An Exposition on the
By J O H N.B U N Y A N.
First published in 1691, by Charles Doe.
An unfinished commentary on the Bible, found among John
Bunyan's papers after his death, in his own handwriting.
AN EXPOSITION ON THE FIRST TEN CHAPTERS OF GENESIS, AND PART OF THE ELEVENTH
In the first edition of this commentary, a series of numbers from 1 to 294 were placed in the margin, the use of which the editor could not discover; probably the work was written on as many scraps of paper, thus numbered to direct the printer. They are omitted, lest, among divisions and subdivisions, they should puzzle the reader.
od is a Spirit (John 4:24), eternal (Deu 33:27), infinite (Rom 1:17-20), incomprehensible (Job 11:7), perfect, and unspeakably glorious in his being, attributes, and works (Gen 17:51; Isa 6:3; Exo 33:20). "The eternal God." "Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord" (Jer 23:24). "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight" (Heb 4:13; Pro 15:11).
In his attributes of wisdom, power, justice, holiness, mercy, &c., he is also inconceivably perfect and infinite, not to be comprehended by things in earth, or things in heaven; known in the perfection of his being only to himself. The seraphims cannot behold him, but through a veil; no man can see him in his perfection and live.
His attributes, though apart laid down in the word of God, that we, being weak, might the better conceive of his eternal power and godhead; yet in him they are without division; one glorious and eternal being. Again, though sometimes this, as of wisdom, or that, as of justice and mercy, is most manifest in his works and wonders before men; yet every such work is begun and completed by the joint concurrence of all his attributes. No act of justice is without his will, power, and wisdom; no act of mercy is against his justice, holiness and purity. Besides, no man must conceive of God, as if he consisted of these attributes, as our body doth of its members, one standing here, another there, for the completing personal subsistence. For though by the word we may distinguish, yet may we not divide them, or presume to appoint them their places in the Godhead. Wisdom is in his justice, holiness is in his power, justice is in his mercy, holiness is in his love, power is in his goodness (1 John 1:9, Num 14:17,18).
Wherefore, he is in all his attributes almighty, all-wise, holy and powerful. Glory is in his wisdom, glory is in his holiness, glory is in his mercy, justice, and strength; and "God is love" (1 John 4:16).
II. Of the Persons or Subsistances in the Godhead.
The Godhead is but one, yet in the Godhead there are three. "There are three that can bear record in heaven" (1 John 5:7-9). These three are called "the Father, the Son [Word], and the Holy Spirit"; each of which is really, naturally and eternally God: yet there is but one God. But again, because the Father is of himself, the Son by the Father, and the Spirit from them both, therefore to each, the scripture not only applieth, and that truly, the whole nature of the Deity, but again distinguisheth the Father from the Son, and the Spirit from them both; calling the Father HE, by himself; the Son HE, by himself; the Spirit HE, by himself. Yea, the Three of themselves, in their manifesting to the church what she should believe concerning this matter, hath thus expressed the thing: "Let us make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness" (Gen 1:26). Again, "The man is become as one of US" (Gen 3:22). Again, "Let US go down, and there confound their language" (Gen 11:6,7). And again, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for US?" (Isa 6:8).
To these general expressions might be added, That Adam heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the midst of the garden: Genesis 3:8. Which voice John will have, to be one of the Three, calling that which Moses here saith is the voice, the word of God: "In the beginning," saith he, "was the word": the voice which Adam heard walking in the midst of the garden. This word, saith John, "was with God," this "word was God. The same was in the beginning with God" (John 1:1,2). Marvellous language! Once asserting the unity of essence, but twice insinuating a distinction of substances therein. "The word was with God, the word was God, the same was in the beginning with God." Then follows, "All things were made by him," the word, the second of the three.
Now the godly in former ages have called these three, thus in the Godhead, Persons or Subsistances; the which, though I condemn not, yet choose rather to abide by scripture phrase, knowing, though the other may be good and sound, yet the adversary must needs more shamelessly spurn and reject, when he doth it against the evident text.
To proceed the, First, There are Three. Second, These three are distinct.
First, By this word Three, is intimated the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and they are said to be three, 1. Because those appellations that are given them in scripture, demonstrate them so to be, to wit, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. 2. Because their acts one towards another discover them so to be.
Secondly, These three are distinct. 1. So distinct as to be more than one, only: There are three. 2. So distinct as to subsist without depending. The Father is true God, the Son is true God, the Spirit is true God. Yet the Father is one, the Son is one, the Spirit is one: The Father is one of himself, the Son is one by the Father, the Spirit is one from them both. Yet the Father is not above the Son, nor the Spirit inferior to either: The Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God.
