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GENESIS RESEMBLES IN CORRELATIVE CLOSENESS
OF CONCEPTS AND PROGRESSION,
A NEW BORN BABE, WITH NOW ITS OWN SYSTEMS
OF BREATHING AND MUTUALITY
IN THE BEGINNING
As to the heading of this Chapter, attention has been directed before, though differently, to such considerations, as in Dayspring; but while we are looking at creation, it is becoming to spend a little more time on Genesis, the demonstrated word of God specialising here.
First, in the beginning we find that heaven and earth were created. No ? It is the heavens and the earth. This reminds one of Psalm 148 in this, that reference is to be found not only to the earth in its creation, but to the heavens, and indeed, to "the heavens of the heavens". It seems to ascend as if looking first at one phase of the celestial, and then another even more magnificent, as if, it may be, considering first the Heaven, as God called it so saying in Genesis 1, and then beyond this to the heavens, as noted in the initial dictum, God created the heavens and the earth. That is the scope of the matter, all that is celestial, astronomical, terrestrial, what we have. It then specifies in what steps He moved to achieve what those terms signify to us.
There is a pre-occupation to verse 13, with the earth, and then from verse 14, with the heavens, the two as at first specified. In verse 6, there is to be an expanse amid the waters. What waters ? Those which constitute the format for the as yet only partially differentiated earth. In a new phase, as we consider now the EARTH, seeing in the mind as instructed by our Mentor, its liquidity, and pondering this, that within this liquid field there are to be two stages, the text continuing. First, there is to be an expanse amid these waters. We see in the mind, in response, an earth in its massive liquidity, suddenly having a rift in that state, for set right in it is an expanse, so that some water is below this novel thrust, and some above it.
I never forget, when going to the USA in 1956, to escape persecution of my studenthood for Ministry at the notorious Ormond College, Melbourne, and to complete it, by studying at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and sitting in protracted airborne hours in the vast expanse like a layer, the clouded arena, peering down at the waters below from the arena of the massive continuity of the clouds of water above, through which we were passing. There was an overwhelming sense of the structured stratification, the waters above and below. Sometimes it would be a fascinating formation of clouds which had seemed set to be islands, and at other times there were islands, with the tell-tale lightening of the immediate surrounds showing the shallower waters about them very often.
It seemed indeed as if there had been cleared a path for the clouds, the massive weight of water vapour in tons within them, a notorious figure.
Thus in Genesis, not from a flying plane but in a geometrical one, we are directed to ponder and dwell on a liquid, formless, liquid earth, now equipped with this plane, space, stretched-out medium on the face of which a bird could fly, water-space-water This spacious surround, complementary to earth, and part of its system, is the thing which God, Himself identified as Creator of the heavens and the earth, identified as Heaven. Thus we find the spacious interruption of the water for the envelopment above; and in the lowest, we find raised up, the medium of the earth, over the waters of which the Spirit of God had been hovering.
Now, then, comes this spacious and spatial diversification, this interruption of waters, to be followed before the next day is finished, by a still further stratification. Dry land gives us a threefold container cosmos position for the earth and beyond.
It is as if a saturated dog were shaking himself, in stages.
Having had the mental eye focussed on the watery mass, formless, amid the heavens, tied to them, one can now see a spread out space containing clouds water, and a stable earth staring into it. The heavens, as at first denoted in verse 1, like the earth, were the initial specified totality and in their midst the Spirit of God hovered (1:2). Here by 1:8, the earth is given a specialised threefold stratification, with its own correlative space which is a virtual part of it, closely held and relative. What Psalm 148 calls the heavens of the heavens, or just the heavens, of course continues in its scope as specified: whatever is not the earth with its triad. A Cloudless Earth is not the one made. It has its own atmospheric, water-unctioned environment.
Later sun and moon are formed with adequate specialisation for the purposes so emphasised, the luminous creation at the first thus becoming more intimately purposive directed items, Nowq they are formed past being mere alternating light source as at the beginning, just as the earth is formed past mere formless mass, as at the beginning, in this two phase concentrate. Whatever generates light and darkness as a sequence, that is the first light-type step. The extended purposes of verses 14 are now specified in a way given further attention in Let God be God, Ch. 12 in the section marked. We are not dealing with obscurantist imaginings but steps in creation of what is natural, nurtured into form, at length now specified for purpose, the alternation of light and darkness having been already engineered in a series of such specifications from actions as God moves natural material, step by step into place now clad or covered with more specialised format, forged into more functionally precise array.
