Bibliotheca Sacra 133 (1976) 28-41.

          Copyright © 1976 by Dallas Theological Seminary.  Cited with permission.

 

 

 

                        The Creation Account

                            in Genesis 1:1-3

     Part V: The Theology of Genesis 1--Continued

 

                                               Bruce K. Waltke

 

            The preceding article in this series discussed some of the

activities of God revealed in the creation account in Genesis 1.1 This

present article continues the discussion of the theology of Genesis 1

and then considers the relationship of other Old Testament creation

passages to the interpretation of Genesis 1 suggested in this series.

 

            GOD'S DIVINE ATTRIBUTES SEEN IN GENESIS 1

 

            Genesis 1 revealed to Israel the activities of God as Creator,

Savior, and Ruler. But it also revealed something of His attributes,

including His greatness, wisdom, and goodness.

 

HIS GREATNESS

            What splendid power and greatness God displayed by His

creation. The Creator is a fortiori greater than His creation. Isaiah

declared that Israel's God holds in the hollow of one hand all the

water of the sea, and with the outstretched fingers of His other hand

measures the expanse of the sky. Isaiah then added that God could

take all the dust of the earth and pour it into His little basket and

weigh all the mountains of the earth on His scales (Isa. 40:12).

 

1 Bruce K. Waltke, "The Creation Account in Genesis 1: 1-3; Part IV: The

Theology of Genesis 1," Bibliotheca Sacra 132 (October-December 1975):

327-42.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final installment in a series of five articles first

delivered by the author as the Bueermann-Champion Foundation Lectures at

Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, Portland, Oregon, October 1-4, 1974,

and adapted from I(Portland, OR: Western Conservative

Baptist Seminary, 1974).

                                                28

 



The Theology of Genesis I - Continued / 29

 

            If God was great to Israel which had a limited view of the

universe, how much greater He ought to be to modern man. Today

we know that our galaxy is spinning like a gigantic pinwheel extend-

ing for 104,000 light-years from one end to the other. Our sun is

25,000 light-years from the center of this gigantic spiral and rotates

around its center once every one million years. Above and below the

spiral of our galaxy are about one hundred clusters of stars with

one million stars in each cluster, and some of them have a diameter

of 16 million miles. And to think we are but part of one of thousands

of galaxies! Certainly God's vast creation reveals something of His

own greatness.

 

HIS WISDOM

            In the creation God's wisdom is displayed. He achieved the

cosmos by first establishing the separation of the supportive systems

necessary for life and man's existence, and by then filling these with

moving and living creatures. On the first three days He overcame

the lack of form, the Uht, and on the next three days, and parallel

to them, He overcame the emptiness of space, perhaps the Uhb. The

following well-known model of creation illustrates this creative work.2

Uht - Unformed                             Uhb - Unfilled

            Day                             Day    

1          Light                           4                      Luminaries

2          Water                          5                      Fish

            Sky                                                      Birds

3          Land                            6                      Beasts

            Vegetation                                          Man

 

            Instead of having been produced by gods locked in deadly con-

flict, the universe is the beautiful and orderly product of the one

wise, creative Mind. On the first day temporal separation was

achieved by the separation of light from darkness. On the second

and third days spatial separation was achieved. The sky was sepa-

rated from the water on the second day, but no pronouncement of

good was given because spatial separation was not yet complete.

Only with the separation of land, the third life supportive system,

did God pronounce the spatial separation as good or complete.

The parallelism of the last three days with the first three is

 

2 Ronald Youngblood, "Moses and the King of Siam," Journal of the

Evangelical Theological Society 16 (Fall 1973): 219.

 



30 / Bibliotheca Sacra - January 1976

 

apparent. Whereas on the first day there was light, on the fourth

day the light was localized into luminaries; whereas on the second

day the water and sky were separated, on the fifth day the fish were

created to fill the seas and the birds to fill the skies; whereas land

and vegetation were created on the third day, on the sixth day the

land animals and man were formed to live on the land and to be

sustained by its vegetation.

