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3 years ago  ::  Sep 12, 2011 - 9:50PM #1
Posts: 922

Hello; and welcome to the very first book of the Bible.

I'm posting a systematic, daily-bread style commentary on the book of Genesis, practically verse by verse from the creation of the cosmos to Joseph's burial in Egypt. I'll get to your favorite places in Genesis eventually, so I'm requesting that responders not run ahead with their questions, remarks and/or comments but wait till we get to the appropriate location.

Barring emergencies, accidents, unforeseen circumstances, and/or insurmountable distractions, vacations, difficulties, computer crashes, brute force, and dumb luck et al; I'm making an effort to post something fresh and new to read on this thread every day including Sundays and holidays.

All the really cool stuff is in Genesis: the origin of the cosmos, the origin of homo sapiens, Adam and Eve, the origin of marriage, the Devil, the first lie, the first transgression, the origin of human death, the origin of clothing, the first baby, Cain and Abel, the first murder, the Flood, the tower of Babel, and the origin of Yhvh's people. Big-name celebrities like Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Ishmael, Rebecca, Jacob and Esau, and Joseph are here too. (Sorry, but Moses vs. Pharaoh and the parting of the Red Sea are in Exodus; and Samson and Delilah are in Judges)


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3 years ago  ::  Sep 12, 2011 - 9:57PM #2
Posts: 922

Gen 1:1

The author of Genesis is currently unknown; but commonly attributed to Moses. Scholars have estimated the date of its writing at around 1450-1410 BC; which is pretty recent in the grand scheme of Earth's geological history— a mere 3,400 years ago. Since Moses penned Exodus (Mrk 12:26) it's conceivable that he also penned Genesis; but in reality, nobody really knows.

Genesis may in fact be the result of several contributors beginning as far back as Adam himself; who would certainly know more about the creation than anybody, and who entertained no doubts whatsoever about the existence of a supreme being since he knew the Creator himself from close encounters of a third kind. That would explain why the book begins with an in-your-face deistic account of the origin of the cosmos, rather than waste words with an apologetic argument to convince agnostics that a supreme being exists.

As time went by, others like Seth and Noah would add their own experiences to the record, and then Abraham his, Isaac his, Jacob his, and finally Judah or one of his descendants completing the record with Joseph's burial.

Genesis is quoted more than sixty times in the New Testament; and the Lord himself authenticated its Divine inspiration by referring to it in his own teachings (e.g. Mtt 19:4-6, Mtt 24:37-39, Mk 10:4-9, Luke 11:49-51, Luke 17:26-29 & 32, John 7:21-23, John 8:44 and John 8:56).

†. Gen 1:1a . .When God

What was God doing in the dateless infinite past before the current universe came into existence? (I say "current" because there's another in the works (cf. Isa 65:17, 2Pet 3:10-13, Rev 21:1). Who really knows? But a creative genius like that couldn't possibly have been sitting around for zillions of years smoking cigarettes and counting flowers on the walls with nothing to do.

The word for "God" is from the Hebrew 'elohiym (el-o-heem'). It's a plural word and means, ordinarily, just simply "gods". Its uses are very broad and can even apply to human beings in positions of authority like in Psalm 82 and Psalm 45 (cf. John 10:34-36). 'Elohiym isn't really the Almighty's personal name, but an abstract deistic term that pertains to all sorts of gods, along with, and including, the supreme one.

†. Gen 1:1b . . began to create heaven and earth—

The word for "heaven" is from the Hebrew word shamayim (shaw-mah'-yim) and means: to be lofty; the sky (as aloft; the plural (heavens) perhaps alluding to the visible arch in which the clouds move, as well as to the higher ether where the celestial bodies revolve). So the word "heaven" is ambiguous and can mean the breathable air in our planet's atmosphere as well as the stratosphere and the vast celestial regions of space. Shamayim corresponds to the "air" in the Navy SEAL acronym that stands for Sea, Air, and Land.

The word for "earth" is from 'erets (eh'-rets) and means: to be firm; the earth (at large, or a specific region) Erets is sometimes spelled with a zee; eg: ERETZ Magazine, or in the phrase Eretz Israel— meaning, of course, the land of Israel.

The Lord made this comment about the creation of Man; which has a bearing on the meaning of the phrase "began to create."

. Mtt 19:4 . . Haven't you read; he replied, that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female

Wasn't the human race actually created on the sixth day? Yes, it was. So apparently Christ understood the word "beginning" to be an inclusive term comprising the entire creation endeavor, rather than a precise moment, because he obviously meant the human race was created during the construction of the current natural order of things, but not right at the gun.

