On Creation
By Jonathan Mitchell

When we read the word, "creation," in the Bible, how should we understand this term? Most Christians who are at all familiar with the Scriptures will have Gen. 1 come to mind when this topic is mentioned, and this, of course, is the first time that the Bible speaks about creation - but it is not the last.

But what did the word, thus translated, mean in the original languages? Did it signify "creation 'ex nihilo,'" i.e., to make something "out of nothing"? That is what theology tells us, but it is not what the words in the Hebrew or Greek meant. The Heb. verb is "bara," and means: to prepare, form, fashion, or, to "create, as a builder or an artist, out of some material, etc." The Greek verb is "ktizo," and means: to make, form, fashion or produce (out of some material). The philosophical concept, "ex nihilo," is not a Scriptural concept - and as the old aphorism says, "nothing comes from nothing."

I suggest that it has been a false presumption, based upon a reaction to "Enlightenment" philosophy, that Gen. 1:1 is speaking with modern science in mind. Genesis is a pre-modern document, and originally spoke to a pre-modern culture that had a pre-modern world view. The Jewish culture, religion and literature were all infused with symbols and figurative communications. Study of the OT yields evidence of the ancient understanding that God's people regarded Him as sovereign, and as being the Creator. Pagan origin myths also credited their god or gods as the source of the natural world. I suggest that it is safe to assume that it was assumed as fact, among ancient peoples, that "God (or: their gods) created the world." But should we modern readers assume that the purpose of Gen. 1-2 was serving to instruct the Hebrews that it was Elohim who created the universe? Or, were these early chapters of Genesis written to say something more specific that would ground Israel's story in the purposes of God, using prophetic symbolism that set the scene for this epic drama that would unfold through the following ages? Our task is to endeavor to understand these ancient documents with the original readers/listeners in mind, i.e., with a view to audience relevance. If we fail to do this, we will simply import our own modern, conditioned thinking and concepts into these documents - and then come away with our own theories concerning the meaning of the texts.

To keep this article short, I will only make some suggestions for my readers to investigate, or better yet, to begin a search of scholarly literature that will aid in an understanding of what the texts are speaking. One may begin with a good concordance, or even a Bible dictionary - but always beware of traditional interpretations (doctrinal assumptions) that are often found in these resources. Keep in mind that these books are usually written by theologians who write from their own horizons, or world views.

Other words to investigate are the objects that Gen. 1:1 tells us were "created." In the Heb., the word normally rendered "heaven(s)" is "shamayim," and is a plural noun that Young defines as: "heaved up things." The Gr. is "ouranos," and means: heaven, sky, and atmosphere. The Heb. word rendered "earth," in this verse and in most of the verses of the OT, is "erets," and means: ground, soil, earth (as a substance), dirt, land (in contrast to water, or as a particular "country"), territory or region. The ancient Hebrews had no notion of "earth" as a "planet," as we moderns tend to have. The Gr. Word is "ge," and has the same meanings as "erets."

One of the foremost OT scholars, Walter Brueggemann, wrote a book in 1977 which he titled simply, "The Land." On its back cover, Page Allen writes, "The land was one of the most vibrant symbols for the people of ancient Israel." Brueggemann fleshes out this theme, demonstrating how the Bible, from Gen. to Rev., uses the symbol/figure of "land" to refer to God's people. A revised edition of this book is available on Amazon, and I highly recommend it. Of course the context must be kept in mind, but when reading passages such as Gen. 1, and elsewhere, we should be on the alert for symbolic meanings. Later on in Gen., when Joseph related his dream of the sun, the moon and the stars all bowing down to him, Jacob understood the symbolism, and asked Joseph, "Shall I and your mother come to bow down ourselves to you on the ground (erets)?"

The Bible is a book containing narratives and stories which disclose God's various arrangements (often rendered, "covenants") concerning humanity, and the main story line involves a particular people, Israel, whose traditions and stories pointed to the coming of their Messiah, the Christ (the Gr. translation of the Heb. word). In 1 Cor. 15, Paul speaks of two Adams, one being the beginning of the story, and the other being the end of the story. In 2 Cor. 5:17, Paul tells us,

"Consequently, since someone [is] within Christ (or: So that if anyone [is] in union with [the] Anointed One; or: And as since a Certain One [was] in Christ), [there is] a new creation (or: [it is] a framing and founding of a different kind; [he or she is] an act of creation having a fresh character and a new quality)..."

Paul's choice of words directs us back to Israel's story when Israel was "formed" into a nation, following their exodus from Egypt, but it also may be an echo of Gen. 1:1, shedding light on the subject matter of that first passage of the OT.

In Gen. 1:4 we read that,

"Elohim separated the light from the darkness" (CVOT).

Paul references this act in 2 Cor. 4:6,

"because the God suddenly saying (or: the God Who once was saying), 'Light will shine forth (give light as from a torch; gleam) from out of the midst of darkness (dimness and shadiness; gloom and the absence of daylight)!' [is] the One who shines forth within the midst of our hearts, with a view to illumination of the intimate and experiential knowledge of God's glory - in a face of Christ (or: [is] He Who gives light in union with our hearts, [while] facing toward an effulgence and a shining forth which is an intimate knowing of the praise-inducing manifestation whose source and origin is God, and which is God, [while] in union with face to face presence of Christ [other MSS: Jesus Christ]),"

But, as you see, he put a figurative, symbolic interpretation to God's act of creation.

Let us observe what the resurrected Messiah shared from the OT with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, in Lu. 24:27,

"And so, beginning from Moses, and then from all the prophets, He continued to fully interpret and explain to (or: for) them the things pertaining to (or: the references about) Himself within all the Scriptures."

The name "Moses" was a traditional way of referring to the Torah, which includes Gen. 3:15, a long-accepted prophecy about the Messiah. Then, in Rom. 5:14b, we find Paul once again reaching back to Adam as being the One

"who is, and continues being, a replication (an impress; a pattern; a type; a prefigure) of and from the One being repeatedly (or: always; or: progressively; imminently) about to [be and come]."

I suggest that it is safe to conclude that the central storyline of the Bible is Christ and His people, who are figuratively portrayed as Adam, or humanity.

In Rev. 21:1 John saw a vision of,

"a new (new in nature; different from the usual; better than the old; superior in value and attraction; new in quality) atmosphere (or: sky; or: heaven) and a new Land (or: earth)" [Isa. 65:17; 66:22], for you see, actually, the first (former; preceding; earlier) atmosphere (or: heaven) and the first (former, preceding) Land (or: earth; soil; ground) went away (or: moved off, and passed away), and the sea does not exist any longer."

