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The Genesis Prologue
CHAPTER 1:1   to   CHAPTER 2:3
“בראשית  ברא  אלהים  את  השמים  ואת  הארץ”
"Though human genius in its various inventions with various instruments may answer the same end, it will never find an invention more beautiful or more simple or direct than nature
because in her inventions nothing is lacking and nothing superfluous."
(Leonardo Da Vinci)
THE CONTEXT/INTRODUCTION  
This
passage of 34-verses is the prologue to the book of Genesis, the first unit of the Pentateuch (the Jewish Torah), the foundation documents of the Old Testament Scriptures (Jewish TeNaKH). Moses is traditionally regarded as the author of the Pentateuch, though an editor/s hand (some suggest Samuel's) has also been acknowledged, and the structure of Genesis itself indicates it was originally inscribed upon clay tablets, that is pre-Mosaic.
See:
 Genesis
 Restructured 
Study Text
 
The Pentateuch does not itself claim Moses as author. However, except certain later passages, such as the Book of the Covenant, The Song, etc. no other person in Israel's history enjoys the stature required to be its principal author. But, from the time of Witter (1711 AD), and to the confusion of many, it began to be asserted that the different names of God (YHWH and Elohim) in Genesis indicated different source-documents from different times and places. Some presumptuously (and ignorantly) even contended that a writing of this nature was an impossibility in the era in which Moses was supposed to have lived.
leaf
 
Happily, the latter allegation has been refuted by archaeological discoveries at Abu Salabikh, Fara, and other early Babylonian sites. Dr D J Wiseman, Professor of Assyriology at the University of London, reports that "texts with a wide range of Semitic literature" dated from about 2700 BC (long before Moses) have come to light which already show a "lengthy literary development".
 
 
Yet for others, the discovery in the Near East of pre-Mosaic literature containing accounts (e.g. the Eridu genesis c.2500 BC, the Atrakhasis epic c.1900 BC) similar to sections of Genesis, apart from affirming the antiquity of the Genesis materials, were now foolishly seen as "proof" that the myths of Mesopotamian cultures were an important source of Genesis. This, in spite of the fact that the superstitions, moral corruption and the intrigue of gods in these Mesopotamian stories could more probably indicate the perversion of an ancient memory of human prehistory. Ignoring any divine-inspiration in these documents, this folk memory, preserved in its purist form by the Hebrew patriarchs who found it necessary to withdraw from the corrupting Mesopotamian cultures of the time, more logically reflects a common source of the accounts paralleled in Genesis..
 
 
Apart from their literary value, some of these early Mesopotamian writings are also, at best, propaganda exercises of the ruling class that weave their message through the warp of what was generally believed among their people. For instance, the "Enuma Elish" seeks to validate the rule of Marduk (god of Babylon) over the peoples of the marshy Sealand ("Taimat-Apsu") of Southern Sumer (southern Iraq today), similar to how Israel's prophets made use of a monster-motif against Rahab-Egypt (Isa.51:9).
 
 
But it really is eisegesis (a reading it into the text), for instance, to read an allusion to the Mesopotamian goddess "Taimat" from the Hebrew word "tehom" (deep) in Genesis 1:2, and then to treat our Genesis passage simply as a reworking of a Sumero-Babylonian myth, as some have unfortunately dishonestly done in relation to the evidences.
 
lilies
Beyond the elements which Genesis shares with some of these ancient writings, it is particularly the uniqueness of the Genesis narrative that should enjoy our special attention (for instance, the order of creative activity in Genesis 1).
 
Nevertheless, apparent differences in vocabulary and style, alleged duplicate narratives of the same event (e.g. Genesis 1 & 2), and supposedly different narratives combined into one (e.g. the Flood), when seen through this in-vogue evolutionary mind-set, persuaded most Bible "academics" that these writings were simply a product of the unilinear-evolution of Israel's religion. This is supposed to have developed from a postulated joyous primitive worship to a guilt ridden "late" prophetic form, via the development of ritual, etc. Various theological "schools" have discovered various hypothetical documents which were later, much later, edited into their present structure in Genesis as we know it. Even the grand monotheism of the Old Testament has been speculated on as being really a development from the Egyptian Armana age.
 
