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Translation of Texts
in Genesis and John
GENESIS 1:1 and JOHN 1:1
John 1:1 with
First we consider Genesis 1:1, then Genesis 1:1 with John 1:1, then further on Genesis 1:1, so that a context is established, both in the Old Testament in its environments of terms, and in the New, and in the correlation.
The Uncomprehending Darkness,
and the Deliciousness of Knowing the Light
John 1 and Genesis 1
Engendering Friendship with Genesis
In Genesis 1:1 we find that in the beginning God created. The first two letters for 'beginning' and 'created' being the same, there is an indisputable pulse of dynamic. The two go together, are wedded: the One who acts, and the Creation which is the act.
We have examined before the exact nature of the text (cf. Gracious Goodness ... Ch. 6) and its context (cf. Dayspring with the preceding reference). We have seen that Genesis 1:1 is not a part of a sequence but a bold, cardinal declaration. In the beginning, God was there and He acted. We then move to the earth which commences the sentence, so divorcing it from any mere bound connotation of a serial character from verse 1. 1:1 is not then an intimation of a sequence but a declaration of illimitable majesty. The Spirit is then seen brooding, hovering, active over the creation.
The right kind of environment is created for what is to follow, organising, ordering and constituting a system of provision. Then the desired kinds are created. Actions from verse 2 on are in sequence not only grammatically, but in the enumeration of the days, designated in ordinal notation, in a way which in the Old Testament only refers to the rotation style days, in our day approximately 24 hours in length. Whatever however the exact rotational time, the concept is the same.
Indeed, the numbers, first, second, third ... are even enfolded in days, real days with evenings and mornings, days that have acute correlation with their initial invention.
Thus, since light for the universe was created after substance (v. 3 is after v. 2), the first day started with darkness, not with light, so that the phrase, 'the evening and the morning' is born, and becomes the descriptive usage for the rest of the days of creation - each day has light for one part of it, and starts with the darkness as ordered from the first, before the light came on the scene. It commenced without it. Thus the ordinal connotation, the nature of the action, its integral relation to the context show us that here the term 'day' is not used to confuse or to confound, but to show us what the term 'day' which we use, has as to its origins, including the sequence of day and night - but no, night and day!\It is not explaining what did not happen, or instructing us with terms incomprehensible or meaningless through transmutation of some kind.
You know day ? Right. You look for how we got it ? Right. This how. That is the nature of the exposition which goes right on from the terrestial side, up to v. 13, to the concentration on the celestial, with v. 14, to the review, and the human side, Chs. 2 and 3, to the setting forth of genealogies. It is all generation - heaven and earth, detail earth and heaven; overview and human history in two steps, its start (like that of 'day' using terms according to explanation not mind-bending and discursive imagination), and its later GENERATION. It is all a matter of generation, starting with the creation so that they COULD be generation, and ending with the generations, the fall and the redemption. It is tidy, explanatory, expository, instructive, starting with what was not known, and moving effortlessly into what is known, so teaching, orienting and giving man his place.
Some however seem to wish to wander into the domain of their own wits and groundless inventions, almost as if so mastered by immersion in myths, that automatically they arise when great things are in view. Many follow these ways instead of what is written. It is part of the predicted times that it should become so popular (cf. II Timothy 4:2ff.).
What then ? How loose is that exegesis that is nothing but eisegesis miscalled! For 'ages' instead of days, we must distort Hebrew usage in the Old Testament, invent a new scope for the ordinals in such cases, ignore the birth of the phrase in conjunction with the sequence of matter and light, and ignore the fact that the account of the divine creation is showing us HOW we got what we HAVE*A (which is days - summed up in Genesis 2:4). For such a distortion of meaning, we must also ignore that the text is using terminology consistently and persistently both here as the book of Genesis develops, in the frank usage of normalcy, in the domain of the designable, while showing in the terminology of the comprehensible and the structure of the deposition of what we have, associated with the divine actions and their inter-relationships, which led to these situations to which our common words apply.
It is THUS that the heavens and the earth were created, we read in Genesis 2; it was thus that the days and kinds and light and heavenly bodies were formed; and we do not invent a vocabulary which is other than what we have to express these astronomical happenings and initiations, these botanical, biological, structural, astronomical, illuminative, these stringencies of continuity and commands of creation in their intimate nexus, as if we are free to divorce from the uniform context at arbitrary will.
Rather with discipline we follow the word of God as given, the consistent connotational medium of the text and find out how what we have came to be here. Terms are not magically distorted in order to make a distressed document; but rather they are to be taken in the same sense in each case that the others and the explanatory character of the account require, and the retrospective glance of 2:4 cardinally implies.
When the Lord gives an explicit account of the ways, days, devices and order of creation and then proceeds to use the every language of generation applied to the creation in Genesis 2:1-4, repeatedly to cover what follows in the common light of history, 'the generations' of' proceeding in historical continuity, as if to create for the creation, a commonality with the information of its institution for the usage of its norms and modes after its arrival into time, with its ongoing life: when this occurs, it is not some kind of game. It is for a declarative purpose. From such a base, it is but obfuscation to obliterate the criteria of the context*1A, both in Genesis 1 and thereafter and to make fanciful 'interpretations' as far from the witness of the text as the heavens from this earth, and further, since though these are far, this abortion of comprehensibility is far into the realm of imagination, an unspeakable distance from the common light of actual, practical day.
Indeed, such all but execrable eisegesis cannot be in the interests of objective understanding, but only of an intrusive unbelief, making the patronising care of the word of God the object of philosophical henchmen, violating the vigour and the content of the text for purposes various, whether nefarious, obfuscatory, alienative, or merely misled, to reduce Christianity to some kind of cultural pet or composite synthesis with the thought of an aberrant creation as far from following the text, in many cases, as from following the Lord.
To be sure, some may capitulate in weakness to the demands of society or the clammy clasp of the hand of culture, as Sampson did to Delilah in his own disloyalty to the word of God; but whatever the case, it is outside the demands of the text, the context and the continuity of Genesis.
We move on, then, to the light of common day, common kinds such as man (not species of man, or species of cattle, but man and cattle in broad open categories, ones which cannot be broken, which is the testimony of practicality as well as pronouncement). The terms stars, man, kind, light, day, night and water, dry land having been exhibited in this initiation program, we have them all, and they function in just the way they require by their normal definition. We do not have night and day ages, nor do we have fixed species but fixed kinds, for man himself biblically varies about a norm; nor do we have stars made of confetti, but stars such as we know. We cannot divorce the scope and the sweep of the context from its centre of gravity, by which it is tied to the earth, and originated in heavenly action.
Instead, to be faithful to the text, we proceed on in the very language of generation (2:4), now that of man in his several categories, spiritual, racial; and it is all in the dynamic grasp of divine overview and oversight, whether in institution of the kinds in the first place, including such variations as giants, or segments such as the historical groupings which show us the banal blighting of the evil, the continuation of the upright, and the eventual calling of Abraham, from his racial compartment. It is then that we find his use for the deliverance of mankind, as many as would be receptive, since blessing is not always received (cf. Genesis 12)!
It is thus that we find in total correlation the text of Romans 5:1-12, which traces things in precisely this manner from start to finish. Made, man fell; met, man was given a Gospel of grace; restored in this, his is reconciliation and restoration to victorious living in the very presence of God. It happened from one man who fell; it is met by One Man who arose to overcome for all who receive Him. The background basics do not move; they are as clear as is Genesis.
It is thus that we find in total correlation the text of Romans 5:1-12, which traces things in precisely this manner from start to finish.
Only, then, a determination to dispose of the text or a measure of anaesthesia towards its content, like one drifting through beautiful countryside and too engaged in talk to see it, can well ignore the total integration of language, purpose and result in the text. Only thus can the make-believe clusters of componencies of the imagination strive or even seek to overturn the objects and objectives of the text, to inform of the generation of these things, heaven and earth and what followed, taking us from the spectacular beginnings to the ongoing results. When however this is done, this painful aberration from the rigours of reality is made, then it is no longer the word of God; for it then becomes the word of man, exactly as in Mark 7:7ff..
Indeed, as in Mark 7:9, the grievous consequence is this:
"All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition."
This chapter 1 of Genesis, like what follows, is intense in descriptive factuality, consistently explicatory, sequentially intense, correlative in all aspects and bluntly practical. We are not expected to contradict the author when He declares, "Thus the heavens and the earth and all the host of them were completed", by claiming that it was not so, that it was not evening and morning with the revelation of light source in its time, but instead it was Age and transition, as if night and day, so that an Age came between the declaration of light to come, and its arrival, always starting in darkness, a bleak beginning indeed; or that it was not light which was created, but the light of understanding, or that it was not the case that God so acted, but that there was actually in the beginning a lot of other stuff around, and He just happened to find it: or any other variant to intrude man and his philosophical mannerisms into the word of God.
The text however simply announces that the beginning shows us God, and shows us creation, and setting forth the order and the implementation of divine strategy for the incremental arrival of the objects of structure and life, leads us in the language of day, to the effects of history. In overview, Ch. 2 then tells us that THIS was the way of the creation of the heavens and the earth, all the host. If it had been otherwise, it would have said so; if there had been other primary sources, it would have said so.
On the contrary, as to the creation, this is how it happened;
and since creation is in the Hebrew term, largely as in the Greek of Colossians 1,
a term which implies the work of power rather than the matter of means,
and is wholly distinct from 'formation', we are being told
that the entire institution of what is, came from the source revealed,
and in the way stated.
The entirety of origin is as declared. There are no cards under the table, or up the sleeve. Creation is the mode; God is the source; and this is the nature of everything that went into the arrival of all that is. That is the sense of the summary, and summoning it to dismiss it is the summit of deletive disquisition,
quenching even the word of God, were it at all possible.
There were no additional means; there were no additional sources; there was God, here is the universe, that is what happened to bring the second from the first. It is important to be instructed by God in His declaration of what He is talking about, and not to become His instructor; since He knows. It is also important since it is his word: as if one were to interpret Shakespeare by dwelling on Shelley.
Above, the statement was made that we are not expected to contradict the author when He declares (as in Genesis 2:4)... ? Let us clarify that.
