THE FIRST DAY
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
There is absolutely nothing either unreasonable or hard to understand about this. That there was indeed a beginning of our universe and the world we live in is absolutely certain. No matter how far back into the mists of prehistoric time men may postulate the point of origin for our universe, it is precisely THERE that they must confront God, the omnipotent, eternal, all-pervading, omniscient First Cause, known to Christians as the God of the Bible.
For example, if some theory regarding how our galaxy (the universe) began from the explosion of a dense star, should be received as true, then how did the dense star begin? The only intelligent answer to questions of this type appears in this verse.
“In the beginning …”
This says nothing at all of when the beginning occurred, but declares emphatically that there was indeed a beginning, a fact which no reputable science on earth has ever denied. The source of that beginning was in the will and the power of the Eternal God. It was not merely a beginning of life, or of material things, but a beginning of ALL THINGS.
“God created …”
The word for “God” here is “[~’Elohiym],” a plural term, and by far the most frequent designation of the Supreme Being in the O.T., being used almost 2,000 times. Despite the plurality of this name, it is connected with verbs and adjectives in the singular. Thus, in the very first verse of the Bible there would appear to be embedded embryonically in the very name of God Himself a suggestion: (1) of the Trinitarian conception more fully revealed in the N.T., and (2) also a witness of the unity of the Godhead. Some have questioned this, of course; but we have never encountered any other adequate explanation of it.
“The heavens …”
There are three heavens visible in the Word of God, these being: (1) the earth’s atmosphere, where “birds of the heaven” fly (Jeremiah 15:3); (2) the heaven of the galaxies and constellations (Isaiah 13:10); and (3) the heaven where God dwells (Psalms 11:4). The heavens here include the first two and perhaps others of which we do not know.
“And the earth …”
If our understanding of “the heavens” is correct, the earth and all the planets would have to be included also, but the singling out of the earth and its specific designation here would indicate God’s special creation of it to be the repository of all life, and of human life particularly. That such a special creation of the earth did indeed occur appears to be absolutely certain, as attested by the utter failure of man to discover any evidence whatever of life anywhere else except upon earth.
Many learned men have written extensively concerning the multitude of physical and environmental factors which appear to be absolutely unique, found upon earth alone, the sum total of which supports and sustains life on our planet. The gravitational influence of the moon, the exact composition of atmospheric gases, the atypical behavior of water when it freezes, the atmospheric mantle of protection, the exact inclination of the earth upon the plane of its orbit giving the seasons, the exact distance of the earth from the sun, etc., etc. – these and literally hundreds of other peculiar and necessary factors come together to make life possible on earth. And, from this, it is mandatory to conclude that the special mention of “the earth” in this verse indicates the special creation of that essential environment without which life would be impossible, as is the case, apparently, everywhere else in the sidereal universe.