            Unlike Marduk who needed the wisdom of his father Ea in

order to effect the creation, Yahweh acted alone in His sublime

intelligence. Isaiah inferred this contrast when he asked:

            Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD,

                        Or as His counselor has informed Him?

            With whom did He consult and who gave

                        Him understanding?

            And who taught Him in the path of justice

                        and taught Him knowledge,

            And informed Him of the way of understanding?

                                                                                    (Isa. 40:13-14).

 

            Isaiah's point, however, is not clear in this translation found in

the New American Standard Version. The following translation by

R. N. Whybray more accurately captures Isaiah's thought:

            Who has understood the mind of Yahweh,

                        or who was his counselor, who instructed him?

            Whom did he consult for his guidance,

                        and who taught him the way to achieve order,

            And showed him how to exercise creative skill?3

           

Four crucial differences separate the two translations:

                        Comparison of Whybray and NASB

            Hebrew           NASB                         Why bray

            NKT              directed                      understood

            HUr                  Spirit                           mind

            FPwm      justice                         to achieve order

            tvnUbT     understanding creative skill

 

            The verb NKT can be translated "directed" or "understood"

(Ezek. 19:25, 29; 33:17-20; Prov. 16:2; 21:2; 24:12; 1 Sam. 2:3).

The translation "understood" is preferred here to "directed" because

 

3 R. N. Whybray, The Heavenly Counsellor in Isaiah xl 13-14 (Cambridge:

At the University Press, 1971), p. 18.



                   The Theology of Genesis I - Continued /    31

 

in verse 12 the same verb undoubtedly means "to measure." In fact,

in verse 12 the NASB translated NKT "to measure." One would nor-

mally assume that the word would have the same meaning in the

next verse. Moreover, the notion of "measure" fits this passage

better. Isaiah is asking, "Who has measured the mind of Yahweh?"

i.e., "Who has comprehended it?" or as the Septuagint correctly

interpreted it, ti<j e@gnw nou?n kuri<ou: "Who has known the mind

of the Lord?" In another connection Paul asked that same question:

"Who has known the mind of the Lord?" (1 Cor. 2:16).

            As to the second difference, Whybray follows the Septuagint

translation of "mind" rather than the more normal rendering "spirit"

for the word HUR. In deciding this issue it should be noted first that

HUR can mean "mind." In Ezekiel 20:32 it is in the HUR that a

thought or plan is formed. Similarly 1 Chronicles 28:12 refers to

the plan which David "had in mind" to build the temple of Yahweh.

Second, it should be noted that the principal verbs in these verses

are fdy ("to know") (40:13, 14b), Nyb ("to understand") (40:14a),

dml ("to train"). The emphasis in these verbs is on "knowing,"

"understanding," "thinking." Therefore, the Septuagint once again,

followed by Paul, has probably given us the true sense by opting for

"mind" rather than "spirit."

            A third difference between Whybray and the NASB is in the

rendering of FPwm. The basic meaning of this word is "to establish

the heavenly norm or pattern on earth." Normally this concept is

applied to society, i.e., the bringing of society into the right order or

arrangement. In this sense it is translated "justice." But in three

passages its meaning is applied to a building. In Exodus 26:30; 1

Kings 6:38; and Ezekiel 42:11 this word is used in reference to the

design of the tabernacle, the temple of Solomon, and the future

temple prophesied by Ezekiel, respectively. Significantly, in all these

passages it refers to the design or arrangement of God's dwelling

place. Once again, Whybray has opted for the better sense, though

unquestionably it is the more unusual one, for in this passage Isaiah

is speaking of God as the Creator, the Designer of the world. For

example, in verse 12 he speaks of God holding the whole creation in

His hands; in verse 22 he says that God has stretched out the heavens

like a curtain; and in verse 26 he says that Yahweh created the stars.

The notion of social justice does not fit the context, but the unusual

notion of constructing a building according to a design fits easily.

