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Time and Eternity: Chapter 2 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joseph R. Holder   

Chapter 2

                                                             In the Beginning

                In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  Genesis 1:1.

While repetitive Bible reading from Genesis to Revelation is most helpful, a thorough depth in Bible truth requires a systematic study of subjects.  This method of study calls for four things; your Bible, a good concordance, a good dictionary, and lots of paper and pencils.  Use the concordance to find large numbers of scriptures which use a particular word, or groups of similar words.  Look them up and write them down for intense study and cross-comparison.  This will focus your thoughts on what the Bible teaches about that particular issue.  This chapter will illustrate the value of such a study.

Let's start at the beginning, the first verse of the Bible.  The physical universe consists of space and matter, set in the sphere of time.  Time, space, and matter make up the raw material of the universe.  Although time cannot be analyzed in a test-tube, it constitutes a dimension of the physical universe as surely as molecules and energy forces.  From the perspective of an eternal God, time was created just as space and matter.  Look at this verse.  In the beginning.  Beginning, do you see time in this word?  What existed before the beginning?  There was no time, no space, and no matter, only God.  Neither time nor the physical universe in which we live are eternal.  Only God possesses the attribute of eternity.  This universe had a beginning! 

God created.  Although many Christians make a sincere case for theistic evolution, the belief that God controlled the evolutionary process of origins and species, created carries a more profound meaning.  It means to form out of nothing.  "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear," Hebrews 11:3.  What does this mean?  Things which are seen, physical components of the physical universe, were not made from other physical matter.  They were made from nothing.  This is creation.  Remember that Genesis 1:1 does not tell us of God's beginning, for he had no beginning.  It tells what he did in creation.

The heaven and the earth.  God created the heaven, space, and the earth, matter.  John, Chapter 1, provides valuable insight.  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," John 1:1.  Here the Word is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, God's alphabet, God's language, his communication of himself to his people.  Jesus Christ, God's Word, was not created, but existed with God in the beginning and served as God's creative agent.  "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made," John 1:3.  Time, space, matter, all of the physical universe came from his creative hand.  "In him was life; and the life was the light of men," John 1:4.  Not only did he create the physical universe; he also created the life forms, including man.  No, friends, man did not evolve from monkeys.  God created him.

What do other scriptures tell us about God's control and creation of the physical universe? 

                By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.  He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.  For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.  Psalm 33:6-9.

David confirms the record of Genesis and John.  This verse complements those lessons with an additional truth.  After confirming that God made the heavens with the breath of his mouth, David shifted directly into the present state of the universe.  Notice the present tense of the verbs.  "He gathereth, he layeth."  The same Creator God who made the heavens by the word of his mouth maintains the universe to this very moment. 

As we move from the natural to the spiritual creation, we find that God works sovereignly there, too.  "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new," II Corinthians 5:17.  A creature is the result of creation!  The spiritual man or woman in Christ Jesus did not gain that status by personal adaptation, will, works, or spiritual evolution.  His standing in Christ Jesus resulted from a direct creation.

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them," Ephesians 2:10.  This verse particularly speaks of our spiritual being, not of our physical bodies.  We are the product of God's workmanship, his creative power. 

As Psalm 33 moves our thoughts about the natural creation from the fact of original creation to God's continuing maintenance of the universe, New Testament scripture directs our minds through the same transition in the spiritual creation.  "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ," Philippians 1:6.  God will not begin the work of creation, spiritual creation, and leave the results in uncertainty.  He will not begin and leave it up to the sinner to complete or fail.  He began the good work; he will perform it to the day of Christ.

All things which belong to the time continuum must experience a beginning and ending.  The same universe which began in Genesis 1:1 will some day wear out, and God will roll it up like a worn out carpet.  Whether we think of grass in the field or the next generation of our family, man as one of God's natural creatures will succumb to the ravages of time.  When God completes the spiritual creation, does he provide more to it than a mere window of blessings in time?  Does he convey to his spiritual offspring anything of his eternity?  The answer must be a resounding, "Yes, the Good Shepherd gives his sheep eternal life, along with the abundant life of discipleship."  In his solemn prayer, probably offered to the Father just hours before his crucifixion, Jesus first prayed that the Father would restore to him the glory he possessed with the Father before he created the world.  Surely, as we consider the resurrection and ascension of Christ, we must rest assured that the Father answered the Son's prayer.  Someone has said that when Jesus said, "It is finished," as he hung on the cross, the Father responded with an "Amen" three days later with the resurrection of Christ.  We cannot doubt that the Father answered the Son's prayer in John 17.

We rejoice supremely that the Son's prayer did not end with his request for personal restoration to the pre-creation glory with the Father.  Later in that same prayer, he said, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world," John 17:24.  Hopeful sinner, rejoice in your Creator Savior.  He prayed for personal restoration to his eternal glory, but he did not cease praying until he petitioned the Father that all those whom the Father had given him also be with him to witness and to experience that same glory in person.  Did the Father answer the first petition of his prayer?  Yes!  We cannot doubt it!  Does that certain answer give you any comfort that the second request for you will also be answered?  Yes!  A thousand angels sing out the chorus, "Yes, they will be with him and see his glory with the Father!"

                 LORD, raise my soul above the ground,
                And draw my thoughts to thee;
                Teach me, with sweet and solemn sound,
                To praise the eternal Three.
                Long ere the lofty skies were spread,
                Jehovah filled his throne;
                Or Adam formed, or angels made,
                The Maker lived alone.
                His boundless years can ne'er decrease,
                But still maintain their prime;
                Eternity's his dwelling place,
                And ever is his time.
                While like a tide our minutes flow,
                The present and the past,
                He fills his own immortal NOW,
                And sees our ages waste.
                The sea and sky must perish too,
                And vast destruction come!
                The creatures!  look how old they grow,
                And wait their fiery doom.
                Well; let the sea shrink all away,
                And flame melt down the skies,
                My God shall live an endless day
                When the old creation dies.
                                                                Isaac Watts
Last Updated ( Monday, 09 April 2007 )
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