On Creation Week’s Day 1, How Intensively did God Work?

On Creation Week’s Day 1, How Intensively did God Work?

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”   (Genesis 1:1)

Galaxy.Tarantula-photo

The Bible teaches us that everything and everyone (except God Himself) was made by God, so He is called the “Creator”; that means that God made everything that is (including ourselves) out of nothing, by His command!

That is so powerful that we cannot fully understand that power to create something (or someone) out of nothing. The Bible teaches us that God did His creation work “in the beginning”, staring with the heavens and the earth on Day #1. Although doing this is impossible for us to do, or even to fully understand, it was quite easy for God to do!

RosettaNebula-galaxy.Pinterest

Hebrew philology (i.e., word studies) demonstrate their value in the Bible’s first verse: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

The subject noun is “God,” translating the Hebrew text’s plural noun Elohîm. The action verb is “created,” translating the Hebrew text’s singular verb bara’.  What a grammar teacher’s conundrum! A plural subject noun with a singular verb!  Yet what better way to foreshadow the Bible’s Trinitarian theology of God’s being? This is clarified later in Scripture, of course, as the Great Commission illustrates, but the doctrine of God’s Tri-unity is actually introduced in Genesis 1:1. The universe’s Maker is plural, yet one

Genesis 1:1 has more to say about God’s first action as Creator—informing us about what God’s action of creating was and what it was not.

Hebrew verbs usually appear in one of these seven basic forms: qal (simple active), niphâl (simple passive), piêl (intensive active), puâl (intensive passive), hiphîl (causative active), hophâl (causative passive), hithpaêl (active and passive combined—i.e., your action directly impacts yourself, like combing your own hair).

Genesis 1:1 uses a singular 3rd person masculine qal verb, bara’ (“He created”).  So what does that tell us about God’s action on Day 1?

From God’s perspective, His action of creating (on Day 1 of Creation Week) was “simple”; it was not “intensive” work!  Astoundingly, God did not work very hard to decree into existence, from nothing, all “the heavens and earth” (i.e., all of the physical matter-energy that now exists)!  Also, notice that God’s work of creating was not merely “causative.” God then acted directly, not merely as a first cause instigator triggering a long series of dominoes.  (Specifically, it was God the Son, i.e., Christ, Who was most directly involved in doing this creation work  — see John 1, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1.)

Furthermore, because the verb bara’ is a perfect verb, the action of creating is reported as completed—finished! That specific work of creation (i.e., creating physical matter-energy into being), that God did on Day 1, needed no further ex nihilo (out-of-nothing) creating.

And that was just the beginning! The next five days involved developmental use of Day 1’s creation, providing us with many more biblical word study opportunities in Genesis.

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Majestic Medley in the Heavens

 

MAJESTIC   MEDLEY   IN   THE   HEAVENS

Dr. James J.S. Johnson

There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.   (1st Corinthians 15:40-41)

The cosmos is filled with heavenly bodies that display wonderful variety.

What variety (sun, moon, stars, planets, comets, etc.) is in our universe?  Variety in the heavens actually exists on an enormous scale.

God likes variety—more variety than we can fully appreciate, even if we had multiple lifetimes to investigate His creation!

Moon-phases-NASA-diagram

Here are two proofs:

(1) Scripture shows that variety matches God’s divine nature (i.e., God is simultaneously plural and one, being triune: Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) and how He made mankind in His own image; and

(2) God’s physical non-human creation (including animals, plants, rocks, stars, bacteria, protozoa, etc.) shows that God supernaturally selected and favors variety.

Nature displays differences in details of diverse animals, plants, microörganisms, earth’s geophysical environment, and even the innumerable galaxies of outer space – including each and every star that is out there, regardless of whether any human ever sees it or not! So, how do the heavens show God’s love for variety?

There are at least 100 billion stars in the heavens (that’s 100,000,000,000 different stars!) – that we are of (and maybe there are many more!), yet Psalm 147:4 says that God not only can count exactly how many there are, He has even given a specific name to each of those many stars!

