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Genesis 1-4 and on to 11
How can you understand the End
If you do not grasp the Beginning!
You hear talk of Genesis 1 and 2, of two beginnings and the like.
What is it like ? It is like saying this: You have two beginnings, a navel and a backbone. Now in fact, your backbone formed relatively early, and helped to make you distinguishable in the womb, and your navel did not gain its present configuration until the end, when the umbilical cord was severed. These are but forms of initiation.
So here. There is the STRUCTURAL announcement of Genesis Ch. 1, putting the picture into you (and in passing, you into the picture), and then comes the PROCEDURAL declaration of Genesis Ch. 2, and not this only, but 2-4, until in fact the NEXT topic is announced in Genesis 5:1: the generations, history, record, account of Adam in his ongoing race, hit outcomes.
If you need earlier introduction to beginnings, you might well find A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 9 and The Biblical Workman Ch. 7, a good introduction. For good measure, you may wish further to turn to Answers to Questions Ch. 8 with News 97: for there you see something of the efforts men can make, as witless of what they do, or wittingly, they wriggle and wrest the word of God; but it does not move. Their hands merely hit the stone, and are cut.
Let us then look closely at Genesis 1-4, and see the form and structure, and actually witness the text speaking for itself. If your need is Hebrew, E.J. Young’s Studies in Genesis One is a brilliantly delightful work, one of those quiet classics which so remind one of the man, a most instructive Professor, justly famed. He had a capacity for one to disagree at some point, and even to admire the presentation, a feature that was quite unusual.
Now let us proceed to the actual differentiation between Genesis 1 and 2-4, covered at the outset by this ANNOUNCEMENT, IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED. There is something which does not have, as does Genesis 2:4 and 5:1, and so on, a reference to the GENERATIONS or HISTORY or REPORT or ongoing account of the results and productivity, productions and trend, of the PRECEDING epoch, era or event. Thus Genesis 2:4 is giving the OUTCOMES to be met from the CREATION; and Genesis 5:1 is giving the outcomes from Adam, that is, the racial realities accruing.
In the BEGINNING, there WERE no preliminaries; there WAS no preceding situation. As Young shows so clearly, there is no possible alternative in grammar, to this. In the beginning, God created. There was nothing before the beginning … but God, who did the creating. All the rest have “generations’; this, it is a matter of being GENERATED, SO THAT there even COULD be any generations, any account, any outcomes to record! The start ? This is it. It is as in John 1:1: at the first there was God, and of course His word, God (the Bible knows no other cf. Ch. 5 above) Expressive, who was with God as well as being God, for God has His own way of being, just as we do. Ours is derivative, a matter of an account of things made; but His is, without being made, also what it is (Exodus , John , -23). It is not predictable in its FORM, but it is discoverable by His declaration and works.
The creation accomplished by God, as signified by the phrase “the heaven and the earth”, is what it is. The book of Genesis then proceeds to fill in HOW it came to be what it is, namely what we, to whom this book is addressed, CALL the heavens and the earth, the astronomical magnitudes and differentiae, with their space, and gravity and whatever other components the Divine One inserted in His creation (which as Young points out, is NEVER a WORD used with the MATERIAL USED included, in the Hebrew).
OPENING UP Genesis 1
as a LEAD to Genesis 2-4
The NEXT PHASE in terms of the Listing Method God Uses in this Book
Genesis 1 is public domain. It is a record. It is orientation to the whole universe, its sense, its meaning, its basis, and its unique generation into being. We see the sequence, marked by days in the same sense that we use them, in numerical terms, listing them in the only way a list is used in the Old Testament, relative to days: chronological order. This is the unique use of “day” with ordinal numbers (as reflected for example in Genesis 1:8,13,19). Day one, so named, does not mean day 2, or 3, or any hybrid, conception or contraception. It means day 2. That is the nature of the language. In specifying our vocabulary (consistently throughout) for meaning and the derivation of what is meant, we are given first in Genesis 1, the itemisation of the event, the breaking down of the parts, not analytically, but in terms of diurnal efforts, expressly SO-CALLED, such as related to heaven and earth, the topic in view.
We are not to understand that the author is using some quaint, starry vocabulary of the cognoscenti, some ultra-sophisticated coding that is designed to elude meaning, and to prevent understanding. It is not so that we find ourselves addressed, as people wanting answers, not gnostics delighting in weird and incomprehensible wonders, expressed in a jangling or jiggling jargon, obscure by preference, and useless because of ignorance (cf. Proverbs 8:8). The case is direct, coded in sequence, deliberate in manner, simple in form, precise in formula, mutually related in concept, progressive in outcome, summed up in Genesis 2:1 as a DAY, in the sense that it is all ONE, though it has of course had its components as previously specified.
We are given a highly precise and simply coded report of what happened. Eisegesis - that grafting of one person’s thought onto the words of another - if it wants to intrude here, is like having a scientific treatise regarded as an account of existential longings. It simply does not fit the method, the announcements, the sequence or the outcomes. It has nothing to do with it, except that human desire to intrude into the word of God, which sometimes suppressed, nevertheless can operate man like a lever.
Here however there is nothing to do but read it and find out what happened, so that we proceed from “in the beginning”, to arithmetically designated stages, called days, complete with evenings and mornings, set in a specific and detailed astronomical and terrestrial setting, leading on to the next step. That ? It is not some metaphysical dissertation, some romance: it is the history of outcomes. Repeatedly we are TOLD this (Genesis 5:1, 10:1).
THIS was the income. NOW the outcome. All is structured, whether the time units, the assemblage of the results, or the outcome of those results: man next under the microscope of history.
In Genesis 1, verse 2 as Young points out, even begins with “the earth” and not the grammar of continuation, of some ‘construct’ form of the noun in verse 1. Verse 2 is a fresh start and not a combination for an initial idea. If it were to be forced into the 'construct' form, then this would constitute something contrary to usage; for in the Old Testament, such a form as the construct, he declares, is imparted either clearly from its specific content, its difference in spelling, or where the context demands it. In Genesis 1:1 neither condition is present. To assume it, therefore, would be simply gratuitous and to impose desire on the text, instead of vice versa.
It would be contrary then to the treatment of any other biblical text, and simply presumed to arrive barbarically and uniquely, without reason or requirement, a maverick of the inventive mind, but not that of the author. God is not an author of confusing ambiguity as Proverbs 8:8 makes clear. The report He here gives is not an essay in misunderstanding. You can do what you like if you assume an author an idiot; a procedure not to be facilely undertaken, and less so, to an infinite degree with God!
the grammatical requirements are even more stringent: but for this, one should
consult the Hebrew summations in Young*1. It is presumably for such reasons
that the Massoretic text accentuation indicates the absolute and not the
construct form for 'beginning' which is the AV rendering, In the beginning, God
created the heaven and the earth. For such reasons likewise, the ancient
versions of Genesis took it in just the same way. Only by violence and violation
of the text can it be avoided.
It is presumably for such reasons that the Massoretic text accentuation indicates the absolute and not the construct form for 'beginning' which is the AV rendering, In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. For such reasons likewise, the ancient versions of Genesis took it in just the same way. Only by violence and violation of the text can it be avoided.
Besides all this, of course, in Genesis 2:1, we are told that this –
§ “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.”
It was not in some other way, such as having long ages here or there or by things unknown and imagined, by paths wholly unevoked by the text, or by means to be constructed not by God, but by imagination. It was in this way. These things, as announced are constitutive of the action for this result. Which result ? Creation.
Again, in Genesis 2:4, building naturally enough on this, since it went before, we find this: that this is the history of these bodies, of this environment, when they were created, in the day when they were created. Thus the two points, apposed, as directions, and not opposed, present this fact.
Ø The heavens and the earth are the result of an action which is finished.
Ø That action was one of creation.
Ø The way in which they were created is what has been stated in Genesis 1.
We are told about the things: heaven and earth. That is the subject, the focus, the matter in view, in hand, in mind. We are told about the method of their reaching their finished condition. It was one of creation. It was not something which was, then added to; it was not pure metal, if you like, so that we are shown how it was turned, manufactured into the format of a car. No, this is a direct contradiction of the text.
