For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.
When examining the creation of the universe, which includes planet earth, we will consider only what the Bible says about these events. It is not my intention to delve into scientific data or attempt to disprove the theory of evolution. If a person believes the Bible, he cannot believe in the theory of evolution – they are not compatible. It must also be pointed out that there are numerous theories about the creation of the universe among Christians. Some Christian scientists attempt to make the Bible fit their particular theory, instead of letting the Bible interpret itself. A lack of study of the original languages leads one to a misunderstanding of Creation. We will examine the words from the original languages that describe Creation in order to arrive at an accurate understanding of these events. The Bible is not a science book, but when it speaks of science it is always accurate. For our study we will look at Genesis 1:1-8.
We begin with verse one of Genesis. The King James Version of the Bible says “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” This verse seems very straightforward as stated, but let’s examine the original Hebrew words in the context and some Greek words referring to Creation. Verse one is the only verse in Genesis that presents the original creation of the universe. The Hebrew language in this verse is a key to understanding Creation. There are three words in Hebrew for creation: Bara, Jatsar and Asah. Bara means to create something out of nothing. Jatsar means to fashion something on the exterior like a sculptor. Asah means to build out of something that already exists. These words are important to our understanding of the account of Creation.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
In the beginning is the Hebrew word “bereshith,” which is a prepositional phrase made up of “be” meaning “in,” plus “rishah” meaning “beginning.” However, in the Hebrew there is no definite article. Therefore, this indicates a beginning, not the beginning. A more literal translation would be, “In a beginning that was not a beginning.” It is a reference to eternity past. We have a similar verse in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” The Greek here for beginning is “en arche” and means the same as the Hebrew, first beginning or eternity past. John refers to the existence of God in eternity past and Moses, the writer of Genesis, refers to the existence of the universe in eternity past.
The truth is that it did not take six days to create the original universe. Its creation was instantaneous and occurred sometime in eternity past before man was created. Therefore, we cannot put a date on the age of planet earth. What we find upon examination of the Bible is that after the creation of the universe and between the creation of angels and man, the earth became chaotic. This chaos was the result of a battle among the angels and God’s judgment of them when they were cast out of Heaven to earth. (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28:15-16)
God created is the Hebrew word “Elohim bara” meaning the Trinity created something out of nothing. “Elohim” is a plural noun and “created” is a singular verb, which is an indication of the Trinity. Therefore, the entire Godhead was involved in Creation. “The heavens and the earth” is the Hebrew “ha shamajim” and “ha aretz” (notice the “im” suffix, this indicates a plural). This verse is better translated, “In a beginning, which was not a beginning, in eternity past, God created out of nothing the universe, including earth.”
And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
And the earth was is the Hebrew word “hajah” means the earth was created perfect, but it became formless. Formless and void are the Hebrew words “tohu waw bohu” meaning desolate and empty. Animal life and plant life no longer existed on earth. The earth had become desolate and empty. And darkness was over the surface of the deep is the Hebrew word “Choshek” for darkness that keeps out light and heat. “Tehom” is the Hebrew word for deep and it means raging waters. Absence of light and heat would result in ice (perhaps a reference to the Ice Age of science). Under this ice were the raging waters.
And the Spirit of God is the Hebrew word “ruach Elohim” – correctly translated “the Spirit of God.” “Rachaph” is the Hebrew word for moving and literally means “to brood or to incubate.” The Holy Spirit incubated or provided heat to melt the ice pack. Waters is the Hebrew word “hamajim” and means melted water. What was God doing? He was not creating the universe; He was preparing the earth for habitation by man, animal life and plant life.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
And God said is the Hebrew word “Elohim amar” meaning God spoke. Light was necessary in the restoration of life on the earth for heat and energy. And God saw the light, that it was good is the Hebrew word “ra-ah tobh” meaning God saw. And God separated is the Hebrew word “badal” for separated meaning to cause to divide. The Angelic Conflict had caused darkness to exist. Therefore, God was preparing the earth for habitation by man in order to resolve the conflict.
And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
And the evening and the morning were the first day. “Elohim qara jom” means God named the light, day and the darkness, night. To this point the earth was held in an ice pack, unable to rotate. The existence of light caused the ice to melt and the earth to begin rotating once again. It became dark and then it became light again as the earth was rotating. It was the incubation from the Holy Spirit and the introduction of light that caused the earth to begin to rotate once again.
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.
The Hebrew word for expanse is “raqija,” which means “atmosphere.” What God was doing was dividing the waters of the earth from the atmosphere. Some water would remain on earth’s surface and some water would be above the atmosphere. Our atmosphere, of course, is made up of gases and is unseen. We often call it the “air,” but the Bible calls it “atmosphere.” Made is the Hebrew word “asah” meaning God manufactured something out of existing material.
And God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
Called is the Hebrew word “qara” meaning God named. The atmosphere was named heaven by God. There are actually three heavens in Scripture: the atmosphere, the stars/planets and the abode of God. Therefore, some facts:
But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
There are three different heavens in II Peter 3; it is important to know the difference. In II Peter 3:5 we have the heavens of the original creation, characterized by the Greek adverb “ekpalai.” “Ekpalai” means “of old.” Secondly, we have the restored heavens of Genesis 1:1 and they are characterized in II Peter 3:7 by the Greek adverb nun which means “now.” Then in II Peter 3:13 we have the new heavens which will exist after the Millennium and for all eternity.
The Greek word for reserved is “thesaurizo,” which means to treasure up, to store up or to accumulate. Remember that Jesus Christ is holding the universe together. (Colossians 1:17) The judgment of earth at the end of the Millennium is found in Revelation 21:1. The “day of judgment” in II Peter 3:7, refers to the last judgment - the earth and the universe. “Ungodly men” refers to unbelievers who are cast into the Lake of Fire at the end on the Millennium. (Revelation 20:11-15)
Revelation 20 records four final-day events. Revelation 20:1-3 records the thousand-year period in which Satan will be bound in the Abyss. Revelation 20:4-6 records some brief information about the millennial reign of Christ. Revelation 20:5-10 records the final doom of Satan. Revelation 20:11-15 records information regarding the Great White Throne Judgment for unbelievers.
At the end of the Tribulation, after Jesus Christ and His army has conquered His enemies and the Anti-Christ and the False Prophet have been cast into the Lake of Fire, Satan will be bound for a thousand years in the Abyss (we know this is temporary because of Revelation 20:7-10). Revelation 20:1-3 describes what is going to happen. An angel from Heaven will come to earth, seize Satan, put him in chains, cast him into the Abyss (bottomless pit) and seal it for a thousand years. This event marks the beginning of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and those who reign with Him. Those who reign with Him include believers from the Old Testament, Church Age believers and Tribulation believers.
Revelation 20:11, indicates that the earth and heavens are destroyed at this time (the earth and the heaven fled away and no place was found for them). (II Peter 3:7-12) John saw the throne of God, which he described as a “great white throne.” For this reason, this judgment is called The Great White Throne Judgment. The verses that follow let us know that this judgment is for unbelievers only from all dispensations. Several books are opened revealing the works of the unbelievers. The Book of Life will also be opened revealing the fact that no one is justified by his good works. No amount of human good works adds up to the righteousness of Christ, which is necessary to have eternal life. (Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 3:5, 13, 8; 21:27)