Now why is this last phrase added to the statement of "a new heaven and a new earth"? Why no more sea? Here are two clues:
1) Isa. 57:19-20, "I create... peace.... But the wicked [are] like the troubled sea..."
2) Isa.60:5b, "the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto you, and the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto you." Cf Rev. 21:24-26

Next, in Rev. 21:2, John saw "the set-apart (or: holy; sacred) city, a new Jerusalem," - a symbol of a people, not literal buildings, stones and gems (note the names written on the gates and foundations, in vss. 12 and 14; also, recall how Jesus wept over Jerusalem in Lu. 13:34, and how He had desired

"to at once completely gather together and assemble your children, in the manner in which a hen [gathers] her own brood {or: chicks} under [her] wings,"

referring to Jerusalem's people, not its buildings) - and she is described as a "bride." So we have a city that is a figure of "people." This sort of reference, to Jerusalem or Zion being a figure for the people of Israel or Judea, is repeatedly found in the OT.

Now in Rev. 21:4 we read further descriptions of the situation in this "new heaven and new earth,"

"Consider! God's tent (the Tabernacle of God) [is] with mankind (the humans), 'and He will continue living in a tent (dwell in a Tabernacle) with them, and they will continue being (will constantly exist being) His people, and God Himself will continue being with them [some MSS add: their God].' [Lev. 26:11-12; Isa. 7:14; 8:8, 10; Jer. 31:33; Ezk. 37:27; 2 Chr. 6:18]

And He will continue anointing (or: progressively smear or repeatedly wipe away) every tear from their eyes. And death will no longer continue existing (or: the death shall proceed being no more) - neither will mourning (sadness; grief), nor an outcry, nor hard work (painful toil; misery) continue existing any longer ([they] will continue being no more), because the FIRST THINGS went (or: passed) away."

Verses 5 and 6 conclude His descriptions of the new heaven and the new earth, in this passage:

"And then the One (or: He [who is]) continuously sitting upon the throne said, 'Consider this! I am presently making all things new (or: habitually creating everything [to be] new and fresh; progressively forming [the] whole anew; or, reading "panta" as masculine: I am periodically making ALL HUMANITY new, and progressively, one after another, producing and creating EVERY PERSON anew, while constantly constructing ALL PEOPLE fresh and new, i.e., continuously renewing EVERYONE)!' [cf Isa. 43:19; 65:17-26; 2 Cor. 5:17]

Next He is saying [to me],'Write, because these words are dependable (or: faithful; reliable) ones and true ones (ones full of faith and realities).' Then He said to me,

'They have come into being (been born; come to be) and stand accomplished (are produced) [Concordant Gr. Text reads, with Sinaiticus: I have become (been born)!; Griesbach reads "gegone": It has been done; Rotherham simply says: Accomplished; Barclay, Young, Beck, NASB, NKJV, Amplified all read w/Griesbach; Weymouth, Williams, Wuest, Robertson & Vincent read w/the Nestle-Aland & Metzger Text, "gegonan" (3rd. per. pl.)]! I am the Alpha and the Omega: The Beginning (Origin; Source; Headship; First Principle) and The End (The Goal; Consummation; The Finished Product; The Destiny; The Purpose).

'To him who is continuously thirsty, I, Myself, will continue giving from out of the spring of the Water of the Life, as an undeserved (free) gift (or: As for Me, I will freely, gratuitously, be repeatedly giving from the midst of the fountain of the water from the Life).'"

The Greek word "panta" in vs. 5 is usually only rendered as a neuter plural of the word "all," and thus we are given, "all things." But this same form (or, spelling) is also the masculine singular, and so I have on offer a rendering of this meaning, as well: "all humanity... every person... all people... everyone." Both readings are correct, and give us the picture that He is speaking both of humanity, and His creation (the environment for humanity). Consider, also, the reading of vs. 6, "They have been born," which gives the implication that He is speaking of "people" in these descriptions of God's new spiritual universe, the new heaven, with its new atmosphere, and the new land (or: earth).

Having this prophetic end (Rev. 21-22) in mind, let us again turn our focus to the beginning to see if this is also speaking symbolically. The talking snake of Gen. 3:15 and the garden-park with the poisonous tree should give us clues concerning the kind of literature we are confronting in the beginning of Genesis. We just read in Rev. 21 that the new creation was of a city (a figure of people), a relationship (a bride), God dwelling with humanity (relationship), and the making new of all humanity. So, what about Gen. 1? Here is my rendering of this passage from the Septuagint (LXX):

GENESIS Chapter 1

1. Within the midst of a beginning (or: In union with Headship and centered in Sovereignty; Originally, within [the] First Principle; In [the] Source; At a starting point; On beginning) God formed and built (made and produced; institutes and performs; performs and does; yields; established) the sky and the land (the atmosphere and the territory; the heaven and the earth/ground/soil).

2. Now the land (or: But the ground and soil; Yet the territory and earth) continued being invisible (or: was existing unseen) and unformed (unfurnished; unbuilt; unprepared; not ready) - and darkness (lack of light and obscurity; = ignorance) [was] up upon (over above; back on; based on) the abyss (the Deep) - and so (or: and yet; then; and later; as well as) God's Breath-effect (a spirit from God; an Attitude of God; [the] Spirit, which is God; a wind from God) was progressively bringing Itself upon (or: continually applying Itself to; or, as a passive: habitually, or from time-to-time, being imposed on; being repeatedly carried over; constantly being brought upon) the water.

3. And then (or: So later) God said, "Let Light come into existence (or: Let there come to be light; Light, be caused to occur!; Let light be birthed into being)!" And Light suddenly came into existence (Then light instantly occurred; And so Light was birthed into being; So, light happened; And there came to be light).

4. Then God saw (or: perceived) the Light, that [it is/was] beautiful, fine, ideal and excellent. Next, God fully separated between the Light and between the Darkness (or: parted the light back through the midst - as well as the darkness, back through the midst).

5. So God called the Light (light) "Day," and He called the Darkness (darkness; obscurity) "Night." And so there came to be evening, and there came to be morning, day one (or: Next, evening happened and then a morning was birthed, one day).