Professor Kenneth Kitchen, of the School of Archaeology and Oriental Studies at the University of Liverpool, remarks that these documentary-development theories of the Pentateuch simply:
"cannot be proven on internal evidence, and a good deal of internal evidence suggests that they are unnecessary, misleading, unsoundly based and probably erroneous".
Thus, without denying the progressive revelation of God's nature and purpose in OT history, it should be simply stated that – the evolutionary view of Israel's religion (assumed by the developmental-documentary theory of sources) is incompatible with the concept of real revealed religion as taught in the Pentateuch.

 
AN OVERVIEW  
In a Snapshot:
This passage in Genesis carries an implication long ignored and often lost in debate over its detail.
God's behaviour in preparing the planet for its history is here presented as the pattern for all human behaviour. Later, this authoritative pattern of behaviour is directly reflected in the personal human conduct of the Lord Jesus in the New Testament such as when He spoke to a fig-tree and it died, and who the following day, when Peter expressed amazement at this, stated that this same authority likewise belonged to Peter if he had unbroken faith in God (Matthew 21:21; Mark 11:22-23).
This is an amazing statement of Jesus, for this therefore applies the same principles to every human being as to Peter!
Jesus was not demonstrating the power of 'faith', as some preachers foolishly teach, but as God's second-Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45) He was simply fulfilling the original mandate to represent God given to humanity in its beginning.
God,
who in His infinity did not need any period of time to create our universe, spreads the preparation of this planet and its environment as described in Genesis over Six Days and then "rested" on the Seventh, not because He was 'tired', but as the pattern week for all human behaviour to follow, for humans are here designed as God's "image" in the sense of representing Him to His creation and are therefore in consequence given "dominion" over all forms of life.
Jesus in His own human life simply applied this original intention of God for the human race, and therefore the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon Him
(which was later given to all His people at the post-resurrection Pentecost) had appeared on Him at His baptism in form as a "dove"
for to Noah it had signified the new beginning for the whole human race, which then led to God's Covenant of Noah,
and it is also the context of the climax of Holy Scripture in a rainbow-encircled Throne of God (Revelation 4)
surrounded by representation of the four categories of life which are guaranteed by that Covenant,
and so a new beginning must therefore involve for every believer the same Holy Spirit
who in this Beginning is "hovering over the face of the waters" (Genesis 1:2)
of a pre-existing dark water-covered earth –
as an inclusive lesson on the function and purpose of the human race yet to be fulfilled as it was in Jesus.
 
Our passage is the introduction to a literary masterpiece with a strange ending
"he was placed in a coffin in Egypt."
But the strangeness is explained in the second last verse of Genesis as in anticipation of Israel's Exodus (Gen.50:25). Thus Genesis is itself a sort of larger prologue to the rest of the Pentateuch or Torah that follows.
Genesis 50:26
 
The contents of these fifty chapters of Genesis fall naturally into two parts;
1. human prehistory (chapters 1-11), and 2. the patriarchal histories (chapters 12-50).
The book's general literary genre is narrative, including poetic passages of rhythmic parallelism (such as the vice-regent creation strophe in 1:27).
 
 
Some, such as Alonso-Schokel, believe that a number of passages (such as the Fall) fall into a wisdom literary genre and are therefore of metaphorical use only. But, the strong assertion of Prof. Kitchen must be born in mind however, that:
"Literary form has no bearing on the historical worth of a text." (The emphasis is his).

 
THE TEXT ITSELF  
 
Sadly, the documentary theories referred to above propose a contradictory duplication between our passage (1:1-2:3) and Genesis 2:4b-25, primarily because of the absence of the divine name YaHWeH in this first chapter.
 
 
This 'absence' is then considered "proved" by beginning a "rival" creation passage after the Toledoth heading ("these are the generations of") in 2:4a. But elsewhere these are always headings, not endings (for instance Ruth 4:18). And, by using 2:19 to describe the creation of animals as being after man as an apparently contradictory parallel account misses the whole point of this heading.
 