Isaiah is asking in effect, "under whom did God serve as an appren-

tice to learn how to fashion this building, this temple, if you please,

 



32 / Bibliotheca Sacra - January 1976

 

namely the cosmos?" In effect, the earth is God's temple where He

can fellowship with man.

            Regarding the fourth difference, tvnUbT can be used of those

who have technical skill in constructing God's buildings. It is used

of Bezaleel who had responsibility for the artistic designs of the

implements of the tabernacle (Exod. 31:3; 35:1); it is used of

Oholiab and every skillful person engaged in the tabernacle (Exod.

36:1); and it is used of Hiram who built Solomon's temple. This

sense parallels precisely the suggested sense for FPwm. Isaiah spoke

of God's skill in building His temple, the cosmos.

            It is concluded, therefore, that the intent of Isaiah's questions

is to show that God acted alone in the designing and fashioning of

this cosmos, His temple.

            Whybray has pointed out that in this passage we have another

polemic against the Babylonian creation myth. According to the

Enuma elish, Marduk, the storm god who was credited with the

creation, was counseled by his father Ea, the god of wisdom.

Whybray noted:

            One of the most striking features of this poem is the role of Ea, the

            father of Marduk. In several respects his influence outweighs that

            of Marduk, in spite of the latter's frequently proclaimed kingship.

            It is Ea "the all wise" (1:60) who devises and executes the scheme

            for slaying Apsu, "the begetter of the gods," and who renders power-

            less his adviser and vizier, Mummu; and it is he who begets Marduk.

            When Anshar, the president of the assembly, proposes that Marduk,

            as a young and vigorous god, should be chosen to avenge the gods

            against Tiamat, it is again Ea who gives advice to Marduk before

            the interview (II: 96ff.).4

 

            But in Yahweh's court there is none who can measure the

extent of His mind and serve as His counselor. By Himself and in

His supreme intelligence God fashioned the harmonious symbiotic

cosmos. In the light of this expression we can better understand what

we are in Christ: "We have the mind of Christ" (1 Cor. 2:16).

 

HIS GOODNESS

            The narrative recorded in Genesis 1 also taught God's people

the Creator's goodness. All that He made He called good; but more

than that, He gave it all to man as a gift. All was under the dominion

of Yahweh and He in turn had committed the dominion of the earth

to man. Here indeed was a benevolent Despot.

 

4 Ibid., p. 76.

 



                          The Theology of Genesis I - Continued / 33

 

            The separation of the elements into their life supportive systems

enabled man to live. The heavenly bodies not only served as an

example of rulership but also served to enable man to observe the

seasons and times as he took part in the historical process, in which

sphere the Creator was pleased to display His other sublime moral

attributes of justice, righteousness, grace, and truth. The animals

were under man's sway, and the herbs, vegetation, and fruit provided

for his physical needs. It was not good that man should be alone,

and so God made him a counterpart equal with himself.

            Moreover, whereas everything else was created remotely from

God, man came directly from the heart, hand, and nostrils of God.

The vegetation sprang from the earth, the sea creatures originated out

of the sea, and the beasts likewise trace their origin back to the earth.

All these were created through the mediacy of other agents. But not

man. At the chronological pyramid of creation stands man, and

nothing stands between him and God. He originated from the hand

and breath of God. The Creator resolved in His heart to make him:

"Let us make man in our own image and our likeness" (Gen. 1:26).

Here then is God's counterpart; not His equal, but one sharing His

nature and dominion. Man too is crowned with glory and honor, as

the psalmist stated (Ps. 8). As God is a plurality so also is man a

plurality. "Let us," said the Creator and He made "them." Both are

a plural unity. On him the Creator pronounced His effective word of

blessing. The same word that brought the heavens and the earth into

existence placed His word of blessing on the head of man: "Be

fruitful and multiply." Surely Israel must have had a good self-image

that psychological necessity for mental health. Then the Creator

gave man, His image, the Sabbath rest.

            How different all this was from the Israelites' pagan neighbors.