We are not expected so to act, IF we mean to understand His word, to do such things; though known to God for all time is the rebellion, riot or decline of man who will not accept the word of God, using either direct rejection or subtle overtones of intrusion, AS IF to accept it, while actually re-writing it in part, as required by desire.
In fact, not only does usage preclude any of these amazing inventions of innovative theology, grammatical usage, but the summation of the action in Genesis 2 and the usage of terms throughout Genesis with a consistency of normal usage, together with the fact that this is telling us HOW the creation occurred, not how it did not do so. THUS ...!
ADDITIONAL NOTE not originally in Bright Light Ch. 9
from *A above
Let us look further. God did it in the beginning (separate statement Genesis 1:1); the stages are noted (rest of Genesis 1); then as part of the narrative, we are again categorically told a crucial point: SO IT WAS ALL ENDED. It was not in some other way. Indeed, God, having so acted, and the matter being ended, He rested .from His work. That is it, beginning and end. He began it, took steps, it was ended, He finished, and rested. This is the totality in this position.
It does not simply say that He began, took various steps, including the sixth day of work, and then rested. There is an abstract statement in between. It is this: Thus all the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. HE made it all, separate statement (1). The steps then begin and reach the last one (2). Then it is announced that it was finished, the whole entity of creation (3). So God ended His work (4). These last two points are not presented as one, but as two!
Then He rested (5).
Points 4) and 5) are not duplicates, but indexes of a basic nature. Thus HE started it, IT was finished, and then we learn that HE finished it, and He then rested. If it was finished, WHY note that it was finished, separately from the fact that God finished it, and rested from His work ? Since God was doing it all from first to last, thus this was not meaningless repetition in the midst of terse, ultra-brief report. Rather it means that this is the way it was done, here is the record! SO it was FINISHED. It is just as His work of redemption was finished on the cross (Hebrews 9:12-28). SO it was finished. This is the authoritative and correct account of the whole happening. This being so, God rested.
That is the stated way it was completed, and this definitively. The work did not go on in some other way; nor was it done in some other way. Part of the narrative is its end, and this is a comprehensive part, in that it is affirmed that all this was so, and so completed. What is here put on record is the accurate, the sound, the essentially comprehensive, the account to answer the question: HOW did it come to be ? THIS way. To alter or to add, to bring in new and disparate ideas not in the ambit of the account of explication is not to boil it down, but blow it up.
What then ? Statement One: God did the whole heaven and earth creation in the beginning. Second logical point: God took the steps noted on the way to this result. Third logical point, this being so, the work of creation finished. That being so, God had finished His work.
Could that possibly be it all it means ? I think not; for that would be a sudden dip into repetition. Rather the point is this: that in the beginning God created it all; then He took itemised steps progressively in a decisive series of carved categories; and SO it was all finished. As stated, SO it is. The situation as described, was a completed one. The ambit of creation was not only by means of Deity, but by the chosen methods with the sequentially concluded result:
ALL DONE, DONE THUS! sums it up.
What then ? With the sequence thus concluded and the creation itself all ended, NEXT it is noted that God ended what He was doing. The preceding statement is thus one of summary, that it was so, an affirmation of the totality and correctness of the account both of the start and the finish and the totality. It is not here a statement about what God was doing, but one about what was done, the nature of the case, the rails on which it ran, and the engine which pulled the train of events: there! there it is, just as it is given. If you will, here is protection of divine rights to the entire statement, and the whole creation to which it refers, and that, an ended one! Thus it makes the end like the beginning, to be of God, adding that it WAS finished SO. THEN it announces that God finished His work.
As clear as are the kinds, the categories of action for life and in it, so is the ending of the work as a work made categorical, its soundness as an account, and its affirmation as to what happened from the beginning inscribed, as surely as the start itself, and the One who did the starting, and the categorical creation which it comprised. It was not there. HE put it there. Creation was the mode. The steps were the notches. Finish is the status of the affair. God thus finished it. He rested. There is where we are, as you sometimes see in shopping centres: YOU are HERE.
God rested from specified days - summed up in Genesis 2:4 for all to read. They stood as the record stands. Introduce some idea of non-days, or non-categories, or non-finish, as if it went on, or other agents than God and the correctly noted overall steps He discloses: then that it would be an abandoned action, in danger of being a war on the work and the word of God. Wars can start in many ways. When it is with God, it is infinitely sound to avoid them.
Filigree within would be one thing, human study seeing detail in accord with the record. Adding, subtracting or changing is mere contest with the Creator, and it is no surprise that it always loses. Kinds, categories and the modes of fixation of creation and its information, merely becomes more emphatic as time goes on.
For such a distortion of meaning, then, as ages or continuing creation, we must also ignore that the text is using terminology consistently and persistently both here as the book of Genesis develops, in the frank usage of normalcy. It is thus showing in the terminology of the comprehensible and the structure of the deposition of what we have, both mode of derivation, source and dynamic, all associated with the divine actions and their inter-relationships.
It is this which has led to these situations to which our common words apply. Thus "Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, all the host of them." Those wanting to make a different one could use different methods, if they had the power, the nous and the intellect, and no contrary competition. Then THEY could use intelligence to create information, as God did. However, also in fact, there is nothing to match the One who has given us what we have got; and it is finished, has long been... nothing else matches, has the power, or the program or the performance: let alone a sub-moronic 'nature', and that before it was even there to do it!
AVOIDING ALIENATION FROM CULTURAL ACCLIVITIES
Let us reflect a little from Dayspring.
CALL IT A DAY!
See That Magnificent Rock, Ch.7, Section E, pp. 174ff. A short except from this, adapted for our present purpose, is provided below.
The singular, sovereign, staccato dispersal of power, in creation matching the overpowering wonder of the Creator, is what is recorded, and as shown in these passages and similar ones,
- "DAY" does not mean DAZE, but is repetitively specified after light comes, evening and morning, with a literal force verging on the science note- book kind of fact-event notation;
- "KIND" is the eventive outcome to continue, and
- historic reality is the scene to which this scenario imposingly comes.
A measure of poetry, it may indeed contain; but poetry designed, as in great music, to hallow the event; nor is it poetical in any pre-emptive sense, it being rather the magnitude of the events, in parallel with the simplicity of the style, which evokes a sense of the poetic. In fact, the language has a certain precision and economy of style, like that of a King to his commanders. In one clear sense, its lack of substantial simile and vague if evocative assertions is about as far from the poetic as
. Certainly, there are lines ... but their matrix is unpoetic! Sydney Harbour Bridge
That these are the "generations" of heaven and earth, the originative activities, the accounts, records and reports of the way
- from who was and what was,
- to what is,
is made even clearer by the DECLARATION in Genesis 2:1-4 to that EXACT effect. "Thus" it was done, thus "finished", "all the host of them", "in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." "Generations" is likewise the term which continues to be used, of other historically specific events, such as descendants from parents. As in Luke 3, so here, the genealogical accounts proceed from the historic to the historic, and in Luke's case, from Adam to Jesus Christ. What the Bible means is not in the least doubt; and the reader is referred to the relevant SMR pages (e.g. pp. 179-196, 226ff., 482ff.), for more detail.
As in the Bible, so in other earthly history, relatively short time is repeatedly indicated by specialties remaining and rates relating to observation, here in a deftly made and acutely clear delineation of events, their basis, their development and their answer from God: it is such considerations rather than presuppositions, themselves based on the very assumptions which stand in need of support, as shown in the text of this Section, which are apt in textual interpretation. Even if someone should say, in a vague general sort of a way: Suppose God is so great that His days, although in every way to US suggesting what their context imposes, rotational days, in fact has these as thousands of years ? there is nothing to be gained.
In fact, since God IS in fact so great, He is not deficient like some struggling year 12 English student who has not as yet quite grasped the first elements of communication with mature... human beings (whom He created, complete with powers to communicate, supply the equipment and the first in a magnificent synthesis of operative efficiency). He is not deficient in expression: WE are His expression, though subject to sin, and with immense creativity often combined with maleficence of our own making.
If GOD wants to indicate HIS sort of days, to an uninitiated audience, who do not move in the form of God, but in the form of man, He could doubtless do it with a facility which would be just as impressive as the note-fact, act-record sort of depiction found in Genesis 1. However as a teacher-communicator, He CHOSE the form of expression which, for His audience, readers, has this conceptual character, these clear signals, this impelling context, this stage by stage inauguration, this articulation with history. He did not create His announcement so that it would mislead. He did not speak so that it would be ... misunderstood. He did not make so heavily stylised a description so that its every feature would be contrary to His intention.
His utterance is not writhed or contorted (Proverbs 8:6-8). He spoke it because, as in all His utterances, it was and is the truth. Hence what He chose for expression is what we gain for impression from the inspectable vocables, the available phrases, the situational specifications. In the end, this piece of red herring has been left around too long, and its dismissal is accompanied by NO nostalgia, indeed the nose is relieved at it! How time seems to Him is one thing; how it is expressed to us is another. When He wishes to initiate us into some new frame of reference, that is His business. To assume He is doing it by using all our data for specification of something else, however, is to assume Him deceitful or a fool. Either thought is not mere blasphemy; it is logically absurd (SMR Ch.1).
Leave deceit, deviousness, distortion and the lie to the devil; it is his domain and his skills lie there. With God, it is someone who tells us the truth (John ,32,44-45, Psalm 117). Let us leave to the devious and the delinquent, some intrusion misnamed interpretation, by which they express only themselves or their views, while defiling the name of God, in a way wholly suitable for the undoubtedly notable name of Dr Goebbels, who excelled just there. Since God is more intelligent than you or I (like infinitely more, for example), He has no trouble with covering such needs as our minds possess, and in feeding them what they rightly assess from the evidence of His words. If God is more pure than the heavens, then His truth is more settled than they. It is really just a matter in the end, of interpreting what is there (that is, in the Bible), not what is here (in your heart).
When you read your own heart instead of what someone else is saying, you enter into a complicating guessing game of chess and imaginary moves. When your assumptions act on the basis of incompetence or fraud on the part of the communicator, you merely project. This is precisely what is a deplorable waste of time when purity speaks, knowledge articulates and truth divulges itself with infinite teaching skill: when, in short, it is the word of God which we interpret. Even for the word of man, it can become mere presumption. With God, it is imposture.
