In December 2009 and January 2010 I wrote on my facebook wall some thoughts on Genesis and creation. I want to share them here and have included some comments, questions and my answers that were posted there.
Posted on facebook 12-30-09
What does the word "beginning" bring to your mind? One thing I think of is Genesis chapter 1. I keep in mind that the the Hebrew sentence has a normal word order: verb, subject, direct object, indirect object, other modifiers. But any word can be put at the head of the sentence to give it emphasis. Thus bereshith, "in beginning" is th word emphasized in Genesis 1:1. It has no article in Hebrew because it is not one beginning among other beginnings. It is the real beginning. This emphasis is important because no nation around Israel believed in an original beginning. They just thought that time went around in cycles that had no beginning and no end. But God made a beginning of the heaven and the earth.
Comments from facebook:
--from a facebook user -- The word "beginning" makes me think about the grace of God--having a fresh start, newness, forgiveness, clean slate, a renewed heart and another chance to live. May God do all these things in all our hearts this new year! Bless you, Dr. H.! We love you!·
--from a facebook user-- John 1...In the beginning was the WORD
--from a facebook user -- I keep studying on the Logos concept, from Philo & others. Philo was "into" Greek philosophy, esp. Plato & Stoicism, & tried to resolve philosophy with Hebrew Scripture. The more I read, the more complex it becomes. Seems to me that John in his Gospel is saying, "Hey, this Logos you have been talking about, who was there in the beginning & is the perfect man & an emanation from God -- we found out who He is, He has revealed himself." Then John connects that concept with Genesis 1.
Beginning Genesis 1, continued
The word "create (Heb. bara') is always used in the Bible with God as the subject. He alone can create. Satan can possess or oppress, but he cannot create. We can use what God has provided and make new combinations, but no artist, engineer, or scientist can create in the sense the God creates. Thus the word create here draws attention to the fact that the universe was totally new. God himself exists eternally. But there was no previous creation or previous universe.
Gen. 1:2 begins with "and the earth" "And" connects it with the time of the beginning. Putting the word "earth" ahead of the verb lets us know that what follows emphasizes the earth and is told from the point of view of the earth. At the time of the beginning it was (the Hebrew does not mean "became") formless (without distinguishing features such as continents and mountain ranges) and empty of inhabitants. God did not create the earth with people on it.
Next, before the six creation days, darkness covered the deep water all over the earth. At the same time the Spirit of God kept hovering over the surface of waters, undoubtedly in preparation for the 6 creation days to follow·
Comments from facebook:
--from a facebook user-- I remember joking with some of my southern friends when I was iin Viet Nam during my Army years. One of them was saying, "When I get home, I'm gonna have my wife build me a cake."
When I objected, "Does she use a saw, hammer, and mails? If she uses suger and flower and a mixing bowl instead, maybe you mean, 'make me a cake.'
He responded, "Nah! Only GOD can 'make' anything."
--from a facebook user-- I love the way you explain passages, making the Word come alive. Thank you for continuing to bless us with your insights.
There is an important lesson in the structure of the six creation days God had a plan.
Day 1 , light, is parallel to or corresponds to day 4,lights.
Day 2, the expanse (with 2 faces, clouds or a cloud blanket at the top and the ocean at the bottom with atmosphere in between, corresponds to day 5, birds and fish.
Day 3, dry land, a super continent, is parallel to day six, animals and human beings, male and female
Then we see balance, day 1 and day 2 have one creative act each; day 3 has two distinct creative acts, day 4 and day 5 have one distinct creative act each (birds and fish created together as expanse creatures). Day 6 has two distinct creative acts, animals and human beings, male and female.
We also see sequence leading to a climax, the creation of human beings in the image of God. We can also discern purpose as God blessed the human beings He created.
You do not have correspondence, balance, sequence, climax and purpose without a plan. So God had a plan in creation. He carried it out. The rest of the Bible shows God has a plan for redemption leading to the death and resurrection of Jesus and His ascension. and it will be carried out to it climax.
