“In the beginning, God…”
The secrets of the very beginning of all things that have ever been, have been here for millennia, for any ordinary person to read. These are the weighty mysteries from which unfold our own beginnings, the meaning of life.
From tranquility to tumult, covering a vast span of time and yet also the tiniest increment of a moment, less than a blink, God spoke, and it was so. God spoke the equation for light, a language we now know, the language of physics, and there was light. We can describe that power, which makes “light” light, but only God actually has that power. When He speaks in the language of physics, He brings into existence what never was before.
Science always seems to be catching up with God. The phrase ‘junk DNA’ is a case in point. As scientists became more adept at gene sequencing, they came across lots of DNA pieces that seemed to have no purpose, and weren’t in use. Researchers surmised this was simply a byproduct of evolution, little bits and pieces cluttering up the helix, no longer needed by the now more complex organism. But, somewhere around 2010, after years of tedious work, laboriously coding and studying every little tiny bit on a DNA strand, scientists discovered an intriguing fact. It’s not junk! All of it has a purpose.
Honestly, that just makes sense. What scientists discover next is not going to somehow disprove something God said here, in the pages of scripture. Theories come and go, but God’s word endures forever. All the discovery of facts in our world is ever going to do is corroborate the true accounts right here in the scriptures.
Commentators have gone over this book with every kind of fine-toothed comb. Reading their thoughts has formed and shaped the writing of these chapters. And yet, teaching what this book means has worked its wisdom and power even deeper into our own inward beings.
Day 1 of forming
In the beginning there was only God. There was no light and dark, there was no sound, or space, there was no passage of time, or movement of any kind. There was no such thing as “senses” to sense His presence, and even if there were, there was nothing for the senses to sense.
In this profound void God’s Spirit hovered, then God spoke. In English, He said, “Let there be light.” But what about His original language? What did God really say? Did He speak the language of the Hebrews? Did He say, “hayah ‘owr”? Or did He speak an even more ancient language, a language of power that only begins to fathom, measure, and count one small part of this one creative work?
This is a set of four equations called Maxwell’s equations, the four key equations of electricity and magnetism. Along with light came all the laws that govern the physical universe, the laws of physics.
God set aside an entire day to do this one act of creation. Though the actual moment of creation took an increment of time so small we can hardly measure it, 10−36 seconds, God dedicated a whole time period to bringing forth this massive act of creation.
Day 2 of forming
The word, here, in Hebrew is “asa” which means to manufacture, fabricate, and construct. Imagine this swirl of matter and energy, glowing in space. Then, in a sort of centrifugal motion, God separated matter. As matter cooled, God spread some elements into something less solid. The Hebrew word ‘rakia’ describes an expansion; a space was created. If you were looking up from earth’s surface, you would see an arch forming over the earth getting thinner and thinner as it expanded outward. Uncanny how this works, but these two Hebrew words, “asa rakia,’ together portray a very accurate description of our atmosphere which stretches out over 100 miles high, gradually thinning out.
Again, God set aside an entire time period, called “day,” to spread out earth’s atmosphere.
Day 3 of forming
The pace quickens, events transpire. We don’t get a detailed geological account of how the ground took shape. On day three the existence of solid ground is presumed underneath the water that covered earth. Now God raised up portions of the earth’s crust, rich with the minerals and the necessities for life already in it, ready for plants to grow from.
Remarkably, but not surprisingly, part of what scientists call the fine tuning of the earth is earth’s ratio of 29 percent land surface to 71 percent water surface. Through this design, God provided the absolute maximum possible diversity and complexity for sustainable life.
And here it came, the first burst of life, a sudden profusion of plants, each according to its kind, an amazing array that is reflected in the growing fossil record we have today. Along with life, God called forth the laws of nature, completing the forming of the earth into a home ready to be filled.
(Before we can figure out theology, we have to figure out what’s going on in the text itself. This is my 360° view of this incredible passage of scripture. After we’ve gotten grounded in the story, let’s explore what it means. Next, “Filling the form…”)