By Arlen L. Chitwood
The Bible is a book of redemption; and basic, unchangeable teachings surrounding redemption are set forth at the very beginning of Scripture.
In the opening verses of Genesis God sets forth the unchangeable manner in which He, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge, restores a ruined creation. There is a restorative work which follows a specific pattern, and the matter is accomplished entirely through Divine intervention.
And within this pattern set forth at the very beginning, God reveals how any subsequent ruined creation would, of necessity, have to be restored. It would have to be restored after a certain order, and it would have to be restored entirely through Divine intervention.
Thus, to establish correct thinking relative to the fundamentals of salvation (restoration), one must begin where Scripture begins -- in the opening verses of Genesis chapter one.
In these opening verses, God begins by revealing His creation of the heavens and the earth (v. 1). Then, immediately following this, in the first part of the second verse, God reveals that the earth became a ruin (resulting from Satan seeking to exalt his "throne" [as the appointed ruler over the earth (Isa. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:14-16)] and be "like the most High" [the Ruler over the entire universe (Psa. 103:19)]).
Then, immediately following the statement in Gen. 1:2a concerning the ruin of the material creation, God reveals the means which He used to restore this ruined creation (vv. 1:2b ff) -- a restoration accomplished entirely through Divine intervention.
The importance of understanding that which is revealed in these opening verses cannot be overemphasized, for man, a subsequent creation of God, also fell into a ruined state because of Satan's actions (Gen. 1:26-28; 3:1ff). And if ruined man was to be restored (as the ruined material creation had previously been restored), it would have to be accomplished exactly in accordance with the previously established pattern. It would have to be accomplished exactly in accordance with the method which God revealed at the beginning of His Word concerning how He restores a ruined creation.
This is the first of numerous unchangeable ways in which God has revealed Himself, His plans, and His purposes to man in His Word.
Once God establishes a pattern, no change can ever occur. And He has forever established, once for all, at the very beginning of His Word, exactly how He goes about restoring a ruined creation.
Genesis 1:2b, 3 records the initial act of the triune Godhead in bringing about the restoration of the ruined material creation -- an act in which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each participated (note that nothing can come into existence apart from the Son [John 1:3]).
In this foundational pattern, forming a type, the Spirit of God moved, God spoke, and light came into existence. And in the antitype, within the framework of man's salvation experience, the matter is identical.
Thus, there is a past work of the triune Godhead which foreshadows a present work of the triune Godhead:
Restoring the ruined material creation in Genesis chapter one, the Spirit of God moved, God spoke, and light came into existence.
Restoring ruined man today, the Spirit of God moves, God speaks, and light comes into existence.
This is God's unchangeable restorative pattern. And, relative to God's present restorative work, everything within the outworking of that revealed in this pattern is based on one thing -- the Son's finished work at Calvary almost 2,000 years ago (revealed in subsequent types).
When the Son cried out from the Cross, "It is finished" (John 19:30; cf. Luke 23:46), He (the living Word) meant exactly that; and when God's revelation to man reveals that we have a salvation of Divine origin, based entirely on the Son's finished work, it (the written Word) also means exactly that.
When man sinned in the garden, he died spiritually; and when unregenerate man, "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1), is made alive today, he is made alive spiritually. The movement of the Spirit (Gen. 1:2b) and God speaking (Gen. 1:3) in order to restore the ruined creation are simultaneous events. It is the Spirit using the God-breathed word to effectually perform a supernatural work in unredeemed man.
It is at this point -- through the inbreathing of God -- that life is imparted to that which previously had no life. God breathes into lifeless man (the Spirit imparting life, in accordance with the God-breathed Word, based on Christ's finished work), and man is "quickened ['made alive']" (Eph. 2:1; cf. Gen. 2:7; II Tim. 3:16).
At this point, light shines "out of darkness" (II Cor. 4:6), a division is made between the light and the darkness (Gen. 1:4), and the darkness has no apprehension or comprehension of that which is light (John 1:5; cf. I Cor. 2:14).
The "spirit" in unsaved man is dead. It is a part of the totally depraved man, with his "body of...death," in which there dwells "no good thing" (Rom. 7:18, 24). But, with the movement of the Spirit -- breathing life into unsaved, lifeless man -- man's spirit is made alive and, at the same time, separated from his soul (Heb. 4:12).
The "soul" remains within the sphere of darkness, which is why "the natural [Gk. psuchikos, 'soulical'] man" cannot understand "the things of the Spirit of God" (I Cor. 2:14). That which remains in the sphere of darkness can have no apprehension or comprehension of that which has shined out of darkness. There is a God-established division between the two which cannot be crossed over (cf. Luke 16:26).
"What must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30).
The answer is simple. You can't do anything. It has all been done on your behalf. Simply "believe [put your trust in, your reliance in]" the One Who paid it all at Calvary. Then, and only then, can/will the Spirit of God move on the ruined creation, as in Gen. 1:2b.
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).