6. Next God said, "Let a result of strengthening-unto-firmness come into existence (or: Let there come to be a solidness and an effect of firmness) within the midst of (or: in union with; centered in; resident amidst) the water, and let a full separation and thorough parting continue existing (or: let it be a separator) back up through the midst of water, and water." And thus it came to be (or: And it occurred to be this way).

7. So then God formed and built (made and produced; institutes and performs; performs and does; yields; established) the result of strengthening-unto-firmness (or: the solidness and effect of firmness), then God fully separated between the water which was existing below, underneath the result of strengthening-unto-firmness (or: the solidness and effect of firmness), and between the water which [is/was] imposed above and applied upon the result of strengthening-unto-firmness (or: the solidness and effect of firmness).

8. And God called the result of strengthening-unto-firmness (or: the solidness and effect of firmness) "Heaven (or: atmosphere; sky)." Then God saw (perceives) that [it was/is] beautiful, fine, ideal and excellent. And so there came to be evening, and there came to be morning, a second day (or: Next, evening happened and then a morning was birthed, a second day).

9. Then God said, "Let the water which [is] underneath the heaven (sky; atmosphere) be collected and gathered together into one collected gathering-together (or: synagogue), and then let the dry, arid and parched [area; land] appear (or: be seen). And thus (in this way) it happened (at some point came to be), and the water which [is] underneath the heaven (sky; atmosphere) was collected and gathered together into their collected gatherings-together (or: meetings; synagogues) and the dry, arid and parched [area; land] was caused to appeared (or: was seen).

10. And so God called the dry, arid and parched [area; land], "Land (soil; ground; earth; territory; region)," and the systems (or: results and effects of the whole, compounded members of the flock or herd; composite, constituted communities) of the waters He called, "Seas (or: oceans)," and God saw (or: perceives) that [it was/is] beautiful, fine, ideal and excellent.

11. Next God said, "Let the land (or: soil; ground; earth) at some point germinate, sprout and produce vegetation (pasturage; botanicals) of grass and vegetation for pasture [and] seed for sowing - according to [its] kind (species; offspring; family; race) and according to [its] likeness - as well as [the] fruitful tree bearing (producing) fruit of which its seed [is] within it, according to [its] kind (species; offspring; family; race) upon the land (ground; soil)." And thus it at some point came to be.

12. And so the land (or: soil; ground; earth) at some point brought forth (or: carried from its midst) vegetation (pasturage; botanicals) of grass and vegetation for pasture[and] seed for sowing - according to [its] kind (species; offspring; family; race) and according to [its] likeness - as well as [the] fruitful tree bearing (producing) fruit of which its seed [is] within it, according to [its] kind (species; offspring; family; race) upon the land (ground; soil), and God saw (or: perceives) that [it was/is] beautiful, fine, ideal and excellent.

13. And so there came to be evening, and there came to be morning, a third day (or: Next, evening happened and then a morning was birthed, a third day).

14. Then God said, "Let there be born (or: come into existence; become) luminaries (illuminators; sources and causes of Light) within the midst of the result of strengthening-unto-firmness (or: the solidness and effect of firmness) of the sky (from the atmosphere; in relation to the heaven), with a view to ([leading] unto; into [a situation for]) illumination (a shining; a giving of light) upon the land (soil; ground; earth; territory) [in order] to fully separate and thoroughly part between the day, and between the night, and let them continuously exist with a view to signs and with a view to seasons (fertile moments; appropriate situations; cultic periods), as well as a view to days and a view to years.

15. "And let them continue existing with a view to being illumination (a shining; a giving of light) within the midst of the results of strengthening-unto-firmness (or: the solidness and effect of firmness) of the sky (from the atmosphere; in relation to the heaven), so as to continuously shine upon the land (ground; soil; earth; territory)." And thus it was birthed and came to be.

16. So God made (formed; constructed; produced) the two great luminaries (illuminators; sources and causes of Light): the great luminary with a view to beginnings (or: starting points; primacies; headships; rulerships; regulatings; origins) of the day and the lesser luminary with a view to beginnings (or: starting points; primacies; headships; rulerships; regulatings; origins) of the night - also the stars.

17. Then God placed (put) them within the midst of the results of strengthening-unto-firmness (or: the solidness and effects of firmness) of the sky (from the atmosphere; in relation to the heaven) so as to continuously shine upon the land (ground; soil; earth; territory)

18. to repeatedly begin (or: start; have primacy; head up; rule; regulate; be the origin of) the day and the night, and to repeatedly fully-separate and part (thoroughly disunite; sever throughout) between the light, and between the darkness. Then God saw (perceives) that [it was/is] beautiful, fine, ideal and excellent.

19. And so there came to be evening, and there came to be morning, a fourth day (or: Next, evening happened and then a morning was birthed, a fourth day).

20. Next God said, "Let the waters at some point lead out and bring forth crawling and creeping things (or: reptiles) having continuously living souls (or: among repeatedly living persons; from habitually living beings; of constantly living souls; belonging to progressively living beings) as well as winged creatures repeatedly (or: normally; habitually) flying on the land (ground; territory; earth) against (or: in the sphere of; along the lines of) the result of strengthening-unto-firmness (or: the solidness and effect of firmness) of the sky (from the heaven; with regard to the atmosphere). And thus it was birthed (or: in this way it came to be).

21. Then God made (formed; constructed; produced) the great marine animals (or: large fishes; whales, etc.) and every soul of continuously living crawling or creeping thing (or: reptile) which the waters led out and brought forth, as well as every winged flying-creature - according to [its] kind (species; offspring; family; race). And God saw (or: perceives) that [they were/are] beautiful, fine, ideal and excellent.

22. So God spoke words of goodness, ease and well-being [on; to] them (or: blessed them), repeatedly saying, "Progressively grow and increase (or, as a passive: Be continuously caused to increase and be kept growing), progressively multiply (or, pass.: be continuously multiplied), and at some point fill the waters in the seas (or: fill full the waters within the midst of the oceans). Also, let the winged things progressively multiply (or, pass.: be repeatedly multiplied) upon the land (or: ground; earth; territory)."

23. And so there came to be evening, and there came to be morning, a fifth day (or: Next, evening happened and then a morning was birthed, a fifth day).

24. Then at one point, God said, "Let the land (soil; ground; earth; territory) lead out and bring forth continuously living soul, according to [its] kind (species; offspring; family; race): quadrupeds and crawling or creeping things (or: reptiles), as well as wild animals of the territory (or: land; or: earth), according to [their] kind (species; offspring; family; race)." And thus it was birthed and came to be.

