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Light and Truth: The Old Testament: Chapter 1 - The Old and New Creation

By Horatius Bonar


      Genesis 1

      FAITH only can read this chapter aright; for the record goes back beyond human history; and for its statements we have the authority neither of testimony nor experience, but the bare word of God (Hebrews 11:3). These pre-historic annals of earth are the region of faith, quite as much as those post- historic annals given in the Apocalypse. It is by faith that we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; for faith has to do with the unseen both behind and before us. This chapter contains the substance of our creed concerning God, as THE CREATOR.

      I. The Creation. It comprises the whole of what we call the universe, and all that it contains, visible or invisible,--"the heavens and the earth." This universe was created; it did not create itself, nor did chance create it, nor did it exist eternally. Its Creator was God, not a God; but the one living and true God, who calls himself El and Elohim, and Jehovah. Its Creator was the Word of God, the Son of God, the second person of the Elohim or Godhead (John 1:2; Colossians 1:16). This was "in the beginning;" that is, the indefinite past, the far past. Then the things which are now seen were made, not out of pre-existing materials, or "things which do appear," but out of nothing.

      II. The Chaos. It was shapeless and unfilled up, without form and void. It was not properly "the earth" or " the world;" and "the fullness thereof" had not yet come. Whether this chaos was the first state or an after condition, that of fall and punishment, in connection with the apostasy of angels, we do not say. Here, however, earth lies before us in chaos; how long we know not. This chaos was one of "darkness," which covered the whole face of the abyss or deep. How this could be, save in connection with a sinning race, is not easily seen; for "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

      III. The Life. The Spirit of God moved upon (or brooded like a dove over) the face of the waters. These waters were everywhere; the globe was fluid, but the waters were dead: the fluid mass had no vitality in it, it was like the lifeless bodies of the valley. The Holy Ghost came upon them, and the power of the highest overshadowed them; life was imparted; the deep was quickened, or as Milton writes, "made pregnant." This Spirit, then as now, came from Him "who has the seven spirits of God,"--the Son of God, the Creator, for "in him was life." The quickening Spirit is with him. "The Life was manifested" (Psalm 104:30; 1 John 1:2).

      The Light. God spoke; the light came, following the life. For it is not first light then life, but first life then light. "The life was the light of men." Christ the life was the light of the world. It was God, the Son, who commanded the light to shine out of the darkness. It needed a word only; no more.

      The Order. There has been confusion hitherto; mixture. Sky and earth, light and darkness, air and water, are all commingled. Every needful element is there, but they are mixed up with each other, and so are useless. As to the air and earth and water, there must be division; the landmarks of each must be set; as to light and darkness, there must be alternation; day and night, sunrise and sunset. All must be perfect order; no one interfering with its fellow, but each left free to work its own work in the development of a glorious universe.

      VI. The Beauty. It is no longer "without form." It is now coming into shape in all its different features, and all is comely." By His spirit He hath garnished the heavens." It is by degrees or stages that this beauty is drawn out; yet it does come. The blue heavens, the translucent atmosphere, the sparkling stars, the bright sun, the waxing and waning moon, the green earth, the blossoming trees, the many-coloured flowers,--all beautiful; for He who formed them is Himself the fountainhead of all beauty, the perfection of perfection, the infinitely loveable One. We were made to love "the beautiful" in the creature, how much more in the Creator! He has made everything beautiful in its season, and He has given us minds capable of appreciating and admiring it all; but it is He himself who is altogether excellent, the sum as well as source of all beauty. He claims admiration and love for himself, as the infinitely glorious One.

      VII. The Fruitfulness. Valley, plain, hill, and field are all fruitful; and they bring forth their shrubs and fruit trees, their corn, their abundance of everything that is good for food, as well as pleasant to the eye. It is a fruit-bearing earth. Barrenness is unknown. Man and beast are there, fish and fowl are there; all kinds of life, intelligent or unintelligent. It is not mere beauty or order that satisfies God, but fruitfulness. It is fruitfulness He asks from us. We are ourselves part of His fruitful earth, as well as its lords, and in both aspects He asks for fruitfulness. He comes to us daily "seeking fruit."

      VIII. The Goodness. He gazed on it, and pronounced it all very good. Each part of it was good; the whole "very good." It is good in every sense; good in the sense of beauty; good in the sense of subserving beneficent and loving ends; earth and sea, hill and valley, river and forest, all mutually helping each other. All is goodness! Yes, a marvellous whole of unutterable goodness. Death is not here, nor ferocity, nor warfare. All is good, very good. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. God delighteth in His handiwork. And though much marred and defaced, it still exhibits its original excellence. But it will do so more gloriously in the times of the restitution of all things, when there shall be the new heavens and new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. "Behold, I make all things new."

