CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE
The first verse of the Bible gives us a satisfying and useful account of the origin of the earth and the heavens. The faith of humble Christians understands this better than the fancy of the most learned men.
From what we see of heaven and earth, we learn the power of the great Creator. And let our make and place as men, remind us of our duty as Christians, always to keep heaven in our eyes, and the earth under our feet.
The Son of God, one with the Father, was with Him when he made the world; Although, we are often told that the world was made by Him, and nothing was made without Him.
Oh, what high thoughts should there be in our minds, of that great God whom we worship, and of that great Mediator in whose name we pray! And here, at the beginning of the sacred volume, we read of that Divine Spirit, whose work upon the heart of man is so often mentioned in other parts of the Bible.
Observe, that at first there was nothing desirable to be seen, for the world was without form, and void; it was confusion, and emptiness.
In like manner the work of grace in the soul is a new creation: and in a graceless soul, one that is not born again, there is disorder, confusion, and every evil work: it is empty of all good, for it is without God; it is dark, it is darkness itself: this is our condition by nature, till Almighty grace works a change in us.
This is one of the most profound statements that has ever been made, and yet we find that it is a statement that is certainly challenged in this hour in which we are living. I think that this verse is all we have of the actual creation—with the exception, as we shall see, of the creation of man and animals later on in the Book of Genesis.
But this is the creation story, and I’ll admit that it is a very brief story, indeed.
Genesis 1:1-8 KJV
 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.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
- The Bible begins with God, not with philosophic arguments for His existence.
- Neither the peoples of the ancient world in general nor the Scriptures in particular assert innumerable beginnings. Only one beginning is in view, and it is that which commences in the first verse of the Bible. The concept of the beginning is not limited to a singular point of time, but rather includes the span of events that are described through Genesis 2:4.
- Scripture gives no data for determining how long ago the universe was created.
- The Hebrew word translated God is actually plural in form. Some well-meaning believers, knowing that Scripture clearly teaches there is only one true God (Isaiah 46:9; etc.), assert that this plural form demonstrates that God is a trinity. Unbelievers claim that this plural form indicates that the Old Testament teaches the existence of many gods.
- Neither view is necessarily supported by this plural form, for two reasons. First, though a plural noun in Hebrew may indicate “more than one,” a noun may be plural to signify honor; this is similar to the royal “we” spoken by a king or queen. Second, the Hebrew behind the verb created is singular, indicating only one subject. The best explanation is that God is viewed as a single essence who is honored above all other beings.
- This expression is roughly equivalent to our term universe. In Hebrew, two words with opposite senses are often paired to indicate a totality. For example, “great and small” in 2 Chronicles 34:30 means all kinds of people.
- Therefore Genesis 1:1 is expressing quite clearly that all we call “matter” today is not coeternal with God. Rather, God brought it into existence.
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.
- Two main interpretations have been advanced to explain the expression “without form, and void” (Hebrew tohu and bohu).
- The first, which may be called the Original Chaos interpretation, regards these words as a description of an original formless matter in the first stage of the creation of the universe.
- The second, which may be called the Divine judgment interpretation, sees in these words a description of the earth only, and that In a condition subsequent to its creation, not as it was originally (see Isa. 45:18, note; compare also notes at Isa. 14:12; Ezek. 28:12).
- To begin with, look out upon this vast creation—something has happened to it!
- Man’s trip to the moon reveals nothing in the world but a wasteland up there.
- How did it get that way?
- Maybe there was a catastrophe in God’s universe.
- That is specifically mentioned in regard to the earth because this is to be the place where man lives, and so the earth is described as being “without form and void.”
- “Darkness was upon the face of the deep” indicates the absence of God, of course.
- We move to the description of the situation after the creation of matter in verse 1. The exact phrase (in the original Hebrew) of earth’s description without form, and void also occurs in Jeremiah 4:23. There it describes the moral chaos of a chosen people who do not know the Lord, who do not know how to do good, and who are wise only in knowing how to do evil. The phrase seems to describe a situation that is without moral boundaries. In parallel, Genesis 1:2 implies that physical boundaries are not yet fully defined (compare 1:4).
- Here, the word darkness communicates the absence of light in a physical sense. Later writers and Jesus himself will use this word to communicate the absence of light in a moral sense (Isaiah 9:2; 50:10; Matthew 4:16; John 1:5; 12:46; etc.). It also comes to be used in contexts that call for the punitive acts of God (Amos 5:20; Zephaniah 1:15).
- Regarding Genesis 1, the literal, physical sense is clear. But as we read the Old Testament in light of the New Testament, our understanding of figurative uses of the word darkness is enhanced.
- The word translated Spirit is elsewhere translated “breath” (Genesis 6:17), “wind” (8:1), “spirit” (45:27), “courage” (Joshua 2:11), and others. Regarding a choice between translations of Spirit or spirit, the translators were faced with a difficulty in that the Hebrew language does not distinguish between uppercase and lowercase letters. So translators must interpret the meaning, and they capitalize when the reference is to God personally as divine being.