As to what He said, it is so clear that clarity needs a new name for the case: it is pellucid. Impulsions of creative power created conditions and kinds, and that is the way it is founded, and finished. It may be cursed, and it was so (Genesis 3, Romans 8:18ff); and it will be finished, for its end in judgment awaits it; but that is the way that it is (Matthew 24:35, Isaiah 51:6).
END OF EXCERPT from THE BRIGHT LIGHT Ch. 9
We proceed now to Ch. 10 op.cit.
The Uncomprehending Darkness,
and the Deliciousness of Knowing the Light
There is clearly a conscious parallel between Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1. Just as Genesis directs us to the inception of things at the very outset of its discourse, so does John 1:1: IN THE BEGINNING.
In John, we have "in the beginning was the Word" and in Genesis, "in the beginning, God".
As to the former, it is a statement of the nature of divine existence, it concerns what was before creation of all the host of heaven and the earth occurred; in the latter it is a depiction of action producing the created universe. In the one, it is reality in eternity, outside the things that come - and go; in the other, its product, creation, all of it (cf. Genesis 1:1, 2:1,4). In the one it is He who Fashions, yes even Creates all; in the other, it is what is fashioned, yes in its paths not secret, but prepared, not unknown but sequentially shown in the most emphatic manner conceivable.
Thus John, instead of detailing and itemising creation and its instituted components, its correlative actions, its production before our eyes, on the side of eternity exhibits the Word of God, as present. He was present in the beginning, prior to the institution of what is creation, what is not God, of whom there is precisely ONE (Exodus 20, and as Isaiah tells us repetitively in Isaiah 44-45). We are dealing not with what is NOT GOD (Deuteronomy 32:21,17), but what Him who is. Antecedent to the very criteria FOR time (Genesis 1:14, Romans 8:35ff.), we are dealing with Him who made them.
In Genesis, the GOD of creation is present and acts: at the beginning. As Genesis 2:4 makes so clear, the account following Genesis 1:1 is actually the way creation come to exist: all dependent on the voluntary action of God. In John 1:1, we are shown by what divine procedure the creation came to exist, deployment in divinity for temporality to come into being: and this, not in devices and artifices, forms and kinds, structural and successive stages, but in the One there at the beginning, before all creation, that is, God. Outside creation, that is all there is, and there is of deity, ONE. In God, there is the Word. He is there, He is with God and God it is that He is. It is God He is.
In John 1:1, this way of putting it in the Greek, is derived from the text, which actually is an inversion. It does not say, The word was ... but God was the Word, except that it makes it clear that 'the word' is the subject. The word to be taken as subject is shown in the normal way in such a case, by having the article with it: this article appears in the phrase, 'the Word'. If this were not known, the inversion could not well be clear. It would read simply, The word was God. In fact, it reads 'God was the Word' (with the explanatory note, derived from grammar, that 'the word' is subject).
This deity status which the Word embraces and constitutes, exactly as in John 8:58, Philippians 2, Revelation 2:8, is of course clear from the fact that PRIOR to creation, that is, in parallel to Genesis 1, IN THE BEGINNING in the Godhead, that reality which is God, from which all other reality takes its head and source: there is the Word. He is with God, and God is He.
That is the significance of the text. It is GOD who is the source of the creation in the beginning; and it is the WORD who is with Him in this, and hence the Word is of the being of God, or as Paul puts it in Philippians 2, He is in the FORM of God, and would not deem it a thing to be snatched at, to be equal with God, for that very reason.
That this is so is immediately and drastically underlined in two ways. First, we have the statement that "all things were made by Him" (John 1:3). Not, mark you, some things, or some features, qualities or components: ALL things. Obviously, then, HE is God not in the sense that this is all God is, but that what God is, is He. God has not only one Person in His being, but two; and yet, this is not to be confused with two gods, since GOD was the Word... not ONE of the gods! Indeed in Genesis 1:2, we see the Spirit of God over the waters, brooding or hovering, showing yet a further reality in God, the One who sends and the One who is sent as express and expression, the Word, and the One who moves in performance in the very interstices, a Trinity. Denial of this trinity is denial of the Bible, of God and of truth, whether it be done by what calls itself by the name 'Christian' or Moslem, or JW, or Christadelphian, or Mormon or any other.
What GOD did, the Word (as in John 1:14) did, and as John 5:19ff. shows, HE DID IT IN THE SAME WAY: literally, in JUST the same way (from the Greek text). What then ? There is unity without confusion, and specialisation without duplication. Thus we in mankind can meditate within ourselves, commune with ourselves. WHO does the communing then ? With whom does one commune! It is an internal spiritual musing, a research or a purviewing, an overview or an interview or both, made possible by our spirit moving through our very being and person, showing things up, consulting, communing in kinship. It is not someone else: it is certainly no duplication, but it is for all that, an involvement at the personal level in one's own personal interstices.
This is but a dim example of the incandescent glory of the God who made us ... in His image as Genesis 1:27 declares. You would expect that. This is one of those intimate, pervasive confirmations and verifications of the word of God which are inescapably multitudinous on all fronts.
That in turn is how in John 8:58, Christ can say concerning the fact He had just stated that Abraham REJOICED to see His day, "Before Abraham was, I am." It could have said, Before Abraham existed, I was. He did not. The name of God in Exodus 3, is "I am" and it is "I am" whom Moses is to CITE as the name of the God who sent him to seek the rescure of the Jewish slaves from the bondage of their former Egyptian masters. Hence Christ, the Lord, uses that famous identity code, express, explicit, as real as the seven hills of Rome as an indisputable index. What does it mean ? This: that He has an existence that precedes the works of creation.
That of course is precisely what we find in John 1:1-3, for not only is He there in the beginning, but that being so, He uses this fact to put there ALL made things without exception. There is NOTHING made that is so without Him, no not an atom, not an energy, not a pulsation, not an atom, not an electron, not a meson, not a nano-second, not a material, not a time, not a space: NOTHING. He is what is not made, there always preceding it, in terms of being there to make; and what does He do ? He makes IT ALL. God is not His Maker; He with God is the Maker of all, and God He is, as the word of God declares.
This brings us to the second phase of John 1:3. Not only were ALL things created through Him, but
"without Him, nothing was made that was made."
Consider then ... Thus, if anything is in the category of 'a made thing' then two things follow at once.
Firstly, HE made it, and thus secondly, that it is not HE. HE IS THERE, in the beginning. Things made are those which HE MADE. If there is a thing, then He made it, and to do so He has to exist beyond it, so that He is there to do the making. Thus the exquisitely clear and comprehensive statement surges into the scene rather as did the creation of light in Genesis,; but here, it is not in the realm of the created, the entirety of which without any exception whatsoever is dependent on His prior action in order that it might exist, but in the realm of the Creator that we move. As Isaiah 45:7 tells us, there is no God but the LORD, none besides HIM. Of Himself, the ONLY God, He declares this in 45:12.
"I have made the earth" (hence a created thing), and
"created man upon it."
Beyond and before the earth and man, God has done the creation, as shown in Genesis 1.
He did not commence as man - a ludicrous shelving of the base for all things made; man commenced
from Him. Before Him was no God formed, nor shall there be after Him,
as Isaiah 43:10 declares. Of Gods there IS one, there WAS one and there WILL be One, and before
time was, this was the position: it always IS the position. God is eternal, and in the category of
deity there is but one. Mormonism, for example, is wholly anti-christian, denying all at the outset.
From everlasting to everlasting HE IS GOD (Psalm 90:2). Gods that are actual, these do not "arise" (cf. Deuteronomy 32:17), for HE is the "I am". Time is not relevant to His being,
except for what He makes. Continuity of existence is His very nature, self-declaration is all that is
required, for there is no competition. "I am who I am" He declares in Exodus 3, for there is no need of a postal address. There is no street, city or place: HE made it ALL.
Moreover, as Isaiah 44:24 shows, God
"stretched out the heavens by Myself",
so that there is no non-deity helper. There is, as is so often and so emphatically stated in Isaiah 44ff.,
ONE GOD and He has created ALL ALONE.
It is He, Isaiah 45:18 exhibits,
"who created the heavens,
who is God,
who formed the earth and made it,
who has established it,
who did not create it in vain,
who formed it too be inhabited."
Having said this, He adds: "I am the LORD, and there is no other."
Thus ALL creation is His work; it is His work alone. On the other side, ALL creation is Christ's work, it is His work as God, both WITH God and AS God. This of course necessarily follows since ONLY God created anything of creation, He having created it WITHOUT EXCEPTION; and CHRIST created ALL of creation, thus making Christ, once and then again, God in status, dynamic in mutual involvement, of the category of the unmade, of the eternal, and as Creator of what is not eternal by nature, inherent in that ONE GOD who is.
Unmade, He is not a creature; making all, He is God.
That is all there is to it. There is the made and the unmade in heaven and in earth; the unmade, the increate, who is the Creator is One, is God; the rest is creation, His product.
As unmade, Christ is God. As non-creation, He is God. As there in the beginning, creation apart and not done, He is God. Indeed, God is the Word, as the text reads with its emphasis from its grammatical structure. There is no other, as is so clear in Isaiah and Ephesians, indeed in Exodus 20. This term in the vocabulary of the context means the pre-creation Creator, from whom all ALL creation comes.
Hence the term 'word' does not exhaust the reality of God, since there is He who speaks; the term God however includes the Word, since the speech is integral to God: God, is the word. At once the truth of this statement is paraded before our delighted eyes, as we see that not only did He create, but He created ALL, and that this entire category of things made is His product, devolved on Him, proceeded from Him, and was His work. He is no creature, but He is the FIRSTBORN of ALL creation BECAUSE He created ALL of it, as Colossians 1:15 shows us. Late on the human scene in terms of history, around 4 B.C., He is yet its FIRSTBORN, eminent beyond all, since ALL is HIS OWN CREATION, so that HE is CREATOR, and hence God.
This means successively that He is God, Creator and Eternal.
"Before Abraham was, I am."
It is not stated in John 1:1 that the word is the God, but that God is the word, this precluding any sense in this context of having just one more name to God. As noted that grammar of emphasis here precludes such a statement; just as the tenor of the truth enables the emphatic use of the term just employed, relative to Himself.
