W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
CREATION, CONSECRATION AND REFRESHING REST
Dec.1999 - Feb.2000
"CREATION - ex nihilo"
Is it because of pride, or convenience, of custom or slackness, of suppressed awe, or religious misappropriation, or other or composite causes, that what is eminently serviceable tends to become a standard, and hence its excellence tends to become a danger ? It may often be unconscious, and certainly unintended; but the peril is real.
You see it in many spheres, but not least the religious.
This magazine is eminently effective in many things. Its message, meat and method are useful to many, but it has ONE specialty.
Let us be thankful, as in churches, for the excellent features, and not servile when questionable materials arise. It is, after all, in precisely such ways that Rome arose to become a bastion of heresy.
to avoid the double danger of undue reaction to error, as if it were some
marvel, and not engaging in conflict, as if it were not necessary, let
us look at one of the non-special areas of the Creation magazine, namely,
its assertions on translation in the area of Genesis 1:14-16. (See also
54 in a similar area.)
(see also Answers to Questions Ch. 8 on this topic)
The assertion in CREATION, op.cit., p. 30 is that the sun and moon were not created till the 4th day.
The question is simple: Did God, as expressed in Genesis 1, create the sun and moon and stars before day 4 ? It is the view of the author, that this is not known (cf. SMR pp. 174-197). It is indicated in CREATION magazine that indisputably, to any reasonable approach, He did NOT. It was ONLY in day 4 that these bodies arose, freshly created.
Why does it matter ? All truth matters, and it has repercussions that are various, and experienced sometimes at unexpected moments. It is well to be careful therefore.
There is first, however, another preliminary consideration. Sometimes an expert, whether in cricket or physics, can see a PERSPECTIVE and APPROACH to an issue which long experience and some expert knowledge indicates to be WISE or a watchful and alert overview. It may work in multiplied instances. However, when we are not in a game, and value our results on purely evidential grounds, all strategies apart, it is not possible to afford the luxury of this somewhat pragmatic approach. It may even be quite unconscious: it has worked so it is the best. That however is to be resisted.
It is, indeed, possible for experts to pool their knowledge and agree what seems the soundest and best-constructed joint approach. There is nothing necessarily wrong in this. It is when it becomes, even unintentionally, a CRITERION, however, a position which provides the spectacles for perception, that the danger arises.
If, then, as indicated in Creation in this issue, the fact is that many who hold to the absurd and utterly irrational concepts of organic evolution (cf. SMR pp. 140ff., A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-9 Stepping Out for Christ Chs. 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, Wake up World! Your Creator is Coming... Chs. 4, 5, 6, Epilogue, That Magnificent Rock Chs. 1, 7, 8 etc.), also find it good to USE the idea that the creation of sun and moon was EARLIER in sequence that what is in Genesis day 4, that is NO reason whatsoever to indulge the assumption that it is therefore wrong or a mistake to HOLD such a view, and to do so even for OTHER reasons, on this particular point. Even criminals breathe; and this does not make breathing wrong.
After all, as shown so laboriously and so often in this site, there is NO opportunity for that rash and radical hypothesis of organic evolution to meet the criteria either of scientific method in particular or logic in general. Its preferences do not weigh a feather, when one is going to the care of exegesis of the Biblical text. THAT is important, for it is where truth lies.
NOR must anyone suggest that what is a happy choice, for some organic evolutionist in some minute point, in the toils of his absurdity, his Alice in Wonderland wander-lust, or whatever may be the fantasy source, is thereby something short of 'good enough' for a Biblical creationist. NEITHER by DIRECT assault NOR by indirect, does one wisely yield to ANYTHING anyone says, for WHATEVER reason, when it appears warranted on sound grounds of its own. What God says has the grounds incomparable (cf. SMR Chs.1-3). It is therefore to be treated with undimmable respect.
