Why So Much Confusion About - "In the Beginning...?"
Robert E Gentet
Read here why some have never understood what Genesis 1:1 really means!
SOME believe the Bible says the heavens and the earth were created only about 6000 years ago. Even many scientists assume this is what the Bible teaches. And they scoff. But is this really what Genesis 1:1 teaches? The truth is plain. Without realizing it, some have been believing a fable that sprang from the dark ages — when people knew little about the Bible except what was taught to them by churchmen, who themselves were ignorant of what the Bible really taught! Will you notice what the Bible DOES say? You will be surprised.
What Genesis 1:1 Says
Genesis 1:1, in the King James translation, says: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." First, notice what it does NOT say. It does not say "About 6000 years ago..." — or "in 4004 B.C., God created the heaven and the earth." It says: "In the BEGINNING God created the heaven and the earth." When was "the beginning"? Genesis 1:1 just doesn't tell us! And there is a reason. What Genesis 1:1 does reveal is that the heaven and the earth had a beginning. This scripture makes it plain that the universe was created. Genesis 1:1 emphasizes WHO (in the beginning) created the heaven and the earth! It points us to GOD, as Creator of the universe. Genesis 1:1 has been universally misinterpreted. Here is how it happened. "... Archbishop Ussher... in the years 1650 to 1654, published a chronology [supposedly] based upon the biblical record. His dates were accepted for nearly two centuries, though geologists reading the record of the rocks were early convinced that he had seriously erred when he stated that the earth had been created in the year 4004 B.C., on the 26th of October, at 9 o'clock in the morning!" (H.E. Vokes, "How Old is the Earth?" from The Illustrated Library of the Natural Sciences, Vol. II, p. 1155.) Notice how Ussher tried to establish not only the date, but the time of day of creation — which he did NOT get from the Bible. The same author further states: "The date 4004 B.C. was inserted in the margin of the reference editions of the King James version of the Bible by some unknown, and rapidly gained acceptance, particularly among those people who believed that every word in their Bible was the result of divine inspiration, no matter how that word came to be there" (Ibid.). Notice! People read marginal references that first appeared in Bibles about 300 years ago, and henceforth assumed these man-made references were a part of inspired Scripture. Genesis 1:1 just does not tell us the specific date of the earth's creation. Instead, this verse points us to God as being there "in the beginning" — even before the earth was (see John 17:24). That is the vital significance of Genesis 1:1. Men have set an iron-clad date on Genesis 1:1 that God never intended. God nowhere tells us exactly when — at what time — He created the earth, or the heavens.
What Ussher Didn't See
Ussher, and many others, assumed that Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 are speaking of the same time. Ussher assumed that the world was created just before man was created. Ussher, like many others, thought God said: "In the beginning God created Adam." But this is not what the Bible says! Genesis 1:1 doesn't tell us how long God waited before He created Adam. Biblical chronology does, however, reveal there have been about 6000years since the creation of Adam. Not understanding this vital key, men have confused the creation date of Adam with the unknown time element of Genesis 1:1 and thought Genesis 1:1 was also speaking about the time shortly before Adam's creation. But it is not! The Bible clearly reveals a time lapse between the first two verses of Genesis. Genesis 1:1 could not possibly have occurred 6 days before the creation of man! This fact is clearly shown when we compare Genesis 1:2 with Isaiah 45:18. Genesis 1:2 tells us: "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Isaiah 45:18 records: "For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else." The shock comes when we study the Hebrew texts of the Bible which the King James translators were using as they translated these verses into the language of their day. The Hebrew texts reveal an amazing truth. The King James translators rendered the same Hebrew word tohu as "without form" in Genesis 1:2, yet in Isaiah 45:18 the same word was rendered as "in vain." Think what this means! Isaiah 45:18 says God did NOT create the earth in tohu. Yet Genesis 1:2 clearly tells us the earth was in tohu. Is this a discrepancy? Most assuredly not! A great event occurred between the first and second verses of Genesis — which caused great destruction, or tohu, on the earth! Genesis 1:2 is not continuing the description of the act of creating the heaven and the earth. It is describing what the earth BECAME after a great battle for control of the universe. To understand WHY the earth became tohu (chaotic and void), write for an eye-opening article entitled "Did God Create a Devil?" Thousands have read this article and have had their eyes opened to an astounding revelation from the pages of God's Word! But why has this truth been so long hidden?
