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Genesis Chapter 1

We must remember that when Moses wrote the five books of the Pentateuch, he did not provide chapter or verse divisions. It was written as one long narrative. Therefore, we should not divide the creation story into two parts, as the Bible translators have done in making two chapters to the story. Remembering this erases much confusion regarding the “two” accounts of the creation of mankind.

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

This verse specifically identifies God as the Creator of the universe

  1. Why is this fact the first thing said in the whole Bible?

    1. Hebrews 11:6

      1. Unlike the pagan cosmologies, Genesis exhibits no interest in God’s origins, it simply states that He is. God does not attempt to prove His existence.

      2. All other religions and philosophies begin with preexisting matter or energy in some primal form. True religion begins with God.

      3. This verse refutes atheism, pantheism, polytheism, materialism, humanism, and evolution.

  2. What does this verse tell us about God?
    1. Psalm 33:6; John 1:3; Hebrews 11:3
      1. Since God created everything, then He is bigger than everything

      2. He has existed longer than everything

      3. God is eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent

  3. If we fully believed this one verse what would be the benefit?
    1. Jeremiah 10:10-14; Psalm 96:5
      1. Protects against idolatry

      2. Gives confidence in His power to protect and provide

      3. Explains the origin of everything we see—we don’t need to speculate or accept any form of evolutionary theory

  4. “Beginning” = Hebrew = “first” refers to the initiation of a series of historical events, indicates a point of beginning for a specific duration of time (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT), #2097e)—see Deuteronomy 11:12; and Ezekiel 40:1—Moses is saying: “here is the beginning of the history which follows”
    1. Marks the starting point of history of this world

    2. Promises an end of “history” in this world

      1. Logically, if a “beginning” has been specified, it follows that an “end” must also follow

      2. An end of “time” or the consummation of “history” (Revelation 21:1-22:21

    3. Since “time” is irrelevant to God, this must be understood only from man’s perspective—not God’s. When sin is removed, time will also be irrelevant to mankind, who will then live eternally.

    4. “Time” implies a forward progression and an irreversible process toward destruction (the Second Law of thermodynamics).
  5. Created
    1. From what was this earth and heaven created? Hebrews 11:3

    2. What does this tell us about the Gospel message? Ephesians 2:10

      1. We are nothing: “It is to acknowledge that God is great, and we are mean [ordinary]; that He is holy and we are sinful; that He is all and we are nothing, less than nothing, worse than nothing; and to humble ourselves before Him, and under His mighty hand. It is to come off from all confidence in our own righteousness and strength, that we may depend only upon the merit of Christ for our justification, and the spirit and grace of Christ for our sanctification. That broken and contrite spirit with which the publican cried for mercy to a poor sinner, is that poverty of spirit. We must recognized ourselves as poor, and always in want of God’s grace, always begging at God’s door, always hanging on in His house.” (Matthew Henry, Commentary on Matthew 5:3).

    3. Power in the word—Isaiah 55:10; Matthew 8:5-13
      1. “Do not forget that creation is immediate, or else it is not creation; if not immediate, it is evolution. . .when God speaks, there is in His word the creative energy to produce the thing which that word pronounces. That is creation; and that word of God is the same yesterday, and today, and forever; it lives and abides forever; it has everlasting life in it … There is the word of God, which said, ‘It shall accomplish that which I please.’ It was spoken thus of the creative power. And though they professed to recognize the creative energy of the word of God, yet in their own lives they left that all out, and said, We will do it. They looked to themselves for the process which would bring themselves to the point where that word and themselves would agree.” (Lessons on Faith p. 55-56).

      2. Evolution versus creation—“Now, what has been the process of your progress from the worse to the better? Has it been through ‘many ups and downs’? Has your acquiring of the power to do the good—the good works which are of God—been through a long process of ups and downs from the time of your first profession of Christianity until now? … Nevertheless, in spite of all the ups and downs, you start in for another effort; and so through this process, long-continued, you have come to where you are today; and in ‘looking back’ over it all, you can mark some progress, you think, as judged by your feelings,—is that you experience?” (Lessons on Faith, p. 51).

  6. Heaven and earth—Hebrew = “sky and land” and literally means the totality of everything in this present world (Isaiah 44:24)
    1. “Two primary themes dominate the Creation account: the land and the blessing. In recounting the events of Creation, the author [Moses] has selected and arranged his narrative to allow these themes full development. . .Thus from the start the author betrays his interest in the covenant by concentrating on the land in the account of creation. ‘Nothing is here by chance; everything must be considered carefully, deliberately, and precisely.’” (John Sailhamer, The Pentateuch as Narrative, pp. 81-82).