The topic is not cars, of course, but heavens and earth, but perhaps the illustration will make the distinction the more readily grasped for the eye of thought. The question is this: HOW were they brought into being. Heavens and earth cover all that is in the field of creation. Its method of arrival is tersely in one word brought to light. It was creation. Suppose momentarily that it was pre-existence PLUS creation. Then it would quite simply be a LIE to affirm that its method of creation, this heavens and earth, was creation. It would not be so. It would then rather be PRE-EXISTENCE fussed up with creation. Heaven and earth constitute all there is to account for apart from God; creation is then, the stated method which explains all there is apart from God.
It is a testimony of the first order to the alienation of the heart of man from the Lord, as in Ephesians 4:17-19, 2:2-4, that we find this Romans 1-like twisting which seeks or is misled to make an account of all that is outside God, termed creation in this direct way, to mean, by a mixture of ignoring the text and grammatical twisting and turning, better styled ungrammatical, NOT creation.
Thus, it would re-write, so that it was NOT all finished, this action of just BEING (pre-existing stuff), plus just doing some things to what was just being (modeling away on it, like a mechanic) in the day of creation. Rather it was in substance there before. IT was finished long before this!
What an enormity to adorn the long history of enormities used like whips to flagellate the word of God.
This flat contradiction does not adorn the history of thought! If you want to write a novel, by all means do so; but do not attribute it to God, or try to graft your pagan beliefs onto His word.
Such is the presentation of some.
However God does not think so; for as biblically expressed, He has this to say, if we follow the text and consider its statements, giving to each neither short change nor mere launching place for thought, status:
This is the outcome,
the history of the heavens and the earth in the day when they were created (Genesis 2:1,4).
¨ It was not some other day, some other way, this creative efflux.
¨ It was in this day, in this way, as given;
¨ and this day, and this way, it is conveniently and clearly declared to be ONE THING ONLY: Creation, which after all, is just what Genesis 1:1 clearly states, in the entire biblical context and procedure of linguistic utterance.
Thus there is no room for so much as a quiver away from the equally clear statement of Isaiah 45:18, and for that matter in John 1:1-3, where we find that the category of made things is in each and every instance the category, simultaneously, of things made by Christ, the word of God, Himself God, of whom the numerical attribute is ONE (cf. SMR pp. 532ff.).
Back then to the earlier text.
Don’t Forget the Earth
But now the earth, in Genesis 1, verse 2. We do not find any form of a verb, but the form of the earth. The dazzling fact of God’s creation is followed by the featured focus of the earth. That, after all, is where we are. It is not surprising that we should find ourselves quickly presented with it.
Its abrupt and singular entry into the field has a purpose, then. We focus this as our next port of call. What is to be said ABOUT IT ? Naturally, as would be the case if you were describing a baby being poured out from the womb (the language is intentional, to show by contrast the need to articulate such an affair with some more precision than that!), you would refer to what is KNOWN about the case, to instruct FROM THERE in terms of what is NOT YET known. The orifice would not be described in terms of a tap or a fountain, but of what is known. Language would not be designed to mislead, but to instruct.
As yet, however, in Genesis 1, we the audience, are not as such directly involved. We are seeing, if you like, how the builders built out home, before proceeding to a mystery involving the way the family lived thereafter when it got there.
What then is the case ? In Genesis 1, we are not, as it were, involved. We are treated to an account, like a rehearsal to a narrative, to bring us to the point where we now are.
Genesis 2-4 on the other hand tells us more also. This is HOW we got here, we ourselves, not some mere format: this, it is our position, or predicament, or personal background. It was not in some other way, it came to be for us as persons; for it was like THIS.
Ø Thus Genesis 1 is structural; Genesis 2-4 is more private, as if confidential, giving the client where HE fits into this (say in the case of medicine) preliminary account of the sort of disease he has. Genesis 1 is like medicine as distinct from the personal, in Genesis 2: for there is the result of YOUR own private X-ray, private blood test, the one which does not apply to a generality, but to the client. In this case, the client is … MANKIND.
Genesis 1 tells us that the BEGINNING was the creation; Genesis 2 tells us that the OUTCOMES were in terms of man, and in terms of events no less scenically spectacular, though a lot less beautiful, than the actual construction of the stage on which the ensuing drama was enacted.
what drama ? This,
From the chronological exactitude of the creation in its method and procedure so superbly revealed (cf. SMR pp. 171-179, Answers to Questions Ch. 8, The Biblical Workman Ch. 7), we turn now to a wholly diverse situation.
Let’s not get the RECORD STUCK! That’s not the way it works.
What then are these outcomes ? What did the creation coming to culmination in man, have to show at that high level, in the very image of God. The ground was made, the heavens constructed, the light invested in ruling bodies to the end of order.
All is done. Man ? What of him ?
We are now in an invented situation, the creation. What happens in it ? The account now changes. No more is it institutive and constitutive; it is specialised and a question of ethical qualities, interaction between the human and the divine, and consequences, not this time of creation as such, but of an element within it, man.
Now the components of the case are no more chronologically intended than are the elements in a room so to be construed by a detective. They will of course have a chronological significance, but in the basic thrust, the point is their causative inter-relation. If we knew the time of the event, or its generic place in time (as in this unique case, we do from Genesis 1), then now the concern is other. It is, to be sure, complementary; and the complementary things do relate to one another: but they do so as diverse, not identical! That is the nature of the complementary. Now the assemblage of events is to be construed causatively, relative to the action in view, if you will, the ‘crime’ (and it was more, not less than crime!).
Here, to pursue the comparison for clarity, here is the gun (item 1); there (item 2) is the body; then to be seen is the blood makes item 3), and its particular form (drops going Northward, leading to a pool) is item 4): and so on.
We are not at this point concerned with the date of the manufacture of the gun, so much as with the finger–prints upon it. Only should prima facie conflict of some kind arise (such as a date after that of the supposed murder, being that of the gun’s manufacture) would we expect such a datum as the date of manufacture of the gun to be of any immediate relevance, at the outset.
We are concerned, at first, with the primary elements causing, showing and defining the crime, such as in murder.
The order used, that in terms of which allusion is made in report, to these features: it will relate to the point, the purpose of the report. Thus first, the murderer entered the room, then grasping his gun, he shot the victim. Then, dragging his dead body, he caused the trail of blood. Interrupted, he ran, the body then depositing a pool of blood. Such is our imaginary and illustrative episode.
Now when the house was built, when the gun was made and so on, these are here incidental at this point. We do not feel obliged to research and report them, in chronological order of their origin! for our purpose is to show the crime in operation, and we selectively reveal items with a purpose, determination of the order in which THEY happened in this regard. It is crime not creation which is now the issue. It is this and not the date of their manufacture, which is now to the point!
To be sure, we might want to know the criminal’s age, in due course; but it is not immediately so relevant as are his actions, and the evidence, revealed in line with our causative concern, not for HIS ORIGIN, now, but for the END of the victim! The two interests are of extreme dissimilarity! Moreover, and in fact, in this case, we already know about the matter of origin, just having been told about it.
Now (in Genesis 2 in this instance), not their prior history, including manufacture or origin, is to the point, but their USE. This has become the order of the day; and it is now this which is applicable in the narrative of our report (in the crime case) and in God’s narrative of the report (in the mankind case, as in Genesis 2). Our record is not stuck; we do not endlessly repeat. Phase 1 is for its impartation; it is also for its preparation for phase 2. Chapter 2 is it.
If the case were, instead, how could we ever find a gun or a man, then in absolute terms, chronology and the identification of their pre-existing causation so that they come into being at all, would be crucial! IS there such a thing ? Do men or guns exist ? If this were the enquiry, we would be back in Genesis 1, in terms of illustration. Then the question of their being made would be central. Now however we not only know (being such things ourselves) that they exist, but HOW they came to exist. That is all over. That is Chapter 1. This is Chapter 2. These, they are not replays, but genesis and exposition of the result! We are even told the nature of the exposition in Ch. 2. We do not have to guess it, or even characterise it. It is all done for us.
Thus, we already hold a report on that topic, so that the new report, with no need to repeat, could and presumably would, now organise the items relative not to the mention of things, but to their misuse, since this is now the topic. What BECAME of it, at the summit level of mankind ? THIS is the current question for Ch. 2.
Thus the history, not yet of Adam’s people (which is to be found in Ch. 5:1 and what follows, and statedly so), but at this point, of the heaven end earth’s progress in results of their own, proceeds. As to that earth portion, known as man, the one equipped indeed with spirit from the Spirit of God: what did he do ? how did he fare ? what are we to understand of him, not only as a creation, but now: as an AGENT!
