We are about to begin our study of Genesis chapter 1. If we are to follow a logical or sequential order, we are required to first study those passages which reveal that much preceded the creation of "the heavens and the earth", such as God's eternal existence; Christ's coexistence with God; God predestinating everything which comes to past in this scene of time, etc., trues which are incomprehensively profound and cannot be fathom by this study. But may God open our eyes to see the things we know not, and may He grant that we obtain a clearer and more detailed and practical understanding of the things which happened before the foundation of the world.
In the beginning God...": Note those words carefully; they do not say, "In the beginning gods" which would imply a plurality of gods; but, "In the beginning God " Throughout all eternity past, nought existed visible or invisible but God. Nothing else existed; nothing else came into being until "God created the heavens and the earth". Therefore throughout all eternity past, God was one: "Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me" (Isaiah 43:10) is His own unchanging declaration. Therefore God was not only one God throughout all eternity past, but He is one God presently, and will be throughout all eternity future. God is the only true and living God (Deut. 6:4; Gal. 3:20), We then should not "worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator...' (Rom. 1:25). 'You shall have no other gods before (besides) Me" (Ex. 20:3). There is no better way for us to understand that God is but one than by viewing Him as He existed alone, apart from His creation, See also John 17:3; 5:44; I Tim. 1: 17; 6:15; Jude 25.
CHRIST CO-EXISTED WITH GOD
Christ also existed throughout all eternity with God: "The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. From everlasting I was established from the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled before the hills. I was brought forth (or born); while He (God) had not 'yet made the earth and the fields, nor the first dust of the world" (Prov. 8:22-26)
In the new testament we also read that, "In the beginning was the Word (Christ) and the Word was with God... He was in the beginning with God" (John 1:1-2). Christ Himself declared, "'Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM'" (8:58) and He prayed to God saying, "and now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was" (John 17:5). In Colossians 1:17, we read that Christ "is before all things... (Col. 1:17) which necessarily imply He was "with the Father" (I John 1:1-2) throughout all eternity past.
Those passages should not be considered to be a contradiction to the fact of God's unity, but rather a complement to the right understanding of who God is or of the nature of the true God. Thus, not only did Christ inhabit all the days of eternity past with God, but we are taught that Christ was God" (John 1:1); " He existed in the form of God" (Phil, 2:6); He existed in the very essence of God. Christ was equal with God (John 5:18: 10:33).
THE HOLY SPIRIT
Not only do the scriptures reveal that God is but one, and that Christ coexisted with God throughout all eternity past - that He is equal with God - that He is God, but they also teach that the Holy Spirit is God. That fact is more particularly seen in Acts 5:3-4 where Peter tells Ananias that by lying to the Holy Spirit, he lied to God. Secondly, in 2 Corinthians 3:18, the Holy Spirit is called "The Lord". Third, Hebrews 9:14 affirms that the Holy Spirit is "The eternal Spirit". Therefore, the Holy Spirit also existed throughout all eternity past with God the Father, and with God the Son.
THREE PERSONS IN THE GODHEAD
God is a trinity in unity. The Godhead consists of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19), yet the three Divine Persons are One: "For there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word (Christ).. and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one" (I John 5:7 in K.J.V., 5:8 in A.S.V.). Each of the Three Divine Persons are equally God, yet, each of the Three make up but One Godhead. "A plurality of persons does not mean that the Godhead is divided, so that the Father is one part of diety, the Son another part, and the Spirit still a third part. 'The Divine nature is the Godhead, simply and absolutely considered; a person is that which subsisteth In the Godhead., as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirits (W, Perkins. 1595), It is the Divine persons in the union of the Divine essence which are to be distinguished, and not the essence itself. Jehovah is to be worshipped as a Unity in Trinity. and a Trinity in Unity: One God is to be acknowledged in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. When scripture is compared with scripture it is plain to be seen that the Divine Unity is not a unity of Persons, but of nature and essence. Though there are three in the Godhead, who are dignified with the incommunicable name of Jehovah, possessing the same attributes and perfections and entitled to the same adoration, yet Holy writ does not exhibit a plurality of deities" (A.W.P.).
