The Beginning of Creation ~ Genesis to Revelations Series

Scripture Readings
: Genesis 1:1-2; John 1:1-4 & 12 & 17, Isaiah 14:12-21 & Ezekiel 28:11-19; Luke 16:22-26

Genesis 1:1-2

"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."

As Christians we believe what the Bible teaches because, although it was scribed by man, it is inspired by God. How do we know it is inspired by God? How do we know we can trust that it is not like any other book written, that it is the infallible Word of God? Soon I will post on much of the evidence and common logic that has been considered by theologians over all these ages to answer these very questions. Is it wrong to ask such questions? Absolutely not! Not only is it normal but Christians are taught in scripture to try and test everything to be sure it is from God. Not only do you need to know why you trust this book called THE BIBLE you need to be able to answer this question as a disciple and child of God for those whose hearts the Holy Spirit is drawing. Frankly, people are going to ask you and you will need to provide an answer for the hope you have because scripture also tells us to be prepared to do just so. I believe when presented with all of the evidence about the Bible you too will come to realize how miraculous a text it is and how very important are it's teachings. If God can create the earth and the heavens and angels and conquer death with life, why would he not be able to work through believers who are yielded to His purposes to provide us with a book that we can completely trust. There is nothing impossible for God, and that is reasonably imaginable even in our human thinking.

There are a few principles with which we should begin that will help us to grasp what is and is not being taught in the beginning of Genesis. And although it may seem simple on the surface, the more of scripture we study the more we will realize these verses are very important through and through and are much deeper in meaning than what we simply understand from just a simple reading. So we will study as we read. First, you must realize that the words, "in the beginning" do not refer to an ultimate overall beginning. It is only the history of creation. This means it is a record of OUR beginning; the universe and all that is in it. The beginning of the heavens (sky, atmosphere) and the earth (firm ground, waters) and of people and of our concepts (measured time). It is only a record of the beginning of everything we know and understand by experience. It is not the beginning of God or of angels. We know only limited information from scripture about the 'time' or events predating the beginning of creation. This is perhaps the case because it does not relate to God's purpose for scripture in the first place. The Bible's over reaching purpose is about man's fall and redemption so it makes perfect sense to begin with the creation of man. What happened before our creation just doesn't pertain to what we need to know about how to be reconciled with God. Today there is great controversy over the true record of the beginning of our creation. There are many theories as to how and when people and the the heavens and the earth began. There are theories of evolution, of explosive atmospheric reactions and even of alien plantings, but the Bible has proven it's reliability and God has revealed Himself and Truth to us through the Word so all that we choose to believe should come from the One who created all things. Science today is proving more and more that the Bible is the most accurate rendition of where and how all things originated. Remember, science is merely man's own created system for attempting to understand what we don't. It is the study of observable things. Science can be flawed and is often flawed by anyone who makes a decision as to what to believe before they study. Carbon dating is a very flawed science, but it is used to date most of what science observes. This throws off much of the findings because the data is skewed from the start. We'll discuss more of these things in other posts but scientific findings are limited by the lengths of our current understanding, but an eternal and all knowing God is above discovery. He is without a beginning or end. All things were created through Him and so His knowledge is greater than our own. If you want to understand exactly how an automobile works, you don't go to a pie maker, you go the the specific manufacturer of that automobile. If you want to understand the earth and all created things, you don't go to created things to explain it to you, you go to the One who is above all created things and Who made all things Himself. He is the only one with knowledge on the matter.

In John 1:1-4, John discusses the Word of God and mentions something about the eternal time predating the creation of our world. He 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. In Him was life...". John goes on in verse 14 to say, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." In verse 17 he says, "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." AH! So we see that even before the heavens and the earth were created, God and the Word of God existed. The Word of God became flesh and was known to us as Jesus Christ. All of that existed eternally before we were created. When we look back at our topic verse in Genesis we see that the Holy Spirit was also present and was a working part of the creation of our world. So even before the beginning of creation there was God, Jesus (Word of God), and the Holy Spirit.