25. So God at some point made (formed; constructed; produced) the wild animals of the territory (or: land; earth), according to [their] kind (species; offspring; family; race), as well as the cattle (herd animals), according to their kind (species; offspring; family; race) - also all the crawling and creeping things (or: reptiles) upon the ground (or: land; soil; territory; earth), according to [their] kind (species; offspring; family; race). And God saw (or: perceives) that [they were/are] beautiful, fine, ideal and excellent.

26. Next, at some point, God said, "We should make (can form; could construct; may produce) humanity (or: a human) according to our image (artistic representation; resemblance) and according to (or: to the level of; in the sphere of; commensurate with) [our] likeness, and then let them continuously and progressively govern, command, and be chief of the fish of the sea, and of the flying creatures of the sky, and of the cattle (herd animals) and of all of the territory (or: land; earth) - as well as of all of the crawling and creeping things that constantly crawl and creep upon the ground (soil; land; earth; territory).

27. So God at some point made (formed; constructed; produced) this humanity (or: humankind; the human): according to an image of God (corresponding to God's representation and resemblance) He or She made him. Male and female He or She made them.

28. Then God spoke words of goodness, ease and well-being to them (or: blessed them), repeatedly saying, "Progressively grow and increase (or, as a passive: Be continuously caused to increase and be kept growing), progressively multiply (or, pass.: be continuously multiplied), and at some point fill the territory (or: land; region; earth), and then at some point exercise complete lordship and ownership on it (or: gain complete domination over her). And so you folks continuously and progressively have primacy, head up, rule, regulate and are chiefs of the fishes of the sea, and of the flying creatures of the sky (or: atmosphere), and of all the cattle (herd animals), and of all of the territory (or: land; region; earth) - as well as of all of the crawling and creeping things that constantly crawl and creep upon the ground (soil; land; earth; territory)."

29. Next God said, "Look, and consider. I have given to you, so that it is now your possession, all sowable herbage and fit-for-sowing grass, habitually propagating seed from sowing, which exists up upon (or: atop; applied-again-over) all the territory (or: region; land; soil; earth), as well as every tree which has (or: holds) within itself fruit of sowable seed. To and for you folks it will continue existing unto [being] for food.

30. Also, for all the wild animals of the territory (or: region; land; earth), and for all the flying creatures of the sky (or: atmosphere), and for every crawling and creeping thing (or: reptile) that is constantly crawling on the ground (or: soil; land; territory; earth) which continues having and is habitually holding a living soul within itself, all green herbage and grass [is] unto [being] for food.

31. And then God saw (or: perceives) the whole (all things) - as much and many as He made (or: formed; constructed; produced) - and look, so as to consider, [they are] extremely beautiful, exceedingly fine and most ideal! And so there came to be evening, and there came to be morning, a sixth day (or: Next, evening happened and then a morning was birthed, a sixth day).

Chapter 2

1. And so the sky (or: atmosphere; heaven) and the land (or: ground; soil; earth; territory), along with everything of their ordered system (or: all belonging to their world; everything from their aggregate of humanity which pertained to their culture, society, government and religions) were jointly-finished and brought to their destined, common goal.

2. So on (or: within the midst of; centered in; in union with) the sixth day God jointly-finished and brought to its destined, common goal His actions and works which He did and had made, and He fully ceased and rested-down on (or: in; for) the seventh day - away from all His actions and works which He did and had made.

3. Then God spoke words of goodness, ease and well-being to (or: blesses) the seventh day and He set it apart, because on and in it He had fully ceased and rested-down - away from all His actions and works which He at one point, in, on and for Himself, began (or: started) to do (or: make; form; build; construct; create).

4. This [is] the scroll of a birth of a sky and of a land (or: of a lineage of a heaven and an earth; of a birth of an atmosphere and its territory): when it was birthed (or: happened; took place; came into existence) on and within the day in which [the] Lord (= Yahweh) God made the sky and the land (or: constructed this heaven and this earth; created this atmosphere and this territory)

5. and all green vegetation of field and countryside before the [situation; occasion for it] to come into existence (or: be birthed) upon the land (territory; ground; earth), and every grass pasture of field and from countryside before it might spring up (or: could arise), for you see, God had not sent rain upon the territory (or: region; land; ground; soil; earth), and further, there was not a human to habitually cultivate or work it.

As we glance back through this text, first note that what was described in chapter 1 as having taken at least six "days," is recapped in 2:4-5 as having happened "on and within the day in which Yahweh God made the sky and the land... (etc.)."

Next take note in 1:1 that this was "a beginning," or, "a starting point." Also, this could well be simply a description for the people Israel (after all, this is a part of THEIR sacred texts), and could simply have reference to THEIR Land or to the local region and territory. If the "land" in their Scriptures often had reference to the people of Israel, then could this possibly be a reference to how God brought them, and their environment into being, along with the nations (the sea, the Deep, the Abyss) round about them, into being. With this view, we see the beginning of the story of the first Adam. And, seeing Paul's corresponding the 1st and the last Adams; the 1st and the second humanity (1 Cor. 15:42-49), we can better understand the message given to John in Rev. 3:14 in which the risen Christ uses the same word "beginning" in reference to Himself,

"The Amen (The It-is-so), the Faithful (or: Trustworthy, Reliable) and True Witness, the Beginning of God's Creation (or: the Origin of God's creation; the First Place or Corner of God's Framing; the Source of God's act of building and founding; the Beginning of God's act of reducing from a state of wildness and disorder)."

The first clause of vs. 2 informs us that "the land (or: the ground and soil; the territory and earth) continued being invisible (or: was existing unseen) and unformed (unfurnished; unbuilt; unprepared; not ready)." Recall that Moses was shown what the Tabernacle should look like, when he was with Yahweh, within the cloud (symbol of God's presence, the realm of spirit, and the place of vision) on Mt. Sinai. To the people, below, this was unseen. The implication is that God had a plan for what He was going to do, but it was not yet "unveiled or revealed." This is like what Paul said of the secret that was hidden in the past ages, but was then revealed in Jesus Christ.

In the next clause of vs. 2, we find that, "darkness (lack of light and obscurity; = ignorance) [was] up upon (over above; back on; based on) the abyss (the Deep)." The abyss, or the Deep, was a traditional term for the sea, but symbolically it represented "the ethnic multitudes, or, the nations." So, although the main story centers on Israel and their Messiah, the nations were included in this creation story, because they played important roles in Israel's story. God's people do not exist, nor have they ever been, in a vacuum.

