Genesis 1 - The Creation

November 27, 2020

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Summary of Events:

1. God creates the heaven and the earth.

2. While the earth is without form, the Spirit of God moves over the face of the waters.

3. God creates light, the firmament, the seas, the plants, the sea creatures and birds, the land animals, and man in six days.

What does this passage teach us?

Verse 1. The Bible gives us a worldview perspective concerning all of reality, truth, and ethics. From the very first verse in the Bible, we know right away what to believe about reality. What is real? God is real. He was the very first reality. Before anything else came into existence, God was there. Immediately, this raises a strong contradiction to the theory of reality taught by “secular” schools today: that God is not a factor in science and history. By summarily ignoring Him, they demonstrate their rejection of God as the first and most important reality. Christians, on the other hand, consider God as the first reality, because that is what they read in the very first verse of the Bible.

At the beginning, there was no space, no time, and no material creation—no sun, moon, and stars. There was nothing but God. Then, God made the universe and filled it with three-dimensional space and raw material. This raw material was ready for what God would do with it in the next few days. God was the One who created the raw materials at the beginning. We know that man makes his houses out of wood and nails, but it is God who made the trees that men form into lumber, and the iron ore from which nails are made.

As human beings set out to learn about their reality, they see this material world and enquire about its origins. But enquire no further! The first verse of the Bible answers this question. God is the source of all things. Look around you. God made all that is material—all that can be seen, felt, smelled, heard, and tasted. He made all things in heaven and in earth, that which is material and immaterial, including angels, human minds and souls, gravity, electrical forces, and magnetism.

Verse 2. After creating the universe by laying out space and matter, we are told that everything was still without form. These raw materials had yet to be shaped into the sun, moon, trees, animals, and man. Apparently, the material creation at this point existed in a liquid mass, described in verse two as water.

Another personality is introduced to us in the second verse. The Holy Spirit moved over the face of the liquid mass. Immediately, we discover that God Who is One consists of multiple Persons. The word “Persons” is a word we can all understand. Persons are those who relate to each other and speak to each other. It is impossible to miss this element of the Godhead in Scripture from the very first chapter to the last. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit relate to each other as distinct Persons. Thus, the mystery of the Christian Trinity appears at the very beginning of divine revelation! In John 1:1-4, the Son of God appears in the Creation story as well. John writes, “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” Putting this data together, we conclude that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all present at the Creation.

Verses 3–25. Beginning in verse three, Moses describes the formation of our world in detail. God began with the creation of light and time on the first day, and then proceeded with the rest of creation over a six day interval. On each day, God did something else to form this mass into a universe appropriate for His highest creation—man. Here is a simple summary of those six days.

            Day 1 – Light

            Day 2 – Separation of Firmament of Waters Below and Above

            Day 3 – Seas, Dry Land, and Plants

            Day 4 – Sun, Moon, and Stars

            Day 5 – Birds and Fish

            Day 6 – Animals and Man

On Day One, God created light. We do not know precisely the source of this light, but we do know that light is a product of chemical reactions like fire, and it is produced by the excitation of electrons in the atom. Prior to the creation of light, the material mass must have been static or without the excitation of these electrons. After the fourth day, the sun became the major light source, but with the first day came the motion of electrons, producing light.

Immediately, God decreed a light period and a dark period of the day. Remember, God was primarily creating this world of time and space for man. Before creating man, capable of work and sleep, He made a day for man to work and sleep in, dividing a period of light from a period of darkness. We recognize these periods to be about twelve hours in length. God called them “day” and “night.” To this day, most people refer to them as “day” and “night” as well. While there is some debate among Christians today over the length of the Creation days, the most natural interpretation is a standard twenty-four-hour day. The day was made for man, even as the Sabbath was made for man. In any given 24-hour day, we work during a light period of the day, and we sleep during the dark period. God called these periods “evening” and “morning” on the first day of creation, and that is what we call them today! Also, Exodus 20:18 compares our week of seven twenty-four hour days to God’s week of Creation, and it would be hard to maintain this comparison without equivocating on the word “day” in that passage.

On Day Two, God put a firmament of water in the atmosphere above the earth, and also left some water on the face of the earth. At this point, water covered the whole earth.

Then, on Day Three, God established the dry land and the ocean(s). This prepared the earth for plants and trees, which He also created on the third day. Some have wondered how these plants and trees could have survived a day without the benefit of the sun, which was created on the next day. Of course, they could have survived a full twenty-four-hour period without a problem, just as plants survive throughout the night without the benefit of the sun. But God could have also provided an ulterior light source for the initial days of Creation.

