“IN THE BEGINNING…”
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” Genesis 1:1-3
The Bible opens with a scene that is stark and simple, yet filled with the deep complexities of life and its purpose. This is the beginning of the saga of man, yet it almost seems to start the Bible off on a wrong premise. If this was the very beginning, then what of the origins of the universe and of mankind himself? Something doesn’t seem to add up, yet if the Bible is God’s word, it would certainly contain no error especially at the very start. Many scholars have traced back the genealogies listed in the Bible and have found that Genesis took place almost 6,000 years ago. Science has strong evidence that the universe is 13 to 15 billion years old. Can they both be right? Since God is never wrong, let’s search out His thoughts here in Genesis 1 while leaving out our personal beliefs and assumptions. In other words, let’s have an open mind and let God speak to us through His word.
Before we start, let’s establish some helpful principles for the study of God’s word. The digest uses the New King James Version (NKJV) unless noted.
1. Believe what God says in His word and accept it. We are in no position to doubt or argue with a Being of such powerful intellect. He means what He says and He says what He means.
2. Let the Bible interpret itself as God instructs in Isaiah 28:10 “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” Let’s also keep in mind Isaiah 55: 8-9 “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” The word “thoughts” in the Hebrew means contrivance, texture, intention, plan. It comes from the root word meaning to fabricate or weave. Only God knows how His thoughts can be woven together to form His plans. Each of His thoughts is a single thread to be woven together with many others to form a beautiful and intricate tapestry depicting His plan.
3. Accept that creation is here in part to help us comprehend the mind of God and was designed by Him for that purpose. Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead…” Please refer to issue number one for more on the purpose of creation.
4. Make note of the numbers given from the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. We use the 1995 edition. Writing them on an index card and filing them will help for future reference. Consider buying a Strong’s if you do not have one.
5. Get rid of preconceived notions and have an open mind.
6. Take notes and do not be afraid to mark up your Bible. Hang on to all The Times and Seasons Digests for future reference. Do check everything out for yourself so you always have the assurance you are not being misguided.
7. Pray for God’s help and inspiration. Each of us needs a personal relationship with God.
Now let’s begin. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…” and then goes on to say in verse 2, “The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.” We are told that the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. It is not until verse 3 that God utters the famous command, “Let there be light…” So we can see that the heavens and earth were already here at that
point! This means that the light God let shine was not the light of the sun. There is no error here. God knows exactly what He wants to convey. The time span between verse l and 2 is not given but could be very great. Since science has good evidence that the universe is 13 to 15 billion years old, we can see there is a great time gap between the physical creation of the universe and what is now known as creation week. By tracing the genealogy of Christ and the reigns of kings in the Old Testament, scholars have proven that the story of Genesis took place nearly 6,000 years ago. As we study, we will see that creation week was just a first step in restoring the earth to its former state of perfection and for God to go on to many awesome future goals that He has in mind.
Two New Testament scriptures reinforce the idea of a well thought-out plan that has been worked on by God the Father and Jesus Christ for a long, long time. John 1:1-3 says, “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 nothing was made that was made.” Jesus Christ is the Word, and He has existed with the Father forever. By Him all was created. In Titus 1:1-2 Paul shows us that the thoughts of these two great Beings formulated a plan for man before time itself began. “Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began…” Therefore creation week is part of God’s plan for eternal life for mankind. This is a spiritual concept from the mind of God making Genesis the start of the written record of how it will be accomplished.
Let us now examine the spiritual evidence within the first three verses of Genesis. Since the earth was already physically here, it must have been spiritually without form and void with darkness covering the face of the deep. At this point, we need to define some of the words used in these first two verses as they would have been in the original writings. This will give us a fuller depth of meaning and substantiate the idea of a spiritual connection.
1. “the earth was without FORM.” “Form” is number 8414: “to lie waste, a desolation (of surface), i.e., a desert, figuratively a worthless thing,” in vain, a wilderness.
2. “and VOID”. “Void” is number 922: to be empty, an indistinguishable ruin.
3. “DARKNESS.” “Darkness” is number 2822: “(lit.) darkness or fig. misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness.”
4. “was on the face of the DEEP.” “Deep” is number 8415: “an abyss, (as a surging mass of water), espec. the deep, (the main sea or the subterranean water supply).” From numbers 1949 and 2000: to “agitate greatly,” to “destroy.”