Continued > >

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3 years ago  ::  Sep 13, 2011 - 9:26AM #3
Posts: 922

Gen 1:2

†. Gen 1:2a . . the earth being unformed and void

The Hebrew word for "unformed" is from tohuw (to'-hoo) and means: to lie waste; a desolation (of surface), i.e. desert; figuratively, a worthless thing; adverbially, in vain. Which indicates that in its "unformed" condition the earth was pretty much good for nothing.

The word for "void" is from bohuw (bo'-hoo) and means: to be empty; a vacuity, i.e. (superficially) an undistinguishable ruin; which indicatges that in that condition you couldn't tell the earth was even a planet.

The terms tohuw and bohuw, don't imply the complete absence of matter. They just imply ruin and chaos. The very same wording is used in another part of the Bible regarding the land of Israel in an utter shambles because of God's judgments against it.

. Jer 4:22-28 . . For My people are stupid, they give Me no heed; they are foolish children, they are not intelligent. They are clever at doing wrong, but unable to do right.

. . . I look at the earth, it is desolate and empty (tohuw and bohuw); at the skies, and their light is gone. I look at the mountains, they are quaking; and all the hills are rocking. I look: no man is left, and all the birds of the sky have fled. I look: the farm land is desert, and all its towns are in ruin— because of Yhvh, because of His blazing anger.

. . . For thus testified Yhvh: The whole land shall be desolate, but I will not make an end of it. For this the earth mourns, and skies are dark above— because I have spoken, I have planned, and I will not relent or turn back from it. (cf. Deut 29:22-28)

The construction of planet Earth, was an orderly step by step process. If you were to visit a housing tract under construction out here in the West, you wouldn't see the beautiful homes that people move into. You would first see the neighborhood as unimproved land.

Then the surveyors come and measure and mark the locations for water, sewer, power, and property lines. Then huge earth moving machines come in and scrape off all the arable topsoil and haul it away. After that, smaller machines cut in streets and storm drains, and mold the land into home sites while the utilities people install sewer lines, electricity, water and gas pipes, and wiring for telephones, cable television, and broadband. Then other workers show up and start making foundations while yet others are making sidewalks. Then carpenters show up and begin framing. Pretty soon, roofers are nailing on shingles, and the structures begin to resemble homes. Then sheet rock guys install wallboard, cabinet makers hang the cabinets, other men install showers, sinks, and bathtubs, while yet others lay down carpet and vinyl flooring.

Before you know it, a real neighborhood appears with parks, paved roads, and street lighting. But at first, everything is confusing and disordered; and all the building materials are laying around in heaps and piles looking more like a refuse disposal site than a habitable neighborhood.

That's the way the Earth began: as a chaotic heap of building materials, which were then utilized to construct a habitat for living organisms.

. Isa 45:18 . . For thus said the Lord, The Creator of heaven who alone is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who alone established it— He did not create it a waste, but formed it for habitation:

The big question of course is where did the Earth's building materials come from? Did they always exist, or did God invent them just especially for the Earth now in existence? Were those materials left-overs from another Divine project prior to the current universe, or maybe even parallel to it?

Regardless of how, or out of what, they were made, the origin of the materials has to be founded in a Creator. It is both maddening and futile to consider any other possibility. By faith we understand much more about the origin of the cosmos than ever could be understood by the unaided mind of natural reason and the god of empirical evidence.

. Heb 11:3 . . By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's vocal command, so that what is visible was made from something invisible.

Faith doesn't violate reason; on the contrary, faith is both a friend and a help to Man's rational understanding of his own existence.

†. Gen 1:2b . . with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water—

At this point, there was no ordered cosmos, nor any planets, nor an Earth, nor anything solid: just a massive chemical matrix, while the wind of God held it all in place like corralled livestock; because as yet, no physical laws were in force to make matter behave the way it does as we know it.

The ancient Jews understood the "wind" of Gen 1:2 to be God's spirit.

T. and darkness was upon the face of the abyss, and the Spirit of mercies from before the Lord breathed upon the face of the waters. (Targum Jonathan)

T. and the Spirit of mercies from before the Lord breathed upon the face of the waters. (Jerusalem Targum)

NOTE : Targums are very old Aramaic paraphrases of the Hebrew bible. They were authoritative, and spoken aloud in the synagogues along with the Hebrew of the Torah and Haftarah readings. Public readings of the Scriptures in ancient synagogues were accompanied by a translation into Aramaic because that was the spoken language of many of the eastern world's Jews during the 500+ years between Ezra and Matthew. The normal practice was that after each verse was read from the sacred Torah scroll, an official translator known as the Turgeman, or Meturgeman, would then recite orally an Aramaic rendering.