Another name for God ? Not at all: He is far more than that, being personal and designable as such. This is God expressed, and deity is His rank. He is the perfect expression of God (Hebrews 1:3), and indeed expression is so chief a function that 'the word of God' is His very name both here and in Revelation 19, just as God who alone is deity, is the first and the last (Isaiah 44:6) and this title, like the explicit and eternal name, "I am" is used of Christ Jesus likewise in Revelation 2:8.
Infinitely intimate with Him who speaks, He, the living expression of God, personal and comprehensively in unity with Almighty, sharing His power and implementative of it, is not a word, but THE WORD, instituting the systems of the temporal and temporary, giving them meaning and providing for their kinds, whether the lowliest flower or man. While there is NONE is heaven like God, Christ in heaven in the beginning before creation (cf. John 17:1-3), is not only like God, but the precise expression of Him (Hebrews 1:3). He is not only Saviour, but the One who DID it (Hebrews 1:3, Isaiah 43:10-11). The unique to God, is unique to Him, so that it is to God only, of whom there is emphatically again in Isaiah, ONE, and ONLY ONE, that every knee shall bow (Isaiah 45:23-24), and it is in God that one shall say, In Him I have righteousness; and it to Christ that every knee shall bow, and it is in HIM that one shall say, In Christ I have my righteousness (Philippians 2:10, Romans 5:12-17), and it is this in Philippians which states before this that being in the form of God, He did not esteem it something to be gained to be equal with God.
It is there for those who want it; and where it is absent, so is Christ and so likewise is salvation, for another Jesus, another Gospel and yes, another Spirit (II Corinthians 11), this does not save, but represents the work of the angel of light who has no light. To who does Paul attribute all this deceit and treachery ? It is to the evil one himself!
Let us then ponder these things. Emphatically, dramatically as in in Corinthians, the Bible knows of only one God, as distinct from the imperious and the spurious, only one to whom man is to give homage, render reverence as his Maker, and in whom to find salvation (Ephesians 4:4, Acts 4:11-12, Isaiah 43:10-11). Since Christ IS the ONLY Saviour, and GOD is the only Saviour, it again follows quite simply that what John 1:1 says, in parallel to Genesis 1:1, is in the most complete and open sense a declaration that in the beginning, God was and acted; and that as God, present in the beginning, Christ was and acted, that He was with God and thus being God, did what ONLY God does, can do, or allows any to affirm of another.
His office is to an unlimited degree to do what only God can do (cf. John 5:19-23). In state, in status, in action, at the first, from the first, in function and in unction (John 1:14), in mode of work (John 5:19ff.), and in name (John 8:58) as in clear exhibition (cf. the reaction in John 10:30ff., not reproved as Paul did when it was applied to him - Acts 14:14-15, tearing his clothes in distress as such an elevation!). No instead, as in John 20, when Thomas answered Him who spoke to him, and suddenly enlightened, replied to him, calling Him, "The Lord of me and the God of me!"
Christ not merely did NOT reprove him, but made such a testimony the very criterion of what faith is! YOU have seen and believed (what is true -for Thomas was invited to check it out with his finger), but "blessed are they who have not seen, yet have believed."
This done, we come to another fascinating feature of John 1:1-3. Having declared that IN THE BEGINNING the Word was, was with God and God was He, John makes what at first sight is a rather astonishing duplication. It is not however simple duplication, but an emphasis that does not even bother to use a different wording.
He thus adds in verse 2, just this: "He was in the beginning with God." Why, one must wonder, having stated in the first, the opening words, that IN THE BEGINNING, the WORD was, hence putting Him beyond all creation and over it, where ONLY God is, is it to repeated ? It is because the Author wishes to make it perspicuously clear that this association, this affinity, this reality called God, it is He held the Word before any time you might like to mention. He is showing the household, or the Expressor- Expression, Speaker- Word relationship within God, and wants us to relate to this in a settled and solid way, so that all that follows will be seen securely, not just as in a flash.
Having introduced us to it, he wants us to look at it, as when one seeing a magnificent view flashing by, then stops the car and gazes at it. It is so remarkable and splendid that it must fully be taken in.
The extreme emphasis follows, so that John both states that the Word made all things, and then ADDS with exhaustive coverage and elaborate emphasis, that NOTHING that was in the category of 'made' was outside HIS making (John 1:3). God is God to man because all that man is comes from Him, including his environment, destiny and all means to it. He is the one for whom all else is direct or indirect derivative. Indeed, over ALL things He is God, since ALL omits NOTHING, any time, space, place or era, conceivable or inconceivable. If made, it is not He; if made, He made it.
Christ is that One: this is so, not as if that is ALL that God is, but all that He, the Word is, is God, and with God; so that He has consisted before there was anything that is not God in so much as existence. Again, just as Saviour from sin is what God alone is (Isaiah 43:10), so the predicted one to crush the Satan (Genesis 3:15) again performs what only God does: salvation (John 1:29, Isaiah 53, Acts 4:11-12, John 6:40,50ff., 8:24).
John is thus signalising the Word as not only deity, but as a personal being, one who, on 'becoming flesh' or incarnate, is Jesus Christ (1:14). He is not separable. As to the Word: In this role, this format, He exhibits His nature by being full of grace and truth, as the only begotten of the Father (John 1:14), that in all ways and in all things, action or being, grace or power, place or making place, He as God shows God (John 1:18). For God did nothing like this at any other time, so that He is the ONLY begotten, God never coming into flesh in any other way, nor providing any other course (John 14:6, Hebrews 1:1-3, Ephesians 1:10).
The incarnation is unique because the WORD of God, being God, is not merely divine, but constitutive in nature within the godhead. He is not 'a word' but THE WORD, and of whom is He THE WORD ? It is of God that He is THE WORD! and He is to be called the Son of God in view of the fact that God actually caused the fleshly format to be found through instituting in the mother, so that "that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).
Luke puts it: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Highest will overshadow you,
therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born ... "
The "therefore" is quite emphatic. It is BECAUSE God will work and overshadow Mary, that the result will be this, that "the Son of God" is the earthly outcome of this divine intervention. It is possible because IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD; and it is in this way that "the word became flesh" and "dwelt among us." It is not a creation but an emplacement of what is the AUTHOR of ALL creation.
In John 1:4, we next learn that not only was He inextricably involved in the production of ALL creation, but His is the office of LIFE-GIVER for man. Just as Isaiah informs us that it is the ONE GOD of whom it is to be said that He has "made the earth", and it is He of whom it may be said that He "created man upon it", it is He who "stretched out the heavens" so that "all their host" He commanded, so John tells us that in THE WORD "was life, and the life was the light of man." Indeed, he declares in I John 5:12, that it is Jesus Christ who is the life of men as well, so that lacking Him, man lakes life; which is the more readily comprehensible, since CHRIST IS THE ETERNAL LIFE OF GOD.
It is His, life, internally and eternally (cf. I John 1:1-4); and He IS that eternal life. Accordingly, beyond time, now into time, He provides the life which is for man, as in God's image, IF man will receive Him, and receive this gift FROM Him (cf. Romans 6:23). It is not eternal life that starts in time, but eternal life which makes time, so that man may be in it, and creation may be emplaced, with time, in space, as also made, in timely and spacious fashion for man, a testimony and a limit, a grandeur but also a containjment.
AS MANY, this is the bound and the boundary, as many as received Him, to them HE gave the AUTHORITY to become the children of God (John 1:12). It is not a matter of showing them principles, but of BEING in Himself what as creations they need, that eternal life which is their supreme opportunity and natural complement (John 15); yet which is also their option to reject (as in John 3:19): though it is only HE who actualises their potential into destiny within Himself as children of God, and so as His brothers by faith (Hebrews 1:6-8, 2:12-18).
This John 1:12 also affirms quite categorically: they are born. HE was born INTO this world, but they, already in it, need to be born by His Spirit, on His reception, into HIS world, into the kingdom of heaven (John 3).
When this second birth for man occurs, it is categorically NOT by means of ANY component in man, either race or genes, either will individually or superiority constitutively. That is John 1:13. We are not dealing with the things of and within creation when it is Christ who is at hand, but with their Creator, and as He has created the material world, so in the invisible and spiritual, which is its source and likewise its zenith through their created spirits which God breathed into them as in Genesis 1, He creates again.
This time what He who is the Creator creates, it is the restoration of the fallen, the reconciliation of the alienated and the institution of the godly, in a new nature alien to alienation and intimate to Himself, as is fitting, and always was, for man, in God's image a creation, to his Creator (Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:24). Man who believes, he is then categorically a brother of Christ, through redemption (Hebrews 2, 9:12), yes eternal redemption by which he is bound to the eternal security in Christ as by an anchor in the very holy place in heaven (Hebrews 6:19).
Now the reader may wonder that one is so free with the use of the word 'categorical', since good taste might limit or vary it. However it is a judicious multiplication, since the scripture at which we are looking has just this extreme emphasis on that very feature. GOD categorically is the Christ. Creator categorically is the Christ. Giver of life categorically is the Christ. Reception of Him categorically is the way.
There is removal categorically of any contribution from man is this gift of eternal life. It is the work of God ALONE which makes men the children of God. Now the only point to clarify in this, is that God is not a 'category' as if to have the illimitable One of infinity and eternity 'placed', but in terms of our language, and of designating what we MEAN and are TALKING ABOUT, in that sense, and in the emphatic sense of the adjective, God is categorically God: is the One to whom that TERM refers!
In this way we begin to see the parallel to Genesis 1, which John so conspicuously creates in John 1:1, as a continuing one. This parallel is by no means exhausted in the first verse of the Gospel of John. Just as categories of creation, moon, sun, stars, beasts, man, and for those reproducible, their KIND, all categorical, were made by God, so the categories of God as man, life eternal, total derivation of the same from God, and the eternal focus of God and the Word as One and eternal, are all revealed, emphatically, on occasion with duplication for emphasis, leading FROM GOD TO MAN.
In the one, Genesis, the outreach is into creation in its KINDS;
in the other, John, the inreach is to God and His nature.
On this occasion, in John, then, instead of the structure and form of things, we have the internal reality of the Creator in His creation, and the result of this for man; and the way in which God, instead of creating what was now in the Gospel era, already there, namely the kinds of the first creation, created a 'kind', a new race indeed (I Peter 2:9): those who are the children of God! This is done BY that same WORD together with whom He created ALL THINGS in the beginning. It is this WORD who brings out a NEW KIND, one which God causes to continue ONLY BY HIS OWN ACTION (John 10:9,27-28), and one which is brought to light ONLY because the Light which is He, the Word in its fulness (John 3:34), not measured out but intrinsically present as God (John 14:1-14), comes to flesh to make the gift.
