February 17, 2019

“And it was so”

By James E. Cooper

The words that serve as the title of this article appear several times in the first chapter of Genesis. They emphasize the f a c t that God spoke the worlds into existence, and what God spoke "was so."

The first verse in the Bible asserts "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." In this simple statement we have the Bible declaration of the origin of the material universe.

The world did not come into being by accident, but by the fiat of the ever-living and Almighty God. The material universe has not always existed, but came into being "in the beginning." Just when "the beginning" was, and by what processes God brought things into existence, we are not informed. It is sufficient for the believer to believe that God spoke "and it was so."

The second verse of the Bible says, "And the earth was waste and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." These words do not necessarily describe the condition of the material universe at the time it was created by God in the beginning. The verb translated "was" in verse 2 could just as accurately be translated "became," as the Hebrew has no separate form for "was" and "became." The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament) renders it "became." Since the details of this chaotic condition-- how it came to be and why--are not pertinent to the Scheme of Human Redemption, we must leave our questions unanswered on this point (cf. Deut. 29:29).

The description of the arrangement of the universe as we know it begins in Verse 3. Things as they appear to us came about as the result of the fiat of God. The writer of Hebrews says, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear" (Heb. 11:3). That this refers to the arrangement of the worlds is learned from the word translated "were framed." Katartidzo means, "to render fit, complete," (Abbott-Smith, MANUAL LEXICON OF THE N. T. p. 238). Thayer says that here it means, "to fit out, put in order, arrange, adjust" (p. 336). But, that that passage includes the origin of all things material is discerned from that portion which states, "things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." The visible creation was not molded out of pre-existing materials, but was made before there was anything. (Barnes, Notes on Heb. 13:3).

The word translated "word" in Heb. 1:1-3 does not refer to Christ, the Logos (cf. Jno. 1:1 ff.). The word here is not logos, but rema, defined by Thayer as "that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, word," and in this passage meaning "the word by which something is commanded, directed, enjoined" (p. 562). Hence, we agree with Barnes (loc. cit.), "The doctrine taught is, that matter was not eternal; that the materials of the universe, as well as the arrangement, were formed by God, and that all this was done by a simple command." Since "belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Rom. 10.17), our belief as to the origin of things rests upon the revelation found in the first Chapters of Genesis.

This simple explanation as to the origin of things does not satisfy infidels and atheists. They reject the Bible account of creation because they think that belief in an eternal and self-existent God is unrealistic and unscientific. Hence, they are prejudiced against the only plausible explanations of the origin of things and flounder around in the dark blinding fanciful theories in lieu of the truth. As Bernard Ramm points out in The Christian View of Science and the Scripture (p. 49), "There have been no less than ten theories as to the origin of the Solar system as listed in W. M. Smart's, The Origin of the Earth (1951)."

Bro. Luther Blackmon recently wrote an article on "Atheism and the Origin of Matter" in which he quoted a modern textbook on elementary science as follows: "The earth's history begins with its birth from a cloud of Primeval dust," but admits that "our description of Azoic times must be based on indirect evidence and scientific guesswork." The author did not explain the origin of his "cloud of primeval dust," but built his theory of the origin of the earth from this unexplained cloud of dust. Such "scientific guesswork" leaves God out of the origin of things, and tries to explain the orderly universe in which we live as the result of pure chance. According to this kind of guesswork the world, as we know it, came about through a long series of evolutionary accidents, and they surmise this from "indirect evidence."

But--the world in which we live is complex in its makeup--still, in the midst of all its complexity, there is unity. For example, animals use oxygen and give off carbon dioxide while plants use the carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. Animal life and plant life are interdependent.

The simplest form of living matter is the molecule. Yet, the possibility of the chance formation of a Single Protein Molecule is almost mathematically impossible--Ramm cites L. du Nouy (Human Destiny, 1947, p. 34) as pointing out that by shaking the atoms in a single protein molecule 500 trillion times per second, the possibility of forming 2 protein molecules occurs only once in 10343 billion years (p. 258). He also cites J. A. V. Butler (Man Is a Microcosm, 1951, p. 112) as giving the figure as one chance in 100150 or one in 10263 billion years. These figures are for one molecule--think of the mathematical infinity that would be required for all forms of things, as they exist in the world.

The atheist has an unreasonable faith. Yes faith! He believes that God does not exist. He does not know that there is no God. He must further believe that matter is eternal, and that it created mind, consciousness, and intelligence. He must believe that original life came from dead matter without outside stimuli. He may sneer at Christians for Believing in the Creation, the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection of the dead, but he must believe the preposterous idea that life comes from dead matter of its own accord. And, he must believe that all things exist purely as a result of chance, directed by no intelligence.

It is far easier for me to believe with David concerning God: "Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands" (Psa. 102:25), and to say "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork" (Psa. 19:2). Paul says, "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; that they may be without excuse: because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools--" (Rom. 1: 20-22).

The only plausible explanation for the order to be observed in the Universe is that "God said--and it was so." God's spoken word was effective in the formation of the heavens and the earth, and they are just as effective in the process of redeeming the human soul (cf. Rom. 1: 16). "If this vast system of worlds has been called into existence by the mere word of God, there is nothing which we may not believe he has ample power to perform" (Barnes, loc. cit.).

Truth Magazine IX: 12, pp. 17-18
September 1965