Review Importance of Creation, Gen. 1
Unbelief and paganism is always trying to spin divine viewpoint into its own frame of reference. Human viewpoint is constantly trying to take the Word of God and just shift it, just twist it and slightly reshape it into something that is acceptable to rebellious, autonomous man, rather than dealing with the radical distinction that the Bible presents that God is the God who created everything from nothing. This is what we see in the first eleven chapters of Genesis and why they are the battleground. In divine viewpoint God is the one who interprets for us creation. He tells us how to understand His creation; we don't generate it on our own through rationalism of empiricism.
Origins and the study of origins is important. That is why it is a battlefield; that is why it needs to be a battlefield in education. How we view origins affects everything. The origination or beginning of anything, any organization, any task, is directly related to its purpose and meaning. So if we want to understand why a church exists we have to go back to its founding, its origin. Why did Jesus Christ found the church? What is its purpose? The purpose of any organization is directly related to its origins. So when God intentionally executed and planned the creation of mankind it was for a purpose, and He is the one who defines the meaning and purpose for creation, in contrast to human viewpoint and all the various views of origins that man has generated. Ultimately in every system man is just the product of time plus chance if you push it back far enough. And ultimately the meaning for man is derived from something in creation. For example, in Marxism the ultimate purpose for man is derived from society itself and how man functions in society as a worker and his role in relationship to the economy and society. In existentialism meaning comes from the individual himself. You assign your own meaning to life, there is no meaning assigned from God; meaning is determined by what you want life to be. This ultimately is what happens in postmodernism: meaning is whatever each culture determines the meaning is—there is no absolute truth, it is relative to a culture. But the Bible says over against all that is that man is created in the image of God and he has a purpose in resolving the angelic conflict. So one's view of origins, then, becomes the foundation for everything in society. This is why there is such a radical battle over what is taught in public schools.
We have seen that Genesis presents God as unique in contrast to all the gods and goddesses of all the other ancient near eastern religions. In Genesis chapter one the emphasis is on God's majesty, His power/omnipotence, that God creates everything. He has the omniscience to create all of the different life systems on the planet so that everything works together and is completely integrated. We see His sovereignty, that He is the ruler over creation. He is the one who defines creation and man's role in creation. He stands, nevertheless, completely apart from creation and is the one who rules creation and oversees the history of mankind. Psalm 89:11, "The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them." When we look at Genesis we see the emphasis on God as creator, and the first thing we see is that God is distinguished from the creation—the creator-creature distinction. 1 Chronicles 16:26, "For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens." Nehemiah 9:6, "Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee."
We se that God reveals Himself to man. He is not only the God of Israel but He is the God of all the people, the God who created everything. He is the one who speaks and everything comes into existence. Psalm 33:6, "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth."
We see that it is God who restores life where there is death. In Genesis 1:1 we note that there was an original creation, and then in Genesis 1:2 there is darkness on the face of the deep, and the earth is without form and void. Of course, this brings into focus a controversy and that is: is there a gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2? There is an old view, the "old gap" view. This view has been traced back at least as far back as the second century AD in the Targum of Johnathan, which recognizes that there is in Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 a lapse of time during which the angels are created and there is the fall of Lucifer. That view is also supported throughout the centuries until we get down to the 19th century. In the 19th century there was a lot of pressure from historical geology and from biology, from uniformitarianism. Uniformitarianism is the underlying idea that all processes on the earth follow a uniform decay process, and claims that if you can understand what that process is today then you can extrapolate back into the past to see how old the earth is. Historical geology in the 19th century was projecting an age of the earth of about 50-60,000 years. In the early 19th century some theologians came along and were trying to somehow fit the Bible into these new discoveries in science, so they hi-jacked this old gap view and decided that instead of having the angels and the fall of Lucifer in this period between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 they would ram, cram, and jamb all of the historical ages in there so that the Bible could still fit with modern science and the earth can be 50-60,000 years old. It is one thing to make the earth 50-60,000 years old but to come up with three or four billion years as is done today, or ten billion years, is another story. This was all false. It was based on false exegesis and a desire to make the Bible compatible with human viewpoint. So once again we see how human viewpoint seeks to absorb the Bible and to put a spin on the Bible so there is not a radical distinction between what the Bible says and what is being taught in the secular classroom.
One of the basic problems with the above view is that if you put all of the geological ages into this period between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 it results in a big problem, because you have a lot of dead things. All the fossils that are found out there are dead things. The Bible teaches in 1 Corinthians 15 that death came by Adam. The context isn't spiritual death, it is physical death because the context is talking about physical, bodily resurrection. Obviously you can't have physical death which is the result of Adam's sin in all of creation until after Genesis 3. So you can't have dead things coming in between 1:1 and 1:2 because there hasn't been a fall yet. So this is a direct attack on the necessity of the cross. It is also a desire to assimilate to the need to find lots and lots and lots of time. The only reason people are coming up with time is because they want to somehow assimilate all the dating mechanisms that modern biology, geology and physics can come up with. We have seen that this is all built on the false assumption of uniformitarianism which is how they analyze everything with their dating systems. We have to quit letting science and modern archaeology dictate how we interpret the Scripture.
The old gap theory is often challenged because people don't like the new gap view, but the old gap view doesn't really have any major problems.