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Genesis 1:2-19 (From Chaos to Order)

Oct 30, 2011   //   by Charlie Garrett   //   Genesis Sermons (written), Torah  //  2 Comments

Genesis 1:2-19
From Chaos to Order

The online dictionary defines chaos as, “A condition or place of great disorder or confusion.” It defines order as, “A condition of methodical or prescribed arrangement among component parts such that proper functioning or appearance is achieved.”

What we perceive around us in the universe is reflected in the definition given for order not chaos. If you were here last week, it should be painfully evident that this order came about by the hand of a Creator, and not by itself.

In fact, there has never been an instance in known history where order has come out of disorder. If you take a bag of rocks, which are a little bit orderly and a little bit disorderly and shake them long enough, your result will be far less order and far more disorder. You cannot take a bag containing the parts of a watch, shake it, and come up with a watch. You will only come up with broken watch parts.

In the article, The Fine Tuning of the Universe, we read – “According to growing numbers of scientists, the laws and constants of nature are so “finely-tuned,” and so many “coincidences” have occurred to allow for the possibility of life, the universe must have come into existence through intentional planning and intelligence. In fact, this “fine-tuning” is so pronounced, and the “coincidences” are so numerous, many scientists have come to espouse The Anthropic Principle, which contends that the universe was brought into existence intentionally for the sake of producing mankind.”

For people to deny the precision and perfection of the cosmos in every detail is impossible, so those who deny the existence of God simply acknowledge this detail and then attribute it to chance – even despite the numerical odds which bring this chance to impossible numbers.

Rather than believing such lugheads, we need to pull our heads completely out of the sand, look around us and understand that we humans were, in fact, expected guests of a creation with no other recognizable purpose than to support … us.

Dr. Paul Davies, the author and professor of theoretical physics at AdelaideUniversity says it this way –

“The really amazing thing is not that life on Earth is balanced on a knife-edge, but that the entire universe is balanced on a knife-edge, and would be total chaos if any of the natural ‘constants’ were off even slightly. You see,” Davies adds, “even if you dismiss man as a chance happening, the fact remains that the universe seems unreasonably suited to the existence of life—almost contrived—you might say a ‘put-up job.’”

Introduction: Today we’ll look over Genesis 1 verses 2 through 19. There’s a lot of information there and we could talk on verse 2 alone for many hours, but we’ll grab some highlights and wander through these verses like a guy in an apple orchard, grabbing the appealing ones as he goes.

Text Verse: To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing. Isaiah 40:25, 26

May God speak to us through His word and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Heavens and the Earth

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. First, there was only God and then God created. This is what Christians believe. Whether we accept this or whether we accept the Big Bang doesn’t change the fact that there was nothing and then there was something. The only difference is the stupidity of believing that the universe could create itself. In order for the universe to create itself it would have had to have existed before it came to be. Such is the depravity of man that we have to reduce ourselves to something that stupid in order to get away from God.

The Genesis account doesn’t tell us “how” God created. However, the psalms do. The Genesis account just says He did and then tells us the order in which all this took place. The creation account is only 31 verses long and yet it has been the subject of untold hours of thought, countless books, and has been divided into an amazing number of theories.

Some believe the account is literal and to be taken as written – six days. Some say it represents billions of years of development and the 6 days represent 6 epochs of God’s creation. Some say the earth was inhabited and destroyed once before man was created. This is known as the “Gap Theory” and inserts an entire period of Satan’s rule and fall on earth between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. This idea came as a knee-jerk reaction after Darwin proposed evolution.

The list of theories is long and often very convoluted, but in the end the Bible really only presents one option. Even the honest non-believer in the Genesis account will agree that God intends for us to believe this is a literal 6 day period.

James Barr, Oriel Professor of the interpretation of the Holy Scripture at OxfordUniversity, says this about the account –

“… probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer of Genesis 1… intended to convey to the readers the idea that … creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience.”