It is the final action of creation, the new creation of the children of God from the eternal Word, antecedent to creation, transcendent above it , who gave to creation its existence, always with God, as God now completing the point of the creation in this salient aspect, the impartation of life which is eternal.
It is soon indeed that another unique category is exposed to our expectant eyes. In John 1:29 we learn that this Word is the ultimate gift, that Messiah who has been foretold by so many prophets for so long in so many ways, the one who is to be the SACRIFICE for SIN. This increases the marvel of it all to the uttermost: for it is wholly staggering to one's experience of life that God should have such a plan, to make man in His own image with the full knowledge (as seen in the proto-evangelion of Genesis 3:15), that HE would take upon His glorious self such an image for the deliverance of man from sin, and incarnate, so offer life eternal: and that, not for the venturesome or the best, but for those who received Him in a way which like creation, is entirely His gift, nothing added by man.
Even the will of man is specifically and by name excluded as the source and base for this gift of God: it is from God, by God and through God alone! God is Himself, derivative from nothing, eternal, without whom nothing could be, nor could it have children which is nothing! and the life which is His likewise has no help from anyone. You get it or you do not; but if you do, it is a gift from God, at HIS instance, insistence and performance, not earned by savvy, insight or power, but granted by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8), so that none can boast (Romans 3:23ff.). If this is unsatisfactory, it is because God is not desired in His own place, but in one's own conceptions; or from confusion.
Yet even more than this is it startling and awesome in a sort of ferocity of wonder, that God would go far further. He would allow Himself to suffer humiliation, to be the object of scorn, to be slain by man in a slaughter like that of a sheep, so that John declares in 1:29, of this same incarnate God: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." The term 'lamb' in the Old Testament sacrificial scriptural context of endless seeming sacrifices, personally applied for, and these with ramifying categories (cf. Leviticus 4), such as sin offering, or burnt offering, is not to show us some trilly little woolly thing gambolling about, to bring enjoyment to jaded hearts, or uplift to kindly ones.
It is what a lamb does WHEN it takes away SIN which is the context, so that it is the removal of life in human form in extremis, which is in view. In view for whom ? in view for the Lamb, an who is the Lamb ? It is the Word, who is God, for God is He!
That Isaiah had in such detail in 50-55 shown just this, as also did the Psalms, and Zechariah, for example, left no doubt of what was involved. It was to be a jousting, a revelling, an unrighteous, a contemptuous, a derogatory and denigratory death slowly suffered which was in view. While God would take, as Lord and Shepherd, the little ones in His arms (Isaiah 40:10), man would take arms against Him, and subject Him to the sacrificial fiasco of making the sinless Saviour die as if a criminal (Isaiah 53:8-9). When will man realise that if you do that to God, or ignore what He has done, since this was all part of His loving and most gracious plan for man's redemption, that He suffer the just for the unjust to bring us to God, then there IS NO MORE REMEDY (as in Hebrews 10:29-31, 26-27).
It was a transfer of penalty from the impious to the pious, remarkable enough; but with that, from the created to the Creator! Without this, you have nothing. In Him who made you, the Lamb sacrificed and amazingly but on the other hand, necessarily raised (Acts 2:24), you have everything, by faith. HE who had MADE all things, eternal as God, HE would endure this. But why on earth should He do this ?
It was because He loved. Indeed, He loved the world which He made. He did not, like some erratic and ignorant student, want to toss this magnificent product of all but infinite effort into the spiritual waste-paper basket. He knows the end from the beginning like an expert novelist, and being God, as having all things manifest before Him (Isaiah 46:10, Hebrews 4:13), for all things are naked before Him.
He did not make man in His image in order to laugh at the natural paternal and maternal love of children. He, He was its source! He created and this is one of the created components that sin has neither removed nor made alien to the race. He, the Lord, loved, loved the world, yes, but SO loved the world that He would go to no limit in expense ? far more than this, no limit in COST (John 3:16, Romans 5:1-11).
He would pay it in His own coin, in His own Word; and as the word is naturally wholly expressive of Himself (cr. Hebrews 1:1-3), being the exact exhibition of His entire nature, He would in love, painful as the sacrifice would be, and with His incarnate Son, the Word, these being One, Himself most willing (as foreshadowed in Psalm 40)*1, suffer the sin's darts to become impaled on Himself. If then these would include repentance, and if they would include the casting away of the sin, with broken heart, then the sin would be swallowed up, distanced as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103, Micah 7:19ff., Zechariah 3:9, 12:10).
THE FORM, FORMULA AND FOCUS OF
IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD,
AND THE WORD WAS WITH GOD, AND GOD WAS THE WORD.
Perhaps more securely from any error of understanding, one could translate as follows (reasons given in endnote 2):
§In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and it was God the Word was*2.
Similarly, the translation shown for Genesis 1:1 is:
§In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth,
and the earth was without form and void.
The requirements for the latter will be pursued, and the translation shown again later. In parallel, it is fascinating to note the total complexion of the parallel, in this that John 1:2 affirms monumentally, then, "He was in the beginning with God", to give an ontological clarity: it is not as if the word became God in some ludicrous way (people try to imagine anything, even in numbers, with imaginary numbers), or God came later: there was a JOINT togetherness in the beginning. This having been clarified to the uttermost degree, we then are told of the scope of the activity of God and His eternal Word:
"All things were made through Him, and without Him, nothing was made that was made" - John 1:3. Thus not only was the TOTALITY of all the creation through the Word that was and is God as from the beginning, but there is a TOTAL NEGATION on all things made that might wish to appear in some other category. They were there ? They were either God or created. There is nothing else.
THE LOT was His office to create; what was created in its category of origin, can have no other origin.
That is thus the most total parallel to the simple presentation, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth: specialising in the case of John on the work of the Word of God, as God, with God, in the proceedings, and a double exclusion of any input of confusion; and in the case of Genesis on the procedures adopted in the said creation. As in Genesis 2:4, THIS IS THE HISTORY of the heavens and the earth when they were created. What it has stated in Genesis 1, this is the way it is, and nothing to the contrary is the way; for how otherwise could this be it!
Thus the creation of Genesis 1, becomes the functional totality of the work of the Word in ALL the creation. Not subordinate, a role He assumed as Messiah to be sacrificed when on earth, but equal with God (John 10:30ff.) was He (Philippians 2), in the form of God, the very God so named in the feature of Creator, Saviour and eternally alive in the BEGINNING, preceding ALL creation.
New KIND (The Defining Drama Ch. 10 ) comes to the fore, to add to all the others, and to consummate the point and height of things. Now not only are kinds made, variable around their nature, but distinct; and not only is one of these man in God's own image; but the whole point of it becomes clear. The eternal purpose (as in Ephesians 1:4) is now completed in that sequential modality, that logical and comprehensible LIGHT.
God is eternal and so His works in time having just this intimate mutual involvement and logical sequence is one of the VERIFICATIONS of His power and unique mode of working. It is not only that He FORECASTS what He will do (cf. Amos 3:7); but He consummates the plan, so that integrally it all comes to the point, as does some Lecturer who, starting in a way not readily comprehensible, soon comes to the point, and shows the way it all coheres, thus establishing the wisdom of his ways, and his teaching method.
The new kind is MAN begotten by God in his spirit, so that not just his form, but that very spirit which at the first becoming autonomous, dashed its destiny, is taken to a new realm (Titus 3:3-7, Ephesians 3:16, 4:23-24). Not merely is pardon available, but process. Not only is the process benignant but it is transformative; and not merely does it transform inwardly, but it confers a status, and a destiny, that of child of God Himself\ (John 1:12-13). A KIND is born, born of God, by grace through faith.
In just this same consummatory way, or if you prefer, this way both consummative and transformative, there is the exposure and completion of the basic revelation. It concerns the One
TO BE the salvation of God, where He is in focus as a person in Isaiah 42:6, Luke 2:29-32, who is
TO BE the very SACRIFICE ITSELF (as in Isaiah 53) which provides the salvation,
TO BE the Prince of Peace whose kingdom extends forever (Isaiah 9:7),
TO BE the universal ruler (as in Psalm 2, Isaiah 11), and
TO BE the SERVANT (Isaiah 42,49),
who, unlike all men, is sufficient for the purpose (Isaiah 41:28-29 and 51:18ff., Psalm 49:7,15 showing the insufficiency of any mere man).
Here is the explication and consummation of the entire agenda, written over the centuries, yes and the millenia before the Messiah*3, such that NO MAN can redeem his brother (Psalm 49:7,15), though GOD can and will redeem among men and it is by a man He will do it (Isaiah 53). How then could the Messiah, as man, do so ? Gone now is this mystery: He can AS GOD, for GOD is the Word. Clear from the first, it yet boggled the minds of many; for its transcendence becomes practical, its all might becomes vulnerable, yet its plan becomes implemented; for as to God, He CANNOT FAIL, for He brings all things to pass according to the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11).
You cannot outwit Him who knows it all; and you cannot beat Him on whom your very existence depends!
So here is it all made concrete, practical and manifest, and it is in One who could even be ... touched (I John 1:1-4, John 20:27), both on incarnation and on resurrection! It is GOD AS MAN! God with us as indicated by the child to be born of Isaiah 7, and the son to be given of Isaiah 9:6-7 who is the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God and presents in His own person, not as envoy, the everlasting Father!
Thus comes the inversion, "God is the Word." We are not engaging in the acme of confusion by using the same term in two different ways, and God being the realm of discourse, indeed the Creator, it is He who is the Word; but it is He so that there is an infinite intimacy. He, the Word, is WITH GOD; but He also has this to be said of Him: God is He! The article's omission does nothing to alter the fact that this is the grammatical mode for showing what is meant. It is not: the word is God that is written, if you are going to be precise. It is: GOD is the word!
This emphasis: GOD is the word fits Him from the beginning. As one might expect, though the thought be amazing to some, since He did so much and with such grace and vulnerability, it is He, the One who is there in the beginning and who institutes ALL creation, as in Genesis, who is GOD AND SAVIOUR. There is no other God, no other Saviour, no other Creator. It is HE!