Therefore God is telling us in verses 1 and 2 that 6,000 years ago He was hovering over an earth that spiritually was a desolate ruin covered with misery, death, destruction, and wickedness! It had come to a state of ruin over an unspecified period of time! God’s Spirit was hovering over a sea of ruin, waste water as it were. God notes in verse 2 that the source of this evil water is the deep, a subterranean abyss. The effect of this water is to agitate all life toward death and destruction. God moves to separate light from darkness in verse 3 with His famous command, “Let there be light.” In verses 6-7 He moves to separate the waters above from these subterranean waters below. His command is, “‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.’ Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above…”
5. FIRMAMENT “Firmament” is number 7549: the dome of the sky.
God separated the evil darkness from the good light, and the evil subterranean water from the good water above. The good water above is representative of His Holy Spirit. Using God’s principle of “precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little there a little” we can gain some valuable insights. In Job 38:16-17 God asks Job, “Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths? Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?” We see confirmation that out of the depths come death, destruction, and ignorance that cause the earth to be so bleak in God’s sight. This spiritual sea has much to do with covering the earth with darkness when it should have been bathed in light. We will find out who was responsible in just a minute, and you won’t be surprised!
In the pages of the Bible the concept of spiritual darkness is related by analogy to the sea. By definition we now know that the Spirit of God hovered over an earth covered with evil. God only creates good things, and they are from above. James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights…” What made earth spiritually without form and void? None other than Satan. Satan’s original name was Lucifer. He had been beautifully created by God and was, therefore, full of light. He was given many great responsibilities. One of them was that God had appointed him ruler over the earth and the light bringer of truth to it. When Satan turned evil, his light not only went out but that of one-third of the angels he had hoodwinked. Indeed darkness had entered the universe. For scriptural backup look at Isaiah 14:12. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!” Ezekiel 28:15 says of him, “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.”
6. LUCIFER “Lucifer” is number 1966: “(in the sense of brightness); the morning-star.”
Therefore Lucifer was a light bringer gone bad, dark! God names things for what they are. Lucifer originally brought light and truth to the earth, so he was appropriately named. Now he is called Satan which means opponent, arch-enemy of good. II Corinthians 4:4 KJV calls Satan the god of this world. “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Satan is the one responsible for the mess that God was hovering over in Genesis 1. He is responsible for the mess we find ourselves in to this very day. God has a plan already ages old to deal with him and redeem mankind. We now find mankind trapped in a world under Satan’s influence, an earth covered with his sea of dark thoughts. He is a false god who agitates mankind toward all manner of evil through temptation. He broadcasts evil influences in a similar fashion as sound waves travel through the air or the sea. As a matter of fact, Ephesians 2:2 calls Satan, “the prince of the power of the air…”
When Satan introduced evil into God’s beautiful creation, God had to separate Himself from him. His goals and objectives are diametrically opposed to God’s. God is a builder and a creator, Satan is a destroyer. God is full of love and compassion, Satan is full of hatred and cruelty. Future digests will delve into God’s plan to deal with Satan and what God has in store for man. With remaining space we will follow the threadline of the sea through the Bible and its connection to light and darkness.
Unfortunately, mankind still dwells in the midst of the sea of Satan’s influences, but light is available from God for guidance and direction. These are two opposing influences, two different types of water and are divided by the firmament. God with His light and fresh water, symbolic of His Holy Spirit, are above. Satan with his waste water, his sea, symbolic of his mindset, is below. God is irrevocably good, and Satan is irrevocably bad. With this concept in mind, the following Scriptures and many more come alive.
Matthew 13:47-49 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.”
Matthew 8:23-27 “Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ But He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?’ Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”
Matthew 4:19 “Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”
Revelation 20:13 “The sea gave up the dead…”
Habakkuk 1:14 “Why do you make men like fish of the sea…”
Psalm 89:8-9 “O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty like You, O Lord? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them.”
Psalm 93:4 “The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, than the mighty waves of the sea.”
John 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’”
These Scriptures and many more give us confidence that the light of God will suppress all darkness and bring to an end the power of the sea. Satan will soon be beaten, and then Isaiah 11:9 will be a reality just as God intended from the BEGINNING.
“The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
What a fantastic future lies ahead! It will be a matter of change for us all, a change from Satan’s influence to God’s, a change from darkness to Light as Jesus Christ assumes His position as King of kings. Step by step we will explore the Bible for God’s thoughts on how this will be accomplished. Instead of a Garden of Eden existing as an oasis in a sea of darkness, the whole earth will be filled with God’s light.
For 6,000 years mankind has lived under the shadow of Satan’s influence, the shadow of death and destruction.
As each of us study God’s word and let His truth influence us, we will become points of light for others.
Isaiah 9:2 “The people who walked in darkness have seen a Great Light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a Light has shined.”
Next time we will study God’s Great Lights.
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Mailing address: Great Lakes Church of God
P.O. Box 77
Newberry, MI 49868
Great Lakes Church of God
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Turondale, NSW 2795
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The source for the Hebrew and Greek words in this book and their meanings is The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, by James Strong, Copyright © 1995 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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