Natural History 1 – an introduction to biblical cosmology

by  John Holbrook Jr.
A Biblical View, posted February 20, 2017, slightly edited on October 13, 2017

In today’s blog, I commence a four-part series on natural history in the Bible. The first two parts will be devoted a discussion of the cosmology in Genesis 1:1 – 2:3.

Preamble

The Bible records God’s creation of Universe in seven days in Genesis 1:1 to 2:3. I call this record the Creation Chronicle.

The contents of the Creation Chronicle must have been revealed to man by God, because man was not present to observe most of the activity which it describes. The most logical person to have been the receiver of this revelation and thus the author of this record was Adam.

I believe that the Creation Chronicle was divinely inspired and thus is accurate history.

 Verse 1 – Summary of and introduction to Creation

KJV Genesis 1:11 In the beginning God created the Heaven[s] and the earth.

The first verse of both the Bible in general and the Creation Chronicle in particular appears to be a summary statement. First, God did not gather the materials with which he formed the earth until the second day of creation week, and he did not form the earth as we know it until the third day. Second, the verse refers to heavens (plural),[1] but God made only one heaven[2] on the first day. Third, providing a summary of creation in verse 1:1 before providing a more detailed account in verses 1:2-2:4 is similar to providing a summary of man’s creation in verses 1:26-27 before providing a more detailed account in Genesis 2.

Although the first verse deals ostensibly with creation, its implications go far beyond creation and give us an inkling of the depths which lie below the surface of this account and of the entire Bible.

• Consider what this verse says: “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth” (verse 1). Henry Morris[3] observes the following:

God” – The word in Hebrew is Elohim. It is plural with a singular meaning. It conveys the nature of the Divine Trinity, in which three persons (God-the-Father, God-the-Son, and God-the-Spirit) make up the Godhead, which is a unity.

created” – Only God can create something out of nothing; man can make or re-form things using something, but he cannot create something out of nothing.

the heaven[s]” – The word conveys space.

the earth”– The word conveys matter.

in the beginning” – The phrase conveys time.

A legitimate paraphrase of Genesis 1:1 would be, “The transcendent, omnipotent Godhead called into existence the space-mass-time Universe.”

Consider what this verses implies: Henry Morris[4] points out that all of man’s false philosophies concerning the origin and meaning of the world are wrong:

– Atheism – the belief that there is no God – because this verse indicates that God created Universe.

– Dualism – the belief that there are two principles or gods, one good and one evil – because this verse indicates that God alone created Universe.

– Evolutionism – the belief that simple particles evolved into ever more complex particles and eventually developed into everything that we see today through eons of time – because this verse indicates that God created all things.

– Humanism – the belief that man is the pinnacle and arbiter of Universe through his ability to reason – because this verse indicates that God, not man, is the ultimate reality.

– Materialism – the belief that matter is the only reality and has been in existences forever – because this verse indicates that a spiritual being created matter; matter had a beginning.

– Pantheism – the belief that Universe is god (i.e. Universe’s forces and laws are the equivalent of god) – because this verse indicates that God is transcendent (i.e. above or outside Universe).

– Polytheism – the belief that there are many gods – because this verse indicates that the Godhead is a unity.

Consider what this verse omits. This verse makes no attempt to prove or even to persuade the reader of its truth. Likewise, it makes no attempt to refute the philosophies which contradict it. It merely presents this account of God’s creation as truth. It must be accepted as truth by faith. In doing so, it exhibits a principle which runs throughout the Bible. God never explains himself. Think of how he answered Job when Job asked him to explain the things that were troubling Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the world?”[5] God has set things up in such a way that accepting his word by faith is a precondition to learning the truth about anything, “For without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Consider what this verse conceals: An intricate numerical pattern is buried in this verse. In the original Hebrew, this verse consists of seven words made up of twenty-eight letters. Since each letter of the Hebrew alphabet represents a number (aleph = 1, beth = 2, gimmel = 3, etc.) each word and the entire sentence carry numerical values. Ivan Panin[6] points out that this verse contains at least

– fourteen features of seven (the number of spiritual perfection) – chance, 1 in 6.67 x 1011,

– sixteen features of four (the number of creation) – chance, 1 in 3.6 x 109,

– fourteen features of thirty-seven (the common denominator of most references to God in the New Testament) – chance, 1 in 3.33 x 1023, and

– seven features of seventy-three (the reverse of thirty-seven) – chance, 1 in 1.06 x 1013.