- As a result, the phrases Spirit of God and spirit of God occur 10 and 4 times respectively in the King James Version of the Old Testament. Many Christians think the phrase Spirit of God always refers to the Holy Spirit. But passages where the identical Hebrew is properly not translated that way are 1 Samuel 16:15, 16, 23; 18:10.
- The phrase Spirit of God in the passage before us refers to the same one known as “the Spirit of the Lord.” This Spirit can be present (Judges 11:29), take action (13:25), speak messages (2 Samuel 23:2), and depart (1 Samuel 16:14). These are the qualities of a personal being, not an impersonal force.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE EARTH
We have seen the construction of the universe in verse 1, the convulsion of the earth in verse 2, and now we come to the construction of the earth in six days (vv. 3–31). I believe what we have here is this development.
There are several things here that I would like to call to your attention. In Exodus 20:11, it reads “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is. . . .” There is nothing in that verse about creating.
It says “made”; God is taking that which is already formed and in these six days He is not “creating” but He is recreating. He is working with matter which already exists, out of the matter which He had called into existence probably billions of years before.
God created life and put it on the earth, and for the earth He created man. That is the creature we are interested in because you and I happen to be one of those creatures. This makes the Genesis record intensely important for us today.
God said, Let there be light; He willed it, and at once there was light. Oh, the power of the word of God! And in the new creation, the first thing that is wrought in the soul is light: the blessed Spirit works upon the will and affections by enlightening the understanding.
Those who by sin were darkness, by grace become light in the Lord. Darkness would have been always upon fallen man, if the Son of God had not come and given us understanding. The light which God willed, He approved of.
God divided the light from the darkness; for what fellowship has light with darkness?
In heaven there is perfect light, and no darkness at all; in hell, utter darkness, and no gleam of light.
The day and the night are the Lord’s; let us use both to His honor, by working for Him every day, and resting in Him every night, meditating in His law both day and night.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
- Neither here nor in vv. 14-18 is an original creative act implied. A different word is used. The sense is made to appear, made visible.
- The sun and moon were created “in the beginning.” The light came from the sun, of course, but the vapor diffused the light. Later the sun appeared in an unclouded sky.
- Creation begins! The phrase And God said occurs at the beginning of each day of creation, and here it serves to separate Genesis 1:3 and following from 1:1, 2. Let there be is a command or desire for something to take place. Presumably those hearing this command are the inhabitants of Heaven, the abode of God.
- The first thing created is light. Since the sun, moon, and stars are not created until the fourth day, some think that the light referred to here may be what scientists call energy. Perhaps this light-as-energy, if that is what it is, is a new creation out of nothing. Or perhaps matter that God previously created is now turned into energy, a concept absent from the ancient mind. Addressing such an issue is not the aim of the book of Genesis. The stress, rather, is that light stands in positive contrast to darkness (next verse).
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
- God acts in and on His creation, and His light pushes back the darkness. The word good describes the value of the light. It may also include the excellence of figurative ideas associated with light.
- The Scripture may be using the acts of creation to teach a spiritual lesson in addition to the material events of creation. If that’s the case, then the lesson is that there is a difference between good and evil just as clearly as there is a difference between physical light and darkness.
- Foolish, sinful humans will later blur those distinctions. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
- From the perspective of the ancient world, naming brings things into existence; unnamed things do not exist. Modern, scientific ideas about the nature of light are not in view.
- Just as darkness is merely the absence of light, and light is the creation of God, so also Day and Night are portrayed as impersonal creations rather than as rival gods or the forces used by other gods. In naming light and darkness, God exercises His authority and power as Creator.
- The meaning of day has been interpreted in various ways to calculate the age of the earth. The word day in some contexts refers to the part of a 24-hour period that has light (Exodus 13:21).
- In other contexts it refers to entire 24-hour periods of time (Genesis 7:10). In still other contexts, day refers to a longer period of time (Genesis 2:4).
- The proposal that the phrase the evening and the morning naturally suggests a 24-hour day is met with the observation that the sun—the rising and setting of which establish evening and morning—is not created until the fourth day.
- One commentator has identified 20 creation accounts in the Bible. In so doing, he notes that the main emphasis across these is “the who” of creation—namely God. Secondarily, the Bible writers address “the how” of creation. Of least importance to them is “the when.” The goal of the authors is not to
- describe the age of the earth, but rather to describe the orderliness of creation and the lordship of the Creator over all that exists.
The word “day” is used in Scripture in four ways:
(1) that part of the solar day of twenty-four hours which is light (Gen. 125,14; In. 11:9);
(2) a period of twenty-four hours (Mt. 17:1; Lk. 24:21);
(3) a time set apart for some distinctive purpose, as ”day of atonement” (Lev. 23:27); and
(4) a longer period of time, during which certain revealed purposes of God are to be accomplished.
The use of “evening” and ”morning” may be held to limit “day” to the solar day; but the frequent parabolic use of natural phenomena may warrant the conclusion that it simply means that each creative day was a period of time marked off by a beginning and ending. In any event the sun did not become a measure of time be fore the fourth day, as seen in vv. 14-18.
THE CONCEPT OF TIME
The Natural Day was from sunrise to sunset.
The Natural Night was from sunset to sunrise.