Chapter 2:1-4 is really the conclusion of chapter one. The Bible had no chapter divisions until the 13th century when a preacher made them while riding horseback from one preaching point to another. He did well on the whole, but sometimes made the division in the wrong place.
Verse 2 indicates God had finished His work of creation (the Hebrew verb form indicates completed action) and it emphasizes that He ceased His work of creation. (the word "rest" means "cease" as when a lawyer "rests" his case meaning he ceases his arguments. Then God blessed the 7th day. Since no mention is made of evening and morning, we may still be in the 7th day. At least, God is not now creating new universes, but lets it continue on in the ways He set in motion in His creation.
The phrase at the beginning of v. 4 "These are the generations of (progeny) of " is used 10 times in the Book of Genesis and indicates turning points in the book. It means the previous passage is finished and a new section of the book is about to begin. Thus, the phrase is a key to the basic outline of the Book of Genesis.
Comments from facebook:
--from a facebook user-- I find it interesting that as the sun was not created until the 4th day, so it was in the 4th "day" of man's existence, The Son of God came as a "light into the world".
--from a facebook user-- Thank you for your insight and understanding, professor, teacher and friend. I am proud to sit under your teaching in 1990 at AGTS.
--from a facebook user-- On day 1, God creates light. On day 4, God creates the sun & moon. 3 Days went by before we had what we think of as night & day. There's sunlight, and then there's SON light. I think we know which came first. Psalm 27:1, John 8:12. As R. W. Shambach used to say, "Shout 'Hallelujah!' somebody."
--from a facebook user-- Dr. Horton, that 7th day of rest idea, that we might still be in it! Wow! Doesn't Hebrews chapter 4 talk about that?
Doctor Stan's answer to the previous question:
Heb. 4:6 indicates that since it is God's rest, not man's, it still exists and is available V. 9 identifies it as the Sabbath rest for the people of God.. V. 10 identifies the rest with ceasing from our own works as God did from His. When we enter into this rest we enter into a continuing Sabbath, every. By the way, The Hebrew word Sabbath ... speaks of rest and is not necessarily connected with seven. Even under the law there were several Sabbaths that came on specific days of the month, and thus any day could be Sabbath day, a Sabbath rest.
--from a facebook user-- Amen Brothers...every day is a Sabbath in Christ. John G Lake held this view-point also.
--from a facebook user-- I find it amazing that the first thing God created was LIGHT. Light turns out to be the one constant by which all things in time and space are measured.
In Genesis 1 we see God's power in creation. In the remainder of chapter 2 we see God's personal attention in preparing for and and creating human beings..This may also explain why God is referred to as Yahweh Elohim.
Vv. 5-6 show that God's purpose in creating plants was to benefit human beings. I like the suggestion of a primal cloud blanket which would keep an even temperature over all the earth. There would be no warm fronts, no cold fronts producing rain. Daytime on-shore breezes and nightly off shore breezes would cause the high humidity to bring heavy mists to water the land. Then, as v.6 suggests, the fourth day would bring a breakup in the cloud blanket so sun and moon could be seen and so that there would be seasons and rain.
V. 7 gives details of the latter part of the sixth day. God created the man (ha-adam) molding his body out of the dark red dust of the ground (ha-adamah). Then God breathed into his nostrils and Adam became a living soul (literally "a soul of life"). This does not refer to a theological soul. The same phrase is used of fish and animals in ch. 1:20-21. it means a living individual. But God never breathed the breath of life into anything else in all creation. Adam was more than the animals. As a unique individual in the image and likeness of God, he was created to have fellowship with God.
V. 8 indicates that after God create plant life. He planted a beautiful Garden especially for Adam, "eastward in Eden ("land of delight"). It was part of the supercontinent originally created, so we can't be sure just where it was. Some suggest it might have been near what is now the Persian Gulf.
Verse 9-14 seem to be a parenthesis giving more details about the garden v.15-19 continue from v. 9 showing God gave Adam work to do (too many do not like that four letter word). Adam had to do what was necessary to keep the garden from becoming a jungle. We see also that God did not want his gifts to be neglected or wasted.
