At first glance, Genesis 1 seems like a straightforward account of how the world was created from a biological perspective. While the text does describe the natural order, the biblical message is broader than biology: Genesis 1 tells us why the world was created from a theological perspective. God’s creative activity mirrors the Temple-building process, so that Genesis 1 describes the entire world as a Temple in which God holds dominion.

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According to Genesis 1:6, God creates a cosmic canopy: “an expanse (רקיע; raqia) in the midst of the waters.” The word for “expanse” (רקיע; raqia)—sometimes translated, “firmament”—is the same word used for the “ceiling” of God’s Temple: “Praise God in his sanctuary (קדשׁו; qadsho); praise him in the expanse (רקיע; raqia) of his stronghold” (Ps 150:1). Just like the world has an “expanse,” God’s Temple has an “expanse”; God builds the cosmos in the same way that the Israelites build God’s sanctuary.

God commands the priests to maintain a “light” (מאור; maor) in the tabernacle, the prototype of the Temple: “Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for the light (מאור; maor), for kindling lamps regularly” (Lev 24:2). This command recalls when God makes the sun and the moon, which the Bible calls “the two great lights (מאורת; maorot), the greater light (מאור; maor) to dominate the day, and the lesser light (מאור; maor) to dominate the night.” (Gen 1:15). Even the seven-day creation corresponds to the span of “seven years” that it took Solomon to build the Temple (1 Kgs 6:38), and the subsequent feast “before the Lord our God seven days” (1 Kgs 8:65). While other ancient peoples also built temples for their gods, the Israelites asserted that their God lives and reigns, not only in a single Temple, but over the entire world!

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11 COMMENTS

  1. How vital to see these connections – it makes the OT understandable and shows God’s unified plan of salvation revealed in the Scriptures.

  2. Do the two great lights dominating day and night correspond to the darkness and light in John 3:19-21? It never made sense to me that we either identify with a love of darkness or a love the light. What makes sense is that light dominates both (love) and we overcome (live by what has been revealed-truth). Sorry my explanation is poor. Its a hard concept to put into words.

  3. Joyce, Dr. Eli is correct. My memoriy can be shaky but these videos can be stopped so that you can take down notes and as he said once you have taken a course you can still listen to it as many times as you like. I certainly cannot remember it all but anything I do remember is more than I knew before.

  4. “The World As God’s Temple” I believe also has a bearing on Matthew 24 where Yeshua the Messiah predicted the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. If anyone noticed carefully, the chapter extends to the climax of the return of Yeshua in the clouds of heaven ( vs. 30 ). We read in 2 Peter 3:10 that the earth and it’s works will be burned up at that time. This is to show that just as certainly the earthly Temple was destroyed so will the world at the end of time.

  5. I was told many years ago: there are 3 Heavens. 1. The earth with the clouds, sky. 2. The Universe with the planets, etc. 3. Where GOD the FATHER and JESUS are, and where we will be. They are HIS Temple, but ONLY the 3rd Heaven where GOD the FATHER and JESUS are will be for eternity. Would this be correct?

  6. The thought of the world as God’s temple is very powerful. He took time to create another temple for us like the one in heaven. We live in the temple, serve in the temple and worship in the temple 24/7. How precious we are in the eyes of God, we are high priests despite our lowliness. I humbly worship you Lord for your thoughts towards us.

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