The first heaven and the first earth were created in the dateless past. The Scriptures begin with the sublime declaration--"In the beginning God CREATED the heaven and the earth." Gen. 1:1. The second verse of Gen. 1, records that "the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." That this earth was not originally created "formless and void" is clear from Isa. 45:18 (R. V.). "Thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; He is God; that formed the earth and made it; He established it, He created it not a waste, He formed it to be inhabited." See also Jer. 4:23-26. What caused the earth to become a waste after its original creation is not expressly stated. Some awful catastrophe must have befallen it. It is clear from the account of the Fall of Adam and Eve that sin existed before man was created. The inference is from Ezek. 28:12-19, and Isa. 14:12-14, that when the earth was originally created that Satan was placed in charge of it, and that he and his angels rebelled and led astray the inhabitants of the Original Earth, and that the Pre-Adamite race are now the demons who as they are permitted liberty seek to re-embody themselves in human beings that they may again dwell on the earth. It is clear that the Original Earth was inhabited, or God would not have blessed Adam and Eve and said--"Be fruitful and multiply and REPLENISH the Earth." Gen. 1:28. It does not follow however that those inhabitants were human beings like ourselves. No human remains have been found ante-dating the creation of man.
Peter speaks of the Original Earth as the--"World that then WAS, that, being OVERFLOWED WITH WATER, perished." 2. Pet. 3:6. It is clear that Peter does not refer here to Noah's Flood, for the world of Noah's day did not perish, and Peter goes on to add that--"The heavens and the earth WHICH ARE NOW (that is, have been in existence since the restoration of the earth as described in Gen. 1:3-31), by the same word are kept in store, RESERVED UNTO FIRE" (2 Pet. 3:7), nevertheless he adds, "we look for a
Click to enlarge
The Three Stages of the Earth
[paragraph continues] NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH." 2. Pet. 3:13. These words of Peter reveal the fact that this Earth is to pass through 3 stages. First the Original Earth that "perished" by WATER. Second the Earth that is now, that is to be renovated or cleansed by FIRE. And the New Earth that is to exist forever. See the Chart "The Three Stages of the Earth."
There can be no question but what the Earth in its original formation required millions of years. There is ample time in the statement of Gen. 1:1 that--"In the BEGINNING God 'created' the heaven and the earth," for all the "Geologic Ages" that science declares were necessary for the creation of the Earth. There is no conflict between the Bible and Science as to the time occupied in the formation of the Earth.
How long a period elapsed between the Creation of the Earth and its becoming "formless and void" we do not know, neither do we know how long it continued in that condition, but when the time came in the purpose of God to restore it to a habitable state, and make it fit for the abode of the human race, He did it in six periods of longer or shorter duration. These "Periods" were six in number, and with the seventh or Sabbatic Period, are called the "Creative Week."
These "Six Periods" do not describe or include the original creation. The word "CREATE" is not mentioned after Gen. 1:1 until verse 21, which describes the work of the Fifth Day. God did not "create light" on the First Day. He simply said--"let there be light," as one would say "turn on the light."
On the Second Day God simply, divided the waters by providing clouds to hold the moisture of the atmosphere.
The work of the Third Day is "twofold," the emergence of the land from the sea, and the reappearance of vegetable life. This was not a new creation but a RESURRECTION. The earth rises up out of the "Waters of Death," and seeds, and the roots of plants and herbs are called upon to germinate and sprout and grow as they did before the catastrophe that submerged the Primeval Earth. If that catastrophe was what we know as the "Glacial Period" the resurrection of plant life no more required a "creative act" than vegetation does in the spring of the year after the winter is over. That this is what really happened is clear from Gen. 1:11-12, where it says, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is IN ITSELF, UPON (in) THE EARTH." That is, the seed was already in the earth, having been buried by the flood that swept over the Primeval Earth, and, being indestructible, it only needed the proper condition to spring up and cover the earth with verdure. This reveals the fact that the Primeval Earth was clothed with verdure, and covered with plants and trees.