Isaiah 14:12-21 is one segment of scripture that reveals a two fold story. The prophet Isaiah spoke God's Words to the people and for the most part they were words of confrontation, exhortation and warning which often made him very unpopular. No doubt that after so many thousands of years he would probably be treated the same today, probably worse. Today, even amongst believers, where the heart is hardened, the Truth is hard to bear. In these verses in Isaiah we find Isaiah prophesying of the fall of the king of Babylon by using the description of the fall of Lucifer. He is likening one with the other. Just as Lucifer fell from heaven, the king of Babylon would soon fall and Isaiah is figuratively and poetically prophesying this with the inspired knowledge from God of a predated event often referred to as the fall of Lucifer. Verse 12 says, "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" Lucifer in Hebrew literally means "Day Star". The poetry of this section describes the aspirations of the brightest star to climb to the zenith of the heavens only to then become extinguished before the rising sun. This was the failed goal of the king of Babylon but is also how satan fell from God's grace. Lucifer's sin was to rise up and try to be like God, to overthrow God's Kingdom and take it over. To this day He fights this battle but in the end, as we will eventually read in Revelations, he will be tossed into hell for all eternity. Many do not know that before creation, the one who is known as our enemy (Satan) was an angel, leading the worship of God in the Kingdom of Heaven. In Ezekiel 28:11-19 we find another prophet prophesying again to another king by direction of God in the same manner. Though Ezekiel is speaking to the king of Tyre, God is again referring to the fall of satan in the prophesy of the fall of the king of Tyre. Notice in verse 12 he is described as the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. In verse 13 we are told that on the day the angel, Lucifer, was created his timbrel and pipes were made just for him as well. He was created to lead worship and not just in song for his sin was in direct disobedience to what he was created to do. Ezekiel, with Godly knowledge, likens the king of Tyre to satan when he says, "You were in Eden, the garden of God." Of course we know that the actual king of Tyre was not physically in Eden, but what Ezekiel is saying here is that the king of Tyre is 'the same as' the cherub, Lucifer, who was most certainly present in Eden. He is doing the same thing in verse 14 where he tells the king that he was on the holy mountain of God and walked back and forth in the midst of the fiery stones. It is also interesting to note that throughout studying the Bible, especially around the time of Lazarus, we find that Heaven and hades are mentioned as being on the same plane, side by side with one another. In the story found in Luke 16:22-26 we find a rich man had died and gone to hell and Abraham was not in hell but was close enough for one to see the other and speak to one another. As we study the Word we'll go into this in more detail later, but I thought it interesting to mention. In verse 14 Lucifer is again described as an anointed angel on the mountain top with God. He walked back and forth within the kingdom and was perfect from the day he was created until iniquity was found in him. Later in this post we'll talk about the record in Revelations of the iniquity. God created angels and humans with free will. The difference between angels and humans is that they have no excuse whatsoever to disobey the Lord, they are with Him and observe His glory from moment to moment. Blessed though are those who have not seen and yet still believe. We who believe are so precious in God's sight that He has made us to be His own children, sons and daughters, for such a great faith. In verse16 we see where satan sinned and God has cast him out of God's holy mountain. In verse 17 it even tells us that because of his pride he was cast down from God's garden, Eden, on the mountain top to the earth. The garden of Eden is said in scripture to be "east of Eden" and that is where man was placed when he was created. It is quite possible that Eden is perhaps a part of this mountain top 'Heaven' itself and that this entire episode of satan's fall from God's grace happened sometime between the creation of the earth and of man. Satan tempts Eve in chapter 3 of Genesis so we know that satan is already present in the garden east of Eden for the story of the temptation. From the time satan has been cast down he has roamed the earth to and fro seeking to steal kill and destroy. Genesis 3:24 shows that God had already created angels and Genesis 6:1-4 speaks of angels which had already fallen as well. When God looks upon His creations in Genesis 1:31 is says He looked at "everything" he had created and it was all good. Some have said that satan could not have fallen already because he was most certainly not good, however, Genesis 2:4 states that we were reading about the history of the heavens and the earth so the word "everything" in 1:31 could very easily mean that God looked at all He had created in regard to the history of the heaven (sky, atmosphere) and the earth (firm ground, waters) and not necessarily those things prior; angels, Kingdom of Heaven, etc. It is possible that satan fell after earth was created but before it was completely formed further explaining as to why the earth was void and filled with darkness. Darkness in it's original Hebrew language depicts wickedness and chaos. God specifically planted a garden east of Eden to place Adam after after describing satan falling from Eden, after the earth being described as void and filled with darkness and after the full description of God's creation of this garden where Adam was placed and we know satan dwelled. In Revelations 12:4 John envisions a bit more information of the fall of satan in telling us that also a third of Heaven fell with him so he was not the only fallen angel, although he was the prince of them. Lucifer means "Day Star" and in Revelations 9:1 satan is seen falling from Heaven to earth like a star. Therefore the other stars which fell with him are understood to be angels as well. These are the fallen angels referred to in Genesis 6:1-4.