Also, 1st Corinthians 15:40-41 says that God gives a different “glory” to each star – and that should remind us that God gives a unique dignity to each human. In other words, each of us is valuable to God in a way that no one else is – what a wonderful fact! Since God treats each of the stars as unique, with its own name, that proves that God loves variety. In other words, God has demonstrated His love for variety in the many differences (including differences in “glories”) that He has designed into the heavenly bodies, including the uniqueness of the stars and of the planets. As humans we cannot actually count stars, one at a time, and know their individual names – to do so would take trillions of years – and during our earthly lives we cannot live that long.

Galaxy.Tarantula-photo

Although heavenly bodies have individual uniqueness, they simultaneously have interactive relationships with one another on huge scales – for example, our solar system is a working system, within the Milky Way Galaxy (which is a working system), and there even exists groupings of galaxies.

God values variety, so the cosmos is filled with heavenly bodies that display wonderful variety.   God has demonstrated His love for variety in the many differences (including differences in “glories”) that He has artistically designed variety into the heavenly bodies, including the uniqueness of the stars and of the planets.  Consequently, stars, groups of stars, and other heavenly bodies show variety and artistic uniqueness.   (See 1st Corinthians 15:40-41; Psalm 147:4; Job 26:13.)

Cosmos-SpiralGalaxy-space

For more information on this topic you might want to see these online articles:

Henry M. Morris: http://www.icr.org/article/9944

Henry M. Morris: http://www.icr.org/article/2292

Henry M. Morris: http://www.icr.org/article/1342

Henry M. Morris: http://www.icr.org/article/21014

Henry M. Morris: http://www.icr.org/article/20964

JJSJ: http://www.icr.org/article/created-sun-and-moon

JJSJ: http://www.icr.org/article/valuing-gods-variety/

JJSJ: http://www.icr.org/article/grackles-gratitude


 

God Stretched Out the Heavens, Like Tent Curtains.

God Stretched Out the Heavens, like Tent Curtains

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

RosettaNebula-galaxy.Pinterest

It is He Who sits upon the circle [i.e., choreographed circuit] of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers;  —  He Who stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in.   (Isaiah 40:22)

God spread out the heavens, stretching them out like a curtain. (See, e.g., Job 9:8; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 40:22 & 42:5 & 45:12.)  The Bible teaches that God made (and organized) the cosmos in an orderly and logical way (including how He organized the cosmos to be ruled by the laws of mathematics), so the created cosmos is neither chaotic nor produced by “accidents” — such as is imagined by the “big bang” myth-makers.  (See Genesis 1:14; Judges 5:20; Psalm 19:6 & 93:1 & 104:19.)

Many secular astronomers tell us that the universe is “receding” from us, i.e., moving away from Earth, as if the cosmos itself was (and is) “expanding”, growing larger in volume, every day!  There are many problems with that speculative notion, most of which are beyond the scope of this philological study.  However, to understand the underlying controversy, consider this quick quote from creation astrophysicist Jake Hebert, which helps to set the stage for examining this cosmological question:

“Light from distant galaxies contains clues that most astronomers interpret to mean that the galaxies are receding away from us. Furthermore, most astronomers interpret this to mean, not that the galaxies are moving through space away from us, but that space itself is expanding, carrying these galaxies ‘along for the ride.’  But what about creation astronomers?  What do they think? Some have suggested that the numerous references to “stretching out” the heavens in Scripture (Job 9:8, Psalm 104:2, Isaiah 40:22, 42:5, and 45:12) refer to this ongoing expansion of space itself —  as if the universe is continuing to expand, every moment, consistent with the idea of a ‘big bang’ explosion eons ago, long before any scientific observations were possible.”  [Quoting Jake Hebert, with James J. S. Johnson, “God Spread out the Heavens, Stretching them out like a Curtain”, ICR-DC Universe Room, TS-A-2/Q-3 (AD2018-08-16).]

Galaxy.Tarantula-photo

However, this appeal to Scripture – to promote Big bang “expanding universe” notions — is not only a “stretch”, it is flat-out wrong, because the usual Hebrew word for “stretch” (naṭaḥ) does not denote elasticity (much less ongoing/unlimited elasticity!), as one would expect if these verses were referring to some kind of ongoing and unlimited “stretching out” of space itself, as Big Bang advocates imagine. Rather, these passages are simply referring to God’s initial structuring of the stars, in their respective (and choreographed) circuit arrangements.

