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Genesis 1:1-5

Discussion in 'Exposition & Bible Study' started by mindlight, Dec 26, 2020.

  1. mindlight

    mindlight See in the dark Supporter

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

    3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

    Maybe it is a little ambitious in a year of such divisions, over so many things, but I am hoping to preach a non divisive sermon on this passage shortly.

    I figure, the best way to do that is to start on the bits that all Christians agree on and then just explain the different positions, that exist on the rest, without expressing a preference.


    1) God created everything from nothing: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." This is clarified elsewhere

    John 1:3 - Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

    Col 1:16 - For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

    As the Nicene Creed says:
    We believe in one God,
    the Father, the Almighty,
    maker of heaven and earth,
    of all that is, seen and unseen.

    2) Creation was ex nihilo (Out of nothing)

    This creation is not just the stuff we can see, modern scientists speculate that some 97% of the mass of the universe does not give us an electro-magnetic signature. So what is unseen, the dark matter and energy that forms the bulk of the universe, may indeed be more significant than what we can see.

    As Hebrews 11:3 puts it:
    By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

    Creation was out of nothing and its origin is God.

    3) A conclusion of the above 2 statements is that there was a beginning

    This is important to say as a great many people in the world speculate that the universe has always existed, or exists in some kind of eternal loop eventually exhausting all of its possibilities and then reoccurring once more. Christians agree time moves from beginning to end and not in an eternal loop.

    4) Creation was Trinitarian

    The Father created, through the Son and the Spirit was there hovering over the waters


    The bits that Christians disagree on in this passage

    1) How old is the Universe?

    There are two main camps: one saying VERY OLD and the other saying NOT THAT OLD. There was no question about this in Moses day when he wrote these words. The universe was then measured in thousands of years. But now we know more people have looked again at these verses and suggested alternate interpretations to the Divine meaning and inspiration here.

    2) How literally should we interpret the account?

    The main alternatives are:

    i) LITERARY FRAMEWORK: These verses are intended as a hymn of praise to the Creator and demo his supremacy over alternate stories in circulation at the time of writing and they are not intended as an exhaustive scientific statement. The text does not say how old the universe is and so it allows for an old universe. We should handle Genesis 1-2 as a literary framework revealing deep truths about the Creator but not as a Science book. Various ancient figures also held to this view but for the opposite reason of modern scientists. They suggested it was a nonsense that God would have taken as long as 6 days to create everything so these "days" but be just symbolic of creations design.

    ii) GAPS: That there is a gap between the first line and the rest between : In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and the days of forming and filling. This would suggest that the universe could be very old but the special circumstances for life that we find on this planet comparatively recent. So life would have mainly been created recently but in a very ancient universe. This satisfies modern physicists and cosmologists but not the biologists and their theories of evolution. Others interpret the days of forming and filling as epochs spanning millions of years rather than literal days.

    iii) LITERAL: A literal interpretation would be that God created the universe and all life in 7 days and there are no gaps between these literal . Thus abiogenesis, macro evolution, Big Bang become the big speculative myths of our age but lacking any way of being proven scientifically.


    1) Theistic Evolutionist or Deist

    This means God started the processes off that led to our existence billions of years later. WE are looking at a God whose patience and foresight are astounding. But life continues to evolve and its directions are indeterminate and not preordained. What God created has become accidental in its direction as he has left Creator to take its own course. Human life was intended but has evolved over time.

    2) Literal Creationist

    The universe and we ourselves have a special design and balance which we mess with at our peril. We are made in Gods image and were considered fitting vessels for the Messianic incarnation of Jesus as God and full man. The human genome is adaptable and so we see all sorts of humanoid around the earth today and in the fossil record but the unique type of human being was created as it is relatively recently

    Whatever our positions on this passage we should all be able to agree that God is our Creator and celebrate him as such. That there was a definite beginning and God created out of nothing. That time itself moves from its beginning to to its end.

    Do you think a sermon on these lines can be preached without setting the church on fire and starting a war?
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  2. Chi.C

    Chi.C Member

    I disagree with the title of A4. The substance of A4 is statement is correct. I am a subordinationist.

    B1 - OEC - yom in hebrew are used to represent epochs (indefinite time periods)
    B2 - The time periods are epochs and are in sequence.
    Creator - Literal creationist. God created the universe using the Word as the means of Creation.
  3. Davy

    Davy Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    No. Anytime you bring up the idea of evolution, you're going to run into some that do believe in it, regardless of how you cover the creation.

    Preaching God's Word is not about trying to please men. Your thinking should be about wanting to please God, since only He can give the proper understanding in His Word. Therefore, teach His Word as revealed in written Scripture by The Holy Spirit, and let the chips fall where they may. Those among the congregation that are more interested in hearing man's philosophy instead of God's Word will go elsewhere, as they aren't really there to learn God's Word.

    But by staying in it God's way to His people, God will lead new members to your preaching, and your service will eventually be more abundant. And this is guaranteed. Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him three times, remember? Jesus said to 'feed My sheep', not man's word, but God's Word. If you are in a system organization of man that won't allow you to teach God's Word line upon line, then you have a more serious problem.

    In some of your outline you have some views that are popular, but are not really factual. For example, dark matter is still part of this material universe we live in. So it should not accompany any suggestions that it might be where God's unseen abode may be. God's Word covers two dimensions of existence, this earthly one we live in which includes the whole known universe of matter. The other dimension is one of Spirit where the abode of God and the angels live, behind a veil. In John 3 Lord Jesus revealed these two dimensions when He said that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of The Spirit is spirit. We are to understand those are two different operations, even though they can work together in the same time and space.

    Hebrews 11:3 covers more about God creating than is usually taught. What Paul described there is one of the basic laws of physics about material matter, i.e., that we cannot create nor destroy material matter, that it can only change its form (solid, liquid, gas, vapor).

    The phrase, "... so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear," is affirming that material matter did not create itself. This points to the fact that matter cannot create nor destroy itself. It automatically points to something 'outside' of material matter created it. We call that something God. It actually proves God's existence as Creator, and the existence of the other dimension of Spirit. This is the real gist of that Hebrews 11:3 verse.

    Your statement about time is confusing. Registering time is for this present world, but not for the world to come, which in that future world the concept of time will be different.

    GAP: this is not simply about a debate between new earth creationists and evolutionists of how old the earth is. Apparently you don't understand what the implied gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 is really about. There is no principle of evolution involved with the Gap idea of an ancient earth. So your source is actually misrepresenting what the Gap idea presents.

    If you properly teach what God's Word actually reveals about His creation, then it has to be as written, and not per men's tradition. At Genesis 1:2 the earth is shown already existing, which those waters upon it couldn't be there if literal earth matter hadn't been created at that point yet. And you have to go back to Genesis 1:1 to find where the Scripture declares God creating earth matter; using Genesis 1:9 for the creation of earth matter is a tradition of man, and not what that verse actually declares. The Hebrew tohuw va bohuw ("without form, and void") reveals this Gap idea also in Jeremiah 4:23-28, even though many pass that off. Same thing in Romans 8:18-25, which many also pass off, but is what Peter referred to in 2 Peter 3 with the subject of different earth world ages.