How sad that so many go through incredible routines of 'discipline', giving and the like, only to be enemies of the Cross, calling themselves Christians, but with another Christ, another Gospel and another Spirit (Philippians 3:18, II Corinthians 11, II Peter 2:1-3). No wonder Paul advised us of this dimension of duplicity in deception, WITH TEARS! Who would not weep for such loss of so many on so false a trail, so foolishly, with inept leadership taking them on paying planes to hell, to the defeat that comes to those who refuse THIS SAME JESUS, who will return (Acts 1:11), just as He went.
God is the Word! The Creator it is who is the Word. The everlasting God, He who is from the beginning, He who in the beginning created all, it is HE who is Saviour, Lord, and it is HE who having been seen, has for the one so shown, shown God (John 14), and it is HE therefore, who being seen in reality, confers free salvation (John 6:40, Romans 6:23), which is neither bought nor an object of striving hope, but to the uttermost, of the dimension of donation. That is what it says and means.
Now in the depth of this revelation, we discern as those whose eyes adjust, that with Him, and God in Himself, is this Word, who does all these things, the exclusive and lonely prerogative of God. Thus, GOD is the Word, and creation, ALL of it is the Word's work, and the repetition, both of the concept, NOTHING that was made was made without Him, and of the fact that in the beginning the word was with God, these are the staples on the letter of communication, to ensure it is not opened amiss.
There is nothing in the least difficult about what is being said. Genesis in the first shows God doing the creation, that it is HE who does it, and Isaiah confirms He alone. It is not some omission. Implied from this: He was there and this is something that He did. Accordingly, 'In the beginning' in parallel in John, shows that in that HE was there, the WORD was there, there from the first, yes from the very beginning, yes creating ALL things, yes so that NOTHING made was made but by Him. In this way, the beginning, the eternity, the increate majesty, the total work in creation, all betokens, emphasises, asserts, attests and invests into all that follows, the reality. It is but ONE BEING, and GOD it is who is the Word.
Why then is there so much foolishness about the translation of John 1:1, as if 'a god' were in view, when the grammar does nothing, and the context permits nothing of this kind, when moreover there is nothing of such kind in the whole realm of the creator, the saviour, the instituter and moulder of the universe, and of all that is not God! Why is this thing, consummately obvious, emphatic, categorical and clear, confirmed on all sides and made the more manifest in every context, yet rejected by some who dare to use the name 'Christian', as if there were some new killing of Christ, but this time in the mind ?
Again, it is simply verification, for as Paul put it, "... many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction." In contradistinction from these false brethren (as in II Corinthians 11!), Paul asks them, on the contrary, to walk as he walks (cf. I Cor. 14:37).
This phenomenon which brought tears to the eyes of the apostle Paul, it is to become rank and rampant in the end of the Age as Christ specifically taught (Matthew 24:7,24), and wolves in sheep's clothing are to become an order of the day as it declines into the darkness facing this world, in the ultimate, leading eventually to its entire removal (as in Matthew 24:35, II Peter 3), with that same power which created it at the first. If it had not happened in its way and in its day, the Bible would have been wrong; yet it is never wrong. It has indeed happened to the point that multitudes throng to the valley of decision, to the final overthrow of the devil and his deceptions. One cannot glory in this; but rather weep; but then one must present the truth, as if of a melanoma to someone who has one.
This is the least one can do! Since God SO loves that He gave His only begotten Son so that WHOEVER believes may live for ever and avoid perishing, this is what must be proclaimed, though all the world jam like some threshing cogs, caught in their own fracture. THIS is His desire, and this is His purpose, yet not so that He aborts the image of God in man, but rather fulfils it (Colossians 1:19-22).
Let us however note and underline the fact that this is fulfilment, just as the word becoming flesh was fulfilment, so that as in Psalm 45, the Messiah would be God Himself, yes and the Lamb, as in Zechariah 12:10, would be the very God who spoke to man! It is fulfilment of what always was before Him, before time commenced, in terms of "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8), so that Christians are known and shown in Him "before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians 1:4). The very founding of the world has this in its turmoil, enshrined, and its results are from eternity.
What omni-competence, what total control, what total compassion and what categorical love is this! How marvellously does the Lord WORK everything after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11)!
Thus in John as in Genesis, it starts with God, and then details the action. In the Genesis case, it details the action to institute the entire orderly realm of creation in an orderly and progressive fashion, each step heavily integrated and expressly with the rest. In the John case, it details the action this time to focus not the mode of creation, but WHO did it, and then the mode of salvation, WHO WAS IT, even that salvation which is God's alone, the ONLY Saviour! Indeed, then it is WHAT IS IT, and you see this so exquisitely in John 6 and 10.
The complementarity of the two, Genesis 1 and John 1, with their various outcomes, is like that of right and left hand therefore.
Of 'gods' in this realm, the Bible knows only two kinds, that actual to whom worship is due, the one who as Thomas told Christ, is "the God", and the ones who think they are gods, act as if they are, are contemptuous of the difference, diseased in soul, diverse in kind, goats not sheep (Matthew 25). To these is the irony and the exposure which is correlative to hell.
Will you still say you are God to Him who slays you!
God asks in Ezekiel 28:9.
Or again, as in Psalm 82,
You SAY you are gods ? Yet you will DIE like MEN!
The ironically despatched imposters or spiritually roisterers, these are the one kind, frauds and fakes, and this is interesting when one considers the Mormon phenomenon*4. The other kind ? category ? no, the other ONE is the actual GOD. It is He ONLY who creates, who saves and who incarnate, constitutes the Salvation of man, and is hence the very Saviour who alone God is. Not only so, there is NO OTHER NAME but His under heaven given among men (Acts 4:11-12) by which they may be saved. Not only this, there is none other by which they MUST be saved.
This, it is what is written. There is indeed no other name in the universe, in heavenly or earthly places, you name it, by which reconciliation with God may be made! (Colossians 1:19ff.). If you seek to trifle with the Almighty by making Him up in your own mind, then lost is your end, except you repent. And this, it is the grand feature of our present Age, that you mjay. It is not always to be so (cf. Revelation 19). There is a time to rejoice, but also a time to repent! (cf. Ecclesiastes 1).
In this way, the inclusive nature of the exclusive, the Christ who is the Word, shines with a light and having eternal life, is able and willing to confer not only that life, but that light (John 9:5, 8:12, 1:4). It is BECAUSE He is the life that He is the light. BEING what and WHO He is, the divine light, which man needs, He grants light when life is found. Light is natural to it, and it is for this reason that "those who seek the Lord understand all" (Proverbs 28:5).
They know Him who has ALL (John 16:15), for as He says, "all things that the Father has are Mine" (including eternity, omnipotence, omniscience, deity); and thus He who is a revealer of secrets, and before whom nothing dark can stand, shows His people all they need to know from His infinitude of knowledge and wisdom. I f as with Daniel, they need to know someone's dream, this they can be shown. Limit ? Nothing is the limit in power and knowledge to Him whose is all of creation, not only by ownership, but by construction of its very time and space, units and kinds. He gives, and life that you may live forever, and light that you should not stumble, and may work, each is one of His gifts.
It is HIS OFFICE to do so (as in Matthew 11:27-28), where it is NOT that that the Father is shown to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him, as in the AV, but to whomsoever the Son WILLS to reveal Him, as in the Greek and the NAV. As you see in John 15, as in John 1:13, it is NOT that they chose Him, but that HE chose them!
However God SO loves that while this Creator, who also creates children of God at His will, is the sovereign who selects, He is also the Lover who seeks, and who WOULD HAVE all to repent and come to the knowledge of the truth: yes all to be reconciled, whether in heaven or on earth, and so far from constituting a barrier, it is He who removes all barriers (Colossians 1:19ff., Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42ff.). Even in announcing, as in Luke in this passage, the almost unutterable destruction coming to beloved Jerusalem, now ornery in resistance (Matthew 23), He weeps, and laments that even in this there day, a day in which came a visitation from above which could have been their so cherished deliverance, they stubbornly became the object of destruction. it is rather like a child which called, yet proceeds in front of a truck.
Yet it is HIS CREATION, as God the Creator, and the 'wind blows where it will' as in John 3.
The case is not with us, then, as if some official from heaven messes about with things, but that God is the God who acts: THE GOD WHO SAVES, as the grammar permits to be expressly stated in John 20, at the lips of Thomas. This, coming when at last Thomas realises the resurrection of the very body, the object of manifest creation to which Christ came, shows just WHO Christ is. In so doing, Thomas acted and spoke in a way which constituted a PRINCIPLE for admission to the kingdom of heaven (John 20:29).
THIS is believing! Not some other Jesus (II Cor. 11), but this same one. Not some happening; but bodily resurrection (I Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 10:9). Here is the criterion, the cross, the King and the salvation, and not in some other, constructed by the willing minds of meddling man. Our God does not meddle, and does not accept meddling; He has come and He has done and thus he who sees the Son and believes on Him has eternal life (John 6:40), that eternal life which the Son is, and which He brings, confers and conveys.
Let us ponder then the personal implications further.
THE AWESOME SHOCK AND THE NEED TO KNOCK
We have, in John 1:1, as in Genesis 1:1 been moved to the utmost elevation. Since the creation is the inclusive mandate of the Word of God, and all made is exclusive of His exclusion: then if HE did not make it, it is not a made thing. What is not made is either God or nothing, what IS NOT!
If the 'brick' does not have HIS stamp as Maker on it, it is a misnomer, a phantasm, illusion, mirage. MADE thing ? HE did it. Since clearly He did not make Himself, not in such a surmise being there to do it, such a conception constitutes a contradiction in terms precisely and directly. He Himself is excluded from things made. He was there at the beginning, and since God alone is Creator, He is God.
Now we come to ponder salvation in these terms. Since The Word of God = Christ, who is the ONLY begotten Son (John 3:16) and the only way to the Father (John 14:6), and the ONLY Saviour (Colossians 1:19ff., with Acts 4:11-12), then He is God as Saviour, Creator and Eternal, unmade. God is He! As LIGHT of men, in whom IS LIFE, He gives life eternal to men. From eternity He grants eternity, and from deity He grants children's position to those who come to Him, His name above every other name (Philippians 2:9ff.), Himself investing according to His own will those to whom the Father is revealed; and it is STATEDLY BECAUSE He is the Creator, that He is treated as first-born among men (Col. 1:15).