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See Also:
   Preface
   Chapter 1 - The Old and New Creation
   Chapter 2 - The Link Between Being and Non-Being
   Chapter 3 - A Happy World
   Chapter 4 - The Sin, the Sinner, and the Sentence
   Chapter 5 - Man's Fig-Leaves
   Chapter 6 - Expulsion and Re-Entrance
   Chapter 7 - The Blood of Sprinkling and the Blood of Abel
   Chapter 8 - The Way of Cain
   Chapter 9 - The Man of Rest
   Chapter 10 - Going Out and Keeping Out
   Chapter 11 - The Shield and the Recompense
   Chapter 12 - Liberty and Service
   Chapter 13 - The Day of Despair
   Chapter 14 - The Blood of Deliverance
   Chapter 15 - How God Deals with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 16 - The Fire Quenched
   Chapter 17 - The Vision from the Rocks
   Chapter 18 - The Doom of the Double-Hearted
   Chapter 19 - Be Not Borderers
   Chapter 20 - The Outlines of a Saved Sinner's History
   Chapter 21 - Divine Longings Over the Foolish
   Chapter 22 - What a Believing Man Can Do
   Chapter 23 - Song of the Putting Off of the Armour
   Chapter 24 - The Kiss of the Backslider
   Chapter 25 - The Priestly Word of Peace
   Chapter 26 - Human Anodynes
   Chapter 27 - Spiritual and Carnal Weapons
   Chapter 28 - Divine Silence and Human Despair
   Chapter 29 - Jewish Unbelief and Gentile Blessing
   Chapter 30 - The Restoration of the Banished
   Chapter 31 - The Farewell Gift
   Chapter 32 - God's Dealing with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 33 - God Finding a Resting-Place
   Chapter 34 - The Moriah Group
   Chapter 35 - Diverse Kinds of Conscience
   Chapter 36 - The Soul Turning from Man to God
   Chapter 37 - Man's Dislike of a Present God
   Chapter 38 - True and False Consolation
   Chapter 39 - Gain and Loss for Eternity
   Chapter 40 - Man's Misconstruction of the Works of God
   Chapter 41 - The Two Cries and the Two Answers
   Chapter 42 - The Knowledge of God's Name
   Chapter 43 - Deliverance from Deep Waters
   Chapter 44 - The Excellency of the Divine Loving-Kindness
   Chapter 45 - The Sickness, the Healer, and the Healing
   Chapter 46 - The Consecration of Earth's Gold and Silver
   Chapter 47 - The Gifts of the Ascended One
   Chapter 48 - The Speaker, the Listener, the Peace
   Chapter 49 - The Believing Man's Confident Appeal
   Chapter 50 - The Love and the Deliverance
   Chapter 51 - The Sin and Folly of Being Unhappy
   Chapter 52 - The Book of Books
   Chapter 53 - The Secret of Deliverance from Evil
   Chapter 54 - The Voice of the Heavenly Bridegroom
   Chapter 55 - The Love that Passeth Knowledge
   Chapter 56 - The Vision of the Glory
   Chapter 57 - Man's Extremity and Satan's Opportunity
   Chapter 58 - The Day of Clear Vision to the Dim Eyes
   Chapter 59 - The Unfainting Creator and the Fainting Creature
   Chapter 60 - The Knowledge that Justifies
   Chapter 61 - The Heritage and its Title-Deeds
   Chapter 62 - The Meeting Between the Sinner and God
   Chapter 63 - God's Love and God's Way of Blessing
   Chapter 64 - Divine Jealousy for the Truth
   Chapter 65 - Divine Love and Human Rejection of it
   Chapter 66 - God's Desire to Bless the Sinner
   Chapter 67 - The Resting-Place Forgotten
   Chapter 68 - The Day that Will Right all Wrongs
   Chapter 69 - The Glory and the Love
   Chapter 70 - False Religion and its Doom
   Chapter 71 - No Breath No Life
   Chapter 72 - Every Christian a Teacher
   Chapter 73 - Work, Rest, and Recompence
   Chapter 74 - Human Heedlessness and Divine Remembrance
   Chapter 75 - Lies the Food of Man
   Chapter 76 - The Love and the Calling
   Chapter 77 - The Anger and the Goodness
   Chapter 78 - Darkness Pursuing the Sinner
   Chapter 79 - Jerusalem the Centre of the World's Peace
   Chapter 80 - Jerusalem and Her King
   Chapter 81 - Looking to the Pierced One
   Chapter 82 - The Holiness of Common Things
   Chapter 83 - Wearying Jehovah with our Words
   Chapter 84 - Dies Irae

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