The odds of this composition occurring by chance are infinitesimal, and it is too complex to have been devised by a man, even in a lifetime of work. (Even more astonishing, the works of Panin, Max Luna,[7] Del Washburn,[8] Michael Leonard,[9] and others indicate that a highly complex pattern of numerical systems is evident in and running between the Old and New Testaments – but not the Apocrypha..

When confronted with all of the above, reason demands that we face the fact that this verse and the entire “book of books” was inspired by God, as it itself claims: “Thy Word is true from the beginning….”[10] “Forever, O Lord, thy Word is settled in Heaven.”[11] “The grass withers, the flower fades: but the Word of our God will stand forever.”[12] “The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”[13] “Seek ye out the Book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail.”[14] “Every word of God is pure.”[15] “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God….”[16] “O earth, earth, earth, hear the Word of the Lord.”[17]

• One last thought about this verse: Henry Morris[18] points out that if a person accepts Genesis 1:1 by faith, he will not find it difficult to believe anything else recorded in the Bible.

In addition to being a summary, this verse serves as the introduction to Day 1. God is saying, “In the beginning, on the first day, I created everything (space, time, energy, and mass) out of nothing.”

© 2016 John Holbrook Jr.

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[1] Although it is singular in the King James Version (KJV), it is plural in the Revised Standard Version (RSV), the American Standard Version (ASV), the New King James Version NKJV), the New International Version (NIV), and the New American Standard Bible (NASB).

[2] As will become apparent, there are at least three heavens: (a) the first heaven is above and surrounding the earth – i.e. interstellar space – in which the sun, moon, and stars are located, (b) the second heaven lies above the spherical shell of water which is above and surrounding the first heaven, and (c) the third heaven lies beyond the second heaven, to which Paul referred in 2 Corinthians 12:2. God may have created all three during creation week.

[3] Henry Morris, The Genesis Record, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids MI, 1976, pages 39-41.

[4] Ibid, p. 38.

[5] Job 38:4.

[6] Ivan Panin, An Introduction to the Principle of Bible Numerics (c. 1945), privately printed, p. 8 and following; see also Ivan Panin, Bible Numerics (1934), The Covenant Publishing Company, Ltd., London, Ivan Panin ed., The Numeric English New Testament (1934), The Book Society of Canada, Ltd., Agincourt, Ontario, and the pamphlets, Genesis 1:1, Verbal Inspiration Proved, Bible Numerics, The Inspiration of the Scriptures Scientifically Demonstrated, The Last Twelve Verses of Mark, Bible Inspiration, all undated and privately printed.

[7] Max Luna, The Number 7 in the Bible (1979), Bryan Press, City of Industry, California.

[8] Jerry Lucas and Del Washburn, Theomatics (1979), Stein & Day, New York. See also Del Washburn, Theomatics II (1994), Scarborough House, Lanham MD and The Original Code of the Bible (1998), Lanham MD.

[9] Michael E. Leonard, Bible Numbers (2002), Windham Hall Press, Lima OH.

[10] KJV Psalm 119:160.

[11] KJV Psalm 119:89.

[12] RSV Isaiah 40:8.

[13] RSV Psalm 119:130.

[14] KJV Isaiah 34:16.

[15] Proverbs 30:5.

[16] 2 Timothy 3:16.

[17] Jeremiah 22:29.

[18] Henry Morris, The Genesis Record, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids MI, 1976, p. 37.

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