We see also that God created Adam a moral being with free choice, as the command about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil indicates. It shows that God is just and that disobedience would bring death--in this case separation from God and loss of fellowship with Him.
Comments from facebook:
--from a facebook user-- I was contemplating Genesis and noticed that God did not plant the Garden until after Adam's creation; How long did Adam live on the earth before God placed him in the Garden? A week, a year, a million years? Also, after Adam was placed in the garden; do we have anyway to know how long that period was until the fall? Again, it was long enough ... for God to bring every living creature before Adam; to see what he would name it; was Adam there in the garden a year...hundreds of thousands of years...? Am I raising questions easily answered for anyone with a background in Hebrew or, if these are viable questions; I would deeply appreciate hearing your thoughts about them.
Doctor Stan answer to the previous question:
The Bible gives no hints about how long it was. It implies the garden grew normally. All on the sixth day, of course.
--from a facebook user-- So, were the six days of creation not six literal 24 hour days?
--from a facebook user-- I, too, have been studying the creation passages since Jan 1. You explained several questions I have been considering.
I, also, noticed God creating opposites in everything including the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That got me to wondering...Did Satan introduce evil through his rebellion (and 1/3rd of the angels) against God in heaven? ... Or did God create evil as an opposite from good and Satan chose to rebel against God and eventually convinced Adam's wife to disobey thus bringing the curse of sin to God's new creation? Just musing...
--from a facebook user-- As an old-earth creationist myself, I don't think they were literal 24-hour days either.
--from a facebook user-- In the Bible, "day," "year," & other time designations are seldom literal & often indeterminate. Interpreters must allow for figurative language & not be over-literal. I marvel at the insistence of some that they fully decipher the eternal verities. It is the message that is important; we should neither be distracted nor confused by often irrelevant details, nor made to doubt because we cannot figure everything out.
--from a facebook user-- I certainly concur with your assessment of the significance of the message; My interest in these questions has no linkage to my faith; but rather the consideration of the possibility that if there were vast periods of time involved; that in fact we don't know everything; which is to me is very exciting; not that I expect to figure it all out; but ... that God is eternally great in the past just as He is eternally great in the future. The possibility that Adam lived in friendship with God by faith that a Garden would be planted some day; just as we live by faith that a garden was planted one day long ago; and that now through Christ we can enter it again and partake of the Tree of Life, Jesus, eating His flesh and drinking His Blood; partaking of His Divine nature; and living forever in fellowship with Him. It makes me really excited!
--from a facebook user-- That is right - the timing is not the important factor, but as the Nicene Creed states, this is - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and all things visible and invisible..." which includes us. Old-earthers like myself can definitely concur with young-earthers that man was created in God's image, and did not evolve from some hairy ape in Africa or somewhere as the evolutionists contend.
--Stanley Monroe Horton
Thanks for your comments. God bless !!
--from a facebook user-- I am reminded of a scripture that the secret things belong unto the lord, but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children....
--from a facebook user -- it has been said that the Bible is not technically a history book, nor was it meant to be, but the history it does have in it is 100% accurate because it has a perfect Author.
A help for the man.
2:18 recognizes God created Adam as a social being. It was not good for him to be alone. So God would make a help for him as his counterpart, that is, corresponding to him. We should note here that the Hebrew word for help is used most often for God's being a help to His people. It does not indicate any inferiority or subordination. Jesus was a Helper to people. He sent the Holy Spirit to be "another Helper." So Adam and Eve were to be partners, each contributing their talents and abilities to the well being of each other and to the glory of God.
Commments from facebook:
--from a facebook user-- Dr. Horton, Preached the last two Sunday's on Genesis. The Hebrew has always been a great help, and everyone loves hearing that God does not equivocate, He is the God who loved us even before the foundation of the world, and has provided our way of escape right from that beginning. Thanks for your help.