Targums were utilized in the synagogues before, during, and after the times of Jesus— being necessary because many of the Jewish people of that day could not understand Hebrew. That's still true today. Because of their assimilation and world-wide dispersion, the vast majority of modern Jews cannot read, nor speak, nor understand the Hebrew language. Today, no doubt the most important, and the most influential translations of the Scriptures are no longer in Hebrew or in Aramaic, but in English, e.g. the JPS Tanakh and the Stone Tanach.

The Targum of Onkelos is commonly included along with a traditional Torah scroll in modern synagogues, but its teachings have pretty much fallen by the wayside and for the most part, ignored.

Anyway; the universe was dark, and undisciplined; and all the cosmos' building materials were a swirling, chaotic mass of matter— but totally lacking the natural energies and forces that would hold things in place and make them react with each other. The creation of light, coming up next, would rectify that situation.

Continued >>

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3 years ago  ::  Sep 14, 2011 - 8:27AM #4
Posts: 922

Gen 1:3

†. Gen 1:3 . . God said: Let there be light; and there was light.

The Hebrew word for "light" in that passage is from 'owr (ore) and means light in every sense of the word; which Webster's defines as: illumination, truth, a set of principles and standards, spiritual illumination, served (as coffee) with extra milk or cream, ignite, guide, animate (give life to), dawn, and others. So then "Light" can't be narrowly defined, but rather, it's one of the Bible's many ambiguous words.

The illumination of Gen 1:3 is not said to actually glow— no glowing celestial bodies were created until the fourth day— so that during the interim, even while Light was in the universe, you still couldn't see anything. According to the Bible, the light of Gen 1:3 is not a supernatural kind of light, but a created kind of light— not light that was introduced into the void from outside, but was from within, and was a kind of light with the potential to forge the universe into a living, active, organized, energetic structure rather than just a heap of chaotic debris.

. 2Cor 4:6 . . For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

The light of creation shined "out" of darkness rather than into darkness as if Light was introduced to dispel the dark and brighten things up. A safe assumption is that at least one of the meanings of the light of Gen 1:3 refers to the natural laws of physics that would regulate how matter in the current cosmos would behave. In other words; where there's light there's order, as opposed to darkness where's there's chaos and confusion.

Without the laws of physics, the universe would instantly fragment itself and nothing would hold together. There'd be neither natural nor artificial light, no energy, no motion, no gravity, no atomic attraction, no magnetism, no molecules, no liquids and no solids. The laws of physics were created to make matter behave the way it does and to hold the entire creation together in a cohesive, understandable, sensible unity— making it possible to utilize elements from the liquid matrix to form an orderly Earth rather than one of tohuw and bohuw.

Note : The light of John 1:4-9 is different than the light of Gen 1:3. John's light pertains to a power that makes man the conscious, perceptive being that he is rather than something in a vegetative state like rhubarb or chaparral.

Introduction To The Memrá

According to 1Tim 6:16, creation's architect is shrouded in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen nor can see. Since the Master Architect himself in person is somehow untouchable, it's necessary to provide a viable link between the Forbidden Being and His earthly creations. One of the important links regarded in ancient rabbinical thought was The Word, called memrá in Aramaic (from the Hebrew and Aramaic root, 'mr which means: to say). The memrá concept— that of a Divine Verbal Mediator between the Forbidden Being and the creature Man— occurs hundreds of times in the Aramaic Targums.

The Architect's voice has been of utmost importance ever since the first day of creation week. It's the primary way that the Forbidden Being implements His will. It's also how the Mysterious Life communicates and interacts with human beings, and how The Life reveals itself in a way they can understand. On the one hand, the Forbidden Being has done this somewhat through human writings. But there is much more to the Untouchable Potentate's speech than just ink and letters. Those materials merely constitute an inert, man-made material record. On many occasions, when The Life's words were actually expressed, they effected far more power and impetus than that of a mere page of transcript.

Why did The Life even bother to speak during creation? Why didn't The Architect just do His work silently without utterance or sound? To whom, or for whom, was He speaking when He said; "Let there be light."

Answer : there's a creative, dynamic force in The Almighty's voice, a power and energy in His words, a tangible release of Divine life. His voice is an extension of His nature, a movement of His will— alive, powerful, and effective— not just letters, syllables, and sounds. There is vigor and activity in the Mysterious Being's voice extending far beyond the applications of thought and communication.

According to the Targums, which were at one time accepted as sacred Jewish beliefs, God's voice is a sentient life; actually The God himself. So then, the Memrá is to be worshipped, and served, and obeyed, and spoken to as the Ultimate Sovereign.

The Jewish apostle John, no doubt schooled in the Targums several years before he met the Bible's Christ, opened his gospel with these words :

. John 1:1-3 . . In the beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, and The Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.

