Remember that featureless flat sea in verse 2? Now imagine a blank sheet of paper and draw a picture of our solar system: nine planets and the sun at the centre. So, ten varying sized circles of different colours. Now stretch them out to full size, making them 3-dimensional and add matter. You got it! It’s that simple. The starting point, that featureless flat sea, is the concept that God had. And what did God do to establish space–time and matter? He declared light. But perhaps the most exciting thing is that we find this concept hidden in God’s heart.
Now let’s add some basic physics to see how God’s first step in creation, light, caused the concept to appear.
m = mass or matter
E = energy, but in this discussion it is the power of God
l = distance (light-years), or space in the generalised context
t = time
c = speed of light, but Genesis 1 hints at this as light without a light source
In simpler words, when God said “Let there be light”, His concept, that was as yet formless and void – just His desire, sprang into existence as space–time and matter. God said that He separated the light from the dark. Couldn’t this be the stretching out of the created matter through the heavens to leave the dark, black void of space in-between? God named the light and darkness, Day and Night, which is the measure of time. So the beginning of time, distance and matter all spring out of the power of God and light:
And who is the power of God? ... The Holy Spirit.
And who is the light? ... Jesus.
Verse 2 pictures The Father’s heart with the Holy Spirit poised and ready to implement His will and then in verse 3, through Jesus, the Light of the world, all things are created.
I think this is a valid extension of the plain reading that gives insight into the physics behind creation. It does not deny the plain reading as a valid simplification. It does not deny that at the end of the first day we have the planet earth spinning on its axis but we know that all the other heavenly bodies were also in existence in some as-yet-undefined state because it is not until day 4 that their purpose is revealed.
Late update: After writing this, I saw the COI Universe Model which is a physical process by which God may well have created the universe. This process is blindingly fast and was first described in Appendix C4 and then later in the on-line supplements at Page-1-God.com. So there is more technical detail available than it simply, “sprang into existence”, but you have to dig a little deeper into the physics as well as the Word of God. The physics will always be debatable but the truly amazing thing is how much scriptural consistency you discover. This chapter is still essential to undergird that scriptural support.
The more I thought about this over the next few days the more I got excited. I had pictured light as the stuff that comes from a light globe. It is the easiest thing for us, mere man, to create. And where was all the effort in separating light from dark? Though I had read the words it always seemed a bit simplistic for light alone to take up 1/6th of creation. But now I could see God’s will and plan for this whole universe, space–time and matter, and all the laws of physics, spring into existence exactly as He had planned it. At the end of that first day there was a water-covered planet and the plain reading was valid.
Confusion about light without a light source disappeared because it was not the mere light emitted from a light source that God was alluding to, but space–time and matter. In other places I had said that it was the height of arrogance for man to demand that God describe creation with technical details demanded by 20th century science. But for those who have eyes to see, it is there.
The formless and void description of the starting point, that initially seemed to be a highly structured planet covered in water, now took on a clear meaning. In the beginning, before time even started, there was nothing but the will and plan of God that was about to take shape – it was as yet formless and void.
It is well understood that light makes things visible (Ephesians 5:13). To make things visible sounds a lot like turning an abstract concept into reality. But light and creation and the power of God are much more powerfully represented in scripture. It could be summarised like this:
Or another way:
Now I am mixing metaphors about Jesus with the mechanics of physical creation. But I am 100% convinced that every word and nuance of Genesis 1 was chosen by God to reflect much higher things than the nuts and bolts of the creation process. Indeed He created and described things exactly as He did in order to point to these higher purposes. There is no higher purpose than to reveal Jesus. God chose these symbols and the laws of physics to reflect the first and most important thing that we need to know, namely Jesus. As all things came into being though the declaration of light then so too we know that all things came into being through Jesus.
So in the basic physics of light and the symbolic relationship of light and Jesus, I recognise that the whole universe materialised within the Genesis 1:3 declaration, “Let there be light”. When a concept develops to a place where I see Jesus more clearly, I know I am onto something. So the New Testament revelation of Jesus allows us to see that the whole universe was brought into existence in this declaration of light.
I must add a clarification. I have heard someone from a troubled sect say that Jesus is light and so Jesus was the first thing created by God. This is woeful, and willingly ignorant of many scriptures showing that Jesus was with his Father before creation began. I have talked about Jesus as the light of the world, as a spiritual truth. This truth lets us see that all things, the whole universe, came into being in this declaration just as all things came into existence through Jesus. But the light of day 1 was the physical universe appearing, not Jesus through whom it was created.
But I have said more than all things were created in this light. I have said that the concept, the plan and will of God and His eternal purposes, which existed before this universe appeared, manifested as a physical realm, distinct from heaven. Some people will struggle to see these eternal attributes of God as real in Genesis 1:2, albeit formless and void. But even here Jesus is our key. Jesus is personified as Light and he came into the world as light. The most real thing in Heaven, Jesus, manifested himself in this universe. I will also talk in the next section on predestination that also shows how the will of God was absolutely real before the universe began.
