The Universe And The History of Man
by Maurice Barnett
September 27, 2000
Bible believers accept the Bible record as absolute truth in whatever it teaches, regardless of how things may appear to be. The Bible is always true. "Let God be found true, but every man a liar," Romans 3:4. The Bible teaches us that God is absolute perfection and everything He has ever done has been perfect for His purpose. Deuteronomy 32:4 says,
"He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he."
Hebrews 11:3 says "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God." The word "framed" comes from katartidzo which means "to make perfect," "to furnish completely." We must conclude that the universe, as God created it, was perfect for what He intended, even to declaring his power and divinity, Romans 1:18-23. The testimony of inspiration is that God only had to "speak" what He wanted and it happened. It was framed "by the word of God." Genesis one simply records that "God said" and it was so. Isaiah 48:3 sums that up by saying,
"I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass."
It went forth out of the mouth of God and He created the universe suddenly, not over billions of years. It was perfect. It was not a jumbled chaos. Isaiah 45:18 says,
"For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it: he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the the Lord; and there is none else."
In the phrase, "created it not in vain," the word, "vain" refers to chaos. Each step taken over the six days of Genesis 1 was an orderly step. God did not create the earth a chaos but rather for the purpose of being inhabited by man. God already had a plan for this universe and all that's in it before the first move was made toward creation. Take note that the phrases used in Scripture relative to the universe in general and the earth in particular all refer to the same creation of Genesis 1. As we will see, this creative week is looked at from different points of view in scripture, yet there is complete harmony of Old and New Testament teaching on the subject.
Every beginning student knows that God is eternal, that He has always existed, Psalm 90:2. It's obvious that the Godhead existed before creation, as the prime creator. The Godhead is included in the plural form of "God" in Genesis 1:1. Note the following scriptures:
"And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." John 17:5.
"... for thou lovest me before the foundation of the world." John 17:24.
"... (Christ) who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of the times for your sake ..." I Peter 1:20
The phrases, "before the world was" and "before the foundation of the world" both mean the same thing, referring to God's existence before any creative effort was made. The word "foundation" means "to lay down" something or "to found" it. However, God did not create on a spur of the moment whim, nor an exercise to see just what He could put together, nor as simple amusement as a playground, nor as a "build and change as you go" project without some plan. Everything was according to a decided plan, intelligently conceived in the mind of God and then performed. Proverbs 3:19 says, "Jehovah by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding he established the heavens." The purpose of the universe, this earth and all associated with it, even with a contingency plan for the redemption of fallen man and eternal life for the righteous was all decided on before any action was taken for the creation of the universe. Look at the evidence.
"... but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, even the wisdom that hath been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds unto our glory." I Corinthians 2:7 (The NIV translates the phrase as "before time began").
"... even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will ..." Ephesians 1:4-5
"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ... " Matthew 25:34
"But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:" II Thessalonians 2:13.
Though the plans were made before creation, none of these passages teach Calvinist predestination. Man is a free moral agent and can make decisions about serving God or not. Such an eventuality as fallen man, and what to do about that, was built into God's plans. Man sinned and the scheme of redemption was set in order. But, it had been in God's plans from before the beginning of creation. The same is true about our being foreknown. That is not foreknowledge of a specific individual but of the righteous as a class of people. All of this was decided upon before the very first move was made by God to create!
Since The Beginning
The above points are further enforced by scripture teaching that this universe, our solar system, this earth and all that is in it were all made for mankind. Isaiah 45:18, which we have already looked at, says,
"For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited:"
God formed the earth for the habitation of man, all things necessary to man's existence and as an object of man's domination. Man is the highest living form in this universe, made in the image of God. Psalm 8:3-8 says,
"When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet; All sheep and oxen, yea, the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas."
This coincides with Genesis 2:26,
"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and every living thing that moveth upon the earth."
God did not intend for mankind to remain in the garden of Eden when he was placed there. "Replenish" meant to fill up the earth. Man was to spread out and accomplish what God had set for him to do. Psalm 8 enlarges on God's purpose for man to rule over what He had made to include all of His creation. Man is just now beginning to show this ability to really do this. Though back through history there are records of great achievements by exceptional men, modern man has far surpassed them, mainly due to advanced technology, not a lack of inherent ability. Man has always been in the image of his creator. We have harnessed the suns power for energy, walked on the moon, landed vehicles on Mars and sent spacecraft beyond our solar system guided by locking on a distant star. We are unlocking the secrets of DNA and have conquered many diseases. All this in addition to showing we can master our physical world. If God lets this world stand long enough, even greater things will man accomplish.
The question asked in Psalm 8 about what is man that thou art mindful of him is answered in God's purpose of creation. To look into the immensity of the universe, into its variety and power, will make us stand in awe. It shows God's power and divinity, done to glorify god. There is no "life" anywhere else in this universe but earth. Man might as well quit looking for it. The universe was all created for man and is coexistent with him. When you start with Genesis one, you find the beginning of this universe and humanity within the same time slot, the beginning, the foundation of the earth, or the creation of heaven and earth and all that is in them; it is expressed in different ways. There was no old gap, new gap nor billions of years of slow development in any sense.