In fact, the qualifying phrase “like a [tent] curtain” really refutes the idea of unlimited elasticity, because when Old Testament Hebrews constructed a tent (as Bedouin Arabs frequently do, to this day), they arranged the structural positioning of the tent curtains, upon the rod-assembly scaffolding – but the curtains did not stretch and stretch and stretch forever! Rather, once the curtain is positioned into the desired structure it is maintained by the pole-assembly scaffolding.

Furthermore, the same Hebrew verb (naṭaḥ) used for “stretching out” the heavens [in the 1st paragraph above] is repeatedly used of Moses “stretching out” his arm to hold his staff up in the air (e.g., Exodus 7:19; 8:5; 8:6; 8:16; 9:22; 9:23; etc.), such as when Moses did so at the miraculous parting of the Red Sea. That word “stretched” did not mean that Moses’ arm (or hand, in some contexts) got longer and longer and longer, like a huge anaconda or an unbreakable rubber-band! Rather, Moses repositioned (i.e., unfolded) his arm so that it was fully stretched out from his torso.

Galaxy-w-stars.greenish-tone

In short, when God “stretched out the heavens” He was positioning the stars (and their respective galaxy formations) into the structural arrangement that He intended for them – and it takes God’s continuing maintenance for those stars to “stay in place” due to the otherwise-disintegrating influence of cosmic entropy (see Colossians 1:17).   In fact, if God did not maintain the structure of the universe (and its innumerable parts, in their choreographed circuits), the universe’s order would disintegrate due to unrestrained entropy ( Colossians 1:17).

Solar-System.heliocentric


 

GOD’S HEAVENLY LEIKARRINGEN, AS NOTED IN ISAIAH 40:22

GOD’S HEAVENLY LEIKARRINGEN, AS NOTED IN ISAIAH 40:22

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

It is He Who sits upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; it is He Who stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in. (Isaiah 40:22)

What is “the circle of the earth”? Just because an interpretation seems to “help” win arguments does not make it right—it’s the truth that really counts.  (Sad to say, quite a few creation scientists, employing superficial review of the Scriptures, are guilty of this.)

For decades some creation scientists have suspected (and/or assumed) that Isaiah 40:22 refers to Earth’s spherical shape, because Earth is round like a ball.  But is that what the phrase “circle of the earth” refers to, in Isaiah 40:22?  As a matter of Biblical creation apologetics (as opposed to deistic science practices), it is important to take a philological “magnifying glass” to the Biblical Hebrew text’s details, in order to see what this verse is actually describing.

The foundational question — if truth is the priority — is whether the Hebrew noun chûg, used in Isaiah 40:22 (and translated as “circle” by the King James Bible translators), means “round” like Earth’s spherical shape, as opposed to some other kind of “circle”.

The noun “ball” is used to translate the Hebrew noun dûr in Isaiah 22:18. So, if God had wanted to describe Earth as a globe (i.e., a ball), in Isaiah 40:22, why not use the Hebrew noun dûr? Obviously that noun was part of Isaiah’s vocabulary, because Isaiah used that noun (dûr) in Isaiah 22:18.

But, to understand this part of Isaiah 40:22, the most focal question is what does chûg (“circle”) mean? To answer this question, we should compare Scripture with Scripture, i.e., especially by reviewing how that same Hebrew word is used elsewhere within Scripture.

First, consider that the noun chûg is used only 2 other times, in Job 22:14 and Proverbs 8:27.

Job 22:14 says: “Thick clouds are a covering to Him, that He seeth not; and He walketh in the circuit [chûg] of heaven.”  Question: is this “circuit” an orbit-like pattern or a spherical ball?

Proverbs 8:27 says: “When He prepared the heavens, I was there; when He set a compass [chûg] upon the face of the depth.” Question: is this “compass” an orbit-like pattern or a spherical ball?

Next, consider the root verb (that this Hebrew noun derives from), which is the Hebrew verb chûg, spelled that same as the noun (similar to how our English words “report” and “record” are either verbs or nouns, depending upon context).

As a verb, chûg appears in Job 26:10 (“He hath compassed the waters…”), denoting cloud-contained rainwaters, being part of Earth’s water cycle dynamics. The idea here is cyclical or circuitous movements, not sphericity.

