I’m reading Part IV of Francis Chan’s Multiply book, the section on “The Creation” which takes the reader through Genesis 1-2. Just listing a couple of observations:
Question 1 on pg 140 asks the reader “What is being emphasized?” in Genesis 1-2.
There are a couple of things that I see emphasized in the first two chapters of Genesis. For one, the definition of a day is given many times in the same chapter (Genesis 1) so that the reader is only left with the impression that a day is comprised of darkness (which Genesis repeatedly refers to as evening) and light (which Genesis repeatedly refers to as morning). This definition of day does not require the sun as the specific source of the light even though the sun is introduced on the fourth day. So according to the biblical definition, a day is the 24 hour period that encompasses the darkness and light portions which the bible uses as time markers. This implies:
– That a day is not equal to a thousand years when it comes to the Genesis narrative
– That sunlight is not necessary in order to have a day
– and That there is no way a day can refer to any period of time longer than the time markers specified since the bible is using literal speech
The other thing that is definitely given emphasis is that everything was ” good.” This utterance has many implications one of which is: there is no way there could have been any period of time prior to the first day of creation where other creatures previously existed or evolved, no Gap Theory, as it is popularly named. There was also no death of any kind prior to these days of creation since God would never refer to the existence of death as good; in fact, the bible calls death “an enemy” (1 Cor 15:26). This then rules out evolution or any other mechanism that attempts to explain the origins of man by appealing to any process that not only involves, but necessitates death.
In the paragraph entitled “Who is God?” on the bottom of Page 140, regarding Genesis 1:1 which says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” the author states:
It’s interesting that although these are the first words in the entire bible, the author doesn’t pause to tell us theologically or philosophically who God is.
I also think this is interesting too; specifically because of the implications of this introductory verse. I see Genesis 1:1 as a strong indication that the bible’s Author, God, expects the reader to already know who He is thereby making it unnecessary to start with some rudimentary definition. Romans 1:19-20 affirms this by proclaiming:
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
So the knowledge of Who God is has been implanted into the mind of every man making an informal definition of God unnecessary. Romans 1:20 reveals that we do not posses a complete understanding of who God is but merely “that which may be known of God” without special revelation; namely, His eternal power and His Godhead. Without delving into what these given attributes entail, the reader can still easily conclude that this is a subset of Who God is. Genesis 1:1 therefore gives us information about who God is, that is over and above what God has manifested in our minds; for in Genesis 1:1 the Hebrew word that is translated in English bible versions as “God” actually means “Gods” (plural). This means that the very first occurrence of God in the bible identifies Him as a masculine and plural being which has many important implications that I will remain silent about for now. Suffice it to say that later on in Genesis 1:26 the plural pronoun “Our” is used of God thereby confirming and providing emphasis for the notion that God is a plural being.
Speaking of Genesis 1:26, the author on page 144 comments on this verse by stating:
There is a lot of debate about what exactly the “image of God” is. Everyone seems to agree that being created in God’s image is more than a physical resemblance—He is Spirit, after all (John 4:24). Suggestions as to what God’s image in humanity consists of are varied: our ability to reason, our ability to make moral decisions, our personalities, and our capacity for relationships are all leading views. Others suggest that the image of God relates to the dominion over the rest of creation that God gave to man (this ties Gen. 1:26–27 to Gen. 1:28).
Perhaps it is best not to attach the image of God to any one faculty or attribute of humanity. In the New Testament, we are told that Jesus Christ is “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15). Jesus is said to be “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Heb. 1:3). It seems that being the “image of God” is about reflecting God in some way. Jesus did this perfectly, but humanity has also been given a responsibility to show God to the world—His handiwork, nature, and attributes are displayed in us in a way that they are not displayed in the rest of the creation…So rather than trying to identify the image of God with a specific aspect of the human condition, perhaps we should simply acknowledge that God made us to reflect Him to the world. We represent to the world its rightful King and we illustrate His workmanship, attributes, and characteristics.
Here I think the author misses out on a couple of key differences in the “leading views” that are listed for explaining the image of God; differences that would have set one of the leading views apart from the others. For instance, all of the views, without exception, rely upon the ability to reason; so you really couldn’t nominate any of the other “leading views” without eventually needing to appeal to man’s ability to reason. Since reason is the common denominator, why wouldn’t it be the ultimate candidate? I believe Elihu got it right in Job 32:8 when he states “there is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.”