Genesis 1:1 Commentary - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary
NOTE: Charts and maps on Genesis are found in 23 volume hardbound edition of the Baptist Commentary
Comments on the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, for the Baptist Commentary were written by Dr. G.F. Crumley. Comments in this volume express the beliefs of the writer, formulated over a period of more than forty years of study. Many people have influenced and guided the writer's study of the Bible, but the beliefs expressed in this volume are his own.
The foundation of this study is the belief that the entire Bible is the Word of God. This belief accepts the premise of the inerrancy of the Bible. This premise is the foundation of all reliable Bible exegesis.
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (2Ti 3:16-17). The original text affirms, "Every (sacred) writing (particularly the Old Testament) is God-breathed..." God breathed into His prophets the words and thoughts He wanted to make known. Thus, the Bible does not contain the Word of God - it IS the Word of God. From the first "in the beginning" of Genesis to the final "Amen" of Revelation, every word of the Bible, as it was in the original text, comprises the Word of God, the breathed-in revelation of His perfect will to man.
The Bible is not a Book of science, but it is a scientific Book. In the original text, there is no scientific error. It is not a Book of history, but it is historically accurate. In the original text, there is no historical error. This conviction is the "true north" of the compass of interpretation in this volume. The writer's comments may be erroneous, but there is no error in the Bible, the inspired Word of God.
-G. F. Crumley
The term "Pentateuch" means "five books." It denotes the first five Books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. They cover the period of time from the creation to the death of Moses.
In the late Eighteenth and early Nineteenth Centuries there arose a method of interpretation of Scriptures known as "higher criticism." A number of popularly-acclaimed scholars subjected the Scriptures to intense examination, based upon the result of their studies of the ancient manuscripts, the evidences of archaeology and anthropology known to them. Many arrived at the conclusion that the Scriptures, including the Pentateuch generally and Genesis in particular, were written by many unknown writers who took as their source materials certain Jewish folklore and fables. Foremost in this movement was the German scholar Karl Heinrich Graf, (1814-1869). Another critic and scholar was Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918). He studied at the University of Gottingen under Heinrich Ewald. Wellhausen taught at such prestigious schools as the University of Gottingen, Greifswald, Halle, and Marburg. Graf, Wellhausen, Ewald, and others questioned and later denied that Moses was the author of the Books of the Pentateuch.
The 19th Century "higher critics" are joined by many 20th Century critics who question or deny outright the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. Many even question the inerrancy of the entire Bible.
The "higher critics" are mentioned in this volume, not as a source of reference, but to affirm the writer's conviction that their criticism is completely unfounded, in the area where they question either the inerrancy of the Scriptures, or the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch.
The Wise Man said, "Of making many books there is no end" (Ecc 12:12). This is particularly true with regards to commentaries on the Bible. This work is no exception. Many books offer valuable insights into proper interpretation and understanding of the Bible. However, the Bible is by far the best commentary available upon itself! For this reason, it is profitable to note what the Bible has to say about the authorship of the Pentateuch. Jesus' own words are far more reliable than those of Graf, Ewald, Wellhausen, or any of the other so-called "higher critics."
Jesus clearly identifies Moses as the writer of each of the five Books of the Pentateuch. Note first the New Testament references, then the corresponding passage in the Pentateuch:
There is no valid reason to doubt the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. Moses was reared in the royal palace of Egypt, as the grandson of Pharaoh and the heir-apparent to Egypt's throne. In this position, he received the highest education possible in the ancient world. To fulfill his future role as Pharaoh's heir, it would be necessary that he be instructed in the arts and sciences of Egypt, as well as the history of the known world. Moses was no ignorant, unlettered sheep-herder who was thrust into a leadership role with no literary skills. From the standpoint of secular education, Moses was well-qualified to write the Books of the Pentateuch. But more than that, Bible-believers readily accept the fact of his direct communication with Jehovah God. Even if Moses had not been educated in the world's finest universities, his experiences with God would have qualified him to write these five Books. ,
IN SUMMARY: this volume of commentary will accept the premise as basic fact: Moses wrote the Books of the Pentateuch. No acknowledgment of difference with this position will be presented. the primary reason for this position: the Bible's own claims of Mosaic authorship.
GENESIS CHAPTER ONE
"Genesis" means "beginnings." The Book of Genesis is the "seed-bed of truth." A partial list of the "beginnings" found in this remarkable Book includes the beginning of: earth, heavens, seas, plant life, aquatic life, terrestrial life, man, woman, family, sin, conviction, judgment, worship, redemption, murder, metallurgy, music, polygamy, civil government - and many others.
The Book of Genesis covers an undetermined length of time. It begins with the creation of the heavens and the earth, and closes with the death and burial of Joseph Since it is impossible to fix accurately the date of the creation, it is impossible to determine the time-span of Genesis.
Verses 1, 2:
"In the beginning..." at a point undetermined in time, "God," Elohim, (three) powerful ones. The "im" ending denotes plural; three or more. This designation of God implies the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, see Mat 28:19-20; Mat 3:16-17; Joh 14:16; Joh 15:26; 2Co 13:14; Gal 4:4-6.
"Created," bara, cut, form, fashion. This word never means to make something out of nothing. It is an axiom that "from nothing comes nothing." God formed creation from something that already existed: His eternal power (dunamis), Rom 1:20. Einstein's equation, E=MC2 confirms that all matter is basically composed of energy. The creation of the heavens and the earth was sudden, as by the spoken word of God, Isa 48:3. The creation did not occur over a long period of time, spanning millions of years.
God is without flaw. For Him to do anything imperfect would be to mar His own perfection. Thus, the creation as it came from His power was perfect; it was not "in vain," as verse 2 describes (Isa 45:18). Something occurred in the interval between verse 1 and verse 2 that caused the earth to be in the condition described in verse 2.
"Was," literally "became," or came to be. "Without form and void" is tohu wa vohu, a condition of emptiness, waste, and desolation. The earth was not created in this form: it became thus, due to some catastrophic event. The following Scriptures describe what took place to make the earth to become a waste and desolation: Eze 28:12-17; Isa 14:12-14; Luk 10:18; Jer 4:21-26. A powerful arch-angel whom God had created rebelled against God, refusing to acknowledge the Second Person of the Trinity as Lord, Heb 1:6. Because of Lucifer's great wisdom and beauty, his heart was exalted in pride. He considered himself worthy of worship by Heaven's other created beings, on an equality with God Himself.
Because of this pride, God cast Lucifer out of Heaven, and stripped him of his dominion over His material creation. Lucifer fell to Planet Earth, destroying it and rendering it an emptiness, waste, and desolation, in the same way that lightning devastates what it strikes. Lucifer became Satan, the adversary, the Devil, the destroyer, the arch-enemy of God and His entire plan for all creation.
How long the earth lay in this condition of waste and desolation, only God Himself knows. It was long enough to account for every geological age which science has determined.
"The Spirit of God moved," literally, "the Spirit of God brooded," upon the "face of the deep." The Spirit hovered over the chaotic, desolate earth, to bring about order from chaos.
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Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary
The Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary of the Whole Bible was originally published as a 23-volume set by Albert Garner (principal author) along with J. C. Howes, G.F. Crumley, and Eugene Garner in 1985. The Blessed Hope Foundation has released this digital edition into the public domain.