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THE EARTH

Man is a creature of the earth. He is made from earth, lives off the earth, rules over the earth, and will return to the earth at death. Earth is the home of man (see: From the Dust).

According to the Scriptures the earth was made on the first day (Gen. 1:1-3); the rest of the universe—the sun, moon, and stars—was created on day four (Gen. 1:14-19). Therefore, there was a point when only the earth existed, suspended alone in the vast expanse of space, a space indicated by the word, “heavens” in Genesis 1:1. Of all the creation of God, the earth was created first. So chronologically, earth has an initial and a central significance, and it would seem appropriate to conclude that its prominence resides in the fact that it is the dwelling place of man—it was made by God for man.

The earth is not some obscure speck in the vast universe that by chance developed an acceptable environment for life, but, rather, from its inception it was determined to be the dwelling place for the Crown of Creation (see: Crown of Creation). Instead of being dismissed as insignificant in the scheme of things, the earth is the focal point of God’s work. Man may lightly esteem the place of the earth in the cosmos, but according to God’s Revelation, the earth is essential and crucial, serving not only a historical purpose but also an eternal purpose. Contrary to evolutionary thought the earth is the center of the cosmos, and central to the earth is man who is the ruler of the earth, a ruler ruling for the Ruler.

Verse one of Genesis records the creation of the earth, and verse two describes the earth that was created; it was without form and void, a raging deep lying in unfathomable darkness, surrounded by the Spirit of God (Gen. 1:2). At the beginning of the Scriptures the focus of the Revelation is upon the earth and its initial state; the first revealed fact is the creation of the earth and its accompanying space. Without question Scripture presents the earth as being the result of Divine creation, not as arising from some chance evolution (Ps. 115:15; 121:2; 124:8; 134:3; 136:5; 146:6; Isa. 45:12, 18; Jer. 10:12; 27:5; see: Work of Creation).

From God, not from an indeterminable period of time coupled with natural processes, did the earth appear (Job 26:7; Isa. 48:13; see: The Act of God). The musings of the evolutionists cannot be made to harmonize with the cogent teaching of the text. While they argue that the present is the key to the past, the Scriptures affirm that the key to the past is God. After rejecting God, the evolutionist must find an explanation for the earth; but the believer, after accepting Biblical Theism, understands the origin and purpose of the planet we call home.

Originally the earth was good, without defect or flaw, made by the wise Father as a home for His creation. “The four corners of the earth” (Isa. 11:12) and “the four corners of the land” (Ezek. 7:2) surely refer to the four points of the compass. “The circle of the earth” (Isa. 40:22) would seem to indicate the circumference of the earth. To speak of the “pillars” (Job 9:6; 26:11; Ps. 75:3) or “foundations” (Ps. 104:5; Prov. 8:29; Isa. 24:18; Jer. 31:37) of the earth is to understand that the earth is established—it is fixed—and will not be removed. These references do not indicate that the Hebrews had a pre-modern and erroneous concept of the structure of the earth, that is, an anti-scientific and primitive concept; rather, the statements are poetic and not literal. Even today we speak of the sun coming up and going down.

The earth belongs to the Lord; “The earth is YHWH’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1; see Ps. 47:2,7). Man has no claim on the earth; he inhabits that which is not his and can never be his. The earth belongs to the Lord; He prepared it to serve His eternal plan. Thus, this planet is serving a Theistic purpose, of which man is a part.

Not only does the earth belong to the Lord, but it is sustained by His power and continuously provided for by His goodness (Ps. 104:10-18, 27-30; see: Preservation); He is sovereign over His creation (Ps. 47:2, 7: 148:11: Isa. 54:5; Matt. 11:25; see: God is Sovereign). He rules that which He has made, insuring its continuity and therefore, its destiny.

That which belongs to the Lord and is governed by Him, He has given to men: “The heaven, even the heavens, are YHWH’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men” (Ps. 115:16). This does not mean that God has abdicated ownership, but rather that He has established a stewardship. To man has been entrusted the work of God’s hands, not for selfish enjoyment by man but for the completion of God’s plan. Under God’s Dominion man has been given dominion (see: Dominion Mandate).

The prominence of the earth is also realized in the fact that there will be a new earth after the present earth is “burned up” (II Pet. 3:10): “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and first earth had passed away” (Rev. 21:1). God’s first creation, the earth, will remain throughout history and on into eternity. It will never become part of an original and supposed singularity.


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