John then proceeded to reveal that the Christ of the Bible is the very Voice of creation personified.

. John 1:14 . .The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us

. John 8:58 . . Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.

 . Rev 3:14 . .These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.

Modern Judaism accuses John of fabricating his Christology from Greek philosophy. However, John 1:1-3 was a very Jewish belief back in his day, and nothing said in that verse would have raised a single objection from any of his peers and contemporaries because that passage reflects 100% Targum teachings that were commonly dispensed in the synagogues of that day.

The Targums taught that God's voice— the Memrá —reigns supreme upon The Almighty's throne.

T. Deut 4:7 . . For what people so great, to whom the Lord is so high in the Name of the Word of the Lord? But the custom of (other) nations is to carry their gods upon their shoulders, that they may seem to be nigh them; but they cannot hear with their ears, (be they nigh or) be they afar off; but the Word of the Lord sits upon His throne high and lifted up, and hears our prayer what time we pray before Him and make our petitions. (Targum Jonathan)

According to the Targums, Jacob, an important progenitor of the people of Israel, worshipped God's voice as his own god.

T. Gen 28:20-21 . . And Jacob vowed a vow, saying: If the Word of Yhvh will be my support, and will keep me in the way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Word of Yhvh be my God. (Targum Onkelos)

Continued > >

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3 years ago  ::  Sep 14, 2011 - 2:49PM #5
Posts: 338

It is too bad that more of us don't take the advice of Rabbi Maimonides that the first eleven chapters of Genesis are "mythology and borrowed folklore" to fill in the gap before Israel became a self aware cultural identity. It is a rich and powerful story.

the floggings will continue until morale improves
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3 years ago  ::  Sep 14, 2011 - 11:44PM #6
Posts: 922


Sep 14, 2011 -- 2:49PM, JRT wrote:

It is too bad that more of us don't take the advice of Rabbi Maimonides that the first eleven chapters of Genesis are "mythology and borrowed folklore"

With all due respect to the Rambam, I'll be proceeding in Genesis on the premise that every chapter is fact and that none are fantasy.


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3 years ago  ::  Sep 15, 2011 - 10:30AM #7
Posts: 922

†. Gen 1:4-5a . . God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.

In essence; Day and Night simply label two physical conditions— the absence of light, and/or the absence of darkness. Labeling those physical conditions may seem like a superfluous detail, but when analyzing crucifixion week in the New Testament, it's essential to keep those physical conditions separate in regards to the Lord's burial and resurrection if one is to have any hope of deducing the correct chronology of Easter week. In other words: in regards to crucifixion week; Day is when the sun is up, and Night is when the sun is down. (cf. Mtt 12:39-40)

Anyplace there's light, there is no true darkness because light always dispels darkness. However, darkness is powerless to dispel light. In other words; science and industry have given the world a flashlight; but they have yet to give the world a flashdark. So then, light is the superior of the two and rules the dark. That is a biblical axiom; and, typically, light is good, and dark is just the opposite.

Light has huge significance in the Bible. Whether in the form of atomic energy, spiritual truth, good times, or all that is noble; true Light (in the biblical sense) always brings with it blessing and order, and Dark always brings just the opposite; for example :

. Mtt 8:11-12 . . I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

. Job 10:20-22 . . My days are few, so desist! Leave me alone, let me be diverted a while before I depart— never to return— for the land of deepest gloom; a land whose light is darkness, all gloom and disarray, whose light is like darkness.

. Amos 5:18-20 . .Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light; as if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?

In contrast to those passages; the 60th chapter of Isaiah characterizes Messiah's kingdom as a place of perpetual Light.

. Isa 60:19-20 . . No longer shall you need the sun for light by day, nor the shining of the moon for radiance [by night]; for Yhvh shall be your light everlasting, your God shall be your glory. Your sun shall set no more, your moon no more withdraw; for Yhvh shall be a light to you forever, and your days of mourning shall be ended.

†. Gen 1:5b . . And there was evening and there was morning, a first Day.

The Hebrew word for "evening" is 'ereb (eh'-reb) which means: dusk. And the word for "morning" is boqer (bo'-ker) which can mean either dawn (as the break of day) and/or morning (as the early part of day)

The Bible's dusk is a bit ambiguous and somewhat different than Webster's dusk, which is defined as: (1) the darker part of twilight especially at night, and (2) darkness or semidarkness caused by the shutting out of light

In the Bible, evening is actually anytime between high noon and sunset when the sun is losing altitude as opposed to morning which is anytime between sunrise and high noon when the sun is gaining altitude. So then: morning is the AM part of a day, and evening is the PM part of a day.

