in Genesis by V. Keith Relf
many terms used in our
language and especially in the Bible that have differing meanings,
“heart” is a good example. It’s a pump, it’s the centre of emotion or
it is a condition or degree of compassion and the list may go on.
It is also
clear that in the Bible record, the writers and even Jesus himself used
common idioms and anecdotes as examples to illustrate an important
truth. The parable of Dives and Lazarus (Luke16:19-31) is such an
example or the unjust judge (Luke18:2-6) where the lesson is drawn
obliquely from the story.
difficult things to say to dear folk who demand that every word in the
Bible must be believed as written. And indeed, there are some torturous
“interpretations” offered by some respected teachers in the earnest
endeavour to make every word “run on four feet”.
Be sure that
every message in the Bible is to be believed. But for example, it
is not uncommon to hear a preacher, illustrate a sermon point with an
anecdote, a joke, or a fictitious story. It does not make the message
less true, just easier to remember and we easily separate the story
from the truth.
writers, especially Paul, sometimes very loosely, quote well known
phrases from the Old Covenant Scriptures to give “remember-ability” to
his message because the words are so well known or have even become a
popular saying that is not necessarily accurate with the original
meaning. Missing this fact often leads to obscure and difficult
“interpretations” attempting to reconcile all the details of both
from an Apocryphal writing, The Book of Enoch, which we are told was
written thousands of years after Enoch who “was no more, because God took him away.”
Genesis 5:24. To quote Jude 1:14,15 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied
about these men: "See, the
Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge
everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they
have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly
sinners have spoken against him." Does that make The Book
of Enoch sacred or inspired or simply a well known source of history
and wisdom useful to quote and establish a point. I’ll leave that to
the reader to decide.
Just one more
example - there are many. It is interesting and helpful to our
understanding to see just how the Commandments were handed down. When
Jesus was “tested” (Matthew 22:36-40; Mark 12:28-32; Luke 10:25-29) by
the Pharisees, He got an A+ for quoting, not from the Decalogue, but
from the common teachings drawn from Moses’ explanation of the
Commandments. Certainly not the 1st and 2nd items of the 10 Commands as
recorded in Exodus 20:3-17 or Deuteronomy 5:7-21. But later from
Deuteronomy 6:5 “Love the LORD
your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your
strength.” and from Leviticus 19:18 "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge
against one of your people, but [and] love your neighbour as yourself.
I am the LORD.” The interview recorded in Luke suggests a
different occasion when the question was put in another context;
"Teacher," he was asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal
life?" and Jesus offered the same words, Luke 10:27 He
answered: "Love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength
and with all your mind [Deuteronomy 6:5]; "and, Love your neighbour as yourself."
[Leviticus 19:18 ]
Now let me be
clear, I do not offer this line of reasoning to diminish or question
the “Word of God” but that we might do more than just glibly quote from
2 Timothy 2:15 “ . . . a workman who
does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of
truth.” But indeed, for ourselves, to do just that. If we
are not diligent in this we become prey of false prophets and teachers
of which there are plenty in the Church and even the Messianic
Assemblies. Jesus warned the disciples to "Watch out for false prophets. They come
to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."
Matthew 7:15 and in Mark 13:22 "For
false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and
miracles to deceive the elect-- if that were possible."
There have been
many instances of the Church employing Scripture to retroactively
sanitise some Pagan practice that had been, as a matter of political
convenience, given hallowed place in the life of the Body. Easter is a
good example. Sufficient to say that we have erred and incorrectly
handled the word of truth in a pious attempt to make good past errors,
rather than confess the errors. In these studies we attempt to
dispense with this sort of theological “baggage” and take a fresh look
at the message. Probably a difficult thing to do with 2000 years
of ingrained conditioning but it is still worth the try. We are
not the first to question orthodox wisdom. Today, as never before
orthodox Christianity is made by our leaders and the media to appear
out-dated or irrelevant, yet the end time events we are warned of in
the Bible seem to be knocking on our door. People are seeking the
One such study
I have attempted within this “open intellectual framework” is the early
part of Genesis. Especially the first chapters concerned with the
Creation. I, personally, have no trouble believing that God could make
the entire universe in 144 hours but I must also ask the question, “Did
He?”. Is that the message that has been given to us as an explanation
of the beginnings of all we are, see, know and imagine, here and
elsewhere? I don’t think so. I think this is another case of some
pagan fantasy adopted by an early church notable. Said fantasy has been
the subject of extensive and extended theological “reverse engineering”
in an attempt to make the idea stand up. While those who may question
this position are branded doubters.
will say, "didn't Jesus say the world was made in six days?"
Well, first read the Genesis article and then remembering what we've
learned above about using commonly used phrases, re- read the "proof
text". Remember, Genesis stands alone, it was inspired and
written to be understood and not re-interpreted by things spoken
thousands of years later. It is the later statements that must be
understood and interpreted in the light of the original revelation.
I think we need
to look more carefully at the real “beginnings” and the terms
used. If we don’t read Genesis 1:1,2 with preconceived ideas but
at the same time, aware of conventional wisdom on the subject, we will
see that the second verse may seem to contradict the first. The first
verse, says of the universe, God “created” a complete act and the
second verse as
traditionally translated says that this planet was unfinished,
desolation in fact.
“the heavens”. Does this speak of the sky, our solar system, our Milky
Way Galaxy, the near Galaxies, the Universe, things we can perceive and
that which we can’t perceive, for example, possible parallel dimensions
our imagination. And so we could go on. It’s no good saying
it’s not for us to know. If so why did God mention it in the first
place? If it’s there I believe it’s for us and we should give it our
best shot at getting the message, as much as God intended.
So let’s say
that from an earthling’s standpoint “the heavens” referred to here are
all that is not “earth”. Pretty simple! The heavens seem vast and
complex to us, how much more wonderful to those “heavenly hosts”
without our limitations.
the word “heaven” is used to indicate the sky. Other times it is where
God resides. There
may be many “heavens”, Paul knew “a man . . . caught up to the third
heaven. 2 Corinthians 12:2. Paul didn’t know if this person was
transported bodily or whether it was a visionary experience but
obviously he believed that a “body” could go there if so
required. In fact "heaven" is another word, like "day" the
meaning of which depends upon the context in which it is used.
9:11b the writer speaks of a "greater and more perfect tabernacle
that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this
creation." We know that the time will come when all things
are made new, a new heaven and a new earth but Hebrews 9 speaks of well
before that event, so we suggest that the "the greater and more perfect
tabernacle" mentioned exists in those heavenly dimensions indicated in
the 1st verse that were "not a part of this creation".
getting at is that the first 2 verses of Genesis are not a part of the
Creation account that specifically concerns this planet. Rather, verses
1 and 2 establish the pre existence and presence of an Almighty God who
established in eternity the vastness of the universe as His dwelling
place and hints at some cosmic catastrophe that destroyed much of this
planet earth which “became without form and void”, shapeless and empty.
Verse 2 further tells us "the Spirit of God was moving over the face of
Now here would
probably be a good place to pause open your Internet Browser click here
on http://return.2truth.com/ and then continue with the more detailed
examination of this study in Genesis under the headings entitled “Beginnings” and “Theory of Creation”.