Unnoticed Connections in Scripture: Lesson 1: Creation

God’s First and Later Creational Acts

Genesis 1:1 begins with bereshit bara, with a word order that doesn’t match the way we think in English: “beginning create.”  Bereshit always means the beginning of something, not the first in an absolute sense.  To express the first of something in an absolute sense, the Hebrew for this is barishona (Genesis 13:4).  Something else existed before creation.

So, what did “in the beginning” begin?  This shows us that God is beginning a series of creative acts, that His act of creation is not a one-time deal.

First, God creates, beginning His first creational act.

I urge you, my child, look at the heavens and the earth.  Consider and everything in them and recognize that God made them out of nothing, and mankind also. [2 Maccabees 7:28]

  • With what did God create “in the beginning”?


After speaking the heavens and earth into existence, God is still not done creating.  Now the idea behind bereshit begins to make sense, for God continued to create, but in a different way.

For your all-powerful hand, created the world out of formless matter. [Wisdom 11:18]

  • How does God’s continuing act of creation differ from His first act?


God turns a formless-and-void earth, bringing about land, water, sky, animals, and so forth.  His first creational act was out of nothing.  In His second and beyond, He used the matter He earlier spoke into being, to finish creation.

How God created shows how He works.  After speaking matter in being, He used it to complete His creation.  What God did “in the beginning, He will continue to do, using created matter to carry out His will.

Consider Jesus.  To save us, God’s Son became human, incorporating created matter into Himself, joining with it to save us.  To deliver His salvation to us, God will also use created matter: water in baptism; bread and wine in His Supper.

In creation, God used His Word with physical matter to bring about life in our world.  So also does He use His Word with physical matter to bring us into spiritual life.  Creation and salvation are linked.

If we don’t understand this pattern, we can easily think God doesn’t use the physical to save us.  An incomplete understanding of creation can lead to a sacrament-less Christianity, thinking God always works directly in our lives instead of through created, physical matter.

To bring us into His salvation, God uses the physical to save us physical beings into eternal life.  When God uses the physical to save, He also reveals He will save us in both body and soul, not only spiritually.  How God created and how He saves us shows us what He saves.

God gives life to the dead [salvation] and calls things into existence that do not exist [creation]. [Romans 4:17]


Creation and Wisdom

John 1:1-3:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  All things were created through him, and apart from him, not one thing was created that has been created.

Proverbs 3:19: The Lord founded the earth by wisdom.

Wisdom 8:4: Wisdom is an initiate in the knowledge of God, and an associate in his works.

Since Genesis 1:1’s bereshit refers to the beginning of something, not the first in an absolute sense, we consider what the Father did “before” the beginning, outside of time, in eternity.

Proverbs 8:22: The Lord gave birth to me at the beginning of his work, before his works of long ago [that is, creation].  From eternity, I was formed before ancient times, before the earth began.

  • What did the Father do “before” the beginning?


“Before” the beginning, the Father begat the Son, who is none other than Wisdom.  A paraphrase of Genesis 1:1 can read: “Through Wisdom, God created the heavens and the earth.”


Old Testament Passages New Testament Passages
Wisdom 7:26: Wisdom is a reflection [apaugasma] of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God Hebrews 1:3: The Son is the reflection [apaugasma] of God’s glory …
Wisdom 7:26: Wisdom is … a spotless mirror [eikon] of the working of God Colossians 1:15: The Son is the image [eikon] of the invisible God
Proverbs 8:22a: The Lord gave birth to me at the beginning of his work, before his works of long ago Colossians 1:15: The Son is … the Firstborn over all creation
Proverb 8:22b: From eternity I was formed before ancient times, before the earth began Colossians 1:17: He is before all things [before the beginning]


This Wisdom, Jesus, through which God created the world, was also active in our salvation.  Wisdom is the One who holds creation and salvation together.

When Scripture uses Wisdom to refer our salvation, we also find Wisdom and Temple imagery intertwined together.