The terms evening and morning therefore are limited to daylight hours since Day is clearly defined as a time off light rather than a time of darkness.

Was there really an evening and a morning as we know them? No, of course not; the Sun wasn't in existence yet. I think evening and morning, in respect to creation week, are only meant to convey that God works only in light as opposed to working in the dark. When someone works in the light; they have nothing to hide. (cf. John 3:19-21)

So: how long was the first day of creation? was it twelve hours, a thousand hours, a million hours, a billion hours?

Students of earth sciences are well aware it's not all that difficult to prove that the Earth as we know it is at least 4.5 Billion years old and that homo sapiens has existed on it for only a relatively teensy percentage of those years. But how do we reconcile the Bible with that knowledge?

One way that seems to work pretty well for some people is the thousand-year theory.

. 2Pet 3:8 . . But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

But that theory won't work because it would mean that the earth as-completed on the sixth day was only 6,000 years old; which is nowhere close to harmonizing with the earth's geological age.

Another is the gap theory; which inserts an arbitrary number of years in between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2, suggesting that the original cosmos underwent a colossal cataclysm at some time in the distant past requiring God to rebuild it from the rubble; which He accomplished in six days of 24 hours each. But that won't work either because it puts dinosaurs together with homo sapiens.

An interesting modification of the gap theory is one that inserts arbitrary amounts of time not only between Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2, but also in between each of the six days. That theory is plausible since the Bible doesn't really say that creation's six days run consecutively with no delay between them; but that theory puts dinosaurs together with homo sapiens.

A fourth theory, one that satisfies my scientific curiosity, is the epoch theory; which suggests that the lengths of creation's days are actually indeterminable. This is not without precedent. For example Gen 2:4 labels the whole of creation week itself as just one day.

Ironically, modern man has a much better understanding of the "week" of creation than the author himself who penned Genesis. He was aware that God created the cosmos and the earth, but didn't really know very much about how God went about it. We today do.

Some Bible students regard science an enemy of the Bible; but that is not only a very isolationist attitude but self-defeating as well. Science and religion are not enemies; no, to the contrary, science itself reinforces religion. Galileo believed that science and religion are allies rather than enemies— two different languages telling the same story. In other words; science and religion are not at odds; no, in reality, science is just simply too young to understand; but it's rapidly catching up.

If you haven't already seen it, I highly recommend watching History Channel's two-season series titled: How The Earth Was Made. The earth's geological past, and its present, are just astounding. The series takes some liberties here and there— especially in its theories about the origin of the blue planet's huge volume of water —but by and large, it's very informative; and quite useful to students of Genesis.

Continued > >

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3 years ago  ::  Sep 16, 2011 - 8:53AM #8
Posts: 922

Gen 1:6-10

†. Gen 1:6a . . God said: Let there be an expanse

The word for "expanse" is from raqiya' (raw-kee'-ah) and means: a great extent of something spread out, a firmament, the visible arch of the sky.

The expanse here in Gen 1:6 is doubtless included in the "heavens" of Gen 1:1 where the sky is labeled shamayim (shaw-mah'-yim). Raqiya' is distinct from shamyim in that it indicates the location of the earth's atmosphere; which is sort of sandwiched between the earth's surface and the vacuum of space.

†. Gen 1:6b-8 . . in the midst of the water, that it may separate water from water. God made the expanse, and it separated the water which was below the expanse from the water which was above the expanse. And it was so. And God named the expanse Sky.

We can easily guess what is meant by water that's below the sky. But is there really water that's above it? Yes, and it's a lot! Earth's atmosphere alone holds roughly 2,900 cubic miles of water in the form of vapor.

Suppose you had a tank one mile wide, and one mile high. What length would it have to be to contain 2,900 cubic miles of water. Answer: 2,900 miles; and the tank would stretch from San Diego California to the Brooks Range in Alaska.

Now supposing we again make the tank one mile wide, but this time only as tall as the Eiffel Tower. How far would a tank of those dimensions containing 2,900 cubic miles of water go? Answer: the Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall; which is .1863636 miles. So a tank 1 mile wide, and .1863636 miles tall, whose volume is 2,900 cubic miles, would be 15,561 miles long.

If that tank was poked into the Earth, it would go all the way through the planet, out the other side, and keep going for another 7,634 miles into space; which is roughly 31 times further out than a Space Shuttle orbit. Laid South to North, the tank would circle the globe from Antarctica past Bangladesh to the North Pole and keep going over the pole southwards for yet another 3,151 miles to Minneapolis Minnesota.