The scene is setting for blessedness, as so often leading into crime (Genesis 2:5-10). The elements of the case are now adduced to exhibit the relevant criminal action, and the judicial results.
Here then lies the situation as described in the first report (Genesis 1 in the Bible), of how things were around, created at all.
Now comes the causatively construed selection, the inter-personal causative inter-face. It is no more emphatic of their origin, but of their misuse, as already originated. THAT, at the first, was structural. This is situational.
We zoom in on earth which, though in public domain and in category, complete, finished, is now sent before our view, more intimately. Here is the garden where the creation in the second phase, that leading to crime (Genesis 2-4), in the biblical divisions (1:1, 2:4, 5:1), in fact occurred. First of all, there was no garden; but the elements were specially constructed, as is a stage on which players perform, on a street which was already there, long before placed down (Genesis 1). Man is not merely in a universe, but in a crafted garden. If the grand is to be found in the initial design, then the intimate is to be found in its usage.
Just as there HAD BEEN in the first public and categorical creation, no horticulture with its shrubs and crops, cultivated by on-site intelligence, concern, care, so now this is engineered (Genesis 2). The garden home is specifically constructed, modelled in its broader setting. There is here no question in the least degree relevant, as to when the horticultural implements were prepared. Our zoom narrative lens simply exhibits that this phase has been done. It is prepared. The components are now being set in place, revealed as such, as having been done.
Next is seen man – his genesis lightly touched (2:6), just as previously set in its chronological, institutive phase, in due system in the schema of creation. This is our touching on him as the sort of being who would do what we are about to find, in the Report. The beauty of this horticultural marvel is now addressed, its topographical detail is exposed, being named in comprehensible terms (cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 8, which gives these things systematically) and set in geographically significant location.
The two causative components for the crime (arising of course through misuse, as the style of the narrative dramatically emphasises) are now seen in mutual action. We need more, since woman as distinct from man, is material to the crime: they are company and companions. This is now duly provided (Genesis -23). In the horticultural marvel, we now see man, male and female, as divinely derived in a divinely wrought specialised pocket of creation, on a stage of beauty. Nor does he lack a script.
A TREE for TREASON
A prohibition has by now distinguished the intense realism of the scene (Genesis -19). A tree is not only for beauty; the very intensive order and plan of the whole prepared stage allots to it a double function.
Thus what is token of divine care, is also made example of divine authority, as of human accountability. Not for nothing is the garden made. Not for nothing is man made. Not for nothing are these (potentially) causative elements conjoined, in the ongoing situational saga.
It is a marriage of man, and blessed circumstance: leading to what ? Chapter 3, completes the report of this initial crime of mankind, its precise enactment following. It is here that we see this crime of man first originated (Ch. 1), but now in turn originating, not marvels of creation, but horrors of desecration, which have proceeded to abound, to and especially in our day, to a lethal and sub-terminal extent on our globe.
Yes, the report is still addressed to us, for all of God’s word is addressed to us; it is all instructive in righteousness (II Timothy ). Foolish is the one who tries to disassemble its elements or to confuse them or to act as if God were half-baked when He said some things, or had not made up His mind or needed refining, or some other desecratory, anthropomorphic logical absurdity (cf. SMR Chs. 1, 10, Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ Ch. 8). Iindeed, the theological case reminds us of the domestic one. It is like one who succeeds in doing precisely what is forbidden, ignoring what is said, while tormenting the orders given, into some crash-repair job of distortion. It is, in such a case, if if he will instruct God otherwise, in some very odd and alienated way, while seeking to USE the very word of God to do it!
“Go to your room!” says father. “He means, that I should go and get another CD for our players,” says Junior, and skips off to do just that, soon re-appearing with it, a smile betokening his innocence, rather than exhibiting it!
It is not the mere breach of authority which you see here; it is a ridiculous composure placed upon the most intensive defiance, clad in deceit. Alas, man can be self-deceived, but this text does not permit him scope to secure the deception, however he may fail himself, as if dedicated to more of the same, as from the first fall. There is of course always this difference: that the FALL whether from virginity or from truthfulness, can be something originative of a condition; whereas merely continuing to lie is a development of it.
Origin and development are not one. So here, the origin of man’s condition is not the same as its later development; but it IS a condition for it! The FALL of man is the current Report for Genesis Chapter 3. The circumstances of the case being noted in Genesis 2, the case resulting, this is to be seen in the scene of Genesis 3. The continuing results of that fall are seen in more detail in the ensuing section from the demarcated Genesis 5:1, and then further again in a later mark, at Genesis 10:1.
EVERYTHING is in its place: its status quo is accounted for; then its use is given. It is no different as between Genesis 1 and 2.
The causative base for the universe is first shown, and its procedural operations in the institution of the heavens and the earth, so that THUS were they created. That is exactly how these things were generated, this being the point at issue, and the methodology adopted. Now in the second section of Genesis marked out for us, Chs. 2-4, it is different. It is no more the institution and the method of it, but the misuse and the manner of it, which is in focus. There the way it arose is in view; here the collection of things is for the event. Now it is the issuance which is before us in emphasis; not the events, but the construction of action to follow.
There the panoply of order is exhibited on construction site (Gen. 1). Here the impurity of misuse occasions focus on the implements, the agents and the scene (Gen. 2) of the crime, as a thing largely given, only the specialised aspects relevant now being touched on, or noted before the point is reached: the DRAMA (Gen. 3).
What then is to be found in Chs. 2-4 ? The causative bases for man’s predicament are then exposed, collected now not for the purpose of their generation, but of their juxtaposition; not to explain any more their existence, but their function, and in particular, their malfunction, and that, not from design, but from the mischievous misuse of design, designedly, in seeking a place from which man is by nature excluded.
Not so however is ambition excluded: nor was it. He fell. Male and female, they both fell. The race fell. The creation in this inspirited version, it fell.
However, there is still further for us to consider in Genesis 2-4, yes within this second instalment of this account of man, his universe, his situation and his nature; together with his Creator, His action, its reason and its hope.
We are, then, in Genesis 3 as developed from Genesis 2, in strict and orderly procedure, looking at a marriage of man and blessed circumstance, specifically and specially so made for him, leading to … what ? Chapter 3 completes the report of the crime, featuring its enactment.
New causative elements are introduced in terms of male-female co-operation (the consequence as a TYPE of thing, of course, of their earlier described invention). What in scope and potential was thus so majestic in construction, and then so beautiful from the outset in intimacy and care, in physical and domestic environment, becomes an alliance of evil, in doom. Not in felicitous parallel is man with woman now to be found. Rather they confound each other. Each of them contributes - the man and the woman - a species of error: the woman first, in perverse misuse of her specialisation in “help” (Genesis 2:18); but the man just the same, at last, follows, This he does with a sort of spiritual obesity, following ploddingly so poor a lead, being himself in this, so poor a leader!
A creature likewise enshrines the presence of the Satan (Genesis 3:2-3)– the opposer, the antagonist, the adversary.
It speaks. She, Eve, listens (instead of directing as instructed, the lower creation). She falls. Man follows. He too is crucially at fault, as a follower, though it be.
Judicial results then accrue to both, allied with evident shame, showing in the hiding.
The irony is now complete. Aspiring to be what he cannot be, equal with God, a surveyor and purveyor of knowledge in his own right, autonomous though created, above it all, though derivative, man becomes less than innocent, a cursed creation*2, to which however, at once, the provision for redemption is made (Genesis 3:15). Man is then removed from this stage, and mingles with a cursed earth (Genesis 3:17,21ff.).
What has happened ? Yes, man DOES indeed find the symbolically named tree to have its power, but in a far from magical or miraculous manner. It is mundane in the extreme. The tree is mere occasion, like someone’s wallet, for a theft. It is just leather, that’s all. The tree, it is just a tree. However, it is the conscience and soul of the thief which changes when he takes its fruit, for this ACTION (merely involving an item, just as in any play, dramatic or domestic, we are likely to find, one or more items) unleashes a guilt for his person.
THIS is the new knowledge: that of shame, that of knowing evil because he now IS EVIL! The little drama was sordid, empty, worthless; which man-without-God, now quickly proceeds to show himself to be (as in Genesis 6:5, leading on to the flood).
