Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
"for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified." Is. 11: 2; 61: 1 prophesy this of Jesus and the Church. Hence whenever the Spirit of God is referred to as acting in fallen humans in the Old Testament (Num. 11: 17, 25, 26, 29; Judg. 3: 10; 6: 34; 13: 25;14: 6, 19; 15: 14; 1Sam. 10: 6, 10; 11: 6; 16: 13, 14; etc., etc.) the action is to be understood as impersonal, i.e., in the first sense of the word, power of influence. The reason is very clear. Until Jesus with the atoning merit of His sacrifice appeared in God's presence and imputed it for the Gospel Church, He could not be invested with the official powers of the glorified High Priest, i.e., be glorified, and until such investiture with garments of Beauty and Glory, He could not pour out the Holy Spirit upon the Church to act in it personally. Hence we see the clear cut distinction between the Lord's Spirit working with the Ancient Worthies and the Lord's Spirit working in the Church. In the former case it was God's power working with servants as distinct from sons; in the latter case it was God's disposition working in sons as distinct from servants, hence impersonally in the former and personally in the latter; for we are never to forget that so far the personality of the Spirit is the Father, the Son, the good angels and the Church, but will later extend to others.
We will now offer only a few proofs for the second sense, because it is not the sense of the expression in v. 2, and then many proofs of the first sense, because it is its sense in v. 2. Plainly the Lord's disposition in Christ and the Church is meant in Is. 11: 2; 61: 1. The same is proven by the contrast between the disposition of the flesh, of slaves, of the world, of fear, on the one hand, and of God's Spirit, spirit of sonship, of power, of love and of a sound mind, etc., on the other hand, in the following passages: Rom. 8: 9, 15; 1 Cor. 2: 12; Gal. 4: 6, 29; 5: 17; 2 Tim. 1: 7. Sometime we trust to discuss this subject in detail, but since it bears
only indirectly on our present subject, we leave it with but the above briefly given explanation. But as connected with our subject it is desirable to have more details on the sense of the expression, "the Spirit of God," as it occurs in v. 2. In Luke 1: 35, in the poetic form of parallelism, in which Gabriel explained to Mary how without a human father she would become the mother of Jesus, he defines the term Holy Spirit to mean the power of the Most High: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee; even the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee." The Hebrews had a variety of ways to express thought in poetry. Instead of rhythming and rhyming the words, as we do in English poetry, the Hebrews made poetry by rhythming or contrasting the thought. The rhythm of thought is exemplified in parallelisms, in which the same or a very similar thought is repeated in different words. Such an example of poetry Gabriel used in Luke 1: 35. Hence he uses the words, Holy Spirit, to mean the same as the words, the power of the Most High. This is a very clear proof of the first meaning of the expression, the Spirit of God.
Another clear case, somewhat hidden by the mistranslation the holy spirit instead of the correct rendering a holy spirit we find in John 20: 22, 23. "Receive ye a holy spirit [power]: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained." The connection between the first clause of the quotation and the rest of the quotation clearly proves that the expression, a holy spirit, is the holy power given the Apostles as God's mouthpieces to declare God's forgiveness to those who repent and believe and God's non-forgiveness to those who do not so do. In other words, Jesus was giving them the power of the ministry of the Word (2 Cor. 5: 18-21) based upon the merit of His finished sacrifice. The right translation of Luke 1: 17 proves the same thing: "He [John the Baptist] himself shall go
before Him in the spirit, even power, of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers unto children." Here the power given John as Jesus' forerunner is described. In Gen. 6: 3 God tells us that His power (spirit) exercised through the ministry of good angels would not eternally put up with the resistance of the wicked antediluvians. God's power coming upon Balaam enabling him to prophesy is described as God's Spirit coming upon him (Num. 24: 2). We have already given similar examples in verses cited above, connected with Othniel, Gideon, Jephthah, Samson, Saul and David. There are remarkable examples of this same exhibition of God's Spirit as power in the case of the two sets of messengers sent by Saul to capture David and later of Saul himself (1 Sam. 19: 18-24). Good illustrations of the same use of the word are found in the case of Elijah (1 Kings 18: 12; 2 Kings 2: 16), Azariah (2 Chro. 15: 1), Zechariah (2 Chro. 24: 20), David (Ps. 139: 7), Ezekiel (Ezek. 11: 5, 24), Israel (Mic. 2: 7) and of Micah (Mic. 3: 8). How do we know this? As the personal aspects of the Spirit did not come until at Jordan and Pentecost, these cases must be illustrations of the impersonal use of the term, Spirit of God, being all Old Testament examples. Hence we know that the expression the Spirit of God means in all of them the power or influence of God. The context of the term, "Spirit of God," in v. 2 proves the same; for no persons are at all referred to as objects of its activity; for the activity was as respects the surface of earth; its pristine covering and shoreless ocean; hence it could not have acted personally in this case, which requires persons to be acted on.