Hence, whenever we say "God". or whenever we read in the scriptures "God", we must remember that each of the three persons in the Godhead are implied.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:11). The words "In the beginning" refer to "the beginning" of "time"; the commencement of time. Thus God's creation and time has not always existed.
"In the beginning God": God existed long before the commencement of time. Before His work of creation, He was very, very. very ancient - incomprehensibly ancient. All the numbers of years before He ever created the heavens and the earth are "unsearchable" (Job 36:26), for He had no beginning. Thus God has existed from everlasting, from all eternity past (Isaiah 43:13). "Art Thou not from everlasting 0 Lord, My God, my Holy One?" (Habakkuk 1:12; Psalms 95:2). "Before the mountains were born or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the heavens, even from everlasting ... Thou art God" (Psalms 90:2), Therefore it is most proper to begin with God (not only in this study but in all we do) who is indeed "the beginning," the "first"; the "Alpha" rather than His creation and time.
But let us contemplate His eternity in regard to the future. Just as He had no beginning, so also, He will have no end. Holy Writ teaches that God "lives forever' (Deuteronomy 32:40; Ps. 10:12; Isaiah 57:15; Revelation 4:10). Therefore His eternal years will exceed all generations (Psalms 102:24), for His whole creation will come to an end; they will perish. "All of them will wear out like a garment; like clothing Thou wilt change them" (v.26), but God will continue to abide; His "years will not come to an end" (v.27). Therefore He will live throughout all eternity future. He has always lived and will always live. "I am the first and the last (Isaiah 1:4; Revelation 1:17; 2:8), The beginning and the end" Revelation 21:6; 22:13), " 'The Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is and who was and who is to come" (Revelation 1:8). God is then the "everlasting God," the "eternal God" (Genesis 21:33; Isaiah 40: 28; Romans 16:26; Deuteronomy 33:27). "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen" (Psalms 41:13; I Chronicles 16:36; 29:10; Nehemiah 9:5).
Let us here make further application of God's eternity unto ourselves. First, time cannot measure the years of God's eternity. How foolish then to even speculate on how long God has existed. He had no beginning. Second, since God is an eternal God, He is an everlasting foundation we can trust. How foolish then to trust and worship a god that can't endure the test of eternity! Third, just as God is indeed the "first" - the beginning of all things, so, He should also be preeminent in our affections, Fourth, God is number one, therefore in whatever we do, we must first have recourse to God's will and act upon it rather than conform to the world, rather than yield to our fleshly and corrupt desires and rather than yield to the lies and seductions of Satan. Fifth, Just as God is the "first and the last," the "beginning and the end," the "Alpha and the Omega," so, we should begin our day with God and end it with Him. If we are in school, we must begin each day with prayer and the study and meditating practically upon His word and end it with the same rather than beginning and ending it with our schools lessons. If we are secularly employed, or if we work at home, we should give God first place before we begin our work. And after the day has ended, regardless of how exhausted we may be, we must end it with God.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth": Note carefully those words, "God created the heavens and the earth." God makes Himself known through His creation. It is one of the means by which He makes manifest Himself (see Romans 1:20). Throughout all eternity past, there was nought but perfect invisibility. Not a thing existed that could be beheld. There was no light, no darkness, no heavens, no earth, etc. Nought existed but God. Nothing became visible until God created the objects which are tangible and can be beheld, Therefore, since God existed before He created visible (or invisible) things, He is invisible - "The Invisible God"(Colossians 1:15; Romans 1:20; I Timothy1:17; Hebrew 11:27),whom no man has seen or can see" (I Timothy 6:16; Exodus 33:20), or ever will see, Christ alone has seen God (John 6:46).
