Christian Churches of God
In the Beginning
(Edition 2.0 20030706-20061230)
In the beginning God created. This paper was adapted from Chapter 1 of The Bible Story Volume 1 by Basil Wolverton published by Ambassador College Press. The concept has been added to and developed according to the teachings of the Bible and the doctrines of the Christian Churches of God.
Christian Churches of God
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(Copyright ã 2003, 2006 Christian Churches of God, Ed. Wade Cox)
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In the Beginning
The creation story
Just as there was a time when our town and our parents didn't exist, there was also a time when the planet we live on didn't exist. Most of us have probably wondered how things looked before there was anything in the vast space where our universe is now. Where did the sun, moon and stars come from? It's difficult for our minds to imagine back over such a long period of time when there was nothing to see but a cold, empty, dark space. But there was something else there in place of stars and planets.
Who or what could it be? It is Eloah, the One True God (Jn.17:3; 1Jn.5:20). God had to be there first because He made everything that ever was (Gen. 1:1; Neh. 9:6, Ps. 124:8; Isa. 40:26, 28; 44:24; Acts 14:15; 17:24, 25; Rev. 1:8; 4:11; 14:7).
Probably one of the first things we wonder about God is where He came from. He didn't come from anywhere. Although everything else had a beginning, God has always been (Ps. 90:2). There was a time when He existed alone. He did not need anything to give Him life or energy. God inhabits eternity (Isa. 57:15). God always was and always will be. He is the beginning and the end (Rev. 1:8). He is immortal (1Tim. 6:16). This means He cannot die.
Because we are physical, these things are hard for us to understand. We have to realise that there are some matters that God keeps secret from us. Many other things He reveals to us, especially if we are obedient (Pro. 16:3).
What is God like? We know what people are like because we can see them. Our parents, brothers and sisters are a family of human beings made of flesh and blood in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). This does not mean that Eloah, the One True God looks like us. It means humans were made after the god-kind (elohim), while all the animals were made after their own kind. In this way humans are very different to the animals created by God.
God is not a person; He is a being of pure Spirit. Spirit beings are not subject to the laws of time and space. Human beings usually canít see or feel or hear spirits, but they can be influenced by them. That is one reason why Satan is called the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2). He influences people to rebel against Godís Law.
So, we can't see God by looking into the space of millions of years ago, even though God was all that existed then. However, we can see some of the things that God produces. God knew what was possible to be done and He knew how He could do it. He is all-powerful and nothing is impossible for God (Lk. 1:37). See the paper Who is God? (No. CB1).
We don't know just when the universe was made, or how long it took to make it. But the
Bible tells us about the creation. The universe is so big that we can see only part way through it. Our minds can't even begin to realise its tremendous size, but this should give us some idea of how much wiser and more powerful our Creator is than we are (Job 22:12; 33:12; 38:4-6).
Among the clusters of beautiful stars our Earth was created. Men have thought up various theories of how it came to be there. Many foolishly believe and teach that all the stars and planets just "happened" without God having anything to do with their creation. The Bible does not question if there is a God, but states there is a God who was there at the beginning of all creation. Only a fool says there is no God (Psa. 53:1).
If we were to see how the Earth looked after it was made, we would see a huge blue-green globe of great beauty hanging against the star-studded backdrop of space. We wouldn't recognise any of our planet's continents or markings, because when it was first formed it was quite different.
To create all objects in the universe, God had to provide material just as carpenters need material to build the houses where we live (Heb. 11:3). As we already know, God is composed of Spirit. As light shines from a lamp throughout a room, God's Holy Spirit emanates from Him to the universe. This mysterious and wonderful power is the very essence of God. By its power the universe was created and by it every physical force and celestial body is controlled. See the paper What is the Holy Spirit? (No. CB3).
Genesis 1:1-2In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 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. (KJV)
Here we see the original creation of The Heaven and The Earth. This is talking about the world that then was (2Pet. 3:5-6) before it became tohu and bohu or without form and void. It was a creation of a very long time past. But it was ruined (see the note to verses 1 and 2 of The Companion Bible). We will talk about the reason for that as we go on.