Furthermore, we can review other Hebrew words that utilize the consonantal stem CHG (also transliterated ḤG), such as the verb châgag that uses the extended stem CHGG (also transliterated ḤGG). By doing this we acquire more relevant data for identifying the core meaning of chûg. Consider, therefore, these Scriptures that employ some form of the verb châgag, and/or a noun derived from that verb: Leviticus 23:9 (“feast”); Leviticus 23:34 (“celebrate”, “feast”); Leviticus 23:41 (“celebrate”, “feast”, “celebrate””); and 1st Samuel 30:16 (“dancing”).(1) Do the concepts of celebratory feasts—or “dancing”—fit the idea of Earth’s spherical roundness? Or, do “dancing” and cyclical celebrations compare better with Earth’s orbit-motions, while circling the sun, within our solar system that itself orbits within the Milky Way Galaxy?

The best English word, to picture the core idea here, is choreography—an amazingly well-ordered, orchestrated, festive, happy, harmonious DANCE.(1),(2) Like King David, even the heavenly bodies “dance” unto God’s glory!(2)

References

(1)The Hebrew noun chûg (“circle” in Isaiah 40:22, KJV) is related to the verb châgag, which is translated “celebrate” in Leviticus 23:9 & 23:41. The Hebrew noun chûg shares the same root verb as chag, another Hebrew noun, which is translated “feast” (referring to the Feast of Tabernacles) in Leviticus 23:34 & 23:9 & 23:41. The concept of celebratory dancing is illustrated in 1st Samuel 30:16, where the Hebrew verb châgag (in participle form) is translated “dancing”.

(3)See 2 Samuel 6:14 & Psalm 149:3. Notice that the festively cosmic choreography of Isaiah 40:22 is like the mathematically blended and harmonious interactive movements of a perfectly performed Norwegian Leikarringen folk dance (see photograph above), as opposed to a frenzied solo dancer’s break-dancing gyrations.

><> JJSJ    profjjsj@aol.com


In AD1982, at Wake Forest University, Dr. Johnson received the American Bible Society Award for scholarship in Biblical languages, especially Hebrew and Aramaic. However, despite many repeated efforts (and repeated encouragement from Kermit and Glenda Anderson), Johnson has unquestionably failed to learn the memory-challenging choreographic artistry of Norwegian folk dancing.


 

God purposefully made the moon.

God purposefully made the moon.

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

Genesis1.16-PPT-ruleGod made the moon to rule the nighttime, just as is clearly reported in Genesis. (See Genesis 1:14-18; Psalm 104:19 & 136:9; Ezekiel 32:7.)  But how and why did God make the moon, such as how does it “rule” the nighttime?  By His own command By His own command, on Day #4, God made the moon to give light, especially light to help us (and to help animals) to see, during nighttime on Earth.  Moon-rules-Earth.PPT-gravitational-tides

Also, the moon “rules” many activities on Earth due to the moon’s gravitational pull (in combination with the sun’s similar gravitational pull) on the earth and on its inhabitants, such as animals and people, and even on the waters of the oceans — producing the repeating and rhythmic movements of the oceans that we call “tides”. Moon-ocean-tides.PPT-governor-rulesThis action of “ruling” can be compared to a speed-limiting “governor” installed on a truck’s engine; the truck engine’s “governor” is not a person but it forcefully and controls the behavior of the engine in a way that limits the speed of the truck, to accomplish the intentions of the clever inventor who designed the truck engine’s “governor”.  Governor-rules.PPT-CanadaDry-truck

In a similar (yet much superior) way, God cleverly invented the moon’s gravitational traits, with the intention that the moon’s gravity limits various activities on Earth, via the moon’s complicated movements and their related gravitational attractions on the earth (in relation to interrelated and complicated motions of the sun and earth), from different directions at different times — resulting in an ongoing choreography of gravitational attractions between those heavenly bodies. The moon’s periodic movements, as the moon moves around the earth, in a regular cycle (called lunar phases), also affect how all plants grow and how all animals behave. ChristmasIsland-RedCrabs.PPT-moon-tidesExamples of animal behavior being affected by moonlight (or its absence) include the timing of Pacific salmon going downstream to the ocean, the timing of Christmas Island red crabs going to the ocean to dump baby crabs into the water, and the tidewater movements that bring floating food particles unto filter-feeding oysters.  [For more about how the moon “rules”, see my article “The Moon Rules”, ACTS & FACTS,  44(9):21 (September 2015), posted at http://www.icr.org/article/moon-rules  .]oysters-filterfeeders.PPT-need-moon-tidesThanks, God, for making the moon!


