Luther and Creation
"Hilary and Augustine, almost the two greatest lights of the church, hold that the world was created instantaneously and all at the same time, not successively in the course of six days." 1
The Reformers edited the thoughts of Luther that he expressed in these lectures that were written down and scholars are not sure which of the things Luther lectured about have been left in tact. In any event this statement comes down to us, reflective of an accepted opinion by a number of people or it would have been edited out. Hilary, Augustine, and Luther (and the editors) thought there was something to this idea. They got it honestly and they are not alone. Jesus is the Word, the Expected Logos. He is the Beginning. "In Beginning self-created Elohiym this HaShamayim Va HaEretz (eth is taken to be an innocuous pointer to the direct object in Hebrew, that is not so in the opening of the Revelation to us presented in Genesis 1:1--its basic meaning can be "self"). Translated another way, "In Beginning Elohiym Himself created His HaShamayim Va HaEretz. The idea is that the universe and everything in it is God's. The sentence reveals to us God and what He has done. He tells us that He created the universe and created it in the Beginning, the pre-incarnate second-person of the Trinity, Jesus. If you read the Targums and notice the use of the word "memra," you will notice it keeps God from being anthropomorphized. When Yahweh rains down fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gommorah, Yahweh is in Heaven and on earth while the cities in the plain are being destroyed. The Father and the Son work together in the affairs of men and the Creation. In the opening Revelation of God to us, we see that the plural unity is used as a title and name for God. Beginning is a title and name for God. The Heavens and The Earth are titles and names for the Creation.
There is no indication of time in the first sentence of Genesis 1:1, which has vexed scholars for millennia. In fact, time is not really introduced the way we expect a new product to be introduced: "New improved Earth with Time, in Large Family Size." The LORD gently introduces us to Him in the same consistent way throughout Scripture. Yes, it is true that He is powerful and He knows that, but He gives people plenty of warning before taking adverse action. The careful reader will notice that the events are important and lead back to the Event, God. It is a basic to understand that everything points to God that is in Creation. The Bible lets us know this throughout the Tanak, the Christian Old Testament and the New Testament. This message is stated explicitly and it is found implicitly. Judging the words found in Scripture by science leads us to think science is the final arbiter of Truth. That is a grave mistake. We are to let Jesus be the arbiters in our hearts. Our minds are to be renewed to the mind of Christ. We are to have a change of mind. We come to the Father by Jesus. Jesus came as the Way. The Way is to God, the Father. Jesus said that Heaven and Earth (Universe) will pass away, be gone, but His words would last. His Kingdom will last. Consider this:
"His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away" 2Jesus has an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, Yet, for the sake of Theistic Evolution this is unimportant.
I had presented a quote by Gunkel but could have quoted others who take a low view of Scripture shared by many who believe in Theistic Evolution. If there was any proof of the erroneous misconceptions presented as concerns how much the Theory of Evolution overshadows Scripture by those who push Theistic Evolution, that would qualify. So far, for the sake of Theistic Evolution, the role of the Creator has been minimized in the Bible and people of the Gathering.
Here again is the quote:
"There is no denying that there are legends in the Old Testament; consider for instance the stories of Samson and Jonah. Accordingly it is not a matter of belief or skepticism, but merely a matter of obtaining better knowledge, to examine whether the narratives of Genesis are history or legend.
The objection is raised that Jesus and the Apostles clearly considered these to be fact and not poetry. Suppose they did; the men of the New Testament are not presumed to have been exceptional men in such matters, but shared the point of view of their time. Hence we are not warranted in looking to the New Testament for a solution of questions in the literary history of the Old Testament."1
1 Hermann Gunkel, The Legends of Genesis, The Biblical Saga and History, NY, NY: Schocken Books, Copyright 1964, Schocken Books, Inc.
"For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled."3
"Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."4
"Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.5
"And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail."6
"Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away."7
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.8
"...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."9
The Torah, the Law will not pass away until all has been fulfilled. God's Word will not pass away. This Age will pass away, the Heaven and the Earth will pass away, but the Law will not pass away. The words of Jesus will not pass away. The Pentateuch is the Torah is the Law and will not pass away until everything has been fulfilled by Jesus. Jesus is the Beginning and the End. He is the First and the Last. The Pentateuch was highly regarded by Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit. Some of the professorial "lights" of the past few hundred years think to take the Revelation from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit lightly even though they have the verses quoted above available to them. God chose Father Abraham to preserve the message of Salvation through his seed. That message was entrusted to the Hebrews, winnowed to the Children of Israel, winnowed to the Seed. Jesus is the Seed. He is the firstfruits, the meaning of the word Beginning in one sense of the word. He is the First. He died, was buried and resurrected on the third day and appeared to 500 people and went up to Heaven to sit on the right of the Father and reigns. We are the new greenery, the creation of the Seed that was buried and we sprang up to Life and some of us grow attaining Eternal Life and some of us wither and die to be cast on the brush with the withered branches. The Universe will end, cease to be. Jesus assures us that He will be with us to the End of the Age.