However, this later attempt becomes untenable when translated by the perfectly legitimate Pluperfect –
"out of the ground the Lord God had formed every animal" (Aalders, Kitchen).
Rather, the complementary character of this passage (2:4-25) to the prologue is really asserted by the fact that the differing divine names in the Pentateuch are not merely synonyms that serve as labels of different authors but are, in the narrative, significantly different aspects of the revelation of God. This is shown later in Genesis (9:26-27) where YHWH (the covenant name) is the God of Shem, the chosen line, but, it is simply Elohim (God) who will enlarge Japheth.
 
  "Blessed be the LORD [YHWH], the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.
May God [Elohim] enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant."
Genesis 9:26-27.
Note:  
In fact, Professor Kitchen well describes these documentary theories as – "a superficial consensus of scholarly imagination in which a multitude of contrary facts have been tacitly ignored".
 
Our
creation passage is a panoramic prologue of calm majesty:
its narrative is carried forward in a marvellous symmetry of days –
a double triad,
which is then climaxed by the divine Sabbath.
leaf
 
Contrary to some, 2:4a does not form part of our passage, for, apart from the use of the Toledoth heading (referred to above) indicating that it belongs to it's following verses, it is also unbreakably a part of a commonly used chiasmic pattern (a-b-c / c-b-a) in 4b.  Thus the passage completes with 2:3 – the appointment of the Sabbath!
 
Our passage has a beautiful geometrical symmetry which should enthral us, yet without having to prejudice our exegesis. The double refrain of "tohu" and "vohu" (1:2), unformed and empty, is progressively changed, by specific acts of God within a double triad of days, each being completed by a double work (the third and sixth days), into the formed and the filled!
 
 
Paul Beauchamp points out another layer in the masterly design in which the fourth day (being the centre of the seven days, and the first of the second triad) brings the luminaries into view, which thus calls back to the light of the first day and points forward to the seventh day in showing the heralds (signs) of sabbaths and holy festivals. He also notes that the total number of words for Days 1 to 4 is 207 and for Days 5 and 6 is 206; thus the fourth day is central to the creative work of the six days also.
 
leaf
We may also note another layer of design. The groupings of words in this passage are significantly in multiples of seven; that sign, which, by its use as the completing sabbath, comes to represent fullness or completeness.
1:
1-2
7 x   3 words
1:
3-31
7 x 59 words
2:
1-3
7 x   5 words
Unfortunately, Prof. Henri Blocher (a French Baptist), runs to an extreme in his appreciation of this majestic hymnic design and declares: "chronology has no place here".
 
 
Even the obviously figurative form of the book of Revelation with its refrain of sevens is declared as given to show "what must soon take place" (Rev.1:1). Surely, Genesis with its clearly historical characters and incidents is far more reasonably history.
 
 
Blocher, following Renckens, sees the marvellous structure of this passage simply as a literary device, an "anthropomorphic figure" from a suspected ancient Mesopotamian seven-day week, to present us with "the logic of creation" and for Israel "a theology of the sabbath". To prove this Blocher carefully shows the alleged inadequacies of other views (grouped as Concordist, Reconstructionist, and Literal) and then presents his view as the Literary interpretation. Sadly, Blocher seems overly awed by what he calls the "studies of thousands of research scientists" concerning real prehistory and in his view we are left in effect with a creation passage (as a reasonable myth) that is written simply to motivate sabbath observance and an appreciation of God's "logic" in creation, but without giving any real account of the origin of all things; surely the greatest act of God, apart from the atonement of Christ.
 
 
His answer that the Decalogue's basing of sabbath observance on the historical fact of a creation-week (as in Ex.20:11) is simply not to be taken literally is unbelievably weak. He states that the genre and style of the Genesis prologue are strong grounds for a non-literal literary or "artistic" interpretation. However, Kitchen, eminently qualified to speak on literary styles in the Ancient Near East, points out that poetical literary style (such as the Karnak stelae in Egypt) does not show that a passage is any less real history.
 