Fascinating is the explanation apparent relative to the rapid coverage of the stars in verse 16. It does not even say this, "He made the stars also." It shrinks this further, to "the stars also."
How could this be seen as suitable ? three words for the starry part of the heavens ? It is quite simple, and is parallel to the reference given above, concerning extended purposes. As shown there, an enormous emphasis is here being placed on purpose, and functionalities to MATCH the purpose outlined. So in covering these varied uses of light now made explicit, the sun and the moon, relative to the earth, are the nearest, the most exposed, the largest, with the most obvious impact in terms of the PURPOSES for light, noted in this segment of Genesis 1.
In that respect, the tiny dots of stars, by comparison are not at all dominant, but an additive; but they are there. Hence not even is the verb "formed" here repeated, just the dot addition, "the stars also". It is good to account for every detail when interpreting, and here we seek to do so. These issues are all correlative, mutually supportive, consistent and explicatory of the point of the Author. Relatively, the work of the stars as light source, though significant, does not compare with that of the larger orbs.
Indeed, segmentalisation is not inappropriate in a review of creation, seen from the divine perspective, in giving account, Thus we have here, first for the terrestrial part of the setting, the illuminative (expanded in that segment of attention in vv. 14ff.), the geological and the atmospheric, the botanical, the seasonal and specific in the atmospheric and heavenly.
Each domain has deposition and development by the eruptive, irruptive, majestic word of the Creator, where items for final presentation are given as if one were telling someone how one set up a hut, planted a garden and made a rock wall, all tasks obviously well within one's actions; and indeed, as if one said, Well, I brought in a builder and in three days we had it all set. The nature of the one speaking makes all the difference in the understanding, and if he were to add, being a master builder, Yes, I brought in two teams for that and we got it done on the same day, one would know that he, with such powers, was not meaning two ages. The style of the reference is composed with the nature of the action.
The things are correlative and the power is supervening and to make it other is merely to distend the whole stomach of the action in an unfortunate and obtuse manner.
Symbols, Situations and Sequences
We go on, in the text of Genesis 2, to find that all of this was creation, the thing as specified, and that this was the manner of it. In fact we are introduced to the conception of the generation of the heavens and the earth, to match forthcoming reference to the generations of this and that major person after the creation of man, so that it is all generation with its generation, heaven and earth CREATION, and the various sub-generations, including man as ONE of these, even if in himself, a specified creation, he is quite separately listed even among the botanical and the zoological. Not only is it separate, it warrants the use of the term "created" as further specification of its utter novelty-kind.
In fact, the word used re the works of Genesis 1 is "generations" so that it fits in a spectacularly unified with the generations involved in the ongoing presence of man. This is the book of generations, of what God generated, of what was created, formed, generated, and within it is that which has its own generations, for all came in one unified manner at outset and onset, a surge in majesty with staccato creation, a marvel of massive moulding, creative expression, compression, acts of mastery in these fields, to be followed by a vast history of the generations of man, not only proceeding in this milieu, format, style, manner, perspective and integral conception, but with a parallel form of generational language, as if the very blind must see. God generates the kinds He wants, and by programmatic intricacy, man operates similarly, generating descendants in units, formed as forecast, forged as by the word extended for many generations, typed in advanced, set forth as complete before advent, via the womb.
Thus even the babes to come are generated, they do not require millions of years of formative nonchalance left to what has no power or visible or viable commission so to act. It is ALL by direction, command, specification and actualisation, with massive mutuality of created components, commands for performance partly through DNA, being linguistically expressed. It is generation, not wafting drift in a way never seen, found or illustrated, either logically or empirically. Nature gives no witness of formulating itself, being made as it is, programmed as it has been, given variabilities for continuity as required to continue, not to discontinue, equipped with dynamic and drive to be, not to write new script. Such is never found in process, exposed for observation, demonstrated by empirical means. Here there is a great silence, except of hte mouths of those who fabricate imaginary universe with imaginary methods, never touching down on this one.
