Archive for January, 2006

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God called… Gen. 1:10

January 30, 2006

“God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:10 NASB)

After another separation, land from water, God names the two new entities. The phrase “dry land” is one word in Hebrew. God is therefore naming the dry part of the separation. The word earth is the same as that used in verse one. Due to the context we understand that this is a more narrow sense than the whole earth.

As I may have mentioned before and should mention again, naming in Hebrew was much more important than it is for us today. God, People, and, here, the land and sea are named according to their characteristics. The word for God (which is used in every verse of this opening chapter, except when declaring some of the days, v. 13, 19, 23) is Elohim. This name for God reveals the power and sovereignty of the creator. In this first chapter of Genesis it is filled with meaning through God’s creative action and purpose. Later we find Jesus, whose name means “YAHWEH is salvation” or “whose help is the Lord”. The name begins to reveal who Jesus is. Jesus came to save us. He is YAHWEH and the only means of salvation (Isaiah 44:6, John 10:30, John 14:6). The names reveal characteristics of what/who is named. A great study is to review the names used for God in the Bible.

The name of the waters becomes “seas”. This word brings the meaning of the tumultuous water, the untamed nature of the water as well as its vastness (Job 7:12, Lamentations 2:13).

This verse closes with God’s view/evaluation/opinion that it is good. In verse 4, the creation of light, is the only time so far where we have encountered God seeing His creation as good. Because of the singular use in verse 4, I am lead to believe that God saw only the light as being good. In this verse, verse 10, God sees the land and seas as good. The second day does not contain any mention of God seeing good. This is not to say that the stages of creation not declared good were not good, just that they were transition periods to a stage worthy of being declared good. The final evaluation of the chapter, verse 31, God sees the entirety of His creation work as “very good”. The other days and stages which are not declared good outright are none-the-less good, being authored by God, but not good as in a finished product for life, such as light and the lands and seas. The final finished product, verse 31, is a support system for life, through which God is glorified. The culmination of His glory occurs ultimately in the Messiah, Jesus, and the trust of humanity in the name of Jesus as the only source of salvation (Acts 4:10-12).

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Then God said… Gen. 1:9

January 24, 2006

“Then God said, ‘Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear’; and it was so.” (Genesis 1:9)

Pagans saw the sea as a great and unpredictable entity. Many pagan religions have a god specifically for the mighty oceans. In this passage we see the living God as the controller of the sea (compare with Matthew 8:26). His total sovereignty is further revealed not only by His ability to create but also to control. Again, this occasion in creation is done without God “making”, as He made in verse 7.

The waters are “gathered into one place”. When I was in grade school we learned about “pangea”, as it was called. It was a theory that all the continents were once one. I was blessed in that this was fairly new science. The 1960’s abounded with hypotheses of stagnant continents. Fortunately, the theory that the continents were once one and then were torn apart solved many geologic problems. Unfortunately, we were taught that this occurred over millions of years. A current theory put forth by Dr. John Baumgardner proposes a fast separation, which solves several issues that the slow separation does not solve. Dr Baumgardner’s theory seems to be supported by this verse (v. 9), a previous singular continent. A great catastrophe then occurred (Genesis 7) that divided them rapidly (again, the “theory” article above can draw insight from the Bible as to the origin of the catastrophe).

The dry land also “appears” in this verse. An important note is that the land was previously submerged and now appears when the waters are gathered. The land is not created in this verse. The water is removed from it.

The verse is the first time God does not create but rather organizes. The remainder of the third day contains His creations for this beautiful day.

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God called… Gen. 1:8

January 19, 2006

“God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.” (Genesis 1:8)

Important parts of God’s creation are the names given. The sense of the word “expanse” is a support. The expanse supports the waters above it. For this reason, the word is also translated “firmament”. Again, there is a great catastrophe later in Genesis where we will see the impact of these supported waters (Genesis 7:11).

The word for “heaven” is used with the sense of sky. The same word is also used for what we call space, as well as the place of God’s dwelling etc. From the context we learn how the word is being used here, sky. This is the observational language previously mentioned.

To stress the point, again for this post, the second day has an evening and a morning – one day, no more or less.

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Sanctity of Human Life Week

January 16, 2006

January 15-22 is Sanctity of Life Week. God blesses us with life (Acts 17:24-25). Our children (Genesis 4:1) and our suffering (Job 2:10) are blessings from God. This is a great time to concentrate your prayers for our country on restoring the sanctity of life.

I will try not to belabor the point but instead encourage you to act and pray. There have been approximately 43 million abortions since Roe v. Wade in 1973. On average a pre-born child is murdered every two minutes.

A second scary thought is about our elderly and mentally handicapped. Deaths like that of Terri Shivo should be unthinkable. No person has the right to allow or assist in the death of another person, or even themselves. To paraphrase a popular movie, many die but deserve life – can you give it to them? We cannot bring someone back to life after they die, so we should not deal death out so haphazardly.

I invite you to spend time this week in prayer and in action to reestablish the sanctity of life.

A place to start for more information would be family.org

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God the Trinity, defined

January 13, 2006

The Trinity always proves to be a difficult subject. It is also one of the two most brilliant revelations of the Living God (the other is the Gospel). We can learn so much about God from this revelation that it is very important to review it. Also, the Bible is much more clear if we first spend time discerning the parts of the Bible that reveal the Trinity. Most heresies can be avoided and/or refuted through a correct Biblical view of God. The objective of this post is to convey that the Bible teaches that God is triune (a trinity).

