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The Excellency of God’s Character – In the Beginning

“Jesus was there not only before matter; He was there before time. He did not come into being; He just was.”

John Piper

The Intelligent Design Theory by itself will not necessarily lead us to determine the God to which it refers, to determine who is specifically the Designer that is being talked about – a topic addressed previously. Therefore, it is very important that Science works hand in hand with Theology.

That is why throughout the development of the preceding articles section, we worked in parallel presenting the evidence of science, research and biblical support that the case deserves. This is how we conclude that the Designer spoken of in the Intelligent Design Theory is the Creator God of the Bible; in other words, the Triune God (Father, Son Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit), who intervened as the author of creation.

And it is precisely the Triune Creator God and His character, a topic to which we will dedicate space to expound during this and the next articles that we will publish.

Again, it is important to mention that the English version of this article has been translated from the Spanish version of Towards Excellence (https://hacialaexcelencia.org/2022/02/06/la-excelencia-del-caracter-de-dios-en-el-principio/); not necessarily from the original texts and works of authors here cited. The Bible verses used are from NKJV.

In the beginning

The clear manifestation of the Creator God is observed in Genesis 1. And in this same chapter, it is elucidated who the Creator God is. Let us then quote Genesis 1, in the New King James version:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2)

In both verse 1 and 2, it is clearly seen that this portion refers to “God” and “Spirit of God”, respectively. Dr. Charles F. Stanley comments in “Life Principles Bible – NKJV”, thus:

“Look closely at Genesis 1:1,2 and you will notice that the Bible refers to ‘God’ and the ‘Spirit of God’ without making the slightest distinction between the two. Use the two terms equally. Have you ever wondered why? It is because the two are one! This is the first allusion to the doctrine of the Trinity in the Scriptures.” (Stanley 2005)

And Dr. Stanley adds that later in the account of creation, there is even a second reference to the Trinity, like this in the version of New King James:

Man strive hand to a God

“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26)

And likewise, the version of the Textual Bible, IV Edition (Spanish) is noted as a reference:

“And Elohim said: Let us make a man in our image, according to our likeness…” (Translated from the Textual Bible IV Edition 2018)

Who was God speaking to? And to whom did this mysterious “let us make” refer? These are key questions asked by Dr. Stanley. The other beings that existed at the time, Stanley says, were animals or angels. And we are clear from the study of the Scriptures that none of these beings took an active part in the creation process. But happily, in the very next verse, we are given the answer.[1]

“So, God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27 – NKJV)

Without a doubt, that mysterious “let us” refers to God; that is, to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, emphasizes Stanley.[2]

And here it should be noted that the name Elohim is plural, but as noted in Genesis 1:1 for example, in the original Hebrew, this name is used followed by a singular verb. This occurs, as Don Stewart points out, when referring to the true God. It denotes unity and diversity as part of the nature of God, which is revealed in the Scriptures as the doctrine of the Trinity.[3]

Now, to correlate this initial portion referring to the creation and the participation of the Triune God in it; it is important that we refer to the Gospel of John, also in the New King James version:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)

As a reference, we will also quote the version of the Textual Bible, IV Edition (Spanish):

“In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was before God, and God was the Logos. This one was in the beginning before God. Everything existed for Him, and without Him, nothing that exists existed. (Translated from the Textual Bible IV Edition 2018)

Interestingly, we observe that the transcendental passages of the doctrine of Creation appear at the beginning of the Bible, consequently at the beginning of the Old Testament; but it is interesting that also at the beginning of the New Testament; honoring precisely the “beginning” as the starting point for the creative work of the Lord – “In the beginning…” (בְּרֵאשִׁית – bə rê šîṯ), in Hebrew, in Genesis 1:1; identical phrase also in the Greek, which is reiterated in John 1:1 (Ἐν ἀρχῇ – En archē).