Among the three then there is not superiority. 1. Not as to time; the Father is from everlasting, so is the Son, so is the Spirit. 2. Not as to nature, the Son being of the substance of the Father, and the Spirit of the substance of them both. 3. The fulness of the Godhead is in the Father, is in the Son, and is in the Holy Ghost.
The Godhead then, though it can admit of a Trinity, yet it admitteth not of inferiority in that Trinity: if otherwise, then less or more must be there, and so either plurality of gods, or something that is not God: so then, Father, Son and Spirit are in the Godhead, yet but one God; each of these is God over all, yet no Trinity of Gods, but one God in the Trinity.
Explication.—The Godhead then is common to the three, but the three themselves abide distinct in that Godhead: Distinct, I say, as Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit. This is manifest further by these several positions.
First, Father and Son are relatives, and must needs therefore have their relation as such: A Father begetteth, a Son is begotten.
Proof.—"Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? What is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?" (Pro 30:4).
"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son," &c. (John 3:16).
"The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world" (1 John 4:14).
Secondly, The Father then cannot be that Son he begat, nor the Son that Father that begat him, but must be distinct as such.
Proof.—"I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me" (John 8:17,18).
"I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world"; again, "I leave the world, and go to the Father" (John 16:28).
"The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father" (John 5:22,23).
Thirdly, The Father must have worship as a Father, and the Son as a Son.
Proof.—They that worship the Father must worship him "in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him" (John 4:23,24).
And of the Son he saith, and "when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him" (Heb 1:6).
Fourthly, The Father and Son have really these distinct, but heavenly, relative properties, that discover them, as such, to be two as well as one.
Proof.—"The Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things" (John 5:20).
"Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again" (John 10:17). The Father sent the Son; the Father commanded the Son; the Son prayed to the Father, and did always the things that pleased him.
The absurdities that flow from the denial of this are divers, some of which hereunder follow.
1. Absurdity.—It maketh void all those scriptures that do affirm the doctrine; some of which you have before.
2. Absurdity.—If in the Godhead there be but one, not three, then the Father, Son, or the Spirit, must needs be that one, if any one only: so then the other two are nothing. Again, If the reality of a being be neither in the Father, Son, nor Spirit, as such, but in the eternal deity, without consideration of Father, Son, and Spirit as three; then neither of the three are anything but notions in us, or manifestations of the Godhead; or nominal distinctions; so related by the word; but if so, then when the Father sent the Son, and the Father and Son the Spirit, one notion sent another, one manifestation sent another. This being granted, this unavoidably follows, there was no Father to beget a Son, no Son to be sent to save us, no Holy Ghost to be sent to comfort us, and to guide us into all the truth of the Father and Son, &c. The most amounts but to this, a notion sent a notion, a distinction sent a distinction, or one manifestation sent another. Of this error these are the consequences, we are only to believe in notions and distinctions, when we believe in the Father and the Son; and so shall have no other heaven and glory, than notions and nominal distinctions can furnish us withal.
3. Absurdity.—If Father and Son, &c., be no otherwise three, than as notions, names, or nominal distinctions; then to worship these distinctly, or together, as such, is to commit most gross and horrible idolatry: For albeit we are commanded to fear that great and dreadful name, The Lord our God; yet to worship a Father, a Son, and Holy Spirit in the Godhead, as three, as really three as one, is by this doctrine to imagine falsely of God, and so to break the second commandment: but to worship God under the consideration of Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost, and to believe them as really three as one when I worship, being the sum and substance of the doctrine of the scriptures of God, there is really substantially three in the eternal Godhead.
But to help thee a little in thy study on this deep.
1. Thou must take heed when thou readest, there is in the Godhead, Father, and Son, &c., that thou do not imagine about them according to thine own carnal and foolish fancy; for no man can apprehend this doctrine but in the light of the word and Spirit of God. "No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son; and he to whom the Son will reveal him" (Matt 11:27). If therefore thou be destitute of the Spirit of God, thou canst not apprehend the truth of this mystery as it is in itself, but will either by thy darkness be driven to a denial thereof; or if thou own it, thou wilt (that thy acknowledgment notwithstanding) falsely imagine about it.
2. If thou feel thy thoughts begin to wrestle about this truth, and to struggle concerning this one against another; take heed of admitting of such a question, How can this thing be? For here is no room for reason to make it out, here is only room to believe it is a truth. You find not one of the prophets propounding an argument to prove it; but asserting it, they let it lie, for faith to take it up and embrace it.