Were He then "to pass by me, I would not see Him; were He to move pass me, I would not perceive Him" (Job 9:11). Therefore we should not think that He has any particular "shape" or "form" (Deuteronomy 4:12,15; John 5:36). "We ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man" (Acts 17:29). We ought not "exchange the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and birds and fourfooted animals and crawling creatures" (Romans 1:23). Nor should we make for ourselves "an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth" (Exodus 20:4), "for an image is a teacher of lies; it insinuates to us that God has a body, whereas He is an infinite spirit" (Matthew Henry). Nothing can give us a more clearer understanding of that fact than to view God by the eyes of faith (Heb. 11:1) as He existed before He created visible things. God was invisible yesterday, is invisible today and will be forever.
Other practical conclusions: We must distinguish created invisibilities from the invisibility of God. The former is no part of His nature. For example: The heavens are invisible, yet they are created and limited in size. But God was not created, nor is He limited, but is eternal in magnitude. The wind or air which surrounds the earth is a created invisibility, and can be felt and heard, but that is not so with the invisibility of God. Some gases of the earth are invisible, yet they can be smelled, harmful or combustible, but that is not so with the invisibility of God.
"In the beginning God...": When I say "God's greatness", I am not referring to how infinitely high and exalted He is; but to His "magnitude". God is an infinitely great God. He is as large as eternity (Psalms 48:1; 135:5; 145:3; 147:5). It takes a space (I am speaking in human terms) as huge as eternity to contain Him for "Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee" (I Kings. 8:27). Thus, God's magnitude is immeasurable; incomprehensible. "Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty?" (Job 11:7).
Being infinitely great in magnitude, God has no size at all, nor shape or form. If God had a size, and even if that size passed our own comprehension it would indicate that God nevertheless had a limit to His magnitude, and therefore, He would not be infinitely great. But, the fact is, God is not limited in any respect. Therefore, His magnitude is not limited, He is eternally great.
(1) Since God is eternally great in magnitudes His creation, the world and its inhabitants, in relation to size, are as "nothing" before Him (Isaiah 40:15-17). (2) Since God is great, a thousand years are as one day to Him (Psalms 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8). (3) Since He is infinite in magnitude, all His attributes and ways are incomprehensible. (4) There is no better way to understand the omnipresence of God than by viewing Him as infinite in magnitude (Psalms 139:7-12).
"In the beginning God...": Since it is a fact that throughout all eternity past, nought existed visible or invisible but God, and therefore God existed in perfect solitude, it follows that He also existed in perfect self-sufficiency. Unlike the inhabitants of His creation which must depend upon something or another in order to live, God existed alone, without the aid or means of another. Since nought existed but God, He could not depend on another for life: "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth" (Job 38:4)? Were you present? Was there anything or anyone present? No! Then who or what could God depend on? If God could not depend on another, it follows that He has life in Himself, or He Himself is life (John 1:4;5:26). Therefore God has never and will never be dependent upon another for existence. His creation adds nothing to His being. He needs nothing from another, nor can He receive anything.
But what are a few practical points which we can draw from the fact that God is self-existent? First, that all else that exists must depend upon God for life. God, having life in Himself is the fountain or spring of life to everything and everyone else that exists. God gave life to the plants, to the animals and to each of us. It was He who called us into beings, and It is He who is sustaining our lives. Second, God is the source of all spiritual life. Just as it is He who gives and maintains our physical lives, so it is He who bestows and maintains spiritual life to the soul of His elect.
THE DECREES OF GOD
Sad., sad indeed is the fact that this doctrine is so little known, so little proclaimed and hotly rejected by the vast majority of so-called "preachers," "Bible teachers," "Bible students" and general professors of the Christian "faith". The doctrine of God's eternal decrees is a foundational truth which must not be shelved aside, or regarded as being of little importance, but it must be properly studied,, correctly understood, loudly heralded and practically applied to the lives of God's elect before they begin to build their spiritual houses (I Pet, 2:5) with the other trues. If there is no foundation, or if the existing foundation is faulty, the structure built thereupon must of necessity be the same. It is therefore most important that we understand this truth. We do not deem our self competent or worthy to give even a brief practical presentation of it. Nevertheless, we shall not refrain from an earnest endeavor to do so for God's glory (I Corinthians 10:31).