The appearance of the Sun and Moon on the Fourth Day was not a new creation. They had existed in connection with the Primeval Earth and had not been destroyed when it was made waste. The word translated "made" in the 16th verse is not the same word as is translated "created" in verse one, and does not imply a "creative
act." What is meant is that the clouds broke away that up to this time had shrouded the earth and permitted the Sun and Moon to be seen, and that from that time they were appointed to measure the days, and years, and seasons as we have them today. In other words, on the Fourth Day "Time" in contrast with "eternity" began.
The work of the Fifth Day was the "CREATION" of fish and fowl. Here is the first time we come across the word "create" since we read of the original creation of the Earth in verse one. This shows that all "animal life" was destroyed in the catastrophe that overtook the Primeval Earth. We have traces of this animal life in the fossil remains of birds and animals found in the earth. If scientists will relegate fossils and the remains of mammoth animals, etc., to the period of the Primeval Earth there will be no conflict between Science and the Genesis account of Creation. The remains of man are never found in a "fossil state," showing that man did not exist on the Primeval Earth. Man was made for this present earth and is a "NEW" Creation.
The creative work of the Sixth Day was "twofold," that of land animals and man. These land animals were probably the same that we have today. The fact that they were created "after their kind," which expression is six times repeated, shows that they were not "evolved" from one common species. That man also was "CREATED" as man, shows that he has not descended from an "ape." Man was made in the "IMAGE OF GOD," not in the image of an "ape," and was not formed from a brute, but of the "Dust of the Earth." The fact is, there is an "IMPASSABLE GULF" between the lowest order of man and the highest type of beast that science has failed to bridge. The "Missing Link" has never been found.
That all the different species of animals were created "separately" is proven from the fact that when species are crossed their offspring are sterile. The crossing of the jackass and a mare is the mule, and a mule is a hybrid and is sterile. That the whole human race is of "one species" and had a common origin (Acts 17:26) is clear from the fact that, when the different races of the earth's inhabitants marry their offspring are not sterile but fertile. This nullifies the argument that the white race alone is the Adamic race.
Neither was Adam created a baby or a primitive savage, but a full grown man perfect in intellect and knowledge, else he could not have named the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air. And the fact that his descendants had such skill in the invention of musical instruments and mechanical devices and could build cities and towers and such a vessel as the Ark, proves that the men of Antediluvian times were men of gigantic intellect and attainments, and that instead of man having "evolved upward" he has "degenerated downward."
While the Earth has had its "Baptism of Water," and is to have its "Baptism of Fire," it is worth noting that between these two Great Events there are two Minor Events that affect the structure of the Earth. The first was "the flood." At that time there were
great "cataclysmic" and "climatic" changes, for the "FOUNTAINS OF THE GREAT DEEP WERE BROKEN UP." Gen. 7:11. That is, there was a subsidence of the land, that resulted in great physical changes that affected the climate of the earth, and divested the atmosphere of some of its life sustaining properties, so that the length of life was reduced from 900 to 100 years, and later to three-score years and ten. The second "Minor Event" will be caused by the Return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth to set up His Millennial Kingdom. Then the Mt. of Olives will be divided in twain, the mountains and valleys of Palestine will be leveled, the Dead Sea will be raised, and the whole contour of that part of the world will be changed. Zech. 14:4-10. Ez. 47:1-12. As a result of the "cataclysmic" and "climatic" changes thus produced, the effects of the Flood will be reversed and the life-sustaining power of the atmosphere will be restored, and human life will again be prolonged, and men shall live as long as did the people before the Flood. Isa. 65:20.
Immediately after the destruction of Satan and his armies, John says,
John then describes the Judgment of the "Great White Throne," and then adds--
Of such a change in this earth we are not ignorant, but John does not tell us how it is to come to pass. But the Apostle Peter does.