The next phase of God's forming the Leader of humanity (Adam; Christ) is God's involvement upon what He is forming, by the action of His Spirit (Breath-effect) upon the ethnic multitudes:

"God's Breath-effect (a spirit from God; an Attitude of God; [the] Spirit, which is God; a wind from God) was progressively bringing Itself upon (or: continually applying Itself to; or, as a passive: habitually, or from time-to-time, being imposed on; being repeatedly carried over; constantly being brought upon) the water."

Now we find a similar picture in Ezk. 37:8b-11a which is a prophetic sketch of the resurrection (here of Israel) - of which the resurrection of Christ, and of which the teachings of Paul, speak:

"the skin had covered them, but there was no spirit (or: breath) in them. Then He said to me, 'Prophesy to the Spirit (or: wind; breath)... and say to the Spirit (wind; breath), "Thus says Yahweh God, Come from the four winds, O Spirit (Breath) and breathe upon these slain that they can live"'.... and they lived and stood upon their feet... these bones are the whole house of Israel."

This is a picture of the incarnation (Lu. 1:26ff), and of the baptism and the anointing, of Jesus to be the Messiah (Mat. 3:13-16), the Head and King.

Other places where the LXX uses the word Abyss/the Deep are instructive:

Ps. 104:2-6 (LXX),

"Who robes Yourself with light as a garment.... Who covers His chambers with waters; Who makes the clouds His chariot... The Deep (the Abyss), as a garment, is His covering;" Ps. 107:23-26 (LXX), "They that go down to the sea.... these have seen the works of the Lord, and His wonders in The Deep (Abyss);" Ps. 148:7,8 (LXX), "... and all Deeps (abysses).... the things continually performing His Word;" Isa. 63:13 (LXX), "He led them through the Deep (Abyss; = the Red Sea), as a horse through the wilderness..."

One thing that has often been noted is that in vs. 3 Light comes into existence before the sun, moon or the stars are created. If we read this verse figuratively, then we see that following the application of God's Spirit to what He is doing, knowledge and understanding (Light) is birthed. Then, in vs. 4, we see that God always separates Light from darkness, and this is what makes that which is in, or is, the Light to be considered "set-apart," or "holy." John 1:4ff, reveals that Christ is the Light, and that this Light is the Life of humanity, and it continually shines in this darkness. Then Jesus taught His listeners that they are "the light of the ordered System (world of the Jewish culture and the Roman Empire)," in Mat. 5:14, comparing them to "a city set on a hill."

Paul follows Gen. 1:5, where the light is called "Day," by informing the community of Thessalonica,

"for you see, you all are (or: exist being) sons of (= associated with and having the qualities of) Light and sons of (= associated with and having qualities of) Day! We are not (or: do not exist) of night, nor of darkness (or: we do not belong to or have the characteristics of night, nor to or of dim obscurity from shadows and gloom)," in 1 Thes. 5:5, and then plainly tells them, in vs. 8, "We, on the other hand, being of Day (belonging to and having characteristics of [the] Day; having [the] Day as our source)..."

This figurative reading of Gen. 1 displays its prophetic character, as opposed to reading it as though it was supposed to be an ancient scientific explanation of how God created the universe, and then developed the physical planet. The forming of "the result of strengthening-unto-firmness (or: the solidness and effect of firmness)" that we find in vss. 6-7, and its being named "Heaven (sky; atmosphere)," represent the social stratification that formed the structure of the society of Israel, with the tribal heads, elders, and then later the priesthood with its tabernacle/temple cultus. The specific composition of this "heaven" is taken up again in vss. 14-17. Note the leadership functions there, and the fact that these societal leaders brought Light (God's wisdom, and the right way to live) to their "world."

In vs. 9 we see that the nations (figured by the waters) are withdrawing into their own "gathering places" (the Greek word used here is the word elsewhere translated as "synagogue") so that "the dry, arid and parched [area; land] appear (or: be seen)" - from which He will later "form" into Adam, and then Eve, in chapter 2. Caution should be taken not to apply modern logic or reason to the early chapters of Gen. A story is being told using figures from the natural world, just as Jesus announced kingdom truths from the everyday environment and normal human activities. These early chapters are prophetic, using apocalyptic symbols and figures to create a tapestry of the beginnings of Israel, which were foreshadows that held types and patterns pertaining to God's plan of the ages (Eph. 3:11). Verse 10 gives the name of this dry, arid and parched area: Land (soil; ground; earth; territory; region). Israel's world now has an official designation. The rest of the nations are now termed, "seas."

With vs. 11, we find that Israel is expected to produce life (figured here by vegetation) and fruit that will be used for food. Heb. 6:7-8 gives a metaphorical description of people who no longer produce good fruit (love, joy, peace, etc.) and thus need to be burned over to free the people from the wrong kind of spiritual fruit. At various times, Israel had become such a people, and needed Yahweh's corrective measures. In Ps. 1 we find a description of a person in an ideal relationship with his environment:

"he will exist being like the tree [that] has been planted beside the divided-out paths of the waters (or: outlets of water through [the orchard]; or: rivulets of the waters that pass through), which will give (yield; = produce) its fruit in its season (or: fitting situation) and whose leaf (or: foliage) will not fall off. And so, everything that he should continue doing (or: all things - however much he can make or produce) will be thoroughly prospered (led down an easy path, or along a good road)!" (vs. 3, LXX)

A typical metaphor for Israel is a vineyard, a fig tree, an olive tree, etc., and the kingdom is spoken of by Jesus as a grain field. He told His followers that He was the Vine and that they were His branches (Jn. 15:1ff). Agricultural pictures and metaphors are scattered throughout the Scriptures. As the physical earth produces food, so are we called to be bread to feed others, while we "rub in the oil and the wine" into their wounds. We are trees of life, and our leaves are for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2).

We find another reference to the "heavenly luminaries" of vss. 14-17 in the prophecies of Dan.12:3, "The intelligent instructors who speak wisdom shall shine as the shining of the expanse and atmosphere, and those turning many to righteousness will be as the stars for the eon (or: age) and further" (Rotherham and Concordant Version OT). 2 Pet. 1:19 brings this home, to us,

"And so, we continue having (or: constantly hold) the Idea which was spoken ahead of time in and as Light (or: the prior-enlightened Thought and Reason; or: the Prophetic Word) more confirmed (validated; established; certain), by which (or: in which) you folks continue doing beautifully (performing ideally; producing finely), while continuously holding toward (= playing close attention to) [it] as to a lamp continually shining within a parched place - until which [time or occasion] the Day may shine through and a light bearer [= a morning star] may rise within your hearts (or: constantly heeding, as to a lamp progressively making things appear in a dark, dingy or dirty place, until that the Day can dawn, and a light-bringer can arise in union with your core and innermost being)."