There was much in the mind of God throughout all eternity past, Since He is as great as eternity in magnitude, it follows that the sum of what was in His mind is incomprehensible! As a result, we are unable to ever begin to fathom the eternally profound depth of His mind and measure the sum of that which He had contained therein, But we may, however, know to a very, very small measure some of the things which were in His mind by noting the various things which He has been pleased to bring to pass since the creation of the heavens and the earth, and by diligently studying that which He has been pleased to reveal to us in His word (mainly prophecy) about His decrees which are yet to come to pass.
From all eternity past, God had an "eternal purpose" (Ephesians 3:11), which He would begin, sustain and end (Romans 11:36) in Jesus Christ. His creating of the heavens and the earth would mark the beginning of the outworking or unfolding of His "eternal purpose." Thus, since the beginning of time, everything which has come to pass and which is presently unfolding in this state of time is only the revealing of God's mind, or that which He, from all eternity past, purposed or decreed to come to pass. Every occurrence, every event good or bad, every incident expected or unforeseen, every circumstance favorable or unfavorable were all decreed by God in eternity past. The history and destiny of things animate or inanimate were all decreed beforehand by God. Everything, whether it is the establishment of a nation, its culture, its language, people, population, its location on the earth, its destruction, were all decreed by God, War, birth,, death, troubles, seasons, weather, etc, to the minutest detail and without exception were infallibly (Isaiah 14:24) determined beforehand by God to come to pass in this state of time. Nothing whatever exists or happens in this scene but that alone which God has decreed to be before the foundation of the world.
God's decrees were innumerable (Job 23:14), evidence of which is clearly seen by the many things which He has brought and is bringing to pass. He brings each individual decree to pass in its own time and by it, accomplishes the purpose or purposes to which He designed (Proverbs 16:4). One of those purposes, we are sure, is to make "manifest one or more of His attributes or perfections" (A.W.P.): "For since the creation of the world (which commenced the outworking of His decrees) His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made" (Romans 1:20). The manifold decrees of God and their outworking manifests the incomprehensible wisdom knowledge etc, of God.
Let us now turn to prove from scripture the fact that everything which comes to pass in this scene is only that which God decreed to come to pass before the foundation of the world. Whether unregenerate religionists and infidels who read this paper bow to the teaching of Holy writ, we have no control over. But if they are never truly made the subjects of Divine grace, they will most definitely see it again on the day of judgment when they stand before the One who, from all eternity past, decreed their eternal destruction.
First, in Luke 22:22, Christ stated, "For indeed, the Son of Man is going (in time) as it has been determined (decreed by God in eternity); but woe to that man through whom He is betrayed." God decreed or purposed from all eternity past that Christ should be betrayed by Judas and delivered up to be crucified. Second, in Acts 2:23, Peter stated that Christ was "delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God," and was to nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men." Christ was in this state of time betrayed and delivered up to "both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, to do whatever Thy hand and Thy purpose predestined (in eternity pass to occur" in this state of time (Acts 4:27-28), which was that He should be put to death. Third, in Acts 17:26, we also read that God made from "one" man (i.e. Adam) "every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth." Note the past tense: "having determined (or decreed in eternity past or before the foundation of the world) their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation." That is, God decreed the nations "limits and boundaries as a people. By customs, laws, inclination and habit he fixed the 'boundaries of their habitation' and disposed them to dwell there" (A,B,). He also decreed each person's place of abode in each nation, our color of skin, the particular city within that nation we live in, our occupation, our place of residence, etc. It therefore behooves us to seek to cultivate the grace of contentment therewith.