(1) Mark 10:6 says,
"But from the beginning of the creation, Male and female made he them."
Matthew 19:4 just says "from the beginning." So, from the beginning and from the beginning of creation are parallel. Or, it could have been expressed in the words of Genesis 1:1, In the beginning, God created. These passages emphasize the continuity of from the beginning. God made them male and female according to Genesis 1:27. And, there has been male and female ever since. Whatever we can see now in the distinction of the sexes is exactly what it has been from the beginning of creation. As created in the beginning, humans have been ever since. The only difference has been relative age as compared to preflood time. To illustrate this further, look at II Peter 3:4-6.
"... and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they wilfully forget, that there were heavens from of old, and an earth compacted out of water and amidst water, by the word of God; by which means the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:"
The phrase "from the beginning of the creation" is exactly the same in both Greek and English as that of Mark 10:6. The rejoinder of Peter was that a catastrophe occurred that destroyed the world by flood and God says that the whole universe will end with the earth being destroyed by fire. Otherwise, it was true that what they saw around them then had continued from the beginning of the creation.
From Mark 10:6 and Matthew 19:4 we learn that God established the rules of acceptable marriage when he created man. Marriage rules are inherent in the distinction between man and woman. Note: Jesus says that "for this cause" shall a man leave father and mother and cleave unto his wife, a reference to Genesis 2:26. The "cause" he refers to is that God made them male and female. Jesus thus ties Genesis 1:27 and 2:26 together. There is no contradiction between the two chapters; rather, they compliment one another. The rules are inherent in sex distinctions originating in creation, having been planned in the mind of God before creation and before the rules were stated. Ephesians 5:22-33 details marriage responsibilities and relies on the above facts as authority.
(2) Mark 13:19
"For those days shall be tribulation, such as there hath not been the like from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never shall be."
Matthew 24:21 says, "Tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now." From the beginning of the creation means the same as from the beginning of the world; anything within the creation week was designated as the beginning of the creation or the beginning. This passage can only have any sense if we understand that humanity existed from the beginning who could have experienced any tribulation that might have happened.
(3) Romans 1:20
"For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity."
Notice that the creation of the world and the things that are made, including the rest of the universe, are speaking of the same thing. The invisible things, God's power and divinity, are manifest in what God has made, the universe, this world and all that's in it. This has been evident ever since the creation. But, the understanding of this passage is based on the necessary existence of someone to see God's creation! Man has existed from the beginning of the creation, since the creation, to "see" God's power and divinity in what is made. The evidence today is the same as at the creation of the world; what they saw at the creation of the world is what we see today that manifests God's power and divinity!
(4) Hebrews 9:25-26
"... nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place year by year with blood not his own; else must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once at the end of the ages hath he been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."
Any yearly sacrifice for sin that might have been necessary would have no meaning without the human race. Sin has no meaning without an intelligent, fully functioning, accountable human being who commits the sin and would need the sacrifice! This passage goes back to the foundation of the world and means that the human race is coexistent with the world. The foundation of the world is also the foundation of the human race.
(5) Revelation 13:8
"And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, every one whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain."
Names that would or would not be written in the book of life would have meaning only with men. Thus, man has existed from the foundation of the world and there was no universe before that.
(6) Hebrews 4:3
"For we who have believed do enter into that rest; even as he hath said, As I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world."
This speaks of creation week when God rested from his work. But, it says that His works were finished from the foundation of the world. That specifically refers us to when His work concluded on the sixth day. Some have tried to prove that the Sabbath rest of God is still in existence because of the verses that follow this one in Hebrews. Thus, it is said that this proves each day of creation, like the seventh day, is thousands if not millions of years long. No, the word Sabbath is used here as a description of our rest from labors in heaven that is yet to come. Notice verse 10,
"For he that is entered into his rest hath himself also rested from his works, as God did from his."
Note the past tense. Revelation 14:13 says, "And I heard the voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them." At that time, we will enter our rest "as God did from his." God's works were finished with the foundation of the world, works which included the creation of Adam and Eve.
(7) Hebrews 1:10
"Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thy hands."
Notice that it was "in the beginning" when He laid the foundation of the earth along with the heavens. When you get back to the beginning of Genesis 1:1ff and John 1:1-3, you are at the foundation of the earth, the foundation of the world, the beginning of the world, the beginning of creation of the universe and other like phrases.
God states the purpose of his creation of the heavens and especially the earth - "he formed it to be inhabited." The history of humanity is parallel with the history of the universe. Both go back to the same time, The Beginning, aand will wind up together at The End. When God brings the human race to an end, He will bring the universe itself to an end at the same time, II Peter 3:7, I Corinthians 15:24. There was no such thing as time before the creation of this universe and all that's in it. "Time" is tied to the physical world, the measurement of the passage of events. Take note: between when time began and when time will be no more lies the history of man and the universe together.
Email: Maurice Barnett
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