses. God is out to clean up the mess made by Lucifer, and in doing so He decides to create a new type of being made in His own image. And this does not sit well with Lucifer, who was supposed to be the carrier of the light, but now God has chosen to create humans with the very image of God.
God starts the clean up process by removing the darkness with His very own Shekinah Glory. Revelation 21 tells us “The city has no need of sun or moon to shine in it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” Revelation 21:23 He shines in the darkness and the darkness has no recourse but to retreat. Then he created Night and Day, creating the natural course of ebb and flow, awake and asleep.
Then God separates the waters, which are already apparently on the Earth, into a water vapor canopy (also referred to as the firmament which is to say a thick cloud cover surrounding the Earth) and into the water inside of and on the Earth. I make this distinction because we will discuss it later in Chapter 6.
Then God gathered the water on the surface into one large ocean while collecting all the land into one mass…also known as Pangea by most scientists.
Next God commanded that the plants on the Earth bring forth their produce. In my opinion, I am reading this and it is saying that there were already plants on the Earth but that they had gone into tohuwabohuw as a result of Satan’s fall. And what I am seeing is a call from God for these plants to begin being fruitful once again, a revival of His creation…yet again more in line with what I am seeing throughout the Bible of God’s character.
We already know that God’s Shekinah Glory was lighting things up, but here we see Him declare that the stars and planets are going to be for our use for times, seasons and for signs. He also created the Sun and the Moon.
Next we see God creating the sea life, birds of the air, and commanded them to multiply and fill the Earth.
Then God made all the land based creatures, bugs, reptiles, amphibians, marsupials, mammals. Now all of the animals and plants on Earth are present…except for one.
More coming soon!