Theologian and teacher R. C. Sproul, in his commentary on John 1:1, notes:

“In this important passage, the Logos is distinguished from God (‘was with God’) and, at the same time, is identified with God (‘was God’). This paradox has great influence on the development of the doctrine of the Trinity, whereby the Logos is seen as the Second Person of the Trinity. (McDowell 1999)

Jesus the Son is a Person distinct from the Father, but is one in essence with the Father; as expressed in John 10:

“I and My Father are one…  If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” (John 10:30, 37-38)

And it is timely now that we share some passages, which clearly demonstrate once again that Jesus is God and that He was present at creation, as stated earlier in John 1:3:

“But Jesus answered them, ´My Father has been working until now, and I have been working. ´ Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” (John 5:17,18) Jesus is one with the Father, He is God.
Jesus said to them, ´Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM´.” Jesus already existed before dwelling on Earth, He is Eternal God.
“And He said to them, ´I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven´.” (Luke 10:18) Jesus, God the Son, already existed before the creation of the world.
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:16-17) Jesus, God the Son, actively participated in creation. In fact, “everything was created through Him,” thus corroborating John 1:3.

In short, and as John Piper beautifully describes it:

TE-JPiper-ENG“Jesus was there not only before matter; He was there before time. He did not come into being; He just was.” (Piper, Desiring God 2017)

In this analysis and comparison between Genesis 1:1-2 and John 1:1-3; and its correlation with the famous phrase “In the beginning…”, we clearly see that the Trinity was present at creation.

Don Stewart defines the Trinity, explaining that within the nature of one God there are three eternal Persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.[4]  In fact, Jesus testified of all three Persons of the Trinity in Matthew 3:

“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  (Matthew 3:16-17)

And, thus, creation is the work of the Triune God, as Gerald Nyenhuis affirms, in his study of the Creator God.[5] Both Old and New Testament texts testify that God, or rather that each Person of the Trinity had an active part in creation, here are some examples:

The Father as Creator Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 40:28; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Isaiah 42:5.
The Son, Jesus as Creator John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2,10; John 1:10.
The Holy Spirit as Creator Genesis 1:2; Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30; Isaiah 40:12-13

Thus, this discussion of understanding God the Creator as the Triune God sets the stage for a detailed study of God’s character attributes.

We look forward to meeting you soon as we upload new articles!

[1] The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible – NKJV (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005), 3.

[2] The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible – NKJV (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005), 3.

[3] Don Stewart, “What does the Hebrew Term Elohim mean?,” Blue Letter Bible, https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_1303.cfm

[4] Don Stewart, “What does Genesis 1:1 Tells us about the Creation of the Heaven and the Earth?,” Blue Letter Bible, https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_681.cfm

[5] Gerald Nyenhuis and Dr. R.C. Sproul, El Dios que adoramos (Miami, FL: Logoi, Inc., 1990), 236.

The Excellence of God in Creation – An Intelligent Designer, a Universe of Remarkable Precision, and the Origin of Life

“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”  

Francis Crick

Today, we conclude with this article the first chapter of the study that Towards Excellence began to share a couple of months ago on “The God of Creation as an Author and Example of Excellence”, excerpts on the investigation of this truly exciting topic.

It is important to mention that the English version of this article has been translated from the Spanish version of Towards Excellence (https://hacialaexcelencia.org/2022/01/02/la-excelencia-de-dios-en-la-creacion-un-disenador-inteligente-un-universo-de-remarcable-precision-y-el-origen-de-la-vida/); not necessarily from the original texts and works of authors here cited. The Bible verses used are from NASB.

Lee Strobel defends the existence of an Intelligent Designer from the evidence of Astronomy; thus he manifests that the Earth’s position in the universe and its intricately choreographed geological and chemical processes work together with superb efficiency to create a safe place for humans to live. And Strobel quotes NASA astrophysicist John A. O’Keefe:

“If the universe had not been made with the most exacting precision, we would have never existed. In my opinion, these circumstances indicate that the universe was created for man to live ”. (Strobel, The Case for a Creator 2014)

On the other hand, the astronomer Guillermo González and the scientific philosopher Jay Wesley Richards stated that:

“… It would take a star with the highly unusual properties of our sun to nurture living organisms on a surrounding planet. Among the properties are: the correct mass, the correct light, the correct age, the correct distance, the correct orbit, the correct galaxy, the correct location. Therefore, numerous factors make our solar system and our location in the universe perfect for a habitable environment. ” (Strobel, The Case for a Creator 2014)