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen" (2 Cor 13:14).
III. Of the Creation of the World (Gen 1).
The Apostle saith, That "to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him" (1 Cor 8:6). "God that made the world" (Acts 17:24). "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). This world therefore had a beginning, and was created by the God of heaven. Which work, because it is wonderful, and discovereth much of the greatness, of the wisdom and power of the eternal Godhead, it behoveth such poor mortals as we to behold these works of the mighty God, that thereby we may see how great he is, and be made to cry out, What is man!  (Psa 8:3,4)
Now in the creation of the world we may consider several things; as, What was the order of God in this work? And, whether there was a secret or mystery in this work containing the truth of some higher thing? For the first of these:
Of the Order of God in Making the World.
Although God be indeed omnipotent, and not only can, but doth do whatsoever he will; and though to do his works he needeth not length of time; yet it pleased him best, in the creation of the world (though it could, had it pleased him, have done all by one only word) to proceed by degrees from one thing to another, to the completing of six days' work in the making thereof.
And forasmuch as this work went on by degrees, now this thing, and then another, it may not be amiss, if in our discourse on this wonderful work, we begin where God began; and if we can, go wondering after him who hath thus wrought.
1. The first thing that God made was time; I say, it was time: All the plain in which he would build this beautiful world; he made nothing before, but in the beginning: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen 1:1). In the beginning of time. "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is" (Exo 20:11). Therefore the first day must first have a beginning to be. Whatsoever was before time, was eternal; but nothing but God himself is eternal, therefore no creature was before time. Time, therefore, which was indeed the beginning, was the first of the creatures of God.
2. I think, the second of creatures that the Lord created, were the holy angels of God, they being called the morning stars, as created and shining in the morning of the world; and therefore they are said to be by, when the corner-stone of the universe was laid; that is, when he "laid the foundations" of the world: Then "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 5:4-7).
3. I think the third thing that the Lord created, was these large and copious heavens; for they are mentioned with respect to their being before the earth, or any visible creature. "In the beginning God created the heavens" (Gen 1:1), &c. Neither do I think that the heavens were made of that confused chaos that afterwards we read of. It is said, he stretched out the heavens as a curtain, and with his hand he hath spanned the heavens (Psa 104:2; Isa 40:22; 48:13).; intimating, that they were not taken out of that formless heap, but were immediately formed by his power. Besides, the Holy Ghost, treating of the creating of heaven and earth, he only saith, The earth was void, and without form; but no such thing of the heavens.
4. The fourth thing that God created, it was (in mine opinion) that chaos, or first matter, with which he in the six days framed this earth, with its appurtenances; for the visible things that are here below, seem to me to be otherwise put into being and order, than time, the angels, and the heavens, they being created in their own simple essence by themselves: But the things that are visibly here below, whatever their essence and nature be, they were formed of that first deformed chaos. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form and void" (Gen 1:1,2). He saith not so of the heavens; they, as I said, were at first stretched forth as a curtain; indeed they were afterwards garnished with the beauty which we now behold; but otherwise they had, at their first instant of being, that form which now they have. This seems clear by the antithesis which the Holy Ghost put between them, God created the heaven and the earth, but "the earth was without form and void" (Gen 1:2). The earth was without form, &c., without order; things were together on a confused heap; the waters were not divided from the earth, neither did those things appear which are now upon the face of the earth; as man, and beast, fish, fowls, trees, and herbs; all these did afterwards shew themselves, as the word of God gave them being, by commanding their appearance, in what form, order, place and time he in himself had before determined; but all, I say, took their matter and substance of that first chaos, which he in the first day of the world had commanded to appear, and had given being to: And therefore 'tis said, God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, herbs, trees, &c., (v 12) and that the waters brought forth the fish, and fowl, yea, even to the mighty whales (vv 21,22). Also the earth brought forth cattle, and creeping things (v 24). And that God made man of the dust of the ground (3:19). All these things therefore were made of, or caused by his word distinctly to appear, and be after its kind, of that first matter which he had before created by his word. Observe therefore, That the matter of all earthly things was made at the same instant, but their forming, &c., was according to the day in which God gave them their being, in their own order and kind. And hence it is said, that after that first matter was created, and found without form and void, that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters; that is to work, and cause those things to appear in their own essence and form, which, as to matter and substance, was before created: Wherefore it follows, And God said, Let there be light; and God divided the light from the darkness, &c. Now he set to putting in frame that which before lay in disorder and confusion: And this was a great part of the six days' work; I say, a great part, but not all; for (as I said) before that time, the angels, and the heavens were made; yea, after the beginning of the morning of the first day. I am of the belief, that other things also, that were formed after, were not made of that first chaos, as the sun, the moon, the stars, the light, the souls of men, and possibly the air, &c. The sun, and moon, and stars, are said to be made the fourth day, yet not of the body of heaven itself, much less, in my opinion, of any earthly matter: God made them, and set them in the firmament of heaven (vv 16,17). So the light that was made before, it seems to be a thing created after the heavens and the earth were created: Created, I say, as a thing that wanted a being before, any otherwise, than in the decree of God: and God said, Let there be light; Let it have a being (v 3). And so, though the body of man was made of the substance of earth, yet as to his soul, it is said, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul (2:7).
