In The Beginning, Part 2
This brings us to God’s name (YHWH). Exodus 3:13-15 tells us about God’s eternal name.
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, the name you shall call Me from generation to generation.”
Over the years, many scholars have debated on the correct pronunciation of this name. Many have agreed that this name is more of a verb that expresses past, present, and future tenses all at once. He is the one who was and is and is to come as Revelation 1:8 tells us, “’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’”
In quantum physics we might call this a superposition of all possible states. Quantum physics says that the particles or waves that make up our universe, including us, can exist in all possible states at once. When a particular particle is singled out, it then becomes a part of that specific location or time. With God’s name it is similar, being in all states, dimensions, and times simultaneously, but when one lives today, we reduce His name to our present state. He becomes my God and my refuge in my present trouble as Psalm 46:1 tells us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” So we see that there is a lot to unpack in the first few words of Genesis 1 before God began to create the heavens and the earth.
Which brings us back to, who is God? We have learned a few things about God, but as we go on we will learn even more, because you know what they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” God is quite the Artist, and He has painted for us a beautiful picture of Himself in the Word of God; and what we see is that God is love, as the Psalmist writes in Psalm 36:5-9,
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, Your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals. How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They feast on the abundance of Your house; You give them drink from Your river of delights. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.
For God so loved that He created a place for us, a world with all of its beauty, and that is where we are going to start.
We also know from the Scriptures that the angels were created before the foundation of the world, as Job 38:4-7 tells us,
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
So let’s stop here and take a closer look at the angels who were created before the foundation of the world.
Well, we know that the angels are created beings. Only God is eternal, without a beginning or an end. Angels have several purposes. We know that they are agents of God. We know that there are ministering angels, as Hebrews 1:14 tells us, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”We also know that there are angels who are sent to give messages, like Gabriel to Mary in Luke 1:26, “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth.” We know that there are Cherubim who stand guard at the entryway to the Garden of Eden to protect the Tree of Life, and quite possibly these same angels guard us as our guardian angels. But think about it: when a person dies, that guardian angel is now assigned to one who has just been conceived. We know that God keeps watch over us even before we are born, as Psalm 139:13-16 says,
For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 91:11-12 tells us,“For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” God’s angels are with us from the beginning to end of life.
We know that angels have ranks, like the archangel Michael who came to help fight the prince of Persia. In Daniel 10:13, the angel Michael is called “one of the chief princes,” and in Jude 1:9 he is called, “the archangel Michael.”
We see the Seraphim angels worshiping God continually in the throne room of God crying out, “Holy, Holy, Holy” in Isaiah 6.
Ezekiel 1:4-28 gives us a glimpse of the appearance of an angel like no other place in Scripture. It says this:
I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was human, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. All four of them had faces and wings, and the wings of one touched the wings of another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved. Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a human being, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle. Such were their faces. They each had two wings spreading out upward, each wing touching that of the creature on either side; and each had two other wings covering its body. Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went. The appearance of the living creatures was like burning coals of fire or like torches. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it. The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning. As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like topaz, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not change direction as the creatures went. Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around. When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked something like a vault, sparkling like crystal, and awesome. Under the vault their wings were stretched out one toward the other, and each had two wings covering its body. When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings, like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings. Then there came a voice from above the vault over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell face down, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
So we see these incredible angelic beings and a God of power and fire, both very awesome.
Colossians 1:16 tells us, “For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.” Paul gives us a peek into the spiritual realm by telling us that God created thrones and powers, rulers and authorities.
Ephesians 1:19-23 says this:
That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Messiah from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.
Also in Ephesian 3:10-11,
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose that He accomplished in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.
And again referring to Messiah, 1 Peter 3:22 tells us that He “has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to Him.”
It is quite clear that the angels have rank and authority.
So let us continue with Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
We see that God created not only the earth, but also the heavens. The heavens are not only the sky where the birds fly, but the heavens are where the planets orbit the sun and where all of the galaxies exist. The heavens also include where the angels dwell. So we see here three levels of heaven. We begin to see that God was creating space.
But verse 2 begins to speak about the Earth. Wait! We know that God created the heavens and the earth, which included the entire universe, and yet God does not tell us how He created the heavens and the Earth, or any planet for that matter. We do know that God spoke many things into existence, but it does not tell us that He spoke the heavens and the Earth into existence. Let’s look even closer.
There was no space before God created it. God was it. He has no bounds, no limits—He is endless. So God had to create the space for His creation, and how did He do that? Well, if everything was God, then God had to remove a part of Himself to do that.
Let’s look at Isaiah 6:1 for a clue. It says, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of His robe filled the temple.”God’s train represents His glory. Now, let’s say that the temple was all God, His presence, before the creation of space. We see that His train filled the whole temple. So to make space, God had to pull back His train, or Himself, as one would pull back his garment, to make room for us. This created the space we now call the universe.
The universe is so big that scientists estimate that there are billions and maybe even trillions of galaxies. Even though only one million have been catalogued, even fewer have been named. Each galaxy has millions and even billions of stars held together by interstellar gases, dust and dark matter and its own gravitational pull.
The study of galaxies and stars and how they are born and die is a fascinating study, but for us now we must ask ourselves, why did God create so much space? Wouldn’t one galaxy have been enough—like maybe just the one we live in? He could have, but the Scripture tells us in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Every time we look up and see the creation of God, every time we look around us, we see the glory of God. Man is without excuse, as Romans 1:19-20 tells us,
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Hugh Ross, an astronomer and pastor, has this to say about the beginning of the universe and how it points to God:
It’s [the] Theory of General Relativity that predicts there’s a beginning to the universe. Until Albert Einstein’s theory came along, astronomers and physicists thought the universe was infinitely old. The Theory of General Relativity now said, “No, it’s finite in time. It has a beginning,” which implies there must be a Beginner who was responsible for bringing the universe into existence. . . . There must be an agent beyond space and time that created our universe of matter, energy, space and time.