The Father and He are ONE, He said, indicating the nature of their infinite communion, so that the people took stones (John 10:30), seeking His immediate demise for blasphemy, making Himself equal with God. Hence as in Matthew 11:27, He WILLS the people to be His, and His Father WILLS the people to be His (as in John 6), as in the humble post of Messiah He works His 'wonderful work' as Isaiah puts it (Isaiah 29:14). Father and Son will the same thing, the Messiah as in the form of men and of a servant (Philippians 2) receiving what He also wills (Psalm 40, cf. Joyful Jottings 22).
Thus is the work of Him who in His labours might be touched, seen (I John 1:1-4), but who for all that, in the intensity and immensity of the miracle of grace, is "that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us" (I John 1:2). That is why it is, that to have Him is to have life (I John 5:12), and not to have Him is to lack it, for HIS is the life which is in the creation, eternal as available for man in God's image; and HIS is the eternal life which He constitutes, and applies in salvation to those who receive Him.
Now comes the incredible seeming shock, the staggering amazement that such a being on such a mission, even into time from eternity, should be so treated, so regarded, so placarded as an imposter and so crucified as a blasphemer.
Such is this world, which is contrary, which in is darkness (John 1:5,11), and it is a darkness which neither comprehends, nor apprehends, but which was such that it apprehended Him as a prisoner and slew Him slowly as an imposter: Him whom none could imitate, neither in word nor in miracle, in kindness nor in compassion, in power nor in wonder; whom none could overthrow, none could intimidate - nor could any show Him up. In terms of scientific method, He met all things to the uttermost, and His judges flayed not only Him, but truth; which after all, since it is He, on Him it all devolves, was implicit in any case. However, here again, it is that we find the composition, the mutual confirmation of all things, for all that is implied in WHO He is, is found in both WHAT He did, and what was done to Him. It fits as do two thousand facets of some mighty jewel, each reflecting light, each lit with refracted as well as direct light, in dazzling compounding and composition.
Thus is seen the fearfully awesome fact that like dark clouds on the sun, moving in menacing blackness and toiling in turbulence, is the contrast between the Christ and His detractors, His good and their evil, His grace and their ravagements. He made the world (John 1:10), was in it, the novelist in His book, and He came to His select people, Israel sent to exhibit His wonder and way (Isaiah 43:21); but He was not recognised, and even where it was impossible to fail to see His inimitable power as God (cf. John 11:48), He was not recognised in form by officialdom, intent on survival by disfaith. In the level of this world, and of His own nation, He was not recognised by the spirits of men.
Dark as all this is, yet those who receive Him, to these came that life which is His, eternal, these so becoming children of God. To those came His light, so that even in the darkness, they should not stumble (John 8-9), and these work for Him, while work they may, for the night comes in which no man can work (John 9:4).
What however of these who so become His, were always known as His, but were in timely time, brought to Him in faith ? What of them ?
It is no matter of genes, genius, gender, engendering of mind or social caste, race, region or real estate; and it is nothing to do with any such creature's comforts or discomforts. The selection and the birth is OF GOD! (John 1:13). The choice is HIS, but the way too is HIS, and HE IS the way, so that in His seeking to save the lost, He does not exclude any, but draws all (Colossians 1:19ff., John 12:32). As to man, so deep is his darkness, that even his will is defunct at this level of choice (cf. Romans 9:16, I Corinthians 2:14, John 1:13).
These then who are born, in the very midst of the dark turbulences of the history of this world, they are re-created by God, and restored to His image (Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:14). It is reclamation, restoration and regeneration (Titus 3:5ff.) which is in view, in this SECOND GREAT CHAPTER OF CREATION TRACED FROM FIRST TO LAST, in the Bible. So does Genesis 1 become prelude to John 1, and John 1 complement to Genesis 1.
Here, John 1 it is; and it is filled with the wonder and the glory of God, a shaft for all that follows, precisely as is Genesis 1 for the rest of that volume!
The infinite God, in flesh He was full of grace and truth, not given the Spirit by measure (John 1:14, 3:34), so that although none had seen God as such, yet He being of His heart, infinite and increate with Him, in the very bosom of the Father, led Him forth and declared Him to men (John 1:18, as in the vast Majority text). It is HE who has ALL that the Father has, and the Father being infinite, who also is Himself infinite, is God.
Dark is the way without Him, and gloomy, turbulent are the clouds of hatred and unbelief, rejecting the irrepressible and covering the light which burns no less, and will burn till this world is burnt up.
Some who prefer darkness have that very fact as their destiny, categorically self-categorised to belong to the ravagement of ruin (John 3:19).
How aweful it is, that even when the light shines, as it continues to do and has never ceased doing, even becoming flesh to give life, and that eternal: how horrendous and abysmal in kind, that the darkness does not comprehend it!
Christ did not predict that it would, but the opposite; yet that SOME would receive Him, and these on the NARROW way would inherit life (Matthew 7:15ff.). Christ is in this, as in all things, shown correct; but what is the cost of loss, when such is the cost for redemption, and how impervious are the impenitent, their hearts stricken with sin, their eyes shut against the light (Matthew 13:15), lest they should see, hear and being converted, be healed and so see naturally, and find truth pleasantly, where it belongs. As to the wisdom of God, "her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace" (Proverbs 3:17). "
Oh! He proclaims, that you had heeded My commandments,
then your peace would have been like a river ..." (Isaiah 48:18).
Man in manhandling the Truth, has never been able to find it, and the whole history of self-criticising philosophy over the generations and the Ages, is that it stumbles as in the dark (cf. SMR Ch. 3, 5, 10), and this, it is not the ground of cynicism, but the verification of virtue, and the shame on sham.
The light, and this alone, solves all mysteries, as this site constantly exhibits by following and applying His word as He is His grace alone, enables. For all time, what is there, it is shown by His light, which neither dims nor fails at any time, in things past, present or future. How many futures have become presents and pasts; and what a past this world now has, which has shunned the light, and teaches darkness with such passion (cf. News 122, That Magnificent Rock Ch. 8, Beauty for Ashes Ch. 3).
A world build with love for love, is one into which the world of survival and stress, pride and pomp, pretence and irrationality cannot fit. In the end, the sham of shame outside His name goes to its own place, like Judas (Matthew 24:35, II Peter 3). It is best for those who seek love, to seek it where it is; who seek truth to take it where it is offered, to knock on the door which turns so readily, when it is addressed in faith (John 10:9); and for those who prize themselves, to return to the prize above all flesh, who became flesh, that man might find in eternity, a life which is fitting for his construction and his destiny.
It is necessary to knock (Matthew 7:7). It is necessary to repent (Luke 13:1ff.). It is necessary to receive Him who broke death in His own body, by faith, and to trust in Him. That, it is like saying to someone strolling through some magnificent botanical gardens, like that at Stirling near Adelaide, that it is necessary to find the scent, to ... admit its fragrance, through your nostrils.
*1 See Joyful Jottings 22, in the series 22-25.
Greek allows inversions to be clear in such a case. Thus the subject equipped with the "the", is distinguished from the complement, not so equipped. In this case, it is literally, God was the Word (plus the information that 'the Word' is the subject, plus the emphasis inherent in putting the complement before the subject.). That is what we have to translate.
Now in English we could put this third part of the opening statement, as is done here, "and God was the word." The emphasis implicit in inversion, so that what would normally come later, comes instead first, is preserved by italicising the word 'God' in English. It has just been used, so that its meaning is clear; and now it is to be emphasised. In general terms, this might suffice.
However, it is just possible that someone might read this is simply meaning that God and the Word were co-extensive, whereas of course, there is the Father and the Spirit, and the Word. This is not what the text is saying. Hence to match English idiom and mannerisms, perhaps the best translation would be this:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and it was God the Word was.
In this case, the italics are being used as in normal in the KJV and the NKJV to mean that these words are supplied for clarity in terms of English idiomatic usage, but do not appear in the Greek text. To the mind of this writer, this is the most secure translation, since it is virtually impossible to misunderstand it.
A further feature in favour of rendering it in this idiomatic English way is that the following verse now is far more perspicuous s to its repetitive element. The meaning would be, as in bold above, followed by this statement: He was in the beginning with God.
Thus the development would be in this style. In the beginning, as in Genesis, before anything was made, was the Maker, and the One to whom we look now is the Word. He was, in this pre-creation, and thus pre-temporal phase, with God. Indeed, God it is that He was. He was in the beginning with God.
The explicatory force now flows as smoothly as a stream in mid-Spring. We meet this Person before creation. It is not surprising that He was with God before creation, since everything is either God or creation. We are told further than His was the status of deity, Himself, and this being so, neatly and compactly for the understanding, we are to picture Him, before all creation, one God. As shown in the main text of this chapter, that is precisely what is to be expected as soon as we learn that the ONE GOD was in fellowship with the Word, so that that which is affirmed of the ONE GOD, is affirmed no less of the WORD, so that in verse three we learn with that sobering relish for the inter-relation of all things to be found in this Gospel, that all things were made by Him, and nothing that is made was made without Him.
Than this, nothing could be clearer: one Being consists in Sender and Sent, Speaker and Spoken, Father and Son, and being ONE GOD, He was there from the first, and has control of things to the last of creation. We learn as John's Gospel proceeds, that He also has control to the last of it (John 5:19-23 cf. Matthew 24:35, John 16:15).
The Mormon teaching is variable. At one time, it was taught that God, the God of man, was once Adam as in Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, pp. 50ff.). Now some do not like this, and like to assail those who attribute this 'authoritative' teaching to them. But it changes.
The Bible itself is not acceptable to them, merely containing revelations from God. In this way, they can take or leave at any time as they please; but they have already left so much, and contradicted it so vehemently, that its mere mention is misleading and gives a false sense of authority to what is anti-biblical in many basic doctrines, to the point it is identifiably at war with the author of the Bible, being willing to dismiss fundamental doctrines of its teaching as if those of a dunce. Yet it is attested in time, in form, in knowledge, in endurance, in fulfilment beyond any book ever written, as has been shown in detail often on this site (e.g. SMR Chs. 8-9, The Pitter-Patter ... Ch. 4).