Whether there was a secret or mystery in this work, containing the truth of some higher thing.
Though God in very deed, by his eternal power, created heaven and earth of things that do not appear, we that are Christians believe: yet in this his wonderful work, neither his will or understanding did here terminate, or make a stop; but being infinite in wisdom, he made them, that both as to matter and manner, they might present unto us, as in a mystery, some higher and more excellent thing; in this wisdom he made them all. And hence it is that other things are also called a creation: As, 1. The essential conversion of a sinner (2 Cor 5:17). 2. The recovery of the church from a degenerate state (Rev 21:5).
And therefore, as Moses begins with the creation of the world, so John begins with the gospel of salvation (Gen 1:1; John 1:1). There is also besides many excellent things in the manner and order of the creation of the world, held forth to those that have understanding: Some of which I may touch upon by way of observation. But to begin with the first:
The first appearance of this earthy part of the world, is recorded to be but a formless and void heap or chaos; and such is man before a new creation: formless, I mean, as to the order of the Testament of Christ, and void of the holy order thereof: And hence Jeremiah, when he would set forth the condition of a wicked people, he doth it under this metaphor: "I beheld [saith he] the earth, and, lo, it was without form and void" (Jer 4:23). Indeed, the world would make this a type of Christ; to wit, a man of no form or comeliness (Isa 53:2). But 'tis only true of themselves; they are without a New Testament impression upon them; they are void of the sovereign grace of God. So then the power of God gave the world a being, but by his word he set it in form and beauty; even as by his power he gives a being to man, but by his word he giveth him New Testament framing and glory (Eph 2:10-13). This is still followed by that which follows:
And darkness was upon the face of the deep (v 2).
The Deep here, might be a type of the heart of man before conversion; and so Solomon seems to intimate. Now as the darkness of this world did cover the face of this first chaos; so spiritual darkness the heart of the sons of men: and hence they are said to be darkened, to be in darkness, yea, to be very darkness itself.
"And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
A blessed emblem of the word of God in the matter of regeneration; for as the first chaos remained without form, and void, until the Spirit of God moved to work upon it, and by working, to put this world into frame and order; so man, as he comes into the world, abides a confused lump, an unclean thing; a creature without New Testament order, until by the Spirit of the Lord he is transformed into the image of Jesus Christ (Gal 1:15).
"And the Spirit of God moved upon the face."
Solomon compares the heart to a man's face; because as in the face may be discerned whether there is anger or otherwise; so by the inclinations of the heart are discovered the truth of the condition of the man, as to his state either for heaven or hell. And besides, as the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters; so in the work of our conversion, the Spirit of God beginneth with the heart of the sons of men; because the heart is the main fort (Acts 2:37). Now if the main fort be not taken, the adversary is still capable of making continual resistance. Therefore God first conquers the heart; therefore the Spirit of God moveth upon the face of our heart, when he cometh to convert us from Satan to God.
"And God said, Let there be light."
This is the first thing with which God began the order of the creation; to wit, light, "Let there be light": From which many profitable notes may be gathered, as to the order of God in the salvation of the soul. As,
1. When the Holy Ghost worketh upon us, and in us, in order to a new creation; he first toucheth our understanding, that great peace of the heart, with his spiritual illumination (Matt 4:16). His first word, in order to our conversion, is, Let there be light: light, to see their state by nature; light, to see the fruits and effects of sin; light, to see the truth and worth of the merits of Jesus Christ; light, to see the truth and faithfulness of God, in keeping promise and covenant with them that embrace salvation upon the blessed terms of the gospel of peace (Heb 10:32). Now that this word, Let there be light, was a semblance of the first work of the Holy Ghost upon the heart, compare it with that of Paul to the Corinthians; "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness," that is, at the beginning of the world, "hath shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor 4:6).