Interesting as it may be for sci-fi, it is reality which it simply defies, and with it, the God who made in His own time, the one we have, and of which we are part.
Even if you got brilliant literature by the jostling of atoms (and it is not such text, being only a mute parallel form even if, contrary to all evidence, made), it would still have to have assigned meaning to fill the bill, and assignment of symbol-meaning is a strictly mental task, an implosive exhibition of choice and it has to have those who can read it, aligned to it, or functionally programmed equivalent to give practical AND organised response to the reading, together with organised creative layers with their own laws, for correcting false copyings as required in such massive amounts, for generation after generation to come, pulsing in over-riding power, to move towards fidelity of copying and so of generations to the original.
It is all a matter of creative originals, meaning, kinds, corrections about a norm and form, continuity following creation, and cessation of the creation itself. As it is described in Genesis, so it is found to be. What is given, is verified, confirmed, whether the evidence of what came and how, or that of how it is maintained and within what preserving limits, or that of the stoppage of this vast simultaneity of creative outflow. Is it finished ? Show it happen!
Falsifiable, but eminently valid, the thrust of creationism is met only by antagonistic theories themselves falsified in outrageous competition, as if their continual failure to meet observational reality gave them some kind of status.
Inventing symbols, and the myriads, the multiplicities of matches which they dictate for unitary creations is not something that matter does, for it is mindless; and so is the theory which invests it with what quite simply, it does not have, and hence does not do. Each formulation and formation, type of thing, works in its own domain, not in that of another: mind makes the mental, intellect forms the conceptual, personality makes the commands, imagination forges the plans, envisages the intention
Indeed, the developments become more complex. There is command to the consciously conceptualising and will-formulating man, and with this, the staggering gift of personal liberty, an acme of inventive singularity from divinity itself; there is also a generation of sin, through distrusting and the autonomous paranoia in joint measure; and then comes the generation of results of sin; and with this, the degeneration of environment, of pleasantness, and the generation of the need of sacrifice to acknowledge sin.
SALVATION SHOWS ITS DAWNING
FROM THE FIRST
AND WILL NOT DEPART
Also generated in this Book of Beginnings, is
the concept of salvation,
as of the two sorts of seeds in man, godly and ungodly,
an application of the creation of liberty,
revelation of the nature of the salvation (Genesis 6:2)
It is this coming One, it is HE who in His time, by stamp, not gradual process, deals with deadly power giving ultimate degeneration to the antagonistic spiritual agency for sin, the propagandising prince, that devilish spirit of contradiction, confusion and deviousness, which deceived an accommodating Eve, who misled a too indifferent Adam. So we are entered into the entirety, one story, one record, one theme, generation and degeneration, one history, one source, God revealing what He has done, and so where man is and what is his situation in which he must relate as one informed.
The Bible in Genesis is thus a book of glorification of Him where glory is, information, condemnation, exhortation and salvation. Its orientation inspiration gives no scope for complaint at a silent universe, for its Maker speaks; for being lost in the soulless confines of matter, for its Mentor expounds, its Wisdom declares and its Creator exposes man as a close company to extinction, so early, in a flood of water to match the flood of folly.
This is then used to alert coming generations, like someone who has already just survived a first heart attack, of the need not only to understand the position but to accept remedial action from the Creator. This is the sort of atmosphere which Peter shows for the race, in II Peter 3. The hardness of heart shown to Christ, which He characterised in man (Matthew 13) through parables, having extended to murder of the Saviour, who despite planning for this and revealing it in advance of His coming as Messiah, has shown not a little of its then coming outcomes; for the dealings in merciless mass murder have extended as foretold (Revelation 6). It has come by his own means to his own race in droves of scores of millions, leaving salvation's necessity no mystery, but its rejection a mess, for which some have the effrontery to blame the Almighty, as if a youth, given a sports car and having wrecked it, blamed his father for the gift.
So in the Bible, beginnings cast a shadow ahead, and light of different kinds in shed from the first, and maintained to the last; for till the last, the hope remains (Revelation 22:17), and the key to the loss is as in John 3:19, a dark alternative preference, man made, God discerned, foreknown in detail by God (Ephesians 1:4), but in the end, as at the first, generated by man.
