A reader David asked some excellent questions that I believe are of general interest to the blog, andÂ so I think it appropriate to answer the questions here.Â
> The idea of the Holy Spirit choosing to move to the
> other side of the earth to experience the day is still
> difficult for me to grasp. The Holy Spirit is spirit (duh!).
> He is everywhere at once if I understand the concept of
> omnipresence. Now, much greater minds than mine
> have been wrestling with Genesis for thousands of
> years. Nevertheless, what about this?
The question of the Holy Spirit’s omnipresence is an interesting one.Â Well let’s first consider a similar question.Â Is Jesus omnipresent? I think that’s an easier one to tackle.Â Clearly, Jesus was able to be in one place at a time when He lived out His life here on Earth.Â Yet, Jesus is God, part of the Holy Trinity, and God is omnipresent.Â Therefore, if one member of the Godhead can be in one location at a time without negating God’s overall omnipresence, then I don’t see why the Holy Spirit couldn’t do the same.
To support this assertion, let us consider some instances in scripture where the Holy Spirit does manifest Himself in a manner suggesting that He can be only in one place for a given moment:
- I believe the Holy Spirit was with the Hebrews and Moses at Mt. Sinai and in the desert: Exodus 13:21-22; 33:9,14; 40:34-38
- I believe the cloud at Jesus’ Transfiguration was the Holy Spirit: Matthew 17:5
Notice that in both the Old and New Testaments, the Holy Spirit’s presence is marked by the apparent physical manifestation of a cloud.Â Â In “Jesus on Mount Sinai“, I make the case that the member of the Godhead who talked to Moses in his tent, “face to face, as a man speaks to a friend,” (Exodus 33:11)Â was a preincarnate Jesus.Â This implies Jesus used the Holy Spirit, in the form of a cloud (Ex: 33:9), as His transport.Â If He did this with Moses, He could have done this at Creation.
Consider that Genesis 1:2 actually says that “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”Â Hmmm… clouds hover, and we’ve seen hints that Holy Spirit often appears as such.Â Is that what happened here?Â I think the question is answered by Psalm 104:3, “He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind.”Â As I discuss in “Creation Account in Psalm“, this is a description of Days 1 and 2, when Jesus the Creator (John 1:1-3; Proverbs 8:27-30) wasÂ used the Holy Spirit for transport during Creation.
So in all sincerity, I do not believe it is me saying the Holy Spirit was present, but scripture itself!
Now as for God’s omnipresence, one could hypothesize a situation where the Son is one place, the Holy SpiritÂ in another place, and the Father yet someplace else… this might be the kind of situation you are implying threatens our understanding of God being omnipresent.Â However, I have two responses to that concern.
The first is that the Father appears to only manifest Himself in Heaven, and has the capability of interacting with the universeÂ without leavingÂ there.Â Read the book of Matthew and look for Jesus’ references to the Father.Â He almost always to refers to Him as the “Father who is in Heaven”.Â Also, when the Father appears to speak, no one ever really sees Him.Â Therefore, I would say that the Father is clearly omnipresent, even the Holy Spirit and Jesus would appear not to be.
My other response is to notice that every example of the Holy Spirit on earth is in a physical form, even while we know Him to be spirit.Â Therefore, it would seem that the Holy Spirit is capable of interacting with the universe as easily as the Father, but does so in a different manner.Â Where the Father “speaks” into the universe, or puts things into the universe, He chooses never to actually create something representing Him in the universe.Â The reason for this is because we’d create idols that look like Him, and God the Father was trying to keep the Hebrews (later the Jews) from worshipping powerless idols!Â The Holy Spirit on the other hand has the freedom to travel incognito, and actually make a cloud through which He then interacts with the universe, much as Jesus interacts through His body and we interact through ours.Â Therefore, He actually remains spiritually omnipresent, while physically interacting with the universe in one place.
> Danielâ€™s 70 weeks clearly have a â€˜gapâ€™ between weeks
> 69 and 70. I am sure that many would shudder at the
> use of the word â€˜clearâ€™ in this context. Let me just say
> it is clear to me.
