How the World Was Made II


How the World Was Made II

September 23rd, 1956 @ 8:15 AM

Genesis 1:1-2

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

Genesis 1:1-2

9-23-56    8:15 a.m.



Now, we are in the midst of following the ways of God in the creation of our world.  In the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, verses 1 and 2, in our previous discussions, we have learned that in the beginning God bara, created out of nothing, the heaven and the earth.  In Isaiah we learned that God created it not tohu wabohu [Isaiah 45:18]: waste, void, empty, desolate, unfurnished.  But Moses says, in the second [verse] here, but the earth became tohu wabohu [Genesis 1:2].  The earth became desolate, waste, empty, void, uninhabitable, unfurnished.  And it was clothed and shrouded and covered with darkness, and the whole earth was destroyed by water [2 Peter 3:6].  And the Spirit of God brooded, fluttered over, hovered over the face of the waters – the destroyed creation of God [Genesis 1:2].

Then we saw that in the remainder of this chapter, you don’t have any creation, any bara, until God creates animal life and God creates man [Genesis 1:27].  But all the way through this first chapter, you have an asah.  You have a rearrangement.  You have a re-furnishing.  You have a re-making of what God had originally created.  Now, that’s a little summary of what’s gone before. 

Now, this morning, we are going to look at that first creation.  In the beginning God created out of nothing – God created this world.  Then second, we’re going to look at the cause of its cataclysmic catastrophe – what caused the earth to become darkened, and ruined, and empty, and waste, and void. 

All right, now, the first verse: "In the beginning God bara – created out of nothing – the heavens and the earth" [Genesis 1:1]: all that you see, hashamayim, heavens, plural.  It’s translated singular here. 

The Hebrew is an – im, hashamayim.  Wherever you have a – im, an "im" in a Hebrew word, like cherubim, seraphim, that’s plural; that’s just the Hebrew plural.  God made the heavens, plural, and this earth.  Now, how did God do that in the beginning?  That’s in the ageless past, in the dateless, dateless past. 

In Second Peter, the third chapter, the apostle says for a thousand years with God – before God, before the face of God – a thousand years is as a day [2 Peter 3:8].  He could easily have said for ten myriad thousands of years with God is as a moment.  God is timeless.  Time is a created thing.  Like matter is created, time is created.  These things are hard for us to understand.  In eternity, there’s not any time.  The angel lifts up his hand to heaven and swears that time shall be no more [Revelation 10:5-6].

Time is a materiality, a created thing.  So when you go back into the dateless past, you go beyond time.  A thousand years, ten millions of years, endless eons of years are as but a moment.  So when you go back into those ages of the ages, there’s not any time back and back and back.  And when these geologists begin writing and say, "Why, we suppose 500,000 years" – that’s their favorite geological number: 500,000 geological years for this Paleozoic Age, and 500,000 years for this early Tertiary Age, and 500,000 years for this Neolithic Age, and 500,000 years for this Paleolithic Age, and on and on and on they go – they could just as easily say five hundred million years for this age, and five hundred billion years for this one, and five hundred trillion years for that.  Wouldn’t make any difference: you’re back there, you’re back there in the days before God created time.

Now, how did God create this world?  In the beginning God bara this world – the heavens above us and this earth.  Now, you can let your imagination run wild.  There is no intimation in Scripture how God did it.  It just says that God did it; that’s all.  He created it out of nothing.  There was nothing – only God – and God created matter.  That’s where substance, materiality, corporality – that’s where matter came from.  God created it out of nothing.

Now, may I give you one theory how God did it?  In 1796, Simon de Laplace [Pierre-Simon de Laplace, 17-1827], who was an incomparable mathematician and astronomer in France, in 1796, he promulgated a theory of the first of this creation of the world, and it is more or less been accepted in substance ever since.  Now, I’m going to repeat to you briefly Simon de Laplace’s theory of how God, in the beginning, made, created, this world – the heavens, the starry skies, and this universe in which we live. 