Indeed, the creation of the universe and its precision is a topic that has been widely discussed from different spheres and throughout decades. Millard J. Erickson, in his book “Christian Theology,” notes that the great evolution debate in the early 20th century makes it clear that while Theology and Science advance in parallel courses most of the time without intersecting on a common theme; on the other hand, the problem of the origin of the world is one of the points where they definitely meet.[1]

Therefore, while we address the issue of the precision of the universe, it is worthwhile at this point to analyze Darwinian Evolution vs. Intelligent Design. “The Origin of Species,” well-known publication of Darwin in 1859 exposes on biological evolution, whose theory provides a completely naturalistic hypothesis that tries to explain the apparent design of natural teleological systems such as eyeballs. This is how James E. Taylor states, in “Introducing Apologetics” that the Darwinian explanation of natural biological teleology includes 3 important aspects: (1) random genetic change, (2) natural selection and (3) genetic heritage.[2]  And this explanation unfolds like this:

“Complex organisms and organs like the eyeballs have evolved over a long period of time from multiple life forms. This process of biological evolution from simpler to more complex forms took place through random genetic changes (mutations) that occurred in simpler forms during the reproductive process. In other words, an organism produces offspring that differ from it in some important respect.” (Taylor 2006)

Thus, according to the Darwinian Theory, such accidental and unplanned alterations in the parts of biological organisms have survival value for organisms or not. If they have survival value, then the organism that acquired them will tend to better adapt to its environment. If they do not have a survival value, then the organism will not be as likely to adapt, and therefore will not have as much desire to survive. This is the idea of ​​the survival of the fittest one or the strongest one. Therefore, the “natural selection” proposed by Darwin is:

“… The name given to this process of elimination of organisms that occurs naturally as a result of the degree to which they can survive. Organisms that inherit traits that allow them to better adapt to their environments are ‘selected’ by nature. (Taylor 2006)

TE-Darwin pic-engSurprisingly, Charles Darwin in his book, “The Origin of Species” identified a means to disprove his theory:

“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” (Taylor 2006).

Thus, Darwin incredibly recognized that if someone identifies a biological system that could not have been built in gradual steps over long periods of time, then his theory would be invalid.

At this point, it is auspicious for us to address the inherent evidence for molecular machine design that certainly defies Darwin’s explanation of “natural selection.”

Christian biologist and apologist Michael J. Behe, in his book “Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution” argues that there are integrative and complex systems in biological organisms, which he calls “irreducibly complex”, these include sophisticated motors and all kinds of biological circuits; as explained and synthesized by Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, in a long interview with journalist Lee Strobel.[3]

Meyer also specifies:

“These biological machines need all of their varied parts in order to function. Natural selection only preserves things that perform some function, in other words, helping the organism to survive in the next generation. This is the strongest survival. (Strobel, The Case of the Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence Pointing to God 2005)

According to Meyer, complex irreducible systems have a problem and that is that they have no function until all their parts are present and working together in coordination with each other. So, natural selection cannot help building such systems; you can only preserve them once they are built.

Therefore, Meyer adds, in his reference to Behe’s argument that it is impossible for evolution to take such a big leap just by chance and create a complete system at once. This, by the way, leads to the formulation of the following question: “How did the biochemical machine come about? And then Meyer quotes:

“Behe says that these biological systems are likely to appear designed because they were actually designed. After all, when we look at irreducibly complex systems and know how they were formed, invariably a designer made them. ” (Strobel, The Case of the Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence Pointing to God 2005)

For Behe, the notion of irreducible complexity sums it up like this:

“… a single system made up of several harmonic and interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, in which the elimination of any of these parts prevents the system from functioning.” (Collado 2007)

And to explain this notion, Behe ​​takes as an example a homemade artifact – the mouse trap. It can be seen with the naked eye that it is made up of a set of pieces that interact according to a specific design and to achieve a particular purpose. Those who analyze this instrument conclude that the system of parts that compose it has not been arranged at random. It is ruled out, by the way, that the system has been formed gradually; and because of a series of intermediate steps that have been improving the system by a Darwinian-type mechanism. For this instrument to work, it is required that each one of the pieces be arranged according to the expected order or the system ultimately does not work.[4]

To better illustrate it, Behe, in his book “Darwin’s black box” puts it this way:

“Oddly enough, modern biochemistry has shown that the cell is operated by machines: literally, molecular machines. Like their artificial counterparts (mousetraps, bicycles, and spaceships), molecular machines range from the simple to the highly complex: mechanical machines that generate energy, as in muscles; electronic machines, as in the nerves; and solar powered machines, as in photosynthesis. Of course, molecular machines are made of proteins, not metal and plastic. (Collado 2007)

On the other hand, according to Behe, the bacterial flagellum for example is literally an outboard motor that some bacteria use to swim. In fact, Behe ​​accepts Darwin’s challenge by arguing that the bacterial flagellum and other subcellular systems are irreducibly complex and therefore cannot be formed by numerous successive and slight modifications.[5]

Simply put, Behe’s argument against Darwinism is quoted like this:

  • “Some biological systems such as the bacterial flagellum are irreducibly complex.
  • If a biological system is irreducibly complex, then it could not have arisen solely through a process of evolution by natural selection.
  • If there are biological systems that have not arisen solely through a process of evolution by natural selection, then Darwinism is false.
  • Therefore, Darwinism is false.” (Taylor 2006)

Thus, continuing in line with these analyzes and reflections, it should be noted that, for Dr. Meyer, science and faith point towards the same truth. In fact, Meyer convinced states:

“I believe that the testimony of science supports theism. While there are always going to be points of tension or unresolved conflicts, the greatest advance in science in the last five decades has been to walk strongly in the direction of theism… Science, well done, points towards God.” (Strobel, The Case of the Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence Pointing to God 2005)

And a magnificent example of science pointing towards God is precisely the origin of life and the origin of the information necessary to bring life into existence. This information is stored in DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and in molecular proteins.

Thus, Richard Dawkins, a British biologist, stated the following:

“The gene machine code is eerily similar to computers.” (Strobel, The Case of the Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence Pointing to God 2005)

As we know, Meyer points out, computers operate through software programs, the same ones that have been designed by intelligent engineers. Indeed, the information itself – a computer code, hieroglyphic inscriptions or a book, all this points towards intelligence. The same is true about the information of every cell in every living creature.[6]

In fact, the well-known software developer, Bill Gates, confirms this:

“DNA is like a computer program, but extremely more advanced than any software ever created.” (Meyer 2009)

Researcher holding blue pill for health care in laboratory with

So, DNA stores the assembly instructions for building the many crucial proteins and protein machines that serve and maintain even the most primitive single-celled organisms.

Along these lines, a curious note. First established in 1985 by Sir Alec Jeffreys, DNA testing has become an increasingly popular method of identification and research. As it is known, genes are the blueprints of life and control everything from hair color to blood sugar, telling cells which proteins to produce, how much, when and where. Genes exist in most cells. There is a long chain of chemical DNA inside a cell. The part of DNA that determines which protein to make and when, it is called a gene.[7]

The benefits of DNA testing are vast. In 1988, for example, Colin Pitchfork became the first British murderer and rapist, who was caught because of DNA fingerprint tests.[8]

On the other hand, the information provided with the DNA tests has also helped unjustly imprisoned people such as the Americans Gary Dotson (Illinois) and Dennis Halstead (New York) to obtain their freedom in 1989 and 2003, respectively.[9]

Here it should be noted that the origin of life and biological information is a subject that has captivated many, from the highest scientific spheres to ordinary mortals. And it is clearly observed that great scientific findings such as DNA, not only that point to the confirmation of the existence of an intelligent being behind the creation of the entire universe; rather, these same findings, put into practice in daily life, contribute to the growth, development, and care of society; as in the case of technical DNA tests to do justice in cases related to crime, or in cases inherent to responsible paternity.

Thus, the German researcher Bernd-Olaf Küppers, whose scientific interests cover a wide range of problems centered on the fundamental question about the origin and evolution of life, concludes:

“The problem of the origin of life is clear and basically equivalent to the problem of the origin of biological information.” (Meyer 2009)

In the book “Life itself,” Francis Crick, a philosophical materialist, admitted:

“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.” (Strobel, The Case of the Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence Pointing to God 2005)

On other hand, Stephen C. Meyer, author of “Signature in the Cell” affirms that, in the Theory of Evolution, Charles Darwin, never intended to uncover the mystery of the origin of biological information. For the English naturalist, this origin was always an impenetrable ministry.[10]

Impenetrable mystery? To the amazement of humanity, each time, the origin of life is revealed even more and more. The most revealing discovery has indeed been that when James Watson and Francis Crick elucidated on the structure of DNA. More than half a century ago, thanks to Watson and Crick, it was discovered that each cell has a complex and advanced information processing and storage system that far surpasses any computer system.