2. "And God said, Let there be light." As here, the light of this world; so in conversion, the light of the New Testament of Christ, it comes by the word of God. No word, no light: therefore the apostle saith, He "hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Tim 1:10). And therefore Paul saith again, That salvation is manifest through preaching, through the expounding or opening of the word of faith.
3. "And God said, Let there be light; and there was light": He spake the word, and it was done; all that darkness that before did cover the face of the deep, could not now hinder the being of light. So neither can all the blindness and ignorance that is in the heart of man, hinder the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (Rev 3:7). When it pleaseth God to reveal, it is revealed; when he openeth, none can shut: He said, Let there be light, and there was light.
And God saw that the light was good. Truly the light is good (saith Solomon) and a pleasant thing it is for the eye to behold the sun. It was good, because it was God's creature; and so in the work of grace that is wrought in our hearts, that light of the new covenant, it is good, because it is God's work, the work of his good pleasure (2 Thess 1:11); that good work which he hath not only begun, but promised to fulfil until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:6).
God saw that the light was good. The darkness that before did cover the face of the waters, was not a creature of God, but a privation, or that which was caused by reason that light was not as yet in the world: so sin, that darkness that might be felt, is not the workmanship of God in the soul, but that which is the work of the devil; and that taketh occasion to be, by reason that the true light, as yet, doth not shine in the soul.
"And God divided the light from the darkness." As Paul saith, What communion hath light with darkness? they cannot agree to dwell together (2 Cor 6:14). We see the night still flies before the day, and dareth not come upon us again, but as the light diminisheth and conveyeth itself away. So it is in the new creation; before the light of the glorious gospel of Christ appears, there is night, all night, in the soul (Eph 5:8): but when that indeed doth shine in the soul, then for night there is day in the soul: "Ye were darkness [saith Paul] but now are ye light in the Lord" (v 9): And, "The darkness is past [saith John] and the true light now shineth" (1 John 2:8).
"And God divided the light from the darkness."
God took part with the light, and preserved it from the darkness. By these words, it seems that darkness and light began the quarrel, before that bloody bout of Cain and Abel (Gal 5:17). The light and the darkness struggled together, and nothing could divide or part them but God. Darkness is at implacable enmity with light in the creation of the world; and so it is in that rare work of regeneration, the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; as Peter saith, Fleshly lusts, they war against the soul. This every Christian feels, and also that which I mentioned before, namely, That before he be capable of opposing antichrist, with Abel, in the world, he findeth a struggling in his own soul between the light and the darkness that is there.
"And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night."
God doth not only distinguish by separating, but also by certain characters; that things which are distinguished and separate, may to us be the better known; he did so here in the work of creating the world, and he doth so also in the great concern of man's eternal happiness. The place of felicity is called heaven: The place of torment is called hell: that which leads to hell is called sin, transgression, iniquity, and wickedness; that which leads to heaven, righteousness, holiness, goodness and uprightness: even as in these types God called the light day, of which the godly are the children (1 Thess 5:5); but the darkness he called night, of which all ungodly men are the inhabiters and children also. Thus after the Spirit of God had moved upon the face of the waters; after God had commanded the light to shine, and had divided between the light and the darkness, and had characterized them by their proper names, he concludes the first day's work, "And the evening and the morning were the first day." In which conclusion there is wrapped up a blessed gospel-mystery; for God, by concluding the first day here, doth shew us how we ought to determine that one is made indeed a Christian: Even then when the Spirit of God hath moved upon the face of the heart, when he hath commanded that light should be there, when he divideth between, or setteth the light at variance with the darkness; and when the soul doth receive the characters of both, to observe them, and carry it to each according to the mouth of God.
"And God saith, Let there be a firmament" (v 6).
This firmament he calleth heaven (v 8). Now this firmament, or heaven, was to make a separation, or to divide between the waters and the waters (v 7); To separate, I say, the waters from the waters; the waters which were under the firmament, from the waters which were above the firmament. Now by waters is signified in the scriptures many things, as afflictions, worldly people (Psa 69:1,2), and particularly the saints (Rev 19:6); but in this place is figured forth, all the people in the world, but so as consisting of two parts, the children of God, and the children of the wicked one: They under the heaven, figure out the world, or ungodly: they above the firmament, the elect and chosen of God. And hence in scripture the one is called heaven, and the other is called earth, to signify the separation and difference that there is between the one and the other.
"And God made the firmament, and divided the waters - from the waters."
Indeed the world think that this separation comes, or is made, through the captiousness of the preacher: But in truth it is the handy work of God; And God made the firmament, and God divided, &c. "I," saith he, "will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed" (Gen 3:15). The good seed are the children of the kingdom of God, but the bad are the children of the wicked one (Matt 13:38).