Hence here (and cf. Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming ... Ch.5, pp. 103ff., News 68), we shall look at this passage. Opinions on what must be or should well be, are not to the point. The text must speak for itself, and what it says is the limit of the divulgement. Not with preconceived ideas is it to be approached; or with strategic considerations; nor must such even enter into the question.
We shall, then, consider whether the FACT of evening and morning (Genesis 1:3-5), attesting the initial darkness and the following light sequence as from day one, may not in fact give very possible meaning to the celestial luminaries (to follow the language of the text) - sun, moon and stars - as created BEFORE day 4, and in fact soon enough to make the evening and morning concept, before day 4, correlative to their existence. That, of course, would be a very natural interpretation, if not of course an entirely binding one. It would simply mean this: that the evening and morning sequence of the Bible here (not vice versa), precedes either
the concept of 'asah as distinct from bara', the former being used in Genesis
1:16 of the celestial luminaries, is far from as relatively indifferent
as Creation magazine would suggest here.
As Gleason L. Archer, co-author of the prodigiously interesting Theological Word-Book of the Old Testament, indicates in his A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, p. 178,
Thus there is an interesting use of 'bara' in Genesis 1:1, 21,27, in the three arenas: overall creation statement, in that of animals and that of man. The contrast is instructive between the two verbs in these cases. The use of 'asah for its part, this is instructive likewise.
In verse 16 it is the latter. It has the emphasis of making, forming or moulding.
THIS is precisely what would be involved, had these luminaries been in process but not in full operation, or in dysfunction till the vapour cleared, or any such scenario.
What makes the case far stronger, indeed impressive is the simple fact that BEFORE we are told of this forming of these bodies, we are told of the PURPOSE in view. In the AV translation, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day fro the night" there is the declaration of purpose. Archer (op.cit. p. 178) points out that the translation of Genesis 1:14 may properly also be this: "Let luminaries in the firmament of heaven be for the purpose of separating between day and night, in order that they may be for signs etc." Such a translation would exceedingly emphasise the already apparent purpose notation. This is a highly specialised situation, purpose preceding action, and it would of course fit well with the concept of the initial creation of these objects, for precisely that reason. It would also, as he indicates, allow for their presence in the prior provision of light, which of course was for day from night.
It would also provide sunlight with its explicit provisions for plant life as a form of light, for the time of their creation. Miracles of care are always possible; but they are not to be increased spontaneously. It is best to see what is said.
"It is," nevertheless says Creation magazine, "sheer desperation to apply a different meaning to the same word in the same grammatical construction in the same passage, just to fit in with atheistic evolutionary ideas like the 'big bang'."
we see two errors. The assumption of motive is misplaced; there might be
The same word is not clearly in this interpretation, given two different meanings in the same grammatical construction in the same passage. That is the other point. In fact, the reference in Genesis 1:16 is not of this kind by any necessity.
Translating with Green in his valuable interlinear Hebrew-English work of the Old Testament translation (The Interlinear Bible, Hebrew, Greek, English), we have for verse 16: "And God made the two great luminaries: the great luminary to rule the day, and the small luminary and the stars to rule the night." The formative process, to the specifications of the emphatic prior statement of purpose, which relates to the work of formation to be done, is ONE, not two. The verb is used ONCE, not twice. One translation inserts it a second time, in italics. It is not however there in the Hebrew.
Meaning attributed to this verb as expressed or implied is not perceptibly AT ALL different, when you read the text as it in fact comes as written.
A making occurs with sun, moon and stars to the point of function in the specified fashion. It is one in kind, whatever that kind may be. As such, they are given to the expanse of the heavens (1:17) - that is the verb, not the generic 'place', though this is one of its three main meanings. The concept of 'giving' is prominent. Here they make their appearance, as now conformed functionally to the task specified, the purpose indicated, the fashioning declared.