After the initial creation, verse 2 says this –

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. The terminology for “without form and void” is –

Tohu v’ bohu from the Hebrew, but let me share how different Bibles translate this one concept –

Formless and Void
Formless and Desolate
Formless and Empty
Without Form and Void
Without Form and Empty
Void and Empty
Unformed and Void
Without Form and an empty waste
Empty and had no form
Unseen and unready
Chaos and vacancy
Soup of nothingness; a bottomless emptiness
Barren with no form or life
Didn’t have any shape, and it was empty
Waste and void
Waste and empty
Waste and wild
Waste and without form
Welter and waste

This same phrase – tohu v’ bohu is used one other time in the Bible, in Jeremiah 4:23 speaking of the judgment upon the land because of the rejection of God, “I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light.”

Verse 2 continues, “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” This is the first distinction made in the Bible about the character of God. The word for “Spirit” is ruakh and can also be translated as “wind.” Because of this, Jewish commentaries and even some Christian translations use wind instead of Spirit here. But Spirit is far more likely and in context makes much more sense. It also parallels Jesus’ words about the Spirit in John chapter 3, and so is accepted by almost all Christian translators.

What should be obvious is that if the “Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” back then, that God’s Spirit is still hovering over the creation even now. As we live and move and exist, God is hovering around us and directing His creation according to His purposes and His will.

Before we move on, we should consider that everything about the creation account is intended to instruct us concerning the workings of God in relation to man. The earth and in fact the whole universe has been made for our benefit, not God’s. God is complete in Himself, and therefore what He has done and the way in which He’s done it is for us and for our benefit.

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.

This is Day 1 of creation which would have been a Sunday. What is the light God created at this time? It’s not until the fourth day that the sun is placed in the sky. There are two main possibilities that have been put forth. The first is that the sun and stars were created at this time, but weren’t placed where they are now until the fourth day. This is possible, because a different word than “create” is used later when the sun appears.

The Hebrew word for “create” is bara, but the word used about the sun and moon and stars on day four is asah. This can then mean that they appeared on the fourth day but were created earlier.

However, this would make a simple and obvious reading of both accounts somewhat convoluted. Just as it’s easier to try to reconcile Genesis with evolution by inventing theories which accommodate both, it’s also easier to reconcile this light with the sun and stars than it is to imagine that God meant a different light.

A second point is that the words bara and asah are used synonymously throughout the creation account. Like
the sun and the stars, God made the firmament, he made the beasts of the earth, and he made man. But it also says He created man. At the end of the creation account and using the term asah it says “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” So you see bara and asah are synonymous.

Personally, I take the account at face value. God created light on the first day. There is every reason to assume that all the matter of the universe was created immediately and then was later rearranged on the days the rest of the account maintains. In other words, we’re going to see God create the trees and the fish and man. All of the matter for these existed instantaneously and was then rearranged by God – made into different things. Why should we assume that the sun, moon, and stars are any different?

This light then is part of what was created; not a part of God Himself. Some have tried to explain that this is the same light referred to when speaking of God. In the New Testament it says “God is light, in Him is no darkness at all” for example. But the light John was speaking of in that verse is the very nature of God, not a created aspect. What God created light on the first day then is a reflection of His nature, not a part of it.

“So the evening and the morning were the first day.”

This is where the biblical day finds its home, right in verse 3. Each new day starts at sundown because of this. Even to this day in Israel, the new day starts at sundown, just like ours starts at 12pm. Also, the Hebrew here doesn’t really say “the first day.” Instead it says יוֹם אֶחָד yom echad – one day.

As a parallel to the work of Jesus, just as God created light on this first day, which was a Sunday, so He also brought the light of the world out of the grave on the same day. After the darkness of the tomb came forth the shining splendor of the Light which can never be diminished or hidden – the radiant light of eternal glory.

Before we move on, I’d like to tell you about something called Fractal Geometry.

In 1975 Benoit Mandelbrot coined the term from the Latin fractus, which means broken or fractured. A mathematical fractal is something based on an equation that undergoes iteration. Iteration means the act of repeating a process usually with the aim of approaching a desired result. Each repetition of the process is also called “iteration,” and the results of iteration are used as the starting point for the next iteration.

This isn’t meant to confuse you. Just think of a computer doubling an image again and again and again. Mandelbrot looked at the world around him and realized that everything we see – from the clouds in the sky, to the shape of mountains, to the way lava flows – everything – is based on fractal geometry. When he first proposed this, he was shunned and called a lunatic, but within a few short years, the scientific world realized he was right.

