In the Beginning, Jesus Created
the Heavens and the Earth
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
The words of Christ as recorded in John 16:12 alert us to the fact that God does not speak to us as though we otherwise have a thorough understanding of the state of the world. Sometimes, the revelation God gives us is blurry – 100% accurate, but blurry. We can experience this in everyday life. As one awakens before the official point of dawn, there is enough light in your bedroom that you can identify large objects, for instance furniture. You can see that next to the bed is a small table. But you cannot identify what is on that table. As the dawn progresses, the smaller objects in the room begin to take shape. At first, you can identify that there is a book on the table. Then as the dawn is completed, you can read the title and author of the book. This gradual process occasionally appears in scripture, and it is commonly called “Progressive Revelation.”
We see the principle of Progressive Revelation in Mark 8:22-26, when Jesus gives sight to a blind man:
[The blind man] looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Mark 8:24-25
Paul describes Progressive Revelation to the Corinthian church:
[N]ow we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
And there are several examples where Progressive Revelation is used as God gradually unfolds His plan to mankind. For example, to Moses, God said:
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29
Paul brought more light on Moses’ words:
This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Ephesians 3:6
As Moses recorded the words of Deuteronomy, God did not tell him that Israel will eventually break the covenant, that Israel will become temporarily dispersed, and that for a period of time, there will be a church age where the Gentiles will become members of the same body of chosen people that was exclusively Israel at the time Moses wrote. At the time of Moses, all God was revealing was that between the time that “the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as they are this day (Deuteronomy 29:28)” and “he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you (Deuteronomy 30:1-3),” something was going to happen that for the time being, He was keeping a secret. At the time of Moses, God did not want His people studying the Church age. He wanted them focused on doing all the words of the law.
It was only when it suited God’s purpose that God used Paul’s letter to the Ephesians to reveal that the “secret” of Deuteronomy 29:29 was the New Testament Church. The Gentiles and the Jews will become members of the same body.
Though it is taught to children as though it is common knowledge, we have no way to equate the serpent of Genesis 3 with Satan until Revelation 12:9 and then again in Revelation 20:2.
Similarly, with the whole Bible at our disposal, we know that “God” in Genesis 1:1 refers to the second Person of the Godhead – God the Son, later born as Jesus Christ the Savior of the world. (John 1:3, Col 1:16). But four words into a 774,746-word revelation of Himself, “God” is as complex as we can tolerate. As Moses recorded the fourth word of the English Bible (third word in Hebrew), God did not pause to explain to Moses that Jesus would come to die for the sins of the world, and that this Jesus, son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, of the same substance as God the Father and equally God, was the actual Creator of the world. For the time being, it was adequate that the people knew that creation was the work of the Godhead.
God does not reveal this to us until we get to John 1:3, “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made,” and then reinforced to us with greater clarity in Colossians 1:16, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth.” All activity of creation was performed by God the Son. If He who became Jesus didn’t create it, then it was never created.