 
To summarize, the question may be approached as whether we are to understand the "days" of the creation-week as a chronology (solar-day or age-day) or not (that is, literary, revelatory, liturgic or polemic). Eminent Christian scholars are found on both sides of the argument. On the age-day side, Derek Kidner comments on the chronology of the days that it –
"seems over-subtle to adopt a view of the passage which discounts one of the primary impressions it makes on the ordinary reader".
He adopts a "concordist" position, which is really a modified literalism inasmuch as the days are understood to reflect stages in the real process of prehistory.
Age-day hypothesis
 
Augustine understood all creation as instantaneous and the days as all being a repeat of day one; perhaps this reflects more than a remnant of his pre-conversion neo-platonism. Our difficulties today are even more so the result of our own cultural world-view through the developments of scientific research; which is as always not nearly complete.
 
 
It is sad that in preoccupation with reconciliation of this Scripture passage with cultural perceptions of human origins, its fundamental message is completely missed – the presentation of God Himself as the role-model for human behaviour:
"Six days you shall labour, and do all your work... For in six days the LORD made sky and land, the sea, and all that is in them...".
Exodus 20:9-11.
 
Perhaps there is no easy answer to the problems of a chronology of origins but the comment of Dr Robert Jastrow, founder-director of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies and a self-confessed agnostic, with reference to the "Big Bang" (ultimate origin or 'Singularity') is interesting –
 
 
"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story [of scientific research into cosmogenesis] ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak;
as he pulls himself over the final rock,  he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."
God And The Astronomers (1978), WW Norton & Company, New York


THE EXEGESIS  
 
1:1-2 The first verse could be translated as a relative clause, with verse 2 as a parenthesis or as a part of the relative clause (so say rabbis Ibn Ezra, Rashi, and translators of GNB, NEB). But the traditional translation which sees verse 1 as an absolute statement in an independent sentence is supported by all the ancient versions. If the first mentioned view of the medieval rabbis and some modern translators were correct it would simply mean that these two verses do not describe the actual commencement of creation, but only a condition of the earth before the first day of the creation week. That is, the story begins with a pre-existing water-covered world over which God is about to speak.
 
 
Others, while agreeing to verse 1 as an independent statement, see it as simply a superscription over the six days that follow. However, the Hebrew verb-subject syntax of stress-on-action in verse 1 makes this unlikely, and would furthermore take us back to the medieval Jewish view in which this opening paragraph refers to the unfinished condition of some earlier undisclosed creative act of God. Augustine wrestles with this concerning the time of the creation of angels ('City of God' XI:9,20,32), which in Job seems to predate the seven days (38:7). Payne also points out that the summary statement in 2:1 (if God's Heaven is included) requires that 1:1 be read as a creative act and not as a title (1962:133).
 
 
Further, the very nature of the creative work in the six days that follow (apart from the creation of life) seems to affirm the non-titular nature of this first verse in that it is a shaping only of pre-existing matter. It is more likely in the light of the structure of the whole passage that "In the beginning" refers, not to the time of God creating light (the above view), but to the 'ex nihilo' creation of ALL that pre-existed the six days (such as, the dark water- covered earth, unformed and empty, which awaited the divine words of the creation week).
 
 
The reconstructionist view, which translates verse 2 as "the earth became...", fits most geological history into this "gap", but is contrary to the Hebrew rules of syntax (the subject-verb order). Correctly, it can only be – "the earth was...", and so this form of concordism has no escape hatch.
 
 
The unfinished state of creation is made anticipatory by the Spirit of God "hovering" (Moffatt's translation), on the face of the dark waters. The NEB translators (also Speiser, von Rad) unforgivably render this as "a mighty wind blew", using "God" simply as a superlative and disregarding the verb's use elsewhere in Scripture where it means the hovering of a bird (Deut.32:11) and a man trembling or shaking (Jer.23:9). It is perhaps an attempt, even by translators, to appease the modern view of origins. The picture here is of the Spirit of God in trembling anticipation to implement the Word of the Most High. God speaks and His Spirit acts!
 
 
The anticipatory presence of God's Spirit over the dark surface of a pre-existing water-covered earth before the Days of Creation should inform us that what is about to follow is the direct action of the Most High and not a progressive natural process. That our universe was brought into existence out of nothing 16 billion years ago with all the natural processes that God may have employed, does not detract from the reality presented in this verse – that God Himself is now about to act directly concerning this earth, in special preparation for its unique purpose.
 
