Table of Contents
Part I: The Preparation of the Earth
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
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)
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.
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
Arthur C., "Analysis of Genesis 1:1, 2", Part III in
Time and Eternity, vol.6 of The Doorway Papers
1 of 2
189. Custance, Arthur C., Without Form and Void, Doorway
Publications, Hamilton, ON, Canada, reprint, 1988 (1970)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved
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