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Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V


Part I: The Preparation of the Earth For Man


     WHATEVER THE cause of the last great cataclysm that saw the end of "the world that then was," the result was to leave the globe in a chaotic state which required very extensive re-ordering before man could be introduced into it.
There is some justification for the view that Genesis 1:2 is a description of this scene immediately before the re-ordering began. Moreover, it can be shown that most present translations, with the exception of a few like that of Dathe or Rotherham, do not really do justice to the original Hebrew which would have been more precisely rendered as "But the earth had become a ruin and a desolation" rather than "and the earth was, etc.'' (188)
It will be noted that there are three changes here: the use of the disjunctive but for the conjunctive and, the use of become for was, and the use of the pluperfect (or past perfect, as it is alternatively called) instead of the perfect tense, i.e., had become instead of became. I have written at length on this matter and shown that this view was held by the earliest Jewish commentators. (189) It was adopted by many of the early Church Fathers, and it has been held in an unbroken tradition to the present time. It is, therefore, in no way a concession to geology, for it was clearly maintained in the Jewish rabbinical literature long before there was any geological knowledge of consequence to challenge the Scriptures.
The clear implication, an implication recognized by the Rabbis, is that the original created worlds which preceded were of no great concern nor in need of any revelation except to state simply that God created them (verse l). After them occurred the last great cataclysmic discontinuity leaving a desolated world needing to be restored. The process of restoration was evidently enormously accelerated, the task

188. Custance, Arthur C., "Analysis of Genesis 1:1, 2", Part III in Time and Eternity, vol.6 of The Doorway Papers
189. Custance, Arthur C., Without Form and Void, Doorway Publications, Hamilton, ON, Canada, reprint, 1988 (1970)

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of renewal being completed within a period of six days. Furthermore, I do not think one can treat these days as anything but 24-hour periods. In the first place, usage elsewhere in Scripture shows that the word day (yom) is to be taken as literal when accompanied by a numeral: the qualifying statement "the evening and the morning" reinforces this view, being the Hebrew equivalent of the New Testament term "a night and a day" (2 Corinthians 11:25: one word, i.e., nuchthemeron), which is similarly definitive. The Hebrew language also has a perfectly suitable word for an "age," namely, 'olam, which is almost precisely what we mean when we speak of a geological age. And finally, the original text is written as simple prose and not as poetry, so that an appeal to poetic allegory is really without foundation.
Moreover, we have a few hints in what follows, as to the reality of the re-constitutional nature of the process. Not everything was re-created. The phrase, "Let the earth bring forth," etc., is significantly different from the references to direct fiat creation. Furthermore, the seed of plant and tree which sprang up was "already in itself in the earth" (verse 11). Finally, the garden was merely planted, suggesting that the soil itself was already available and prepared, a soil constituted from decayed vegetation of the previous creation.
That such a process of recovery could be so soon completed is by no means exceptional in Scripture, for the turning of water into wine, the multiplying of the loaves and the fishes, the restoring of Malchus' ear, and the raising of Lazarus requiring the complete re-creation of his decayed body, all demonstrate clearly that the same Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, could indeed perform at an enormously accelerated rate the work which in previous geological periods had no need to be accelerated and, indeed, was better not so done.
This was the last great shaking of the earth alone. Next time the heavens, too, will be shaken (Hebrews 12:26), and in their place will come a wonderful new heavens and a new earth in which there will never be sorrow or hurt, war or death, or any of those things which make this scene the "vale of tears" that it still is, for all its beauty.
But at that time the earth was finally ready to serve as the stage upon which was to be acted out the drama of man's redemption, as an everlasting display of the love of God for His creatures, a love which was great enough that He was willing to come in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ and lay down His life that all who would accept this sacrifice for themselves personally might be everlastingly saved.

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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