The UNWHOLESOME WHOLE
and the WONDERFUL WAY BACK
Genesis Sections 3 - 4 and then … ?
So have the first three chapters unfolded their message, their specifications and their profundity, their majesty and their squalor. But the first is the first section; the second section is not two but three chapters, namely 2-4. More is to follow!
We have so far seen ORIGIN, SEQUENCE and OPERATION. The STRUCTURAL has yielded to the PROCEDURAL, the stage has become a parlour of action; the grandeur of creation has yielded, in an intimate and personal way, fitting to man in the image of his Creator, to the desecration. It is this which now has made him a sick soul, with a sick history. How sick it is, at once is revealed in Genesis 4, still within the crime setting and scenario division, the second 2-4 unit. Genesis 5 will lead on to proliferation of man and Genesis 6 will give his outstanding accomplishments socially, as an evil force, in digging, if it were possible, to the very brink of hell, while yet still on earth! (6:3,5). Let us however return to our current milieu, sections 1 and 2, as we survey the scene of Genesis 1-4.
The nature of each detailing is as befits the purpose; of each purpose as befits man’s knowledge, self-knowledge, awareness of his predicament and of its origins, wrapped in turn in the knowledge of the origin of all things, of which this small but vital segment is the most unmajestic part that dashes him from dealings with the divine as fitting for communication and even communion, to dealings with the devil, and the works of his own sin. In it, as we have seen, as Genesis , has come the plan of salvation in its first germinal disclosure, soon to be augmented in steps, also.
As these disclose - in parallel to his origin - his creation, his redemption, and both are things constructed, they too come in chronological order, culminating in Daniel 9, which actually dates the time at which the Redeemer would (as He later did) act to die for the sins of man, an offering sublime, but refined, available, but not dictated, necessary, but not available to the mere whim of man; just as it is not denied him, when in faith he calls.
So then, creation, preparation and alienation come in Genesis 1-3, with preparation now, for redemption already announced.
Genesis 4, this completes the second phase of the second section. It provides us with premeditated murder, or at least, murder from principle! Cain and Abel are the CHILDREN now. So we have another duo, and again, it is not a duet! On the contrary, it begins with emulation, disappointment and self-will, the fruit of uncovered sin. Both sons make an offering. With the false assessment of the way of redemption, Cain is not able to meet the divine desire. God does not approve his choice of offering, which shows the way he is conceiving approach to God: it is by his own ACHIEVEMENTS in God’s world that he hopes to become acceptable to God, and to receive His blessing. This is NOT the way, which required a cover, not a cover-up, from the first (Genesis ). “The LORD GOD made coats of skins, and clothed them.”
The very idea that they could then make peace with God by DOING something, when their very souls now had the knowledge of good and evil in the ironic and awful sense, of being evil, was defamatory of the glory of God. Yet God is gracious. Cain was wrong in making such an offering as he did; but it was not at once by any means fatal. In fact, God gave Him an exhortation about the matter. This was not heeded. Quite to the contrary, Cain went out and did his own thing, wrought his own desire, fulfilled his own conceptions, once again. He murdered the one who had done right before God! How often has this ‘solution’ been adopted since then! (cf. John 16:2 and the Inquisition, for example, and many of the Moslem massacres as in Ambon! to Australia’s north).
Look then first at the fact that Cain was given adequate opportunity to repent. The New American Bible puts it evocatively, if not as simply literally as some. For this former reason, we note it:
“So the LORD said to Cain:
‘Why are you so resentful and crestfallen? If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.’ ”
The New KJ more simply has it:
“Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
Opportunity and obligation alike are revealed, exposed to Cain. YOU SHOULD RULE OVER IT! The idea of a wild animal or creature lurking, waiting to spring which is presented to us, may be well brought out in the former version, but the latter introduces, if less colour, more certainty otherwise. The former translation however is given because that component of waiting, crouching is there.
Cain is astray. He need not be. There is no determinism. There is an antagonist, sin. It has a force that is dynamically, even strategically intrusive. That is all. Sin, then, having its origin as in Genesis Ch. 3, has its operation as in Ch. 4. It is as before, ordered and organized, this account, this report.
Man, having his origin as in Ch. 1, has his operational site in Ch. 2 and his operation in Ch. 3. Now sin, having its origin in Ch. 3 has its operational site in Ch. 4. Each mode is presented as one would expect: if origin, then in terms of the chronological sequence and operative power; if operation, then in terms of the related foci, features and implements, personal or other, and these then perform as we experience in reading it.
Chapter 4 goes further. It shows us civilisation in its tainted source (4:23-24), human building with its bluster, autonomous aspiration and its arrogance. The bud has become the flower; but it was and always remains until redemption, a flower of evil. It has many of the properties of a weed! (cf. Matthew 13:24-30).
So ends the second section, Chs. 2-4: operation of man, fall of man, operation of sin.
GENESIS SECTION 3
Chapter 5:1 introduces us to the sequence in the family of Adam, moving on to Chapter 6, where is found the acme of evil, and the flooding of it with a water which yet does not purge, though it does warn (cf. Matthew 24:38ff.). Likewise, it brings us to the deliverance divinely wrought in that epoch. We see two lines, the spiritual and the carnal, in mankind. From the line of Seth is found a wholesomeness unlike the rest, in that at last Enoch comes in this line in this family, spiritual, walking with God, and taken to Him! (Genesis 5:24). However, to the opposite extreme in development, in Ch. 6 we find an immersion in sin before the watery graveyard to judge it. Iniquity is endemic, pandemic, only Noah finding grace in the sight of the Lord.
Now we see the preparations, again chronologically ordered, for the next scene in the scenario. The specifications for the ark are duly provided, itemised for execution, systematically; and then the events unfold in their own order. This is followed, in its destructive potency, just as the creation was followed in its own order. The days of rain, the rising of the waters, the falling, the dove, the sprig, the evidence, the settling, all are disclosed, each in its step in the procedure. Days are noted in number, like an odometer for a walker, measuring out the process and the progress.
Thus the new point of departure is Noah, and the new result is devastation, together with the first populous instalment of merciful reconstruction.
Thus good and evil have shown their camps, and the latter is exhibited as so potent, pungent and continual that this setting of Chs. 6-8, that of the flood, ensues as does the flood itself (Genesis 6:1-3, 8-13) with the same sense of majestic divine energy, monergism, that we saw in Genesis 1. The mind of God is seen managing and directing, His steps disclosed as they came, as before. Thus there is repeatedly the constructive or destructive, on the one hand, with all the narrative proprieties; and then there is the assemblage of units for a event, where it is the assemblage that counts, the first being already in place; and then there is the analytical composition of this, leading on to the chronological again, in the events leading to the outcome.
Deliverance, here, features first the germ of it (Genesis 6:6-8), then the means in due sequence, the building of the ark, with the majestic dimension of architectural plans: thus in this case a blessed building rather than a sordid fall is in focus (as was the case in Genesis 3), then is the outcome (Genesis 8), and its divine provisions of the rainbow are designed to speak symbolically, though celestially in the sense of a signal aloft for all to see, and that one of divine restraint. Here is avowal, in its due order and place, the avoidance of any repetition of the universal flood, as a method of judgment (9:8-17).
That, it is highly significant. When a race has suffered in THIS way, a certain sensitivity and apprehension born of experience is instilled. The power to relax relative to any repetition is profoundly restful; though such grace is not a ground for further folly.
Alas, in the record we find this: that more sin follows, and we proceed accordingly to a featuring of the races, and their outcomes as the matter unfolds, leading us on to the present epoch for the writer whom God used, in due course.
GENESIS SECTION 4
This next development is seen in Section 4 of Genesis, so styled in Genesis 10:1: the races from Adam. It is Chapter 10 verse 1 which introduces us to the new vision. It is the racial assemblage, the racial differentiation with the hastening of their specific featuring and nature, by a new drama for a new tilt at God, in Babel (11:1ff.) which then, as now it grows in spirit near the end of the Age, grew in arrogance in man’s efforts to penetrate by his own devising, from earth on a way to heaven.
Then first in social connivance, he sought towards a power, to presidency in the universe, to control, to secure through his own management, a path, procedure, principle for his own glory. Philosophy has since been strewn with such madness, which not least, has led to its poor reputation as an idle fiddler with fictions, which it often gains. Without God, the formulation, codification and aspiration in all these directions HAVE to be this. It is not that philosophers lack brains, rather they have en bloc, tended to formulate for man the products of his disease, without labeling it pathological! (cf. I Corinthians 1:19-25).