    2. God’s everlasting covenant is revealed in the creation account as He created the earth and gave it all to Adam as his everlasting possession. It remained his until Adam gave it to Satan. The Gospel is about Christ purchasing the lost property back from Satan and eventually giving it back to Adam and his posterity.

    3. “Do not forget as we proceed that the covenant and the promise are the same thing [Galatians 3:17], and that it conveys land, even the whole earth made new, to Abraham and his children. Remember also that since only righteousness will dwell in the new heavens and the new earth, the promise includes the making righteousness of all who believe. This is done in Christ, in whom the promise is confirmed.” (E.J. Waggoner, Glad Tidings p. 72).

2And 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.

  1. Without form and void—Hebrew = literally “formless and empty” referring to the condition of the land in it’s “not yet” state—“not yet” perfect and ready for human habitation; an inhabitable stretch of wasteland
    1. The rest of the chapter details God’s work in preparing a place to put His final creation—humanity

    2. “Formless and void” in today’s scientific meanings carries a different connotation than in the days when the KJV was translated

    3. Greek translators incorporated their own cosmological ideas into the translation of the Septuagint rather than adhering strictly to the Hebrew meaning of the words, and so came up with the idea of “unformed” or a chaotic, amorphous mass of swirling gasses. This idea lends itself well to both atheistic and theistic evolution theories.

    4. This theme appears in the reverse when Israel becomes “uninhabitable” due to the nation’s rebellion against God and their exile in Babylon (Jeremiah 4:23-26).

    5. It will be the condition of the land during the millennium when only Satan and his evil angels reside here. (Revelation 20:1-3; Jude 6; Isaiah 24:1; Jeremiah 4:23-27;—“bottomless pit” = “abyssos”)

  2. Spirit of God “moved” = literally “hovered”
    1. Deuteronomy 32:11; Exodus 19:4
      1. God is described as an eagle hovering over His creation, protecting it, caring for it

      2. This same Holy Spirit, as a gift from Jesus (John16:7-13), is available to protect, guide, and provide for us in our earthly walk.

3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

  1. Let there be light
    1. “Verse 3 has often been taken to mean that God created light before He created the sun. It should be noted, however, that sun, moon, and stars are all included in the usual meaning of the phrase ‘the heavens and earth,’ and thus according to the present account these celestial bodies were all created in verse 1.” (Sailhamer, The Pentateuch as Narrative, p. 87).

    2. This “light” can only mean the sun, but is best understood as the sun breaking through an overcast sky or morning gloom, much the same way as the sunrise breaks the morning darkness.

4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

  1. God saw
    1. God is recognized as One who is able to know all things (cf Genesis 16:13)

    2. This is the first name that any human gives to God—“El Roi” = God who sees

    3. Abraham also recognized God as One who sees—Genesis 22:14, adding that not only does God see man’s need, but He provides (literally “will see to it”).
      1. Think about the Gospel implication of this characteristic of God

        1. What is man’s need?
        2. What does God provide?

        3. If God was able to see and provide for Hagar and Abraham is He still able to do the same for you and me?

  2. It was good
    1. For what purpose did God say light was “good”? What was the end goal of His creation?
      1. This phrase appears only in the context of things that are beneficial for humanity; some things are just “so” but not designated as “good” because they were “not yet” ready for humanity.

    2. Throughout the creation story, God is said to know what is good, which implies that He also knows what is evil. Only God can inherently tell the difference, but He gives us spiritual discernment (Revelation 3:18) so we can know the difference when Satan tempts us.

    3. Each part of the creation story tells us that God’s only purpose was to give mankind “good” things.

    4. What happens when Eve later sees that the fruit is “good”? Is her judgment comparable to God’s? Why not?

5And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

  1. The Hebrew word “yom” (day)
    1. Almost always is used in the Old Testament in the natural way to mean a literal 24 hour period of time, sometimes delineated by the phrase “evening and morning.”

    2. Occasionally used in the prophetic or symbolic meaning, as “day of the Lord” (Joel 1:15, 2:1, 11, 31, 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; etc.)

    3. The so-called “day-age” theory used by evolutionists to “prove” the age of the earth from the geological record is discounted by the way the Bible writers used the word “yom” throughout Scripture.

    4. In this first occurrence of the word “yom,” God Himself gives the definition; we’re arguing with God if we try to give it a different meaning.

