21 Jan 2014 by Tt Yeo –
When we look at Creation, we are, of course, curious to know what role Jesus had. We can understand that John had important purposes in the Gospel when he described Jesus as ‘in the beginning was the Word’. It is nudging us to seek to know where Jesus was before He came to dwell with man. It asks us to consider the beginning as in Genesis, and the meaning of the ‘Word’.
And Elohim said
To begin, we expect this would relate to the Word as in John’s Gospel. It is written:
“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts them into storehouses.” Psalm 33:6, 7
Jesus has His part to do what the Father commanded as the word of the LORD, for we understand that “by the word of the LORD were the heavens made”. We know Jesus always does what He hears the Father says, as He told us in the Gospel. John 5:19, 8:29
Some may consider that this is tenuous. It need not be. This is because in Genesis 1:2, we read that the Spirit of the LORD was hovering over the waters. Here, we encounter the Presence of God’s Holy Spirit. He was actively working with God the Father to create this universe, as He created orderliness amidst the darkness and chaos in this universe. God’s Spirit was active over the surface of the deep.
When we consider that God’s Holy Spirit is present with the Father, it would not be farfetched that Jesus as the Son of God was also present and actively involved in Creation.
Moreover, the Hebrew word for God is elohim, which is in the plural. God is not described in the Hebrew text as el which is God as singular.
We understand therefore that God the Father was not acting alone. In fact, in Genesis 1:26, as Elohim, God said, “Let us make man in our image.”
Thus, in Genesis 1:1-3, we can picture Jesus and the Holy Spirit working in perfect harmony with our heavenly Father to create this universe. God’s perfect unity in working also means that we must not try to divide which part of work was done by Jesus, unless it is specifically state. To this end, it is better to see the harmony of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit working together. Hence, this discussion is taken up with this thought in mind.
In the Beginning
So then, we must look at Creation in Genesis. So we read:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1
Now the earth was without form and was void. Darkness was on the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of the LORD was hovering over the waters. Genesis 1:2
And God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light. Genesis 1:3
We know God as spoken here has reference to our heavenly Father. We also accept that God only has to speak, and it shall happen. This is the power of God. This power will have tremendous force and correspondingly intense energy, and so the universe must contain the force of God’s power from His words in its creation.
Our wonder is that words that God speaks have power, yet we know words are not material. So we are naturally curious how God’s word become the materials of this physical universe. We wonder also how Creation may be linked to what we presently know from our knowledge in science.
A further question concerns Jesus. We know Jesus as the Son of God was present at Creation. However, since Jesus is not specifically named in Genesis account, where do we place Jesus at Creation?
“And God said” and the God Particle
Nevertheless, before going further, I wish to look at God’s spoken command first. We know our heavenly Father brought this universe about by the breath of His mouth. But we wonder also how this would relate to the real matter of this universe. Can words become real objects?
In 2012, the world was delighted and surprised by the announcement from the European research centre called CERN that they have preliminary findings from experiments at the Large Hadron Collider that showed the existence of the Higgs boson.
This was confirmed in early 2013, and in an unprecedented quick decision, the Nobel Prize for Physics was immediately awarded in October 2013 to Peter Higgs and Francois Englert, two scientists who had formulated the theoretical origins in 1964 for this work. This was tough, of course, for 4 other key scientists who jointly did the work, and not to mention thousands of scientists who conducted and validated the experiments at CERN. But the Noble committee cannot name more than 3 persons for the prize. Nevertheless, the unprecedented quick acknowledgement by the Noble committee indicates the importance of the discovery.
The Higgs boson has been popularly called the God particle. It was elusive, and it had taken 50 years to confirm its existence. This particle is the force carrier that causes energy to transit to mass. Without its existence, it will not be proven that energy can convert to mass.
Experimental evidence do show that mass-less particles can gain mass, and many others like Steven Weinberg, Glashow and Abdus Salam had been awarded Noble prizes for their related work in this scientific field also.
However, without the Higgs boson, the picture is incomplete. We would not be able to show that energy can become mass through a proven mechanism. The discussion here is simplistic, and I leave to others better qualified to deliberate scientifically.
Nonetheless, if mass-less particles can gain mass, we are confronted with the fact that virtual particles can become real particles! Suddenly, we are confronted with the possibility that words can become matter because words indirectly have energy and force. Words in our physical world are sounds of energy. The transition is not proven, but possible like any good theory.
Nevertheless, our real world of physical things cannot be separated from the quantum physics world, since all the things we see and experience are made up of quantum particles. If we believe that God’s word has the power to create the heavens, we also know that God can make words become matter. For the Christian, the Higgs boson shows this is possible.