THEMATIC COVER, SPLENDOUR AND THRUST
This begins in Genesis 1-6, to which we turn, and it flows on. In this, there is a unitary perspective, to some extent even vocabulary, of determinative concepts, of type of media and development; and the thought of interrupting it in its originating declaration in Genesis 1, for a message from your rationalistic, unscientific, cause-unconscious, man's perspective sponsors is as out of place as puss at a ladies' afternoon tea party. It is ridiculous, unconformable, the processive (as we now have in the completed creation) for the initial performance, the way the created thing works in the place of making it come into being, equipped with potential for good or evil from its source, and the basis of its freedom, responsibility, morals and health.
So we start with what as in Genesis 5 specification and itemisation ('the book of the genealogy of Adam") with what both points the topic which is about to be covered, and gives the air of coming explanatory sequence, as in the beginning of Genesis 1. We come to know what has its genesis in the divine mind, as it starts off to review what has happened with the sustained grandeur of its utterance, the relative simplicity of its utterance, as prelude to the beginnings of human history, given structure in review and extension in Genesis 2, and then sundering in spiritual squalor, created by man's lust to flush out trust in God as recorded in the forthcoming Genesis 3.
To try to disrupt, disperse, disjoint, re-write, re-conceive the closely constructed uni-oriented sequence, as distinctive as if we found an ink-written Shakespeare copy next to his corpse, this by contrast the divinely written, characterisably sovereign, characterisably dominant, sustainedly simple, profoundly portentous, is like dissecting an orchid and polluting it with the instruments, when trying to find its beauty.
To say it is insensitive to the topic would be a vast understatement.
With the sovereign insight and thrust, with all the assured recall and recount realism of an entrepreneur describing his initial earthworks with 1000 masterpiece earth movers on each day, as past all figure in the realism of the sobrieties of Genesis 1, there comes that air of the actual. The sequential practicalities pursue the reader at every turn, at the level in view. The developments stand with no stipulated means, merely the assurance of their natural ? nay, supernatural adequacy, so that we are merely shown at THAT level. Thus there is the topic guide, and with this, a sublime directness, where word spoken equal results, with an assurance that makes any alternative to this, an irrelevant option.
It is not a concern, but obvious, that it neither was nor could be otherwise. It is not however put combatively, but with a natural directness of practical vigour. Say it! it is done. It is a matter of who says it: His name is God. So far from this eliminating logic, it bathes in it, acquainting the reader with the needs and how they were met, uniquely, splendidly, in a way thrilling in its singularity of source and its rationality of result.
The entirety is the development of a theme, this from God in institutional wonder, till soon we find the generation in other spheres, such as that concerning man, his sin contribution for example, not particularly brilliant to be sure, somewhat disruptive indeed, but within the sovereignly granted, initial composed degree of freedom given to mankind. It is shown to be a kind of freedom by which he could quite amply and with entire effectiveness, breach blessing, irresponsibly break rules, ignore conditions, frown on quality control, make a declaration of deceived independence, in his naivety trusting in his own wits with a horizontal autonomy, an imaginary equality, already up there, as IF 'one of us', when this is in reality not so. Anti-realism and gawking self-glorification however is an adventure that has results.
So does man make a war where winning is not a relevant concept; and he has been engaged in diverse elements of it, ever since, amid seasons of repentance here and there, and of receiving the salvation provided, now and then. All this is abundantly attested with rebuke and clarity, precision and prediction, in type in Genesis, together with the divine mercy envisaged for the race, through the race, but not in itself, rather through one to assume its form and forge its deliverance. Even He must suffer; but wins handsomely in the final outcome.
So it is entirely as a unit, comprehensible, interpretable, uni-spiritual in focus, moving as if to say, this from God, this from man, that result from God, all in a single perspective kind of overview in which God is sharing some of His thoughts, a review... Generation, formation, formulation, information for man, about his coming, about his situation, about his presumption, about his salvation, about his responses, about his generations, all more and more as the Bible progresses beyond the salvation verse, Genesis 3:15 (consummated in John 3:16). With this go the words of the prophets concerning the generation of salvation, and the regeneration of man to be involved in it (as in Jeremiah 31:31ff., Ezekiel 11:19, 18:31, 36:26). So goes the unitary unison of testimonies from God, this equipped with a remarkably sustained and strictly sequential vocabulary. It is given in mini-excerpt types of review within that, as in Psalm 78, II Chronicles 36, II Kings 17, Ezekiel 16 and 20, Psalm 105; and in laments incorporated some of the same features, as in Isaiah 48:12-22.