The Civil Day was, at least in later times in Israel, from sunset one evening to sunset the next: for ”the evening and the morning were the first day.”
First watch (Lam. 2:19) until about midnight.
Middle watch (Jud. 7:19) including midnight (Ex. 11:4) until 3 A.M.
Morning watch (Ex. 14:24) until 6 A.M.
Night (New Testament)
First watch, evening = 6 to 9 P.M.
Second watch, midnight = 9 to 12 P.M.
Third watch, cock-crow = 12 to 3 A.M.
Fourth watch, morning = 3 to 6 A.M.
Morning: until about 10 A.M.
Heat of the day: until about 2 P.M.
Day’s decline: until about 6 P.M.
Evening or cool of the day: after 6 P.M.
Day (New Testament)
Third hour = 6 to 9 A.M.
Sixth hour = 9 to 12 midday
Ninth hour = 12 to 3 P.M.
Twelfth hour = 3 to 6 P.
DAY TWO—AIR SPACES
The earth was emptiness, but by a word spoken, it became full of God’s riches, and His they are still. Though the use of them is allowed to man, they are from God, and to His service and honor they must be used.
The earth, at His command, brings forth grass, herbs, and fruits. God must have the glory of all the benefit we receive from the produce of the earth.
If we have, through grace, an interest in Him who is the Fountain, we may rejoice in Him when the streams of temporal mercies are dried up.
What does that mean?
Well, God first divided the waters perpendicularly.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
- “God said, Let there be a firmament”—the Hebrew word for firmament is raqia, meaning air spaces. “Let it divide the waters from the waters.”
- There is water above us and water beneath us.
- The word firmament refers to the bowl-like dome, an expanse – a beating out as a plate of metal: a name given to the atmosphere from its appearing to an observer to be the vault of heaven, supporting the weight of the watery clouds.
- By the creation of an atmosphere, the lighter parts of the waters which overspread the earth‘s surface were drawn up and suspended in the visible heavens, while the larger and heavier mass remained below.
- The air was thus “in the midst of the waters,” that is, separated them; and this being the apparent use of it, is the only one mentioned, although the atmosphere serves other uses, as a medium of life and light.
- Of particular interest here is the firmament’s function as a boundary to 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.
Those waters which were under the firmament are all the bodies of water on the earth and below the earth (rivers, lakes, oceans, aquifers). The waters which were above the firmament refer to the clouds from which rain falls.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
The word translated Heaven can be used for the air where the birds fly (Genesis 1:20); the location of sun, moon, and stars (Deuteronomy 4:19); or the abode of God and other heavenly beings (1 Kings 22:19; compare 2 Corinthians 12:2). In any case, again God asserts His authority by naming.
- Paul Kissling notes that this serves to oppose the ancient Near East belief that creation of the firmament is a battle between warring gods. Instead, the Bible depicts the unique Creator God calmly forming everything as He alone wills.
- “God called the firmament Heaven.” This is not heaven as you and I think of it.
- Actually, there are three heavens that are mentioned in Scripture.
- The Lord Jesus spoke of the birds of heaven, and I think that is the heaven mentioned in this verse.
- Then there are the stars of heaven, meaning the second heaven, and there is the third heaven where God dwells.
- So the first layer up there, the first deck, is the deck where the clouds are and where the birds fly.
DAY THREE—DRY LAND AND PLANT LIFE
The world was to be rendered Consisting or formed of land and water, and this was effected by a volcanic convulsion on its surface, the upheaving of some parts, the sinking of others, and the formation of vast hollows, into which the waters quickly rushed, as is graphically described (Psalm 104:6-9).
Thus a large part of the earth was left “dry land,” and thus were formed oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers which, though each having its own bed, or channel, are all connected with the sea.
Genesis 1:9-13 KJV
 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.
 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
 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.
 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.
 And the evening and the morning were the third 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.
- The gathering of the waters . . . unto one place refers to the seas on the surface of the earth. The result is that land-forms appear. Again, the account does not say how, or how quickly, God does this. It simply happens at His command.
- Now there is a horizontal division made of the waters.
- First the waters above were separated from the waters beneath.
- Now the water is separated from the land, from the earth.
- May I say to you, there is nothing unscientific about this.
- They tell us that every spot on topside of this earth on which we live today was covered with water at one time.
- That was evidently a judgment that had come upon the earth way back sometime in the distant eternity of the past, and we know practically nothing about it.
- Anything we say is speculation. God has really told us very little here. But He has told us enough so that we can believe Him, that’s all.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas: and God saw that it was good.
- One of the deities of the ancient world was Yam, a name equivalent to the Hebrew word for seas.
- The verse before us stands in sharp contrast with such a myth as it credits the one, true God as Creator of the seas.
- The seas are simply inanimate water, neither sentient nor divine.
- “God called the dry land Earth.” What is He getting ready to do?
- Well, it looks like He is getting ready to make a place where He can put man, a place that is habitable.
- Man is not a water creature, even though there are evolutionists who think we came from the sea and from seaweed, as we mentioned, and others who think we came out of a slop bucket!
- How absurd can they possibly be?
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.