There are going to be three parts to this post – one God (what), three Persons (who), one God.

One God. In both the Old and New Testaments it is declared that there is only one God (Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29; 1 Cor. 8:6). God is one Being, one Essence, one Unity.

Three Persons. In both the Old and New Testaments there is mention of distinctions in God. One of the first is in Genesis 1:2. The same is done in the New Testament. There are many occasions. I will only point out a few. In the Great Commission, Matthew 28:19, Jesus marks out the three Persons of God – Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Another is John 14:26 when Jesus tells about the “Helper” coming from the Father. The word used in 14:16 to describe the Helper as “another” is a Greek word that sets Jesus and the Helper as equals. In both passages Jesus establishes equality and separation among the three Persons.

One God. Given that the Bible describes these two characteristics of God, it is our job to reconcile them. On the one hand, there is One God. On the other hand, there is equality and separation within the One God. The early church leaders chose to call the separations “persons” because of the personal nature they each convey. We must understand that this is not a contradiction. There are two different categories being discussed, God and Persons.

It may help to review some common examples.

First, there is one woman. She is a mother, daughter and wife. This is an attempt to show the unity of God. Where it is strong in unity, it fails in division. God is not One in the sense that He can be viewed in three different relationships. There are actual distinctions. When Jesus talks to the Father, He is not talking to Himself (John 17:1-3, Jesus praying to the Father for you). There is a real separation, a real relationship between the Father and Jesus.

Second, there is a chain. It has three links. God is more than a compilation of Persons. God is One in the sense that His essence is One. The three Persons are One is essence.

Third, math offers examples. 1+1+1=3 but that is not true with God. More of a likeness would be 1 x 1 x 1 = 1. Another would be a triangle. There are three corners but one triangle. This also borders the chain example but is closer.

Lastly, I have heard it best stated this way: The Father is God; Jesus is God; The Holy Spirit is God; The Father is not Jesus; The Father is not the Holy Spirit; Jesus is not the Father; Jesus is not the Holy Spirit; The Holy Spirit is not the Father; The Holy Spirit is not Jesus. God is One is essence and three in Person. We are answering the questions, “What?” and “Who?” – One What: God; three Who’s: the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit.

For further study see John 1:1-3;14, note verse 14 – Jesus is the Word – and verse 3 where all things came into existence through Him, which means He could not be one of the created or it would be everything except one.

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God made… Gen. 1:7

January 11, 2006

“God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.” (Genesis 1:7)

This is the first time we are told that God “made” something. On the first day, He called light into existence and “there was light”. On the second day He first says and then we are told He “made” the expanse. We cannot determine much from this difference. But it appears that God is more involved here. This appears several more times, the difference between God speaking and God speaking as well as making. There is also a third – speaking and creating, which we will see later.

This verse is the second time God separates. He separated the light and darkness on the first day. Now He separates the waters. As creation continues there are several other separations and gatherings we will see.

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Then God said… Gen. 1:6

January 4, 2006

“Then God said, ‘Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.'” (Genesis 1:6)

On the second day of creation God begins His work on the earth. The water covered the entire earth (verse 9). The Almighty One now separates it into two sections. Between the two He creates an expanse.

There has been much speculation on what is contained within the expanse. There are two options. The first is that the expanse includes “heaven” (verse 8 ), meaning all of created existence is surrounded by a water-layer. The second is that “heaven” only refers to the atmosphere. Due to verse 14 we know that the lights God creates are created in the “heavens”. The word for “heaven” and “heavens” are the same word. The word means visibly up or lofty. That is pretty much it.

What can we conclude then? We can conclude several things. First, in writing this God was not terribly concerned about telling us exactly where the water was compared to where the sun, moon, stars were.

Second, God would have been explaining basically unimportant information to Moses if He explained about the atmosphere, the sun, the planets, the stars and solar systems. This has very little bearing on God’s point – His own glorification through the revelation, at this point, of His awesome power in creating all that we see. As Matthew Henry’s commentary says, God is not trying to gratify our curiosity.

Third, science has revealed the difference between “up” and “way up”. Once we know God’s point, we can further glorify Him for a creation that is beyond even our sight.

Forth, this may not be the current situation of creation. Since creation there have been at least two catastrophic changes. The first was the fall of mankind when Adam and Eve sinned against God. The second was the global flood in the time of Noah. These two events caused great changes in God’s creation. We may not be able to properly determine the information “between the lines” after such catastrophes.

Lastly, this is a very important principle of interpretation – observational language. The Bible is not a science book. Do not expect it be one. The Bible is never wrong, expect that. The Bible frequently uses observation in its teaching. The weather man uses the same observational language when he says the sun will “rise” tomorrow at 7:14 a.m., though he knows the sun does not move around the earth. Someone once pointed out to me that Moses would not have known that. Moses may have believed that the water went beyond the sun. How do we know what Moses knew? Also, who cares what Moses knew? God wrote the Bible, He knew where the atmosphere and sun where and how they were related. When people observe their surroundings they say that the sun is in the sky. Sure, it would be more specific to say it is in space but not necessary unless you were teaching the location of the heavenly bodies. God created the sky and created the sun that is in the sky.

I conclude that God was using observational language to convey creation as it appears to us, not teaching us where the sun is in relation to every part of creation. For “heaven” in verse 8 and the “heavens” in verse 14, both are up, and it is good :-)