Fractals can identify cancerous cells in a person simply by analyzing the flow of blood through their body. Streams and rivers both flow in a fractal way. Leaves are fractal. Lightening is fractal. The human body is fractal. Wings, spores, viruses, coastlines, planets, galaxies, the skeletal system… all are based on fractal geometry. Even the crashing of the waves is a result of fractals.

With the advent of the use of computers for TVs and movies, you can’t get a job as a graphics designer unless you understand the use of fractals. The first time fractal algorithms were used in a movie was in Star Trek, The Wrath of Khan, to produce the “Genesis effect.”

Later in the “Return of the Jedi” fractals were used to create the geography of a moon, and to draw the outline of the dreaded Death Star. And fractal signals can also be used to model natural objects, allowing filmmakers to define the environment with a higher accuracy than ever before.

Having told you that, I thought we’d look at a supposition made by a biologist about the form of a virgin forest. Understanding fractals, he supposed that if he cut down and measured a single tree in an unspoiled forest, he could estimate the sizes of all the trees in that forest. So he and a group of biologists went to South America and entered a completely unspoiled piece of land. They cut down a single tree and measured all of its branch sizes, from the lowest large branch to the highest twigs.

They then made a size guess about the entire forest based on their measurements. After this, they mapped out the trunk sizes of all of the surrounding trees, from the largest behemoth to the smallest sprout. The result was a perfect match. After doing this, they said how amazing it was that nature had evolved in such a marvelous way. They attributed to random chance that which clearly came from an intelligent Being. Don’t ever tell me that scientists are any smarter than the average cinderblock.

There’s one more area where geometric mathematics prove the amazing intelligence of God. In the most astonishing study of all, we can look to the pages of the Bible to demonstrate the preplanned landscape of God. Gaon of Vilna told Barukh of Shklov, the translator of Euclid’s geometry into Hebrew, “To the degree that a man is lacking in the wisdom of mathematics he will lack one hundredfold in the wisdom of the Torah.”

In other words, the Bible has detailed and specific mathematical patterns which could in no way have come about by chance.

Vernon Jenkins, Mathematics Professor at the University of Glamorgan in Scotland, who has become a personal friend of mine, calls the Bible a self-authenticating text. He has produced an immense volume of geometric information from the Bible, and his findings from Genesis 1:1 alone would take many course studies at the university level.

His concluding remarks are that “These evidences of deep design in the Bible’s opening words throw a completely new light on the true status of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, for Who alone is capable of simultaneously speaking into existence a meaningful sentence copiously embroidered with such a variety of significant number structures – these incorporating the Author’s own signature?!”

The first day ends and God saw that it was good…

II. The Firmament Above

Have you ever wondered why people could live to ancient ages before the Flood? Or why the rainbow didn’t come about until Genesis chapter 9? The first rainbow was 1657 years after the creation. The reason is most assuredly given in verses 6 through 8:

Then God said, “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 the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.

You can’t make a rainbow without a prism to refract the incoming light. In today’s world, there are droplets of water in the air which act like prisms as the sun shines through them, thus a rainbow is produced.

When God created the earth, He made a firmament above it. The Hebrew word is raquia. This was probably a solid and fixed firmament, like a pellucid sapphire above the earth. Thus the “waters above” isn’t a fantasy of speech, but an actual body of frozen water which kept out all of the harmful solar and electromagnetic radiation. Think of it as a super ozone layer.

Because this raquia was there, the light that was needed to produce a rainbow was already refracted and therefore no rainbows occurred. When Noah stepped out of the ark and saw the rainbow, he also saw for the first time a completely different view of the heavens. There was no raquia and there was a gentle blue color to the sky. He probably saw the sun much brighter than he’d ever seen it before and he and his family probably got their first sunburn very quickly and realized they needed suntan lotion.

The raquia not only affected the appearance of the skies and the brightness of the sun, but the solar and electromagnetic rays that were kept out certainly allowed people to live for exceptionally long periods of time. There is no reason at all to assume that people couldn’t easily reach immense ages.