Just as, however, the seeking of human glory led to (figurative) immersion in shame for man, as seen in Section 2, Genesis 2-4, and then the exposition of that shame to immersion literally in the ocean, so here the glory-minded nations were disturbed with the alienation from each other in language. Disunited from God, they were allowed to be further disunited from each other. Just as they had voluntarily been alienated from the Lord, in the language of their hearts, in their spirits, now the resultant severance from source, was given objective and tangible expression, indeed audible! in a division of languages.
This obviously helped to dissociate man from man, putting into linguistic expression the state of his divided mind, divided spirit. Man often finds it hard to recognise the manifest curse, in which the magnificent and the beautiful is disturbed by the sordid and the destructive in his environment; just as he is slow to perceive the divisions which exhibit his rancour to the divine, in his misunderstanding of other humans.
Speech gives now more challenge; but the grammatical power of man and the logical paralleles, continue to show his identity; the language variations being attestation of his fall. It is no more his own mere invention than are viruses roaming so somberly over the globe. It is no less his desert, than are they.
Now, just as in Genesis 3 in Section 2, we saw the folly and the plan for salvation at that time, together, we see in Section 4, the same. Thus salvation grows up into its systematic bud. Following the preceding section’s account of the deliverance of Noah, we now come to the deliverance to be obtained through a highly specialised procedure, starting with Abram, to be renamed Abraham (from exalted father, to father of a multitude – the latter betokening many races, and many in each).
This patriarch was to generate, with sublime divine assistance, not only races, but one particular race with one particular ‘seed’*1, the basis for God as man, the Saviour (Genesis 12:2-3, 22:17-18). God would use one of Abraham’s descendants for this, as to be shown in Isaiah 9:6-7, where the very prince of peace, who would rule without end, is as you look back, found also to be designated the ‘mighty God’, and the ‘everlasting Father’; just as it is His throne which is to be “from henceforth even for ever”, and Himself whom God addresses, “O God” (Psalm 45, Hebrews 1). It is He the Sent One (Isaiah 48:16, Zechariah 2:8, 3:9, Isaiah 40:10, Psalm 40 cf. Joyful Jottings 21-25), who as God brings in and is the salvation which God alone has, is the Saviour which God alone is (Isaiah 43:10-11).
We have looked ahead to implications and eventuations. Let us now look back. Sarah was 99 before the child for the sequence to salvation, the child to lead on in time to the ‘seed’ in which – or indeed, in whom – all the nations of the earth would be blessed as in Genesis 12 and 22, noted above.
then ? AGE was no barrier; and this dramatic and high profile event for Sarah
is a beginning of the miraculous features which, whether in the life history of
Joseph, a type of Christ, or of Elijah, or Elisha, or Josiah, or Daniel, would
be forerunners and stimuli to discern the finale when it came.
Finale ? There was one for salvation, on the Cross, and that is finished (Hebrews 9-10 cf. Questions and Answers 2). There is another for judgment, and that comes. As the ark came for some, though it was not that people other than those who believed were excluded (except by their refusal to believe – as seen in principle in John , I Timothy 2, Ezekiel 33:11), so the Christ has come, and judgment is the case for each event.
The flood of judgment, not by water this time, is under way. The baptism which saves is not the sprinkling with water as prescribed (Ezekiel 36:25, Hebrews 9-10 cf. Questions and Answers 11), or the anointing with it as illustrated (Acts 2), which of course involves sprinkling in passing, when it is water: it is rather than answer of a clear conscience through participation in Christ, in terms of His actual resurrection from an actual death for actual sin, actually borne for all who have come, do come or shall come to Him, known to God and indeed foreknown in His own counsel (I Peter 2:22ff., 3:21). THIS is now the entry, not a literal door to the ark!
So has salvation reached in payment its summit; just as it soon will reach in manifestation, its glory, at the return of the resurrected Christ, which is rather like, in a figure, the arrival of the ark on the mountain top of stability, after its long, testing but safe sojourn upon the troubled waters of this world.
What then do we have here ?
The creation was specified; the fall was itemised; the deliverance was specified; the diversification of sin modes was delineated, and judgments apt to each. The line for the Saviour is specified, the dynamic dated; and the history of His nation is specified likewise (cf. Amos 3:7, Deuteronomy 28ff., Leviticus 26 in numbered stages, just as was the creation), and their deliverance not less. That too, it is highly specific; and chronologically ordered. They were to have their promised land, fall from their covenant, be dispersed abroad, come back to be in due time, occasion as a nation and as a race, for the arrival of the Saviour, and indeed do so in 70 years as Jeremiah prophesied.
Then in its time, that is when He came, and at the stated time as in Daniel (cf. Galatians 4:4), they were to reject Him (Isaiah 49:7, Psalm 2), and so to be in a vast peril of long war experience, and of desolation (Daniel 9), including that of their temple (as also foretold by Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:37ff., Luke 19:42ff.). God simply would not suffer their false trust in it (Jeremiah 7:4-12).
Trustworthy though indeed was its symbolic message, it was what it signified in God, of His salvation, of His power, of His presence, which mattered. He did not fail to speak; to given in speech directions for building in life and in temple; but the speech of God is from Himself, to whom one must come, not to outgrow the words of His lips, but to know the lips which spoke it. Christ focused heavily on this point, as likewise on the total authenticity and reliability of the scriptures themselves. Yet they must be used, and hence taken to their source, who must be known personally, in their terms, as also in Himself (Jeremiah 9:23-24, Matthew 5:17-20 cf. SMR Appendix D, John 5:39-40).
Indeed, the dispersion of the Jews would be a prelude to their much delayed return (far beyond 70 years this time), so that they might duly repent in large numbers, in due course, after fearsome trials upon their return as in Zechariah 12-13:1.
As Ezekiel portrayed it in Chapters 36-37, their return would first be physical, and only then spiritual to the Lord (cf. SMR Appendix A).
Genesis and John’s Gospel, this and John’s Revelation, they all have together the same specific emphases, procedural itemisation, celestial perspective, divine action, relentless exposure of sin, methodical handling of deliverance from it. Nothing moves from its course. Things move within their courses as directed.
The land and the treatment of the Jews, all chronologically exact, this was to be, and is being an attestation of the precision of the divine mind and the faithfulness of the Lord’s heart (as in Ezekiel 36:22, 37:13,28). The Lord of the land has independently manifested personally who He is and what He does, the lack of limits to both His power and His love. The Gentile nations have likewise exhibited, with a profound irony, the exact specifications for their sinking substitute for the divine ark, as shown in Answers to Questions Ch. 5 and SMR Ch. 8. God takes the trouble to tell them what they are going to do, even when in rebellion; and He does so long before they do it. His word stands in its place, sure, irrevocable. It is all composed like a countenance. It does not change.
That, it is good. The end is at the end, and the beginning is at the beginning: both are as detailed, and each happened or happens as stated. Since the Gospel is one of Grace, a gift by grace indeed (Romans 5:15), of a divine disposition to mercy so profound that it is a passion (Micah 7:19ff., Colossians 1:19ff., I Timothy 2), this precision, this profundity, this immutability (Galatians 1), it is the essence of joy for the willing heart, for the believer who was born, not of the will of the flesh nor of blood, but of God (John 1:12). When the wonder and the miracle of divine grace is unalterable, what more could you possibly wish!
The ache of autonomy ? a lie ? Why that! There is the water of life; if you have not yet tasted it, drink it. It is provided for you (Revelation ), and it is provided right to the end, which is near.
Keil and Delitzsch, hard to touch in terms of vast knowledge of Hebrew, though the centuries roll, do but confirm the point of the translation here. Their 24 volume Old Testament Commentary is of much interest and value. What is their presentation on Genesis 1:1-2 ?
Indeed, they declare, the fact that the verse 2 of Genesis 1 starts with "and the earth" and not a verb after 'and', what is called waw consecutive ('waw' here means 'and'), implies that we are not looking at a continuation from what preceded. It is a direct statement: In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.
In other words, verse 1 is not a dependent clause, but an independent one, the main one, and an absolute declaration. What comes after that in this case, is not conflated with it, but consequential. One thing is declared. Then we learn another .