According to this theory, which is as good as any – you can think up one of your own and it’ll be just as good.  According to this theory, in the beginning God made – created, brought into existence – a great nebulous, gaseous, atomic fury that burned and glowed at tremendous temperatures.  And setting it out in cold space, as it contracted in the cold – that fiery, nebulous cloud at atomic temperatures in cold space beginning to contract – began to whirl.  They never tell you why they begin to whirl.  They just start whirling.

Then it started to whirl, started to turn.  And as it cooled more and more, it turned more and more.  Then as it cooled more and more, the edges, naturally, were cooler than the core – than the inside.  So as that nebulous cloud of atomic heap of matter began to whirl and the outside cooled more and more and it contracted, the outside edge, which was cooler, began to slough off some of the contracted material. 

And the reason for their conjecture of that contraction and that sloughing off is that all of these sloughing off pieces of matter around the core are of the same chemical elements as the core itself, and they all follow in the same direction around the core. 

And each one of those sloughed off pieces of matter itself began to turn, and they began to turn in the same direction as they swung around the central core.  And not only that, but they all swung on approximately the same level plane.  All of those pieces of matter that were sloughed off and themselves began to revolve, they revolved on an approximately equal plane all the way around that central core.

And that is the way that there came into existence the central core which is the sun, the original heart of that burning, spherical, fiery mass.  And that’s where there came into existence all of these planets that whirl in the same direction, that revolve in the same direction, that swing around the sun in the same direction – all of them made of the same chemical matter and all of them moving around the sun in approximately the same plane.

And they think that’s why this world is cooling still as these volcanoes and geysers and mud pots like you see in Yellowstone, the earth continues to cool on the inside.  And that’s the way all the planets were formed. 

Now, with regard to the world itself, as the world itself – – whirling now, a great fiery ball – as the world itself began to cool, the outside of it crusted.  Then you had a great mass, sheet of crust – of rock – floating on liquid lava, fiery lava. 

Then as the earth continued to cool and the inside of it cooled, it contracted.  And when it contracted because it cooled – this great crust of rock that had already cooled first – it wrinkled and fell in.  And that’s where you got your mountain ranges and these great strata of rock turned up this way, turned that down way, overlapping that way.

And then as it continued to cool, the gaseous matters, the lighter atmospheres, began to combine such as hydrogen and oxygen.  They made water, those two elements, and it fell down upon the earth and it went back up again in steam.  And it fell down and back up, and fell down and back up for centuries and centuries – remember, there’s not any such thing as time – back and down, up and down, until finally the earth was cooled off enough for the water to remain here upon the face of the earth.

Now, when the great encrustations of rock that first had cooled over that vast mass of liquid below, lava below, when it began to cool, some of it broke apart and pulled apart, and that’s where the continents were created.  Here would be a part, and here would be a part broken away.  When you look at our world and see Africa and South America, and North America and Europe, well, if you’d push them together, they’d almost fit together.  They pulled apart, and that made the great ocean beds. 

As the earth shrunk in its cooling, the continental planes stood up, and the ocean beds were formed between them.  And when that hydrogen and oxygen combined and fell down to the earth, and fell down, back up in steam and back again – when it cooled sufficiently to hold it, the water gathered in great ocean basins.  Then you had the continents; then you had the seas. 

Then as time went on, the soil began to form as the rain and as the elements began to decompose the rock, and all of the things came along in their order in the creation of vegetable life and animal life. 

To give you a faint idea of the time that it took for all of that to come to pass, you have a good illustration in the formation of coal.  Coal is formed by great masses of vegetable matter buried in heat under terrific, unbelievable weights of soil and rock placed on top.  It is computed that it would take about twelve hundred years to form a seam of coal six inches thick.  It’d take 7,200 years to form a seam of coal three feet thick which is about the least thickness that is profitable economically to mine.

Now, there was a period back there in the history of this earth called the Carboniferous Period, and in that Carboniferous Period, the earth was steaming like a hothouse, like a greenhouse, and ferns and vegetation and forests grew to vast, illimitable proportions.  And in those days, the earth was in convulsion and volcanic action was everywhere.  And those great, steamy fern forests would rise and grow and rise and grow, and then great convulsions of the earth would overwhelm – great, heavy strata of rock – and the coal and the heavy vegetation would be buried beneath great mountains of rock and soil.  And down there, they would be pressed into coal.