Add in a higher atmospheric pressure and the animals themselves would live for great periods. Reptiles, which never stop growing, could have grown to immense sizes, just as the archaeological record shows us in the bones of dinosaurs.

Day two ends without the great irresolvable problems that many people think the Bible holds. In fact, they are reasonable and probable explanations about the past history of our world.

III. The Waters and the Land

9 Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

Remember the fractals we talked about a little while ago? A computer generated fractal landscape looks exactly like an actual landscape. Whether it is a mountain scene as viewed from a valley, or the outline of an island filled with rivers and trees as viewed from above, these are produced with relatively simple computing devices. When God calculated the landscapes, the rivers, the trees, the gullies and ditches, the mountains, and the beaches – He did it not in two dimensions, but in three.

The great Mathematician and the Author of Order brought the waters into submission at the feet of the land.

God asks Job “who has such knowledge?” –

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.

Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?

To what were its foundations fastened?
Or who laid its cornerstone,

When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

“Or who shut in the sea with doors,
When it burst forth and issued from the womb;

When I made the clouds its garment,
And thick darkness its swaddling band;

When I fixed My limit for it,
And set bars and doors;

When I said, ‘This far you may come, but no farther,
And here your proud waves must stop!’ Job 38:4-11

The answer to the question shouts back at us. The Lord God Almighty – that’s who! Six thousand years ago, through the use of mathematics so complicated that we couldn’t even see them, much less understand them, God created order. And not just order that we can see… We have order that we can hear, and smell, and taste. We can feel it and we can enjoy it.

Let’s pick a flower and revel in the immense beauty of a highly complicated mathematical calculation – one that a loving Creator has placed in our midst. Anyone who says, “Oh how I hate mathematics” has never truly understood the enjoyment which comes with the taste of an apple.

All of this beauty around us as land came out of the waters and a stable platform for the life we enjoy was prepared. An anxious creation was getting ready for its expected guests.

And God saw that it was good.

IV. Splashed with a Thousand Shades of Green

11 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. 12 And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 So the evening and the morning were the third day.

One of my favorite things in the world to eat is bread. I said in another sermon last week that my wife knows if she heats up 10 slices of bread with dinner, I’ll eat that and nothing else. The third day is when the bread of the earth came forth as wheat, just as Jesus came forth from the tomb on the third day after His cross – the Bread of Life rose to nourish the earth with the power of His resurrection. And this is the blessing given over the Bread even to this day when communion is taken – Blessed art thou O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth Bread from the earth!

On the third day there was grass, herbs, plants, trees, and fruit. Everything that man would eat for the next 1650 plus years was created on day three. I say this because it wasn’t until after the flood that God ordained that man could eat animals.

By the end of the third day things on earth had changed immensely from the way they were just two short days earlier. It was so extravagantly beautiful that only on day three of creation does it twice say that God saw that it was good – ki tov in Hebrew.

It’s for this reason that many Jewish people choose Tuesday to get married. If God said it was good twice on a Tuesday, then it seems propitious enough to set your wedding for such a day as well.

Just think of what it was like! At the beginning of this day there was just land and sea. There was nothing alive, nothing growing, just a barren landscape waiting for the Master Gardener to dazzle us with His magnificent mind. In the most amazing display of wisdom, love, tender care, and beauty God provided grass, fruit, herbs, and trees. I can’t even imagine what the world was like with complete order and perfection in a bewildering array of every shade of green – perfect and unsullied.

Here are some of the interesting things which we have, to this day, from God’s wisdom which was revealed on day three of creation –

-Each watermelon has an even number of stripes on the rind.

-Each orange has an even number of segments.

-Each ear of corn has an even number of rows.

-Every bunch of bananas has on its lowest row an even number of bananas, and each row decreases by one, so that one row has an even number and the next row an odd number.

-Each stalk of wheat has an even number of grains.

-And not only wheat, but all grains are found in even numbers on the stalks, and six times the Bible specifically mentions even number harvests of thirty fold, sixty fold, or a hundred fold.

God has caused the flowers to blossom at certain specific times during the day, so that Linnaeus, the great botanist, once said that if he had a conservatory containing the right kind of soil, moisture and temperature, he could tell the time of day or night by the flowers that were open and those that were closed.

