The Creation account
Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening. 24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
All 3 persons of the trinity are involved in this miracle. The Godhead is omnipresent. Although the scriptures here do not mention Christ or the Holy Spirit, it is theologically sound to understand this concept as true.
Since God created time, here is where the timer started. The scriptures show that this is the beginning of all things. In this creating, there is the heaven and the Earth initially.
There is nothing. Then there is something. God makes something out of nothing. Something denotes substance and material. God is spirit.
Have you heard the terms ex nihilo or fiat? Ex nihilo means: ‘out of nothing’.
1. official sanction; authoritative permission
2. an arbitrary order or decree
3. Chiefly literary any command, decision, or act of will that brings something about
The creation account was from nothing. It was by fiat-God decrees and it is done. He speaks and life comes into being. So much can be said in regards to this act of God; pages upon pages have been written on this subject alone-we will not attempt to explain this most lofty subject in this paper.
Would anyone care to describe ‘nothing’?
Scientifically speaking, we are able to see about 14 million light-years out into space in all directions. To travel 4 light years, if we traveled at the speed of light, it would take us ‘y’ years.
4 light years is about 3.8 x 1013 km. Dividing that by 100,000 km / hour, Which is about the fastest men have travelled in space, we get 3.8 x 108 hours (380,000,000 hours) which is about 43,000 years. Got that? 43,000 years to get to the point where the human eye sees. How much farther could creation go? It is immeasurable!
Isaiah 40:22 says:
22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
God stretches out the heavens, as a curtain. This may have implications that the ‘heavens’ grow….
See this video on the big bang.
You will notice that these scientists validate the passage in Isaiah 40. How is it that Moses knew these deep things, without the aids we use in our age? How is it that Moses knew that God ‘stretches out the heavens as a curtain’? Obvioulsy, what they fail to see, based on their unregenerate hearts, suppress the truth in unrighteousness:
Rom. 1:18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
Cosmologically speaking, there is much to be learned from this idea. I believe their treatment to be factual. The bible supports it! Where scientists blow it is that they attribute creation to a ‘bang’ when Christians understand this ‘bang’ as the creation point, 6000 years ago. God created; it just didn’t happen spontaneously.
Gen 17 says:
7 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
Here God gives an example that Abrahams seed will be innumerable; it will be akin to the stars of heaven as well as the sand on our shores. Modern science says that there are over 100 billion stars and that is only what we are able to see-of course assisted by telescopes etc.
John Calvin writes: “You cannot in one glance survey this most vast and beautiful system of the universe in all its wide expanse, without being completely overwhelmed by the boundless force of its brightness.”
Those are our limitations. Space goes on forever…or so we would think, based on these small calculations. That means that what we see is something; outside of that, we still can’t describe what we can’t see as nothing. It is a conundrum. However, what we do have, we hold firm, i.e. God created. In that, there is no longer, that we can attest to, ‘nothing’ any longer. Nothing was prior to creation, and keep in mind, when we refer to that ‘nothing’ that as well is drawn from our interpretation of scripture to define material. God has always been; He is not material. He does not exist, but that is another paper.
*Exist: in the Latin, “existere”; To stand out from, to be, to have an actual being, to be real, to live. Phylisophically speaking:
a. to be actual rather than merely possible
b. to be a member of the domain of some theory, an element of some possible world, etc.
c. to have contingent being while free, responsible, and aware of one’s situation
Technically speaking, God has always been; He does not exist. He is not a being. He just is.
Hence there has never been truly ‘nothing’, but God is not material; material is a creation of God. God did not create Himself. Then again, I am not a physicist; hence this is at best an elementary rationale. I am sure that a physicist would refine what my small mind is saying here.
How about darkness?
It is difficult to try and describe the indescribable.
God creates on His own rights and power. He checks with nothing or no one. He does based on His own character and of His glory, to His glory. He didn’t need the heavens or the Earth; he is without need. This begs the question; why did God create at all if he didn’t need to and He was, in Himself, fully sufficient.
The Belgic Confession says:
Article 12: The Creation of All Things
We believe that the Father created heaven and earth and all other creatures from nothing, when it seemed good to him, by his Word– that is to say, by his Son. He has given all creatures their being, form, and appearance, and their various functions for serving their Creator.
Even now he also sustains and governs them all, according to his eternal providence, and by his infinite power, that they may serve man, in order that man may serve God.
The Westminster Larger Catechism says:
Q. 14. How doth God execute his decrees?
A. God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will.
And question 15:
Q. 15. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is that wherein God did in the beginning, by the word of his power, make of nothing the world, and all things therein, for himself, within the space of six days, and all very good.