The Great Conspiracy
Let us draw back the curtain of time and understand the beginning of a dark-age superstition which is still haunting the present century! When we do, we will understand WHY so many have taken for granted a medieval superstition which the Bible does not teach at all. Notice what was happening in the world about 450 years ago. The astronomer Copernicus had just advanced the astounding idea — with abundant proof — that the sun and other heavenly bodies do not revolve around the earth. This teaching was so opposite from the dogma of the Catholic Church which had a great influence on the world's scientific teachings at that time that Copernicus' theory was allowed to be taught only as a "mathematical guess." It would have been heresy to have taught it as fact! To do so would constitute sin, and such an act would bring the wrath of the church fathers. So, as long as Copernicus did not press the issue, the church was contented. Galileo, as we shall see later, was not so fortunate in his dealings with the church. The newly emerged Protestant movement was not silent about Copernicus' thesis. Martin Luther himself said: "This fool [Copernicus] wants to change the whole science of astronomy." But Copernicus' gem of truth attracted now-famous followers who began to liberate the world from still more errors of the dark ages. Galileo was one of them.
True Science Not Wrong
Galileo made an amazing discovery about 75 years after Copernicus' famous announcement that the universe did not revolve around the earth. Turning his newly found discovery — the telescope — to the sky, he proved beyond a doubt that Copernicus was right. The church's teachings about astronomy were now proven absolutely wrong! And no wonder. For the Bible doesn't say anywhere that the heavenly bodies revolve around the earth. God wanted man to use his mind and discover the mechanics of the universe. God inspired wise King Solomon to write: "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the HONOR of kings is TO SEARCH OUT A MATTER. The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable" (Prov. 25:2-3). Notice that God said He purposely conceals such matters so we will search them out! In the process, we will come to see the glory of God, if we believe that: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." But God has already told us we would be unable to completely search out what He has created. The astronomer has been unable to find the bounds of the universe. The geologist has been unable to explore first-hand the interior of the earth. The psychiatrist has been unable to understand how the human mind functions in all its many ways. Scientific research bears out the fact that only the existence of an Almighty God could account for all the wonder, beauty and clockwork precision of the universe around us. In having us search out His creation, God places a challenge before us and makes us use our minds. God's way is the way of thinking, planning, and building. It is constructive rather than destructive. Why do men seem so bent on using their minds to build devices which destroy? God's way would lead man to everything good for him, if he would only heed! The Biblical teaching about the universe was suppressed and withheld from those men — such as Galileo. It was considered heresy to even consider that the universe did not revolve about the earth. For this reason, Galileo's triumph with his telescope was soon to meet the challenge of the Catholic Church.
Churchmen Refuse to Learn
Notice how Galileo's threat to the church's hold on the minds of men is graphically described by one authority: "The nearly 100 years of Protestantism had been marred with cruel wars between the two religions, and the leaders of the Roman Church were resolved to stamp out any new innovations that would have a tendency to undermine the faith that had been taught for [almost] 1600 years. Their undeviating belief was that Holy Scripture taught a stationary Earth and a moving Sun.... And for Galileo to teach the reverse was rank heresy, of which the Holy See must take notice.... "Late in 1615 Galileo again returned to Rome in a supreme endeavor to convince the Church authorities of the truth of the Heliocentric system, as proved by his telescope. But all the arguments and facts he could advance fell upon deaf ears, for Cardinal Bellarmine and Pope Paul V had decided that the doctrine of a stationary Sun and a moving Earth was not only unscriptural, but constituted one of the gravest perils to the Catholic religion" (Norton Wagner, Unveiling the Universe, p. 33) Instead of following scripture, professing Christianity continued to follow past error in order to retain their influence on men. "Truly, they [the Catholic Church fathers} failed to take unto themselves the spirit of the specific injunction of the great Apostle to the Gentiles, which they themselves taught, to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good." "And thus Christian Opinion, founded upon what they mistakenly believed to be true interpretations of the Scriptures, controlled and disquieted the thoughts of men throughout the long silent centuries of the sword-swept dark ages of Europe" (Ibid., p. 21). Because of gross misrepresentation of Scripture and the violent suppression of the truth — even by the sword — a growing movement against religion began in all fields of science. "The idea that present conditions [in contrast to the clear Biblical statement that God, created the heavens and the earth) furnish the safest basis for thinking about the past emerged as a REACTION against the time-honored and almost UNIVERSAL belief that the earth and its physical features are products of mysterious supernatural events. "A great deal of weight was placed on a strict interpretation factually a strict misrepresentation) of Scripture, which limited the existence of the physical world to a relatively short time and required the compression of universal creation and other tremendous events into a few thousand years" (Stokes, Essentials of Earth History, p. 31 — Emphasis ours throughout the article).
