“He that cometh unto God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Hence Holy Scripture, which contains the revealed record of God’s dealings and purposes with man, commences with an account of the creation. “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.”
Four great truths, which have their bearing on every part of revelation, come to us from the earliest Scripture narrative, like the four rivers which sprung in the garden of Eden. The first of these truths is—the creation of all things by the word of God’s power; the second, the descent of all men from our common parents, Adam and Eve; the third, our connection with Adam as the head of the human race, through which all mankind were involved in his sin and fall; and the fourth, that One descended from Adam, yet without his sin, should by suffering free us from the consequences of the fall, and as the second Adam become the Author of eternal salvation to all who trust in Him. To these four vital truths there might be added, as a fifth, the institution of one day in seven to be a day of holy rest unto God.
It is scarcely possible to imagine a greater contrast than between the heathen accounts of the origin of all things and the scriptural narrative. The former are so full of the grossly absurd that no one could regard them as other than fables; while the latter is so simple, and yet so full of majesty, as almost to force us to “worship and bow down,” and to “kneel before the Lord our Maker.” And as this was indeed the object in view, and not scientific instruction, far less the gratification of our curiosity, we must expect to find in the first chapter of Genesis simply the grand outlines of what took place, and not any details connected with creation. On these points there is ample room for such information as science may be able to supply, when once it shall have carefully selected and sifted all that can be learned from the study of earth and of nature. That time, however, has not yet arrived; and we ought, therefore, to be on our guard against the rash and unwarranted statements which have sometimes been brought forward on these subjects. Scripture places before us the successive creation of all things, so to speak, in an ascending scale, till at last we come to that of man, the chief of God’s works, and whom his Maker destined to be lord of all. Some have imagined that the six days of creation represent so many periods, rather than literal days, chiefly on the ground of the supposed high antiquity of our globe, and the various great epochs or periods, each terminating in a grand revolution, through which our earth seems to have passed, before coming to its present state, when it became a fit habitation for man. There is, however, no need to resort to any such theory. The first verse in the book of Genesis simply states the general fact, that “In the beginning”—whenever that may have been—“God created the heaven and the earth.” Then, in the second verse, we find earth described as it was at the close of the last great revolution, preceding the present state of things: “And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” An almost indefinite space of time, and many changes, may therefore have intervened between the creation of heaven and earth, as mentioned in ver. 1, and the chaotic state of our earth, as described in ver. 2. As for the exact date of the first creation, it may be safely affirmed that we have not yet the knowledge sufficient to arrive at any really trustworthy conclusion.
It is of far greater importance for us, however, to know that God “created all things by Jesus Christ;” and further, that “all things were created by Him, and for Him,” and that “of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things.” This gives not only unity to all creation, but places it in living connection with our Lord Jesus Christ. At the same time we should also always bear in mind, that it is “through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”
Alfred Edersheim, Bible History: Old Testament, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975), 17–19.