The number of gallons of water in a single cubic mile is 1,100,956,999,000 gallons. That's over 1.1 trillion gallons of water. Multiply those gallons by 2,900 to obtain the number of gallons in the form of vapor dissolved at any given time in Earth's atmosphere; and you get 3.2 quadrillion— which is fourteen zeroes after the 2; and looks like this:


A quadrillion is a thousand trillions. The US national debt hasn’t topped a hundred trillion yet, and still a good ways off from a quadrillion. God help us if it ever gets to a quad. By then, we'll all be working side by side with the child labor in Chinese factories.

Global warming isn't as unnatural as some folks would have us to believe; but rather, it's an essential element in our environment. Global warming is the result of two sunlight catchers: gases and water vapor. Some of the more familiar global warming gases are carbon dioxide, fluorocarbons, methane, and ozone. But as popular as those gases are with the media, they're bit players in comparison to the role that ordinary water vapor plays in global warming. By some estimates; atmospheric water vapor accounts for more than 90% of global warming; which is not a bad thing because without atmospheric water vapor, the earth would be so cold that life as we know it could not exist here.

†. Gen 1:8b . . And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

†. Gen 1:9 . . God said : Let the waters below the sky be gathered into one area, that dry ground may appear. And it was so.

If you're a student of geology, then you know Gen 1:9 speaks volumes and fully deserves some serious consideration. Shaping the earth's mantle in order to form low spots for the seas and high spots for dry ground was a colossal feat of magma convection and volcanism combined with the titanic forces of tectonic plate subduction; all of which require oodles and oodles of centuries to accomplish.

At the ocean's deepest surveyed point— the Challenger Deep; located in the Mariana Islands group, at the southern end of the Mariana Trench —the water's depth is over 11,000 meters; which is about 6.8 statute miles (36,000 feet). That depth corresponds to the cruising altitude of a Boeing 747. At that altitude, probably about all you're going to see of the airliner without straining your eyes is its contrail.

Note : were Mt Everest to be submerged in the Challenger Deep it would still have about 7,000 feet of water over its peak. The discovery of fossilized sea lilies at the summit of Mt Everest proves that the Himalayan land mass hasn't always been mountainous; but at one time was the floor of an ancient sea bed. This is confirmed by the "yellow band" below Everest's summit consisting of limestone: a type of rock made from calcite sediments containing the skeletal remains of countless trillions of organisms who lived, not on dry land, but in the ocean.

. Ps 104:5-9 . . He established the Earth on its foundations, so that it shall never totter. You made the deep cover it as a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. They fled at your blast, rushed away at the sound of your thunder— mountains rising, valleys sinking to the place you established for them. You set bounds they must not pass so that they never again cover the Earth.

That Psalm is stunning; and clearly way ahead of its time. It says that the land masses we know today as mountains were at one time submerged; and it isn't talking about Noah's flood. The speech of "mountains rising, and valleys sinking" isn't Flood-speak, no, it's geology-speak. I seriously doubt that the Psalmist knew about the science of tectonic plates, magma pressure, and the forces of subduction, but he was clearly somehow aware that the Earth's surface is malleable. And that's true. With just the right combination of temperature and pressure, solid rock can be made to bend; even forced to hairpin back upon itself like taffy.

†. Gen 1:10 . . God called the dry ground Land, and the gathering of waters He called Seas. And God saw that this was good.

"good" meaning not that the dry ground and seas are perfectly moral, but rather, perfectly suitable for the purposes that God had in mind for them.

Continued > >

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3 years ago  ::  Sep 17, 2011 - 8:52AM #9
Posts: 922

Gen 1:11-14a

†. Gen 1:11a . . And God said : Let the earth sprout vegetation

The elements God used to create plant life for the Earth, were drawn from the Earth, just as later He will manufacture Man out of the Earth too. So far, the Earth itself, plus everything destined to be a part of the Earth, has come out of the shapeless, liquid matrix of Gen 1:2.

Although God verbally commanded vegetation into existence, it didn't just pop into being without some prior planning. After all, how could God create a maple tree if He didn't have some concept of its biological structure, or even what it would look like?

The soil requirements of different species vary widely, and no generalizations can be made concerning an ideal soil for the growth of all plants; e.g. avocado trees; which thrive just fine in the relatively dry, sunny climate and alkaline soil of San Diego; do poorly in the acidic soil and much wetter, not-so-sunny climate of Oregon's Willamette valley. There are upwards of 30,000 different soils in the USA alone.

Along with the soil requirements of various species of vegetation is the time it takes nature to make the stuff— upwards of three hundred years to a millennium to make just one inch. In other words; it took an enormous number of years after the formation of dry land for the earth's crust to weather and break down on its own to make soil enough for plantings. But then, if there is one thing the Bible's God has plenty of; it's time, so it's not inconceivable that God let nature take its course to produce its own soils normally rather than miraculously; I mean, after all, we're not talking about 24-hour solar days in the creation story; but rather, we're dealing with epochs of indeterminable duration.