The scriptural story is a breath of fresh air in a stagnant room; it is

light in the midst of darkness. According to Tablet VI of Enuma

elish, man was created from the blood of Kingu, a rebel deity, and

for the purpose of doing the work of the gods. The text reads:

            They bound him Kingu] holding him before Ea,

            They imposed on him guilt and severed his blood (vessels).

            Out of his blood they fashioned mankind:

            He [Ea] imposed the service and let free the gods.

            After Ea, the wise, had created mankind,

            Had imposed upon it the service of the gods

            That work was beyond comprehension ....5

 

5 James B. Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old

Testament (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1955), p. 68.

 



 

34 / Bibliotheca Sacra - January 1976

 

            The creation myth, then, underscored in the minds of its cele-

brants that they were slaves. Sarna observed, "The position and

function of man in the scheme of creation paralleled precisely the

status of the slaves in Mesopotamia."6

            Moreover, one should note the contrast in viewpoints toward the

seventh day. In contrast to the blessed nature and refreshment of

Israel's Sabbath, the seventh day in Mesopotamia was a day of bad

luck. Those pagans feared that their work would not prosper on the

seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-eighth days of the

month, days which were connected with the four phases of the

moon. Concerning these days Cassuto wrote: "These days, to which

must be added the nineteenth of the month, which occurs seven

weeks after the beginning of the preceding month, were regarded as

unlucky days on which a man should afflict himself, eschew plea-

sures, and refrain from performing important work, for they would

not prosper."7

            It is against this environment and background that one can

appreciate the Bible and the God of grace who revealed His benevo-

lent virtues to man.

 

                            OTHER CREATION PASSAGES

 

            Having considered the basic text bearing on creation and chaos

and its theological implications, the writer now turns to other texts

of the Old Testament to test and to clarify his conclusions about

creation and chaos. Most writers regard the divergent texts about

creation as contradictory and make no attempt to harmonize them.

But this skepticism is unworthy of a book that bears the earmarks

of an Author in whom there is no confusion.

 

PSALM 104

            An analysis of Psalm 104 reveals that the author celebrates the

works of God essentially according to the six creative days

of Genesis.

                                    Psalm 104 and Genesis 1

Day                             Text                             Ps. 104           Gen. 1

1          "covering yourself with light"           2a                    3-5

2          "stretching out the heaven"               2b-4                6-8

 

6 Nahum M. Sarna, Understanding Genesis (New York: Schocken Books,

1972), p. 7.

7 Umberto Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Genesis, trans. Israel

Abrahams, 2 vols. (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1961 and 1964), 1:66.

 



 

                                          The Theology of Genesis I - Continued / 35

 

3          He established the earth/set            

            a boundary for [the deep]                  5-9                  9-10

            (Description of rain and springs]     10-11 

            He causes the grass to grow 14-18              11-13

4          He made the moon . . . sun               19-20              14-19

6          the young lions roar/man goes forth                      

            to his work                                         21-23              24-31

5          "There is the sea/and leviathan,                   

            which you formed to sport in it."     24-26              20-23

 

            It is apparent that the poet-psalmist has signaled out the sea

and its creature, leviathan, for special emphasis by placing the

creation of the fifth day after the sixth. In the light of the pagan

myths it is quite clear that his intentions are polemical. Whereas

in the pagan creation myths the sea and its monster were dreaded

manifestations of the hostile cosmic forces, the inspired poet cli-

mactically declared that these, too, are the work of God.

            But the crucial verse in this discussion is verse 6. Here

it is stated that in the creation God covered the earth with the MvhT.

("the deep") as with a garment. At first glance this seems to con-

tradict this writer's analysis of Genesis 1:2, for it seems to say that

God created the deep referred to there. Psalm 104:6 reads: "Thou

didst cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters were

standing above the mountains." The waters referred to here, how-

ever, are not the flood mentioned in Genesis 1:2, but the flood men-

tioned in connection with Noah, recorded in Genesis 6:9. Several

reasons are suggested in support of this view:8

            First, though the psalm is structured after Genesis 1, it is not a

cosmogony. It is a description of the earth as it is now. The per-

spective is not that of the origin of creation, but of a man living

after the events of the early chapters of Genesis. For example, the

psalmist speaks of the cultivated grains: "He causes the grass to

grow for the (domesticated cattle, and vegetation for the labor of

man, so that he might bring forth bread from the earth" (v. 14).