The Big Bang
To our great surprise also, we find that the Big Bang does explain how our universe began in similar sequence as described in Genesis 1:1-3. The Big Bang accounts for our universe’s development and is validated experimentally. However, I must leave a precise scientific deliberation on this to experts.
Here, I set aside a consideration of the Big Bang only in relation to Scripture. There is no scientific data within Genesis account; nevertheless, science also does not contradict the Biblical account. Our intention is in seeking to understand God’s truth in what He has given to us, and the discussion in relation to science is given in this context. It is specifically not about proving God.
We know the Big Bang explains this universe’s beginning, that its explosive force began as energy in a unified bundled state. As this expanded in an inflationary manner, this unified energy bundle transformed and through epochs of phase transition, became the fundamental particles of our universe.
Let There be Light
At some point in these phase transitions, the universe was sufficiently cooled to allow the particles to become the matter we know in our universe. It is at this point, when particles transformed to be protons and electrons of our universe, that energy as light was released.
Thus this universe was actually dark, formless and void in an important sense in the early universe. It was dark, and did not give out light until matter as we know was properly formed. The universe was by no means cool, but its initial high temperature needs to be sufficiently lower for matter to exist as we know. Then at this point of time, light was able to separate from matter, and was emitted.
This light at Creation has been experimentally proven to begin about 380,000 years after the big bang event. Thus, it was when God said, “Let there be light”, that the phase transition to be matter as we know in the universe was completed, and that light was emitted.
So “God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light’ in verse 3. This verse described what God said. But we also begin to see that “there was light” indicated more, because God “separated light from darkness”. We know from our elementary science lessons that energy is equivalent to work done, such as when light separates from matter, or the sun gives light.
So Genesis 1:4 tells us: God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. Here, while we read God as elohim, we see there is a transition to the pronoun, he who is separating the light from the darkness. It showed Jesus was there.
Some may consider this is presumptuous. But it need not be.
We know in John’s Gospel, Jesus also declared to the Jews, “I am the Light of the world.” John 8:12. Further concerning Jesus, John also said, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness could not overcome it.” John 1:4, 5.
These words may have a cryptic connotation, but in the context of John’s Prologue about the beginning, Jesus is linked to the light at Creation. Jesus obeyed God as His word, and participated actively in creating light. He was working, and the Psalmist also sings about it.
Nevertheless, the work that God does must not be imagined such as using human hands and body, because God is Spirit. What I think is better, is to picture that after God has spoken, there was time taken to “separate light from darkness”, and also “to gather the waters, and to put the deeps into storehouses”.
This is the work that continues from God’s spoken command, and God says, “I am watching over my word to perform it.” Jeremiah 1:13. So it is written: And it was so.
The Universe Speaks for Itself
In 1965, Wilson and Penzias of Bell Laboratories stumbled upon an unknown noise that they could not get rid of in their experiments on radio waves. They were directed by Jim Peebles to check with Robert Dicke at Princeton University. Dicke had been actively searching for such cosmic radiation.
It became obvious that this noise source could be the cosmic radiation from the early universe, the remnant of primordial light which was first emitted at Creation. Subsequent tests and comparison with theoretical calculations proved this was correct. Of course, Wilson and Penzias received the Noble Prize for their discovery. It proved the universe had a beginning, some 12-16 billion years ago.
Known as the Cosmic Background Radiation, this was firmly established by spectacular results from the COBE program (Cosmic Background Explorer) from NASA in 1992. Stephen Hawkings, the renowned scientist, called these confirmations the scientific discovery of the century on the origin of the universe. Not surprisingly, G Smoot and T Mather who led the COBE program also received the Noble Physics Prize later!
This remnant light from the primordial beginning is a background radiation that is detectable everywhere in our universe. It is a light source that we detect as radio waves. We hear this background radiation as humming sounds of radio waves.
So the Psalmist sings, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into the earth, their words to the end of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4.
God leaves us with evidence of the universe’ beginnings and we can actually hear it! The sounds transcend language and our speech! The light we see also provides us with detectable data, and this is knowledge displayed to us, words that go to the ends of the world.
'If You are the Son of God'
There is a telling challenge in the Gospel when Satan tempted Jesus. Jesus was hungry after 40 days of fasting in the wilderness. Satan said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Certainly, Satan knew God created this universe by His word. Satan also knew that the Son of God was at the Creation. Hence Satan was saying to the effect that, if Jesus is the Son of God, He must be at the Creation, and He would be able to act on God’s word and command. If Jesus is the Son of God, He need only tell the stones to become bread.
Jesus answered, “It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every living word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4.
God’s word is life and alive. God’s word is not just matter.
References for pictures