Otherwise, they indicate, you simply break the rules of Hebrew grammar. This, together with the summary and decisively simple manner of the style of Genesis 1, they affirm and re-affirm gives the only possible translation : "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth". It might also be rendered, depending on English idiom, "the heavens and the earth."
Not surprisingly, this is the translation which the King James Version, the New King James Version, the English Revised Version, the American Standard Version (1901), the New American Standard Version, the Berkeley Version, the Amplified Version and the New International Version all correctly present.
Nor is verse 1, they add, a title, as the next verse, the second, with its "and the earth", with noun after 'and' and not verb, makes clear.
Thus you simply cannot use it as a title, or a dependent clause.
With this exclusion of verse 1 as a dependent clause, the famed Hebrew and Old Testament scholar, E. J. Young agrees, likewise on grammatical grounds as a major reason. Out from the outset are such attempts as "In the beginning, when God created the heaven and the earth, the earth was without form and void", accordingly. It does not, as Young points out, even have a verb without waw followed by the noun as verse 2 commences. Instead, it starts with conjunction 'and', and thus rules out playful changes.
Young gives a further reason. Those who construe "In the beginning" as a dependent clause, have to use the word in the construct form to do so. Thus, in order to turn "God created" into "of God's creation" in an effort to avoid a simple declaration in verse 1, you have to use what is called in Hebrew the 'construct state' for the the term 'in the beginning'. In Hebrew, he notes, you do NOT have the construct state used before a finite verb as here, except
1) there is a difference of form in the word to show that this construct state |
is what is in mind
2) the context demands that it be construct.
Here the context does not demand it (indeed its straightforward and simple annunciation mode is against it) and the form of the word does not SHOW it. Hence it would only be by breaking Hebrew Grammar's usage that you could so translate it, which is not warranted by the document, or indeed by anything except a desire to change the text, which is not at all relevant to its actual translation!
Thus any effort to complicate the text by devious and twisty sorts of change, making the simple statement into a dependent clause in verse 1 does not translate but simply authors a statement of their own. Had they presented their view in some other context, such as a book of their own minds, it would be different, and could be dealt with as it occurred. For those of us more interested in what the text says, however, this excursion into philosophy has no relevance whatsoever. Translation is something else entirely.
In detail, then, one way in which this same error could be committed, Young points out, is to render the first word in the construct and make it say, "In the beginning of the creating of God", so that the idea is that in this beginning of creating the earth was without form and void. That is the first possible error.
The second is not dissimilar. and would act as if to complicate things even further, while based on the same grammatical mistake. In this case, the mistranslation would make the same construct form for 'in the beginning' in verse 1, but have a parenthesis in verse 2, followed by a statement in verse 3, when at last they find the first main verb! Apart from the error in grammar required for this abortion of the text and contortion of the language, its complexity is so distant from the style, that it would be like trying to make of Churchill's famous speech, some such distortion as this:
We shall fight them on the beach and never giving in, even if they come in hordes at some distant time, they will meet those to whom I have nothing to offer but blood, sweat and tears.
It is a laughable and ungrammatical contortion. It would mean that in the beginning of God's creation when the earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the waters, and the spirit of God moved on the face of the waters, God said - Let there be light!
It is difficult to see how such a breach of the rules of the Hebrew language, such an intricate re-wording contrary to the style, such a breath-holding wandering of words could even be imagined, let alone suggested except in some sort of ill-advised comedy.
Thus what kills both views outright is the simple fact that you CANNOT have a construct in 'in the beginning' and HENCE a subordinate clause for verse 1, so that it HAS to be a main clause, making BOTH these view fall at once. The additional point is that the third translation is a comedy of errors while the second is not only ungrammatical, but like the third, uses that construct state which is NOT FOUND IN ANY of the ancient versions, just as it is not in the basic Massoretic text, so dear to the scholarship of the Jews. A further prohibition arises from the words at the commencement of verse 2.
By now, the case is not only decisive but interesting. Thus Young further shows that the actual Hebrew terms involved have a treble alliteration. The Hebrew letters beth, resh and aleph appear as the first three letters of the first two words of Genesis 1:1. There is obviously therefore a deliberate presentation of a joining, a unitary thought in the arms of this intricate figure of speech, a triple alliteration. It is rare!
What is the most unitary formulation for these two words ? Since the first word carries the meaning (it is a compound form, though a very common one by itself), In the beginning, and the second word has the meaning, created, followed closely by the third, GOD. There is little that could be more obvious than this, that they together tell us one thing: In the beginning God created. What did He create ? The heaven and the earth. What is that ? Everything. Where else is this to be found ? In Isaiah 44:24, 45:12 with 45:18, John 1:3, Colossians 1:15ff., Revelation 4:11, for example.
Whatever is, God made it: that is the common message of all these scriptures. "All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made, that is made," John 1:3 puts it. In other words, in the category of what is not God, the heaven and the earth, He made it all (cf. Isaiah 51:6, where the departure of the heavens and the earth is foretold just as Genesis starts with the acclaim of their arrival and notation of the manner of it).
By an act of creation God proceeded. The result is the heaven and the earth. He did not move them, He did not merely form them, but created them. This IS the Hebrew word for 'creation'
There is thus no other translation. What however of the word 'created' ? The Hebrew term here used, arb\ as Young points out, in this form, is used EXCLUSIVELY of divine activity. The subject of the verb, he states, is always God and never man. The product is in the accusative case, as is natural with an active verb, but the material used, if any, Young notes, IS NEVER REPORTED. If a statement then is made that God created, we find that it NEVER tell us what material, if anything, He used. The word arb\ iiis thus more restricted in meaning than the English word 'create'. Nothing in the Hebrew language so decisively applies to absolute creation as this.
Together with the term 'in the beginning', the
divine creative act is tantamount to saying,
'The beginning was by means of a creative act' and with God as subject, it becomes
'the beginning was by means of a divine creative act.'
What about before the beginning ? This question might as well be covered here. It would merit from a teacher speaking to a child, perhaps, the answer, 'There isn't any action before the beginning, you duffer, for that is why it is called the beginning.' As far as heaven and earth are concerned, they had a beginning, and its method was creation with God as the Creator.
In the Greek, there is a similar intensity about the term used in Colossians 1:16, for it means absolute creation. What was the subject in that text, of this absolute creation ? ALL THINGS. Whatever is not the Creator, is created by the Creator, the common message of all scripture.]
Indeed, reverting to Genesis 1:1, when the topic is the existence of the heaven and earth, which is all things, then the method is stated, created, and the Being concerned similarly, God. There is nothing more to be said. That is the statement.
EXCURSION INTO CURSE, CURE and PRECISE FORMULATION
The cursedness of man is clear from scripture. Not only is the ground cursed, but he is removed from the blessed estate specifically prepared for him, through an alienation which is equated spiritually with “death”. At once his soul is dead in its vital and vitalizing connection with God, and he tends to hide, shun, deliver himself from the burden of communication with the Almighty! Yes, it is felt as such because of guilt. There is need for a “seed” or descendant of Eve who will break the power of the devil over man (as in Hebrews 2). Obviously, man is not going to be able to rise above his dislocated situation, his weakness and his shame, to do such a thing. Yet it is to be a man, for all that, a descendant, who will do this thing – not a helper for man, but a man as such.
How could this be done ? It could be done by God only, the source of the curse, able in Himself to annul it, not by obliteration of justice, but its consummation, not by prevarication or vacillation, but by adequate action, not in quality beneath Him but at His own level. Or how could He bring man to Himself, unless from His own level and back to it, He acted, satisfying the infinitude of His offence, with the parallel in His sacrificial judgment transferred to Himself.
As God then and man ? It is only in incarnation that this can be done, a thing so often desired by man, and not without reason, because it was also designed, and the only adequate answer to His predicament. Not in multiple presences, partial introductions, not in diverse or devious powers or aspects, did God come, nor would this have satisfied justice or met the standards of purity and multiplicity, in One! To satisfy His own justice, He came as justice, to be hammered with His own penalty. .
How could God do it, when it is to be done by a man, then ? It could be so only if God came Himself, without sin, limit or corruptibility, and hence without vulnerability of any kind to the adversary; and in His own person as man, since man is the nominee for the job in Genesis 3:15, does it (cf. Isaiah 40’s glorious announcements in their majesty, tenderness and solicitude, their practicality, definitive character and testimony of divine arrival, even the LORD Himself).