And the famous English scientist, astronomer, theologian and author, Isaac Newton, already 3 centuries ago, in his masterpiece Opticks, published in 1704, reflected:

“How came the bodies of animals to be contrived with so much art, and for what ends were their several parts? Was the eye contrived without skill in Opticks, and the ear without knowledge of sounds?…And these things being rightly dispatch’d, does it not appear from Phænomena that there is a Being incorporeal, living, intelligent…?” (Meyer 2009)

These assertions, the fruit of long years of study and scientific research, are only small samples that the universe and the origin of life itself are supported by an intelligent Creator, a Creator of order, a wise Creator, an Almighty Creator, a Creator of excellence.

Nonetheless, the Word of God, God himself already announced it, centuries ago. Thus, in Jeremiah, written between 627 BC. and 586 BC, he poetically stated it:

It is He who made the earth by His power,
Who established the world by His wisdom;
And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens.
When He utters His voice, there is a roar of waters in the heavens,
And He makes the clouds ascend from the end of the earth;
He makes lightning for the rain,
And brings out the wind from His storehouses.” (Jeremiah 10: 12,13)

But that same Almighty Creator is the one who not only displayed His excellence in making the heavens and the earth, the universe as such, but also everything that is in it. God, the Creator, also displayed and left His mark of excellence in a singular way by making humanity, the masterpiece of His creation, as the Psalmist sublimely expresses it:

“For You created my innermost parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139: 13,14)

Thus, the quote from Mark DeVine is conducive to this closure:

“It is precisely as a creature that humanity is imago dei and the inclusion of humanity within the rest of the created order can extract the divine superlative ´very good´.” (DeVine 2019)

Towards Excellence will continue sharing excerpts from its research on “The God of Creation as an Author and Example of Excellence” throughout 2022. Please, await for our next articles! A very blessed New Year 2022!

[1] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), 393.

[2] James E. Taylor, Introducing Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Academic, 2006), 131-133.

[3] Lee Strobel, El Caso del Creador: Un periodista investiga evidencias científicas que apuntan hacia Dios (Miami, FL:  Editorial Vida, 2005), 1767 – 1772.

[4] Santiago Collado, Análisis del Diseño Inteligente (España: Universidad de Navarra, 2007), 10.

[5] James E. Taylor, Introducing Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker Academic, 2006), 133-134

[6] Lee Strobel, El Caso del Creador: Un periodista investiga evidencias científicas que apuntan hacia Dios (Miami, FL:  Editorial Vida, 2005), 1757 – 1760.

[7] Live Science, “DNA and Genes,” Live Science,  https://www.livescience.com/topics/dna-genes/7

[8] Live Science, “DNA and Genes,” Live Science,  https://www.livescience.com/topics/dna-genes/7

[9] Innocence Project, “200 Exonerated – Too Many Wrongfully Convicted: An Innocence Project Report on the First 200 DNA Exonerations in the U.S.”, https://www.innocenceproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/ip_200.pdf

[10] Tendencias 21 – Tendencias de las religiones, “Un nuevo libro basa el diseño inteligente en el ADN celular,” Tendencias 21, https://www.tendencias21.net/Un-nuevo-libro-basa-el-diseno-inteligente-en-el-ADN-celular_a3987.html

The Creator Prepares Home for His Masterpiece – The Human Being

“God created all things in order to prepare a house and an inn … then after everything that belongs to the essence of a house is ready, man is brought …”

[The Works of Luther]

Creation certainly reveals its Creator. His power, majesty, wisdom, wit, and care.

The Creator puts together a beautiful and incomparable composition with an extraordinary and endless range of elements: Visible light in the splendor of the day and dense darkness in the calm of the night. The sky with its stars, the immensity of the waters and the deep seas, the land of beautiful landscapes. Birds that incredibly fly high in the sky against the wind; sea ​​monsters and an infinity of creatures that dwell at the bottom of the sea; beasts and animals galloping in the field. Dense and exuberant vegetation, infinity of fruit trees.

