The Beginning - Part I
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” —Genesis 1:1
The phrase, “In the beginning,” speaks of a time in eternity past when God began the creation of the heavens and the earth. Williams says, “Beginning is the subject of this book; it teaches that God is the beginner of the visible and invisible universe, as He is the beginner of salvation in the soul of the sinner.”
We aren’t told here when this beginning took place, only that it happened sometime in eternity past.
God has always existed, which means there never was a time when He didn’t exist. As such, and knowing that He is a creator, which is an essential part of His being (Jn. 5:17), we are made to wonder what existed before the heavens and the earth; however, any idea is speculation at best, and when it comes to God, it’s best not to speculate.
The theory of evolution puts forth all types of speculation as it regards the creation of man along with the heavens and the earth. However, irrespective of the proposals they make, they have absolutely no idea of the first cause. Every hypothesis they put forth is always based on existing materials of some kind; consequently, not having a proper foundation, their hypotheses are always wrong.
The phrase, “In the beginning God,” gives the first cause. That first cause is God.
God in the Hebrew is Elohim. Its root meaning is “strength and power.” Elohim is a uniplural noun, which shows the plurality of persons in the Godhead. Consequently, from the very beginning, we see the doctrine of three divine persons in the unity of the Godhead. There is one God but manifest in three persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
To help us understand the Trinity and creation a little better, perhaps the following may shed some light: God the Father is the divine owner; God the Son is the divine architect; and God the Holy Spirit is the divine builder. And yet, whatever is said of each member of the Trinity can be said of all the members.
The word trinity is not found in the Bible. It was used, it is said, by Tertullian, in the last decade of the second century, but it did not really find a place formally in the theology of the church until the fourth century. It is, however, the distinctive and all-comprehensive doctrine of the Christian faith.
It makes three affirmations: That there is but one God; that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are each God; and that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are each a distinct person. In this form, it has become the faith of the church.
With the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Trinity comes much more into view.
For instance, when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, He said that the Holy Spirit would come upon her. He then added that the power of the Most High would overshadow her and that the child born of her would be called “the Son of God” (Lk. 1:35). In this, we see the Trinity—the Father and the Spirit functioning in the incarnation of the Son.
At the baptism of Christ in the Jordan River, three persons of the Godhead can be distinguished there. The Son is the one being baptized; the Father is speaking from heaven in recognition of His Son; and the Spirit is descending as a dove upon Jesus (Jn. 1:32–33).
The teaching of Jesus is Trinitarian throughout. He spoke of the Father who sent Him, of Himself as the one who reveals the Father, and the Spirit as the one by whom He and the Father work. In fact, the interrelations between Father, Son, and Spirit are emphasized throughout (Jn. 14:7, 9–10). He declared with emphasis: “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter (Advocate), that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth” (Jn. 14:16–26). There is thus a distinction and also an identity made between the persons of the Godhead. The Father, who is God, sent the Son, and the Son, who is God, sent the Spirit, who is Himself God.
In the commission given by Christ before His ascension, instructing His disciples to go into the whole world with His message, He made specific reference to baptism as “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” It is significant that the name is one, but within the bounds of the one name, there are three distinct persons. In fact, the Trinity as triunity could not be more clearly expressed (Mat. 28:19).
Early Christians knew themselves to be reconciled to God the Father, that the reconciliation was secured for them by the atoning work of the Son, and that it was mediated to them as an experience by the Holy Spirit. Thus, the Trinity was to them a fact before it became a doctrine.
The phrase, “Created the heaven and the earth,” proclaims such being done sometime in eternity past. Concerning verse 1 in Genesis, Matthew Henry said, “The first verse of the Bible gives a surer and better, a more satisfying and useful knowledge of the origin of the universe, than all the volumes of the philosophers.” He then went on to say, “The lively faith of humble Christians understands this matter better than the elevated fancy of the most learned.”
Creation, in its strict sense, carries the meaning of producing something out of nothing. Naturally, that is impossible as it regards man, but it is not impossible with God. Jesus said, “With God all things are possible” (Mat. 19:26). In fact, God spoke the creation into existence (Heb. 11:3), which we shall see in the following verses. Why is it so hard for man to believe that?
As stated, Moses did not bother to explain the fact that there is a God. The idea is that creation demands a creator. Common sense tells us that, but common sense seems to be in short supply.
Without Form And Void
“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2).
God did not originally create the earth without form and void. It became that way after a cataclysmic happening. This cataclysmic happening was the revolt of Lucifer against God, which took place in the dateless past. As a result, darkness was upon the face of the deep.
The moving of the Holy Spirit upon the face of the waters—done in order to bring the earth back to a habitable state—was the beginning of life.
