Moses starts Genesis with the affirmation that God created all things. He writes, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Paul uses the same language in Colossians 1:16, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.” In this one creation, there are these two realms – the invisible heavens and the visible earth. God created both out of nothing (ex nihilo) and into nothing (in nihilum).” Before the beginning of creation there was only God. The Wisdom of God testifies, “When He established the heavens, I was there, When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep” (Prov 8:27). Or as Isaiah writes,
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?
Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers,
Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in (Isa 40:21-22).
Moses is not a monist. All is not one. There was God, and He brought all things into existence that have existence. God is not the creation, and the creation is not God. This Creator creation distinction is foundational to all truth. God does not derive existence from anything outside Himself, and the creation only exists because God created and sustains it. God is not like the superhero gods of the ancient world who are part of the one reality in which they exist. Moses was fully familiar with the pagan myths and proclaims the truth that the true and living God exists in Himself and created all things.
God created “the heavens” to be His throne. Isaiah writes,
"Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool.
Where then is a house you could build for Me?
And where is a place that I may rest?
2 For My hand made all these things,
Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD (Isa 66:1-2).
Isaiah recounts the fearful experience of seeing God in His glory in heaven. He writes,
"In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two flew. 3 And one called out to another and said,
'Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.'
4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke" (Isa 6:1-4).
Jesus taught the disciples, “But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God” (Matt 5:34). Also clear from Isaiah 6:1-4 is the point that heaven is God’s temple.
Heaven is not usually visible to man, but there are times when God has allowed man to see the invisible part of the creation. Elijah saw heaven’s army. 2 Kings 6:17 says,
"Then Elisha prayed and said, 'O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.' And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."
Heaven is part of this created cosmos. Though it is not usually seen, it is as real as anything in this visible world. Heaven is not ethereal.
The amazing thing is to realize that the self-existent triune God created heaven as His royal temple and entered His own created heaven in time and space to dwell with man. Heaven cannot begin to contain God. Solomon built the temple replica on earth and confessed, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built” (1 Kings 8:27))!
In this first verse of Genesis, Moses immediately sets the question, “How will the God of the heavens and man on earth be together?”
Meredith G. Kline, Genesis: A New Commentary
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Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from NASB. Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org
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