A world full of color and delicacy. Harmonically designed, whose sounds surpass the most brilliant symphony: from the delicate chirping of the birds to the imposing roar of the lion. From the soft and imperceptible sea breeze to the crash and roar of its majestic waves. From refreshing rain to intimidating thunder.

And this wonderful symphony reaches its climax with even more spectacular, sublime, and peaceful sound; the sweet and loving words of the Creator God towards the highest of His creation, Adam and Eve; who certainly enjoyed splendid intimacy with their Creator, in the delight of the Garden of Eden.

“And God saw that it was good,” “and behold, it was very good.” God saw that His creation was very good! Through His creation, we touch the immensity of God’s love for the masterpiece of His creation – humanity. So great is the love of God, that step by step, detail by detail, precision after precision, He was designing and creating home for humanity.

a-laughing-baby-sitting-in-a-crib-and-playing-with-2021-11-15-17-02-01-utcThis leads us to compare in some way with millions of episodes in the world, when married couples prepare to receive their little baby. How much joy, how much delight, how much expectation! Nine months of so much love, great enthusiasm and of course, a lot of work to properly prepare the baby’s room, its trousseau, colorful and warm clothes, his / her first toys, even specialized preparation to know how to breastfeed him / her, how to prepare baby food as he grows, how to clean and bathe him, how to protect him from diseases, how to interact day by day with the little one so that the environment in which he develops is safe, pleasant, healthy and full of life.

In the same way, the Creator of the universe, took the necessary time to design with splendid precision each part of the magnificent home that He gave to the human being to grow healthy, safe and full of life. God saw that the created home was indeed good and very good!

As Mark DeVine says in his book, “Shalom Yesterday, Today and Forever: Embracing All Three Dimensions of Creation and Redemption”:

“To God be the glory for the things He has done. And what has He done. He has made heaven and earth as the proper home for human creatures made in His image. ” (DeVine 2019)

Likewise, Luther recognizes in his book “Luther’s Works” that the Creator is truly the provider, sustainer and caretaker of humanity:

TE-Luther-eng“God created all things to prepare a house and an inn, as it were, for the future man … then after everything that belongs to the essence of a house is ready, man is brought, as it were, into his possession that we may learn that the divine providence for us is greater than all our anxiety and care. ” (DeVine 2019)

Thus, and according to the biblical account in Genesis, on the sixth day, God concluded His creative activity, and concluded it essentially with the creation of His masterpiece – the human being; and on the seventh day He rested and sanctified this day.

“And so the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their heavenly lights. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because on it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (Genesis 2: 1-3 – NASB)

It is clear then that the pronouncement of God after the creation of humanity speaks eloquently of the unique meaning of humanity compared to the rest of creation; Devine points out. And he adds that only with the creation of humanity and its inclusion within the created order, can the creation as a whole extract the superlative “very good” from the Creator. In truth, this speaks of humanity’s uniqueness within the created order, a uniqueness that includes a position of superiority and distinctive worth within the universe. And DeVine emphasizes that no other imago dei creature is created. No other creature exercises dominion over the lower forms of creation.[1]

[1] Mark DeVine, Shalom Yesterday, Today and Forever: Embracing All Three Dimensions of Creation and Redemption (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2019), 709.

Creation – Six-Day Journey…

 

“Then God said …;” “And it was so …;” simply denote the authority of our Creator God…“And God saw that it was good;” “and behold, it was very good;” speak absolutely of the excellence of God.”

Cecy Yépez

Following the commitment of “Towards Excellence” we now share a second excerpt from the study “The God of creation as author and example of excellence”, this time focused on the extraordinary six-day journey in which the wonderful creation took place.

It is important to mention that the English version of this article has been translated from the Spanish version of Towards Excellence (https://hacialaexcelencia.org/2021/11/01/creacion-una-jornada-de-seis-dias); not from the original texts and works of authors here cited. The Bible verses used are from NASB.

So, sit back and let’s briefly travel through time!