One of my favorite flowers is the night blooming cereus, it’s one of the plants native to Sarasota and blooms on an unattractive, snake-like cactus that grows up the side of trees. But every year about May, little white balls that look like cotton pop out. They grow a little bit day by day until June when the moon is full. When the sun goes down, the flowers open up and follow the moon across the night sky. At the sun rises, the flowers close and die.

Around the world there are fruits to delight,
There are flowers to please our smell and our sight,
There are grains of every kind to feed us each day,
And there are grasses for the horses, we call it hay.

Trees give us wood to build all kinds of things,
And they give us shade for sermons…
And for Angelica while she sings.

All of this comes from the Lord Almighty who is marvelous in wisdom and perfect in His tender care of His creatures.

And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day.

V. Diamonds in the Sky

14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness.

On the first Wednesday the world existed diamonds were revealed in the sky. Even if there was a solid firmament of frozen water above the earth, it was clear enough to allow the stars to be seen. In fact, it’s been theorized that the raquia which was the waters above, may actually have acted like a tuning device. The sound of the heavens may have been audible to the pre-flood world. If this is true, then an orchestra of pulsars, magnetic storms, and other cosmic events may have played tunes for the people as they lived out their lives.

It also may have made the stars clearer than the sky we have now. Today we have all of the dust and debris which keeps the atmosphere more turbid than it would have been then. This is all speculation, but for certain we know that the stars were visible through the raquia.

The Bible says these stars were set in place for signs and for seasons, for days and for years. The word for sign is owth and this signifies a heavenly portent. Throughout the Bible, heavenly signs are given to alert the people to a divine event.

This doesn’t mean however that we can either predict the future or the nature of things by these signs – such as through astrology. This is forbidden in the Bible. So the only signs we can use to determine God’s hand are those signs which His word tells us have come or are coming such as when God spoke through Israel about the coming King –

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Genesis 49:10

It’s believed that the star which appeared at the time of Jesus’ birth is this same alignment prophesied here by Israel as he blessed his son Judah.

The constellations were placed in heaven by God as well. In the book of Job, several constellations are named and credited to God’s handiwork –

He alone spreads out the heavens,
And treads on the waves of the sea;
He made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades,
And the chambers of the south;
He does great things past finding out,
Yes, wonders without number. Job 9:8-10

In addition to signs and constellations, the Lord placed the heavenly objects up there for seasons, for days, and for years. These things whirl around us with such precision that the Mayans were able to calculate out a calendar so exact that it loses only 1 day in every 6000 years. With all of our technology, we still have to add one day every four years.

By evaluating the movement of the sun, moon, and stars, we can tell when to plant, when to reap, and when to have children. The cycle is fixed and so we can always tell the best time to do certain things.

By the alignment of the stars, ancient architects built pyramids and tombs of kings in perfect alignment with whatever they were referencing, be it true north, or a distant constellation.

We could talk all day about the marvel of the heavens God has created. Even on the clearest night, the human eye can only see about 3,000 stars. There are an estimated 100 billion in our galaxy alone and NASA estimates there may be 500 billion galaxies.

When you look at Andromeda, our closest galactic neighbor, which is 2.3 million light years away, the light you see would take 2.3 million years to reach you. If God created the universe 6000 years ago, as I believe He did, then the light you’re seeing from Andromeda came solely from the mind of God as He stretched out the heavens during His creative effort.

If you could travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) it would take 100,000 years to cross our galaxy!

And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. Thus ends the first Wednesday of planet earth.

All of this marvelous majesty was placed in the heavens and on the earth by and infinitely intelligent and loving Creator. But something happened not long after His act of creation which has caused a division between God and man. Man disobeyed God and sin entered the world and death came about by sin. Now God and man are separated from each other because of our fallen state. But the Bible gives us an answer as to how this separation can be repaired – it is through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. Allow me a moment to explain the process to you…

2 Comments

  • Charlie, God surely has blessed you with the calling of Telling people about his Son Jesus. Thank you and Thank You Jesus.

    • Thank you so much Darla! And yes… Thank You Jesus!

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