    5. It is incontrovertible that God intends us to know that the days of creation week were of the same duration as any of the natural solar days.

6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

  1. Firmament = “expanse”
    1. This area is identified with heaven (see verse 8) and can also be known as “space” and should be understood as the atmosphere between earth and the outer limits of our ionosphere. It is not “atmosphere” as we use the meaning today, because there were no clouds or rain.

7And 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.

  1. The waters that God moved above the earth were transformed into a vapor state so they could be separated from the liquid waters that remained on the earth as the sea, thus providing a thermal barrier and radiation shield (Job 38:9).
    1. The thermal barrier created a “greenhouse” effect assuring a stable temperature from pole to pole for earth and its inhabitants.

    2. The radiation shield prevented Carbon 14 and other destructive energies from penetrating to the surface of the earth.

    3. With uniform temperatures from pole to pole and surface to atmosphere, there was minimal movement of the air, thus there was no “weather” as we have today. Without global air circulation there was no hydrologic cycle to create rain. Comfortable humidities were maintained which allowed for the formation of ground fog and dew as night and day temperatures varied slightly. (Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Record, pp. 58-61).

    4. This barrier will be recreated when the earth and heavens are restored to their original states (Isaiah 30:26).

    5. This part of the creation narrative is contrasted to verse 6 where God speaks the firmament into being. There is no contradiction.
      1. Moses tells us how God created the firmament (“God said”), then recounts the work as an action carried out to completion (“and God made”).

8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

  1. A theme that is repeated in the Bible narrative is the “parting of waters”
    1. How God handles the waters shows His power in working in behalf of mankind and in bringing judgment against evil (as in the flood).

    2. Identify other times where God separated water; what was the purpose in each case?
      1. Exodus 14:13-22

      2. Joshua 3:14-17

      3. 2 Kings 2:6-8

    3. Is there a thematic connection between the creation story and the “giving” of the land to Adam, and these stories? (Refer to point #6 above)

10And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas: and God saw that it was good. 11And 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. 12And 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.

  1. There are two distinct acts of God on the third day
    1. Preparation of the dry land
      1. Waters must be removed so humanity can enjoy the gift of land

      2. God’s awesome power is demonstrated in the separation of the waters

      3. There was more than a single ocean—God called them “Seas”—plural
        1. “Some of these reservoirs were open directly to the waters descending from above, others were formed as great subterranean chambers within the crust itself. All were interconnected by a complex network of tubes and waterways, so that in essence they were all ‘gathered together unto one place.’” (Morris, p. 62).

        2. these were not the same as our present oceans, since the arrangement of the continents and marine areas was rearranged at the flood

      4. The land included fertile soil — the soil didn’t have to go through a decomposition process of organic matter before it was fertile
        1. it contained microorganisms, beneficial bacteria, earthworms, and other living things, as well as the correct mineral content for plant growth

        2. it was ready in advance for God’s plant life, ready to provide everything the plants needed to survive and grow; God, in advance, thought of everything His creation would need

    2. Furnishing of the dry land with vegetation
      1. Selective accounting of plants that were of benefit to mankind

        1. grass (grain), seed bearing bushes, and fruit trees

        2. these were provided as fully mature plants “bearing seeds” and fruit, ready for man to partake of their nutrition

      2. Verse 11 is the first mention of “things” as individuals and also as “kinds” of things
        1. “The modern understanding of the extreme complexities of the so-called DNA molecule and of the genetic code contained in it reinforces the Biblical teaching of the stability of kinds. Each type of organism has its own unique structure of the DNA and can only specify the reproduction of that same kind. There is a tremendous amount of variational potential within each kind, facilitating the generation of distinct individuals and even of many varieties within the kind, but nevertheless precluding the evolution of new kinds! A great deal of ‘horizontal’ variation is easily possible, but no ‘vertical’ changes. (Morris, p. 63).

        2. God’s own statement refutes the evolution theory that different “kinds” arose from a common ancestry (see also 1 Corinthians 15:37-39).

        3. Consider the scientific work going on today in the field of genetic manipulation, gene splicing, and stem cell research.
          1. What are these human endeavors doing to God’s creation?

          2. What do they say about man’s view of himself?

    3. Unlike the second day’s activities which were “so” these two acts are called “good” because they both are created specifically for mankind’s benefit.
      1. The entire focus of this section of the narrative is preparation for man and his needs.