- Various kinds of plant life appear.
- This continues the preparation of the earth for human habitation, for now there is renewable sustenance of the earth necessary for survival of humans and animals.
- Now God is putting plant life here because man, until the Flood, was a vegetarian. Man will eat nothing but fruit and nuts.
- The bare soil was clothed with lush green vegetation, and it is noticeable that the trees, plants, and grasses – the three great divisions of the vegetable kingdom here mentioned – were not called into existence in the same way as the light and the air.
- They were made to grow, and they grew as they do still out of the ground – not, however, by the slow process of vegetation, but through the divine power, without rain, dew, or any process of labor – sprouting up and flourishing in a single day.
- The forming of the plant life completed the third day.
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.
- The phrase after his kind is important and remarkable in indicating that watermelon seeds result in watermelons, etc. If we pause to consider the consistency of this, it is remarkable yet today.
And God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.
- The account of the third day concludes with a refrain found throughout the first chapter of Genesis: God approves of what He has created.
DAY FOUR—SUN, MOON, STARS APPEAR
God didn’t create the sun and the moon at this time. They were already up there. God just brought them around into position.
The atmosphere being completely purified, the sun, moon, and stars were for the first time unveiled in all their glory in the cloudless sky; and they are described as “in the firmament” which to the eye they appear to be, though we know they are really at vast distances from it.
In the fourth day’s work, the creation of the sun, moon, and stars is accounted for. All these are the works of God.
The stars are spoken of as they appear to our eyes, without telling their number, nature, place, size, or motions; for the Scriptures were written, not to gratify curiosity, or make us astronomers, but to lead us to God, and make us saints.
The lights of heaven are made to serve Him; they do it faithfully, and shine in their season without fail.
We are set as lights in this world to serve God; but do we in like manner answer the end of our creation?
We do not: our light does not shine before God, as His lights shine before us. We burn our Master’s candles, but do not mind our Master’s work.
Genesis 1:14-19 KJV
 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:
 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
 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.
 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
 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.
 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
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:
- As with the other days of creation, this one, the fourth, begins with God speaking. Having created “light” (singular) on the first day, God now creates lights.
- These are physical objects that serve specific purposes.
- For them to divide the day from the night speaks to the need for cyclical illumination of the earth.
- This illumination goes hand in hand with the lights’ being signs: things that attest to divine power at work.
- The idea is to give credit to God for His active role in the world.
- This is the word used to state the significance of the rainbow, given as a sign in the sky that God will not again destroy the earth by a flood.
- While there might be the occasional extraordinary sign, the ordered nature of earthly cycles is a daily reminder of God’s provision and presence.
- Beyond the signs, we now see three derivative manifestations of God’s order.
- First, the celestial lights also give us seasons.
- We may naturally think of seasons in terms of spring, summer, fall, and winter.
- That idea may be included, but the idea as it develops throughout the Old Testament is more along the lines of time periods longer than 24 hours in general and the religious festivals of Israel’s calendar in particular.
- These become appointed times as determined by phases of the moon.
- Hand in hand with such periods of time are the days and years.
- These are the familiar periods of 24 hours and 365 days, respectively.
- The yearly cycle is what gives us the seasons of fall, winter, spring, and summer (or, in some areas, the rainy season and the dry season).
- All these provide order and regularity.
- We are created to thrive within this system.
- For example, astronauts who leave the earth still try to regulate their activities in 24-hour cycles.
- God has designed a world to fit us and created us to fit His world.
And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
- One of them was to take charge of the day, and the sun does that pretty well.
- Also the moon does a good job by night.
- We should catch a little of the wonder and awe of the ancient author here.
- He understands the value and purpose of light (created on day one), of heavenly lights (created on day four), and of the need for light upon the earth.
- We are created to be creatures of light, both physically and spiritually.
- The more science learns about sunlight, the more we realize our dependence on it for life.
- Without the God-provided light that bathes our world on a regular basis, we would lead a sad existence—if any existence at all.
- The lighting of our world is a testimony to God’s love and care for us.
- It is an exciting comparison, then, for Jesus to take the role of “light of the world” (John 8:12), God’s loving answer to our spiritual darkness.
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.
- The created order has three classifications of observable heavenly lights.
- First we have the greater light, the sun, which rules the day.
- This does not imply that the sun comes out when there is daylight. Rather, it’s the other way around: the sun defines and causes the day.
- Likewise, the lesser light, the moon, defines a darker period, the night.
- Nights are not without some light, given the shadows we observe when the moon is bright.
- Even on nights of a new moon, the stars provide light, although dimly.
- While we see God’s intentional patterns in creation here, we should also notice that the descriptions are observational, from the perspective of the author or any other human.
- It is silly to criticize this portrayal by saying that some of the stars we see are far bigger and brighter than our sun.
- It doesn’t appear that way from the author’s viewpoint, nor from any other unaided human viewpoint today.
- Stars are tiny in the amount of light they shed on the earth. This is the point.
- In consequence of the day being reckoned as commencing at sunset – the moon, which would be seen first in the horizon, would appear “a great light,” compared with the little twinkling stars.
