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And the earth was without form, and void (Gen. 1:2a).

In the first three days of the creation week, God gave form to the world that He had made on the very first day.

On the fourth day of the creation week, the Lord began to fill the earth. Here is a summary of these final three days of creation:

  • Day 4—the creation of sun, moon and stars for signs, seasons, days and years (filling the form of light and darkness from the first day) (cf. Gen. 1:14-19)
  • Day 5—the creation of fish and fowl (filling the form of that which is “below” and “above” from the second day; Gen. 1:7, NASB) (cf. Gen. 1:20-23)
  • Day 6—the creation of animal life and man (filling the form of “dry land” from the third day with “vegetation;” Gen. 1:9, 12, NASB) (cf. Gen. 1:24-31)

The Dispensational Principle of Carryover
As we examine this dispensation, we must answer the question of which elements that were present during this age of innocence continue on until the next dispensation. That is to say, what is fundamentally, or by revelation, true for all time? These would be concepts that cannot change or about which God has revealed to us that there has been no change.

I call this the carryover principle of dispensational theology. As we look at the content of a dispensation, we always have to ask what aspects of it carry over to the next dispensation—or to our own age of grace.

Looking at this dispensation of innocence to find points that continue on into the future, we see that the role of the sun, moon and stars as “signs” (Gen. 1:14) is one such thing that carries over past this dispensation. These heavenly bodies are still communicating with us in accord with the following two passages of Scripture. First this word from David:

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof (Psalm 19:1-6).

Consider also these words of the Lord Jesus:

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars (Luke 21:25a).

DPH-logoThe sun, moon and stars were created at the beginning of history in order to give signs. They continue to fulfill that purpose today and they will still be doing so at the end of history. In fact, these signs which the sun, moon and stars alone display to us are enough to render mankind to be “without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).

The Apostle Paul speaks of this also in Romans 10:18:

But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

This is a quotation of Psalm 19:4, which refers to the message that is shown forth in the heavens. Thus, I am convinced that one of the things that carries over from the first dispensation down to our time is that if you will study the amazing creation of God in the stars, you will find incredible amounts of information—and points of Biblical significance that were widely understood in the ancient world. Astrology is sinful, but Biblical astronomy is very intriguing. That is a study for another time, but the fact remains that the stars display for lost mankind the truth of an infinite Creator God.

Another major principle of carryover from this dispensation of innocence is man’s “dominion” over the created order (Gen. 1:26, 28). This dominion has never been taken away. This means, however, that even in the Garden of Eden man had work to do. We are created for work, which was instituted before there was any sin in the world (Gen. 2:15).

The fact that human beings were created as “male and female” and “in the image of God” (Gen. 1:27) is another aspect of truth that carries over from the age of innocence. Notice that there is nothing in between the genders of male and female, nor any ability for one gender to transfer and become the other. Also, human life is special and more valuable than any other kind of life that God created. We are to care for all life in general—but always for human life in the greatest way because no other creature is made in God’s image. Man, in fact, has dominion over all other forms of life.

This passage also teaches us about the importance and priority of marriage, which takes precedence over all other human relationships (Gen. 2:24). Marriage is, in fact, the foundational element of society.

A number of things, by contrast, have changed since the age of innocence and do not carry over from this first dispensation down to our world today. We will begin by examining those in our next installment in this series.

Editor’s Note: This blog article is taken from the following sermon, which you can watch in its entirety here:

(Read Part 11)

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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the King James Version.

Scripture quotations marked NASB are taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
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