Saturday, August 31, 2013

P1 Some reflections on cosmogeny

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


Whenever you consider the first verse of the Bible, the amazing thing about it is that it ends in a period.  Why of all things would I begin today's post with such an unremarkable observation? Because periods mark the end of sentences that state established facts.  There is a calmness and effortless tone in which God speaks forth all creation into being in Genesis 
1. In the Genesis record there is no long war that God has to fight in order to create time (in the beginning), energy (created), space (the heavens) and matter (the earth).  God is, was and always will be.  In today's post and tomorrow's, I want to jot down some thoughts and reflections on the subject of the origin of the universe (called by the technical name cosmogeny= cos-mo-gin-ee).1  I will contend that whenever you compare the Biblical record with other religious or secular accounts of origins (cosmogeny = the origin (genus) of the order (cosmos) of the universe, the Bible alone is unique and henceforth the only Divinely revealed true record of the origin of the universe.

Briefly defining the Biblical view of creation

Before we compare the erroneous ancient versions of the origins of the universe, I feel it necessary to briefly define what we mean by the Biblical view of creation.  The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 (BFM 2000) makes the following statements: "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."  The BFM 2000 states again: "God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men." Then one more statement from the same source: "Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation."  When you look at this marvelous summary of God's relationship with His creation, we discover three fundamental truths that contribute to forming a Biblical definition of creation, namely: God created from nothing, by the Word of His mouth

1. the universe
2. life 
3. humanity  

With that definition in mind, we will briefly list a summary of the ancient proposals of the origin of the universe by non-biblical religions and pagan philosophies to demonstrate how the Biblical account is not only unique, but alone the Divinely inspired record of such an event.  

The origin of the universe according to ancient non-biblical religions & philosophies
A. The Persian religion of Zoroastrianism depicts two equally power deities: Ahura Mazda is the so-called good deity, with his lesser sub-deities and Angru Mainyu is the so-called evil deity who has lesser sub-deities.  The conflict between the two results in a choice between existence and non-existence, with existence winning out.  

B. The Old Babylonian creation epic features a deity named Marduk who has an epic battle with another Tiamat and slays her, creating the earth and sky from her body.  

C. The ancient Greek writer Hesiod wrote his account of the origin of the universe (also called a theogeny) in 750 b.c.  According to him, Chaos was in the beginning, from whence came forth voice, followed by earth and then eros (physical love).  The earth then made the starry sky above.

D. The ancient Egyptians of Moses' day had a theogeny called "Akhentan's Great hymn to the Aton", written shortly after the Exodus of Egypt. In Egyptian worship, the sun was central and the source of all life and maker of the underworld.  The Egyptians worshipped other deities and in similitude to the other ancient worldviews, included some conflict that led to the formation of the universe.

E. Then finally we see the Greek philosopher Plato in his classic Greek piece called "Timaeus", wherein his version of Deity had to bring order (cosmos) out of disorder (chaos) and make the universe like himself.  In Plato's scenario, the universe is in a sense eternally old.

Reasons as to why the ancient accounts of origins are similar and how the Biblical record is completely different

No matter the culture, language or age in which they were written, the non-biblical origins accounts (cosmogenies) tell the same story: a great conflict and war was fought between multiple gods and chaos, with the deities in question narrowly winning and the universe being the result.  In other versions, the universe was the source of the deities, since it has always been. The commonalities between these non-biblical records stem from the false religious system that came from the tower of Babel as recorded in Genesis 11:1-9. Interestingly enough the varieties of secular and non-divinely inspired theories for the universe's origins are somewhat repeated in more sophisticated terms today. As I stated before, There is a calmness and effortless tone in which God speaks forth all creation into being in Genesis 1. In the Genesis record there is no long war that God has to fight in order to create time (in the beginning), energy (created), space (the heavens) and matter (the earth).  God is, was and always will be.  

In Conclusion

In contrast to the non-divinely inspired records of pagan antiquity and philosophy, the Divinely inspired and inerrant Biblical record of origins knows of no conflict, since the God of scripture alone is Sovereign and simply spoke everything into being by the Word of His power. (Psalms 33:6; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-20)

More tomorrow....


1. As we stated, "cosmogeny" deals with the origin of the universe.  A closely related word "cosmology" is a field of astronomy that deals with the structure and overall development and proposed end of the universe. A third word "eschatology" is a term used often in discussions surrounding Bible prophecy, but in discussions surrounding creation and origins, eschatology would propose how the universe will end, and as to whether or not there is an ultimate purpose to all things.  Christians and the Bible assert that God through Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit created all things (cosmogeny). Second, God through Christ with the Spirit is sustaining the universe and stretching it out for the sake of His glory and our enjoyment of His glory (cosmology). Finally, The Son will return, and by the Spirit set up His Kingdom on earth, raise the righteous, end with the raising and judgment of the unrighteous and Satan and the presentation of the Kingdom to the Father (eschatology).

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