Hence the incarnation is already implied, and God implicated in the vast and grand action to come, one from which He refused and continually scorned to refuse, to turn (cf., Luke 9:51, Hebrews 5:7, Matthew 26:37-39, Hosea 13:14). Pity is hidden from His eyes, says Hosea, as He in triumphant style, accomplishes what had to be done! He did not wilt in pity for His Son; the Son did not wander in pity for Himself; instead the Father faced it, and the Son then faced it on earth, did it and prevailed. This is what He said He would do; and this is what had to be done. It is done. Small wonder Christ declared as recorded in John 19:30, “It is finished!” (cf. Hebrews 9:12-28, 10:10,14). No greater grace, gift or action in the epochs of history has occurred, or could occur. No wonder Paul declared, "God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Galatians 6:14).
This cross it is not bread; nor is it my works in part or in whole, deemed good or bad; nor is it MY cross which I must take up operationally, having entered the kingdom of heaven: It is the Cross of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, and it is by HIM (as in Colossians 1:19ff.), that this double crucifixion occurs of which Paul speaks, in application of the single effectual action at Calvary.
Accordingly we read of the extent of man’s guilt again and again. To purity, guilt is what it is, and not another thing. nor can it be mitigated. Only the penalty can be lessened; but for justice, this cannot be. TO justice therefore in turn, the guilt must go, and this cannot be veiled; for it must be what it is. Only mercy can lessen it. Mercy must however in justice, face what it costs, for God is one; and in redemption, this is precisely what has been done: it has been paid in full (Galatians 3, Romans 3:21-27). It is a matter of works after all; but HIS works, and not ours!
Thus it is a matter of grace, and a gift BY grace (Romans 5:15, Ephesians 2:1-12): PURE grace (cf. Titus 2-3 cf. Psalm 85:10-11). Not even the glamour of being so brave, noble, pure in heart or fundamental in understanding as to TAKE the gift is permitted to man, whose pride can soar like the peacock's. It is a GIFT BY GRACE as Romans declares. The reception, the realisation and the remedy are all the work of God. The substance and the donation alike are not of him who wills, or runs, but of God who shows mercy (Romans 9:16, John 1:12); and thus in this double divine dynamic of the substance of the gift and the actual donation of it, is there that regeneration which brings the pardoned soul to his or her Maker, clothed in HIS righteousness.
Thus is fulfilled that plenitude that God WOULD have all to repent and come to Him, and secured His own in His own inimitable manner (cf. Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 11, SMR Appendix B, The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 4).
Not only has man absconded from the state of his first creation, but so defiled is he that ONLY GOD can rescue him at all, not even his own will, as we have just seen spelled out with scriptural emphasis above, not even his own goodness (slightly soiled ?) – can do this! No, man is alienated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:17-19), and wholly unable to choose Him in himself, or while he remains what he is, severed, sentenced, alien and alienated, his very righteousnesses as filthy rags before the intense light that sees all and has no blemish. Thus, since moreover to the natural man, spiritual things are definedly foolishness (I Cor. 2:14), liberation is of the Lord only, the series of Johannine negatives resounding like the ocean, in Ch. 1. It is of love only. It is by grace only. It is in truth only. What man CANNOT do, God does.
In faithfulness and in the untamable magnificences of unintimidated love, He desiring none to perish, proceeds in the integrity of love, omitting none, forcing none, deluding none (cf. Sparkling Life ... Ch. 7, Great Execrations Ch. 9). Here has love its masterpiece, pity its pinnacle and truth its tenderness.
Inimitable, it was intensely costly for the infinitude of God to pay; but for one and for all who received it, He paid. For no more does money, does merit, does cover change hands, since those who are the 'we' whose sin was laid on Him, all of ‘us’ in Isaiah 53:6, these are those very same ones who are 'healed' – the ‘we’ of Isaiah 53:5. In precise and perfect parallel, those for whom He is "delivered up" are those who "freely receive all things" (Romans 8:32). This is not true in hell! He covers believers, bears their sin. It is not promiscuous, this love, though it is offered to the most promiscuous.
Offered to all, sufficient for all, on behalf of all (I John 2:2), adequate for all, adapted to all, He is yet effectual in bearing sin ONLY for those who receive Him. The rest of the sin lies where it was born, in those who reject Him as He so clearly declares in John 8:24. This magnificence of divine grace is not thrown about like some starlight; it is in the realm of blood, the agony of reality, and it covers precisely those who receive it, just as the sacrifices of old were taken for the penitent who had it slain.
How great is the grandeur SUFFICIENT for all, and EFFECTUAL for all who repent!
In Galatians Christ is seen as bearing the CURSE as necessarily cursed, since those under the law are there shown BY THE LAW also to be cursed. The cost was the curse, so He took it. God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must thus worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4), and in spirit and in truth He bore it, in the format of flesh, in the agony of soul, in the interstices of judgment, in separation as in Psalm 22:1, echoed in scriptural fidelity as always, in this case shown in Matthew 27:46.
Thus, in a life for life coverage, correction, payment leading to the very work of regeneration (Titus 3:4-7), the believer is made into a new person, awakened by God to God, for God. Each believe is re-aligned and nothing can spoil the alignment, though it be tested sorely (Romans 6). Thus, as we have just seen, this vast transaction, not in its irrepressible love, but in potency of impact, is wholly inapplicable to those who do not receive Him as such (John 8:24, 44). Let it be emphasised: it is the healed whose sins He bears (Isaiah 53), and NOT those of someone else!
Nor is this all.
Ephesians 2:3 shows man outside Christ as “the children of wrath” and makes it totally a categorical thing. Hebrews 9:23 shows that the meeting of the symbols with symbolic things, as in the temple sacrifices and such elements, is one thing. The real thing however is the blood of Christ, who in this way consummates and fulfils the symbols. The symbols are TAUGHT to the Jew; but the reality is WROUGHT for all in sufficiency, but not in efficiency, since what is not gained, is not transferred, nor operative, nor effectual, nor does the pardon change hands, nor the cover, but only the grace, it moves towards all (Romans 5:17-18). NOTHING is ever of avail or account for non-faith (cf. Deuteronomy 29:19). It must be of faith, and it must be of the individual, and nothing is conveyed without this, the water does not flow to the shut taps, nor does the flow move, or the cover come to the sheltered protectorates.
As Paul declares, the free gift came to all men (v. 18), but those who actually receive the gift of righteousness will reign in life (v. 17). However vast the prodigy of righteousness unleashed in His power and offering, yet its operation is limited to those who receive it, its application is the same: its specifications are not in vain, but reach to their home like arrows, in each believer. Do not believe and you die in your sin: it does not go any place! Such is the word of Christ (John 8:24). You die in it. Cover is zero. God knows all.
That is His word. He does not satisfy justice in order to dissatisfy it; nor does being delivered up result in any other thing for those for whom this actually applies, than ALL THINGS as their inheritance. That again is the word of God, that is Paul, that is Romans 8:32, that is the way it acts.
God is never frustrated; love may mourn, but that is its nature, not to force. He seeks His own, knows His own, offers to all, would that all come, but transfers His estate of pardon, justification, cover and adoption, yes the one part and the other, only where the account is open. If it is shut, not change of 'money' or better, inheritance whatever can occur, does occur or is slated to occur.
What the symbols symbolised is what the Lord did for all, as an offer, and achieves for all who so receive Him by faith, in the New as in the Old Testament, in the intimacies of sacrificial offering then, or of His offering at Calvary. The thrust from the grandeur to the individual, from the sovereignty to the miscreancy, from the canvas to the persons on it, from the heart of God to the hand of man, and from the folly of man to the faith in God, it continues from first to last, pulses like Genesis 1-2, moves like a heart-beat, continues like the waves on the ocean, shines like the stars in the heavens, an empyrean, with individuals within it.
In terms of the “seed” being more and more identified, we see it in Galatians 3:15-16, where the singularity of the seed is seen. After all, since it meant that the divine would need to become human to fulfil this, and there is but one God, then there could be but one descendant of Abraham, in the line concerned, who could be the mother for the incarnation, and only one Son who could be the Redeemer. Not a touch of the divine, but divinity Himself was the need (as in Psalm 45, 2, 72, Isaiah 48:16, Ezekiel 34, Hosea 13:14, Zechariah 12:10). It became more obvious with Abraham, willing to sacrifice Isaac but shown the useless futility of such an act (as exhibited later in Psalm 49), and given the necessary sacrifice by the very voice of the divine (Genesis 22).