Herbert Wolf states that Genesis was written as the prologue to the rest of the Bible. In general terms, Genesis expounds on the origin of the universe, the physical world, human life, cultures and certainly the nation of Israel. All this without considering the detailed explanation of how sin entered this world and how it ruined God’s original creation.[1]

It is interesting that throughout the creation account the frequency of at least 4 phrases to which much attention should be paid is observed: “Then God said …;” “And it was so …;” “And God saw that it was good; ““And behold, it was very good”.

The first two sentences: “Then God said …;” “And it was so …;” simply denote the authority of our Creator God. His Word is truthful and trustworthy. What God says that is fulfilled. As it is stated in Psalm 33: 8-9 (NASB):

“Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood firm.”TE.Palm33

The second two sentences: “And God saw that it was good;” “and behold, it was very good;” speak absolutely of the excellence of God. But these last two sentences are definitely connected with the first two. God declares His Word with authority and truthfulness, consequently His decrees are executed, and they are executed with undoubted excellence.

Don Fleming, author of the “Concise Bible Commentary,” in his section “Plan of the Genesis account,” states that the Earth constitutes only a small part of God’s creation. And he adds:

“The Genesis account is concerned with showing that God made everything from nothing, that He worked from what is without form to what has form, from the simple to the complex. He describes how He led the universe through various stages until His creative activity reached its climax in Adam and Eve.” (Fleming 1994)

Thus, it is time then to travel through part of the great creative work of God. Let us start our imagination for this journey…a journey that originally lasted six days, exposed in Genesis 1: 1 – 2: 3. And for this purpose, we will quote again Fleming, who in a simple but dynamic and creative way, superbly synthesizes this work:

At first the earth was shapeless and in darkness, due to the surrounding mass of water, but as the thick clouds of steam began to lose their density, a hazy light came from the invisible Sun (1: 1-5 – Day 1).

And as they lost greater density, the vapor clouds rose from the ground, producing a clear distinction between the surface of the oceans and the roof of the heavy clouds above (1: 6-8 – Day 2).

Meanwhile the Earth (the planet) was drying up and the Earth as such appeared visible. Simpler forms of life began to appear. Various kinds of soils and climatic conditions produced various kinds of plants, which were thus created so that they continue to produce more plants according to their own species (1: 9-13 – Day 3).

The heavy cloud above, which gradually became thinner and thinner, finally broke apart. And so the sun, moon and stars that were previously hidden are now clearly visible. And its effect on the land allowed a variety of climates and an annual pattern of seasons to occur (1: 14-19 – Day 4).

As God’s creative activity progressed, animal life began to appear, with creatures in the sea and creatures in the sky (1: 20-23 – Day 5).

Creation-girl and forest2The Earth also experienced the appearance of animal life, until it was also filled with all kinds of creatures. And finally, the first human couple arrived, representing the pinnacle of God’s creation. Unlike other living beings, the human couple was created in the image of God. (1: 24-31 – Day 6).[2]  And about this we will talk later, in a future article, about how God, their Creator, prepared everything for their arrival and reception.

Throughout this journey of creation, it is important to note that five of the six days of creation itself, the following statement is reiterated: “And God saw that it was good.”

Henry M. Morris III, in his article “Genesis and the Character of God”, points out that it is the same word in Hebrew that is used every time and means exactly what is expected, that is: good, pleasant, charming, excellent, beneficial. In fact, this term is used more than 500 times in the Bible. There is nothing so unusual about the use of God’s Word, Morris says, except that it is repeated often and that it is God who uses this term.[3]

And the sixth time, precisely on the sixth day, a greater emphasis is observed, “And God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

The Hebrew word for good is טוב [TOV] and from the Hebraic perspective it means that “TOV” is practical and functional, not just a state of pleasure. Thus, in Genesis 1:31, it is observed that God saw that His creation worked perfectly.[4]

On the other hand, Nachmanides interprets the word מְאֹ֑ד [ME´OD] as “mainly,” that is, the world is “mainly good,” quoting Onkelos, it would be further specified as “very orderly” and “appropriately arranged.”[5]

Throughout the six-day journey, it is undoubtedly shown that creation displays the Creator’s mark of excellence. In fact, the Creator Himself stated that His creation is flawless in every way. It is impeccable for sure in beauty, in function, in purpose, and in potential. After the creation, God saw all and saw that all created was very good.[6]

More of the God of excellence in our next post. See you soon!