Having seen the meaning of the term, Spirit of God, in our text, it would be well for us to study the meaning of the term moved upon, as it occurs in our text. The Hebrew word here is rachaph. It occurs but three times in the Bible. Beside here it is found in Jer. 23: 9 (All my bones shake), and Deut. 32: 11 (As an eagle
… fluttereth over her young). In Jer. 23: 9 the relaxation of one's bones under appalling experiences seems to be meant. Lexicographers think the occurrence in Jer. 23: 9 is that of another word than in Gen. 1: 2 and Deut. 32: 11, but spelled the same way, like, e.g., our possessive pronoun mine and a mine where, e.g., coal is gotten. We think this is correct. To hover over is undoubtedly the thought in Deut. 32: 11; and the same seems to be the thought in v. 2. The Syriac translates it brooding, as of a hen warming eggs that she seeks to hatch. There is nothing in the Hebrew to suggest such a thought. But God's power hovering over the face of the waters seems to suggest an active energizing function of such power. This activity seems to have had to do with reducing the heat of the water that was condensed from the steam and vapor above and that fell upon the earth, basal rock, as rain. This activity would in time prevent all of this water from evaporating and keep increasing quantities of it remaining on earth's surface through ever-increasing re-enforcing rains from above i.e., condensed from parts of the steam and vapor in "the beams" of the lowest canopy. This power worked several ways: First, it fell as rain condensed from such steam and vapor upon the basal crust of the earth. For a long time such rain was by the intense heat of earth's crust immediately shunted off as steam. The Divine energy continued at these two things until after the lapse of a long time the earth's crust cooled off sufficiently to allow some of the rain to remain without evaporation on its surface. But this water was boiling hot and doubtless emitted dense clouds of steam, as beams of the lowest canopy.
As time went on the cooling of the crust continued as increased amounts of less hot water lay upon it. Thus there was a long-drawn-out cooling off of both the earth's crust and its covering water. But at this stage of creation the intense darkness that preceded
the first creative day continued; for the molten mass was not only entirely covered by its figurative scum, but the latter was everywhere covered with slowly cooling water; and, of course, the seven canopies and their beams shut out the light from above. The beams of the lowest canopy evidently came down to the water's surface during this time, thus preventing an atmosphere from forming, which did not set in until the second creative day (v. 6-8). The above-described working of Divine energy seems to be meant by the last clause of v. 2, the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters. What roaring noises, like explosions, must the earlier fallings of the rain on the blistering hot scum have made, when that scum, like an inhospitable host ejecting an unwelcome guest from his home, immediately dashed the rain off its surface as steam that ascended some distance amid the beams of the first canopy. And such noises only gradually were lessened as the repeated rains falling on the basal granite, etc., gradually decreased their heat. It must have taken centuries for God's power to have accomplished God's design for which His power hovered over the surface of the water. And when the first creative day opened the waters over earth's surface were still hot; for before the first canopy fell at the end of the first day the heat below must have been intense to keep with the assistance of the "beams" that canopy with all its weight in its place for the 7000 years of that day. Thus did God's power hover in creative activity for many more millennia over the surface of the waters— during the seven of the first creative day, and who knows how many before these began. With these remarks we have finished our study of Gen. 1: 2. But before beginning a discussion of the first creative day, we wish to sum up the preceding discussion of our subject, make a few remarks on creation as presented in Geology, and then give a comparative
summary of the six creative days as presented in Gen. 1: 3-31.
