Torah One, Class Two
Class 2: The Beginning
A. The Creation
The first two chapters of the Bible give us a very abbreviated account of the creation event. The text announces boldly that "In the beginning God created..." There is no attempt to define who God is. The underlying thesis is that God exists, that He is able to create and that He, in fact, did create all that we know and experience and, most likely, much that we do not yet know and have not yet experienced.
The creation event is divided into periods referred to as "days". Many argue that the "creation day" must be a 24-hour period. With this premise it is argued that the creation is very young. Modern Science argues that the age of the universe must be measured in billions of years. We will take the position here that this does not constitute a critical doctrinal interpretation so we may embrace either theory. From the standpoint of the Tzemach Institute, we see the "creation day" as a period of undetermined length. The crucial point is not the length of the "creation day" but the fact of the creation process and who is doing it.
The sequence of the creation event proceeds through six "creation days" followed by a "shabbat (rest) day". Actual creating activity occurs on the first, the fifth and the sixth "creation days". During the other "days", God is making things out of that which had previously been created. Two verbs are used to describe the activities during the "creation week". The first is ar"B' (barah, Strong's #1254) which is translated as creating, i.e., bringing something into existence where nothing existed previously. The second term is עשׂה (asah, #6213) which means making something out of previously created material. "Asah" or "making" occurred on the second, third and fourth "creation days".
The creation account is summarized as:
First Day - God created the heavens and the earth. We understand this to mean the spiritual as well as the physical universes. Also, God distinguished between matter and energy on this "first day".
Second Day - God made a רקיע (rakiah, #7549) that separated the waters below from the waters above.
Third Day - God made the vegetable or plant kingdom.
Fourth Day - God structured the solar system for the purpose of determining seasons, days and years.
Fifth Day - God created animal kingdom.
Sixth Day - God created man.
Seventh Day - God sanctified the seventh day for rest.
B. The Fall of Man
A second creation account is recorded in Genesis 2. This account focuses on the creation of man and the unique position in which he stands. Man was created in God's own image. This probably means that man shares some important characteristics of God. We suspect that this includes the capacity to have manifestation and communication in both the spiritual and physical universes. In this account we learn of the "Garden of Eden" and the fruit-bearing trees placed there to supply food for man and the animal kingdom. We find two additional trees in the "garden" which are spiritual in nature. These are the "Tree of Life" and the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil". These trees are symbolic of communion and communication in the spiritual realm (heaven). Man was commanded to eat of all the trees (including the "Tree of Life") and was warned not to eat of the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil". The consequences of eating of the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" would be death. Death in a Biblical context always means "separation" and never means "cessation of being". So when man ate of this tree, he was driven out of the garden and "separated" from the "Tree of Life". Since man, with the capacity of eating of the "Tree of Life" would have been sustained indefinitely, the time man spent in the garden before the fall is not determinable. Again, we face the fact that there are undetermined periods of time involved in the Biblical account of the creation.
Eating of the spiritual trees of the garden deals with communion and communication in the spiritual realm. Before he rebelled against God's command concerning the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil", man enjoyed unlimited communion and communication with God. He was sustained by the presence of God. He understood every event as good or evil in reference to God and not to himself. The spiritual character that we know as the "Satan" was limited in communicating with man, thus man did not know condemnation.
Man must have rationalized that surely he could eat of both trees even though God had declared that he could not. He ate of the forbidden tree. The consequences of eating of the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" were :
1. He was separated from God and, hence, was no longer sustained by God's presence. This would have started the biological clock in man leading ultimately to his physical death.
2. He was prevented from establishing communion or communication with God by his own initiative.
3. He was subjected to communion and communication with Satan. This led to evaluating every event relative to himself rather than God. Man became "self-consumed" as a result and has subsequently existed under the tyranny of the illusion of "self-determination under a continual flow of Satanic condemnation". This is the condition of "fallen man".
The Bible reveals God's very broad vision for redemption. The ultimate prophetic picture of the final form of the creation shows a restoration of many of the conditions that existed before the fall. Hence, we define "redemption" as the restoration of God's creation to a state where every event is judged relative to God alone and man lives once again in full communion with God and is indefinitely sustained by Him (eternal life). Our challenge as believers is to learn of our role in this redemption process. The study of the Scriptures at the Tzemach Institute is designed to assist the student in this learning process.
D. Example of Word Studies Using the Lexicon
The following words have been selected for an introduction to the use of the Lexicon. Look up the meaning of each word and write it in the proper blank.
Word Meaning Strong's Ref#
חי life 2417
ברית covenant 1285
נפשׁ soul, a breathing creature 5315
מלך king 4428
ישׂראל Israel 3478
E. Word Assignment
1. ישׂראל Israel (yis | ra | el)
2. אדם mankind (ah | dam)