"And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament, from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so" (v 7).
Whatsoever the Lord doth, it abideth for ever (Eccl 3:14). And again, What he hath made crooked, who can make straight? (Eccl 1:15). He said it in the beginning, and behold how it hath continued! Yea, though there hath been endeavours on Satan's part, to mingle his children with the seed of men; yet it hath not been possible they should ever cleave one to another, "even as iron is not mixed with clay" (Dan 2:43). Yea, let me add further, What laws have been made, what blood hath been shed, what cruelty hath been used, and what flatteries and lies invented, and all to make these two waters and people one? And yet all hath failed, and fallen short of producing the desired effect; for the Lord hath made a firmament, even heaven itself hath divided between them.
"And God called the firmament heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day" (v 8).
After the waters were divided from the waters, God called the cause of dividing, heaven; and so concluded the second day's work. And indeed it was a very great work, as in the antitype we feel it to this very day. Dividing work is difficult work, and he that can, according to God, completely end and finish it, he need do no more that day of his life.
"And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so" (v 9).
Although in the second day's work, the waters above the firmament, and those that be under, are the two peoples, or great families of the world (Pro 8:31); yet because God would shew us by things on earth, the flourishing state of those that are his (Hosea 10:12; Joel 2:21-23; Psa 91:1; Heb 6:7), therefore he here doth express his mind by another kind of representation of things (Jer 4:3,4): "And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place; and let the dry land appear." The waters here signifying the world; but the fruitful earth, the thrifty church of God. That the fruitful earth is a figure of the thriving church of God in this world, is evident from many scriptures, (and there was nothing but thriftiness till the curse came). And hence it is said of the church, That she should break the clods of the ground; that she should sow righteousness, and reap it; that she should not sow among thorns; that if this be done, the heart is circumcised, and spiritual fruit shall flow forth, and grow abundantly: And hence again it is that the officers and eminent ones in the church, are called vines, trees, and other fruitful plants. And hence it is said again, When the Lord reigneth, let the earth (that is, the church) rejoice. That earth which bringeth forth fruit meet for him by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God. In all which places, and many more that might be named, the earth is made a figure of the church of God; and so I count it here in this place.
"And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered into one place."
Let them be together: It is not thus of all waters, but of the sea, which is still here a type of the world. Let them be so together, that the earth may appear; that the church may be rid of their rage and tumult, and then she will be fruitful, as it follows in this first book of Genesis. The church is then in a flourishing state, when the world is farthest off from her, and when the roaring of their waves are far away. Now therefore let all the wicked men be far from thence (Ezra 6:6): The Lord gather these waters, which in another place are called the doleful creatures, and birds of prey; Let these, O Lord, be gathered together to their own places, and be settled in the land of Shinar upon their own base (Zech 5:11): Then the wilderness and the solitary places shall be glad for them; that is, for that they are departed thence, the desert shall rejoice and blossom as a rose (Isa 34 and 35).
"And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he seas: and God saw that it was good" (v 10).
God saw, that to separate the waters from the earth was good: And so it is, for then have the churches rest. Then doth this earth bring forth her fruit, as in the 11th and 12th verses may here be seen.
"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven" (v 14).
The wisdom of God, is there to make use of figures and shadows, even where most fit things, the things under consideration, may be most fitly demonstrated. The dividing the waters from the waters, most fitly doth show the work of God in choosing and refusing; by dividing the waters from the earth, doth show how fruitful God's earth, the church is, when persecutors are made to be far from thence.
Wherefore he speaketh not of garnishing of his church until he comes to this fourth day's work: by his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens, that most fitly showing the glory of the church.
Let there be lights; to wit, the sun, the moon, and the stars.
The sun is in this place a type of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness: The moon is a type of the church, in her uncertain condition in this world: The stars are types of the several saints and officers in this church. And hence it is that the sun is said not only to rule, but it, with the moon and stars, to be set for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years, &c. (Rev 1:20). But if we take the heaven for the church, then how is she beautified, when the Son of God is placed in the midst of her! (Rev 1:12,13). And how plainly is her condition made out, even by the changing, increasing, and diminishing of the moon! And how excellent is that congregation of men, that for light and glory are figured by the stars! (Matt 28:20).
From this day's work much might be observed.
