In Genesis, we see how God sets the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens to dictate the seasons. In Mark 4:37-41, we find Christ and His disciples in a ship as a storm gathers. The ship filled with water and began to sink while Christ was asleep. The disciples woke Him and He immediately rebuked the storm, which ceased instantly.
Why was this story important? Why did the writers of the Gospels of Mark and Luke put the accounts of this incidence into their narrative? The power over the forces that drive the climate and seasons is part of the restoration process that is demonstrated in this story. God’s work is not determined by the weather. Rather the weather is subject to the work of God. We are admonished to be constant in our faith and service, regardless of the season (2 Timothy 4:2). Comfortable for us or not, the ministry of the New Covenant must continue. When it is no longer fashionable, we must still hold on to our faith.
The story of five loaves and two fishes used to feed thousands (Matthew 14:19- 21) has been retold time and time again. Just as God makes food available to the earth, the loaves and fishes were made available to feed thousands in a miraculous way. Christ, through this miracle, demonstrated His power to provide food for the earth and its people. Note also that the Bible was careful to mention that there were basketfuls of food remnants left over from the five loafs and two fishes. They became self replicating, “producing fruit after its kind,” just like the herbs and trees in Genesis 1.
Another startling miracle is the fact that the records show that Christ raised both a male (Lazarus in John 11:41-44) and a female (damsel in Mark 5:41-42) from the dead. Compare that with Genesis 1:27: “Male and female created he them” (from dust/ground).
These passages are near duplicates of each other. Every Genesis event associated with the creation story has a parallel event in the New Testament.
Are all these just coincidences, or did the early apostles and disciples knowingly document these particular stories to make a specific point? After all, there were many other miracles and events that were not individually identified according to John 21:25. Were these miracles specifically selected because of their similarity to the Genesis 1 event? If Christ’s ministry was so identical to the Genesis 1 account, and His ministry in the New Testament was not to create but to restore, doesn’t that suggest that Genesis 1:2- 31 was also a restoration story? Does it not suggest that creation actually began and ended in Genesis 1:1?
Let us consider one final example mentioned in Mark 16.
The Commission Renewed
We have seen the first commission in Genesis 1, and we see it renewed in Genesis 9:1-6 during the restoration (not creation) that followed the flood. Noah’s restoration was almost identical to Genesis 1, except that heaven was unaffected and did not need renovations and, this time, God saved a copy of all the beasts. Now God commands Noah to be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth. He went on further to say all the beasts would fear him and that they were now delivered into his hands. Man would have dominion over them and would eat them. Please take note that God gave animals to man as food, so do not let anyone bring you under the yoke of guilt for not being a vegan. Once again, we see God talk about man’s commission on earth concluding it with a guarantee of provisions. The commission to multiply and replenish the earth does not end in the Old Testament, but runs through the New Testament.
After the crucifixion, when the sins of the world were nailed to the Cross, Christ’s last words to His disciples, before ascending into heaven, is what we often call the Great Commission.
Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. – Mark 16:14-19
First, Christ chastises the disciples for their unbelief and lack of faith (faith is a fruit of the Spirit, according to Galatians 6:22). After chiding them for not bearing fruit, He proceeds to send them out to preach, thereby multiplying in numbers. In verse 17, He emphasizes certain signs that shall follow them that believe. In other words, those who have faith and have borne fruit will be able to do the things He speaks of.
So now we see the commission to be fruitful and to multiply repeated in the New Testament. Note that He sent them not just to the house of Israel as at previous times (Matthew 10:1-6), but to the whole world (earth as in Genesis 1:28). Again, we realize that by multiplying the believers would replace the polytheistic pagan worship of the Romans with the worship of the one true God throughout the entire empire, an empire that spanned over a quarter of the earth’s surface. By so doing, they were replenishing the earth with knowledge of God and of righteous living.
Christ goes on to say that as fruitful Christians go out and multiply by preaching, certain signs would follow them. They would cast out devils, speak with new tongues, heal the sick, and nothing would harm them, even if they drank poison. Another way of stating these signs would be that the faithful would have dominion over the physical and spiritual worlds; they would subdue the earth. They would have dominion over the creatures of the earth and even serpents would be unable to harm them as the Apostle Paul later confirmed (James 3:7 and Acts 28:3-6).
Is it not exciting that God gave the same sequence of commands at the two most prominent moments in man’s history? The very first and the very last words God verbally spoke to man are the same exact commission. He is truly the Alpha and the Omega, our Beginning and our End, the First and Last [Word] (Revelation 22:13). God never changed His plans for us. He always knew how things would start and end. He sees the end right from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10) and knows where we started from by looking at our end. Such is the wisdom and majesty of our king. His counsel will always stand, regardless of how we try to manipulate events.
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Back to the beginning of our Genesis 1 restoration series.