What that kind of forming (v. 16) was, it is this which is what is not sure. That is why it would seem far better NOT to be dogmatic on this point, which does not require 'appear' or any other such translation, but may imply the concept. It is far better NOT to impose on the text the nature of the formation of these bodies here implied, the overall and TOTAL character of CREATION being stated from the first.
total creation it is which applies to the character of the WHOLE proceeding,
with whatever formations within as may not be specified, and this in just
that staccato, sovereign way the text indicates. Where it STATES that kind
continues, this is the nature of that area of creation.
Where it STATES a purpose and then indicates a FORMATION, we simply do not know in that latter case whether the formation is total or purpose-limited. For one's own part, what one does not know, is not known. That is all. It is for God to state what He wishes, for us to follow what is given.
What is found is that there the natural sequence of night and day, after the first institution of light, is able to continue with no impediment, right from the start. Day it is, night it is, and that is the matter in black and white, from the firstlings of light to the last days of this earth; in sequence of our natural condition; in combination with our natural habitat; in the conditioning of our globe for the tasks ascribed to it; including the invention, the creation of man, and what he does, for his part, with the days accorded to him, invented in their turn as shown for him to inhabit, with which to live, all his days till that everlasting day of the Lord (Revelation 21:22-24), when the former things are passed away (Isaiah 65:17), all tears are wiped from the eyes (Rev. 21:4) and His children see God face to face (Rev. 22:3-4).
we are on this matter of days, let us relay the reader to the matter of
the days, basically as now with possible exception of the first at SMR
pp. 174ff. and That Magnificent
Rock, Ch.7 pp. 177ff.,
Biblical Workman Ch.7
and A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 9.
REST AND REFRESHING
Let us not however leave this matter in this way. The naturalness of the understanding of the creation of luminaries with the light, in view of the diurnal division made from the start is strong; the difficulties in the text with this, do not appear. The issue is left, lest there be over-emphasis on one possibility. God reveals what He has a mind to. The natural progression has no obstacles, the flow no impediment. Let it be so.
Yet it too good an opportunity to miss, to allow the matter to rest without rest. That rest is found in the 7th day. It is amazing how many seem to imagine that God has rested ever since, so that the 7th day as a rest day is in some way scuttled as an example, so that, to go further, we do not need to follow the required example in our own rest day (as in Exodus 20), and ... REST one day in seven, as exegeted carefully in Biblical Blessings, Appendices I, II and III. One should have thought it comparatively OBVIOUS that the rest in Genesis 2:1-2 is related to the specific and specialised work in view: that of creation of the universe, including man. THAT stopped. From THAT, God took rest.
There was of course much more to do, such as to fellowship with man, to rebuke and redeem the elect, find the lost, send the Saviour, resurrect Him, His ascension and His return to judge, to mention but a few of the components. From, however, the SPECIFIC work of the creation, God rested for one day. We should do the same.
Why ? Because He specifically said so in Exodus 20, giving His reason, in TERMS, once again, of that creation. That is the specified reason. It is as sure as our creation, integumental to it; it is to be abolished not at all.
It is fulfilled not at all; creation is not fulfilled, it is done.
The rest in Christ, the intensively spiritual one, this was something in the days of Psalm 95, already appropriate, and even then missed through disobedience. The rest which remains to the people of God is indeed in Christ, as to spiritual continuity; but the rest commanded and never countermanded is that apt for the sort of creation God made us to be, as He stated, and to be done for THAT reason. Those wiser than God are free to think otherwise, until the lost blessings perhaps will awake them (cf. Isaiah 58:13-14), stated in the full scope of prophetic prefigurings of Jesus Christ (as in Isaiah 7,9,11,32,42, 52-53,54,55 and so on). The DAY has changed, for there is NO REST for the disciples with Christ's body in the tomb, and no Christ in their midst to worship (the Spirit - John 7, in that sense not then having been given).