- While its pale benign radiance would be eclipsed by the dazzling splendor of the sun.
- When his attractive and impressive through being richly colorful or sumptuous orb rose in the morning and gradually attained its meridian blaze of glory, it would appear “the greater light” that ruled the day.
- Both these lights may be said to be “made” on the fourth day – not created, indeed, for it is a different word that is here used, but constituted, appointed to the important and necessary office of serving as luminaries to the world, and regulating by their motions and their influence the progress and divisions of time.
And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
- That is, the heaven of the stars.
- These celestial lights—sun, moon, and stars—are placed in the firmament of the heaven by God to provide various degrees of light upon the earth.
- Their intensity causes the distinction between daytime and nighttime.
- All of them counteract darkness, the absence of light.
- In this sense, they are testimonies to the presence of God in our world, for we are never without a heavenly light source.
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.
- As at the end of the previous day of creation, the author notes that God observes what He has created and approves by designating it as good. It is pleasing to Him and beneficial to us.
You will notice that it is God who does the dividing here, “to divide the light from the darkness.” You know, He still does that!
There are those today who ask, “What’s the difference between right and wrong?” God has drawn all the lines.
How can we know what is right?
God says what is right. God has put down certain principles.
God divides the light from the darkness and there is just that much distinction between right and wrong.
He is the One who makes the difference, and He still does it.
And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
- As before, the cycle of what makes up a day is noted.
- The Bible’s way of marking a day begins with sundown, a pattern still observed by Jews.
- It is not so much that night commences the new day as that the setting of the sun ends the old day.
DAY FIVE—ANIMAL LIFE
We do have a certain amount of development. This does not mean that everything came from one little cell but that God made one of each creature and there has been development from each one.
God commanded the fish and fowl to be produced. This command he himself executed. Insects, which are more numerous than the birds and beasts, and as curious, seem to have been part of this day’s work.
The Creator’s wisdom and power are to be admired as much in an ant as in an elephant. The power of God’s providence preserves all things, and fruitfulness is the effect of his blessing.
Genesis 1:20-25 KJV
 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.
 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.
 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
 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.
 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.
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.
- The ancient person sees the world in three parts: the watery world of seas, lakes, and rivers; the habitable world of dry ground; and the above-ground world of the atmosphere.
- The word “kind” does not mean species, but it means more than that. The word is phylum. Phylum is a synonym for “kind.” If you will look up that word in the dictionary, you will see that it means a direct line of descent within a group.
- For instance, it would include not just one horse but every animal in the horse family.
- God created one like that, and there has been development from each one, tremendous development.
- Also there has been devolution—that is, there has been development, then later there has been degeneration.
- Day five of creation begins, as the others have, with God speaking.
- On this day, God speaks into existence the living animals for the watery world and the sky.
- As before, this is presented from an observational perspective—what the author or any reader could see.
- The signs of animal life appeared in the waters and in the air.
- moving creature meaning, all producing young by means of eggs that are hatched after they have been laid by the parent.
- Animals, both among the finny and the feathery tribes – remarkable for their rapid and massive increase.
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.
- The unpolluted and unfished waters of the ancient world teem with life. This includes water creatures of massive size, something the author (Moses) is aware of on some level.
- Has he heard of great whales that have breached the surface of the ocean or washed up on a beach?
- God’s creation has variety that is barely imaginable for us.
- After hundreds of years of study, scientists are still discovering and classifying new water creatures.
- The author also acknowledges creation of the creatures of the atmospheric world, the birds.
- He knows that most creatures do not have the capability of flight—only those with wings.
- These make up a special and wonderful category of God’s good created animals.
- The author also gives another insight into the wonder and awe of the ancient person when it comes to beholding God’s created order: the reproductive capability of water creatures and birds.
- This is their ability to produce offspring after his/their kind.
- Why does a sparrow always reproduce sparrows, not eagles sometimes?
- Why does a trout always reproduce trout, not barracudas sometimes?
- This is part of God’s created order as observed by the author, and it is marvelous for him.
- As we appreciate the enormous variety of God’s creatures, we should also understand the boundaries for variation He has built into each one.
- fowl, meaning every flying thing: The word rendered “whales,” includes also sharks, crocodiles, etc..
- So that from the countless shoals of small fish to the great sea monsters, from the tiny insect to the king of birds, the waters and the air were suddenly made to swarm with creatures formed to live and sport in their respective elements.
And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
- How many of each type of fish or bird does God create to get things started?
- We don’t know, but we do see that His plan includes multiplication of these creatures.
- He intends that the salt waters and fresh waters be filled with appropriate creatures.
- God intends that His created variety of birds multiply and spread throughout the earth.
- It is a tragedy when a species becomes extinct because of human behavior.
And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
- As the day ends by marking the cycle of the evening and the morning, the sustaining earth has been stocked in its waters and its air.
DAY SIX—FERTILITY OF ANIMAL LIFE
A farther advance was made by the creation of terrestrial animals, all the various species of which are included in three classes:
(1) cattle, the herbivorous kind capable of labor or domestication.
(2) wild animals, whose ravenous natures were then kept in check, and
(3) all the various forms of creeping things — from the huge reptiles to the insignificant caterpillars.
