Sunday, May 29, 2005

Genesis 1:23-25

Genesis 1:24-25: Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and every thing that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

Interestingly, we do not have a record of God speaking directly to the animals at this point. However, we have other scripture that clearly provides records of an animal speaking to God’s ultimate creation, man.[1] This further demonstrates the greater essence of animals over birds and fish. The implication of this is that one can logically ask the question, “How much greater?” In the range of creation from air, water, plant life, birds and fish, to humankind – where exactly do animals fall? Are they closer to birds and fish or to man? And how close are birds and fish to plant life? Which of these categories beside humankind have souls? Students of the Bible cannot determine guaranteed answers to these questions from Scripture to this point.
[1] Numbers 22:28-30

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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Genesis 1:22-23

Genesis 1:22-23: And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

Two things strike me about the content of this verse and its placement in the creation process. First, that God dealt with the birds of the air and the creatures of the sea separately from the rest of the animal kingdom (see following verses). That points to the more complex creation of the earth’s animals. God created them after the birds and the inhabitants of the waters but before humankind. If one takes the position that God’s most complex creation is in fact man, than one could take the position that somehow land animals are more complex in their being than birds and fish of the sea.
The fact that God spoke directly to them as indicated in this verse – something He did not do for plant life – further supports this premise. God knew they would somehow be able to identify with His instructions to them to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ or else why would He utter such direct instructions. For plant life, however, He had provided no such direction but rather created them in such a way that reproduction would be automatic.

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Genesis 1:20-21

Genesis 1:20-21: Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” And God created the great sea monsters, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

God continues His creation work filling the earth with creatures, the air with birds, and the water with fish. Lambs, bovine, and other animals will provide sustenance to humankind later. Fish will do likewise and even the birds of the air. However, descendants of these early-created creatures will play many other significant roles in history. The lamb becomes the symbol of sacrifice to God. The dove becomes the symbol of peace and covenant with God. The fish becomes not only a vehicle used in miracles by God but also the very ‘code picture’ for indicating one’s allegiance to the Son of God throughout history.[1]
[1] Many use the outline of a fish or “ichthys” as a symbol today to indicate their faith as Christians. We believe that early Christians used this secretly to communicate with each other as to who was a follower of Christ or to mark a secret location as to where a house worship meeting might occur.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Genesis 1:13-19

Genesis 1:13-19: And there was evening and there was morning, a third day. Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

It was not until the third ‘day’ with its own evening and morning, that God actually fixed some incredible ‘lights’ in the expanse – yet more preparation for His most prized creation still to come. Now, once He created humankind, it could see the difference between day and night. Man could tell one ‘day’ was over and another day begun. He could tell what the next day was going to be like by watching these “lights” in the heavenly expanse. He could tell as he counted days that a new season was coming and the natural elements would change, time after time, year after year. Man could arrange his life around those lights. He was a most thoughtful Creator.

Later on, when humankind goes awry, that same Creator produced yet another Light and had Him “fixed” on a cross, allowing all of humankind to not only arrange their life around Him, but to actually have the ability to go on living forever because of Him.

Almost all would agree that the “greater” light is clearly the sun and the majority would agree that the “lesser” light is the earth’s moon. If so, then we face another startling concept. While I do not know about what else God has created, I do know that these incredible masterpieces were all in preparation for you and me. He created them to facilitate our existence in His world. The entire Bible focuses on His love affair with us. It relates His unmatchable actions on our behalf.

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Genesis 1:11,12

Genesis1:11,12: Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with seed in them, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.

This is the first instance of God showing His care and love for His creation. He established reproduction in the plant kingdom and saw to it that it was self-propagating. Each type of vegetation or plant produced seeds for its own kind. These seeds would become plants that in turn produced seed and the cyclical process in the plant world was well in place. As originally intended, God’s design of the plant world was such that it would go on eternally. What the plants yielded and what the trees bore would soon have other uses for what was later to become His most beloved act of creation – mankind. In the meantime, our God was preparing the most suitable environment for us.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Genesis 1:9,10

Genesis 1:9,10: Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.

God looked at His handiwork and declared it good. This otherwise simple concept is laden with meaning and implication. To begin with, this is the Almighty God and Creator that is involved in the ‘doing’ or the ‘making’. Secondly, it is He that is doing the ‘looking’. He alone can judge one’s work, and only He can judge His own work. Thirdly, since this ‘handiwork’ is the creation of a perfect God, there is no option but for it to be perfect. No matter what God sets Himself to accomplish, tangible or intangible, it, by definition, will be perfect. Finally, God declares His work “good” or perfect. Whether it be His work at creation, throughout history, or today in your life and mine, God’s work is His own and it is perfect. We can rest assured in that. What remains is for us to recognize it as such just like He does.

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Genesis 1:9,10

Genesis 1:9,10: Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.

God looked at His handiwork and declared it good. This otherwise simple concept is laden with meaning and implication. To begin with, this is the Almighty God and Creator that is involved in the ‘doing’ or the ‘making’. Secondly, it is He that is doing the ‘looking’. He alone can judge one’s work, and only He can judge His own work. Thirdly, since this ‘handiwork’ is the creation of a perfect God, there is no option but for it to be perfect. No matter what God sets Himself to accomplish, tangible or intangible, it, by definition, will be perfect. Finally, God declares His work “good” or perfect. Whether it be His work at creation, throughout history, or today in your life and mine, God’s work is His own and it is perfect. We can rest assured in that. What remains is for us to recognize it as such just like He does.

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Sunday, May 08, 2005

Genesis 1:8

Genesis 1:8: And God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

God has clearly established cycles and order in His universe very early in His communication to man. God is not averse to repetition whether it is in terms of days He created, prayers we offer, or service we undertake. Throughout history, His instructions have been “do so and so X times…” Often He allows and desires His children to serve Him and others in the same job or task day after day, month after month, and year after year. Scripture itself is often repetitive. The melodious sound of repeated words uttered in piety, humility and sincere adoration and thanksgiving are not cacophony in God’s ears. I know of some dear elderly saints who still have trouble with the choruses of repeated phrases that many of us sing in our worship services these days. Yet as I read even the very beginning of Holy Scripture, I see the foundation for which I believe that such singing is in fact an offering of worship to the Creator.

In verse 8, while the Bible talks of “evening” and “morning” as being a second day, there is no mention yet of how this ‘evening’ and ‘morning’ were recognizable for it is not until verse 13 and following that He installed “lights” in the heavenly expanse. Yet God saw His work as completed in ‘day’ units. While mankind had not been created as of yet, even if it had, without lights, it likely could not see what God saw for He sees what we often cannot. What a thought to keep in mind when we are dealing with life’s perplexing difficulties.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Genesis 1:6,7

Genesis 1:6,7: Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.

Here is something that distinguishes God from man. God said, “Let there be…”, then “God made...”, and finally “and it was so.” And that process can be applied to anything that God chooses to do. He says it, does it, and it’s so. His results are guaranteed, with never a failure. That’s the God that we can relate to.

But His approach is also intended as a model for us, subject to things that are within our control. In the New Testament, Matthew 5:37 says, “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no;’ and anything beyond these is of evil.” We are to deliver what we say we will and not doing so is “of evil”. God’s intention for us is to ‘keep our word’.

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