Day 1: God said let there be light and there was light. This light separated itself from darkness. Scientific studies say that darkness is defined as ‘absence of light’. Darkness is not a color. It is considered a void. It has the appearance of blackness in a space; however it is not technically, black. Wikipedia says: “In the absence of light, perception is achromatic and ultimately, black.” This begs the question as to whether or not darkness was a creation. One would have to believe it is as the scriptures say that in God, there is no darkness. It had to be present before the creation account as the word says that God said let there be light and there was light. The light that God created, by default, separated itself from the darkness. JFB says: “4. divided the light from darkness — refers to the alternation or succession of the one to the other, produced by the daily revolution of the earth round its axis.”
God causes the Earth to rotate…..
Adam Clarke writes:
“Light is one of the most astonishing productions of the creative skill and power of God. It is the grand medium by which all his other works are discovered, examined, and understood, so far as they can be known. Its immense diffusion and extreme velocity are alone sufficient to demonstrate the being and wisdom of God. Light has been proved by many experiments to travel at the astonishing rate of 194,188 miles in one second of time! and comes from the sun to the earth in eight minutes 11 43/50 seconds, a distance of 95,513,794 English miles.”
Day 2: God divides the primordial waters He created by a firmament. In the Hebrew, oyqr rakia: to spread out as a curtain or tent or pavilion; The firmament can be seen as our upper atmosphere or heavens; the waters ‘above’ are in the lower atmosphere, i.e. clouds etc. and the rest of the waters, ‘below’ are the water we have here on Earth.
Day 3: God creates dry ground, gathers all the water here on earth and gives us the plants. God calls the waters, seas and the ground, land.
Cartographically speaking, this is known as the Terraqueous globe; terra for land and aqueous for the water. There is a God ordained harmony between these two elements; always in balance. The flood shows the destruction when the balance is interrupted. Plants were initially the source of nourishment for man.
*The specifics on plants for food is found later in the Genesis account:
Gen. 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
Apparently, even the animals were vegetarian.
After the fall, meat came to the table (pun intended).
Gen 4: Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Day 4: God creates the sun, moon and the stars; these are sources of light for the Earth. These also governed and separated daytime from nighttime. Astronomically speaking, it was used to mark out days, months, years and seasons. Gen 1:16 says: 16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: Is the moon a light? Not technically. The sun actually reflects light off of the moon. The moons surface is highly reflective.
Day 5: God created the birds of the air and sea creatures; He gives the mandate for those creations to be fruitful and multiply. He actually blesses the animals. Look at what this passage says:
Gen 1: 21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
This fact flies in the face of people who deny the doctrine of common grace. The position on this belief is that God’s grace is never for the reprobate. God never does anything directly to the reprobate. If the reprobate gets any blessings at all, it is akin to water running off of a ducks back. This is preposterous as a man made in the image of God, even that reprobate man is more worthy of a blessing than an animal. Don’t even the crumbs from the Fathers table fall to the dogs?
Day 6: God creates the beasts of the field:
Gen. 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
God then leaves the best for last; He creates man:
Gen. 1:26 And 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
We are made in the image of God. What does that mean to you?
Notice here we have the dominion mandate expressed here in creation. Henry Morris writes on the mandate:
““And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
This was God’s first commandment to the man and woman He had created. They were to exercise dominion “over all the earth” (v.26); not a despotic dominion, as some have insinuated, but a responsible stewardship.
In order to subdue the earth, we must first understand its processes. Thus, research is the foundational occupation for fulfilling the divine mandate. Then this knowledge must be applied in technology (engineering, medicine, agriculture, etc.). It must be implemented for use by all (business, commerce) and transmitted to future generations (education). The creation can also be described and praised in the humanities and fine arts. The dominion mandate thus authorizes all honorable human occupations as a stewardship under God.
The mandate was reaffirmed to Noah after the flood (Genesis 9:1–10) with the additional institution of human government, a change made necessary by the entrance of sin and death into the world. Thus all the occupations we now call the social sciences (law, civics, counseling, etc.) have been added to God’s authorized vocations.
The tragedy is that leadership in practically all these fields has been taken over by secularists and humanists, so God’s primeval commission has largely been subverted. Christians today need a renewed vision and commitment, not only to Christ’s second great commission of evangelism, but also to His first mandate of responsible world stewardship. Therefore, “whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”
Day 7: The Sabbath is instituted. God created and then He rested. We should rest. The book of Hebrews exhort us to make sure we have entered into that rest and to not be like Israel who failed to ‘enter in’.
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
I ask this in relation to God creating. God has an order of creation. The way you see that order will determine your theological position on many fronts.
