The Creative Period In History -- By: Edward A. Lawrence

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 027:107 (Jul 1870)
Article: The Creative Period In History
Author: Edward A. Lawrence

The Creative Period In History

Rev. Edward A. Lawrence

The Order Of The Events

The student of the creative period in history meets, at the starting-point of inquiry, the question of an authentic record. Where is such a record to be found? In geology, and the first two chapters of Genesis — the rocky and the written revelations. This is the best, perhaps the only, general answer which the case allows.

A thoughtful reader of the first verse from the inspired penman is startled by its simplicity, comprehensiveness, and grandeur. “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.’’ It proclaims the one absolute, originating, and creative will. Thus the written record places itself, in its first announcement, in bold conflict with atheism, polytheism, and pantheism. There is a God, it says, and there is but one. That God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, not the mere distributer, reformer, or manipulator of his own being into a finite universe. He is the originator of a new substance, by a fiat and force clearly personal and infinite.

How comprehensive, yet concise, is this opening of the book of creation and providence! How appropriate this

title-page of history! How grand as the frontispiece of the universe!

Some doubt whether this is the record of the first creative act, or only the reconstruction of an old ruin, preceded by successive creations, catastrophes, and re-formations, recorded in the rocks, but of which the inspired writer makes no mention.

The later and the most careful examiners, however, concur in accepting this as a statement of the creative origin of the material universe. “And the earth was without form and void.” The conjunctive particle vav conversive, denoting the continuity of results, favors this as the idea of the writer. The object, order, and unity of the record favor it, as do the leading facts of geology. For, if this be the record of only a mere re-fashioning of old material, and not the creation of a new substance, the history of the world commences, singularly enough, in the middle, and not at the beginning, of the creative work. It should also be borne in mind that, if this is not an account of the origin of the material universe, there is none on record; and that God’s first and most noteworthy act of wisdom and power fails of all mention, and that in a document claiming expressly to record the beginning of things.

Further, there is in the Hebrew term בְרֵאשִית, beginning, an admirable expressiveness of the object and exigencies of the case. It was at the first, at the head of all things, the beg...

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