For a blameless man was quick to act as their champion; he brought forward the weapon of his office, prayer and propitiation by incense; he withstood the anger and put an end to the disaster, showing that he was your servant.  He conquered the wrath not by strength of body, not by force of arms.  By his word, he subdued the avenger, appealing to the oaths and covenants given to our fathers. [Wisdom 18:21-22]

Wisdom came to us “from the mouth of the Most High,” “in the highest heavens” (Wisdom 23:3-4).  “In the holy tent I served before him, and so I was established in Zion” (Sirach 24:10).  So, we now consider the Temple in relation to creation and salvation.


Creation and God’s Temple

God was the first Temple builder.  Scripture describes God’s creation of the cosmos as similar to building a temple: “He built his sanctuary like the high heavens, like the earth, which he has founded forever” (Psalm 78:69).

Scripture also uses architectural language to describe creation.

  • He laid down a foundation (Job 9:6, 38:4-6, Psalm 18:15, Hebrews 1:10).
  • Like a wise master builder, He marked out and measured the cosmos (Job 38:4-11, Isaiah 40:12) and raised its pillars (1 Samuel 2:8; Job 9:6, 26:11; Psalm 75:3).

So, the cosmos can be understood as a picture of the Temple, a miniature model of God’s creation.  We can find these similarities to creation and the first Temple.

  • God finished creation on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2-3), and Solomon finished building the Jerusalem temple in seven years (1 Kings 6:38).
  • Solomon’s Temple was completed in seven years, but its dedication took place on the seventh month (1 Kings 8:2), and the feast of its inauguration lasted seven days (1 Kings 8:65)!
  • God rested on the seventh day of creation, and the Temple is called “God’s resting place forever” (Psalm 132:14).
  • Even the name “Solomon,” the builder of the temple, points back to God’s completion of creation. For Solomon means “man of rest” or “man of peace.”

This helps us understand why Jesus talking about the Temple’s destruction soon segues to the end of this fallen creation.   

Read Matthew 24:1-3

Up to verse 26, tells of the events leading up to the Temple’s destruction.

Read Matthew 24:27-31

The Temple metaphorically serves as a representative of creation.  So, its destruction models for us the end of this fallen creation at the end of time.  This helps us understand Jesus, not only as Creator but also Savior.

When others asked Jesus for a sign, He replied, “Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19).  They thought Jesus was referring to the Jerusalem Temple (John 2:20), but John tells us that Jesus “…was speaking about the Temple of his body” (John 2:21).

Like the Temple some 40 years later, Jesus, the Fulfillment of the Temple, is destroyed in death.  On the third day, He rises, pointing forward to the new creation.  “Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15), pointing back to the first creation and forward to the new creation.

  • What does Jesus’ resurrection point us toward?


Excursus: The Sign of the Son of Man

The Old Testament uses two significant groups of signs.

  1. Of someone being a legitimate prophet.
  2. That which heralds the beginning of a great calamity or war.

We find the Pharisees and Sadducees testing Jesus to learn if He was a legitimate prophet in Matthew 16:1.  Matthew 24:30-31 is pointing to a great calamity (in relation to the unbeliever).  For example, in the Old Testament, a banner was raised to call people to the battlefield (see Jeremiah 51: 27; Isaiah 5:26; 13:2-4, 18: 3).

Matthew 29:30 refers back to Isaiah 11:10, but this sign will not be a banner but a King from David’s line.


Isaiah 11:10 Matthew 29:30
On that day the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples.  The nations will look to him for guidance, and his resting place will be glorious. The sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the peoples of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.


The dispersed people of God will be gathered (Isaiah 11:11-12) and the judgment of the nations (11:13-15) will take place.  The Son of Man’s coming is the signal for the final salvation.  With it, is associated the gathering of believers and the mourning of the tribes of the earth, those without faith.

The new creation will come into being by the same Word who took part in creating it the beginning.  The One Father will use the same Person of the Trinity for both works, finishing our final salvation through the same Word who created us in the beginning.  Jesus embodies God’s plan of salvation, uniting creation and redemption, creation and regeneration, in His Person.

“Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

  • What then will happen to us in the new creation?


Because we are joined to Christ in baptism, we will enjoy the creation to come.  All this makes sense.  For we are brought into the Church, the body of Christ (Ephesians 5:23, Colossians 1:18, 24) but also the “household of God, the pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).  We are “living stones” built into a “spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5).  This “spiritual house” is also described as a Temple, “a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).