Published 28 February 2018

By John Aldworth

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations (yakad) of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measure thereof, if thou knowest? Or who stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations (eden) thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof? When the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:4-7).

When did the morning stars first sing together? When and where did the sons of God first shout for joy? As a result of the ‘Gap Theory’ it is now widely held such exultation took place perhaps millions of years ago at the ‘original creation', that of Gen. 1:1. The theory speculates that this perfect 'original creation' was later marred by Satan’s fall from heaven. To punish him and to destroy earth’s ‘pre-human inhabitants’ God flooded the globe with a pre-Noahic deluge and blacked out the universe, leaving earth in the ruined state of Gen 1:2 – i.e. ‘without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep’. All this long, long before the Six-Day Creation of Gen. 1:2-31.

But the Gap Theory scenario cannot be true. Indeed today it is increasingly discredited, for several reasons. Among them is the fact that the word of God is very specific about the timing of creation. It simply does not allow for a past spanning millions of years prior to the Genesis account of creation. Furthermore, such supposed longevity, postulating an ancient earth inhabited by pre-human beings, allows the God-denying theory of evolution to ‘slip in the back door’. The truth is that scripture states that creation took place in six, literal 24-hour days and insists that in them God ‘finished’ the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day rested ‘from all his work’.

And God saw everything that He had made and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Thus were the heavens and the earth finished and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which He had made and He rested on the seventh day from all his work which He had made (Gen. 1:31- Gen 2:2).

Your attention is drawn to the word ‘Thus’. ‘Thus were the heavens and the earth finished’. ‘Thus’, here means in six 24-hour days, and not otherwise. Now, as if that’s not enough, an even tighter time frame is drawn around the making of the heavens and earth in Gen. 2:4:

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

To understand what is meant by the use of the word ‘day’ here it is necessary to return to the beginning of creation in Gen. 1:1. There we learn that ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth’. Then verses three and four record how God divided light from darkness ‘and called the light Day and the darkness He called Night’. Then follow the words, ‘And the evening and the morning were the first day’.  Now it is clear what day is referred to in Gen. 2:4. It is the first day of creation.

That said, it is time for a personal note. For years I considered the Gap Theory a plausible and easier way of understanding the Genesis account than the hard-to-believe Six Day creation account.  Advanced by heavyweight biblical scholars, such as Dr. E.W. Bullinger, author and annotator of The Companion Bible,  and Merryl F. Unger the renowned Old Testament commentator, the Gap Theory postulated both an ancient earth as geology demands and also a recreation of it by God in the six-day Genesis account. You could call it having a bet both ways. And, to cut a long story short, like many others I was taken in.

Faith is the key

However, when carefully examined, the theory betrays a distinct lack of ‘correct biblical understanding’. Not that I carefully examined it I’m ashamed to say but, thankfully, others did. So, what is correct biblical understanding in the matter of creation, you ask? Scripture itself answers that in Heb. 11:3:

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

As Bible believers we must first of all believe that everything God says in his word is true. Then as we ‘study to shew ourselves approved … rightly dividing the word of truth’ (2 Tim. 2:15) understanding will surely follow. Sadly, proponents of the Gap Theory fell at the first hurdle. They failed to believe that God made heaven and earth in six literal 24-hour days and consequently sought an explanation outside the actual text of scripture. Eventually they found it, largely by exercising their own imagination and adding things not found in scripture to the word of God.

But back to our question, when did the morning stars sing? Answer: When they were created. And when did the sons of God shout for joy? Answer: when they were formed, which was at some time during the magnificent six-day drama of creation. (Please note; the sons of God are not necessarily angels; see the study Our Great Commission to Angels – Part Nine on this website).

It is important to see that the morning stars could not have sung at any time before the Six Day Creation, for the simple reason they had not been brought into existence. Their ‘generation’, that is, their being ‘born into being’ took place on the fourth day:

And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night; He made the stars also … And the evening and the morning were the fourth day (Gen. 1:16-19).

That being so, it follows that when Job 38:7 speaks of stars singing and sons of God shouting for joy when God laid the foundations of the earth, such rejoicing took place during the latter part of the six-day creation period, not earlier. As to where the sons of God shouted for joy a good scriptural case can be asserted to show that this took place in the Garden of Eden itself. Stand by for further explanation.

Now, in the passage Job 38:4-6 God asks Job where he was when He (God) laid the foundations of the earth. He then challenges Job to say to what the foundations of the earth are fastened and ‘who laid the cornerstone thereof?’ The interesting thing is that in the King James Bible two different Hebrew words, with quite separate meanings, are both translated as ‘foundations’ in this passage. In Job 38:4 God asks, ‘Where was thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare if thou hast understanding.’ The word ‘foundations’ here translates the Hebrew word yakad (Strong’s No. 3245) which, as you would expect, means ‘to set, to found, to establish’. And in verse 5 God goes to ask Job if he knows who measured these foundations ‘or who stretched the line upon it’. Again yakad.

 Then in verse 6 God asks:

    Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened, or who laid the cornerstone thereof?

A spiritual foundation

And that’s some question. As we unpack it, note for starters that God’s question is who laid the foundations; while science, of course, would only ask what formed them. Poor Job is bereft of answers on either count. He was not there when earth’s physical foundations were laid; nor can he say what they are fastened to or Who laid the cornerstone of that fastening. Clearly here God is speaking of something more in laying foundations than the earth’s molten core, outer crust, its rocky mantle or the force of gravity - the physical things physicists assert hold the earth in place. God is Spirit and here He is speaking of what He, God, as Spirit, did in laying a spiritual foundation for creating the earth. That earth first came into being spiritually, not physically, of course is repugnant to materialistic, western thinking, shaped as it is by  the ‘oppositions of science falsely so called’ (1 Tim. 6:20). But in the face of that the Bible insists that God actually spiritually breathed the universe and all things in it into being.