First, That forasmuch as the sun was not made before the fourth day, it is evident there was light in the world before the sun was created; for in the first day God said, Let there be light, and there was light. This may also teach us thus much, That before Christ came in person, there was spiritual light in the saints of God. And again, That as the sun was not made before the fourth day of the creation, so Christ should not be born before the fourth mystical day of the world; for it is evident, that Christ, the true light of the world, was not born till about four thousand years after the world was made. Second, As to the moon, there are four things attending her, which fitly may hold forth the state of the church. (1.) In that she changeth from an old to a new, we may conceive, that God by making her so, did it to show he would one day make a change of his church, from a Jewish to a Gentile congregation. (2.) In that she increaseth, she showeth the flourishing state of the church. (3.) In her diminishing, the diminishing state of the church. (4.) The moon is also sometimes made to look as red as blood, to show how dreadful and bloody the suffering of the church is at some certain times.
Third, By the stars, we understand two things. (1.) How innumerable the saints, those spiritual stars shall be (Heb 11:12). (2.) How they shall differ each from other in glory (1 Cor 15:41).
"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, to divide the day from the night."
For though before the light was divided from the darkness, yet the day and night was not so kept within their bounds, as now by these lights they were: probably signifying, that nothing should be so clearly distinguished and made appear, as by the sun light of the gospel of Christ: for by that it is that "the shadows flee away" (Song 2:17). The light of the sun gathers the day to its hours, both longer and shorter, and forceth also the night to keep within his bounds.
"And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night" (v 16).
Signifying, That Christ should be the light and governor of his church, which are the children of the day; but the church, a light to the children of the night, that by them they might learn the mysteries of the kingdom. Saith Christ to his own, "Ye are the light of the world": And again, "Let your light so shine, - that men may see," &c., for though they that only walk in the night, cannot see to walk by the sun, yet by the moon they may. Thus the heaven is a type of the church, the moon a type of her uncertain state in this world; the stars are types of her immovable converts; and their glory, of the differing degrees of theirs, both here, and in the other world. Much more might be said, but I pass this.
"And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life" (v 20).
The sea, as I said, is a figure of the world; wherefore the creatures that are in it, of the men of the world (Zech 13:8; Isa 60:5). This sea bringeth forth small and great beasts, even as the world doth yield both small and great persecutors, who like the fishes of prey, eat up and devour what they can of those fish that are of another condition. Now also out of the world that mystical sea, as fishers do out of the natural; both Christ and his servants catch mystical fish, even fish as of the great sea.
In the sea God created great whales, he made them to play therein.
Which whales in the sea are types of the devils in the world: Therefore as the devil is called, the prince of this world; so the whale is called, king over all the children of pride (Job 41:33,34).
"And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind" (v 24).
Of the beginning of this sixth day's work that may be said which is said of the fishes, and the rest of the sea; for as there is variety of fish in the one, so of beasts and cattle in the other, who also make a prey of their fellows, as the fishes do; a most apt representation of the nature and actions of bloody and deceitful men: Hence persecutors are called bulls, bears, lions, wolves, tigers, dragons, dogs, foxes, leopards, and the like.
"And God said, Let us make man" (v 26).
I observe, that in the creation of the world, God goeth gradually on, from things less, to things more abundantly glorious; I mean, as to the creation of this earth; and the things that thereto appertain. First he bringeth forth a confused chaos, then he commands matter to appear distinct, then the earth bringeth forth trees, and herbs, and grass; after that beasts; and the sea, fowls; and last of all, Let us make man. Now passing by the doctrine of the trinity, because spoken to before, I come to make some observation upon this wonderful piece of the workmanship of God.
"Let us make man." Man in whom is also included the woman, was made the last of the creatures. From whence we may gather, God's respect to this excellent creature, in that he first provideth for him, before he giveth him his being: He bringeth him not to an empty house, but to one well furnished with all kind of necessaries, having beautified the heaven and the earth with glory, and all sorts of nourishment, for his pleasure and sustenance.
"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."
An image, or the likeness of any thing, is not the thing of which it is a figure; so here, Adam is an image, or made in the likeness of God. Now as Adam is the image of God, it must either respect him, as he consisteth of the soul, as a part; or as he consists of a body and soul together: If as he is made a reasonable soul, then he is an excellent image of the eternal Godhead, the attributes of the one being shadowed out by the qualities and passions of the other; for as there is in the Godhead, power, knowledge, love, and righteousness; so a likeness of these is in the soul of man, especially of man before he had sinned: And as there is passions of pity, compassion, affections, and bowels in man; so there are these in a far more infinite way in God.
Again, If this image respect the whole man, then Adam was a figure of God, as incarnate; or of God, as he was to be made afterwards man. And hence it is, that as Adam is called the image of God (Rom 5:14); so also is Christ himself called and reckoned as the answering antitype of such an image.