To begin, we need to look at a few theological terms that are highly relevant to the discussion:
1. the decree to create the world and (all) men
2. the decree that (all) men would fall
3. the election of some fallen men to salvation in Christ (and the reprobation of the others)
4. the decree to redeem the elect by the cross work of Christ
5. the decree to apply Christ’s redemptive benefits to the elect
1. the election of some men to salvation in Christ (and the reprobation of the others)
2. the decree to create the world and both kinds of men
3. the decree that all men would fall
4. the decree to redeem the elect, who are now sinners, by the cross work of Christ
5. the decree to apply Christ’s redemptive benefits to these elect sinners
Herman Bavinck renders the differences in the infra versus supra position:
“C. The supralapsarian and infralapsarian interpretation of the decree:
(1) Points of agreement. Both agree:
(a) That God is not the Author of sin (supra as well as infra).
(b) That Scripture (not philosophy) is the only source of our knowledge of God’s decree (supra as well as infra).
(c) That man’s fall and punishment is not merely the object of God’s foreknowledge but of his decree and foreordination (infra as well as supra).
(d) That faith is not the cause of the decree of election, neither sin the cause of the decree of reprobation (infra as well as supra).
(2) Points of disagreement:
(a) In general, supralapsarianism places the decree of predestination proper above (supra) the decree to permit the fall (lapsus); while infralapsarianism places the decree of predestination proper below (infra) the decree to permit the fall (lapsus).
(a) To infra:
1. God’s justice does not explain the decree of reprobation. The ultimate ground of reprobation is God’s sovereign will.
2. In order to maintain reprobation as an act of God’s JUSTICE infra places reprobation after the FALL as if in the decree of reprobation God figured only with ORIGINAL sin and not also with ACTUAL sins.
(b) To supra:
1. Supra is correct when it maintains that God’s glory is the final goal of all God’s works, but the manner in which that goal will be realized is not thereby given; it is incorrect to say that in the eternal perdition of the reprobate God reveals his justice only and that in the eternal salvation of the elect he reveals his mercy exclusively.
2. According to supra the decree of predestination has for its object possible men and a possible Redeemer; but just how are we to conceive of a decree concerning possible men whose actual future existence has not even been determined? 3. Supra makes the damnation of the reprobate the object of the divine will IN THE SAME SENSE as the salvation of the elect. This position is not sustained by Scripture.
(c) To both infra and supra:
1. It is incorrect to define the final goal of all things as the revelation of God’s mercy in the elect and of his justice in the reprobate.
2. It is incorrect to represent the lost condition of the reprobate in hell as an object of predestination.
3. Predestination unto eternal death should not be coordinated with predestination unto eternal life, for while certain Individuals constitute the object of reprobation, the human race under a new Head, even Christ, is the object of election.
4. Both supra and infra err when they regard the various elements of God’s counsel as subordinately related to each other.
5. Both are one-sided: supra emphasizing God’s sovereignty; Infra, God’s righteousness, holiness, and mercy.
Bavinck finally adds:
“Accordingly, neither the supra- nor the infralapsarian view of predestination is able to do full justice to the truth of Scripture, and to satisfy our theological thinking. The true element in supralapsarianism is: that it emphasizes the unity of the divine decree and the fact that God had one final aim in view, that sin’s entrance into the universe was not something unexpected and unlooked for by God but that he willed sin in a certain sense, and that the work of creation was immediately adapted to God’s redemptive activity so that even before the fall, i.e., in the creation of Adam, Christ’s coming was definitely fixed. And the true element in infralapsarianism is: that the decrees manifest not only a unity but also a diversity (with a view to their several objects), that these decrees reveal not only a teleological but also a causal order, that creation and fall cannot merely be regarded as means to an end, and that sin should be regarded not as an element of progress but rather as an element of disturbance in the universe so that in and by itself it cannot have been willed by God. In general, the formulation of the final goal of all things in such a manner that God reveals his justice in the reprobate and his mercy in the elect is too simple and incomplete.”
The Westminster Confession of Faith ch 5
I. It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create or make of nothing the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good.
II. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness after his own image, having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Besides this law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.
The Covenant of Redemption as described in the WCF Ch 8:
I. It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, his only-begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and men, the prophet, priest, and king; the head and Savior of the Church, the heir or all things, and judge of the world; unto whom he did, from all eternity, give a people to be his seed, and to be by him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.
The Godhead covenants between themself; in that agreement, the above things are determined. The question may be, is it important? Well, yea, all things of God are important. Don’t throw an embolus thinking about it however; many a man have through about this and have walked away with more of a headache than when they started.
It is important for the thinker. We are called to know God; this is a outworking of a characteristic of God; to research things like this, help us to grow in grace-to know our maker better-to understand His majesty and glory, hence, we pursue it.
I pray this short paper helps to bring some light to your mind in regards to this doctrine of God. May your walk be enriched in Him as you endeavor to grow in grace.