> When God spoke to Daniel, He chose not to mention
> the gap. Could this be the message of the creation week
> with the days that are called out actually being 24 hour
> days that were spaced in time quite a bit? Forgive me if
> this is just one of the many explanations that others have
> already shot down. Itâ€™s new for me.
I do not claim the creation days are 24 hour days.Â As I have mapped the creation days to the Earth’s geological history, it is my opinion that God’s creative actions were allowed to take as long as necessary.Â Jesus would remain within the cloud of the Holy Spirit, with the earth rotating beneath Him for as long as it was necessary to get His work done.Â If evening doesn’t fall until sunset overtakes Him, then it doesn’t have to overtake Him until He’s ready for it.Â The nighttime can then take as long He wants to, only stepping into the sunrise when He’s ready.Â So, in this manner, I believe that God experienced 6 consecutive sunsets/sunrises, and His lingering within the day or the night caused Him to experience 6 literal days (as defined in Genesis — “there was evening and morning”) that spanned geologic history from approximately 3.9 billion years ago to about 6,000-10,000 years ago.
> One more thing and then Iâ€™ll stop bothering you.
> Most of the English translations have God â€™separatingâ€™
> the light and darkness in Genesis 1:4. The word that
> is translated as â€™separateâ€™ may also be translated as
> â€˜distinguish.â€™ A literal translation of the words in the
> verse could be â€œand distinguished – God – between -
> light – and between – darkness.â€ The very next set of
> words has God naming the light and darkness.
> Having defined for us what constitutes a day/night,
> God could now start the count by calling out the first
> 24 hour day of the creation week. Could it be that
> Scripture is interpreting Scripture here by telling us
> how God distinguished, by naming, light and darkness,
> day and night, for us?
My explanation in the previous paragraph for how the creation week spanned 3.9 billion years of geologic history was actually spawned from an insight very similar to your own.Â I do in fact believe that God’s act of separating light from dark, and then naming them day/night was His way of telling us how to interpret the days.Â However, I concluded that these days were not 24 hour days, but whatever duration was necessary to get the job done.
What I did was to compare the account in Genesis with those in Proverbs 8, Job 38, and Psalm 104.Â Proverbs 8:26 tells us that God “drew a circle on the deep” on Day 1.Â Job 38:5 tells us that God “stretched the line upon” the foundations of the earth.Â Finally, Psalm 104:2-3 tells us that God covered Himself with light, and laid the “beams of His upper chambers in the waters.”Â Let us compare this toÂ what happened on theÂ Earth.
There was a time 3.9 billion years ago when a vaporized ocean was raining back down onto the earth.Â The sun was dim, the atmosphere was thin, and the sky looked nearly black.Â Beneath the clouds, in the rain, it was pretty dark.Â Over time, the atmosphere began dispersing the lights through the clouds.Â Within the rain, as it grew brighter and brighter, the view grew further and further.Â Eventually, the rain stopped, and you could see all the way to the horizon in every direction.Â Note that there was no land.Â That would come on Day 3, 1.5 billion years later.
Now if you view the Earth from space, you will see a circle around the earth separating the day from the night.Â That is the circle on the deep in Proverbs 8.Â As the increasing light made it possible to see further and further from the Holy Spirit’s vantage point of hovering over the deep, that increasing distanceÂ was a line around the earth being stretched (Job 38:5).Â (Notice also that when the line was done stretching, it matched the circle.) Finally, the reason the light beams of God’s upper chambers are in the waters (Psalm 104:2-3) is because He’s hovering over the deep in the rain, and the light being dispersed above the clouds could now be seen below them.
Given the nice correlation here between the earth’s geologic history and scripture, we see that the entire process was clearly more than 24 hours.Â To see the line stretch, the Holy Spirit would have needed to remain in the rain, but beneath the sun, until there was enough light for Him to declare it “good”.Â One can only speculate how long that took, but I believe it was less than 50 million years (based on the discovery of fossilized algae in Greenland dating back to 3.85 Ga, which must have been after Day 2, and therefore after Day 1).
Finally, realizing that the line around the earth separating night from day is the separation between the day and night in Genesis 1:4, we can now define evening as crossing that line, and morning as crossing it again.Â Â It seems to me thatÂ Jesus could ride the Holy Spirit into the sunset, and cross that line into the night, anytime He wanted.