What then was the scenario at the resurrection, following the crucifixion ? It was this. WHEN He arrives, they worship. When did He arrive ? On the first day of the week. When was His triumph announced ? On the first day of the week. So has it been ever since, and this was the custom as shown in the above references to Biblical Blessings. To make the work of creation the summit, to omit the personal cost impact on the Creator in the person of the Messiah, to leave out the finest work of redemption, as if this were not a labour to be performed by God in delivering many from the fallen creation: this is mere insult. Again, to omit the creation-rest specification is almost as if to imagine we cease to be human, because of the touch of the divine. Quite the contrary, the new man is AFTER THE NATURE OF THAT FIRST CREATED (Colossians 3:10). It is in the image of God we are created, were created, and are created anew by regeneration. We rest - on HIS day; in Him we rest, as has always been habitual for the saints, spiritually in Him at all times.
Yet even this is not all.
In this affair of days, this direct scenario of abrupt creation, institution of kind, orders for its continuation there is yet more rest. As to creation, redemption, alike by Himself and with help from nothing and from no-one: God did it (Ephesians 2, II Corinthians 4:6). He did it by decree just as He creates a clean heart. As to the physical creation, the decrees appear in symbols in our DNA. They appear in specifically verbal symbols in our Bible.
Their results occur in the human person, where the new creation by the Spirit of God, on the basis of Christ's atonement, is to occur. There is rest. As to that, the spiritual change, it is not a matter of innovation of kind; but continuity and restoration of kind. It is not a matter of man versus universe; it is a question of man with God in the life of God prepared for Him. There is rest.
It is a matter of refreshing likewise, within the spirit and life of the adopted child of God. The place of children of God is not aristocratic. It is not found with a premium on or against education, wealth or height. It is to as many as receive Him by faith according to His word, His OWN and therefore His exclusive salvation, as unique as a needful operation for cancer, with death the only other option.
That done, the soul changed back to its proper image in the Lord, God sends forth these refreshings from time to time, and they land beautifully on the slopes of those human hills, if you will, which face the sunshine of His command, oriented as He requires.
Further,iIf there are orders - as is the case, this does nothing to dissolve the beauty of liberty; indeed, it creates it. We are not God. It is fine to be a creation when you are in that very image, prepared for fellowship though infinitely less, made apposite for co-operation. To no one else should the soul be sold, but when it comes to one's Creator, the investing of order with authority and command is merely the obverse side of a freedom so tremendous, an eagerly awaited spread of options so dazzling, that it requires some self-control not to be carried away, as alas some are to this day, and to forget the structure in which we are made, the form of our operations and the commands which constrain. Moreover, it is not sale, for it is redemption, HE paying the price, we receiving the liberty from the torrents of oppression (II Cor. 3:18).
Acts 3:19ff. speaks of this reality known by the people of God - the seasons of renewal which He sends: that magnificent refreshing*1in the direct spiritual presence of our God, available (Colossians 12:27) to His adopted children, through the Cross and not by convenience or calibre; and this, as in some other personal relationships, has its times of delight and intimacy, its quietness and confidence, its strengthening and unveilings of fellowship, as if the poetry should replace the prose and the wonder should invade the earth. Meanwhile, the entire purposes of our Age continue, their testings and their opportunities for testimony to our God.
us use them vigorously; at rest in spirit; intensely active in mind and
life, refreshed in season, vigorous in and out of season.
It is foolish to think of 'second blessings' as if they were in some way limited to 'second'; and even more dangerous to conceive of them as some kind of completion of becoming a Christian. IF one sees the Son and believes in Him, eternal life is conferred. That is the life of God; it is the life donated to His children. You have it or you do not. John had it and was amazed and exquisitely delighted (I John 1:1-4). THAT was the fellowship superb and supreme. It was a matter of that eternal life which was with the Father and which came, and as Christ, was received.
He is not in stages: you have Him or you lack Him. "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (I John 5:12).