 
1:3-5 The first act in this unique week of preparation for the awesome story of God and man is – His word – which calls light into being for the dark ocean-wrapped earth. From the beginning God's word is the ultimate authority in the world. The First Law of Thermodynamics reminds us that any physical system, whether on earth or the universe as a whole, cannot lift itself to a higher level of function without input from outside that system – therefore 'God said...'!
   And later also:
God said,
God evaluated,
God separated, and
God named.
And so, the light that is to be later born directly by sun, moon, and stars, from the fourth day onward now shines for the good of earth.
 
 
That the light of day one is itself called Day, whereas some light-bearers of the fourth day shine at night, seems to show that the indirect, diffused light of day is understood as opposed to direct sunlight. Thus it is the subjective experience of "daylight" of a viewer that provides the viewpoint for the description of this great week that follows.
 
 
Inasmuch as the viewpoint in the six days seems to be on the surface of the earth some have suggested that the act of separating the light from darkness refers then to the earth's rotation, which gives the night-day cycle. This may be, but it did not mean this to its first readers and, although it was written for us, it was written to them. God separated the light to protect it against the loss of its character through mixing with the pre-existing darkness.
 
 
Already in this aspect the symbolic meaning is nested in the literal. This light is physical light but it also represented to Israel their spiritual light that was threatened by admixture with the dark paganism that surrounded them. This view is reflected in II Cor.4:6. But God named the night as well as the day (disallowing any form of dualism) and thus declared His authority over the affairs of all humankind. Karl Barth sees the existence of light without the sun as a polemic against sun-worship but this may be taking it too far.
 
 
Light for the dark earth – the endless ocean illumined. The first day closes with reference to its light-dark sequence ("evening and morning"); the basic routine-forming time-structure for our world is set.
 
 
1:6-8 God made a 'rakia' – literally, a stretching-out or expanse (Abraham Ibn Ezra) – between the waters (unfortunately the New English Bible, Jerusalem Bible, and Good News Bible mislead with "vault" and "dome" as though it were roof). This open space or atmosphere, as we now call it, is to be adorned with the rule of sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day, and to be filled with flight on the fifth day. Each day seems to lean forward in anticipation of its later fulfilment!
 
 
The action of this day  has been seen by some as simply a lifting of the cloud cover over the earth (which continues to happen today, and thus this view calls into question the completion of this as a creation act), or an elevation of a volume of water, comparative to the early seas, that provided a protective water-vapour canopy for the growth of biological life soon to begin as the second act of the following day. God calls the expanse "heaven", not confusing it with His dwelling place. "Sky" would be a truer translation today, for we are told the sun and moon rule and birds fly in it (1:17,20).
 
 
1:9-13 The third day completes the first triad with a double work of God. Dry land appears, through the gathering of the lower waters or seas, and the dry land sprouts vegetation. The emphasis on seeds in this passage negates the age old theory of spontaneous generation which fathered the philosophy of evolution. Thus the earth's "tohu" (formless) has now changed to formed and the acts of God to fill the "vohu" now commence.
 
 
1:14-19 The sun and moon, worshipped by Israel's neighbours, are but vehicles of light, lamps among the works of God (von Rad). Their appointed sign function anticipates the seventh day and the keeping of the weekly Sabbath from which all other seasonal and periodic festivals of Israel derive (7 year and 7x7+1 year cycles, note II Chron.36:21), and not from the use of astrology, which is deliberately avoided by playing down the significance of the sun and moon by not naming them directly.
 
 
1:20-23 God now creates ("bara", used for the first time since verse 1) Living Creatures – that which is able to procreate. Though the Rabbis have argued over whether bird-life came from the sea according to this passage (Nachmanides), the reference to the waters and to the heavens (sea and sky) is not to origin of life but to the formed places that are now filled with fish and with fowl respectively. All life that fills the waters and the air is meant. The argument between various answers is often arises because the question is wrong.
 
 
1:24-31 The animals are grouped here according to Israel's experience of them (as the first hearers of this book) – not a 20th century "scientific" description. The word create ('bara') is not used for the earth to produce animals for this is not new in essence as the act was on the fifth day.
 
