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The Theological Message of Genesis Chapter 1
The ultimate purpose of God in His work of creation is to display His glory in its fullness and to fill the earth with it (Krell 2005). All other doctrines and beliefs in opposition to this message and its implications are thereby repudiated and rejected. God deals only with absolutes. What are some of these theories and how do they differ?
This is the belief or doctrine that either God does not exist (Harlow 2004, Krell 2005, Power of Hope 2010, Hyers 2011). Genesis 1:1 does not only repudiate this belief. It assumes on the existence of God. The first verse, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth," identifies Him as the creator of all things. At the same time, it relates the origin of the world. It states that God existed before everything was created and created by Him. It repudiates and rejects pantheism and agnosticism. Pantheism rejects the personality of God and identifies Him only with nature or the material universe. Agnosticism denies claims that ultimate knowledge can be certain. Genesis states that God transcends nature and reveals Himself. . The Book does not attempt to prove His existence and just proceeds to talk about Him. It points to creation as the sole act of God and without mention of any other agent or companion. Creation means causing something to exist from nothing. Only God can create. Human beings can produce something or do something from something else, which already exists. That which already exists was created by God. Former President A. Cressy Morrison of the New York Academy of Sciences listed 7 reasons why a scientist believes in God. First, a great engineering Intelligence can be arrived at or proved by unfaltering mathematical laws. Second, that all pervading Intelligence is manifested in the resourcefulness of life to achieve its purpose. Third, animal instinct speaks of a benevolent God, Who put it in them to protect them. Fourth, human beings possess both reason and instinct. Fifth, genetic wonders also speak of the provision for all living things. Sixth, God's existence explains the economy of nature. And seventh, man's very notion of God presupposes God's existence (Krell, Power of Hope, Harlow, Hyers).
Genesis makes it clear that there is only one God. Genesis makes it clear that there is only one God (Hyers 2011). Polytheism is a belief in more than one god or God. Polytheism developed from ancient Near Eastern paganism. Genesis also implicitly rejects the belief in generative beginnings, such as theogony or the birth of gods, and cosmogony, the birth of the cosmos. Ancient peoples believed that the cosmos was literally born. They were a polytheistic people, who believed that the main elements of the universe came to be because of the births of gods and goddesses and their power struggles, jealousies and conflicts. These polytheists of ancient times perceived all of nature as supernatural. Their gods and goddesses were the natural forces of darkness, earth, the light, sky and vegetation. They also revered the sun, moon and stars as divine. Even kings and pharaohs were viewed and served as sons of gods (Hyers).
Genesis is often compared with the Babylonian epic of creation, entitled, "Enuma Elish (Hyers 2011)." This epic relates creation through theomacy or war among the gods. The fresh water god Apsu and his consort salt water goddess Tiamat procreated Anshar and Kishar, gods of the horizon. They produced the sky god Anu and the earth goddess Ea. Gods staged rebellion and killed Apsu. They replaced him with Marduk. He killed Tiamat and cut her remains into two, one forming the sky and the other, the earth. Genesis indirectly but forcefully rejects this doctrine (Hyers)
The Old Testament, however, does not reject all the aspects of this myth (Hyers 2011). It contains texts, which describe God creating the world by defeating cosmic forces of chaos. The Psalms, Wisdom, and the Revelations speak of God slaying a sea monster, serpent or dragon. In job 26:12-13, God engages in cosmic combat. Psalm 74:12-13 relates God dividing the sea by His might, of breaking the heads of the Dragons in water and crushing the heads of Leviathan. When read with Genesis, these passages in the myth also suggest the plurality or religious understanding of ancient Israel. But Genesis clarifies this polytheistic language and concepts. God need not battle with other gods or monsters because He is the Almighty (Hyers).
Genesis repudiates this belief as it establishes a clear distinction between God and His material creation (Krell 2005). It tries to explain the existence of the universe only in natural terms. Isaiah 45:18 establishes that God alone is responsible and behind the creation of the world and nature itself. Its opponents always point to coincidence or other probabilities in nature when explaining a miraculous event. They attempt to prove that all of the universe is matter and devoid of spiritual and intellectual existence. Genesis totally contradicts this belief about who God is. He is a spirit and everything in creation was created by His intellect (Krell).
Genesis reveals timeless and vital theological truths, which are standard (Harlow 2004). Every era will produce its own assumptions and interpretations. One of these is a material basis for the existence of anything. Genesis provides the only and absolute standard that God is a transcendent, sovereign and free Supreme Being and Creator of the universe. He created the universe with a clear purpose. Neither is the physical universe an illusion or evil. It is, in fact, ultimately real and good as God intended it to be, although it is as yet finite. All of reality is completely dependent on God for its creation and existence. Human beings, who are created in His image and likeness, are meant to relate and be united with God (Harlow).
Genesis rejects this theory because He created all things. Theistic evolution believes that living things evolved from lower forms and that God supervises the process (Krell 2005). Today's scholars believe that God created living things directly and uses evolution to continuously create things indirectly, using nature's laws, which He created (Krell).
Genesis does not teach any special creation. But an increasing body of evidence appears to support its compatibility with an evolving creation within the Christian view (Harlow 2004). Evidence suggests that God ordained mechanisms and processes to allow life to develop or emerge in a way that does not contradict Genesis. What contradicts Genesis is atheistic evolution, which credits metaphysical naturalism and philosophical materialism. It appears that nothing in Genesis says that God created only through natural causes or intervenes at certain stages in supplementing the effects of these natural causes (Harlow).
But strict reading of Genesis shows that the work of God has ended when He rested on the seventh day (Power of Hope 2010). Otherwise, He would not be sovereign. It would also justify the belief in atheistic creation and evolution. It would place a creature on the same level as his Creator (Power of Hope).
The Pursuit of Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes
Solomon, the third king of Israel, seemed to have everything (Krell 2008). He was very wealthy, very intelligent, very powerful and very much wanted. He was a king who had thousands of wives and concubines to please him at all times. But just like any other person, he sought the true reason for living, which alone produces lasting happiness. The first 11 verses of Ecclesiastes Chapter 1 investigate the three main categories of pursuits through which he sought true life and lasting happiness. These are human history, physical nature and human nature. He narrows his search down to personal experience in 1:12-2:26. In his memoirs, he lists four broad categories for the search and then relates the failure of his search (Krell). These four categories are education, pleasure, wisdom and work.
In 1:12-18, Solomon says that even the best education cannot address life's mysteries (Krell 2008). His external search for wisdom brought him no satisfaction. He gained vast intellectual knowledge under the sun and found it nothing but vanity and a striving "after the wind." He would have studied the humanities and sciences, e.g., literature and art, psychology, sociology, astronomy, physics, theology and philosophy. Yet he described his deep search as nothing but a "grievous task." All the knowledge could not straighten what was crooked or provide what was missing. Then he tried an internal search. He intensified wisdom more than any man could in his time. In the end, he found the endeavor another striving "after the wind," which only increased his pain (Krell).
He saw life as a single chance to grab all the pleasure he could find, as related by Ecclessiastes 2:1-11 (Krell 2008). But he also found that the satisfaction became less with each fulfillment. He tried six kinds of pleasure in his search for true life and lasting happiness. These are humor, wine, projects, possessions, music…[continue]
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