You 'eat' His flesh (not as cannibals, as John 6:62-63 with John 6:51ff. makes clear) but as an expression of acceptance of His sacrifice for you, and you will be raised up on the last day. His sacrifice received, as the Lamb was with the Jews at Passover, by faith, His life affirmed resurrected, His covenant embraced, and you are His. You abide in Him and He in you.
is then nothing more STRUCTURALLY to make it "the Christian life". If you
do not at first find Him as your Lord, how then have you believed in Him
for who He is, God as man (John 8:58) and in what possible way have you
seen Him ? While it is not necessary to plumb the depths of individual
experience and seek to categorise, it is quite essential to realise that
where Christ is not Lord, there is not Christianity (Matthew 7:21ff.).
As to His Lordship, it is not over imaginary perfect beings; in fact you
merely deceive yourself if you think yourself anything so ludicrously exalted
(I John 1:7ff.); but it IS of transformed, recreated beings whose heart is in His hand! It IS of beings for whom the meaning of being crucified with Christ is apparent in practice at least (Galatians 5:24). It is for people who glory in the cross of Christ as Paul indicates (Galatians 6:14), who are thus dead to the world, as it to them!
While then there are MANY refreshing episodes, as unpredictable as affection in romance, so there are many phases of sanctification; but it is not a plane and plateau by plateau series of STEPS, as if mathematical. David the King, full of sanctification, suddenly fell so far it may seem hard to peer down; yet this is a warning. Suddenly so much can be lost; and so much discipline comes in, through some wholly exceptional action in one's life, whether arising from frustration or deceit or misuse of someone's authority, or any other cause. The payment may be great, and the misjudgments of many the same. That is part of the discipline. It is true that one should grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ over time of course (II Peter 3, with II Peter 1), but this is not a change of state but of understanding.
Holiness is not wrong or exceptional for a new Christian (II Cor. 7:1, I John 2:12ff., II Cor. 5:17ff., I John 3:9); and let none await it as an extra. It is not a prerogative and preserve of the older Christian, though of course many pitfalls should by then be realised, and lessons learned in KIND that need no repetition! Chastening is sometimes necessary; but it is not to be invited. Life is so wonderful without it, that there is no need to court it; though there is every need to accept it if it should, alas, have to come (Hebrews 12:11ff.).
let us recall that I John 3:9 does NOT indicate NO sin, but NO PRACTICE
For the Christian, sin is not a means of life, or a path of adventure, a mode (cf. John 8:34ff.).
You ARE what you practise in the sense that you HAVE what you USE, and when you are a CHILD of GOD, what you have is an inheritance, not only future, but in character that develops, and in life that is donated.
The sloppy use of 'born again' appears merely to be a device of the devil, so that the phrase, instead of relating the reality of knowing God, can become for many, a poetical substitute for that very thing. Once I spoke to a lady who said she was born again one day (without any kind of evidence), and 99% Buddhist on another, still seeking the 100% Buddhistic belief. Yet Buddha had not even GOD, for his part!
Rest is in reality, not in dreams. God who made us, is real. His days and ways are real (Psalms 90, 91, 102:23-28). As to creation of the universe and man: He did it in 6 days, and rested the 7th..
us then not dream, but act vigorously, inspired by His creation activity,
in our 6 days, and rest on the 7th. Take time to be holy; do not scorn
the time of deeper devotion and close comradeship of God, at rest from
your many doings. Something which seems all activity, like a swift
flowing brook, can be an interesting sight; it has, however, no depth.
It does moreover set aside that intriguing and wholly true blessing, as
the writer has found, of Isaiah 58:13ff.. One knows what it is like when
one's child does not accept a blessing, painfully prepared, and blunders
apart from it.
It is important not to grieve the Lord, for that is another side to the matter of discipline; and who wants that, who is His! Rather, rest in the Lord, and rest as He requires, and wait patiently upon Him, trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in His land of holiness, delight yourself also in Him, and He will give you the desires of your heart (from Psalm 40:3-7). Remove far the frustrations of the flesh, and ignite the motors of desire, so that in heavenly places your life is set (Ephesians 2:6).