On Day Four, God put the sun, moon, and stars above the earth, and by His wise, creative power assured that the light from these far-off bodies was visible on the earth, as He prepared the world for His highest creation—man.

On Day Five, He created the birds and the fish, and then on Day Six, He made the rest of the animals. If we reflect that God created sea and air animals inside of a 24-hour period, we must realize that this does not leave room for an evolutionary mechanism. According to humanist evolutionary theories, birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs, which are land animals. But from the biblical record we understand that these dinosaurs did not exist until after the creation of birds and fish, so it is not possible for birds to have evolved from land dinosaurs. While many Christians have worked hard to synthesize Genesis 1 with these evolutionary theories, their efforts have proven futile and even harmful, since they create doubt concerning the veracity and historicity of Scripture.

Verses 26–31. In these final verses, mention is made of the creation of man. Unlike the animals, man is a special creature of God, created in the image of God. This does not mean that a human is exactly like God, but that there are striking similarities. For example, we are created such that we may have a special relationship with God. As God’s creatures, and as those adopted back into His family, we are accounted as children of our heavenly Father. Goldfish, dogs, and cats do not enjoy this kind of relationship.

Another reference to the Trinity is found in verse 26: “Let us make man in Our image.” Curious clues such as these pull the curtain back a little from this mysterious doctrine that touches on the nature of God the Creator. If it is true that God is One (as He is presented in Scripture), then this use of the first-person, plural pronoun must be a reference to the three Persons of the Godhead.

From this very first chapter in the Bible, we learn the basics of a biblical worldview. As the Creator of all things, God is the source of reality. But He is more than that. In these last few verses, we learn that God is also the source of ethics and law. Immediately after creating man, God initiates an ethical mandate (verses 28-29). When God tells man to do something, He makes an ethical mandate. If God is God indeed, then He must be absolutely authoritative in the area of morality and ethics. To this day, these first commands are binding on mankind. He still wants us to bear children and subdue the earth. Many unbelievers are concerned that the earth is over-crowded, and that God did not make the world large enough to accommodate His command. This manifests a lack of faith in God’s wisdom, creativity, and power. Because God commanded it, we have to believe that God made an earth large enough to handle a good number of people and to produce sufficient crops and animals to sustain these people. It is our job to populate the earth by the womb, and to rule over the earth by making good use of the animals, plants, and minerals that God has created. This includes the right ordering of self government, family government, church government, and civil government according to God’s laws.

Upon providing these primitive orders for man, God assigned a diet of vegetables to sustain him. Both man and animal were created to be vegetarians. So man was not to eat of the animal kingdom before the fall, for there was no death before the fall.

How does this passage teach us to walk with God in faith and obedience?

1. Each time God created something, He called the creation “good.” This is another basic lesson in “ethics” from biblical revelation. If God says that giraffes, maple trees, and oceans are good, then we must agree, because God is the highest authority on what is good and what is evil. It may not come naturally for us to discern what is good and to enjoy it as God’s good gift. But we must learn to think God’s thoughts after Him, and enjoy the things He enjoys for the same reasons that He enjoys them. How much do we enjoy God’s creation?

2. If God created us, then it is natural that we should obey Him. In fact, it would be ridiculous to rebel against Him! Let us always keep in mind that God is our Creator. This will help us to listen to His Word, believe what He says, and obey Him.

3. We have a responsibility to take care of this world. We do this in different ways. We take care of our bodies by eating good food, or by taking good vitamins and medicine when we need it. We take care of our souls by participating in church and family worship. We take care of the property and the animals God gives us. We also protect property and people from robbers and murderers who destroy. Property is protected when good and righteous civil governments enforce good laws—those laws defined by God Himself.

If we are to be good stewards of God’s creation, let’s be careful not to waste these resources. Before man fell into sin, God expected men to work and take dominion of the earth. This is no less important today. By faith, we continue to follow God’s creation mandate, and we teach our children to do work for the Lord in their generation. We also manage our herds and flocks, such that these animals procreate and produce more food for the years ahead.

Questions: 

1. What is the theme of Chapter 1?

2. What did God create on each of the six days?

3. Why did God create a day?

4. What did God say (towards the end of the chapter) that provides a hint of the doctrine of the Trinity?

5. How did God create man different from the animals?

6. What were the two ethical directives God gave man at the beginning?

7. What did the first men and animals eat?

Family Discussion Questions:

1. What are some of the ways our family engages the dominion mandate? Does our family have a vision for multiplying and filling the earth?

2. When we look at the world around us or when we look at our pets, do we think about the Creator who brought this all about? What does the Creation say about God?