But again, Though Adam be here called the image or similitude of God; yet but so as that he was the shadow of a more excellent image. Adam was a type of Christ, who only is "the express image" of his Father's person, and the likeness of his excellent glory (Heb 1:3). For those things that were in Adam, were but of a humane, but of a created substance; but those that were in Christ, of the same divine and eternal excellency with the Father.
Is Christ then the image of the Father, simply, as considered of the same divine and eternal excellency with him? Certainly, No: for an image is doubtless inferior to that of which it is a figure. Understand then, that Christ is the image of the Father's glory, as born of the Virgin Mary, yet so, as being very God also: Not that his Godhead in itself was a shadow or image, but by the acts and doing of that man, every act being infinitely perfect by virtue of his Godhead, the Father's perfections were made manifest to flesh. An image is to be looked upon, and by being looked upon, another thing is seen; so by the person and doings of the Lord Jesus, they that indeed could see him as he was, discovered the perfection and glory of the Father.—"Philip, He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?" (John 14:9). Neither the Father nor the Son can by us at all be seen, as they are simply and entirely in their own essence. Therefore the person of the Father must be seen by us, through the Son, as consisting of God and man; the Godhead, by working effectually in the manhood, shewing clearly there through the infinite perfection and glory of the Father: "The word was made flesh, and - [then] we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, [He being in his personal excellencies, infinitely and perfectly, what is recorded of his Father,] full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). So again, he "is the image of the invisible God" (Col 1:15). The Godhead is indeed invisible; how then is Christ the image of it? Not by being invisible also; for so is he as much hid as the Father; but being clothed with flesh, that the works of the Son might by us be seen, he thereby presenteth to us, as in a figure, the eternal excellency of the Father. And hence as he is called "an image," he is also called "the first-born" of every creature (Col 1:18). His being a creature, respecting his manhood, and his birth, and his rising again from the dead. Therefore a little after, he is called, "the first-born from the dead" (v 19): And in another place, "the first-begotten of the dead" (Rev 1:5): And "the first-fruits of them that slept" (1 Cor 15:20). So then, though Adam was the image of God, yet God's image but as a mere creature: But Christ though a creature as touching his manhood; yet being also God, as the Father, he shewed forth expressly, in capital characters, by all his works and doings in the world, the beauty and glory of the Father: "The light of the knowledge of the glory of God," is given "in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Cor 4:6). Where by face, we must understand that which is visible, that being open when all else is covered, and that by which most principally we are discovered to others, and known. Now as to the case in hand, this face must signify to us the personal virtues and doings of Christ, by which the glory of the Father is exposed; the glory of his justice, by Christ's exactness of life; the glory of his love, by Christ's compassion to sinners, &c.
Ver. 26. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."
As Adam was a type of Christ, as the image and glory of God; so by these words he further showeth, that he was a type of his sovereign power; for to him be dominion and power everlasting (Heb 2:8,9), "to whom be praise and dominion for ever" (1 Peter 4:11; Jude 25). Now by the fish of the sea, the beasts of the earth, the fowls of the air, and every creeping thing, we may understand all creatures, visible and invisible, whether they be men, angels, or devils; in heaven, earth, or under the earth: also all thrones, authorities and powers, whether in heaven, in earth, or hell: Christ is made head over all; He hath also a name above every name, "not only in this world, but in that which is to come" (Eph 1:25).
Ver. 28. "And God blessed them; and God said unto them, [that is, to the man and his wife] Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it," &c.
This in the type doth show, in the antitype, how fruitful Christ and his church shall be; and how he at last shall, all over the earth, have a seed to replenish and subdue it by the power of the immortal seed of the word of God: how his name shall be reverenced from one end of the earth to the other: how the kingdoms of the earth shall ALL at last become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.
"And subdue it." God did put that majesty and dread upon Adam, at his creation, that all the beasts of the field submitted themselves unto him. As God also said to Noah, "The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered" (Gen 9:2).
"And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth; and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat" (Gen 1:29).
These herbs and trees are types of the wholesome word of the gospel, on which both Christ, his church, and unconverted sinners, ought to feed and be refreshed; and without which thee is no subsisting either of one or the other: "He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; and wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart" (Psa 104:14,15).
"And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (v 31).
All things have their natural goodness by creation. Things are not good, because they have a being only, but because God gave them such a being. Neither did God make them, because he saw they would attract a goodness to themselves; but he made them in such kind, as to bring forth that goodness he before determined they should. "And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."