Let us then look back to the initial divine declaration, and the interpretation of what God has to say in Genesis from the first.
Turning aside with unstated and imaginary disturbance points is rather a matter of disruptive interpolations, illustrating in this human intrusive process, speech. It becomes an issue of text-free interpretation by human imagination, unwarranted words by invention, reminiscent of the whole autonomous antic so prominent in the divine review even in the time of early Genesis. Such is the deception of man's spirit that it is far from certain that those who so interpret by interruption and addition, will recognise to what they are turning their hands; so that as in any war, one must be exceptionally alert to orders. Here. there being no defective majors or colonels, we are concerned direct with what God has to say, Himself, in His own chosen style, whether grammatical or generational, increasingly self-defining His nature or His speech*1, as the Bible reveals in concert and concord what follows. It is easy when the nature of the Speaker is forgotten, to act with a licence that would be unfitting even in interpreting Shakespeare, to act with a betraying litheness of thought, so betraying conceivably even one's good intentions with distorted inventions (cf. Ecclesiastes 7:29).
However, when, as markedly in this portion of Genesis, a person wants to put in an aside, whether in form or format or content, without legislation from the unique text, it is like having the Queen making her announcement of what is coming, in Parliament, and having some parliamentarian interrupting: Excuse me, your Majesty, but I must interpolate here, for you are failing to notice, indeed even to mention this point which will enable the members to realise that you don't mean what the criteria you give imply, but are spluttering away in terms that are unintelligible without my interpretation. Permit me, Madam, before you proceed, to tell the members what you are really talking about.
There is the same sense of impenetrable unawareness that you are cutting in with an irrelevancy so entire as to constitute an overrule of what in context is, from one, man, who is being given the very grace to allow him to exist! Imagination for his own words, it is one thing; imagination for those of someone else, that is another; and imagination to invest in the word of one's Maker, that is a dispensation, alas, of dereliction. It is not just the ethics; it is the question of content, and adequacy for the same. A million Ph.Ds would not be comparable for such action; God was Himself there, and Himself did it!
Again, it is like having a faded newsprint of Abraham Lincoln, and adjusting Mt Rushmore's rocky exhibit from memory; except that in this case, there is not even a faded newsprint copy to use. Indeed, the movement in Genesis record to Babel and the flood, seem strangely parallel to the quasi-interpretation movement in the creation account, thrusting this way or that, which some contemplate, and some may even pursue.
There is, in all such action, a sense of the same surrealistic shrug at the preceding recitation of rationally tightly related fact, reality and result, presented en bloc, telling of the creativity of God, and that dowered to man, which nearly ends the story at the same flood, to which Peter in turn alludes in II Peter 3, in terms of prediction that people in a coming time will seek to downgrade history on this near to total catastrophe for the race, to make to fade, to deny, to dispute that same flood, en route to the coming trial by fire. This indeed is the disruption, this time, not by imaginative word of man, but by the judgmental word of God. Last time it came near, Peter advises us; but this time at the end of the exercise, it will come to pass.
NO NEED TO SPY THE AWRY:
THE HUMAN TWIST IS MANIFEST
BUT THE TRUTH IN MERCY PROVIDES
NOT ONLY RESTORATION BUT RESOLUTION
From all these things one learns that it is not man's environment, psychic or environmental which shuts him in, but his sin; and this, Genesis 3 is quick to announce, not only has dire results, but a coming Saviour (3:15). It is One who is equipped to rule sin, and conquer Satan. Suffering to do it, in the form of a man He will prevail. Yet His is the profundity of mercy that surpasses the skies in height, and expresses not the wonder of the heavens, but of heaven itself, that available haven for man when he turns to rely on the Redeemer, the One forecast. Later in this Bible, we repeatedly gaze upon this Messiah unceasingly revealed in Psalm and prophet. He is the One to whom one comes in repentance and restoration to truth through the goodness of God, and by His mercy, as for so long many generations have now been invited.
