The Narrative Of The Creation In Genesis -- By: John O. Means

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 012:45 (Jan 1855)
Article: The Narrative Of The Creation In Genesis
Author: John O. Means

The Narrative Of The Creation In Genesis

Rev. John O. Means

It is proposed to give an exposition of the first chapter of Genesis, with the first three verses of the second chapter, which complete the narrative of the creation.

The object is, to learn what God teaches in this portion of Scripture. It is important to bear this in mind. We receive the Bible as written by Divine inspiration. This passage, especially, must be regarded as purely matter of revelation. These facts could not be known in any other way. No human being was present to observe these scenes. This is, in the absolute sense, a Divine communication. Our object, then, is to learn What God designs to communicate.

This relieves us from discussing the question, whether Moses wrote this narrative; and if he did, whether he consulted previous documents. It also renders it needless to ask, how Moses understood it, and what he meant to teach. The writer of this passage was the channel through which the revelation was made. He may have comprehended it; and he may not. It would confirm our judgment, to find that the writer — who is believed to be Moses — received the same meaning we put upon it. But it is possible he did not fully comprehend it. He might be inspired to record the revelation without being inspired to interpret it. As much as he knew may have been correct. But there may have been more included than he could comprehend. The Apostle Peter represents the prophets who predicted the sufferings of Christ as not knowing what the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 1:11). So Moses might be commissioned to record this Divine statement of the work of creation, without being able to understand it fully himself. It is objected to some explanations of this chapter, that Moses could not have known what they imply, and therefore they are not true. If it is Moses speaking here, then no sense can be put on the words which Moses did not intend. But if, as we maintain, it is God speaking through Moses, then the only question is, what does God teach in these words?

By making it our object, however, to discover the meaning God intends to convey, there is no room for arbitrary interpretations. There are two conditions by which the explanation is-necessarily limited: It must be such as the language will allow, and it must be such as is consistent with what God teaches elsewhere. It must be consistent with the language of the revelation. It must not contradict that language. It must express all that the language expresses. It will be no explanation unless it explains all and denies nothing that the words mean. But it may...

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