"In the beginning"
Genesis is the most-attacked book in all of Scripture. With evolution being taught in every school around the nation, and most Church Pastors not even knowing what the Bible truly says, or understanding "science" as it stands today, is it any wonder people question the Biblical account of creation. However, with a proper understanding of what is being taught in God's Word, a lot of the confusion goes away.
In our study of Genesis, we will be using the KJV Bible exclusively. The reason for this is primarily because it is the only version in print today that uses the "approved" manuscripts to translate from, and the translators used a "literal" format for translating whereas most other versions today used "transliteration" or "paraphrased" methods for translating. The latter two styles leaves a lot of freedom for the translator to put their own beliefs and understanding into Scripture instead of letting God's Word speak for itself. We will also assume God's Word is speaking literally instead of figuratively. This will be explained in greater detail as we go along.
With all this said, let us take a look at our first verse.
Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
First let us take a look at the phrase "in the beginning". When was that "beginning"? According to modern science it was billions of years ago. According to some Church doctrines, it was 6000-7000 years ago. The truth is, nobody knows!!!! The original word that God used was "ray-sheeth" and means literally, "the first, in time, place, order, or rank, first fruit" (Strongs Dictionary). So when God said, "In the Beginning" He was simply telling us that before anything else happened, He created the Heaven and the Earth. He does not tell us when that was.
If we assume He started the six days of creation immediately after "In the beginning", then Biblical chronology would dictate that the beginning was around 7000 years ago. James Ussher (1581-1656), the famous and respected Archbishop of Ireland in the seventeenth century declaring that the world was created in 4004 BC. Ussher based his timeline on the chronologies in the Hebrew text of Genesis 5 and 11, along with other Bible passages. But, if God created the Heaven and the Earth in the beginning, but did not start the creation process until some time later, then we have absolutely no way of knowing how old this earth is or when "in the beginning" was.
There is also a growing belief that "in the beginning" refers to when God created the "heaven and the earth", but does not refer to our current creation. In other words, Sometime, millions of years ago, God created the heaven and the earth. This was "in the beginning" of Genesis 1:1. After that first beginning, God has created the earth several times, and for one reason or another, it has been destroyed. According to this belief, there has been numerous groups of people who lived on earth at different times ending up with our current creation which started in Genesis 1:2 and was about 7000 years ago. This space of time between verses one and two is sometimes referred to as "the gap theory".
The truth is, we really don't know. The truth is, it really does not matter. If God has had other creations on this earth before it still does not affect us in any way. If science is right and dinosaurs lived on this earth billions of years ago the truth that God created it does not change. If Christian scholars are right and earth and all that is on it is only 6000-7000 years old, the fact remains God created it. And, whichever view turns out to be right neither of them changes the fact that at one point time began, as we know it, and that time was "in the beginning".
In closing let me just say that we should not get hung up on something like this that really does not matter at all. Our time on earth is normally less then 100 years and when it all started will not change anything. What matters is that we understand that God is the one that created it all...not a big bang and or anything else. At some point in time past, God created the Heaven and Earth, and ultimately you and I were born. Let us dwell on these things and not those we can not know for sure.
Answer the questions below. If you miss a question, go back and study that portion of the class and then retake the test. Once you have received a 100% you may proceed to the next class. You DO NOT have to submit this test for grading. Only the final test will be submitted.