The Genesis of Division

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I’ll never forget, soon after I was justified in March of 2001, my then pastor’s wife told me: “Now that you are a Christian, you must now believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old.” I was like, “Okaaaaaay.”

It’s interesting how sensitive the brethren are regarding Genesis 1-2:3 and the age of the earth. Just go through the debates on YouTube between Ken Ham and Hugh Ross, or just go online and Google young earth vs old earth, or check out a group on Facebook. Everyday, brethren are fighting over how old the earth is. If you have ever been part of such discussions, whatever side you may be on, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a sensitive subject, to say the least. However, where ever you stand regarding this topic, it’s important to recognize what Genesis 1-2:3 could actually be highlighting: Jesus Christ and the Gospel, and possibly not so much the age of the earth.

This past summer, I read a fascinating book written by John Lennox. It’s called, “Seven Days that Divide the World”. In it, Lennox offers what’s called the idealist view of Genesis 1-2:3. He points out that there is a logical order revealed in this portion of the text, and not a chronological order regarding the first six creation days. Lennox illustrates that during days 1-3, God creates realms, and in days 4-6, God fills those realms. What’s interesting is that God fills each realm in the same order that He created them:

Realms created, days 1-3:
Day 1: universe
Day 2: sea and air
Day 3: land and plants

Realms filled, days 4-6:
Day 4: luminaries created to fill the universe, which was created on day 1
Day 5: sea creatures and birds created to fill the sea and air, which where created on day 2
Day 6: land creatures and man created to fill the land and eat of the plants, which were created in day 3

What blew me away was the connection and parallel between the first triad (days 1-3) and the second triad (days 4-6). You can’t ignore it. I had never noticed that days 1-3 were realms and that days 4-6 was the filling of those realms, and that the realms were filled in the same order that they were created. Pretty neat.

After finishing the book, something profound suddenly struck me, which Lennox did not touch upon. Such will be the focus of the rest of this blog.

For years, prior to reading Lennox, I had always found it interesting that God rested on day 7. In scripture, the last day of the week is the Sabbath, and as we (Christians) all know, Jesus Christ is The Lord of the Sabbath. So, it’s obvious to me that the creation week really points to Christ, because the week climaxes on the 7th day, which Christ is Lord of. But, here’s the part I never really understood about the account. Genesis explains that God rested from His work on day 7, yet day 7, the Sabbath, is made for man.

Mark 2:27-28
“And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.””

In my finite mind, I assume that God benefits from day 7, because He gets a day off. I mean, I benefit from a day off, right? Why wouldn’t God? But, God is God, He doesn’t need a day off. So, there must be something else going on. Jesus, who is God, says that the Sabbath is for us (Christians). How is God’s resting from creating, a benefit to man? I just couldn’t connect the dots.

Then, it hit me!

What is the last thing created in the creation week?

Man

And in what way does God operate throughout scripture?

Sabbatical patterns: sevens

Throughout scripture we see sabbatical patterns. Just do a basic concordance study of the number seven in scripture, or how the week can refer to not just days but also years, and the multiples of sevens throughout the Bible regarding symbolism (seven sevens, seventy times seven, etc). Sabbatical patterns are rampant in scripture, and they always seem to point to God’s complete plan.

Now, this is nothing new. But when the sabbatical pattern concept and the realm creation and realm filling concepts come together, something quite beautiful is revealed in Genesis:

The only day during the creation week which does not have an “evening and morning”, as described in Genesis 2:1-3, is day 7. All the other six days do. This may indicate something which is potentially very profound: we could be, in a sense, in a perpetual day 7, until Jesus comes back. Why? As I mentioned earlier, the last realm God created was not the land. It was man. What happens when an elect person hears the Gospel? They become filled with the Holy Spirit. They recognize his/her depravity, repent of it, and then trust in Christ.

So, let’s connect the dots.

Everyday can now be considered the Sabbath day. Why? Because everyday the final realm of the creation week, man, is somewhere being filled. Also, Jesus Christ is now sitting at the right hand of the Father in a sovereign capacity (Acts 2:33). In the New Testament, the only commandment of the Ten Commandments which is not addressed any longer as just one special day in seven is the fourth commandment, which commands the keeping of The Sabbath. It’s not addressed because we (Christians) now have the Lord of the Sabbath everyday (Romans 5:11). Therefore, everyday is the Sabbath, and the Sabbath, as Jesus taught, is for man. Why? Because on that “perpetual” day 7 the last realm is filled, and that last realm is the elect man, and God fills that realm… with Himself!

It’s so beautiful!

On day 7, there is nothing left to create. All the basic realms and realm fillers have been created, so God rested from creating. But, the “day”, which can refer to a period of time much greater than a 24 hour period of time, can also point to something greater, and it does; and it is a special day. It is the Sabbath day. A day for profound realm filling.

So, where do I now stand regarding young earth creation and old earth creation? I still don’t know. Could it point to the age of the earth? Sure, but I’m just not confident enough to say. However, I do know one thing: When I read Genesis 1-2:3, I don’t see how old the earth is. What I see, is Christ.

Genesis 1:1 – 2:3
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that He had done in creation.”

Godspeed, to the brethren!

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