The Bible is not authoritative for them, for they 'recognize its limitations' (Bennett, Why I am a Mormon, p. 159), do not 'ascribe final authority to any of its statements' and want to re-open the canon despite its most dramatic closure (Revelation 22, which forbids any MORE THINGS to be added, and provides the faith as centring on Christ and the apostles - Ephesians 2:20 as foundation, Christ the Chief Corner Stone, I Cor. 3:10-11 cf. SMR Appendix D). In placing their own 'scriptures' with the Bible, they then feel free to change in this way, making a polytheistic universe which lacks basis, a mere imaginary population without scientific confirmation, in heinous transgression of biblical teaching (Exodus 20, Ephesians 4:4, Isaiah 44-45), which could not on this point be more emphatic: in those terms incurring the most total divine wrath, according to the Bible, for idolatry.
Any association of 'gods' has always to be given their ground, realm of mutual communication, linguistic commonality, thought transference management, basis and of course origin as a kind and as indeed existent. If they pro-create, they need the sexual apparatus and the mutuality of its activity to be created as well. A system entails performance for its cause, unless magic be invoked; and the system-maker, then, being God, and ignored, makes any such religion as useful in the ultimate, as a course on mathematics which lacks numbers.
In making creation of man by pro-creation from God, whether or not He be still conceived as a glorified Adam or rather some glorified resurrected man, as the tides change, on the ground that "there is no other process of creation", as cited from Brigham Young's Journal of Discourses (Vol. II, p. 122), they ignore the necessity of having the entire creation in ordered structure, and make gods like people living in a motel, built by someone else who does not seem to rate! Further, in writing his Journal, Young used a different method of creation, for he did not pro-create it, and even if creation of man be meant, so that man can not be created except by pro-creation, this is merely an irrational statement of disfaith, ignoring the very thing that is to be used, as to its own creation.
To MAKE OVER a new man from an old, then, does not touch the creation of the system, so that this in that regard fails to register biblically at all, as much as logically (cf. SMR Ch. 1).
For this philosophy, positive, objective testability is zero, from the golden plates from the angel supposedly back of the Book of Mormon, to their disappearance. Negative testability is great, for how would large passages of the King James Bible occur in a book allegedly written long before the Bible was so translated, indeed many centuries before, that is, in the Book of Mormon; and how would passages verbatim from the Westminster Confession there appear centuries before it was formulated, for Smith's material was claimed to have been written many, many centuries before Smith 'translated' it!
What dysfunction is there is making the language of 1611, used in the KJ Bible, that of his alleged translation from the golden plates of mixed linguistic types, some 211 years later, while using the so important supplied spectacles, all alas lost! Is religion to be made hard by using a former language mode, out of date by centuries ?
Will a relatively unlearned Joseph Smith indulge in such learned recasts to former times ? Are disutility and anachronism to be married, with opportunity, the 1611 version of the Bible, their first child!
this most decisive rejection of basic biblical teachings,
this glorification of sex as creator of gods,
this evolutionary zenith, in making gods arise and develop in a universe
which conveniently does not have or disclose the One who makes the systems
by which such beings CAN pro-create, but seems just a place for pseudo-divine squatters:
it all becomes Satanic in this: that it is a fraud.
In what way is it a fraud ? In this: it is USING the Bible on the one hand to denigrate its most basic teachings, while daring to cite it in the very act of assailing it in the most fundamental way, without evidence, in the face of evidence, on lost plates as basis, with a biblically forbidden angel as conveyor belt for the new revelation (Colossians 2:18, Galatians 1). It is this which is fraudulent. To complete the pantomime atmosphere, it proceeds with angelic authority, as if an angel simply said to be sighted could supersede Christ in teaching and contradict Him (John 4:24); as if their 'God', yes in terms of a massif of gods, exists in a multiplying system of movement and evolution which can thus move anywhere in an unknown ultimate.
This is the flavour of our own times and of their myths; but it has nothing to do with the Bible, not even rating as a caricature, for the contradiction makes any relationship but contradiction, meaningless. Further, in using Isaiah 53 verbatim from the KJV translation (Ch. 14, Book of Mormon!), and then making the Christ the 'offspring of a mortal mother and an immortal, or glorified and resurrected Father', this religion presents a mixture of cat and dog, rain and drought, plus and minus, yes, creation and Creator in impossible hybrids. Its plausibility as with various sects, is to be from the Bible, which it cites; but this is the opposite if one thinks even a little about the thing: for if the Bible is in such wholesale and basic way contradicted, what authority can it lend its assailant ?
Does a Major who attacks in the most flamboyant fashion, the words of his General, gain authority from his boss by such drastically antagonistic dealings ? Hardly, but only the certainty of discipline and probable removal from the Army post-haste!
Remove then the Bible, and you have nothing but disfaith making weird and unsupported stories outside the Bible, contrary to the Bible, based on air, consolidated from reports which offer no brand of evidence but the condemnation of experts on the linguistic symbols allegedly used in the missing plates.
In some ways, it is like freemasonry (cf. SMR p. 701, Know the Lord 31), mixing up the faiths and making a composite. If, however, you cannot rise from the dead, or raise the dead, heal the sick or answer all men with invincible power and knowledge; if you cannot fulfil prophecy including His death date, as Christ did (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), or predict the things to come, as He also did in vast measure (cf. SMR Ch. 8), then what could you do ?
What ? You could always, in the abstract, present a story of spectacles, of golden plates, of an angel not now about, and present a mixed-symbol material matching nothing but confusion in type by expert testimony, and give large excerpts from the Authorised Version of the Bible of more than 200 years earlier, itself made by scholars without magic glasses, together with some of the Westminster Confession of the 1640s, made with years of discussion, and other ingredients, to make a novelty.
What then is to be found of this religion ? They reject the work of the Holy Spirit in the incarnation ('therefore' the Son was to be called the 'son of God' as in Luke 1:35), make some imaginary journey of an imaginary God without evidence (Brigham Young op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 50-51), contrary to all evidence, leading Him to earth, this 'God' being allegedly man in resurrected form, and this visit of this amalgam, this flesh and bones being is for the purpose of copulation. They then make that being - thus biblically non-God, as NOT Spirit (John 4), whom they yet call God, but would have only a local spiritual aristocrat, to pursue this intrusion for copulation with a betrothed woman to its end, and that, even though this biblically was, in those days, an occasion for the death sentence (Deuteronomy 22:23-24).
All this is done in a mirage of marvels without evidence, allegations without attestation, that is a mockery of Scripture, and as evidentially related to reality, as any other mirage.
Thus there is 'resurrected' more than the 'God' who came, resurrected by unknown power in what appears as if a convenient sports car called the universe, which ticks over without creator so well. It is imagined to proceed on its way, spawning gods without need of the logical basis, since allegedly creation comes ONLY by pro-creation, even in the realm of gods. What more, then, is resurrected ? The Christ in question is unquestionably anti-biblical, not being God at all, the God who alone created ALL and was before ANY creation! as we have seen in this Chapter.
Another Christ, as Paul declares in II Corinthians 11, this is a fatal venture, and he ascribes such activities to Satan, transforming himself as an angel of light; another Gospel, as in Galatians, he similarly abjures, insisting that there is one Lord, one Gospel and its inviolability is such that even if he, Paul, should make one other than the one he had already preached, he too would be accursed!
There is thus resurrected, from the realms of imagination without one scintilla of objective evidence, a false Christ without the incarnation by the Holy Spirit, without His eternity in heaven, as Spirit (John 17:1-3, John 1:1, 8:58), without His power as deity to bear all, without the love as of the only begotten Son sent for salvation, and hence without the miracles and without the testimony which created religion, a spiritual life based on what Christ said and did, and His Father said and did before Him!
This 'Christ', thus misconceived as carnally begotten, since begetting is presented as if popular with the gods (contrary to Matthew 22:30, which speaks of what is the nature of the resurrection), thus becomes a false Christ, coming as one of many, a result of a process where man starts it all off, turning invisibly and without witness of any kind, into gods in some cases at least. This too is by a process unknown, as visible as air, as clear a vacuum, as exhibited in equipment as gold from palm-trees.
That disjunction: it is merely measurable fact.
This is evolution with a vengeance. If the organic evolution is contrary to scientific method (cf. SMR pp. 140ff.), then this spiritual evolution, if possible, is even more illogical, based heavily on nothing testable in any regard, as to its processes, as to its ancient and enduring testimony, here using a Bible it scorns in reality, as to its teaching, to conjoin with a book from disappearing plates from ancient times, yet containing bits of a 17th century translation of the Bible, allegedly written long before scholars did that work, in order to present a Christ of fornication (there is nothing lawful in using a betrothed bride for sexual intercourse scripturally, with a man of any kind!) to fulfil processes which have neither evidence nor attestation of any kind.
It is in all respects, except its endeavour to bring in the Bible, as so many sects do, in the most gross rejection of its cardinal doctrines but as a name: a myth. What is a myth ? It is the ascription of observable events to no adequate causes, in terms of the invention of a series of powers, properties or processes without known evidence, so that the imaginary becomes as if real, while the realities attested are logically indistinguishable from the phantasms of unreality.
Works of value for this matter include Harold J. Berry's The Truth Twisters, and Oswald J. Sanders' Heresies and Cults.
1) Genesis 1:1
See Gracious Goodness ... Ch. 6;.
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!
In fact, 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.
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.
Drama ? what drama ? This,
2 now proceeds to narrate with the same economy, precision and incisiveness as in the Ch. 1 account of the beginning to the stage; and it narrates where the play now ensues. It has led to much hard work, this play; so it is well to attend to it. It has led to much tragedy, so it is not entertaining. It has led to man becoming played out, as a race, increasingly, despite his awesome beginnings; and indeed, it is these wonder of divine creation of man, body, mind and spirit, which accounts for the fact, in terms of the divine drive and mercy which inaugurated him with the universe, that despite all his manifold and manifest follies, he is still as a race in existence at all! Ch.
We have no option but to translate in this or an equivalent mode, doing justice to the contextual, meta-contextual, grammatical and connotational specifications, including the arithmetical.
§In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth,
and the earth was without form and void.
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.
What 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. Verse 1 is not a dependent clause, but an independent one, the main one, and an absolute declaration. 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.