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piece-meal, as that of the earth is, for the helping of our meditations concerning it.
As to the angels, that they were created within the space of the six days is certain; that they were created on the first day, (these tenants being brought into the house of heaven as soon as it was finished,) is very probable, though some place them on the fourth day, when the lights of heaven were made; but I think without ground. The reason why Moses, (or rather the Spirit of God by Moses,) saith nothing of the creation of the angels may be, (1.) To prevent needless and impertinent enquiries concerning them. (2.), That the Jews might have no superstitious respect to them. (3.) Because he had little to say of them in the subsequent story; his concern lying mainly with mankind, God's covenant with them, and dispensations of Providence towards them.
2 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.
II. The history of the creation is next delivered to us in particular; for "God would not only give us a general account of the creation, to inform us that he made the world; (since for that end the very first
verse might have sufficed,) but he vouchsafes us by retail the narrative of each day's proceedings; in the first two chapters of Genesis is pleased to give us nobler hints of natural philosophy, than men are yet perhaps aware of."-BOYLE.
The sacred historian now proceeds to show,
The earth, that is,
1. How things were before. that which God called earth afterwards, ver. 10, or rather that heap of matter mentioned ver. 1, was without form and void. 'Tis an elegant expression in the original; the earth was tohu and bohu; that is, confusion and emptiness. So these two words are translated Isa. xxxiv. 11, the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness; where only, besides this place and Jer. iv. 23, these two words are joined together. The earth was a heap of confusion and a mass of nothingness; tohu, empty without inhabitants; bohu, empty without ornaments. Plainly thus, deduct from the earth all those things with which it was afterwards endowed and adorned ;-imagine this heap of matter without light or warmth, a confused mixture of earth, air, and water; no sun, moon, or stars; no herbs, trees, or fruits; no fish or fowl, no beast or creeping thing; and that is confusion and emptiness; the poet's chaos, and (according to some) the philosopher's materia prima. Now, out of this confused substance, all the rest of created things were made,
and yet might be said to be created; because this, out of which they were made, was made of nothing; it was (prorsùs inhabilis) altogether unfit and unlikely to be the matter out of which such a carious fabric as this world should be framed.
This chaos is a proper resemblance of the state of an unconverted sinner. Before the grace of God makes the change, there is nothing but confusion, and every evil work, James iii. 16; and emptiness of every thing truly and really good. The work of grace is therefore called creation, there being nothing at all in us inclining us to or disposing us for that blessed work, no more than there was in the earth when it was without form and void, to be made a beautiful world. The same Almighty God that could and did out of this confusion and emptiness, rear such a stately, well-composed building, can easily bring order out of confusion, both public and personal, outward and inward, in his own way and time. He is therefore said to create the fruit of the lips, peace. Isa. lvii. 19.
The earth was void, and so it still is, in one sense; void of all true comfort and satisfaction, which is to be had in the Creator only, and in no creature.
And darkness was upon the face of the deep. The same which was before called the earth, is here called the deep, and afterwards the waters; which notes, (1.) The vast bulk and greatness of that heap
of matter; the word signifying a bottomless, fathomless depth of waters, Psal. civ. 6. 2 Pet. iii. 5; and (2.) The instability of it. It was fluid and unfixed, without any thing of solidity in it.
2. How and by whom this change was made. (1.) GOD created,-Elohim, the strong God, so this name of God signifies; and certainly it was no less than almighty power that was exerted in the creation of the world. (2.) The Spirit of God moved. The word Ruach, translated spirit, signifies also the wind; and so the Chaldee paraphrase and some of the Rabbins interpret it here, comparing it with Psa. cxlvii. 18, he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow, But this is a corrupt interpretation; for how could wind blow when there was none? By the Spirit here is certainly meant the holy Spirit of God. Ps. xxxiii. 6. civ. 30. Job xxvi. 13. xxxiii. 4. Isa.
Moved-Heb. hovered, like a hen upon her eggs or chickens;-a low, but significant, comparison. The word is used in that sense, Deut. xxxii. 11, where God compares his care of his people to that of an eagle, which fluttereth over her young.
3. The particulars of this change are distinctly delivered, according to the order of the six days; for though God could have made all together with one word's speaking, in a moment, yet he did it orderly
in six days; to teach us not only to take notice of the works of creation in the gross, but to take them in pieces in our meditations, and seriously and distinctly to consider each of them apart, according to the order and series of their creation. There are methods of creation as well as methods of Providence, which it is our duty to acquaint ourselves with, that God may have the glory and praise of all.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
(1.) Some by light here understand the angels; but without ground for the apostle could not say of them (2 Cor. iv. 6) that they did shine out of darkness. (2.) Others the element of fire; but how could that distinguish night from day, which was the end of this light? (3.) This light might be the substance of the sun, though not endued with the formal perfection of beauty till the fourth day, v. 16; but scattered and confused on the first day, and afterwards gathered together on the fourth day. Just as the heavens, and earth, and waters were at first made all confused; and afterwards the waters were congregated, the earth was made dry land, and the heavens were distinguished from both, and beautified; so it might be as to the light. (4.) Others think this light was an irradiation of the heavens and