If it took 7,200 years for a seam of coal three feet thick to be made – in places like Nova Scotia, you’ll have overlaying seams of coal to the number of seventy-three, and one of them is twenty-seven feet thick and another one is thirty-six feet thick.  The vast, vast convolutions of soil and rock and vegetation in that long, long, long ago staggers the imagination.  Now, all of that is a theory – that’s Simone de LaPlace’s idea of how God made this world.

Now, if you’ve got another book and somebody else writes you another theory, why, that’s just as good – just as good.  And if you’ve got still another one, that’s just as good or maybe better.  Nobody knows.  Nobody can fathom, nobody can enter into the great mysteries of the Lord.

All that we know is this: that in the beginning – in the ageless, dateless past – in the beginning, God spoke this world and this universe into existence, and there’s no time with God.  If that spoken word of God was of five hundred million billion years, that’s nothing because time is not in eternity.  These conceptions are hard for our puny, little, dull, darkened, finite minds to enter into, but time is not with God; and however God chose to do it in the beginning, at that starting point, He bara all that you see.  He made matter.

Now the question comes up about this biblical revelation that when God made that, when finally it was finished, that it was not waste and void [Isaiah 45:18], but from the hands of God like God would make anything: beautiful and perfect and glorious.  But the earth became waste and empty and void [Genesis 1:2].  Now that’s what we’re going to look at the rest of this time.  What kind of an earth was it before it was waste and void, and why was it that it became dark and enshrouded in clouds and empty and unfurnished?

All right we have good answers for some of that in the Revelation.  Others, we have good intimations.  Now the first thing to remember is this: that sin did not begin with Adam and Eve.  Before Adam, before Eve, there is a dark, sinister enemy of God who is watching this world and watching what God does.  He is an enemy of God, and he plans the death and destruction of the man and the woman that God had made.  Now all of that is before Adam.  It’s before Eve.  It’s before this beautiful re-creation of the world. 

Our trouble lies in our supposition that sin began with Adam.  It did not.  There is a sinister, darkened enemy of God long before Adam. 

So let’s see if we can find out something like a detective finds out.  When a detective finds a murder – here’s a man lying in his own blood – – they say the first principle of finding out why is to discover a motive.  Who would want to kill this man?  What motive did he have for it?  I wouldn’t want to kill him.  I don’t have any motive to do it.  You’re not interested in killing a man.  Who’s interested in killing that man?  What’s the motive that lies back of it?

All right, let’s do that with the enemy of God that sought to encompass the destruction of the man and the woman and sought to destroy this re-created world.  Now that enemy is called by name.  In the Book of the Revelation, the twelfth chapter and the ninth verse, in the twentieth chapter and the second verse, he is called by name.  You find him in the Garden of Eden, and he’s a serpent; and he’s more subtle, and he talked with Adam and Eve, and he’s a liar [Genesis 3:1].  He says God has lied to you, and he questions God’s Word [Genesis 3:4-5]. 

Now, in the twentieth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, and the second verse, you got him by name; and in the twelfth chapter and the ninth verse, he’s named again. 


I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan.

[Revelation 20:1-2]


And in the twelfth chapter, that same thing.


And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: and was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

[Revelation 12:9]


There is a sinister, darkened spiritual person who is the enemy of God and who wars against God, and a long time before Adam and Eve, he was here.

Now, who is that person, and what was he?  Now you listen to these passages.  You don’t need to look them up.  You can just note them if you want to.  But that person was the god of this world.  He ruled over this world. 

In Second Corinthians 4:4, he is called "the god of this world."  In John 12:31, Jesus, who ought to know him, Jesus called him "the prince of this world" – "the prince of this world."  Jesus repeated that same appellation in the fourteenth chapter of John and the thirtieth verse: "The prince of this world cometh, and he has no part in Me" [John 14:30].  And Jesus repeats that appellation in the sixteenth chapter of John and the eleventh verse: "The prince of this world is judged" [John 16:11].

That serpent, that dragon whose name is Diabolos, whose name is Satan, that person was the god of this world [2 Corinthians 4:4].  When God created this universe, he set over it that angelic being called Satan.  Now, we can find out a good deal about him, and through him what kind of a world this was that God first created and over which God had made him ruler. 