When the things I share in this section on light became clear to me, I wondered why it was not obvious earlier. But the insights of this section unfolded over a few weeks and now months. It has been a paradigm shift to switch from the physical light of a light globe to LIGHT not linked to a light source; to light that alludes to Jesus and to the power of God through His Word; and to fundamental properties of this universe and even to time itself!
One of the hurdles is to see things as God sees them. We might ask the question, “How could God describe this water-covered planet as something real before it was created?” Initially I treated this question as an excuse to reject what I just shared, but the response I developed here went much deeper. So this section became a series of points to help us grasp how God sees His will and plan as real.
First, the picturing of the water-covered planet as something real in this realm; that is in this universe, before light was created has some technical problems. I have already described these in the earlier section on “Time and Light” in chapter 24. Once you realise that verse 2 is not talking about something in this realm, because it is before the beginning of time, it helps to remember that it is God, not man, who is picturing this. God described it as formless and void, not real. It helps to study the will of God and predestination (Romans 8:29). If God had not seen you and me rejoicing with Him in heaven as something real then He would never have sent His son Jesus to the Cross.
God does not use words like real. He sees things as eternal or temporary; truthful or a lie:
So, can you see how God sees His eternal purposes as more real than the things of this universe?
I have already mentioned that the featureless flat sea in Genesis 1:2 is like a blank sheet of paper waiting to be written on. Actually not blank, but with the plans already inscribed – it was just waiting to appear. But verse 2 describes this sea as covered in darkness. Here are a multitude of scriptures where God covers, surrounds or dwells in dark clouds: Exodus 20:21, Deuteronomy 4:11, 2 Samuel 22:10, 1 Kings 8:12, 2 Chronicles 6:1, Psalm 18:9-11, Psalm 97:2. So how natural is it for us to now see that God was picturing His own heart; His very self below this darkness?
I have always taken these dark clouds as God’s way of veiling His presence because we cannot handle His full-on radiance in this fallen world. Now, as I think about verse 2, I wonder if God was not veiling His heart for those who would later seek Him.
Further, in Genesis 15:12, when God spoke to Abraham about things that were to come, Abraham was enveloped in a great darkness. (The word used here for darkness is different to that in verse 2 but it is very subtle and I leave it to you to make what you will of the difference.) Just as God spoke to Abraham about his future from within the darkness, so here in Genesis 1:2 God is speaking of the earth that was about to come. If that is the way God conceals Himself and speaks of the future later in Genesis and Exodus, can we let Him do it here in verse 2, in order to leave a concealed revelation to those who seek Him?
Genesis 1:2 also says that “darkness was over the face of the deep”. Now there is no doubt that “the deep” can refer to water. Indeed, verse 2 continues and says that “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”. But “deep” has some amazing uses in the Bible, in particular it talks about the “deep things of God” and how “deep calls to deep”. Have a look at these scriptures: Job 11:7, Psalm 42:7, Psalm 92:5, Psalm 95:4, Proverbs 20:5, Daniel 2:22, Romans 8:26 and 1 Corinthians 2:10. Does this help you picture how God has revealed the depth of His heart in Genesis 1:2? As time went by, I found more scriptures linking man’s heart and the deep: Psalm 64:6 and Proverbs 25:2-3.
So, the link between God’s heart and this deep is unequivocal, but will you allow yourself to see that the purpose of this introduction is to picture God’s heart before time began, more than the physical deep sea?
In these last few sections I have talked about the things of God to picture what His introduction is telling us. Some people, and with a degree of justification, don’t like reinterpreting what they see as a physical, nuts-and-bolts description of the mechanics of creation, with spiritual similes because it can be used to twist scripture. Even though I advocate it here, I strongly recommend that you carefully consider this question. Do not be quick to accept just any old suggestion. But in this case, take note of these points:
I have not twisted scripture in regard to all things being created in the declaration of light – I have revealed Jesus in creation and the Father’s heart. I have fulfilled scripture.
I did not come to this point by invoking similes. I came to this point from the fact that verses 1&2 are an introduction and not an act of creation. I am upholding scripture.
I established that verse 2 must be talking about something before time began, and hence before this universe was created, both from scripture and from the laws of physics – not via similes. I demonstrate that scripture is confirmed by science.
So these sections are not twisting scripture, but they are helping us picture the eternal reality of God’s perspective. OK! ... This is a perspective that was hidden until Jesus was revealed. Why has it taken 2,000 years for us to see God’s heart? Why now? That is the question you must ask, but don’t use it as an excuse to dismiss this revelation.