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Let There Be Light – Part 1

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

As someone once said, “the first four words of the Bible are some of the most sublime words ever written.”  In fact, that first creation day contains mysteries that the mind of man will never be able to comprehend.  In this feeble attempt, I want to highlight just a few of these unfathomable secrets.  This is not a scientific paper as such, rather, it is theological which contains inherent scientific concepts.   Obviously, what I will present to the reader are just my own beliefs and thoughts regarding some of the mysteries involved in God’s creation of light.

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In the beginning.  This phrase denotes the element of time.  Thus, it speaks to the origin of time itself.  As a biblical creationist, I accept the fact that God as Creator exists outside the boundaries of time and His own creation.  Here, in this verse, it alludes to the idea that God created time.  To have time, matter must exist.

This verse has become a gateway for a controversy that exists within Christianity today.  Many Christians support the idea that God used the vehicle of evolution to bring about His creation.  Those that do so also embrace cosmic evolution.  Cosmic evolution accepts the alleged Big Bang and the belief that our universe “evolved” over a period of billions of years.  If one were to take the plain meaning of Jesus’ words, then they would discover that Jesus did not share this view.  In fact, his words denounce such an inference.  We find in scripture that Jesus placed the creation of man at the very beginning of creation.  There is not a gap or billions of years found within the Creation Week.  If Jesus were to address the Church today regarding this issue, I believe he might begin with these words, “Have ye not read.”  The Jews of Jesus’ day knew exactly his point of reference when he used the word “beginning” in the passages below.

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…Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female.”  (Matthew 19:4)

But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.”  (Mark 10:6)

 

    God created.  God is the “First Cause.”  He is transcendent of His creation, that is, God exists apart from and not subject to that which He created.  To the secular scientist, this is incomprehensible.  The Hebrew word “bara” is here translated created.  The Latin phrase for this word is ex nihilo, which essentially means, “out of nothing.”  As others have pointed out, this word is only used in the context with God, never man.  Contrary to secular science and the supposed Big Bang, there really was nothing.  There were no quanta (energy particles) or matter.  What an awesome God we serve!  True are the words of the writer of the book of Hebrews, “For the word of God is quick (living), and powerful…”  Yes, He spoke, and matter began to exist as did time.

    The heaven and the earth.  Many Hebrew scholars say that the phrase, heaven and earth, is a merism.  A merism is a term which means that two contrasting words denote the entirety or totality of a thing.  The example given for it in a dictionary is, “I searched high and low.”  In other words, he searched everywhere.  So, in this first verse, the Bible declares that God created all matter which he would use to form the universe.

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    And the earth was without form, and void.  Basically, this verse states that this created matter was without shape and was empty.  Both Hebrew words, (bohuw and tohuw), have similar meanings:  waste or emptiness.  Those who adhere to the Gap Theory maintain that God would never create something that was essentially a desolation.  Therefore, there must be a time “gap” between verse 1 and verse 2.  But this idea is without merit.  The phrase merely explains the condition immediately after he had created matter.  Therefore, their interpretation is presumptive and premature.  A passage from Isaiah will help clarify the usage of the term “void.”

 

For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited; I am the LORD; and there is none else.

The word vain in this verse is the exact same Hebrew word void as found in Genesis 1:2.  

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One day, close to where we live, I stopped and watched a chain-saw artist.  He began with a rather large log, but after he finished, it became a beautiful work of art.  It is the exact same thing here in this passage.  God started with this amorphous mass and began to fashion this beautiful “pale blue dot” as the cosmologist Carl Sagan once condescendingly described it.

And darkness was upon the face of the deep.  In the beginning of creation, which also entails the inception of time, there was nothing but a massive mass of water.  At least, that is the inference one gets from these first two phrases in verse 2.  God had not yet acted upon this newly created matter.  There was nothing but darkness.  Scientists today routinely speak of “dark matter,” but I believe that concept was only valid once in earth’s history.

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  The Hebrew word “moved” is critical in our understanding this passage, and I will unpack this verse in my next post, as we attempt to understand these most powerful words of God:

“Let There Be Light!”

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Written by Jim Gibson

Present: High School Chemistry Teacher;
Previous: School Administrator (Principal)
Captain United States Marine Corps;
Degrees: B.S. Biology/Composite Science
M.Ed. School Administration;
Residence: Harrison, Arkansas

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  1. I firmly believe when God said, Let there be light he was referring to Jesus. I believe Lucifer was cast out of God’s heaven and he was darkness. Knowing how important water and earth are for creation, I think God the Holy Spirit hovered over this empty palette so Jesus could create all that was planned before man and for man. All through NT we find contrasting Light and Darkness and Night and Day – as it was from the beginning.

  2. Kathy, thanks so much for reading this study and taking time to comment. Please consider this: if Jesus was the light referenced in this passage, does that mean that Jesus came from the darkness? Or, if Lucifer is the darkness, did Jesus come from Lucifer? Also, the darkness in the passage clearly has reference to the newly created matter. Did Jesus come from matter?

  3. What are your thoughts on Psalm 90 about the earth being birthed (in Hebrew)? Do you think it is more than an expression ie Water, Spirit, “Rosh” Hebrew root for “beginning” ? Also, when did the “deep water” become salty?

    • Cynthia, I am unclear of specifically what passage in Psalms 90 that you are referencing, since I use the KJV just because that is what I am use to. With regard to your second question, I believe most biblical creationists would say that the salinity of the oceans was the result of the erosion off the continents in the waning days of the Flood.

  4. There is much in the created realm that matches, including much of Genesis 1. This is because God created a cosmos, not a bag of mutually alien whatnots. Thus, for example, when we speak of land mass, that subject inherently suggests both matter and the whole planet.

    Therefore, there is no necessity for Genesis 1 to address the universally trivial instances of physics explicitly in order to address such physics truly. It can address such physics entirely on the implicit level. Indeed, since the textual central portion addresses the luminaries strictly in terms of life and the Earth, that portion suggests the life-critical fine-tuning of those same physics.

    Thus, the main meaning of every part of Genesis 1 may well be entirely life-centric, as opposed to some portions addressing trivially universal physics mainly or strictly in terms of such physics.

    The descriptive model, or hermeneutic, of Genesis 1 is not generic, much less ethereal. It is about creaturely life.

    Light exists everywhere in the cosmos. But created life directly depends ultimately on a very local system: a living planet.

    God is omnipresent, be He also is the Creator of those that resemble Him, especially humans. He is self-absorbed, but giving and generous.

    Thus, though God technically could have created only the lifeless wider cosmos, or this lasting billions of years, He did not.

    How, then, are we to understand the first verses of Genesis 1? Does the account explicitly address the universal trivial? Or, instead, does it get right to the point from the first verse onwards? Is it, in other words, the ideal, short and sweet account of the centrally valuable things, but in such a way as to implicitly address all things? In other words, does its every portion explicitly address only the most precious things—what it most naturally seems to address? Or, instead, is it an account that significantly downplays the Earth a life-support system in favor of explicitly addressing that which Carl Sagan essentially worshiped?

    Again, there seems to be no necessity for Genesis 1 to address the universally trivial instances of physics explicitly in order to address such physics truly.

    But Genesis 1 certainly is about the living planet, not about just a surface upon which humans may live.

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