In the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Isaiah and the twelfth verse, Isaiah calls him by name.  This ruler of the universe – he calls him Lucifer, son of the morning.  And he says in Isaiah 14:12: 


How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cast down . . .

For thou sayest in thine heart, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God . . .

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.

But thou shalt be brought down to hell . . .

[Isaiah 14:12-15]


Back there in the beginning, there was an angelic person that God created whose name is Satan, whose name is Lucifer, and he aspired to be above God Himself. 

Now we have a description of that Lucifer in the twenty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel and the twelfth through the following verses.  Now look at this person as he is described:


Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.

Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, diamond, beryl, onyx, jasper, sapphire, emerald, carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee . . .

Therefore I will cast thee out because thou hast sinned. 

Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.

[Ezekiel 28:12-17]


Now, that is addressed to the King of Tyre [Ezekiel 28:12].  There never was any person like that much less a king of Tyre.  For example, this person that Ezekiel is talking about, he addresses him saying, "Thou wast in Eden" [Exodus 28:13].  "Thou wast in Eden."  There never was any man in Eden but Adam.  He was the only man that was there.  Now look again.  He addresses him: "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth" [Ezekiel 28:14].  That’s not a man.  "The anointed cherub that covereth" – that’s not a man; that’s an angelic being. 

Another: "Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire" [Ezekiel 28:14].  That doesn’t sound like a man.  And again, "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created" [Ezekiel 28:15].  That’s not any man.  No man in this world perfect in the days and in his ways ever since he was created – nobody except Adam until he fell [Genesis 3:1-24; Romans 3:23].  So he’s talking about somebody here else, talking about the great power back of this world – the great power back of the King of Tyre.

Now, let’s look at this angelic being that is here called "the anointed cherub that covereth" [Ezekiel 28:14] – the one into whose hands God gave the keeping, the care, the covering of what God had created.  Now, let’s look at this one.  It says that "thou wast in Eden" [Ezekiel 28:13].  "Thou wast in Eden."  But when it says that this satanic power before he fell – not satanic in our sense but this great, beautiful, glorious cherub – that he was in Eden, what is Eden? 

All right we have always thought of Eden as the Garden – Eden is the Garden.  That’s not correct.  The Garden was in Eden.  Over here in the second chapter of the Book of Genesis, in the eighth verse, it says, "And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden" [Genesis 2:8] – "in Eden."  Eden was not the Garden.  The Garden was in Eden.

Now, it says Satan was in Eden [Ezekiel 28:13], and there he was the anointed cherub that had the care of all that God had made [Ezekiel 28:14].  It was placed in his charge.  But what is that Eden? 

Now, I have a good idea, and I want you to look at it.  In the second chapter of the Book of Genesis, it says:


And a river – a naharwent out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it parted, and it watered the earth.

The name of the first is Pison . . .

The name of the second is Gihon . . .

The name of the third is Hiddekel . . . and the name of the fourth is Euphrates.

[from Genesis 2:10-14]


Now, it says of this nahar that when it went out of the Garden, it became four rashim – four rashim [Genesis 2:10].  Now, I’m not saying that all this part is true.  I’m just going to tell you what I’m thinking because there’s something there that’s the most unusual thing in this world.  We don’t think in these terms, but going back now, and in the days when these words were used, that world rashim – you have it translated "heads," "and became four heads" – that word rashim is used in the Bible to refer to great divisions of an army.  For example, an army might be divided into ten or four rashim.  They were great divisions.

Now, Josephus [Flavius Josephus, c. 37-100 CE] says – and I’m always interested in what Josephus says.  Josephus had access to great libraries of ancient, ancient storehouses of biblical wisdom that have all been destroyed.  The Moslems burned ’em up.  There were whole libraries Josephus could visit such as the one in Alexandria [Alexandria, Egypt] – the greatest library in the world: filled with great documents and books, some of which are mentioned here in the Bible, but they’ve all been destroyed. Josephus says that what that meant was this: that the nahar was the great River Okeanos.  The great River Okeanos – the Latin doesn’t have a k, it just has a c, so when they made the k a c and made a Latin word out of it, it became Oceanus.  And when it came into English, you lop off those Latin and Greek endings – you lop off the – os in Greek or the – us in Latin, and it becomes "ocean."