The man names prepared for and given a wife
Before God meets the man's need not to be alone, God made sure the man understood he was really alone and different. So God brought the animals and birds already formed and gave the man the opportunity to name them. "Name" in the Hebrew is not just a handle but indicates character and nature. V. 19 shows us that the man was intelligent, observed each kind of animal and bird and gave a name that really was its name. That is, it really fitted its character and nature. This led the man to realize how alone he really was, and undoubtedly made him feel lonesome. This was good. If God had simply created a woman without this preparation, Adam might have said, "I don't like her, bring me another.".
It was then that God put the man into a deep sleep and took, not merely the bone of a rib, but a bone with flesh, blood, nerves, and skin attached. From these God "built" a woman. God had "formed" the man the same word used of a potter forming a clay jar. The word "build" used of the woman probably means even more attention to her creation.
Th man received the woman with delight, recognizing that she was indeed his counterpart built of his bone and flesh.
The man (ha-adham) then called her "ishshah" because she was taken from an "ish."
Hebew "'ish" is used of an individual man, but also means husband. "Ishshah" is used for an individual woman, but also means wife.
In v. 24 Moses adds a parenthesis giving God's application of this to Moses's day and ours (see Matt. 19:5-6 Eph. 5;31 ) Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to(sticks to, is glued to) his wife. This produces the strong family unit God wants to see, a marriage with continuing openness, love and loyalty.
V. 25 returns to show us the man (ha=adam) and his wife were living in a state of innocence. They were naked and unashamed. God created every part of the body and it was all good (see ch 1::31).
Nothing hindered a perfect relationship with each other and with God. We should note also that every part of the Bible recognizes every part of the human body as beautiful and precious.
comments from facebook:
--from a facebook user-- This is good and very important to remember, especially in a day and age when people are devalued and marriages are far too easily ended. I await with anxious hope a glorious body, restored fully to God's original intent.
January 16 at 7:36pm ·
--from a facebook user-- I find it amazing that as the first Adam had to be put to sleep and wounded in his side to allow the formation of his bride, the Last Adam also had to be put to sleep and wounded in His side so His Bride could be formed.
--Stanley Monroe Horton
Good point !
The first man and woman tested
Every afternoon when the cool on-shore breezes wafted through the Garden of Eden, Yahweh Elohim walked with them(3-8). Some suppose Jesus would not appear in a physical form before the incarnation. But the uniqueness of the incarnation is Jesus' total identification of Himself with humankind from birth to death. And we shall identify with the risen Christ in the rapture. God did reveal Himself in the Old Testament, often as THE Angel of the LORD. Jesus is the one Mediator between God and humankind (1 Tim. 2:15). What fellowship they must have had.
However, the question remained, How would the man and woman respond to the goodness and love of God who created them with wonderful capabilities and put them in such a gorgeous garden? So God allowed a test.
A serpent appeared that is not identified here. But its knowledge and what it says show it is more than an ordinary serpent. It was different from all other creatures by it subtlety, that is, its shrewdness and cleverness. Revelation 12:9 and 20:2 clearly identify it, calling it "that old serpent called the Devil and Satan."
The Bible nowhere tells us when Satan fell. But that he did before Genesis 3:1 is certain. It also had to be after Gen. 1:31. When the sixth creation day ended God saw Thus everything He created was very good. So Satan fell after Adam and Eve were created.
The first man and woman tested, cont.
God created angels to serve humankind-- who were to be His children. Did this cause Satan to become jealous so that he fell? We are not told.
Why did Satan take possession of the serpent? Satan is a spirit being, but only God can create. But Satan can take possession of creatures God has made. He could not take possession of the man or the woman because they would have to choose to allow it, and they had not yet sinned. The serpent was all the woman saw. Was she surprised when the serpent talked? No, everything was new.
The first man and woman tested, cont. 2
As Satan still does, he began his temptation with a question. The word "indeed" suggests surprise and astonishment. Had God really denied loving them by keeping them from the fruit that could do so much for them? As Satan still does, he drew attention away from all the good things God had given them.
In her reply the woman repeated God's command and added that they should not touch the fruit. This was implied and God may have added it himself while walking with them in the cool of the day. We can be sure God still wants us to stay away from things forbidden by His Word.