Some scholars have noted that the End is indicated from the Beginning in Genesis. Some see the opening of the Revelation of God to us as a polemic against idolatry. Some people have little regard for Genesis. When Jesus was being tempted by the devil Satan, He answered with this:
"It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ "10
Something very important is conveyed in the record of the temptation of Jesus after being in the wilderness, hungry, and thirsty. Are we not all wearied sometimes? Are there not the poor among us who are hungry and thirsty, tired and wearied from the daily grind of poverty and cruelties that attend life on the planet? These are included among the believers today. There is a poverty of the soul that cries out in anguish, that seeks answers, equally hungered, dehydrated, and wearied even among the rich and powerful, the educated and accepted of society. Jesus made a startling statement. We live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Intelligent Design people are probably clapping loudly right now. Okay, I hear foot stomping and whistling. We live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, but there is more, Jesus answered the Adversary of our souls again:
"Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ "11
So, whom or what do I serve? I cannot serve two masters. I have grown to hate one and love the other. Jesus said we cannot enter into Heaven unless we hate our lives. This wisdom He stated comes with age, not because we get broken down and fall apart or sicken, but because the dichotomy between the kosmos, the world order; and His Kingdom grows more apparent as we mature and grow in His Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge. There are none good but the Father and none more "spiritual" than another. It results from seeking His Kingdom first and His Righteousness first and asking for His Wisdom, His Understanding, and His Knowledge and forsaking our own. Paul studied under the most brilliant theologian of his day and he answered King Agrippa and as Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit gave him the words to answer him with: "My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee." 12
Satan is a student of Scripture and knows it well. He thought he would make one last try and tempt Jesus again. He mockingly said:
"For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you,’
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ "13
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Satan seems to have a tone of derision, as if he is saying in effect, "hath God said?" and "is this true?" and "if it is true: prove it!" Satan knew full well the the Lord Sabaoth drove him from the Kingdom of Heaven and this man in front of him who was tired and hungry, weak and thirsty seemed less than powerful. Jesus the Man was there in his presence, fully man with all of our famous weaknesses possible in human terms, under the law of the world system, the physical laws of the Universe-Nature. Would this man, this worm to be crushed and crimson stain left as a spot in the immense Universe answer as man or Lord Sabaoth? How weak was Jesus? How weak are we? Jesus said in answer:
"It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ "14
Satan found out that this dusty person answered as Lord Sabaoth, the Lord of the Armies of Heaven, Yahweh TsebaĆoĆth. Who is this LORD TsebaĆoĆth? Jack Hayford notes:
"Strong’s #6635: An army, a company, host, battalion, throng; a division of soldiers. This noun pictures a great mass of people or things. Tsaba’ appears more than 425 times in the Old Testament. The hosts (armies) of heaven are the innumerable heavenly bodies, which God has created (Gen. 2:1; Ps. 33:6). A title by which God is frequently known is 'the Lord of hosts,' Yahweh tsaba<ot (in English this is sometimes inadequately spelled 'Lord Sabaoth'). The Lord of hosts is the God of the armies of Israel, who also has great spiritual armies at His command (see Rev. 19:14)."15
If you do not believe Hayford because he cites Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, there are others that would agree listed below after the references cited.
But, look what Paul says of this dusty man, He is the Seed, He is the LORD Sabaoth:
Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:
"Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,
The remnant will be saved.
For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth."
And as Isaiah said before:
"Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed,
We would have become like Sodom,
And we would have been made like Gomorrah."
The "Seed" is a figure of speech cited by Smith from Bullinger, referring to Matthew 2:6 where it says: "‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ " People familiar with the Bible know that Jesus is the Seed of promise from Eve Who will crush the head of the Serpent. The word in the New Testament that we read as "peace" means to bruise, crush together, scatter the pieces of the crushing. Prince of Peace does not mean, to be Caspar Milquetoast. The Peace that Jesus gives us is powerful and it is a gift from Him, just as Faith is a gift. His peace is not the peace the kosmos gives us, the natural peace of relief from conflict. We reside in His Presence, His Repose, where His Power and His Strength are, in His Sabbath Rest, in His Might. This is the Peace the Prince of Peace gives and fulfills part of the prophecy in Genesis 3:15. Here we are at Genesis again, that Book that scholars could do without. It makes me wonder why they are so uncomfortable with accepting it as God's Revelation to us.
People say that God spoke the worlds into existence. Someone made the comment that the universe appears to be results of the thought of God. Luther noted that the Jews said rabbin were not to teach the Book of Genesis until they reached the age of thirty. I think there is something to that but God can tell us what we need to know because Jesus came and is with us. Jesus is the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega, the LORD SABAOTH, YAHWEH, I AM, BEGINNING. In Jesus was the Universe created. In Jesus we reside in His Peace.
1Martin Luther, Luther's Works, Volume 1, Lectures on Genesis, Chapters 1-5, Editor Jaroslav Pelikan, Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, Copyright ©1956 Concordia Publishing House.
2 Daniel 7:14
3 Matthew 5:17
4 Matthew 24:34-35
5 Mark 13:30-31
6 Luke 16:17
7 Luke 21:32-33
8 II Peter 3:10-13
9 Matthew 28:20
10 Matthew 28:4-4
11 Matthew 28:4-8
12 Acts 26:4-5
13 Matthew 28:4-10
15 Jack W. Hayford, Hayford’s Bible Handbook [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1995.
“Look around you, Gabrielle. Lush prairie. And those bushes with orange berries? See them, on those dunes? Sea Buckthorn. It grows wild here, and the oil works wonders on horses.”