 

[1] Herbert Wolf, An Introduction to the Old Testament – Pentateuch (Chicago: Moody Press, 1991), 79-80.

[2] Don Fleming, Concise Bible Commentary (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1994), 13.

[3] Henry M. Morris III, “Genesis and the Character of God,” Institute of Creation Research, https://www.icr.org/article/genesis-character-god/

[4] CMJ Israel, “Hebrew Word Studies,” CMJ Israel, https://www.cmj-israel.org/yeshiva/hebrew-word-studies

[5] Zachary Braiterman, “Tohu and Bohu are TOV – Genesis,” Jewish Philosophy Place, https://jewishphilosophyplace.com/2014/10/19/tohu-vabohu-is-tov-genesis/

[6] BibleRef, “What does Genesis 1:31 mean?,” BibleRef, https://www.bibleref.com/Genesis/1/Genesis-1-31.html

 

The God of Creation as Author and Example of Excellence – Introduction

“…from the microscopic and complex of DNA to the magnificent and unattainable galactic world of the splendid universe, the Creator´s mark of excellence is infallibly present.”

Cecy Yepez

For some months “Towards Excellence” has been silent, due to some circumstances, perhaps one of the main ones, because I, the author, was working on a long research whose theme fascinates me. So, for some time I have considered to share excerpts from it with each of you, the beloved audience of “Towards Excellence.”

From now on, I will be pleased to provide a broad overview of the excellence of the Triune Creator God and its implications for the work of leaders, and especially, Christian leaders within their various spheres of influence.

Through the study of Genesis 1 and 2, among other Biblical passages, the fascinating world of creation and its different moments are approached, in which the excellence of its Maker undoubtedly unfolds. It is observed, of course, that from the microscopic and complex of DNA to the magnificent and unattainable galactic world of the splendid universe, the Creator’s mark of excellence is infallibly present.

And of course, this study highlights the sublime and supernatural presence of the mark of excellence in the Creator’s masterpiece – the human being, in whose being His image and likeness were impregnated, which unfortunately was upset, stained and broken by the fall; but it is emphasized that it has the opportunity to be restored through the redemptive work of Christ. Of Whom, incidentally, a wonderful approach is made as “the image of the invisible God”, based on Colossians 1:15-17 and Colossians 2:9.

Space view on Planet Earth and Sun Star rotating on its axis in black Universe. Elements of image furnished by NASA, [Envato Elements].

In fact, to understand even more about the image of God, the character of Jesus and His actions are also analyzed, since He is the perfect example of what human nature should have been.

Thus, this study, in its last part, deals with what concerns Christian leadership, understanding that its actors, made in the image and likeness of the Creator, are challenged to be an example of His excellence where they have been called to lead. And not only that, but as bearers of His image, they have been commanded to exercise dominion over all creation, but they must do so in a way that is consistent with the character of the God of excellence.

For this reason, throughout the excerpts that I will share from this research, the great example of Jesus Christ will be denoted, whose leadership style has revolutionized the world. A leader who sacrificially serves lepers, without fear of infection; a leader who breaks down cultural barriers, not fearing other people´s opinion, such as the encounter with the Samaritan woman; a leader who forgives and restores, as when he courageously defended the woman who was about to be stoned; a confronting leader, as in the eviction of the temple. A true servant leader who gives His life for the cause that was entrusted to Him!

And we delved further, understanding that this leader did not allow Himself to be infected by the profane culture of His environment; but rather fearlessly expanded the culture of the Kingdom of God.

I trust that these excerpts will inspire many as they may have the opportunity to meet the God of excellence for the first time, or reaffirm their knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ, the God of excellence; or even more, mobilize many to be and act as ambassadors of excellence in this world.

In our next issue, we will start together an extraordinary journey through which we will recognize “the excellence of God in creation”; and certainly, we will join the poetic statement of Job:

“[God] who alone stretched out the heavens
    and trampled the waves of the sea;

who made the Bear and Orion,
    the Pleiades and the chambers of the south;

who does great things beyond searching out,
    and marvelous things beyond number.”

(Job 9:8-10 – ESV)

See you soon and in the meantime, I encourage you to live a life marked by excellence!