Verses 20-23 speak of the blessing of the nations (figured here as the sea animals and the fish). Recall Jesus' affirmation that His disciples would be "fishers of men." The parable of the dragnet showed that His kingdom was involved with bringing in folks from outside the land, figuratively from the lakes and seas.

Verses 24-25 address the situations for Israel's livelihood, and later, for their cultic sacrifice system. This picture fills in the second aspect of Israel's daily life: animal husbandry. These two: what the land produces, and the herds that graze the land, were interwoven into Israel's story and the work of the Messiah. God's making of the herd animals (vs. 25) is described as being produced by the Land (Israel) in vs. 24.

The peak of His creation story in this first chapter of Genesis is in the production of humanity in vss. 26-28, with the forming of Adam and Eve (ch. 2) being a mirror, prophetic repetition, giving more details. But here, note their place as the head of this creation, a figure of the Christ and His kingdom that we will meet in Gen. 3:15. We should note that these present verses do not mention the material from which He would construct the humans. This picture is either dependent upon chapter 2, or, it suggests a making of humanity that is separate from this creations story, in the first chapter. His kingdom "is not of this system," as Jesus said to Pilate. It is His sheep (followers) that inherit the rule of His kingdom, for they have His heart: love for others (as seen in the parable of the sheep and the immature kids in Mat. 25). His sheep are a spiritual creation.

Timothy P. Martin and Jeffrey L. Vaughn ("Beyond Creation Science; New Covenant Creation from Genesis to Revelation," Apocalyptic Vision Press, 2007) make a cogent observation concerning what is presented in Gen. 1,

"The creation week [beginning in 1:3] is an apocalyptic recapitulation of the original creation event recorded in Gen. 1:1" (p 282; brackets added) They then point out the mirrored, double pattern that can be seen in the six days, as two sets of three:
a) the creation of light in vss. 2-5 (day 1) paired with the luminaries (day 4) in vss. 14-19
b) heaven created in vss. 6-8 (day 2) paired with creatures of heaven and water (day 5): 20-23
c) land and plants created in vss. 9-13 (day 3); land creatures and humanity (day 6) in 24-31.
On p 283 they make the following conclusions: "[The] ordering of the six days of creation is not sequential or linear: it is apocalyptic.... The text uses images in the physical world to teach about God's covenant works.... God's creation on Days 1 through 3 foreshadows the old covenant... and Days 4 through 6 foreshadows the new covenant.... That which God forms, he fills" (ibid).

Marcus J. Borg notes these same correlations, concluding that, "A 'domain' is created and then populated: Day one: light; Day four: sun, moon, stars; Day two: waters and the sky; Day five: sea life and birds; Day three: dry land; Day six: land creatures" (Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, HarperSanFrancisco, 2001 p 64). Borg follows the "historical-metaphorical" approach to reading the Scriptures.

Chapter 2:1-5 are a repetition and a recap of the creation account, leading up to the specifics of choosing out of the Land (Israel) that which He would form into Adam, and the beginning of the line of ancestry that would culminate in the Messiah. Note here, that this would mean that there is a chosen clump of soil that is set apart from the rest of the Land. We see this in His selection of the "seconds" (Isaac, Jacob; Joseph from the second wife; etc.). We also find the psalmist speaking of an inner, spiritual creation in Ps. 51:10,

"Create (form; fashion; prepare) for, and in, me a clean heart, O Elohim, and renew within me an established and steadfast spirit."

Another figurative use of the word "create" is found in Ps. 102:18-20,

"Let this be written for a later generation, when a people yet being created shall praise Yah. For He will gaze from His sanctuary... from the heavens [atmospheres]... to hear the groaning of the prisoner; to unloose the sons of death" (CVOT; brackets added) Cf Lu. 4:18 Yahweh told Isaiah, concerning His sons which are "the work of [His] hands, "I Myself made the earth and created [formed; fashioned] humanity on it; I, My hands, stretched out the heavens... I Myself rouse him in righteousness, and all his ways I shall make strait" (Isa. 45:12, CVOT; brackets added.)

Dan Kaplan pointed me to these psalms, and this verse in Isa., and then cited for me Eph. 3:9,

"and to illuminate all people (give light to everyone) [as to] what [is] the execution of the detailed plan and household administration of the secret (or: mystery) pertaining to that having been hidden (concealed) away, apart from the ages (or: disassociated from the [past] periods of time), within the midst of God - in the One forming and founding (framing, building and settling from a state of disorder and wildness; creating) all things (the Whole; everything),"

and next reminded me of Col. 1:16,

"because within Him was created the whole (or: in union with Him everything is founded and settled, is built and planted, is brought into being, is produced and established; or: within the midst of Him all things were brought from chaos into order) - the things within the skies and atmospheres, and the things upon the earth (or: those [situations, conditions and/or people] in the heavens and on the land); the visible things, and the unseen (or: unable to be seen; invisible) things..."

So when we think of the words "create" and "creation," we should have in mind the central story of humanity which is to end in being the Christ (the Head, plus His body), as well as the entire environment which He created for humanity to inhabit. Also, it should be remembered that in Gen. 3:20 God specifically said to Adam,

"you are (continue exist being) earth (soil; ground; land)."

Another aspect of the Biblical uses of the phrase "heaven and earth" is the restricted, localized meanings, especially when they refer to such things as "the land of Egypt," Palestine, or the various empires that were included in Israel's story. A classic example is Gen 12:1, where,

"Yahweh said to Abram: Go by yourself from your land (Heb. erets: region; territory; soil; earth) and from your kindred and from your father's house to the land (erets) that I will show you."

Obviously God was using the word in a localized sense - which may have been the only sense of which Abram would have been aware. Another example is Ex. 9:29-33, where the term erets (land; earth) is used, but it is referring to the land of Egypt. Then, in Ezra 1:2 we read,

"Thus speaks Cyrus, king of Persia: Yahweh Elohim of the heavens has given me all the kingdoms of the erets (land; region; earth)..."

And then there is Hab. 1:6,

"For, behold Me raising the Chaldeans, that bitter, hasty nation going the widths of the erets..."