According to Genesis 2:6 and 3:17-18, however, cultivated grains

and the bread from them did not originate until after the Fall of

man. Moreover, the psalmist speaks in verse 13 of God watering

 

8 For a contrary analysis see Arch Rutherford, "The Relationship of Psalm

104 to the Doctrine of Creation" (Th.M. thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary,

1971), pp. 27/ff.

 



36 / Bibliotheca Sacra - January 1976

 

the mountains from His upper chambers--again a situation that

did not prevail until after the Fall of man, according to Genesis 2:5-6.

Then, too, he speaks of God's creatures dying and returning to the

dust: "You hide your face and they are dismayed; You take away

your spirit and they expire and return to the dust" (v. 29). On the

other hand, he insists that creation continues now. Verse 30 reads:

"You send forth Your spirit and they are created; and You renew

the face of the ground." The psalmist, then, is not giving a cos-

mogony, but a description of creation as it is now.

            Second, the psalmist states that this flood will never again cover

the earth. "You set a boundary that they [the flood waters of v. 6]

may not pass over; that they may never again cover the earth" (v. 9).

How could he have the flood of Genesis 1:2 in mind when later in

the time of Noah, God once again unleashed the destructive sea and

once again covered the earth? Surely, the psalmist must have had in

mind the deluge at the time of Noah, for it was only after this flood

that God promised never again to destroy the earth with a flood

(Gen. 9:11).

            Third, the terminology of Psalm 104:6 is precisely the same

as that used in connection with the flood in Genesis 7:19: "And the

water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high

mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered." This view

agrees with Morris and Whitcomb, who interpret verse 6 in connec-

tion with the Noahic flood.9

            Fourth, it is significant to note that the psalmist begins crea-

tion with light, not with an earth devoid of form and covered with

darkness. This psalm, then, does not differ from the proposed

exegesis of Genesis 1.

            But the point of the psalm should not be missed. The purpose

of creation is doxological: "Bless the LORD, oh my soul! Oh LORD

my God, Thou art very great" (v. 1).

 

JOB 38:4-11

            This passage may be divided into two equal parts, with four

lines in each stanza: the creation of the earth (vv. 4-7), and the

creation of the sea (vv. 8-11).

            The issue here is whether this poem can be harmonized better

with the state described in Genesis 1:2 or with the creation of the

dry land and sea on the third day as described in Genesis 1:9-10.

 

9 John C. Whitcomb, Jr., and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood (Phila-

delphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1964), p. 77.

 



                        The Theology of Genesis I - Continued / 37

 

To put it another way, is the earth referred to in Job 38:4 the

unformed earth or the dry land separated from the sea?

            The key to the correct harmonization of Job 38:4-7 with

Genesis I is found in the metaphorical word dsy "to found," "to

establish" (v. 4). In this highly evocative poem God is likened to a

builder, an architect, constructing His magnum opus. He begins by

preparing its footings and finally finishes the foundation by laying

the chief cornerstone. It seems impossible to harmonize this imagery

with the  Uhbv Uht of Genesis 1:2, which means precisely the oppo-

site. In Isaiah 34:11 the metaphor of building was used but with the

opposite intent. Instead of using the line and plummet for erecting

the house, God was there using them to dismantle the house. After

He had dismantled it He ended with Uhbv UhT, which means "not

built." How, then, could Job's imagery of building refer to the

unformed state of Genesis 1:2? The notions are contradictory. On

the other hand, there is nothing inconsistent here with applying the

metaphor to the triumphant command, "Then God said, Let the

waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the

dry land appear" (Gen. 1 :9).