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.
- God speaks again, on day six, to call into existence specific components of His overall created order. On this day God addresses the dry land, the earth itself. This will be the home of God’s ultimate creation, human beings, later in this same day (Genesis 1:26–30).
- There are three general categories of land animals presented. The first, cattle, is a generic term that means more than cows. It generally refers to herded animals, and here it has the sense of domesticated livestock as distinct from wild animals (see below; also see the distinction in Leviticus 25:7). This may include goats and sheep, which are popular choices among cultures dependent on herding. Later in the history of Israel, it will be animals from this category that are considered ritually clean for food or sacrifice (see Leviticus 11).
- The second category, the creeping thing, refers to creatures that live on the ground, including reptiles and snakes. Such animals will not be considered clean when the food laws are instituted for Israel (Leviticus 11:42). It is also likely that the tempting serpent of a coming story (Genesis 3:1) is included in this category.
- The third category, the beast of the earth, refers to wild animals. We might divide these into carnivores (example: lions), herbivores (example: gazelles), and omnivores (example: bears). Such animals might be hunted for food, but they are not part of a nomadic herd or a located farm.
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.
- As with the creatures of the sea and air, the land creatures are made with the capacity to reproduce after his/their kind. Again, God finishes creating these three categories and sees His work as good.
- We should notice there are many missing, undiscussed animals. These categories are quite general and not intended to be exhaustive. What about rodents—are they creeping things? What about insects? What about worms? Or, some might ask, what about dinosaurs?
- The silence of the text on such matters is just that: no information. It does not imply ignorance or avoidance. The author tells the story he wants to tell; and just as he does not divide the “stars” into planets, comets, meteors, and distant suns, he does not give more than a brief description of the creative activities of God on each of the days.
CREATION OF MAN
Now we will see that God separates plant life and animal life from mankind, and He says, “Let us make man in our image.”
This creature is of great interest to you because he happens to be your great-great, etc., grandfather, and he is mine, also.
This means that you and I are cousins, although maybe not kissing cousins. But the whole human family is related.
Man was made last of all the creatures: this was both an honor and a favor to him.
Yet man was made the same day that the beasts were; his body was made of the same earth with theirs; and while he is in the body, he inhabits the same earth with them.
God forbid that by indulging the body, and the desires of it, we should make ourselves like the beasts that perish!
Man was to be a creature different from all that had been hitherto made.
Flesh and spirit, heaven and earth, must be put together in him.
God said, “Let us make man.” Man, when he was made, was to glorify the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Into that great name we are baptized, for to that great name we owe our being. It is the soul of man that especially bears God’s image. Man was made upright.
His understanding saw Divine things clearly and truly; there were no errors or mistakes in his knowledge; his will consented at once, and in all things, to the will of God.
His affections were all regular, and he had no bad appetites or passions. His thoughts were easily brought and fixed to the best subjects.
Thus Holy, thus happy, were our first parents in having the image of God upon them.
But how is this image of God upon man defaced?
May the Lord renew it upon our souls by his grace!
This creature is of great interest to you because he happens to be your great-great, etc., grandfather, and he is mine, also.
This means that you and I are cousins, although maybe not kissing cousins.
But the whole human family is related.
Genesis 1:26-31 KJV
 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.
 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
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.
- Something new and significant is happening as God now speaks in a new manner.
- Up to this point, His words on each new day have begun with “Let there be . . .” or “Let the . . .”.
- But now His creation declaration is more reflective in nature: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
- The last stage in the progress of creation being now reached – God said, Let us make man — words which show the peculiar importance of the work to be done, the formation of a creature, who was to be God‘s representative, clothed with authority and rule as visible head and monarch of the world.
- Many new-covenant believers have understood these plural pronouns as trinitarian in nature.
- But the original audience lacked the revelation we have to understand them that way.
- The Old Testament is essentially silent on the triune nature of God.
- It is the New Testament record that ultimately reveals God as being three-in-one.
- That record will make it possible for believers in the first century and later to contemplate a plurality in the oneness of God’s essence.
- That leaves open the question of how the earliest readers interpret the plural pronouns.
- One proposal is that God is speaking to angelic beings in His heavenly court.
- Another view is that the plurals are to be understood as a “plural of majesty” by which God refers to the fullness of His power and identity.
- An illustration of this type of plural is the quotation “We are not amused,” supposedly uttered by Queen Victoria after hearing a story that was not as funny as the storyteller thought it to be.
- An enduring issue is determining what it means to be created in God’s image, after His likeness.
- That the words image and likeness refer to different things is unlikely.
- First, there is no and between image and likeness in the original text.
- Second, the same Hebrew words translated image and likeness appear in Genesis 5:3 to refer to the same thing.
- Thus the two words should be seen as synonyms combined to add intensity.
- It is problematic to identify the image of God with one of God’s specific qualities.
- God is complex, so His image must also be complex.
- But we are able to get a better grasp if we approach the topic from two angles: those of form and content.
- The form of the image of God is person-hood.
- This speaks to the intellectual, volitional, moral, creative, and religious capacities that animals do not have.