They only traversed the areas of their local domain.

Jer. 47:2 gives us another example, and note the proper, regional rendering of erets (land) by the CVOT:

"Thus says Yahweh: Behold waters [are] ascending.... They shall overflow the land... Humanity will cry out... all who dwell in the land will howl."

Jeremiah is referring to the destruction of the Philistines in this passage.

With all of the above in mind, it will be wise for us to ask if passages such as 2 Pet. 3:7 or 3:12-13 are symbolic or figurative, and whether they may have had a local and contemporary application. And notice Lu. 21:23,

"Tragic will be the situation for the women then being pregnant, and for the ones still nursing [babies] in those days. You see there will progressively be a great compressive force upon the Land, and inherent fervor bringing internal swelling emotion on THIS People."

Another consideration of this short (!) study will be "the seventh day" in 2:3. Notice that there is no reference to "evening and morning" here, and that this "sabbath" (or: ceasing; rest; stopping) is referenced in Heb. 4:3-11, and this is connected to Israel's inability to enter into the Promised Land, as described in Ps. 95:10-11. Another aspect of the concept of the sabbath is explored by Martin and Vaughn:

"The sabbath was also the seventh year. That sabbath was based on the creation pattern in Gen.1 as surely as the weekly sabbath day. Furthermore, Jubilee was the year of completion of seven cycles of seven years for a total fifty-year span. The Law itself was given on or near Pentecost, a special sabbath that followed a week of sabbaths after Passover (Ex. 19:1; Lev. 23:16)" (ibid p 253).

Also for your consideration are the concepts of Day and Night, as found in NT teachings, but which find their origin in the first chapter of Genesis:

"Relatively speaking, the whole history of the world from Adam's Fall to Christ's Ascension was Night; relatively speaking, the whole future of the world is bright Day. This follows the pattern laid down at the creation, in which the heavens and earth move eschatologically from evening to morning, the lesser light being succeeded by the greater light, going from glory to Glory (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31)..." (David Chilton, "The Days of Vengeance," Dominion Press, 1987, p 573).

In Gen. 3:22-24 (23-25 in the LXX), Yahweh speaks only about "the man," or, Adam, and then takes action that addresses only Adam. This is a clue as to who is the principle character in the story that ends with Christ. Both the Hebrew and the Greek versions record that it was "the man/Adam" that was thrust out of the Garden. This should cause us pause, to ponder why Eve was not referenced. Paul, in Rom. 5:14 does not mention Eve's part in the incident; he only cites Adam's transgression. The two had become one, and were from then on seen as one, joined character - Just as Christ and His body/bride are seen as one in the new arrangement of the new creation. We should also take note that Gen. 3 ends with an introduction of cherubim into the story. "The presence of cherubim in the story is an apocalyptic indicator" (Martin and Vaughn, ibid p 300). We find them again as being a part of the entrance into the holy of holies, woven into the curtain that separates the compartments of the Tabernacle (Ex. 36:35)!

Borg makes some interesting observations of the creation of humanity that is presented in Gen. 2:

"The author of [this] story uses names in such a way as to suggest that they are symbolic. Adam is not a proper name in ancient Hebrew; no other person in the Bible is named Adam. Rather, Adam is the Hebrew 'adham,' which is a common noun meaning 'humankind.' Indeed, the term involves a play on words: 'adham' comes from the Hebrew word 'adhamah,' which means 'ground' or 'dust.' In other words, the first human is a 'dust creature.' We are made of dust, made from the earth.... The author is telling the story not of a particular person but of 'everyone'.... So also the name Eve is not a proper name in Hebrew. It means 'mother of all living.' 'Garden of Eden' also has a symbolic meaning: it means 'garden of delights' (and, by extension, paradise).... A green and bountiful garden filled with streams of flowing water. There are a number of suggestive parallels between the narrative flow of [this] story and Israel's history. Like 'adham,' ancient Israel was created in a dry land (... the Sinai desert). Like 'adham,' ancient Israel was given a green and pleasant land in which to live. As in the case of 'adham,' a prohibition came with the covenant and gift of the land, with the threat of expulsion if the prohibition was violated. And, more speculatively, the tempter is a serpent, a common symbol of Canaanite fertility religion, which was the primary temptation to infidelity to God that Israel faced in the land. [This Gen. 2] story may thus have a prophetic edge to it: if Israel abandons the covenant of faithfulness to Yahweh, she faces expulsion and exile from the land/garden that God had given to her" (ibid p 69-70; brackets added).

This is just an introduction to a perception of Gen.1-3 that could develop into a book. But this has been written as a post, to be a catalyst for your spirit.

John Gavazzoni has added these insights:

"The Spirit has kept on pressing me to understand this re: election, i.e., that all election traces back to that original election of Adam, and that all of God's administration of choosing out the few from among the many, always has in view the return to, and from there, the ongoing fulfillment of, Adamic-election.

"But that election must be understood as occurring within the One in whom all things were created, especially Adam. The truth that Christ, God's Son, is the ultimate elect one, in Whom all election occurs and points back to, shines with brilliance in Barth's Commentary on Romans. I don't think I'm stretching, when I think of Jesus, by saying that He came out from God, was affirming Himself as God's Primal and Final election.

"The election of Abraham, of course, as Paul understood, reveals, so uniquely how God moves electively from the natural to the spiritual, i.e., that out from within Abraham's loins natural Israel would be born, leading to Christ being born of a woman, whose lineage traces to Adam through Abraham, a woman whose natural womb received the spiritual Seed that had all the while been hidden within Adam, and his whole natural line, "waiting to be revealed in due time." When HE was revealed, God was manifest in the flesh. By God becoming manifest in the flesh, it is evident that the essence of humanity is divine.

"So it was important for Paul to point out and emphasize that God had sent His Son into the world 'BORN OF A WOMAN,' and that 'the woman shall be saved in childbirth [and here, I would add: 'i.e., the birth of Christ within all;' -- Jonathan].'"

Upon reflecting on John's comments, here, the symbols of Gen. 2 came to mind with the following thoughts. There, in vs. 15, we read that Yahweh gave Adam a commission with regard to the Garden, which has long been seen by scholars to be a prototype of the Tabernacle/Temple (see the garden-like decor, complete with cherubim, in its description; I have written of this in my article, "God's Garden"):

"Next [the] Lord (= Yahweh) God took the human whom He had formed and shaped, and placed him within the midst of the paradise (or: put him in the center of the garden-park; set him in union with the orchard) of the luxury (or: delicacy; delight; pleasure) to continue cultivating it and to habitually preserve, protect, guard, watch over and maintain [it]."