Having given sufficient proof that God decreed everything which comes to pass, let us now point out the cause of His decrees. The root cause to God having decreed everything which comes to pass in this scene was none other than His own will and good pleasure. That fact is clearly stated by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:11, where he stated that God "works all things (in this state of time) after the counsel of His willl," See also verse 5. We previously noted in an earlier study, titled, "God's self-existence," that God being thus is also self-sufficient and independent of all else. Therefore all that He is and does is from Himself and not from any outside cause. Thus, when God willed in eternity past that a thing was to be, His will was the root cause - the only cause. Human wills are influenced by outside causes, such as the thoughts of their mind, the affections of their souls situations and circumstances, or by the word of Gods, etc. But such is not so with God. Nothing outside of His will influences His will. As another has amply stated, "God's will is supreme, determining the exercise of all His perfections." Therefore, during eternity past, God first willed that a thing should come to pass, and now His wisdom is in the process of bringing it to past.
Now we ask, to what end did God decree everything which comes to past? That end dear reader could be none other than His own glory. Since God is one and there is no other, all that He does must of necessity be done unto Himself, Since He is "the beginning," everything must of necessity be from Him. He is the first cause to all things. And since He is also "the end," everything must of necessity be to Him. God therefore does everything for His own glory.
"The and or design of every divine decree is God's own glory, for nothing less than this could be worthy of Himself. As God swears by Himself because He can swear by none greater, so because a greater and grander end cannot be proposed than His own glory. God has set up that as the supreme end of all His decrees and works. 'The Lord hath made all things for Himself' (Proverbs 16:4) - for His own glory. As all things are from Him as the first cause, so all things are to Him (Romans 11:36) as the final end" (A.W.P.). Mr. P. W. Grant also stated, "It is perfectly divinely true, that God hath ordained for His own glory whatsoever comes to pass." Thus since God does everything He does unto His own glory, that should be the grand end to all that we do: 'Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do (in accordance to God's will and of which you have the freedom to do) do all to the glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31).
GOD'S DECREES CONCERNING HIS CREATURES
We have proved from scripture that during eternity past, God decreed every single thing which comes to pass in this scene of time! Nothing, whatever, happens but that alone which He ordained to happen before the foundation of the world! Everything was infallibly fixed by Him beforehand! With that indisputable principle of scripture fixed steadily in mind, we are enabled to see that God decreed in eternity past the existence, history and destiny of all rational beings, namely of men and of angels. But more to the point: We are saying that, "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life, and others fore-ordained to everlasting death" (Westminister Confession of Faith).
That is a truth which is not at all likely to be received or accepted by infidels, or by unregenerate religionists, especially those in so-called Bible schools, or by those who erroneously contend for the free will of fallen man, nor by those who appeal to human reasoning and sentimental feelings rather than bow to the clear teaching of Holy Writ. When the unperverted teachings of Scripture are faithfully proclaimed in the ears of a people it is not long before the many professors who are not truly Christ's sheep begin to manifest the enmity of their carnal minds against that teaching and gnash their teeth against those who faithfully proclaim it and humbly bow thereto (Rom, 8:7), (read Luke 4:16-30 and Acts 6:8-7:60).
Therefore, this doctrine "is a separating doctrine. The preaching of the sovereignty of God, as exercised by Him in foreordaining the eternal destiny of each of His creatures serve as an effectual flail to divide the chaff from the wheat. "He that is of God heareth God's words" (John 8:47). Yea, no matter how contrary God's word may be to his ideas. It is one of the marks of the regenerate that they set to their seal that God is true. Nor do they pick and choose, as will religious hypocrites. Once they perceive a truth is clearly taught in the word, even though it be utterly opposed to their own reason and inclinations they humbly bow to it and implicitly receive it. But it is far otherwise with the unregenerate, As the apostle declared, "They are of the world therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them, We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error" (I John 4:5-6), (A.W.P.). No wonder this truth is not proclaimed in the majority of the pulpitst. No wonder it is not proclaimed in so-called "Bible Schools."
