[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]
Creation: God Makes
A) About the author(s):
Mark Driscoll has a Master of Arts degree in exegetical theology from Western Seminary. He was the founding and preaching pastor of Mars Hill Church, and former president of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network
Gerry Breshears is a Professor of Theology at Western Seminary and earned his PhD in Systematic Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.
B) Chapter Summary:
I) What does the Bible say about creation?
“The first book of the Bible, Genesis, takes its name from its first words, “In the beginning,” as genesis means “beginning.” The book of Genesis in general, Genesis 1 to 3 in particular, records the beginning of creation and human history. Moses penned Genesis in roughly 1400 BC as the first of a five-part book called the Pentateuch, meaning “book in five parts.” The Genesis account of creation was most likely directly revealed to Moses by the same Holy Spirit who was present in Genesis 1:2, since Moses was not present for the creation event. Genesis is not an exhaustive treatment of early history but rather a theologically selective telling of history that focuses on God and mankind while omitting such things as the creation of angels or the fall of Satan and demons.”
“The first line of Genesis says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” … Brilliantly, the Bible opens with the one true, eternal God as both the author and subject of history and Scripture. Consequently, everything else in history and Scripture is dependent upon God and is only good when functioning according to his intentions for it from creation.”
“In Genesis 1:1, the word used for created is the Hebrew word bara, which means “creation from nothing.” The other Hebrew word used in a creative sense in Genesis is asah, translated “make” or “made,” which means “to fashion or shape,” or “to make something suitable,” such as making loincloths out of fig leaves or making the ark. Bara emphasizes the initiation of an object, whereas asah emphasizes the shaping of an object. Along with statements where God does initial creation (the heavens and the earth), the only other things bara’d are the living creatures and human beings. When people create we are doing asah, not bara.”
See Gen. 1:1; 2:3-4; 1:21; 1:27; 3:7; 5:1-2; 8:6.
“In the creation account we see that God created (bara) “the heavens and the earth.” This phrase could be more literally translated “the skies and the land,” since the heavens are not the place where God lives, but the place where stars move and birds fly. The Hebrew word eretz, usually translated “earth,” in Genesis 1 does not mean the planet but the land under the water, separated from water, where vegetation grows and animals roam. Elsewhere in Scripture it usually means the Promised Land. The phrase “skies and land” is a Hebraic way of saying “everything” from the skies above to the earth below, like saying from top to bottom or head to toe, including space-time, mass-energy, and the laws that govern them. In other places in Scripture, the phrase includes the sun and moon, which could in turn mean that the sun and moon were created as a part of this first creation.”
“… the same language for “without form (tohu) and void (bohu)” used in Genesis 1:2 is used elsewhere in Scripture in reference to uninhabited land.”
See Deuteronomy 32:10, Isaiah 45:18
“[In Jeremiah 4:23,] “without form and void” does not mean chaos, but it means empty of humans; “no light” does not mean there is no sun but that the land is without God’s blessing. Similarly, in Genesis 1:2 “without form and void” is the condition of the land before God made it good, filling it with light and life. The best understanding is not that God created primordial chaos and formed earth out of it, but that God created everything out of nothing and that the land existed for some unstated period of time in a desert-like, empty state.”
““In the beginning” means that there was an inauguration, but not when that moment was. Therefore, Genesis 1:1 leaves open both the possibilities of a young and an old earth.
The creation account goes to great lengths to make it clear that the God who created (bara) everything according to the first verse is the same God who prepared (asah) the land for humans to dwell with him in the remainder of Genesis 1 and 2.”