As to interruption of the divine declaration, as in Genesis 1 where it is founded for man, and the imposition of imaginary harnesses not warranted at all by the text, it remains the more discordant with so vast a preparation by One for so many, when it is asserted in disruptive dispersal of the original text, presentation, divine imprint. To be sure, as to interpretation, there is no certainty that one phase of error or mischief, in this field, entails all the rest, that one inventive insertion, contrived dispersion unwarranted, means that all the facades of rebellion will be present with this; but as with gum boots and socks after a spell in the milking shed, there is a certain air. As there, so here, there is an atmosphere, of unsavoury kind that relies on being masterful with God, on the basis of barren assertion and imaginative thrust into the very studio of His announcement, moral or simply informative.
On the other hand, from first to last, there is the sense in this field, of the One whose it is to overpower, to undertake for man, as many as rely on, relate to and have the relay of salvation from Him.
It is notable*2 that there is further progression in deposition of John in the New Testament, where this time not the creation of the universe (taken for granted) is the issue, but the uncreated character of that self-same Saviour who there from the first, abides to the last, whose name (John 8:58) is the very name of God, the beauty of whose holy helpfulness is integral to God. Not slow to come as we read, is the sacrifice of Him whose substitutionary redemption is meant in spirit, to relate to man in his own exemplary spirit of service for what is good, and abhorrence for wrong-doing. Indeed, vicariously, just as man cannot actually live without this mercy, salvation, redemption, restoration to a fitting friendly relationship with God, so by rejection of this remedy, he is losing eternal life's benediction and delight,
How is this done ? Not least it is by that massif of human autonomy, as stable as were the New York Twin Towers. Yet it is at that, even when some persist in their errors, not thrown away, since God has from the first understood who are His (Ephesians 1:4). This it was known before He even committed Himself to creation. His eye sees, His knowledge comprehends this in divine foreknowledge, for with His totally comprehending powers in their infinitude, it is, by analogy, as if by a glance He perceives to the depths of liberty, the nature of its use, and so who is whose, and who are His own (cf. Malachi 3:16-18, II Timothy 2:19).
What then ? John in his Gospel, with clearly correlated language, in terms of Genesis' atmosphere, takes up the new sequence, focussing at once the being, the sending, the coming, the character and the consequences of the arrival for action of the Messiah. Genesis spotlighted the action; John features the One whose work was so highlighted.
The topic of the creation is thus changed to that of the salvation, deposited and made available to man, and here it is the introduction not of the background or stage setting, but of the Saviour from its misuse, and man's misuse both of it and his own race. This is by One already eternal, and in John's Gospel at its beginning in this parallel presentation, there is the emphasis on the arrival and action of this same Saviour, on the results and reality check of His identity, secondly of the degeneration of mankind without it, and thirdly of the redemption and then the rule of the Saviour and at last, a new class-room, roving route, wonder.
In the end, there is a new heaven and earth for those redeemed, with the results of joy from the multiple sowings, the reaping of the vast enterprises. Yet vast though they are, there are throughout the entire Bible the same orientation, phases, perspective, sense of coming and culmination, going and degeneration, of prepared vessels, plans, procedures, of kinds of things, whether biological, typical, or characterisable genres.
Open to test, His wonder sure, His love of all but unimaginable depth and security, through His personally procured salvation, it has a cost to Him vast in virtue, profound in sacrifice, dauntless in determination to pay. It is this to which salvation points and in which faith flourishes.
There is however no kind of kindness where the way to this life is found insufferable by anyone, where mercy is despised, where the cost of redemption provided in general and payable through faith by Christ, is allowed to drift away or the grace of God is replaced by the face of man. As Psalm 49 declares, even of the powerful:
"None of them can by any means redeem his brother,
nor give to God a ransom for him -
for the redemption of their souls is precious, and it shall cease for ever -
that he should continue to live eternally and not see corruption."
See SMR Appendixes C and D, for example.
See The Bright Light and the Uncomprehending Darkness Ch.10.