 

God purposefully made the sun.

God purposefully made the sun, to rule the daytime.

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

God chose to make the sun to rule the daytime, just as is clearly reported in Genesis. (See Genesis 1:16; Psalm 19:4-6 & 136:8; Ezekiel 32:7.)  But how and why did God make the sun, such as how does it “rule” the daytime?  By His own command, on Day #4, God made the sun to give light, especially light to help us (and to help animals) to see, during daytime on Earth.

Also, God made the sun to move in ways that help us to know what time it is, and also to provide earth with seasons (like spring, summer, autumn, and winter). The sun is shining directly on us when it is “day”; when it is “night” the sun is not shining directly on us. Also, God made the sun to “rule” the daytime, such as by providing daytime light and heat that is needed to for plants to live and to grow – and also by providing gravitational attraction so that the earth’s ocean tides move in ways that help life in the oceans and seas.   (For more about this, listen to my podcast, “The Created Sun and Moon”, posted  at http://www.icr.org/article/created-sun-moon-podcast  .)If plants did not use sunlight to grow, and to be warm enough to live, plants could not grow in ways that are needed so that plants can be eaten as food (such as grains, roots, fruits, seeds). When plants use sunlight energy (especially in the chlorophyll parts of green leaves) to convert water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) into breathable oxygen (O2) and carbohydrates (CxHyOz), which they do all over most of the world, the result is plant food containing lots of usable energy. This process is called “photosynthesis”. Accordingly, without sunlight there is no photosynthesis and thus no plant food for animals or for us. Likewise, if there was no photosynthesis, plants could not produce the kind of air (oxygen) that we (and animals) need to breathe. So, without sunlight we would not have enough healthy air for us to breathe. (The same is true for animals, because they need the same kind of air, to breathe, that we need.) God made the sun to help us in many ways; without the sun we could not live on earth.     Thanks, God:   You are great!


 

GOD MADE THE HEAVENS AND EARTH, TO PROVIDE FOR MANKIND AND OTHER CREATURES

GOD  MADE  THE  HEAVENS  AND  EARTH,  TO  PROVIDE  FOR  MANKIND  AND  OTHER  CREATURES

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God Himself Who formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.   (Isaiah 45:18)

How has God made Earth to serve as “home” to mankind and to animals, providing them with what they need to live?

God intentionally designed and made the heavens and the earth to provide for the needs and benefits of humans, with earth to serve as the home of mankind and other creatures. (See, e.g., Isaiah 45:18; Psalm 115:16.  See also “Why We Want to Go Home”, ACTS & FACTS, 44(4):20 (April 2015), posted at  at http://www.icr.org/article/why-we-want-go-home/ .)

The universal habit of using a personal shelter, a home that belongs to us, is nothing new. Longing for home is not limited to humans. The Lord Jesus said, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests” (Matthew 8:20). Eagles, swallows, sparrows, storks, doves, owls, and other birds use nests (Job 39:27; Psalm 84:3 & 104:17; Deuteronomy 22:6-7 & 32:11; Isaiah 34:15; Jeremiah 48:28 & 49:16; Obadiah 1:4). Spiders make web-silk homes (Isaiah 59:5). Worms and other creepy creatures live underground (Micah 7:17; Job 21:26 & 20). Lions have dens (Job 38:39-40; Song of Solomon 4:8; Nahum 2:12).  Salmon routinely return “home” to spawn.  Polar bear mothers sometimes live in dens, sheltered from colder weather outside.  The list could go on and on.

But what explains the origin of homing habits? Scripture does provide the key for understanding this universal habit—the Genesis mandate. God commanded humans and animals to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. Because God designed His creatures to do more than just populate, He programmed diverse creatures to fill living spaces all over the globe—on land, in water, and to some even the air is a home of sorts.

God has providentially equipped creatures with physical bodies (with helpful anatomies and physiologies) and programmed bio-informational instructions (coding and equipping for habitat-interactive behaviors) that are fitted to the ever-changing challenges of physical environments (and animal-and-plant communities) all over the globe.

The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD‘s: but the earth hath He given to the children of men.   (Psalm 115:16)