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made and all the host of by the breath of his mouth… Let all the earth fear the Lord, let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spake and it was done; He commanded and it stood fast (Ps. 33:6-9).

Through faith we understand that that the worlds [ages] were framed [prepared] by the word of God (which 2 Tim. 3:16 informs us is given by 'inspiration', i.e. the breathing of God), so that things which are seen [like the earth] were not made of things which do appear [i.e. are visible] (Heb. 11:3).

God is Spirit and his power is in his mouth. Indeed, as of this minute He is ‘upholding all things by the word of his power’ Heb. 1:3). So, when God talks of laying the foundations of the earth in Job 38:1-4 He is speaking the spiritual process of his creation. ‘Things which are seen were not made of the things which do appear’.

Coming back to Job 38:6 we find that the Hebrew word translated ‘foundations’ is different to that in verse 4. It is not yakad but eden (Strong’s No. 134). And Eden, Strong asserts, is not only the name of the eastward Garden planted by God, but also derives from adon (Strong’s 113) meaning ‘to rule, be sovereign, to be controller [human or divine]; lord, master, owner.  Adon is also a title of God – Lord – as in Adonai. Wikipaedia says Adonai (lit. ‘My Lords’) is a plural of ‘majesty’. In the Hebrew Bible it is only used to refer to God.

So, verse 4 and 5 speak of earth’s spiritual foundations while verse 6 tells us that these in turn are fastened to God’s sovereign purpose for creating the earth in the first place. And that purpose was to give man sovereignty over it. Didn’t the Lord God command Adam and Eve to replenish the earth and have dominion over then fish of the sea, fowl of the air and ‘over every living thing that moveth upon the earth’ (Gen. 1:28)? And didn’t He say and do that in Eden? And doesn’t ‘Eden’ itself mean sovereignty – and man’s sovereignty at that? Consider Hebrews 2:8 where, speaking of man and the Son of man, we are told:

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

God's end time purpose

Unveiled here is God’s ultimate purpose for mankind. It is that he, man, not angels, should rule God’s universe. What’s more man will rule everything in it, including angels, the physical creation, the far reaches of space, the ‘heavens and all who dwell in them’. Mark well, He has ‘left nothing that is not put under him’. Only by realising that this is God’s sure and certain end time goal can we make sense of our creation, Adam’s fall, sin, death and Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross to bring us as ‘many sons’ to glory. Satan has opposed and hindered those standing for God at every turn down our long and painful human history as we seek, as a race, through Christ’s redemption and faith in his grace to recover our lost position of ruling under and with God.

Today the quest is still there and the battle is not lost.  The Lord Himself assures us that, if we believe it, then through grace we are saved. Saved for what, you might ask? Why, to rule and reign with Christ our Lord in the heavens and through Him and with Him to be restored to our rightful place of dominion over all things. Perhaps now we begin to understand why so few are saved. And of those who do make a profession, how few are ‘reaching forward to the things are before’ (Phil. 3: 13). Walk into most churches on Sunday morning and you might well ask, what’s it all for? Where is it headed?  The answer should be: headed for entrance into the kingdom of heaven for which, as Jesus said, we need to be ‘counted worthy’.

Are you and I ‘pressing ‘toward the mark for the prize of then high calling of God in Christ Jesus’? Paul was willing to suffer the loss of all things to lay hold on this prize. Are we? An important step toward is to prove oneself ‘a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth’ (2 Tim. 2:15). Yet very few do so. Rightly dividing means separating out what God said and did at one time from that which he says and does at another. It means asking the reporter’s questions of who, what, when, to whom, why and with what result? Sadly many people today trust in things said to the Lord’s special Jewish people when they, as Gentiles, were not in the audience then, nor are they now. Today Gentiles are brought ‘nigh by the blood of Christ’ without need to become an Israelite by baptism, or come under the covenant with Abraham. They are saved by grace, not works and Jewish rituals. Yes, there is suffering, and the purpose of it all is that might ‘reign’ with Christ. It is why we die, for if ‘die with Him we shall also live with Him’ (2 Tim. 1:11-12).

But back to the Garden of Eden, for there God, took his own sovereignty as Creator over the earth He had made and gave it over to Adam and Eve. Our first parents were in fact crowned King and Queen of ‘the whole earth’.  Could it be then, that in God’s eyes, the issue of sovereignty - his sovereignty, that is, as delegated to Adam and Eve – is the real fastening which secures the foundation on which the earth rests? I believe that it is.

Support for this view is found in the New Testament scriptures that cite the ‘foundation of the world’ as a hugely important dividing line in God’s plan of the ages.  In each case ‘world’ translates the Greek word aion (Strong’s No. 165), meaning an ‘age’ or dispensation of time.
And, stunningly, it is right there in the Garden of Eden that this stark dividing line in the outworking of God’s purposes and, consequently, in the history of mankind, is drawn. God made a perfect earth and ordained a perfect way of life for a perfect man and woman to live in it and rule it. Then ‘sin entered’ and the ‘world’, as such, began.
Thus God’s perfect world was overthrown or ‘cast down’ – the literal meaning of katabole, i.e. ‘foundation’ in some places – and a far worse world came into being. So bad was this world it couldn’t even be washed clean by Noah’s Flood and one day will undergo the purging by fire the Apostle Peter foresaw would be necessary to ultimately cleanse it (2 Peter. 3:10).
All this reinforces the truth that 2 Tim. 2:15 requires us as Bible students to ‘rightly divide the word of truth’. And, if we don’t rightly divide it here in Eden, then we miss out on a vital key to grasping God’s master plan for the ages.
The end