Ross says that because General Relativity has been proven to be true, it follows that the universe must have had a beginning, “Which means that likewise we have confidence that there must be a God beyond space and time who created our universe.”
In the study of the universe, you see that the universe and how it operates is really like one giant clock; and since the time that God put all things into motion, the galaxies have been growing and depleting as time has gone by. For as we will see, God also created time. Since God mentions the Earth first, maybe our galaxy was created first and the other galaxies grew out of ours.
Scientists have discovered that each galaxy has what is called a “black hole,” and these black holes are like a giant incinerator, as one black hole violently absorbs another black hole which then causes that black hole to enlarge. Black holes will also absorb stars or anything else that may enter into its gravitational pull. So just as the universe grew larger and larger, these black holes eventually will cause the universe to grow smaller and smaller until only our galaxy will be left once again. This is an interesting observation about black holes: “I think the standard story is that they lead to the end of time,” said Douglas Finkbeiner, professor of astronomy and physics at Harvard University. So it seems that the void that was from the beginning will be once more, for the God who created time is also the God who is in control of time.
Hebrew 1:10-12 tells us,
You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands; they will perish, but You remain; and they all will become old like a garment, and like a mantle You will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.
Revelation 8:12 says,
The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.
And again in 2 Peter 3:10-12 it says,
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!
This end time scenario certainly sounds like the violent takeover of one black hole absorbing another, and we know that our galaxy will be the last takeover as recorded in these Scriptures. But as we go on, we will see that this Scripture also tells us about the creation.
It is believed by scientists that there was a great explosion of gases and matter, which left these huge boulders floating in the atmosphere. They believe that Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars (what are called the “Inner Planets”) were formed at the beginning, and from them the gases, dust particles, and dark matter and the gravitational pull of the four planets helped form, over time, the rest of the planets, or what are called the “Outer Planets” of the solar system, as they collided with these planets to form the other planets. The remaining boulder-like fragments are in an area of the solar system which is called the asteroid belt (but there are still meteorites that come close to Earth, and some have even come through our atmosphere burning up as they fall to the ground). Beyond the asteroid belt we find what are called the frozen planets of Neptune (which, like Saturn, has rings) and Pluto along with several moons. These planets are billions of miles from the sun.
One thing for sure: we know that all the planets are made of the same materials and they all had water on them at one time. So what happened to all the planets except Earth? At one time the universe was alive with water and maybe life—no, not aliens, but maybe plant life or microscopic life. At one time all the planets were close together before being thrown into outer space by the inner planets.
We know that creation is very much a mystery for us. As humans we do not always understand the great power and authority that God has. So if scientists say that the universe was because of a big bang, and if it was, it could only have been God who could have created the matter that did not exist and only God had such power to cause such an explosion.
We want to start by addressing the power of God. We know from Scripture that God is fire, as we see in Ezekiel 8:2, “Then I looked, and behold, a likeness as the appearance of a man; from His loins and downward there was the appearance of fire, and from His loins and upward the appearance of brightness, like the appearance of glowing metal.”
When Moses wanted to see just the glory of God, he could not or else he would have died. Exodus 33:18-23 tells us,
Then Moses said, “Now show me Your glory.” And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim My name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” He said, “you cannot see My face, for no one may see Me and live.” Then the Lord said, “There is a place near Me where you may stand on a rock. When My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen.”
God’s power, His might, and His glory are so powerful! If you would imagine the most powerful nuclear bomb that we possess, and then magnify it even 100 times (and that is just a figure, for no one knows just how powerful God is, but just for the sake of conversation), you can see why no one could even see God’s face because they would burn up. Our eyes cannot look upon an explosion such as that without it damaging our eyes because of its brightness. So God had to put Moses in the cleft of a rock and cover him, and after He had passed, Moses could only see a glimpse of God’s glory. Only such power, such force, could have created the universe.
I know you will say that Scripture tells us that Moses spoke face to face with God, so what about that? Galatians 3:19-20 tells us, “The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.” And this is also mentioned in Acts 7:53, that the people of Israel “received the law as delivered by angels.” “Face to face with God” means that Moses was in God’s presence. He could no way have looked into the face of God and lived, at least not into the true face of God.
It could only have been God who had the wisdom to create a world such as He did. He created a magnetic field around us to protect us. He placed the Earth just in the right spot so that we would not be overcome by the heat of the sun, and an orbit for each of the planets so that they would not collide. God turned the creation of chaos to peace. He told the waters that they could only go so far to create the dry ground. When God spoke, His Word went out from Him and created, for He calls those things that are not as though they are, as Romans 4:17 tells us, “He calls into being that which does not exist.”God has such authority over His creation that when He speaks all of heaven and Earth obey. Everything God did was measured by His wisdom and authority.
We could go on and on, but if anyone gave a hard look into creation, they would have to see the truth, that there is a powerful, awesome God who is bigger and greater than His creation.
Genesis 1:2 reads, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” But wait! If the world was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep, where did all the water come from? God never said, “Let there be water” in the first verse. So what is going on? We see here that even though God removed Himself and that there was left a void and nothing but darkness, we also see that there was water. Isn’t that interesting that there should be water . . . Why water?