 
But, man is new in essence and so 'bara' is used in verse 27. This verse is structured in rhythmic parallels, an mnemonic device from a probable earlier oral transmission, a 'parallelismus membrorum'. The Rabbinic view that the "us" and "our" of verse 26 is God addressing the angels (as also Delitzsch and von Rad) would mean that the angels are, together with God, creators and psycho-spiritual archetypes of humanity. This is untenable textually as well as theologically for we are then made in their image. Nachmanides' view that God and the earth are meant does not deserve comment. We also have no reason to read into the text a statement of trinity as some early Christian scholars thought. Others have suggested that the plural simply expresses the divine majesty (H L Ellison and M ha-Kohen the Sephardi). This view is probably influenced by the royal "we" of European monarchs.
 
 
Farmore probably, the plural expressed to the people to whom it was first addressed – the divine fullness (Kidner). But to this must added the use of the plural for God in Isaiah's prophetic call, in which it expresses the authority of God's sovereign Court (Isa.6:8).
 
 
Kidner shows the marvelous self-communing quality of God in this statement which reflects the quality of awareness that man receives from God ("image", "likeness") and does not share with animals. This is the newness of man! Not his shape or his ability, intellectual or otherwise, but his being made like God in the quality of his consciousness to represent the Most High, which, because of the Fall needs now to be renewed (Col.3:10).
 
 
Many early writers saw the image-of-God in humanity as spirituality or reason, and lately some such as HH Rowley also. Luther and many Protestants have seen it as an original moral righteousness. Karl Barth saw it as the plurality of human sexuality that is restored and fulfilled in the Church as Christ's Bride; and Ridderbos sees it as spirit. But if humanity's unique design in the image of God is specfically to rule on His behalf over this untamed world, then this 'image' needs to be understood in distiction from qualities found in God's holy angels, such as spirit, reason, and righteousness.
 
 
As God's image-bearer or representative humanity is to subdue the earth and have dominion over it – literally in the text, stamp on (כּבשׁ 'kâbash') and tread down (רדה 'râdâh'), respectively. There is an emphasis, by repetition, on this responsibility of humanity to rule God's untamed world (1:28). This untamed state was not a flaw or lack in the creative process. It was the good, right and noble challenge to provoke humanity representative authority into its practical development.
 
The fact that God declares all things very good (1:31) does not imply that it was an idealised world where all things were naturally well behaved as some fondly imagine. The earth needed human rule, as God's viceroy, to be enforced! Thus the giving of vegetation as food for all creatures does not necessarily mean there were no carnivores (e.g. that spiders did not eat flies), but rather that vegetation is the base of the pyramid of life. Differently, for humans only the seed-bearing plants are given for food; later we learn of the special Edenic dispensation of fruit.
See:
Human-Animal Relationship
 
2:1-3 The whole marvelous progression of God's creative activity is now summarized as
"the heavens and the earth were completed"
(the "tohu", the formless is formed)
"and all their hosts"
(the "vohu", the empty is filled).
This beautiful symmetry is then completed by the day in which God ceased ("shabat") from His creation works.
 
 
This seventh day is set apart for God's example to be followed by His image-bearers in their own work. The concluding formula ("erev" and "voker", evening and morning) of each of the days of creation is now absent, for God's rest from these special creative-acts is forever. There is no place here for a concept of natural ongoing evolution, theistic or otherwise. God's sabbath cuts off this time of creation, as a unique time, from the further course of nature in its ongoing changes and adaptations. In error the New English Bible, following the Septuagint translation and some others, gives verse 2 as completing on the sixth day, failing to understand that it is the "ceasing" of God on the seventh day that is the proof that His works of creation are finished.
 
 
But the message is to all humanity – that our week-long labour is toward a day of rest with God (not a day of religion!). God "blessed" this day as a gift for our benefit, and God "hallowed" this day by setting it apart from other days as a sign of submission to God as our role-model.
 
 
Which day of our week today?  None if it is to show one day as more right than another to honour Him (Rom.14:4-5).
 
It is not the day, any day, that is special, but God's wonderful care for all that He has made and in particular for us,
His delegated representatives with ambassadorial responsibility and authority!