            This harmonization is further confirmed by the description of

the seas. The poet does not have in mind the formation of a deep

which covered the unformed earth as depicted in Genesis 1:2. He

means precisely the opposite. He has in view a sea under very

restricted limits. Using the figure known as hypoctastasis, God asks,

"Who enclosed the sea with doors?" (v. 8), and then He continued,

"I placed boundaries on it, and I set a bolt and doors, and I said,

‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther; and here shall your proud

ways stop' " (vv. 10-11 ). This imagery can only be harmonized with

the command in Genesis 1:9, "Let the waters below the heavens be

gathered into one place." The mention of darkness with the sea

(which might cause one at first to think of the unformed state in

Genesis 1:2) must be associated from the context with the darkness

under God's creative design after the first day.

            As the Creator calmed the turbulent sea, so this revelation from

God quieted the temptuous spirit of Job.

 

PROVERBS 8:22-31

            By means of soliloquy the wisdom poet seeks to show the

primacy of wisdom. In the poem, wisdom claims to have existed

prior to and at the time of God's first created acts. The issue is, What

does wisdom include among God's creative acts? By implication the

 



38 / Bibliotheca Sacra - January 1976

 

"depths and springs" mentioned in verse 24 are included among

God's creative acts.

            Many commentators assume that the "depths" spoken of in

verse 24 refer to the MvhT mentioned in Genesis 1:2. If this is so,

then wisdom is including the state mentioned in Genesis 1:2 as

among God's creative acts, and the present writer's analysis of

Genesis 1:1-3 must be wrong. On the other hand, it should be noted

that MvhT is used over thirty times in the Old Testament to designate

the oceans which came into existence on the second and third days

as part of God's creative process in separating out the spatial ele-

ments of the cosmos. Indeed, the mention of "deeps" as plural in

the passages favors this latter interpretation, for the "oceans" formed

on these days are mentioned frequently in the plural.

            An analysis of the structure of the Proverbs passage will con-

firm the thesis that the "depths" should be understood as those

formed on the second and third days, and not the depths covering

the unformed earth mentioned in Genesis 1:2.

            Gemser noted the formal resemblance of verses 22 to 31 with

the Egyptian and Babylonian hymns of creation.10 That is helpful,

but even more helpful is the realization that the structure is pre-

cisely like that of Genesis 1:1-3,11 as seen in the following analysis:

 

            I. Summary statement                                   8:22-23 (2 vv.)

               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.

            II. Circumstantial clauses                             8:24-29 (6 vv.)

                 A. Negative situation: "when-not-yet" sea or land.

                                                                                    8:24-26 (3 vv.)

                        1. When there were no depths I was brought forth,

                             when there were no springs abounding with water.

                        2. Before the mountains were settled,

                             before the hills I was brought forth;

                        3. While He had not yet made the earth and the fields,

                             for the first dust of the world.

 

10 Cited by William McKane, Proverbs: A New Approach (Philadelphia:

Westminster Press, 1970), p. 352.

11 Cf. Bruce K. Waltke, "The Creation Account in Genesis 1:1-3; Part III:

The Initial Chaos Theory and the Precreation Chaos Theory," Bibliotheca

Sacra 132 (July-September 1975): 226-28.



The Theology of Genesis I - Continued / 39

 

B. Positive situation: "When He made" heaven, sea, land.

                                                                                    8:27-29 (3 vv.)

            1. When He established the heavens, I was there,

                        when He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep,

            2. When He made firm the skies above,

                        when the springs of the deep became fixed,

            3. When He set for the sea its boundary,

                        so that the water should not transgress His command,

                        when he marked out the foundations of the earth.

 

III. Main clause: waw consecutive with prefixed conjugation form.

                                                                                                8:30-31 (2 vv.)

            Then I was beside Him, as a master workman;

                        and I was daily His delight,

                        rejoicing always before Him,

            Rejoicing in the world, His earth,

                        and having my delight in the sons of men.

