The Holy Spirit in Creation – Genesis 1:1-2

 
When I say that the “Oldfields” will be going to a family reunion in August, who would you expect to be going? Does that include the Kjeldgaards? The term “Oldfields” refers to a specific unit made up of several individuals. When the whole unit does something, then we might assume that each of the individuals participated.

The same sort of thing applies to God. Who first comes to your mind when I speak of “Jehovah”? (The Father? The God-head? The Son?) Who first comes to mind when I speak of “Elohim”? Who does the Bible tell us is the Creator of this universe? (Elohim – God.) Genesis 1:1 tells us that “In the beginning GOD created the heaven and the earth,” does that mean that just God the father created the universe or was it the whole family? Who is the Saviour? Does this mean that the Father didn’t play a role in our salvation? What does the Holy Spirit do in saving the lost? In all the major works of God, all three Persons of the Trinity play a part even though quite often only one is given the preeminence.

In most Old Testament references to creation, God is described as the Creator. Is this speaking only of the Father? Who is most clearly described as the Creator in the New Testament? (God, the Son.) John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Colossians 1:12 – “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

Do John 1 and Colossians 1 close the door for considering the Spirit in the equation? If there was a third testament, perhaps the Holy Spirit would be more clearly revealed to be the Creator. This points out one of the great mysteries of Bible Christianity, the intrinsic union, and yet the differentiation between the three Persons of the God-head. They can be clearly separated and yet they never act alone. I ran into a new word in my reading the other day. It spoke about the “UNI-PLURAL” nature of God. This is where the illustration of a family falls apart. There may be a father, mother, son and daughter in a family. They live in the same house, eat the same meals, go to same church and go to bed at the same time. But they may have different interests, different goals, different tastes and even different faiths. Some may like Brussels sprouts while others don’t. Some may be children of God while others aren’t. But are there any areas of disunity between the members of the God-head? We need to train ourselves to picture the entire Trinity in the background of the work of any One of Them.

The Holy Spirit is the Creator, as much as the Father or the Son.

What is the first reason that we know this to be true? (The testimony of scripture.)

And what is the first? Genesis 1:1-2 – “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” How do we know that this verse isn’t telling us that God as a spirit, rather than as something else, chose to do something on the face of the waters? (God, the Father exists only as a spirit already.) What do you picture the Spirit doing here? The word “moved” is found three times in the Hebrew Bible, and it is translated three ways: “move,” “shake” and “flutter.” It depicts a back and forth movement like the fluttering of a huge bird over the undeveloped creation. I know that this is an avianpomorphism – but is it not true?

As you are turning to Psalm 33, let me ask you, does God have a mouth? Human-like lips? A tongue? “Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise. For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the BREATH of his mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.” I know that this Psalm may be considered to be speaking allegorically, but the word “breath” is the same Hebrew word translated “spirit” in Genesis 1:2. If we want to interpret this passage as speaking of the Holy Spirit, then we can conclude that the host of heaven was created by the Third Person of the Trinity, no less than it was the Second Person.

Now turn to Psalm 104:26-30. “O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are CREATED: and thou renewest the face of the earth.” What does the word translated “created” mean? How is that different from “made”? This passage appears to be pointing to the original creation and says that the Lord’s spirit did it.

In Isaiah 40 there are a couple of rhetorical questions; what is a rhetorical question? “Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? The implication of verse 13 is that the Spirit of the Lord did the things described in verse 12. Who ordered the Spirit of the Lord to create things? Did God the Father order Him?

Job 26 contains some of Job’s theology; what he thought about the Lord. Let’s begin reading in verse 5: “Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof. Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering. He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them. He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it. He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end. The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof. He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud. By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent. Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?” What is the “crooked serpent” of verse 13? (One of the constellations.) Then there is Job 33:1 where wise Elihu begins to speak: “Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words. Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth. My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly. The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.”

Is there enough scriptural evidence to say that the Holy Spirit was active in Creation? If the Holy Spirit was more than an agent of God in Creation, what should we conclude about His nature? Only deity can create.

Another line of reasoning in regard to the Holy Spirit and creation relates to the word “Elohim.”

There are times in the Old Testament when the word “elohim” is used to describe the heathen gods; why? “Elohim” is a plural word, and according to the rules of grammar, it refers to more than one god. So then what relationship does the word “Elohim” have to proper Biblical theology?

All 2436 times when the word “elohim” is translated “God” and it is spelled with a capital G the reference is to all three Persons of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What implication does that have on Genesis 1:1? “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” What implication does it have on Genesis 1:26-27? – “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Now let’s think of four special aspects of creation which relate to the Holy Spirit.

The first is ORDER. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” I won’t pretend to understand everything about the act of creation, and you should beware of anyone who professes that they do. But obviously, there were steps taken in this creation, spread over 6 days. What does this verse teach about an original creation which became corrupted and was merely reformed in Genesis 1? Who can tell me why the Lord took this time and didn’t instantaneously create everything complete and perfect? What was it like before the creation of light? What was it like before the separation of the waters from the earth? Would the word “chaos” be acceptable in describing things before the arrival of order and “cosmos”? If those words are appropriate, what did the “moving” of the Holy Spirit upon the waters accomplish?

The second special characteristic of creation is DESIGN. If as Psalm 33 and Job 26 teach us, the Holy Spirit garnished the heavens, what is His relationship to the intricate order and arrangement of things?

The third is LIFE. When Elihu said that the Spirit of God made him and the breath of the Almighty gave him life, what was he implying about the source of his life? What does Genesis 2:7 say about the creation of human life? “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” There we have a reference to the breath of God once again, although I must admit that it is not the same Hebrew word translated “spirit.” Similarly, what relationship does the Holy Spirit have to the restoration of spiritual life in salvation?

The fourth aspect of Creation which relates to the Spirit is PURPOSE. Does the Holy Spirit ever do anything to draw attention to Himself as only one member of the Trinity? In His inspiration of the Word of God, did He write the Bible putting Himself in the forefront? “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself.” Who does the Spirit make sure is most glorified in salvation? Does that mean that He plays no role in salvation? According to Job 26 and Psalm 33 who scattered the stars across the heavens? According to Psalm 19 Whose glory is declared by the Heavens? “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth His handiwork.”

A couple of weeks ago I said that creation is covered with the fingerprints of God. Actually, I can be more specific than that. The creation is covered with the fingerprints of God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.