- As God exercises His creative will, so also human beings alone among earth’s creatures have the ability to think of complex things that don’t exist, then take deliberate steps to make them a reality.
- This was a peculiar distinction, the value attached to which appears in the words being twice mentioned.
- And in what did this image of God consist?
- Not in the erect form or features of man, not in his intellect, for the devil and his angels are, in this respect, far superior.
- Not in his immortality, for he has not, like God, a past as well as a future eternity of being.
- But in the moral dispositions of his soul, commonly called original righteousness .
- As the new creation is only a restoration of this image, the history of the one throws light on the other.
- And we are informed that it is renewed after the image of God in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness.
- A beaver may go through a sequence of steps to make a dam, but stacking a pile of sticks is not the same as building a hospital!
- Content, for its part, speaks to relationship with God (in terms of servants-in-fellowship) and relationship to the world (in terms of dominion-in-stewardship).
- It is the form part of the image that makes the content part of the image possible.
- Regarding the servant aspect, the portrayal of God in the creation narrative highlights a certain correspondence between humans and God that allows us to have a relationship with Him.
- God bids us to rule over His creation, a task elegantly described as having dominion.
- “And let them have dominion.” God gave him dominion over the earth, and I do not think this means that God made him a sort of glorified gardener of the Garden of Eden.
- Adam had tremendous authority given to him.
- Regarding the dominion part of the content part of the image, that’s addressed in our next verse.
- We will find out a little later that God says to him that he is to do certain things relative to this creation that God has given to him.
- David will reflect further on this centuries later in Psalm 8:6–8.
- In creating, the Lord worked and exercised dominion, and He invites us to participate with Him in exercising that dominion as we ourselves work.
- This is an issue of stewardship.
- The first question that arises is: How was man created?
- The next chapter will tell us that.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
- The image of God in which humanity is created includes male and female.
- We have here just the simple fact of the creation of man.
- That we exist in community reflects the communal nature of God that we see taught more clearly in the New Testament.
- The Father, Son, and Spirit are one, yet they are clearly distinct persons.
- And though male and female together form one humanity, there is a clear, God-intended distinction between male and female.
- God’s statement identifying us as being in His image points to humanity’s exalted place.
- Some students also see the triple-usage of the verb created as significant.
- The word in the original language being translated thus occurs only eight times between Genesis 1:1 and 5:1, and fully half of those are connected with the final and most significant aspect of creation: the creation of God’s image bearers (three times here and once in 5:1).
- It is difficult to overstate the significance of “the image of God” within Judaeo-Christian ethics.
- Without the belief that humans are morally endowed creations of a morally good God, there is nothing to ensure the dignity and value of any and every person—born or unborn, healthy or ill.
- Whatever value humans possess comes from the sovereign Creator, to whom we are accountable and responsible.
- The physical, economic, social, and cultural criteria by which secular humanism establishes and defends person-hood are arbitrary, changing, and unreliable.
- Christians must shape their response to moral issues such as abortion, euthanasia, and racism on the foundation of humanity’s value and special status of being made in the image of God.
- “So God created man in his own image.” I want to submit to you that this is one of the great statements of the Word of God.
- I cannot conceive of anything quite as wonderful as this.
- What does it mean?
- Well, man is like God, I think, as a triune.
- Mankind is physically, mentally and spiritually a being.
- This puts us right back to the all-important truth which we find in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:3).
- Things we see today were made out of things which did not even exist before.
- The creation was made out of nothing.
- God created!
- This is the tremendous revelation of this chapter.
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.
- God’s blessing-command spoken over humanity reflects what He has already spoken over creatures of sea and sky.
- It resembles a number of other fruitfulness-blessing statements found throughout this book.
- Together these demonstrate that rearing children is an integral part of God’s plan for humanity.
- God desires that the whole earth be inhabited and experience His glory.
- To the notion of dominion used earlier, God now adds the verb subdue.
- The word in the original language appears elsewhere in a positive sense in contexts of order and security resulting from the subjugation of enemies.
- It also occurs in a negative sense of bondage and enslavement.
- All this suggests that the focus is the idea of control.
- Those who are granted this control are, naturally, accountable to God for stewardship in ordering and developing the resources available.
- What has come to be called “the dominion mandate” forms a basis for science and technology; it should never be thought a license for careless and abusive use of natural resources.
- We exercise dominion only as the image or representatives of God in the world, not as creation’s owners.
- Because we don’t own creation, we have no right to exploit it in such a way that brings discredit on God.
- We should exercise the responsibility toward the environment that God expects.
- God’s expectations are different because of subsequent uses anticipated for the resources.
- The extent to which we are able to exercise this dominion is now limited because of sin.
- However, Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, has come as the last Adam to achieve dominion.
- In Him we have put on the new self and are growing into the image and likeness of God.
We see here that God has given to this creature something unusual. First He says to man, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” We will hear Him repeat that when He creates woman.
God seems to be the One who introduced the subject of sex. It is quite interesting that our generation thinks that they have made a new discovery, that they are the Columbus that discovered sex. God mentions it here at the very beginning.
In fact, there are four methods that God has used to get mankind into this universe.