Sons of God
God didn't make the universe just so He could admire His work. At some point God desired to make a family for Himself. First He created millions of spirit beings to live in the universe. Many of them served Him in the third Heaven, the place of His Throne (2Cor. 12:2). We are not told where the third Heaven is, but possibly it's somewhere in the northern sky (Isa. 14:13). We do know that it is invisible to human eyes just like spirit beings can't be seen by us (2Cor. 4:18).
God also knew that His created beings would have to operate under His Law. These beings were sons of God (elohim) and they were given the Holy Spirit so they could communicate with The Father and each other. God anointed two of his sons as Covering Cherubs of the Council of the Elohim. One was later to become the Messiah (Col. 1:15) and one was the being (Lucifer) we now know as Satan (Ezek. 28:14-16). See also the papers Who is Jesus? (No. CB2) and The Creation of the Family of God (No. CB4).
God made Lucifer ruler over the newly created Earth, where millions of angels were sent to dwell. Lucifer was to govern the angels of the Earth by carrying out all of God's orders and Laws. Lucifer was very wise, good and capable. He was perfect in his ways when he was brought into being, and brilliant in knowledge and appearance. The name Lucifer meant Light Bringer, or Shining Star of the Dawn.
Because God created and owns the universe, He is the supreme ruler over it. Lucifer at first was subject to Him. He did all that God commanded. There were years and years of happiness and contentment among the angels while they and Lucifer obeyed every one of God's Laws. This was because God's Laws are given to make beings happy. Matters went very well as long as Lucifer obeyed Godís rules and instructions (Ezek. 28:13-15).
But in time he permitted wrong thoughts to come into his mind. "I am king over millions of angels," he thought. "With them I could form a great army powerful enough to attack God's angels that oppose us. If I could seize God's Throne in Heaven and depose God, I could become supreme ruler of the whole universe!" (Isa. 14:12-14).
The mere thought of conquering and replacing God caused great pride and ambition to grow. With it grew greed and a burning desire to carry out his desires.
At last Lucifer made his plans known to those who were most likely to listen to his tempting promises to make them rulers, under him, of other worlds, and to give high offices even in Heaven to those who would rebel with him. He was elated to learn that a third of all the angels were foolishly willing to risk their happiness by joining his evil cause (Rev. 12:4; Job 4:18). The other two thirds remained loyal to their Creator.
The pride, lust and greed that had grown from an evil idea caused Lucifer's great wisdom to become perverted. Otherwise, he would have known that successful war against his Creator would be impossible. His thinking was so distorted that from then on his reasoning became false. Filled with the belief that he could actually conquer his Creator, Lucifer moved to carry out his rebellious plan. With millions of angels willing to obey him instead of God, he swept up to Heaven with them for the attack.
The war that resulted between vast numbers of spirit beings was an incredible, awful thing. Human beings know nothing of the strange and cataclysmic forces that were used. Even hydrogen or cobalt bombs are puny compared to the powers at God's command. God has always been the most powerful being to exist. No armies of human beings or spirits are strong enough to dethrone Him.
Lucifer experienced dreadful defeat. The awesome power of the Creator was unleashed with such frightful force that the attackers were blasted out of Heaven and back down to Earth (2Pet. 2:4; Isa. 14:15).
God wasn't finished with the rebellious angels, however. Lucifer's sin of rebellion against the rule of God saw him confined to the planet as its ruler. He was to rule the Earth while we were brought up under him and taken out from his rule for another time and rule under Christ who would one day succeed him. By his actions in this part of Godís Plan he and his followers would be judged.
His name was changed to Satan, which means enemy in Hebrew (Rev. 12:9), as he is an enemy of the people of God. Those angels who had followed him were from then on known as slanderers or false accusers because they carry accusations against mankind. In the Greek this word was diabolos. The Hebrew word for these spirits was a shade or shades. They were also referred to as he-goats, or satyrs, from the worship seen in the pagan system of the god Pan in the desert. The word demon comes from the Greek meaning a deity or god. The words derived from this mean to be influenced, or exercised, by a fallen god or "demon". The Greek words come from the original term daimon which was used for spirit or divine power and was used for both good and bad senses. Luke 4:33 uses the word unclean with the word demon to denote it is evil.