The old-timers thought, their conception of the world was, that what you call the ocean was the great mother or the great father of all the waters, and they’re right in that.  And their conception was that the great father of waters or the great mother of waters – the Latins called it the Oceanus, the Greeks called it the Okeanos – they felt that that great body of water surrounded the earth, all of the world, and that it was divided into four great parts as it ran through the entire world.

Now, when Josephus read this passage, he said those four rivers referred to and he named them: the Ganges, the Tigris, the Euphrates, and the Nile [The Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 1:3, by Flavius Josephus, 93 CE].  That was all the world that he knew.  That encompassed the whole world for Josephus. 

Now, when Columbus came over here and discovered America, he passed in front of the great Orinoco river system that pours out of Venezuela into the Atlantic Ocean. 

I was not aware that we were flying over that great system, and I was in the plane looking down over those vast, trackless and impenetrable jungles.  I’ve flown over the Mississippi countless numbers of times, and there was a tremendous river forking out like this.  And this branch of it was larger than any Mississippi, and this branch was larger, and this was larger, and this was larger, and this was larger: great branches of a tremendous river.

Well, I did not know where we were or what we were doing.  I just look at that vast river system.  Then I happened to think of my map in my mind, and I remembered the great Orinoco flows out into the Atlantic there in the middle part of Venezuela, and we were flying over the mouths of that great Orinoco system. 

When Columbus – now, you listen to this – when Columbus passed in front of that great river system, he said that that Orinoco River was flowing out of Eden because he thought that he was sailing in front on the eastern side of the great continent of Asia itself.

So, this word "Eden" does not at all apply to just a garden, just a little spot.  But that word Eden applied to the great, beautiful, marvelous creation of God surrounded by the great okeanos and through which those great rivers made their course – the rivers of the world. 

Well, what kind of a place was it this Eden that God made, this world that God made?  Well, you have a good description of it here about Satan when it says here that he walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire [Ezekiel 28:14], and that he himself took of those beautiful stones and covered himself with their glory and beauty [Ezekiel 28:13].

What kind of a world was this before it was destroyed?  Well, it was the kind of a world as if you had solid diamonds on that side, and glorious carbuncles on that side, and marvelous sapphires out there, and gold out there, and all of the beautiful, glorious gems and minerals and creatives of God.  A man cannot imagine it what kind of a world this was before it was destroyed – this Eden that God had made, filled with every beautiful thing, and Satan its god, and Satan walking up and down over God’s creation in the midst of the stones of fire: a sapphire thrown there, a glorious, beautiful avenue of diamonds there [Ezekiel 28:12-15].  Why, you could just let your imagination run riot what this world was when it was first made by the hands of God.

Now, it’s five minutes past the time for me to stop. 

And the reason for its catastrophe: "the day that iniquity was found in thee" [Ezekiel 28:15].  Lord of this world, ruler of God’s creation, the archangel God placed in charge of it [Ezekiel 28:14], his heart became proud and lifted up and he said, "I’ll be equal with God" [Isaiah 14:13-14].  And the calamity, the catastrophe, the terrible, overwhelming cataclysm came when Satan, with a third of his angels, sought to displace God [Isaiah 14:12-15; Revelation 12:1-4].

And the world was plunged and God’s whole creation was plunged into darkness and into night, shrouded with the pale of death and desolation – all that long before Adam and Eve and the re-creation of our world.  Well, we’ll pick it up next Sunday morning.

Now, we sing one stanza of a hymn.  Somebody give his heart to the Lord, come into the fellowship of the church: while we stand and sing this song, you come.


Dr. W. A. Criswell

Genesis 1:1-2

9-23-56    8:15 a.m.



1.    Fossils, death
before Adam

2.    Vast ages but
Genesis 1:3-31 does not appear to be ages


1.    Sin did not
originate with Adam

2.    Scriptures are
much more than what we think they are just from a cursory perusal


1.    Before Adam, the
world was covered with water for a long period of time

2.    Geologists
confirm what Moses said in Genesis 1:2