Like the ark, offered most sincerely to all but WITHOUT ANY AVAIL BUT TO INTENSIFY JUDGMENT for those who did not enter, it is all availing, prevailing for some, and yet at precisely the same time, offering in the most manifest and complete love to all.
The distinction in Genesis from the first, SIN and NOT SIN, EVIL and GOOD, MURDER and NOT MURDER, RIGHT OFFERING and WRONG OFFERING, WALKING WITH GOD and CEASELESSLY SINNING, IN the ark and NOT IN the ark, ABRAHAM's line and NOT this line, it is all as at the first. Creation was not a joint product of God and man; sin was a singular product of man; salvation is not a product of God and man either in institution or application, but man is wholly and absolutely responsible for rejecting a love which RECONCILE ALL to Himself, and does not force, nor yet omit any from the vast field of His desire. (Cf. Great Execrations, Great Enervations, Greater Grace Ch. 9, Ch. 7, Predestination and Freewill, Tender Times ... Ch. 7, Sparkling Life ... Ch. 7)
None is omitted from love's keen eye, nor any disregarded. His magnificence in creation was always vast in scope, sovereign in power, individual in kinds, specific in man in persons; and His salvation is nothing less. The grandeur of creation becomes illuminated yet more in the grandeurs of grace. Nothing is omitted, neither the totality of love, the adequacy of the offering, the movement towards all as in Romans 5, or the salvation of some, on these same terms, nothing of man, all of God, all glorious, nothing defiled in the end.
Was man defiled ? It is cancelled where he enters the kingdom by the only gate (John 10:9). Is the gate defiled ? It was, in order to be opened, but the purging is completed by God's own infinite purity, and death sating justice, smiles no more, but is a castaway. Could God have loved more ? No, it was of infinitude purity, never forcing, never declining. Could He have done more ? No, infinite Being that He is, accepting curse and breaking it is the ultra-Alpine completeness of wonder, the marvel of magnificence.
What then ? Let us now revert to beginnings.
Man’s wits could not achieve God’s salvation; but man would need to receive it, as Abraham was willing to cease all thought of sacrificing Isaac, and receive with gladness of heart, the substituted ram! Like Noah, he found grace in the eyes of the Lord. As with all who are the Lord's, it is based on love, it realises itself in kindness, it is conveyed with conviction, it is the work of God who foreknew His own, and in doing so, acted in the same Spirit as did Christ, who cried, HOW OFTEN I would have gathered you ... but you would not. Not however in the interstices of fallen will is the response, not in the merits of the flesh, real or imagined, is there cause for love, nor yet in imaginary niggardliness of divine love, a blasphemy of no mean proportions (Colossians 1:19ff., I Timothy 2, Ezekiel 33:11, Hosea 7:1, I John 4:7ff.,), is it diverted; but rather in His own chaste knowledge does God find His own.
The salvation became explicit and precise in doctrine, just as was the ark in architectural specifications, with words such as those of even Balaam (Numbers 24:13 cf. Genesis 49:10), who spoke of the STAR out of Jacob and a SCEPTRE from Israel , and this in the very midst of contesting nations and confusions. Later, in many prophets, especially Isaiah in 50-55 came a vast stream of precise notations, identikit details for the Christ, the Saviour, His birthplace (Micah 5:1-3), His tribe (being already given, Genesis 49:10) and His Gospel (Isaiah 7,9,1, 32, 42, 49, 50-55, 61, Zechariah 3:9 … cf. SMR Ch. 9), Israel’s national rejection of it, and of Him (Isaiah 49:7) were all exactly decreed, centuries beforehand. The vicious strivings against Him were shown in Psalm 2, the cunning and the guile, His resurrection in Psalm 16, 22, His mode of execution in Psalm 22 with His triumphant reunion with His followers (cf. Joyful Jottings 21-25).
The redemptive death of the Messiah was dated by Daniel in Ch. 9 (cf. Highway of Holiness Ch. 4).
All this was, has been and is; it is there for all time, to measure time, direct time and show the times for time to exhibit, each detail in its time; and in our times, time is nearly running out. It came in a flourish of preliminaries; it completed itself in a lavishness of performances (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Christ, the Wisdom of God and the Power of God Ch. 8). It is all instituted with clarity, developed with clarity, shown in stages, individualised in stage settings, cumulatively considered in growingly high-power microscope mode, consummately done in perfected holiness in Christ, gloriously applied in inimitable perfection as love secured its own, and truth attested.
The glory of God in its brightness was exhibited in Jesus Christ, and the specifications for His death and resurrection, like those for the ark and with the rainbow, all followed in precision to fulfil both the NATURE of the case and the CHRONOLOGY required, always as stated, always as done. (Cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17, TMR Ch. 3). It is BEGUN in Genesis 1:1, as to record; it is seen as DONE in prophetic depiction a millennia or more before the regal executive action of the Messiah, as in Isaiah, Micah, Zechariah, Psalms, Hosea and Joel; and it is WROUGHT as in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, TAUGHT as in the Pauline epistles and General epistles, APPLIED as in Acts and throughout history, right to the two-fold division, into
¨ the true and the fraudulent;
¨ the saved (Ephesians 2:8 – the “having been saved people”, who “have obtained an inheritance” – Ephesians 1:11),
¨ and those who think in killing Christians they do service to God (John 16:2), those who teach falsely and yet come from the Church (II Peter 2), right down to their proliferation as the end of the Age approaches (II Timothy 3, I Timothy 4, Matthew 24:24).
The CREATION and the NEW CREATION is RESONATED in John 1:1-14, where the beginning in Genesis is directed paralleled in 1:1, just as the ADVENT of the DEITY HIMSELF in form as the MESSIAH is verbally mirrored with Isaiah 48:16, Psalm 45 and Hosea 13, with Ezekiel 34. Thus in John 1:1, these things are condensed into composition with Genesis 1:1, and applied into history in John 1:2-14, where we come majestically and surely, with surgical exactitude and serene certainty allied, to the actual day and way of the Lord. We see who this Redeemer is, in human format, as also in heavenly eternity. As John proceeds, as with the other Gospels, the information becomes intimate, just as the grandeur of Genesis 1 became the intimacy of Genesis 2, and the further divulgements of Genesis 3.
It was this Messianic mission, the Creator for the created, the Majesty for the marred, for which
Ø came the due and true preparation of John the Baptist (cf. Matthew 11:4-13), as provided in Isaiah 40:3,
Ø came the prelude relative to the Messianic intimacies, this being pre-designated, in Isaiah 40:10-12 (as in 29 and 35, with that vast outpouring of pre-vision in 49-55),
Ø alignment is made with the majesty of the Lord God who was so to come, and came, in 40:13-23, and
Ø the refreshing rejuvenation is to be found, when one’s spirit is found and founded in the Lord, as in 40:26-31.
It is all there; it has all come; it is simple, profound, it is magnificent, intimate; it soars, it wafts, it controls, it does not violate, it does not hasten, it comes, it has come. He who follows Him, the Messiah, follows the impregnable, the settled and safe Star, aloft in the heavens, who was down to earth in His capabilities and condition, that we might reach the celestial end for this terrestrial beginning, unconfounded, contrite, covered and graced with the goodness of God (Ephesians 2:6,8, Philippians 3:20-21).
The plan of the universe, of man, of the ark, of the deliverance, of the nations, of redemption, of salvation, and the way of Christ, for the Church, and the ends of things, their collations and combinations, their development and end: it is all there. The very sequence itself is like a book written; its specifications are always clear, always decisive; and yet it is personal. Indeed, it is the very height and depth of the Book of the Lord which, unerring gives His mind for man, undeviating His will for His creation and indefectible, His decisions there are shown for the end, just as He likewise commenced to show them for the beginning.
The appeal is always compassionate, only judgment coming when its denial is past any line of flotation. Then the vessel, whether this world (as in II Peter 3), or the individual sinner as in John 3:19,36, flounders and fails.
God knows His own mind, and has no mind for rewriters of His book, His creation, His redemption or His return. It is all not only harmonious, it is symbolically consummate, situationally precise, progressively complementary, chastely immovable, a tuition in truth, and an artistry in consistency.