"Nevertheless we, according to His Promise (Isa. 65:17; 66:22), look for a New Heavens and a New Earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." 2. Pet. 3:7-13.
It is clear that Peter is referring to the same event as John, for he says it is to be at the "Day of Judgment and Perdition of Ungodly Men," and that is the "Great White Throne Judgment" of the Wicked Dead.
A surface reading of the above passage would lead one to believe that the earth as a planet, and the sidereal heavens, are to be destroyed by fire and pass away. But a careful study of the Scriptures will show us that this is not so, that what is to happen is, that this present earth, and the atmosphere surrounding it, is to be Renovated by Fire, so that its exterior surface shall be completely changed, and all that sin has brought into existence, such as thorns and thistles, disease germs, insect pests, etc., shall be destroyed, and the atmosphere
purified and forever freed from evil spirits and destructive agencies.
That this is the correct view of the passage is clear from Peter's words in verses 5 and 6.
As we have seen the Apostle Peter was referring here not to the Flood, but to the Primeval Earth, which was made "formless and void" by a "Baptism of Water" that completely submerged it and destroyed all animal life.
Now as the Framework of the "Primeval Earth" was not destroyed by its "Watery Bath," so the Framework of the "Present Earth" is not to be destroyed by its "Baptism of Fire."
This is confirmed by the Apostle's use of the Greek word "Cosmos," which means the "land surface," the inhabitableness of the earth and not the earth as a planet. It is the exterior surface of the earth then that is to "Melt With Fervent Heat" and the "Works Therein Burnt Up." The intense heat will cause the gases in the atmosphere to explode, which the Apostle describes as the "heavens (the atmosphere) passing away with a great noise." The result will be the destruction of all animal and vegetable life, and the alteration of the earth's surface.
The Greek word "Parerchomai," translated "pass away," does not mean "termination of existence" or "annihilation," but means to pass from "one condition of existence to another." The Apostle Paul in his letter to Titus (Titus 3:5), speaking of the "Regeneration" of men, uses the same word that Jesus used when, in Matt. 19:28, He promised His Disciples that in the "Regeneration," that is in the "New Earth," they should sit on "Twelve Thrones" judging the "Twelve Tribes" of Israel. Now no one supposes that the "Regeneration of a man is his Annihilation." It is simply a Renewing Process by which he is brought back to the condition of man spiritually as before the Fall. The word "Restitution" in Acts 3:21, means the same thing. The "Dissolving" of which Peter speaks (2 Pet. 3:11), is the same word Jesus used when He said of the colt--"Loose him and let him go." The teaching of the Scriptures is, that "Creation" is at present in a "State of Captivity," waiting to be Loosed from the Bondage that sin has caused. Rom. 8:19-23.
As to the "Departing as a Scroll" of the heavens, and the "Flying Away" of the earth and heavens, of which John speaks, (Rev. 6:14; 20:11), a total disappearance of all the material worlds is not at all the idea, for he tells us that afterwards he saw--the New Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven, and nations living and walking in the Light of it on the earth, and the Kings of the Earth bringing their Glory and Honor Into It." Rev. 21:2, 24.
The Holy Spirit by Solomon said,
It is specifically promised that "the Meek shall Inherit the Earth," (Matt. 5:5), and that the Children of Israel shall dwell in it forever, (Isa. 60:21; 66:22), and if God's people are to inhabit it forever, it
must EXIST FOREVER. It is clear then that this earth as a planet is not to be annihilated, but that it is to be Cleansed and Purified by Fire and made fit for the home of those peoples and nations that are to occupy it after its renovation.
This earth that has been consecrated by the Presence of the Son of God, where the costliest sacrifice that the Universe could furnish was offered up on Calvary to redeem a race, for which God has a great future, is too sacred a place to ever be blotted out or cease to exist, for it is the most cherished orb in the mind of God of all His great creation.