We have above indicated, both on scientific as well as on Scripture lines, why we accept the Bible account of our earth as true and reliable rather than the guesses and reasonings of Geology—wherever the strata of the earth has remained comparatively undisturbed the stages of stratification bear out the account of the Bible and contradict those of Geologists whenever these contradict the Bible's story. We instanced the stratification process and product as seen in the Grand Canyon of Arizona as one, among others, as demonstrating this. We also showed that the theory of many Geologists on many more strata was unscientific, inasmuch as it ignored the fact that they have counted doubly and at times even trebly a number of strata which through mighty convulsions of this earth were made to break through higher and softer ones and spread themselves over the surfaces of these, as well as at times forcing themselves between two layers of strata. Ignoring this fact they have counted such a stratum twice and sometimes even thrice and thus they get more than the Bible's six. Again, the Bible begins earth's history earlier than Geology, i.e., while the Bible begins with the earth as a molten mass, carries us through the stage of basic rock, the scum of the molten mass as these are found in the granite, basalt, gneiss and crystalline rocks, advances through the darkness and the watery stage of Gen. 1: 2, and the first and second day stages of Gen. 1: 3-8 and into the separation of land and water stage of Gen. 1: 9, 10 before Geology begins. In other words, Geology does not begin its theory of earth's strata until after the second stratum had been entirely laid, and earth was ready to receive the third stratum atop the second above the original basic rocks. From this we see that the first and second strata were deposited in the shoreless
ocean that covered this earth from before the first creative day began.
This fact made possible in many places several overlappings of strata before Geology makes its beginning. Others of such overlappings occurred with strata after Geology begins with its first stratum. Hence Geology has many more courses of strata than the Bible calls for; but blunders on the subject by counting these interlapping strata as independent ones. And thus Geological theories come into conflict with the Bible, a thing that the majority of geologists, being unbelievers in the Bible, are glad to effect. But the above-given explanation shows how unscientific they are and how truly scientific, factual, and reasonable the Bible Geology is. Hence as we proceed we will usually ignore Geology, though we will from time to time point out how to harmonize some of its findings with the accurate teachings of the Bible. The Bible account of creation does not go into details. It states creation's general course in broad comprehensive terms, leaving much to be read between the lines; and in these gives us pigeon-holes that will accommodate every real fact of nature and assured finding of real science, as distinct from science falsely so called (1 Tim. 6: 20). Certainly the progress of creation as given in Gen. 1 is scientific in its truest sense. There are wonderful groupings of the creative work, dividing the account thrice into periods of two creative days each, and twice into periods of three creative days, and six times with one creative day in each division, each division having from the standpoint of its character scientific proof and justification. In the twofold division we may speak of the first three days respectively as related and preparatory to the second three days respectively. Thus the first appearance of light on the earth in the first day (vs. 3-5) is related to the appearance three days later of the sun, moon and stars on the fourth creative day (vs. 14-18). Thus the creation of the
atmosphere on the second day is related to the creation of breathing beings three days later, on the fifth creative day (vs. 20-24); and thus the appearance of land on the third day (vs. 9-13) is related to the appearance of dry land animals three days later on the sixth creative day. In each case the relation is that of preparation and fulfilment. Then the threefold division of the creative days into twos is also scientific. Light and air came respectively in the first and second days; the appearance of earth and heaven came respectively on the third and fourth days; and the appearance of non-mammals and mammals came respectively on the fifth and sixth days. Thus there are relation and preparation brought out in the twofold division into three days each, and progress brought out in the threefold division into two days each. All the facts of nature agree with this order in the two methods of dividing the six creative days. Then the relation of each successive day of the entire six shows a logical and progressive development, each day making advance on its predecessor and at the same time preparing for its successor, and that in a way corroborated by every scientific fact that has come to light.
Having now come to the end of the first part of our subject, creation before the six creative days, it would be well for us to review the ground already traversed as a means of refreshing our minds on the salient features of the subject so far discussed. We began the subject by going over some general considerations on creation in a fairly detailed discussion, first distinguishing between the Bible and creedal view of creation, citing many Scriptures under seven heads on the two senses of creation, process and product, refuting the view that creation means to make something out of nothing, and proving it to mean to make new things out of previously existing things. This last thought was shown by passages in the Old Testament in which the Hebrew word bara occurs and from the
New Testament by passages in which the words ktizo and ktisis occur. Then the spheres of creation, the world of spirit and the world of matter and the laws of nature were set forth in their relations to God's creative work. Then the nature and duration of the creative days were discussed as ages, and in this connection the creedal view that the creative days were periods of 24 hours was refuted. At the fitting place a more detailed discussion of the laws of nature as God's creative tools was undertaken. Thereupon the Greek and Hebrew words for the English word, beginning, were studied and were shown to refer to periods of time, not eternity. With this our general remarks on creation were brought to an end. Details were then taken up and that first as to the world of spirit. Naturally a discussion of the pre-human Christ was here first in order, since He was the first and greatest of all creatures. This discussion entered into the pertinent details. Then followed a study of the good angels as creatures of the realm of spirit. Next we discussed the evil angels, especially Satan, and then his fallen angel accomplices.