AND NOW?  
1.
Firstly, it speaks of the sovereignty of God over every aspect of creation!
He named the night as well as the day, the sky, the earth and the sea (1:5,8,10). To Cyrus the Great, in the dawn of a Zoroastrianism that tended toward dualism, God said –
"I am the Lord, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness".
God is truly absolute sovereign!
Isaiah 45:6b-7a
2.
Secondly, it speaks of His incalculable wisdom!
The orderly arrangement of His works in their marvelous progression toward His purpose of ruling this world through mankind. Humanity is to learn how to live by observing the ways of God. The pre-eminence of this wisdom for human life is first shown in God Himself. The book of Proverbs personifies this wisdom in the feminine, in contrast to the foolishness of the immoral woman, and has it speak, saying –
"the Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old.
From everlasting I was established, from the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth."
Proverbs 8:22-23.
3.
Thirdly, it speaks of the glory of a God who shares the unique quality of His own image and likeness, so that as Seth later bore the image and likeness of Adam so Adam is the son of God (Gen.5:3; Lk.3:38).
Humanity, designed to bear God's glory (I Cor.11:7), is thus summoned by the nature of it's origin to be conformed to that nature that has been revealed afresh in Jesus Christ (Rom.8:29; Col.1:15), our Creator come-to-meet-us, Immanuel in the midst of our days.
 
There
is perhaps no end to the application of the truths carried in this prologue of prologues!
But, pre-eminently, humanity is designed to represent the Creator in attitude and character,
and accordingly given authority/dominion over all.

 
Earth's Earliest Ages
In these verses humanity's ecological responsibility (our relation to nature), as well as the Creator's design of the marital state (the basis of our society), and so on, speak loud – but, perhaps above all, the qualities of God's nature are expressed in
His bountiful extravagance of creative variety, and
the complete provision of form for each place before He fills it with abundant life.
 
This Genesis witness to His ways under-girds the message about Him in the New Testament. Namely, God has chosen us in Christ, before all these things, and exalted Christ above all things for our sake so that Christ's people might be –
the fullness of Him who fills all in all”
Ephesians 1:22;
4:13.
See also: Earth's Earliest Ages  

         Bibliography  
 
Berlitz, Charles  1982  Native Tongues. New York: Grosset & Dunlap.
Blocher, H. 1984  In the Beginning. Leicester, UK: Inter-Varsity Press.
Brothwell, Don 1986 The Bog Man and the Archaeology of People. London, UK: British Museum Publications Ltd.
Gordon, H. Cyrus 1968 Forgotten Scripts. London, UK: Thames and Hudson.
Jastrow, Robert  1978 God and the Astronomers. New York: WW Norton.
Jung, C.G. & Kerenyi, C.  1985 Science of Mythology. London, UK: ARK Paperbacks.
Kidner, Derek  1974 Genesis. London, UK: Inter-Varsity Press.
Leakey, Richard E. & Lewin, Roger  1978 People of the Lake. New York: Anchor Press.
Monet, Pierre 1968 Lives of the Pharaohs. London, UK:Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Morris, Henry M. 1976  The Genesis Record. Grand Rapids, USA: Baker Book House.
Oates, Joan 1979  Babylon. London, UK: Thames and Hudson.
Payne, J. Barton 1962 The Theology of the Older Testament Grand Rapids, US: Zondervan Publishing House
Pope, Maurice 1975  The story of Decipherment, from Egyptian hieroglyphic to Linear B.  London, UK: Thames and Hudson.
Tarling, D.H. & M.P. 1971  Continental Drift. London, UK: G Bell and Sons.
Thielicke, Helmut 1964  How the World Began. London, UK: James Clarke.
Whitrow, G.J. 1972  What is Time. London, UK: Thames and Hudson.
Wiseman, DJ & Yamauchi, E 1980  Archaeology and the Bible. Glasgow, UK: Pickering & Inglis.

Cohen, A. (Editor)    1977 The Soncino Chumash. Soncino Press, London.

Kitchen, Kenneth A. 1965 Pentateuchal Criticism and Interpretation, three lectures at the Annual Conference of Theological Students' Fellowship held at The Hayes, Swanwick, Derbyshire from December 27 to 31 (copies available from TSF 39 Bedford Square, London, WC1, as at this date).
Baptist Theological College,  External Course Notes, Old Testament Introduction. (Johannesburg, South Africa.).
 

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