The demons were not created evil. Like Christ and all the sons of God they were created with the capacity to know good and evil. But some chose to sin by rebellion and this commenced a war in the heavens, which is still going on today. This rebellion caused a split in Godís government. This led to the start of many false religions and false gods and a world full of evil.
Awful penalty of sin
Whenever God's Laws are broken, suffering, trouble and destruction are bound to follow. During the great battle when Satan and his demons tried to conquer God, an awesome change came over the Earth (Gen. 1:2). What had been a beautiful planet was turned into a cosmic wreck. We are unsure what caused this destruction. The atmosphere was contaminated. It appears that the rebellion of Satan and a third of the heavenly Host resulted in the destruction of the original creation.
Little or no physical life could survive through that terrible time. For a time our world stayed buried in a deep blanket of gases, smoke and water. Oceans covered the whole Earth. There was no longer any dry land. The atmosphere was so clogged with clouds of tiny bits of matter that no light could reach the seas. We don't know how long this condition lasted, but later came the time when God started preparing for a very important event in His great Plan. That was the bringing of human beings into existence.
God had lovingly created a beautiful world for His creatures. He would again recreate with His elohim the new age under which we humans now live.
There are several other planets besides Earth orbiting around our sun, and probably there are more here and there in the universe. As far as we know, Earth was the only planet God chose and prepared to be the home of human beings patterned after His image.
Present time creation
"And the Spirit of God moved over the face of the waters." Then in Genesis 2:1 we see: "Thus the heavens and the Earth were finished and all the host of them". This creation was in the present time (2Pet. 3:7) and was the six days of Godís creation (work) before He rested on the seventh day.
So, from Genesis 1:2-31 we see a new beginning after the rebellion and the universe was made empty and dark. The heavens and the Earth here are what we now see (2Pet. 3:7). It was destroyed again in the days of Noah by flood, but we will look at that in another study.
For five days God, assisted by the elohim, or the family of gods He created as their Father, worked at making Earth into a place that would be just right to support human life (Gen. 1:23). It took mighty power and awesome forces to alter the whole surface of the planet in less than a week.
The Father does the supreme planning. He decided what to do. Then He told a particular messenger, or angel (from the Greek word for messenger) who is known as the "Word of God" because he was to be the spokesman, speaking as the Father commands Him. This Great Angel is the one who appeared to the Patriarchs and gave the Law to Moses. He was later born as a human, and became Jesus Christ. Instantly the mighty and all-powerful Holy Spirit produced whatever the Word commanded. That is how God created and formed everything of this age by and through Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:3).
On the first day of reforming Earth's surface, God said, "Let there be light." He separated the light from the darkness and called the light Ďdayí and the darkness Ďnightí. So, much of the smoke, gases and matter that filled the skies was cleared away. Thus a little light came through to Earth for the first time since Satan and his demons were cast back from Heaven (Gen. 1:2-5).
On the second day God produced a vast layer of fresh air over the Earth. Through it much of the water vapours seeped upward to form massive, clean clouds high in the sky, and healthy air that could be safely breathed. This combination of healthy gases was necessary to keep man alive (Gen. 1:6-8). God called this atmosphere Heaven (Gen. 1:8). He also spoke of two other heavens: one is the space beyond our atmosphere (Gen. 1:14), and the other, called the third Heaven, is where His Throne is (Acts 7:49; 2Cor. 12:2). He doesn't tell us where it is, and astronomers have never seen it because it's invisible as a spirit structure. The things that are seen are made from the things that are not seen.