Scientists Ignorantly Reject God
Notice! The movement which began against religious teachings about 400 years ago was NOT actually against the teachings of the Bible. The real teachings of the Bible were not even known! It was the misinterpretation of Scripture that scientists were fighting. They were fighting a medieval superstition that had its origin in pagan wretchedness, not in the Bible. Realizing the error in Catholic and Protestant teachings, scientists organized to thrust out of men's minds the knowledge they assumed to be the Bible's teachings. Since these churchmen all said they got their scientific beliefs from the Bible, the scientists ASSUMED they were fighting the Bible. And, getting God out of the picture also meant men could now rationalize they did not need to obey their Creator. Evolution and spontaneous generation were taught as truth in place of God's Word. Let's understand. Both the professing Christian churches and the scientists were in error. Churchmen said they had the Bible's teaching about the earth's history and place in the universe. Yet they rejected the Bible's teaching and the knowledge God wants us to discover for ourselves! They called the truth HERESY! Some today reject clear knowledge — still preferring to live in the dark ages and to call truth heresy. Scientists had the facts God wants us to learn by exercising our five senses, but they interpreted all the facts through the eyeglass of evolution and uniformity, fulfilling the prophecy that ungodly men in the end times would teach that "... all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation" (II Peter 3:3-7 ). They were unwilling to retain God in their knowledge (Rom. 1:18-23). Neither the professing Christian church nor the scientists checked to see what the Bible actually says! Churchmen assumed the Bible agreed with their superstitions and scientists who heard these teachings assumed the Bible taught silly, childish fables they knew to be untrue. It's time to stop assuming and check up! Why follow medieval, dark-ages superstitions? Why not be willing to "prove all things"? Scientists, instead of turning to God "felt in their bones that there must be a natural explanation for organic as well as geological change, but the method was not easily to be had" (Scientific American, Aug. 1959, p. 102 ). Is it truly scientific to reject the proof of God's existence on the basis of a "feeling in one's bones"? Admittedly, it was a difficult task!
Why Such Utter Confusion?
What a ridiculous spectacle! Men — both in religion and society — each going his own way. One claiming to teach the Bible, and in reality teaching traditions of men. The other, openly rejecting the Bible and, "feeling in his bones" that a natural explanation could — and must — be found. When geologists say "Early geologists fought to free people from the myths of Biblical creation" (Geotimes, August 1957, p. 12), they are only saying that men fought to replace one ERROR with another. Now, the Catholic Church has accepted the evolutionary concept of the earth's origin and life upon it. Numerous Protestant churches have also taken the evolutionary concept into their teachings, justifying their actions by saying the Bible was never meant to be a book on science. This line of reasoning denies II Timothy 3:16 which says that ALL — not just a part — of Scripture is given by inspiration of God. This modern approach makes God's Word a mere book of traditions of men. The Bible plainly tells us that either ALL of the Bible is given by inspiration of God or NONE of it is. It is not part tradition — or "stories" — of men and part inspiration of God. It stands as ONE UNITY. When the Bible does speak about history, geology, astronomy, etc., it agrees with scientific facts. Of course, in some few cases one needs to understand that the Bible records conversations of men. In so doing it accurately records what they said. But that does not automatically mean that what the men said was of God. For a simple example, Job 1:16 accurately records a message given to Job by one who said a fire from "God" destroyed Job's servants and sheep. But earlier in the chapter the Bible makes it clear that it was Satan — not God — who sent this destruction! Read it in Job 12. We should read the scripture as it is, and not read our meaning into it. The Bible tells us: "The fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that DO (KEEP) his commandments..." (Ps. 111:10). And, 'The fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Prov. 1:7). It's time to quit assuming, and to start obeying and fearing God! Because the truth about the earth's history has been buried under a trash heap of medieval pagan superstition and ignorance, men have assumed all of chapter one of 'Genesis is speaking of the same time. Some have been unwilling to admit that "in the beginning," in Genesis 1:1, is not speaking of Adam's creation, but of a time long before Adam. Man's 6000 years of reasoning himself astray, of being led into deception by Satan the Devil, are rapidly nearing a climax. You need to read our free, highly illustrated booklet entitled "1975 In Prophecy" to understand the prophesied events which are to literally SHAKE this earth in the next few years. Events which will bring to completion man's tragic 6000-year history of wars and suffering and usher in the wonderful world tomorrow!