The phrase, “And the earth was without form, and void,” points to a stupendous convulsion that affected the earth after it was created by God.
“Without form, and void,” in the Hebrew is literally tohu and bohu, which signify “wasteness and emptiness.” God did not create the earth in this fashion. It became that way at a point in time. Many scholars believe that Lucifer ruled the earth after it was originally created, and did so in righteousness for an undetermined period of time. As well, during that time, he ruled it in righteousness and holiness under God. It also seems there was a race of created beings over whom he ruled. Whenever Lucifer led his rebellion against God, one-third of the angels, plus this race of beings, threw in their lot with him. Many think, and it is probably correct, that these particular beings, whatever they might have been, are the demon spirits that presently help Satan.
Some have claimed that demon spirits are fallen angels; however, angels have spirit-bodies, whereas demon spirits have no body whatsoever and, in fact, seek a body to inhabit, whether animal or human.
I think it should be obvious that whatever degree this revolution of Lucifer was, its destructive power was beyond comprehension.
The Mystery Of God
Knowing that God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (everywhere), and that Lucifer was and is a mere creature, we may wonder why the Lord has allowed the Evil One to continue this long. The Scripture refers to this as the “mystery of God” (Rev. 10:7). Why the Lord has allowed this, we are not told; however, we do know that God does all things well, and everything He does is done for a purpose and reason and is always the right thing to do.
Irrespective of what has happened in the past, and even how it has affected man, this one thing we do know: God has effected redemption for mankind through the giving of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by His death at the Cross, brought about four great judicial results.
Calvary effected the acknowledgment in the person of Christ, the act of the due judgment that the sin-principle required. In other words, judgment was poured out on Christ instead of on mankind, at least for those who will believe (Jn. 3:16).
Calvary made it possible for corrupted self, of which Satan is the personal author and representative, to be placed in Christ. As someone has well said, Jesus died on the Cross in order to save man from self as well as from sin (Gal. 2:20–21).
Calvary destroyed the organic connection that Satan had brought about between sin and death. While the wages of sin continue to be death, Calvary made it possible for that connection to be assuaged by the blood of Christ (I Jn. 1:7). In other words, spiritual death as a result of sin, of which all men are guilty, no longer claims its victims, at least as it regards those who have accepted Christ.
Calvary made possible the adjudgment of all men to the Redeemer as His personal possession, that is, those who will believe (I Cor. 6:20).
That Which Jesus Did At The Cross
Thus, by this fourfold achievement that was carried out at Calvary, the judicial expression of Christ’s work on the Cross extended to the deepest realities of the moral universe. In effect, it anticipated every essential moral issue that the soul would need to fear in view of its own misgivings concerning destiny.
The punishment difficulty with respect to past sin was potentially met. Satan, man’s Archenemy, was potentially destroyed, the causation between sin and death was potentially broken, and the claim of Christ to the possession of all men was potentially set up.
Thus, in dealing with the ultimate spiritual realities of the universe, Christ’s Cross was, in effect, the anticipation of the final judgment of all mankind.
In fact, the early triumphs of Christianity were won upon the basis of the conception of Christ’s death, as such, a judicial transaction. Actually, this was the heart of Paul’s message (Rom. 6:3–14; 8:1–11; I Cor. 1:17–18, 21, 23; 2:2, 5; Col. 2:10-15).
The mystery of God will be finished at the second coming when Satan will be locked away in the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1–3).
However, the ground was laid for his total defeat by what Christ did at the Cross, without which, the Evil One would have triumphed.
Christ alone could take the book from the hand of God the Father because He alone was worthy, and He was worthy because of what He did at the Cross (Rev. 5:8–9).
The phrase, “And darkness was upon the face of the deep,” represents the end result of satanic influence, which is the opposite of light. The light represents God.
There is what is referred to as the “gap theory,” which belongs between verse 1 and verse 2. As previously stated, this is the particular time that Lucifer rebelled against God. Actually, the word deep is from a root signifying “to disturb.”
The ruin pictured in this verse reveals the sinner prior to regeneration. The remainder of the chapter describes the renewing power of the Spirit of God introducing light, life, and beauty from out of this ruin. The created energy of the Holy Spirit operates presently in a similar manner in the ruined nature of man. Believers become new creations (II Cor. 5:17) and are created unto good works (Eph. 2:10).
It took the Cross to dispel this darkness because the darkness was more than mere surface. It went all the way to the disturbed deep. In other words, it was total darkness.
The Cross opened up the way to God and made it possible for light to once again shine, of which this verse is a type.
This article is an excerpt from the book 'The Fall Of Man' by Jimmy Swaggart.