- One was by direct creation, which produced Adam.
- A second way was by indirect creation, which produced Eve.
- The third was by the virgin birth, and this was how Jesus Christ came into the human family.
- The fourth way is by natural generation, and that is pretty well known in our day.
We have certainly dragged natural generation down to a level that God never intended for it. God created man to reproduce. This is a wonderful, glorious truth, and it is not to be made into a dirty, filthy, slimy thing as man is doing now.
People are writing dirty, filthy books and calling it literature; they are producing dirty, filthy things and calling it art. Some of the critics are beginning to speak out against this, and we thank the Lord for that.
They are saying what I have long contended, that much of what is called art is revolting and repulsive and that it is not art at all. It is nothing in the world but obscene, and it is done simply for the almighty dollar. God never intended for sex to be abused in this way.
God created this man in His image. God is the essentially personal Being, and in giving the man an immortal soul, He gave him also a true personality. Man has a self-consciousness, he has the power of free choice, and he has a distinct moral responsibility.
He is in the image of God.
“Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” God tells man to fill the earth by reproduction. And notice that He uses the word “replenish.” That is an interesting word and seems to indicate that this earth had been inhabited before by other creatures.
Whatever the creatures were, they had disappeared before man was created.
God also tells man to “subdue” the earth. This, I think, is the basis of learning and of scientific exploration in our day. One of the Proverbs says this: “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter” (Prov. 25:2).
God hides diamonds way down in the earth and God also puts the treasures down where man has to dig for them, and I believe that today the same thing is true about knowledge. I think it is true about the study of the Word of God.
God wants us to go into the laboratory to use the test tube and the microscope, but unfortunately man comes out with an atom bomb, and he is trying to destroy the human family in our day.
“And have dominion” is God’s instruction to man. Adam was not just a gardener to cut the grass. Man was created to rule this earth. I think that Adam could control the weather just as we control the air-conditioning in our homes.
He ruled this earth. This is what we see in the Lord Jesus. When He was here on this earth, He had control over nature. He could say to a storm, “Be still.” He could feed a multitude with five loaves and two fishes.
It is my opinion that Adam could have done all of that until his fall. At the Fall he lost the dominion that God had given him.
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.
- The repetition of every highlights the fact that God is the faithful and generous provider of sustenance to both man and animals.
- Humans will eat from seed-bearing plants and fruit trees, and animals will consume every green plant.
- Herbs and fruits must be man’s food, including corn, and all the products of the earth.
- Let God’s people cast their care upon him, and not be troubled about what they shall eat, and what they shall drink.
- He that feeds his birds will not starve his babes.
- After the flood, people will receive authority from God to eat animal flesh as well (Genesis 9:3), a new source of protein.
- From this statement I assume that man was a vegetarian at first, and not until after the Flood did man become a meat eater.
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.
- The crown of God’s creation is a new creature, a creature that can sound the heartbeat of its Creator. That creature, made male and female, reflects God’s own relational richness. The human family is to join God in the ongoing work of creation.
- The earth below and the sky above with all their inhabitants are too beautiful and too good to be left alone. They need the tender care and close attention that only God’s favored creature can give.
And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
- God had previously assessed elements of creation as “good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). He now evaluates His creation in light of the addition of humanity, and He pronounces it very good.
- The exclamation behold both expresses God’s excitement and invites the reader also to view creation from God’s perspective. Creation, before the intrusion of human sin in Genesis 3, fully reflected God’s intent.
- Humanity now awaits the new heaven and new earth, to appear when God’s redemptive purposes, initiated in the work of Christ, are consummated.
- When we come to think about our works, we find, to our shame, that much has been very bad.
- But when God saw His work, all was very good.
- Good, for it was all just as the Creator would have it to be.
- All His works, in all places of His dominion, bless Him.
- And therefore, bless thou the Lord, O my soul.
- Let us bless God for the gospel of Christ, and when we consider His almighty power, let sinners flee from the wrath to come.
- If newly-created unto the image of God in Holiness, we shall at length enter the “new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
This brings us to the end of chapter one, and it might be well to make a resume at this point. What are some of the things we should note here?
Well, one of these things is the fact that God is mentioned here thirty-two times. The Bible makes no attempt to prove that there is a God. Why not?
Because He says, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God . . .” (Ps. 14:1).
The Bible is a Book written to reveal the spiritual, the religious, the redemptive truth, and that comes to us only by faith. So we have here the fact that God is the One who created.
In this first chapter we see the unity and power and personality of God.
This is exactly what Paul wrote in Romans 1:20: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen.”
How are they clearly seen? “Being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”
I say to you very candidly that God has shut you up to faith in Himself.
We will notice some other truths in this chapter.
It denies polytheism: One God creates.
Second of all, it denies the eternity of matter. The first words are: “In the beginning”—and it all had a beginning. This is true in spite of the fact that there was a time when science taught the eternity of matter.
Third of all, this chapter denies pantheism. God is before all things and He is apart from them.
Fourth of all, it denies fatalism—God acts in the freedom of His will.
Finally, let me enumerate the striking features in chapter 1:
I hope that you have really enjoyed this post,
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