Combining this verse with the symbol of the "Garden-Temple," we see that Adam was put in this special place to be a priest for humanity - he was "elected" to do this job.

Now let us consider what Yahweh next says, beginning with Gen. 2:18,

"'It is not ideal (or: beautiful) for the human to continue existing (or: being) alone; we should at some point make (or: can form; could construct; may produce) for him an aid (or: a helper; one who runs to the aid of those who cry for help) in accord with, and corresponding to him (or: on the level of, and in the sphere of, him; following the pattern of, and in keeping with, him; in line with, and stepping along with, him).' And so God furthermore formed and fashioned out of the soil (or: ground; land; earth) all the wild animals of the field and countryside, and all of the winged things of the sky and atmosphere. Then He brought (or: led) them face-to-face-with (or: toward) Adam to see what he will proceed to be calling them. And thus, whatever Adam calls every living soul (or: So anything, whatever Adam summoned it [as] a living being or creature), this [will be] its name. Then Adam called a name to (or: for; in; among) all the cattle and to (or: for; in; among) all the winged things of the sky and atmosphere, and to (or: for; in; among) all the wild animals of the field and countryside, yet (or: but) for Adam there could (or: was) not found an aid or helper [that was] like him (or: similar to him; of the same nature and kind as him; with resemblance to him)."

Unless you can perceive this apocalyptic picture as symbolic, it will seem as if Yahweh had no insight into the human that He had made, no foresight into his needs, and that He had to wait to see what would happen when all the animals were brought to be face-to-face with Adam. But note that these animals are being called "living souls" and that they, too, like Adam were "formed and fashioned out of the soil." But these would not keep the human from existing (being) alone. The one that was needed to help Adam keep and tend the Garden must be another one that was "chosen out," or, elected, from out of him. This is a picture of Christ and the church, as Paul pointed out in Eph. 5:21-32. Eve had to come from out of Adam, just as the "church" had to come from the side of Christ, on the cross and through the resurrection.

We find wild animals (as well as herd animals, such as sheep) being included in Noah's ark, which is the next apocalyptic story (which Jesus referenced with regard to the end of that age, and His predictions happened during the generation from the cross/resurrection until Jerusalem's destruction in AD 70). God's priesthood in the new creation, which followed the destruction of the prior creation, would instruct other people, by unveiling God to them, and would "feed and tend His lambs" (Jn. 21:15-17).

This election for service (laying down our lives for our friends and loving our enemies, as we bear our crosses in following Him) is why the called-out, covenant communities (churches) are called,

"to be (or: to continuously exist being) a specific (or: a certain; some) firstfruit of His created beings (or: of the effects of His act of creating; or: from the results of the founding and creation which is Himself; [other MSS: of the Himself creatures])" (Jas. 1:18).

A firstfruit implies a harvest yet to come (sheep that were not part of His Israel fold; Jn. 10:16). Humanity was created to, "continuously and progressively govern, command, and be chief of the fish of the sea, and of the flying creatures of the sky, and of the cattle (herd animals) and of all of the territory (or: land; earth) - as well as of all of the crawling and creeping things that constantly crawl and creep upon the ground (soil; land; earth; territory)" - Gen. 1:26b.

This corresponds to Adam and Eve "keeping (etc.)" the Garden and naming the animals, and to, "head up, rule, regulate and [be] chiefs of the fishes of the sea" (1:28) - which is a reference to the ethnic multitudes that are not a part of Israel's Land, or territory. But all of this "ruling and regulating" is by being a part of Christ, as we serve humanity at large. Paul unpacked and disclosed what this looks like in Col. 1:25-28,

"of which I am come to be an attending servant (or: a dispenser), corresponding to (or: down from; in the sphere of) God's household administration (or: God's directives for the tasks of a household manager; the stewardship whose source is God and pertains to His house; God's economy; God's scheme and arrangement which He planned for His household) - the [detailed plan] being given by me unto you (or: to me [and infused] into you).... the Secret (or: sacred mystery) having been hidden away and remaining concealed away from the ages (or: from [past] eons; [cf Eph. 3:5]), as well as away from the [past] generations, yet now (at the present time) is set in clear light in His set-apart folks to whom God wills (or: purposed; or: intends) to make known by intimate experience, what [are] the riches of the glory of this Secret within the multitudes (among the nations; in the Gentiles; IN UNION WITH the swarms of ethnic groups), which is (or: exists being) Christ within you folks, the expectation of and from the glory (or: which is [the] Anointed in union with you people: the [realized] hope of the manifestation which called forth praise; or: which is [the] Anointing [and the Messiah] within the midst of you folks - the expectation which is the glory), Whom [other MSS: Which] we ourselves habitually proclaim down the line (or: announce in accord with the pattern), constantly putting [Him] into the minds of every person (or: human) and repeatedly teaching every person (or: human), within the sphere of all wisdom, to the intent that we may place every person (or: human) finished (mature; perfect with respect to purpose; complete; as having reached the goal of destiny) by [our] side, within the midst of, centered in, and in union with, Christ."

But it does not end here and now, for we who are a part of the firstfruit have been raised up, "within and in union with Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:6),

"to the end that within the continuously oncoming ages (the indefinite time periods continually and progressively coming upon and overtaking [us]) He may exhibit (display; point out; give proof of) the continuously transcending (being cast beyond; overshooting) riches and wealth of His grace and favor, in useful goodness (beneficial kindness) [flooding] upon us, within Christ Jesus (or: in union with [the] Anointed Jesus)" - Eph. 2:7.

Milton S. Terry made a cogent observation:

"[In] these opening chapters of Genesis we are not to look for historic narrative, nor contributions to natural science, but to recognize a symbolic apocalypse of God's relation to the world and to man" ("Biblical Apocalyptics," Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001 [previously Eaton & Mains, 1898], p 49).

The creation account presented in Gen. 1 was "a beginning." Every age has both a beginning and an end. And the language found in the book of Revelation (age of the ages; ages of the ages) implies that some ages are composed of multiple ages within an overarching age, or within overarching ages. Just as the physical universe is more complex than it once appeared to be, so are God's acts of creation. As we have observed during this study, there are spiritual, or relational, creations, as well as physical ones. The tapestry woven by the Scriptures from Genesis through Revelation portrays a picture of relationships.


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