Some expositors feel that God created the earth an "aged" earth; that is: the geological age of the earth is artificial and the first soils were miraculous starter soils. Well, that's okay if it works for them, but I think it's far more interesting to suggest that God just let nature take its course and do the job it was designed to do.

†. Gen 1:11b-12 . . seed-bearing plants, fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it. And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation : seed-bearing plants of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that this was good.

All plants, both then and now, were created on the third day. Every plant since then, and all plants that will ever be, pre-existed in the cell structures, and in the DNA, of the original flora. This principle of living things holds true not just for vegetation, but for animal and human life too since God created nothing else after the sixth day; not even newborn babies.

God produced the origin of species, but from then on, the various species reproduced themselves with subsequent adaptations and mutations; which is okay except that the ability to adapt and mutate has made possible serious problems with organisms like Escherichia coli O157-H7.

That deadly little pathogen didn't exist in nature till the 20th century. It's the progeny of regular E-coli adapting itself to overcome the antibiotics used to control disease in large-scale, overcrowded, unsanitary feed lots where animals are rapidly fattened up on a brief diet of genetically modified corn prior to slaughtering them for food.

Although the creator made O157-H7 possible; I doubt if anybody would have any luck suing Him for product liability since it's homo sapiens' own greed and stupidity that forced E-coli O157-H7 into the food distribution system. Its mommy was just trying to give her lethal little offspring the tools necessary to survive. It's like chaos theorist Dr. Ian Malcolm said in Jurassic Park: "Life finds a way."

. Prv 1:32 . . The prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

†. Gen 1:13 . . And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.

†. Gen 1:14a . . God said : Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky

On the fourth day, God spent time up in the higher reaches of the Sky. It might seem odd that He began work on the surface of the Earth, and then before finishing, stopped short and moved off into space. Why not finish building down here on the planet first?

Because many types of plants and animals need sunlight if they're to be strong and healthy. At this point in the creation, planet Earth was very dark and freezing cold. The dark side of the Moon gets down to like 279º below zero; so it was time to turn the Earth into a greenhouse.

Oxygen is a must gas for sustaining life on earth and a very large percentage of it is produced by photosynthesis which is a chemical process that works best in sunlight. No doubt God introduced a starter kit of oxygen into the atmosphere, but it would eventually wax stale without some sort of filtration system and a method for replenishing breathable oxygen. Plant life plays a major role in both filtration and replenishment; hence the need to get the Sun shining as soon as possible.

The atmosphere contains about 19.5 to 23.5 percent oxygen at any given time and even with all the fossil fuel burned around the world, the destruction of savannas, prairies, woodlands, wetlands, and rain forests, coupled with volcanic activity, the percentage remain fairly stable.

The lights created in verse 14 are luminous objects; and one of them; the Moon, doesn't generate its own light. It reflects light from the Sun. But for practical purposes, both of them shed light upon the Earth just as God intended for them to do.

†. Gen 1:14b . . to distinguish Day from Night;

On the first day; God defined Day as a condition of light; and Night as a condition of darkness. Here, it's further defined that Day on earth is when the sun is up; and Night on earth is when the sun is down. These definitions occur so early in the Bible that they easily escape the memories of Bible students as they slip into the reflexive habit of always thinking of Days as periods of one earth rotation of 24 hours. That's okay for civil time keeping; but can lead to misunderstandings when interpreting biblical schedules, predictions, and/or chronologies.

Continued > >

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3 years ago  ::  Sep 18, 2011 - 9:26AM #10
Posts: 922

Gen 1:14c-19

†. Gen 1:14c . . they shall serve as signs for the set times— the days and the years;

The word for "signs" is from 'owth (oth) and means: a signal; e.g. a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc.

The Sun and the Moon are very useful time keepers. The period of time between full moons, roughly 29.5 earth-rotations, is handy for dividing the year into major divisions. Though the moon doesn't divide the year into equal months, it is nevertheless close enough for practical purposes. If you were to tell somebody your intention to visit them in five moons, they would have a pretty good idea when to get ready for your arrival.

The Earth's orbit is handy too because it makes the Sun appear to move along a vast circular path in space called the Ecliptic. The Sun's location along the Ecliptic, relative to the stars, at any given time, is always against the backdrop of one of the signs of the Zodiac. So a person familiar with those signs, can, without even looking at a calendar, come pretty close to telling you the month of the year. That may seem superfluous to us modern city slickers, but if you were a farmer or a rancher living in ancient times, or even today living in a third world country, that information might come in very handy. When the Sun gets back to the same place in the Zodiac, everyone is older by one solar year, depending on their sign.