 

            It is clear that in five of the six lines of the circumstantial

clauses, wisdom has in mind the creative acts of the second and third

days when God achieved the spatial separation of the universe. The

positive circumstantial clauses (vv. 27-29) speak of the separation

of the heavens from the springs of the deep and of the separation

of the earth from the sea. Here too is further confirmation that the

analysis of Job 38:4 is correct because the same imagery of a

builder laying a foundation is used, and here it is clearly in con-

nection with the separation of the waters from the dry land.

            Moreover, it is also certain that in the negative circumstantial

clauses of verses 25 and 26 the poet, characterizing the earth by

mountains and hills, fields and dust, obviously does not have in

mind an earth unformed and unfilled. So then the earth in view

is the earth that appeared on the third day of creation. If five of

the six lines clearly speak of the creation that occurred on the

second and third days, and the one remaining line (v. 24) can refer

to that time, is it not probable that this is actually the case? Should

not an ambiguous line be interpreted by the unambiguous ones?

In a word, nothing in the context suggests that the poet has in mind

the state described in Genesis 1:2. It is therefore concluded that

Proverbs 8:24 is best harmonized with the creation of the sea on

the second and third days.


 


40 / Bibliotheca Sacra - January 1976

 

            Once again the text can be harmonized, and it need not be

concluded that the scriptural accounts of creation are incompatible

with one another.

 

ISAIAH 45:7

           

            This is the only verse in Scripture which states that God created

darkness. He is said to be "the One forming light and creating dark-

ness, causing well-being and creating calamity." How can this state-

ment be harmonized with the view that in Genesis 1 God did not

create the darkness? Two answers may be given in response to this

question. Since God incorporated the darkness as part of His crea-

tion (in order to provide temporary separation), He may well have

had in view this act of the first day. In this sense one can say that

God formed the light and even created the darkness. This writer,

however, prefers a different solution--an answer that views this

verse in its larger context as part of the conclusion to the Cyrus

oracle in Isaiah 44:24-45:4. In 44:24-28 God calls Cyrus His

shepherd who would release His people from the restraint of the

Babylonian captivity and in 45:1-4, He calls Cyrus His Messiah

("anointed") who would smash Israel's oppressors. On the one

hand, then, Yahweh's servant brings peace for God's people; and

on the other hand, Cyrus brings destruction on Israel's enemies.

Cyrus is the author of both peace and calamity; or to use meta-

phorical terms, he is the author of both light and darkness. But the

one who called Cyrus to his twofold task is none other than Yahweh,

the Author of both.

 

                                                CONCLUSION

 

            The creation account of the Old Testament finds its full expli-

cation in Jesus of Nazareth, the God-man. As God, He is the

Creator, the One full of light, life, wisdom, and goodness. As man,

He is the One who is bringing the earth under His dominion. The

earth that the first Adam lost to Satan through his disobedience

to the command of God is being reclaimed by the Second Adam

through His obedience to the Cross. He is presently winning it back

by His spiritual victories in the lives of men and He will finally

put all things under His feet at the Second Advent.

John wrote about Him as the Creator: "In the beginning was

the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being

through Him; and apart from Him nothing came into being that

 



                      The Theology of Genesis I - Continued / 41

 

has come into being. In Him was life; and the life was the light of

men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness did

not comprehend it" (John 1:1-5).

            Paul also wrote about Christ as the Creator: "For Him all

things were created, both in the heavens, and on earth, visible and

invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-

all things have been created through Him and for Him. And He is be-

fore all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Col. 1:16-17) .

And the writer of the Book of Hebrews spoke of Him as the

man who will bring all things under His dominion: "He did not

subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speak-

ing. But one has testified somewhere, saying, ‘What is man, that

Thou rememberest him? Or the son of man, that Thou art concerned

about him? Thou hast made him for a little while lower than the

angels; Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, and hast

appointed him over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all

things in subjection under his feet.’ For in subjecting all things to

him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not

yet see all things subjected to him" (Heb. 2:5-8).

 

 

 

This material is cited with gracious permission from:

Dallas Theological Seminary

            3909 Swiss Ave.

            Dallas, TX   75204           

www.dts.edu

Please report any errors to Ted Hildebrandt at:  thildebrandt@gordon.edu