So there you have some explanation of events prior to and during the beginning of the creation. This is a good foundation to begin discussing the 7 days of creation. Before I close this blog posts let me finish with making one final point about word study from Genesis 1:1-2.

In Genesis 1:1 we read, "In the beginning God..." We have discussed in great detail what the beginning is, the history of heaven (sky) and earth (firm, ground). Now let's look at the word 'God'. In the original Hebrew language of Genesis, the word 'God' is 'elohiym', pronounced Eloheem. It is a plural form of the word 'eloahh', pronounced eloah. Elohiym (Elohim) is the standard Hebrew term for deity. A standard plural form would mean 'gods', but this is no standard plural form because it is used in a sentence with a singular verb form. This matters because in contrast to the normal plural, which would mean gods, this particular form of this world means, Supreme God with plurality. It means, "the fullness of deity" or "God, very God." Even though the word for God is plural it is used with the Hebrew word 'raysheeth' which is a singular verb form for 'created'. This is important because the single form of the verb affects how we translate the plurality of Elohim, God. The masculine plural ending indeed allows for the plurality WITHIN the Godhead. Ah! Is it coming to you now? This is where Christians come to understand that God is One God made of three distinct persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yes, it is where we derive the Trinity concept of God. The word Trinity is not used, it is how we explain the mambo jumbo of words forms. The three "persons" of God were all present at creation. This does not mean they were all human beings. "Persons" simple means "distinct beings". Now, remember, even before OUR beginning "the Word was with God and the Word was God and the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us and we beheld Him as Jesus Christ"? We talked about these scriptures earlier from John chapter 1. So even before God created the heavens and the earth, Jesus Christ and the Father and the Holy Spirit were together. Genesis 1:2 presents the Holy Spirit hovering over the waters during creation. In Genesis 1:26 we see God saying, "Let US make man in OUR image..." This is another reference to the Godhead being made of the three persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God the Father is the Word (will; intent), Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh (how we have experienced God in person, God revealed to us) and the Holy Spirit is the working power (helper, teacher guiding spirit of God). We too were created in this likeness being of mind body and spirit. We are told to love God with our whole self (mind, body and spirit) Now, going back to John 1:1 where it says, "the Word was with God and the Word was God..." we see the suggestion of a face-to-face relationship. In the ancient world it was important that persons of equal station be on the same level, or face-to-face, when sitting across from one another. The word "with" indicates a personal relationship but also implies equal status. The Word was God, the Word became flesh, the Word was Jesus Christ. Jesus is God revealed to us physically and for the purpose of being our sacrifice and to be born again through Him allowing the possibility for our reconciliation with God and our salvation. There can be no remission of sins without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22), so a part, or 'person' of God came down for this purpose. This was a one time deal. Jesus was the only begotten Son of the Father. Jesus was crucified by the pharisees for revealing this because to them, this was blaspheme. Jesus said, "I and my Father am One". (John 10:30) And then the Jews picked up stones to stone Him. The words, "the Word was God" in John 1:1, because of Word order in Greek, shows that the Word was God, not a god. This is a straightforward declaration of Christ's deity, since John uses "Word" to refer to Jesus. The Word (Jesus) was the very quality of God, while still retaining His personal distinction from the Father. Here is an example. I am a mother, wife, and writer. At all times I am all three, but at certain times I function as one or the other. While I am writing, I am a writer, but I do not cease to be a wife or mother while I am writing. The Word was God and was with God and became flesh and dwelt amongst us. They are all the same even though they operate in different functions at different times. This is a very hard concept for people to understand sometimes but understanding that Jesus was the Son of God and was God is important in receiving Him as LORD and Savior. We perceive according to experiences. The systems of this world can never prepare us to fully perceive all that God is, but we can understand what parts pertain to our relationship with God. He has revealed all of it to us in the Word of God and through Jesus Christ, who is the Word. God is greater than what he has created and so the fullness of who He is can be beyond our understanding but He reveals Himself to us in all the ways that matter to us; creator, savior, healer, provider, deliverer, etc. The rest of Himself will be revealed in eternity. His grace is sufficient for our measure of faith.

Now we have begun. We'll continue working through to the end from here. God bless you as you read and pray and meditate on what this means and why God wants for you to know it by placing it in His Word.

God Bless you ~ Julie Branstetter, Th. B.