Yesterday, I decided to read the Bible through in one year. However, since I’ve read Genesis many times, I wondered if I could still learn something…
As it turned out, I made it through the first five verses, and was so filled with absolute wonder, I couldn’t get any further.
Let me tell you what I learned, and all that opened up before me. I want to preface this by saying that I have a Keyword Study Bible, which means that keywords are underlined throughout the text, and you can look up the original Hebrew or Greek word (depending on whether it’s Old Testament or New Testament) and its deeper meaning. This has been the most incredible study tool. So as I began to read through those first five verses, I looked up nearly every underlined word–18 words in all. Here’s what began to unfold…
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
When God created the heavens and the earth, “heaven” was most likely already in existence, because in the book of Job (38:7), God speaks about how, when He laid its cornerstone, the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. The sons of God are most likely the angels.
Now consider the wording in this first verse…”the heavens” (which comprises space, planets, stars and galaxies) and “the earth” (one lone planet). Do you see God’s perspective? He puts everything besides the earth in one category, and the earth itself, into another. Clearly, His love and focus was upon this particular planet.
And the earth was formless and void…
My Bible offers another reading for these words: And the earth was a waste and emptiness…
Why would God create the earth to be a waste and emptiness? This isn’t typical of our magnificent God. He is far more creative than that. But as I began to ponder, I remembered that eons ago, God cast Satan and His angels out of heaven and they fell down to earth: How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! (Isaiah 14:12)
Who knows what earth looked like before Satan occupied it? What we can know is that as he occupied it, it was “formless and void, a waste and emptiness.” Doesn’t that sound exactly like a place where God is absent? In fact, isn’t that a great description of separation from God? Because if we read further, we see…
…and darkness was over the surface of the deep…
The word “darkness” does not connote physical darkness. It comes from the Hebrew word “choshek” which means “dark, darkness, obscurity, night, dusk; misery, falsehood, ignorance.” Satan lived here. He has been called the “ruler of this world.” (John 12:31) Wherever Satan lives, there is darkness and misery.
I went to the Hebrew Online Interlinear Bible (a fantastic resource… www.scripture4all.org ) and looked up this verse. Look at the translation from the original Hebrew…
in beginning he [Elohim-God] created the heavens and the earth
and the earth she became chaos and vacancy and darkness over surfaces of abyss
“Chaos” and “vacancy” is not of God. It became chaos and vacancy when Satan entered the picture. And what other word do we associate with Satan? The word “abyss.” Throughout the Bible, the word “abyss,” also meaning “deep,” refers to the place where he lives.
But look what happens now…
and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.
Our God is all about redemption. He couldn’t leave Satan to just destroy the earth without wanting to redeem it. So He came down to earth and moved over the face of the waters. My Bible gives another rendering that says He “hovered” over the waters. The Hebrew Online Bible translates it as:
the spirit of Elohim vibrating over surfaces of the waters
What does “vibrating” connote? Energy. Excitement. God was poised to do an exceptional work, a work of redemption of a planet.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
Here’s the truly wonderful part. The light that God was referring to here is not the same as the light shed by the sun. God had yet to create the luminaries, i.e., the sun and moon. And, the words “let there be” actually mean “to breathe.” Whenever something is “breathed” by God, it has His life in it. So God breathed light, and we know “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Therefore, this light was the light of Christ! Remember when Jesus said this?
“I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John8:12)
Now, look at how the book of John also underlines this fact:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…In Him was life, and the life was the light of men…And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overpower it. (John 1:1)
Do you see it? God overcame the darkness of Satan and his sin on earth with the light of Christ. We know this because it says, then:
And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
God did not call the darkness good. Only the light, the light of His Son. And He separated the light from the darkness. If Satan had had his way, his darkness would have overcome the light perpetually. Remember, he’s called the prince of darkness. Darkness is his cloak. However, God put the only Light on earth that cannot be overpowered: the light of Christ, the Light of the World.
And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
Now look at this…the word “night” is translated from the Hebrew word “layil” and means “a twisting away of the light.” My lexical aid says, “….when the light folds back, darkness sets in. In a figurative sense, it can mean ominous.” Night was clearly the devil’s domain from the beginning. And, because we know that in heaven there is no night, we can know that when God began to create our world, there was already a struggle between the Light of the World and the prince of darkness.
Isn’t this remarkable? Yes, we receive light from the sun, and it warms us. But Christ is the true light of the world, who established lHis ight to separate the darkness, long before the sun was created. If we had only the sun, the devil would darken it. But the light of Christ pushes back his darkness each and every day.
A most amazing beginning by a most incredible God.