THE MAN CHRIST JESUS THE HEAD OF ELECTION
Election had its beginning in the man Christ Jesus. From all eternity past He was first in the mind of Jehovah (Prov. 8:22-26). He was "the firstborn of all creations (Col. 1:15); He was "before all things' (v.17). Thus being preeminent over all, the man Christ Jesus was first in line of all who were to be elected. Jehovah singled out the second person of the Godhead to take The form of creature existence. Since Christ was to take upon human flesh, God was to be His God. Thus we read, "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. 1:3). "Christ as man was predestinated as truly as we were, and so has God to be His God by predestination and free grace. Seconds because the Father made a covenant with Him (Isa. 42:6). In view of the covenant made with them He became known as 'the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob'; so in view of the covenant He made with Christ, He became His 'God'. Third, because God is the Author of all Christ's blessedness (Ps, 45:27)". (A.W.P.).
God decreed that the second person of the blessed Trinity's glory should be elipsed by Him being "made for a little while lower than the angels" (Heb. 2:9), not regarding His equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptying Himself of that glory, taking the form of a bondservant and being made in the likeness of the men of His creation (Phil. 2:6-7). God decreed this to come to pass not by "carnal concupiscence", for original sin is propagated in that way, but He decreed that Christ would take upon human flesh by being supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin (Lk. 1:26-38). After that great miracle had come to pass, Christ would be born, and would tabernacle on earth in human flesh (John 1:14; Rom. 8:3), thereby being both God and man. His "Godhead and the manhood" would be "two whole, perfect, and distinct natures ... inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition,, or confusion" (Col. 2:9; Rom. 9:5)s (Westminister Confession of Faith).
God decreed that Christ, having His divine nature united to His human nature. should thus possess the Spirit "without measure" (John 3:34; Lk. 4:18,19,21) and would therefore be holy, undefiled, withoutblame. As a result, He would perfectly fulfill the holy requirements of Gods law which He would be born under (Gal. 4:4). Second, God decreed that during His humanity, He should execute the office of 'Mediator between God and the elect portion of the human race. He was to be the true ladder whereby God might descend to them and make Himself knowns and they ascend to Him. Third, being in a wicked world God had decreed that His whole life should be a course of shame and suffering both in soul and body. He was to be betrayed by one of His apostles and be delivered up to wicked hands to be crucified on a cross. Thereby, He would fully satisfy the justice of God (Rom. 5:19; Heb.9:14). He would thereby restore the elect portion of the human race from the fall, purchase for them reconciliation and eternal inheritance in the kingdom of glory (Eph. 1:11). Thus Christ was "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8). Fourth, God decreed that after His death, He should be buried, but His body was not to undergo decay (Acts 2:24, 27), but it was to be raised up again on the third day (I Cor. 15:4), Fifth, after the resurrection of His body from the dead, He was to remain on earth for forty days and be seen of many witnesses (Acts 10:41). Sixth, after those forty days, God had decreed that Christ should ascend back to heaven with His resurrected body and sit at the right hand of God (Lk. 24:50,51; Acts 1:9; 2:33-36), making intercession for His elect (Rom. 8:34). Seventh, God decreed that Christ should return to earth "to judge men and angels, at the end of the world" (acts 10:42; Matt.13:40-42; 16:27 25:31-33; II Tim. 4:1).
Thus, Christ "was foreknown (by God) before thefoundation of the world" (I Pet. 1:20). He "came forth of the womb of a decree from eternity, before He came out of the womb of the virgin in time; He was hid in the will of God before He was made manifest in the flesh of a Redeemer; He was a Lamb slain in decree before He was slain upon the cross; He was possessed by God in the beginning, or the beginning of His way, the Head of His works, and set up from everlasting to have His delights among the sons of men" (S. Charnock). "The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. From everlasting I was established from the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water, Before the mountains were settled, before the hills I was brought forth; while He had not yet made the earth and the fields, nor the first dust of the world" (Proverbs 8:22-26).