All true science supports the biblical creation teaching. It has to be that way because Genesis is true.
Therefore all true science is in support of the Genesis account. Welcome to Grace To You with John MacArthur. I'm your host, Phil Johnson.
You don't have to be a historian to know that when you want the facts about some significant event, getting the details from a person who was there, especially if only one person was there, that carries a lot of weight. And with that in mind, today on Grace To You, John MacArthur continues his study, The Battle For The Beginning, by looking at the eyewitness testimony of creation, testimony from God Himself. And John will show you why God's Word on the subject carries not just some weight, but all the weight.
And now with the lesson, here is John. Let's look at day one. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, desolate and uninhabited.
Remember, that's what we told you that means. It was desolate and uninhabited. It hadn't yet been shaped or inhabited by any living thing. And it was completely engulfed with darkness. The earth, it says, was covered with the deep, covered with the water. It says the darkness was over the surface of the deep, which is an Old Testament word for the ocean.
And the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water. So what you had, day one, is God creates time, space, and matter. Those are the elements, time, space, and matter.
God creates them out of nothing. And you have this tohu and bohu, this unformed, unshaped, and uninhabited mass of these elements. And this earth that He has, the elements are mixed perhaps like so much mud, as it were, not sorted out. And it's covered with water completely and then surrounded by darkness. And then on day one, verse 3, God said, let there be light and there was light. So God created light, saw the light that it was good, separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, the darkness He called night, and there was evening and there was morning, one day. So on the first day, God created the essential elements of time, space, and matter. God then added light. He fixed the light, the light-dark cycle in the permanent day-night continuum of 24-hour solar days. That's why it says in verse 5, there was evening and there was morning. And somebody says, well, the sun hadn't been created, or the moon.
That's fine. God could still cycle the light any way He wanted until He attached that light to the heavenly bodies, which He does, as we'll see later on. So basically, the first day the elements are created and they're left in a shapeless and uninhabited form and surrounded by darkness, then light is created and there's a mingling of light and darkness in the normal 24-hour cycle, and that's day one.
Let's go to day two. God continued to shape those elements into a habitable environment for the life that He would create. And then God said in verse 6, 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 which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse and it was so. And God called the expanse heaven and there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
All right, let's jump in and see what happened here. Day one, God separated light from darkness. Day two, God separated heaven from earth.
That's what the expanse is referring to. Day three, as we shall see, God separated water on earth from dry land. So day one, day two, day three, series of separations before God can create life. He has to separate light from darkness and create the continuum of light and dark in the 24-hour solar day. He has to separate the heaven from the earth, which He does on day two. Then He has to separate the water that is now completely engulfing on day one and two. He has to separate that from the dry land so there's a place for the fish in the sea and the land life on dry land. Thus the universe is made ready for life in the first three days, a very reasonable approach, light from dark, heaven from earth, dry land from water.
Let's look at it then in more particulars. Verse 6, then God said, and again I remind you that creation was simply by the Word of God. He spoke things into existence. As day two began, when the dawning of the day came, the universe was light and dark. The earth was an undifferentiated mass of elements completely engulfed in water. But then God said, let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters and let it separate the waters from the waters.
This is quite interesting. On day one, the earth was covered all with water. On day two, God separated that water into two places.
That's what it's saying here. He put an expanse in between and some water was above and some remained on the earth. So you have the water that was still on the earth and now some water that's separated and taken above.
That's exactly what it is saying. And in between those two elements of water, there is an expanse. Now the word expanse is the Hebrew word rachia. It means, interesting word, it means expanse. It means spread out thinness.
And looking in the Old Testament to find its usage in Exodus 39, 3 when they were making things for the worship of God in the tabernacle, it says they got gold and they hammered out...they hammered out sheets of gold. They flattened it out and spread it out and hammered it into thinness. They used the same verb as the verb expanse. The picture is of a thin area that God just cuts right through the waters that surround the earth, all the way around the earth is this water. And God just cuts as if you would go in there with a knife and just cut all the way through that sphere of the undifferentiated mass of elements of the earth.
Separating it into two parts, there's still the part that's spherical and the water surrounding it, but now there's water above it separated by this expanse. Expanse is intended to convey the idea of space, space. Look at verse 8. God called this expanse, what? Heaven. It's what we understand as heaven. It's what we understand as the space above us.
Heaven is samayim, and it literally means the sky, or the skies. It refers to the universe and the space above us. So there was no heaven, there was no space as we know until the second day and God just cut all the way around that sphere and released some of that water and sent it up, creating between the waters above and the water below, space. The Jewish writer Kasuto says, from this we may infer that immediately after its formation, the firmament occupied of its own accord, the place appointed for it by the will of God, which is the site of the heavens as we know it, literally created space. Thus, as soon as the firmament was established in the midst of the layer of water, it began to rise, began to rise, arching like a vault.
That's very graphic. God cuts that water and then it just begins to rise and it begins to expand until it's going further and further, creating in between space. Kasuto says, in the course it expands, arching like a vault, in the course of its upward expansion it lifted at the same time the upper waters resting on top of it.
It just took them right up. This marked a considerable advance in the marshaling of the components of the universe. Above now stands the vault of heaven, surrounded by the upper waters. Beneath stretches the expanse of lower waters, that is the waters of the vast sea which still covers all the heavy, undifferentiated matter on the earth.
The universe, he writes, is beginning to take shape. Now, that's a very reasonable account written by Moses. If you go back into ancient literature, you read some other legends that developed in the Mesopotamian mythology that are kind of interesting to compare with this. Pagan stories, there's a lot of them to try to explain creation.
None of them teaches evolution. But, for example, the legends of Mesopotamia say that after the God Marduk, and by the way, you can name him a lot of different names depending on what the nation you belong to or what version you want, but the God Marduk had vanquished Tiamat, the goddess of the world ocean, depicted as a great and mighty sea monster, as well as the other monsters and monstrosities that she had created to aid her in her combat. And after he had slain his chief enemy with his weapons, he cut her carcass horizontally and divided her into two halves, which lay one on top of the other, and out of the upper half he formed the heaven, and out of the lower half he made the earth, which included the sea. You can read that whole story in the Babylonian account of creation. And it says, actually, in the text translated, he split her like a fish into two parts, the one half of her he set up and laid therewith the beams of the heavens. He pulled down a bar and stationed a watch, which refers to the earth below. In summary, then, the Babylonian priestly myth, which the Greeks also followed, says that the upper part of the universe and the earth here is the result of the cutting in half of the body of Tiamat, or Tom II, or Tom T, a lot of different names.
And that's just...I just tell you that to show you how bizarre and silly those legends are. But what the Bible says is completely reasonable. God took the waters way up, way up, left some still engulfing the earth and in between created the separator between the waters, which was the expanse we call heaven, space, the vast space of the universe. Go to verse 7. Verse 7 basically reiterates, and God made the expanse and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse and it was so. And again, He repeats the same thing again, just to be sure you get it. There's an expanse and God separated it, the waters went up, some of the waters stayed below, He created space in between.
Just a couple of footnotes here. It's important to understand that this is all creative. That is to say, it is all creative power going on here of proportions that are just absolutely beyond our capacity to comprehend. And I want you to...I say that in reference to verse 7 because the word used there, God made the expanse. And some people have said, well this isn't create, this isn't the word bara, this is another word, hasa in Hebrew. Does it signify some different activity? Does it signify that...we need to make a distinction here. A lot of times Bible teachers will make distinctions that they shouldn't make because all languages have synonyms and even words that have shades of variation can be used in a synonym fashion. And the question here is, does the word made change the actual action of God?
And the answer is no. It does not signify any different activity on God's part than creating out of nothing. In fact, over in chapter 2 verse 3, the verse ends, God rested the seventh day, blessed it and sanctified it, rested from all His work which God had created and made. And there you have those two words, bara and hasa, and basically presented as synonyms. And I think that's a wonderful note that the Spirit of God is placed there so we wouldn't worry about whether there was some distinction. The word bara is the defining word. And here in this context, it means to create something out of nothing, or to put it another way, to do something that transcends normal ability, to do something that can't be done. That's bara in this text. And made is just a synonym to use another word referring to the same thing. Now bara can be used simply for something normal. It's used in Isaiah 54, 16, Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire and coals and brings out a weapon. God, 57, 19 of Isaiah says, creating the praise of the lips.
Those things are more normal. They don't necessarily speak of the same power of creation exhibited in Genesis. So bara doesn't always mean creating in the sense of ex nihilo, divine fiat creation.
But in this context, that is distinctively what it means. And the word made is just another word to affirm the same thing. We could say it is a synonym. And by the way, in Exodus, for you scholars, Exodus 34, 10, asa is used as a synonym for bara in Exodus 34, 10. So I see them used in synonym fashion.
We could say it this way. In the Genesis context, this word asa is used to specify the kind of bara, the kind of creation of which the verse speaks. God is creating, and in this creating He makes something that never existed. He is creating, but in the creating, as verse 1 indicates, the broad picture, He is making things expressed by the use of the other word. And so, in verse 7, He made the expanse. It was still creation, but it was a component of creation.
It was the making of something that never before existed. Now, the separation of water above the sky and below has led to much discussion, folks, much discussion. The question is, what is this water? And, you know, I have to confess to you, I don't know.
I don't know. It could be that clear out at the end of infinite space, there is water. We know that there is water in the air. That we know. We feel the rain. There may be some other feature that we don't know about way at the other...at the very end of the limitless vault of heavenly space.
I don't know. There are many who believe that there is a...in this creation there was created around the earth a canopy, a canopy of water. This is the view of Whitcomb and Morris, that the waters above the expanse, the waters above heaven were like a vapor that just engulfed the whole earth and created a kind of a hothouse environment. And that's...they suggest why animals lived so long and plants lived so long. You had animals living long enough to become dinosaurs. You had people living long enough to become like Methuselah, 900 plus years old because they were shielded from ultraviolet light because of this water canopy.
And then at the flood, that canopy burst loose and drowned the earth along with the tectonic cataclysm that occurred underneath the earth that broke up the basic elements of the earth and created the post-flood environment. But we can't know that for certain. The suggestions are made that this vapor was a water vapor canopy up over the earth. There's nothing in here about that. So, folks, you can't be dogmatic about it.
It seems a reasonable explanation. And the suggestion has been made that water vapor has the ability to transmit incoming solar radiation and to retain and disperse much of the radiation reflected from the earth's surface so it would serve as a global greenhouse maintaining uniformly pleasant warm temperatures around the world. They say that with nearly uniform temperatures, great air mass movements would be inhibited, wind storms would be unknown.
With no global air circulation, the hydrological cycle of the present world could not be implemented. There could be no rain except directly over the bodies of water from which it might have evaporated. With no global air circulation because it's all protected by this canopy, there would be no turbulence, no dust particles transported to the upper atmosphere and the water vapor in the canopy would have been stable and not precipitate itself. Further, the planet would have been maintained not only at uniform temperature but at comfortable uniform humidities by means of daily local evaporation and condensation like dew or ground fog.
The combination further of warm temperature, adequate moisture everywhere would be conducive to extensive stands of lush vegetation over the world, no barren deserts and no ice caps. A vapor canopy would be effective in filtering out ultraviolet radiation, cosmic rays, other destructive energies and it goes on and on and on. And then at the Flood when God wanted to drown the earth, He just broke that thing loose and it plunged to earth and we were all exposed to the ultraviolet life and life was shortened up and people just lived 60 years after that.
Is that really the way it was? Well, it doesn't say that in Genesis. The text of Genesis doesn't specify a canopy, but it does say there were waters above and waters below. There have been scientists, good creation scientists who have said this canopy theory doesn't fly.
Robert Whitelaw and Walter Brown summarized the difficulties like this. The heat problem, a large vapor or ice canopy, would so increase heat that it would roast all living things if you have no movement of air and you just have this heat. The light problem, they suggest, starlight which God said to be for signs and seasons could scarcely have been seen and sunlight could not have reached through with sufficient heat to support tropical plants. The pressure problem, a vapor canopy holding more than 40 feet of water would increase such high pressure at its base that its temperature would exceed 220 degrees Fahrenheit. The support problem, neither vapor, liquid, nor ice canopy could have physically survived for the many centuries between creation and the flood, a couple thousand years. It would condense, evaporate, or vaporize. It wouldn't just stay there. And then the ultraviolet problem, a canopy surrounding the atmosphere would not have been protected from ultraviolet light which would have disassociated water into hydrogen and oxygen, thus immediately destroying the canopy and on and on and on.
Look, I'm not going to get into this argument. I haven't got any idea. All I know is there was water here and water up there.
That's all I know. The canopy makes a sense. There's a canopy and there was one up there somewhere. There was water up there somewhere. Obviously it didn't do what all those...maybe it didn't...maybe it wasn't water like the first group of scientists said it was and maybe it wasn't doing what the second group of scientists thought it would do if it was up there.
But it was up there. Now you say, that's a pretty simple non-scientific explanation. Well, I'm a theologian.
That's what the Bible says. It doesn't give an explanation of science. It just says water went up and some water stayed here. We could safely say this.
The resolution may be as simple as this. God creating the kind of canopy, the kind of vault in the universe, the kind of water in the atmosphere that was controlled so as not to produce the ill effects that White Law and Brown mention. We do know this. There was water up there and at the flood, water came pouring down, according to Genesis 7, and drowned the entire earth. So, between the waters, God created space. Look at this note.
This is really interesting. Verse 7, end of the verse, and it was so. Is that redundant? Is that redundant? He said in verse 6, let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters. Verse 7, and God made the expanse. And why does He add, and it was so? Is that just a redundant sort of editorial comment?
No. It serves a very necessary purpose, a very critical statement. There is no such comment in verse 3. God said, let there be light and there was light. It doesn't say, and it was so.
I'll tell you why. That little phrase used here in verse 9, verse 11, verse 15, and verse 24 is used to affirm something that is fixed, something that doesn't change, something that has remained for all time. You can't say that after verse 3, let there be light and there was light because there's light and darkness, light and darkness.
It's not fixed. But when you say God created the heavens, that's fixed. And it was so lends itself to the understanding of the firm and fixed and unchanging nature of that element of creation. And in verse 8, God called the expanse heaven. And by the way, He doesn't say it was good yet. He didn't say it on day 1. He didn't say it on day 2. He won't say it until verse 10 when the earth is habitable.
Then He'll say it was good only after it's finally shaped into its habitable condition. And verse 8 ends, God called the expanse heaven, and there was evening and there was morning, a second day. He did it in the day, created the firmament, the expanse, the heavens, the sky.
We're ready for day 3. This is Grace to You with John MacArthur. He's titled our current series, The Battle for the Beginning. Well, from the battle over the issue of origins to a battle of a different kind, we received a letter not long ago that talks about some new spiritual battles that Christians face today. And John, this is a story that would have been unheard of even just a few years ago. And the circumstances here derive from certain changes to our culture that not only are disturbing, but they're basically unprecedented. And Christians need to be ready to respond in the right way to these situations, even when there are difficult consequences. Okay, I've said enough.
I'll let you take it from there. Yeah, thank you, Phil. And this is the letter from Andrew. He writes, There is indeed a high price to pay for following Jesus as Lord. My daughter just lost her job as a medical assistant at a prestigious private school in Southern California because she politely and respectfully declined to participate in the process of administering hormone drugs to transitioning transgender students. She made it clear that her faith in Christ required her not to participate in this minor part of her duties. We're thankful that she is choosing to please God rather than compromise her faith because of the high pay and benefits of the job. And Andrew then says, concluding, We are grateful that your teaching from God's Word has been an important part of my daughter's act of faith. My wife and I trust that the Lord will show His grace in helping her to find her next job and that she will continue to have a clear testimony of following Christ first and foremost. We appreciate your prayers.
And he signs his name. How bizarre is that, that a medical assistant loses her job because she doesn't want to administer hormone drugs to a transgender student. It gets harder and harder for Christians to avoid conflict with this world system. Christianity is seen as hate speech. The gospel as hate speech. The Bible as hate speech.
This is as far in the wrong direction as a society can go. And it does change the dynamics of the church in the midst of that kind of world. The strength to stand strong, no matter the cost, is something believers are going to have to have day in and day out. And you do that through prayer and by feeding on the unchanging truth of God's Word. That's why we're here. That's why Grace To You exists. We say it every day on these broadcasts. We're dedicated to unleashing God's truth one verse at a time.
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