Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 states in the first sentence of its article entitled "God": "There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual,
and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe."
This statement of course derives from such passages as Genesis 1:1. In the original Hebrew text of Genesis 1:1 seven words begin God's revelation of the Book of Ages - The Bible.
In these seven words we find the most compact, most accurate and comprehensive statement anywhere regarding the origin of the universe:
1. God created time: The Hebrew text could be translated: God created "in the beginning" - that is "time". Time is what God created to give the flow of "past, present and furture". As will be seen below, God also created two other elements: space and mass.
2. God created space: The next phrase in Genesis 1:1 is "the heavens". The plural word "heavens" indicates there to be multiple areas or "spaces" in the creation. The Bible calls these spaces "the heavens" and identifies three of them: the 3rd Heaven (God's abode, and on the outer boundary, the invisible realm; the 2nd Heaven (the visible universe) and the 1st Heaven (earth's atmosphere)
a. Third Heaven. In 2 Corinthians 12 the Apostle Paul speaks of being caught up into "The Third Heaven". This third Heaven speaks of the very dwelling place of the Triune God. Admittedly this realm of space is as mysterious as it is vast. With the term "third heaven" used to refer to God's throneroom, we can by implication from scripture draw the conclusions that there are two other created spaces called "heaven" (which scripture does indeed call the visible universe and atmosphere around our planet).
God is no doubt infinitely above and unique from the invisible angelic realm which He created to serve Him (Psalm 104) and believers (Hebrews 1:14). God created this space whereby He could set forth His decrees and Sovereign rule over the remaining "two heavens" or spaces. The Bible reveals to be the invisible realm that functions as the "hinterland" or outer edges that connect the third heaven to the second heaven. King Solomon stated at the dedication of the Temple in 1 Kings 8:27 that the "heaven" and "heaven of heavens" cannot contain God.
God's presence suffuses throughout every square inch of the third heaven and invisible realm, and the visible realms of the second and first heavens. Yet God is infinitely different and unique from all he created.
b. The Second Heaven. Since there is a "third Heaven", we can by implication say then there to be a second heaven. The "second Heaven" we could classify as the visible universe. This visible universe is called the "visible realm" in passages such as Colossians 1:16-17. Scripture indicates that the "second heaven" of the visible realm and the invisible realm that is connected to the third heaven are innerconnected. Colossians 3:1-3 speaks of "things above" and "things here below". It is this second heaven that is the familiar space/mass/time universe.
Astronomers tell us that there are an estimated 100 billion galaxies, each with 100 billion stars. In having viewed Hubble photographs of the Galaxies stretching across vast expanses of our visible universe, the Galaxies appear to be grouped together in what Astronomers call clusters. Those clusters are in turn part of even larger structures of Galaxies called "Super-clusters" - stretching for hundreds of millions of light years. Between these super-clusters are empty "voids", wherein there are no stars or galaxies.
This pattern throughout our universe roughly corresponds to what happens when a pebble is droped into a bowl of water - with ripples of ever-increasing circumference. The Galaxies are grouped in concentric shells, with empty areas of space in between. This tells us that when God created everything, there is a discernable center to our universe.
c. First Heaven. This realm refers to the atmosphere or sky surrounding our planet. It too is translated "heaven" in scripture. In comparison to the first two "heavens" or "order of space", this realm is extremely small. God's greatness in creation is not only seen on the canvas of the large, but also on the canvas of the very small. We see God's purposes and plan executed on the globe that is surrounded by this "first heaven".
3. God Created Mass or Matter: We now come to the last two words here in Genesis 1:1 - "the earth". This refers mainly to our planet earth and by extension all of the sub-atomic particles and physical laws that He devised to bring into being the "stuff" of our visible universe or "matter".
Understanding how God set Space, time and mass in motion
God's creative abilities are indeed amazing. Whenever he created time, He wove into the fabric of time itself a direction - past, present to future. In order to have a way of displaying this property of time - God created space, and wove time into the space of the invisible and visible realms. God alone can operate and see all times and places at the same time. Within our universe, God made physical matter to interract with the "space-time" through a force called gravity.
Trampolines, Bowling Balls and Marbles
Think of the vastness of our visible universe like a trampoline, with the masses of stars and planets sitting on that trampoline. Lets say I place a bowling ball into the middle of that trampoline to represent a large star like the sun. If I roll a marble (which we'll pretend to be a planet) onto that trampoline, it will go about in an elliptical orbit. If I were able to keep that marble rolling around at a constant speed (which astronomers call angular momentum), that little marble would continue in an elliptical orbit around that bowling ball.
From Genesis 1:1 we can see that God's creation of time, space and mass set the stage for the remainder of what we see in the Bible. He set all things into motion (creation) and governs every moment and space of creation (providence). Truly God our Creator is worthy to be praised!
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012
God created space, time and matter
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