This brought us to the discussion of God's creative works in the world of matter. After some general remarks on the source and materials of creation as a product, seven of its qualities were discussed in Chapter III—unity, immensity, beauty, sublimity, order, wondrousness and complexity: The completion of the discussion of this phase of creation as a product, to which we will later return for other features of it, brought us to a consideration of creation as a process, which we began with the proof of its origin from gases, as proven by the Bible and nature. This process was by a variety of proofs from the Bible and nature proven to be that of condensation, especially along chemical lines. Thereafter we took up a discussion of the methods that operated the creative process. This led to an examination and refutation of the nebular
hypothesis, which reigned for a hundred years in the materialistic world of science falsely so called. Then we unfolded as the product, partly of Biblical hints, partly of theory and partly of observation the planetesimal or capture hypothesis as quite likely the true method of the process whereby all suns and some of the planets came into existence; and after presenting certain points against the tidal theory of planetary origin we supplemented the capture theory with the hypothesis that some of the planets were by great explosions probably cast off from their suns, a fact that many observations connected with the novae seem to corroborate. This completed our study of Gen. 1: 1;. and thereafter we took up the study of Gen. 1: 2, which in Chapter V we have just completed. Its first line of thought, the waste and empty condition of the molten mass, was first discussed. Then we discussed the second line of thought in Gen. 1: 2, "darkness covered the face of the deep," wherein we described earth's basal "scum" formed from the molten mass as the first cause of the darkness of Gen. 1: 2 and the seven canopies of earth as taught in the Bible and nature as the second cause of this darkness. And, finally, we discussed the third thought of Gen. 1: 2, "the Spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters."
This brings to an end the summary of our discussion so far in this book—Creation. We trust the study so far has blessed our readers in head and heart, and pray the Lord to bless our discussion of the rest of our subject. It has uplifted the writer in head and heart. The wonders of the heavenly and earthly creations so far brought before our view in this study have enhanced God's glorious being, holy character, wondrous word and great works in our esteem, and filled our hearts with gratitude and appreciation. Surely the words of the sweet singer of Israel have repeatedly welled up in our minds: "The heavens declare the glory of God and the expanse showeth His handiwork
Day unto day uttereth speech; and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their rule [that of nature's laws] is gone out through all the earth, and their words unto the end of the world. By them hath He set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven and his circuit unto the ends of it; and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof" (Ps. 19: 1-6). And repeatedly during this study there have welled up in our hearts the words of the same sweet singer of Israel: "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy Truth's sake" (Ps. 115: 1)!
For the wealth of pathless forests,
Whereon no axe may fall;
For the winds that haunt the branches,
The young bird's timid call;
For the red leaves dropped like rubies
Upon the dark green sod
For the waving of the forests,
I thank Thee, O my God!
For the sound of waters gushing
In bubbling beads of light;
For the fleets of snow-white lilies
Firm anchored out of sight;
For the reeds among the eddies,
The crystal on the clod;
For the flowing of the rivers,
I thank Thee, O my God!
For the rose bud's break of beauty
Along the toiler's way;
For the violet's eye that opens
To bless the new-born day;
For the bare twigs that in summer
Bloom like the prophet's rod;
For the blossoming of flowers,
I thank Thee, O my God!
For the lifting up of mountains,
In brightness and in dread;
For the peaks where snow and sunshine
Alone have dared to tread;
For the dark of silent gorges,
Whence mighty cedars nod;
For the majesty of mountains,
I thank Thee, O my God!
For the splendor of the sunsets,
Vast mirrored on the sea;
For the gold-fringed clouds, that curtain
Heaven's inner majesty;
For the molten bars of twilight,
Where thought leans, glad, yet awed;
For the glory of the sunsets,
I thank Thee, O my God!
For the earth and all its beauty,
The sky and all its light;
For the dim and soothing shadows,
That rest the dazzled sight.
For unfading fields and prairies,
Where sense in vain has trod;
For the world's exhaustless beauty,
I thank Thee, O my God!
For an eye of inward seeing,
A soul to know and love;
For these common aspirations
That our high heirship prove;
For the hearts that bless each other
Beneath Thy smile, Thy rod;
For the amaranth saved from Eden,
I thank Thee, O my God!
For the hidden scroll, o'er written
With one dear Name adored;
For the heavenly in the human,
The Spirit in the Word;
For the tokens of Thy presence
Within, above, abroad;
For Thine own great gift of being,
I thank Thee, O my God!