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

  1. The Hebrew terms used here for “evening” (ereb) and “morning” (boqer) each occur more than 100 times in the Old Testament, and always have a literal meaning of a period of darkness that ends with the coming of a period of light.
    1. The addition of a numeral with this phrase likewise indicates a literal 24 hour period.

    2. Plants could not survive except under the conditions of a recurring cycle of darkness and daylight so their photosynthetic cycles could function, therefore the extended “days” of evolution, both atheistic and theistic, are refuted.

14And 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:15And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16And 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. 17And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,18And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

  1. Consider the narration carefully:
    1. This narration raises several questions:
      1. Does the text say that the sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day?

      2. Could the author speak of a “day and night” in the previous verses if there were no sun?

      3. Was there vegetation growing on the land before there was a sun?

    2. Two common interpretations:
      1. Common evangelical understanding is that everything was “created” on the first day, but some things were not completed until days later.

      2. Scofield Bible prepares the way for the prophetic “Gap Theory” by allowing for long periods of time between one event (creation of the sun) and its later being visible from the surface of the earth (after the primaeval vapors were dispelled).

    3. To address this apparent riddle we must determine two things:
      1. Whether God really did create the entire solar system on the first day (Genesis 1:1).

      2. We must determine exactly what God does and does not say.
        1. In the original Hebrew God does NOT say “Let there be lights … to separate” as if there were no lights before this command and afterward there were lights in response to this command. The original language says: “Let the lights be for separating.” In other words, God now gives His prior creation an assignment or purpose—as “signs” for marking the 24 hour days, seasons, and years; to mark the cyclical rhythms of life’s processes.

    4. A fourth point not to be overlooked is that fact that if God created the sun, moon, and stars, then these things are part of His creation and are not to be worshiped. God alone is worthy of worship because He alone is the Creator.

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

20And 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. 21And 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. 22And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

  1. The creation of the living creatures is divided into two days, and three distinct groups—marine creatures, birds, and land animals
    1. Fifth day brings forth the living, breathing creatures of the sea and sky

    2. This marks the beginning of a different type of creation—creatures that have the “breath of life” in them and are distinct from vegetable life.

      1. This creation brought forth every kind of marine animal— invertebrates, vertebrates, and reptiles; microscopic and super large

      2. Every kind of bird was produced

      3. God gives these creatures a blessing and a command
        1. the blessing relates to God’s giving them life

        2. this blessing is identical to the one given to humanity with the exception of “dominion” which was only given to man

        3. a similar blessing and command is given after the animals leave the ark (Genesis 8:17; 9:1, 7)

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

24And 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. 25And 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.

  1. A differentiation is seen here between the creation of the plant organisms and those creatures with the “breath of life” in them
    1. The “earth” brought forth plant life at God’s spoken command (“God said”)

    2. The “earth” was used in a different way to create the animals (“God made”)

26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness [“similitude”]: and let them have dominion [“rule over”] 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. 27So God created man in his own image [“likeness”], in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. 28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue [“keep under”] 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. 29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb [“green plant”] 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 [“food” — the word has no meaning of “flesh” as in flesh foods called “meat”]. 30And 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 [Hebrew = “khah’-ee” not “nephesh”], I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

  1. The creation account changes in its narrative form with the creation of mankind. Here God says “let us make” as opposed to “let there be.” This shows a personal interaction between God and man that continues throughout the Bible. Man was created to be a companion to God
    1. Other points of difference in the narrative
      1. Man is created in the “likeness” of God
        1. Humans are creatures, but “special” creatures with the ability to share with God in certain things
          1. mental and emotional senses

          2. intellectual comprehension/understanding

          3. faith

          4. moral worth

      2. It is specifically mentioned that mankind is both male and female
        1. Man was created as a singular individual, but Adam stands for the plurality of humanity (corporate man — 1 Corinthians 15:45)

        2. That God created one humanity but it is expressed in the plural form may give some indication of the corporate nature of the Godhead

        3. As originally created, both male and female were equal before God (Eve’s sin changed this)

        4. When a man and woman marry they become “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5, 6; Ephesians 5:31)

      3. Only humans were given dominion over the rest of creation

        1. God originally gave man a type of sovereignty in this earth
          1. Adam sold his sovereign power over the earth to Satan (Matthew 4:8-10; John 12:31)

          2. Adam sold his birthright possession to Satan and it could only be reinstated through the Kinsman Redeemer (the story of Ruth illustrates this for us: Ruth 3:8-12; 4:1-8; Lev. 25:48,49; