Advent December 1 : Creation

Advent
December 1

Creation

God created the whole world. He made the sky and the sun in the sky and the earth under the sky. He made it beautiful and perfect for all the animals He made to live on it.

Readings:

Genesis 1:1-2:25

Psalm 104

The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings
Chapter 1
The Singer/The Song/The Finale (The Singer Trilogy 1-3)
Chapters 1-3

G. Campbell Morgan’s The unfolding message of the Bible; the harmony and unity of the Scriptures.

We must take some little time with the arresting opening. When I speak of the opening I mean the first chapter, and the first twenty-five verses. These verses contain what may properly be called the opening of the Book. Take the very first sentence – how often we have thought about it, how often we have considered it. It may be said to be a cosmic sentence. First of all, it is an inclusive declaration. ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ That is inclusive, it is cosmic. But if you are really thinking when you utter that sentence, you are arrested by the fact that the earth is mentioned. Why mention such a small thing as out earth?

Let me describe a visit I paid to the Great Observatory in California. I sat down with a little company, under the guidance of an old man who had been there for nearly fifty years, studying the heavens. And when he had helped us to get a glimpse through his telescope, drawing our attention here and there until we were amazed, the old man looked at all of us, but speaking directly to me he said, ‘If you care to have it, I will give you a scientifically accurate description of this earth.’ I said, ‘Of course I would care to have it. What is it?’ He said, ‘This is a scientifically accurate description of the earth: The earth is next to nothing.’ Next to nothing! There are some clever people that say the very smallness of the earth proves our Bible to be wrong, that a little tiny thing like this earth can never be seen of the great things of heaven. I am not arguing with them. Some people think that bulk is the evidence of greatness, but it is not.

Pause for a moment and look at Genesis 1:1, leaving out the reference to the earth. ‘In the beginning God created the heavens.’ That phrase, ‘the heavens,’ is an inclusive one, and it is ‘the heavens’ not ‘heaven.’ The Hebrew word used in that way is always in the plural, and used in that way if refers to what we would speak of as the whole universe. So in that opening phrase God is put behind all the universe in this one cosmic sentence, this wonderful sentence at the opening of the Bible. There are certain explanations and references in subsequent literature, but here is the one complete sentence which gives you Biblical cosmogony: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens.’ Yes, ‘and the earth.’ As you read these twenty-five verses you will find reference is made to the heavens as a firmament, but this merely means extent, the great expanse. Another word you could use correctly is ‘space.’ I have been very interested, though I have not been able to follow it very fully, in a saying of Sir James Jeans that the whole of space is limited. That is very interesting. But I know it is limited. How, I know not, but I do know, for I know God has created, therefore there is some sort of limit to space.

And then you fill find this remarkable fact in these twenty-five verses, that in the se heavens there are luminaries referred to, the sun and the moon. They are only referred to in relation to the earth. We are told nothing else about the sun or the moon except the relation they bear to the earth. So here we are in the presence of cosmic things in the cosmic sentence, in this phrase, this marvelous little sentence. It is as though the writer of this record – Moses, as I verily believe – seems to dismiss the whole vast fact. He has referred to the earth, the sun and the moon in cosmic relation to the earth, and then sweeps the whole vast fact into this simple statement, ‘He made the stars also.’ Have you ever sat down, almost stupefied, in the presence of that? The simplicity and modesty of the language – nothing can explain that. ‘He made the stars also.’

You may have heard of Heptarchus who attempted to catalogue all the stars ever made, and in his catalogue he said, ‘There are thousands of them.’ Now scientists today tell us that, if we took the time, even with the naked eye we can count up to 2,000! They tell me that is the extent of the possibility of vision of the human eye. But with the aid of telescoped and reflectors, it was Ptolemy long ago who peered into the vastness of space and said, ‘There are millions of them.’ And when Herschel turned his great reflector on to the heavens he made this announcement, ‘They cannot be numbered.’ That is the last word of scientific investigators of the heavens. Is it not interesting that all this should be said by scientists, and we are thankful for all they have done, but they are all ante-dated by our Bible. Jeremiah said what Herschel said long before the time of Herschel: ‘The host of heaven cannot be numbered.’ That is the ultimate finding of science. ‘In the beginning God created the heavens.’

‘And the earth.’ Now why is that said in a great cosmic sentence? Is it not enough to say ‘the heavens’? The earth is included. This earth of ours is just one in this cosmic sentence – why name it? Simply because directly you have said ‘earth’ you have set the scene of drama of the Bible. The Bible is not about the sun, the Bible is not about the stars, save to recognize and refer to them. But in this literature the scene of all its activity is this earth on which we are living. Now these opening twenty-five verses begin with God and they end with man. No trace of wrong here, no trace of failure, no trace of sin. It is Genesis, the beginnings. I repeat my word, that cosmic sentence takes in all the universe, that supremely strange universe of the earth, on which we are living today. So it opens. It begins with God, and in the opening the last thing is man, in verse 26, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ If you take these twenty-five verses, and run over in the same field into the second chapter, you will find man is presented. That is how the writer, Moses, opens all the records of Genesis. I go beyond that: all the records, the historic records of the Bible deal with God and man in their relationship with each other. It is the great subject of the divine library.

(1961. Fleming H. Revell Company)

Oh! that I knew how all thy lights combine,
And the configuration of thy glory,
Seeing not only how each verse doth shine,
But all the constellations of the story.

George Herbert

Andrew Peterson:

Viewing:

Little Women
(1933)
Bible: In the Beginning [Blu-ray]
(1966), Creation scene

DSC07089DSC07096

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