†. Gen 1:15-18a . . and they shall serve as lights in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth. And it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to dominate the day and the lesser light to dominate the night, and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the sky to shine upon the earth, to dominate the Day and the Night, and to distinguish light from darkness.

Stars illuminate the Earth too. They may appear too dim for that purpose, but that's because our unaided human eyes are not all that sensitive. If you have never looked at the universe through a pair of binoculars on a pitch black night, by all means try it sometime. You will be amazed at its brilliance! Some animals' eyes are more sensitive to light than the human eye so starlight is perfectly adequate for their nocturnal way of life.

George Ellery Hale, the man who concerted construction of the Palomar telescope, was dismayed at all the starlight going to waste in our world. That's why he was so obsessed with building instruments with huge mirrors to collect and focus starlight from a surface area much larger than his own eye.

The pupil diameter of the average human eye in the dark is roughly 7 millimeters; yielding a surface area of about 38 square mm. Palomar's 200 inch mirror yields a surface area of approximately 20,268,299 square mm. That is a significant gain in light collection; a ratio of about 2,895,471 to 1.

Every square inch of your neighborhood is bathed in starlight on a clear night. If you could see all of it falling around your house, you might have to squint or wear dark glasses when you went out at night.

Scientists have attempted to estimate the age of the universe by calculating the number of light-years between Earth and distant objects. For example: this past decade, Hubble telescope detected a galaxy at a distance of 12.8 billion light years and named it A1689-zD1. Is the cosmos therefore 12.8 billion years old? Maybe not; read on.

Chronologically; the Bible's God began constructing the Earth before He began creating the stars; which means that, biblically, the Earth is older than the sun, moon, and stars. But geologists have pretty good reasons to believe the Earth to be only something like 4.5 billion years old; while A1689-zD1 appears to be a minimum 12.8 billion years old; indicating that A1689-zD1 is the Earth's senior by at least 8.3 billion years; but there's a rub.

Astrophysicists have ways to analyze the light from celestial objects in order to calculate their distance, but to my knowledge they have yet to discover a way to analyze light's age. It's reasonable to assume the age of the light visible on Earth from A1689-zD1 is 12.8 billion years old; but is it really?

A theory that satisfies me is that stars, regardless of their distance, became visible on Earth the instant God created them— no delay, and no waiting period. He just punched their light right on through because it was His intent in Gen 1:15 for the cosmos' first stars to shine upon the Earth, and they did so on day four.

A very interesting aspect of starlight is that the universe is expanding in all directions. In other words: every galaxy in the cosmos is moving away from every other galaxy. And not only is it expanding; but the velocity of its expansion is not slowing down; but rather, contrary to expectations, the velocity of the cosmos' expansion is accelerating; which means that the stars God created on the fourth day are quite a bit farther away now than when God made them. How much farther away I don't know; but it's my guess the difference is significant. But that increasing velocity has to result in a stretching of the light emanating from distant objects much like the Doppler effect of sound waves reaching your ears from a receding source of noise like cars, trucks, and airplanes. Wouldn't that work an effect upon  red shift and subsequently an erroneous estimation of an object's distance? I don't know, maybe astrophysicists have figured out a way to compensate.

But what's the point of putting all those objects out there in deep space? Well, for one thing, they're not only brain teasers; but they're actually quite pretty. They decorate the night like the ornaments people put up during holidays. The night sky would sure be a bore if it was totally black. But decorated with stars; the night sky is like a beautiful tapestry, or a celestial Sistine Chapel. It makes better sense that way than to try and find some other meaning for it.

. Ps 19:2 . .The heavens declare the glory of God, the sky proclaims His handiwork.

The universe is simply a magnificent work of art— just as intriguing, if not more so, than the works of Picasso, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Monet, Vermeer, and da Vinci — testifying to the genius of an engineer-artist without peer. It was never meant to be a home for Mr. ET. Sadly, many intelligent people like Carl Segan look to the sky for the wrong reasons. Personally, I think it's futile to look to the sky for SETI reasons. Why not just look to the sky for inspiration instead of intelligent extraterrestrial life? What's so bad about visiting the sky as a Metropolitan Museum of your maker's many-faceted talents?

. Rom 1:19-22 . . For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what He has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord Him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became futile in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools

Which would you rather be: a fool, or an idiot? Well, I'd prefer being the idiot: at least he has an excuse for being stupid.

†. Gen 1:18b-19 . . And God saw that this was good. And there was evening and there was morning: a fourth day.

Continued > >

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