With the "Renovation of the Earth by Fire," Time does not end and Eternity begin, for we read in the New Testament of a
that Christ shall surrender to the Father, so that God may be "All in All." 1 Cor. 15:24-28. A Kingdom in which--
This describes a Kingdom in which all things Celestial, Terrestrial and Infernal are to be subject to the SON OF MAN.
Now this "Perfect Kingdom" cannot be the "Millennial Kingdom," for that, as we have seen, ends in Apostasy and Rebellion. It must therefore mean another Kingdom on the Other Side of the "Millennial Kingdom," and as there is to be no other Kingdom between the "Millennial Kingdom" and the "Renovation of the Earth by Fire," it must mean a Kingdom that is to follow the "Renovation of the Earth by Fire," and that Kingdom is the Kingdom of the "New Heaven and the New Earth," which we call on the "Rightly Dividing the Word" Chart, the "Perfect Kingdom."
If, as some hold, the "Seventh Day" of the "Creative Week" corresponds to the Millennium, then we have a prophecy of the Dispensation that follows the "Renovation of the Earth" in the "Morrow After the Sabbath." Lev. 23:36.
The Seventh day of Genesis had to do with the "Old Creation," which was imperfect, but the "Eighth Day" has to do with the "New Creation," which is perfect, for it was on the "Eighth Day," or the "First Day of the week," that our Lord arose from the dead, and 50 days later, on the "Eighth Day," that the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost. The "Eighth Day" cannot point to the Millennium, for that is represented by the "Seventh Day," neither can it point to Eternity, for a day is a Period of Time, while Eternity is Timeless. The "Eighth Day" must then point to a "period of time" between the "Renovation of the Earth" and Eternity, or what we are pleased to call the "Perfect Age."
It is also a Dispensation, called in Eph. 1:10--
"The Dispensation of the Fulness of Times."
That is, a "Full-Time Dispensation." The intimation is, that all the previous Dispensations were not "Full-Time" Dispensations, that God had to cut them short on account of sin.
As to the duration of this Dispensation of the "Fulness of Times" we are not in the dark. Israel is to have a large place in that Dispensation.
And as the duration of God's Covenant with Israel was extended in Deu. 7:9 to a "Thousand Generations" or 33,000 years, we have an intimation that the "Dispensation of the Fulness of Times" will last for at least that length of time.
Let us look at some of the characteristics of that Age or Dispensation.
There Will Be No Sin.
All the powers of Evil will have been expelled from the earth and imprisoned in the "Lake of Fire" forever.
The atmosphere of the New Earth will afford no lurking place for disease germs, for there shall be no more sickness or death, and health will be preserved by the use of the leaves of the "Tree of Life." The heavens shall not robe themselves in angry tempests and sombre blackness, nor flash with the thunderbolts of Divine wrath, nor cast plagues of hail on the earth, nor cause devouring floods of water or destructive wind storms. It may be that in that day "a Mist shall go up from the earth and water the whole face of the ground" as in Eden, for we read that there shall be--"No More Sea," not that there shall not be large bodies of water, for the river that flows through the street of the New City must have an outlet, but that there shall be no great oceans.
The earth shall also put on its Edenic beauty and glory. There shall no longer be thorns and thistles, no parasites or destructive insects, and labor shall be a delight. No serpents shall hiss among its flowers, nor savage beasts lie in ambush to destroy and devour. Its sod shall not be heaped over newly made graves, nor its soil moistened with tears of sorrow and shame, or saturated with human blood in fratricidal strife. The meek shall inherit the earth, and from north to south, and from east to west, it shall blossom like the rose and be clothed with the verdure of Paradise Restored.
"And I John saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying: Behold the 'Tabernacle of God' is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the FORMER THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY. And He that sat upon the Throne said, Behold, I make all things NEW. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And He said unto me, IT IS DONE. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the Fountain of the 'Water of Life' freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God and he shall be My son. p. 203 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the LAKE OF FIRE which burneth with FIRE and BRIMSTONE: which is the SECOND DEATH."