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(Created page with "====The How, Why, and When of Creation, Part 2==== In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. By the way, “in the beginning” launches a previous non-existen...")
Latest revision as of 18:44, 21 March 2020
The How, Why, and When of Creation, Part 2
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. By the way, “in the beginning” launches a previous non-existent reality: time. It didn't exist until God created it. At a certain point in eternity, God spoke the universe into existence, including time. Time, as well as space and matter, is a creature and servant of God, who made them.
Time is God's creature. And time provided the proper framework for creation, day one through day six. Time is not absolute, space is not absolute, and matter is not absolute. And time, and space, and matter as we know them will be uncreated. Before the material realm existed, before there was matter in space, there couldn't be time.
St. Augustine put it this way: “With the motion of creatures, time began to run its course. It is idle to look for time before creation as if time can be found before time. If there were no motion of either a spiritual or corporeal creature by which the future by which the future moving through the present would succeed the past, there would be no time at all. A creature could not move if it did not exist. We should therefore say that time began with creation rather than that creation began with time. Both are from God, for from Him and through Him and in Him are all things.”
So God created time, along with everything else. Verse 1 states the general fact. Then verse 2 to 31 breaks it down into sequence. Let's look at day one. This is really exciting.
Here we are in day one. Verse 2, “And the earth was formless and void and darkness was over the face of the deep and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,' and there was light. And God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness and God called the light day and the darkness He called night, and there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Or day one, if you like; this is just tremendous.
Now, as day one begins, we find the earth in a very unique condition. Three phrases are used to describe it. It was formless and void, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Those three give us the condition of creation on day one.
Let's take the first one, familiar. “And the earth was formless and void.” Now, by the way, whenever in Hebrew the subject comes before the verb, it is intended to emphasize something new about it. A Hebrew might translate this like this, “As to the earth, it was formless and void.” You have this new planet and as to this new planet which is the focus, and you have a geocentric saga of redemption from here on out till the recreation of the new heavens and the new earth, as to this earth, this new thing, it was tohu wa bohu in Hebrew.
Now, how do you understand tohu wa bohu , form and void, without form and void? Well, I kind of know what the Christian commentators say, so I went back and got the Jewish commentator, Umberto Cassuto. And I want to know, what do the Hebrews think of this? What do the Jewish scholars think about this, and how did they define the etymology of these words?
Tohu means wilderness. It means devastated place. It means waste place. And bohu means empty. It was an empty waste place. That makes sense. It was an empty waste place – hmm. Could we learn anymore about that than that? Yes, we can, because tohu and bohu are used together in some other passages of Scripture. Look at Jeremiah 4:23 , this is very enlightening. Now, here is Jeremiah, and Jeremiah is really heartsick in the twenty-third chapter because he is, he's really in pain. In verse 19, “My soul, my soul, I'm in anguish.” This is a painful period in Jeremiah's life. “Oh my heart, my heart is pounding in me, I cannot be silent.” Why? “Because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war, disaster on disaster, for the whole land is devastated. Suddenly my tents are devastated, my curtains in an instant.” What's happening here is the destruction of Judah; the destruction of Judah. And old Jeremiah borrows from Genesis 1 too, verse 23, “I looked on the earth and guess what, it was tohu and bohu . And I looked to the heavens, and they had no light.” He borrows the very language of Genesis to describe the condition of Judah under the devastating destruction that was brought upon it by its Gentile conqueror.
It further says, “I looked on the mountains and they were quaking, and the hills moved to and fro,” just total devastation. “I looked, and behold there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled, and I looked and behold, what was once a fruitful land had become an empty place.” There's that word, a wilderness. “And all its cities were pulled down before the Lord for His fierce anger.”