Genesis 1:5 Commentary - Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)
God named things as well as creating them. Having a name equals having existence, in biblical thought, and the act of giving a name meant the exercise of a sovereign right (cf. Gen 41:45; 2Ki 24:17; Dan 1:7). In this chapter naming or blessing follows some act of creation seven times. The Hebrews regarded the number seven as connoting a complete, divine act, as will become clear later.
The terms day, night, evening, and morning imply the beginning of the earth’s rotation on the first day. [Note: See my further comments on 2:3.] The use of the Hebrew word ’ehad ("one" day, cf. "second day," "third day," etc.) as an ordinal number also supports this view. [Note: See Andrew E. Steinmann, "’ehad as an Ordinal Number and the Meaning of Genesis 1:5," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 45:4 (December 2002):577-84. Ordinal numbers express order (e.g., first, second, third, etc.) whereas cardinal numbers are used in counting (e.g., one, two, three, etc.).] The Jews reckoned the beginning of a day with the evening rather than the morning.
"A few years ago in England some Christians became excited about the Big Bang theory, thinking that it favored Christianity. But they really missed the point-either the point of Scripture or the Big Bang theory or both. The simple fact is that what is given in Gen 1:1 has no relationship to the Big Bang theory-because from the scriptural viewpoint, the primal creation goes back beyond the basic material or energy. We have a new thing created by God out of nothing [Lat. ex nihilo] by fiat, and this is the distinction." [Note: Frances Schaeffer, Genesis in Time and Space, pp. 28-29.]
Nevertheless, though it is not the same, "The Big Bang theory sounds very much like the story that the Old Testament has been telling a long time." [Note: Lance Morrow, Time (Feb. 5, 1979), p. 149.]
From the beginning God made divisions. He later divided the clean from the unclean, the holy from the profane, the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, and Israel from the nations. This shows His sovereignty (i.e., ultimate authority).
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Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)
Copyright 2012, Dr. Thomas Constable. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
Dr. Thomas Constable graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 1960 and later graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary.
Dr. Constable is the founder of Dallas Seminary’s Field Education department (1970) and the Center for Biblical Studies (1973), both of which he directed for many years before assuming other responsibilities. Today Dr. Constable maintains an active academic, pulpit supply, and conference-speaking ministry around the world. He has ministered in nearly three dozen countries and written commentaries on every book of the Bible. Dr. Constable also founded Plano Bible Chapel, pastored it for twelve years, and has served as one of its elders for over thirty years.