On the third day, the Creator moulded Earth's crust so that some of it was high and some of it was low. The great layer of water surrounding the planet drained into the low areas, causing various shapes of seas. Large areas of land were left above water, forming continents (Gen. 1:9-10). On the continents God caused vegetation Ė trees, bushes, flowers and grass Ėto grow out of the ground. In that same day the lands began to be green with plants of all kinds springing up from the soil (Gen. 1:11-13).
On the fourth day the Creator swept the last of the dust and harmful gases from the skies, thus letting the sun, moon and stars shine in their full brilliance on the lands and seas. And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the Earth." And it was so. God had made two great lights Ė the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. Of course this is talking about the sun and the moon. Then he made the stars (Gen. 1:14-19). Here we see Godís Calendar being instituted right from the beginning. See also Psalm 104:19.
On the fifth day He placed whales and all kinds of water creatures in the sea. On that day He also formed various types of birds to fly through the air. Soon the skies and the waters were swarming with living things.
The Creator had renewed the face of the Earth and filled it with numerous kinds of life in five days. At last He was almost ready to bring man into being. But before creating man on the sixth day, there were special land creatures to be brought on the scene. Those included elephants, cattle, horses, rodents, worms, insects and every kind of thing that walks, creeps or crawls (Gen. 1:24-25).
Finally God performed the most important task of physical work. Using the material from which He formed the Earth, He made a human being! (Gen. 1:26-28).
The heavens and the Earth were created by the elohim who said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the Earth and over all the creatures that move along the ground" (Gen. 1:26). The humans were commanded to go forth and replenish (or fill) the Earth (Gen. 1:28; cf. Ps. 8 and Heb. 2:6-8).
Although the elohim had a variety of roles in the creation, the One True God made the Earth by His power and wisdom.
Jeremiah 10:12-13It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. 13 When he utters his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightnings for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses. (RSV)
The Lord God formed the first man from of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being (Gen. 2:7).
God named this first human being Adam. He was the first living mortal man on this planet (1Cor. 15:45). The Creator had already prepared a beautiful garden for Adam to live and work in (Gen. 2:8). This was in Eden, a land in the Middle East including what is now the area of Israel and north to the Tigris-Euphrates basin.
God had planned to create humans. He knew that Adam would become lonely if he was the only human being but He decided to create through him as well. He took one of Adam's ribs, while he was sleeping, and formed it into a woman. She was given to Adam for a companion. Adam named the woman Eve (Gen. 2:18-22).
All of this God made and created in six days of work. Each day then was just twenty-four hours long and had a night and a day just as it has now. Then God saw everything that He had made, and it was very good (Gen. 1:31).
Thus the heavens and the Earth were finished in all their vast array (Gen. 2:1).
On the seventh day God rested from His six days of tremendous labour (Gen. 2:2-3). He called that seventh day the Sabbath (Ex. 16:26), thus creating a special day of rest and setting it apart as a twenty-four hour period as His particular Holy Day. He made a Law that man should observe that same day every week by resting and assembling for worship on the seventh day. God made that day holy time, and commanded all people to always keep it holy. As we know already the Fourth Commandment tells us to keep the Sabbath day holy. The first six days were for man to work and play, but the seventh and last day of the week God kept for Himself (Ex. 20:8-11). See also the paper The Sabbath Day (No. CB21).
We are told that the seventh day (Sabbath) is to remind us of the Lordís rest from His work at the end of the creation week. But Christ tells us in the Bible that he and the Father are still working (Jn. 5:17). So, this rest is ongoing and is a sign of a future rest (see Heb. 4:1-4).
Thus ended the first week in the history of the refashioned planet on which human beings have now lived for six thousand years.
If we look very closely at the first week of creation we can see Godís Plan of Salvation. The week of creation started on the first day of the week (Sunday) and went to the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday). The Bible tells us that a day is like a thousand years to the Lord (2Pet. 3:8). The creation week is seen as picturing seven thousand years, which is Godís Plan for mankind.
For the first six thousand years mankind is under the rule of Satan and the demons. The last thousand years is termed the Day of the Lord. This will be the Millennium under the rule of Jesus Christ and his elect, when he returns to take over from Satan. "And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years" (see Rev. 20:4).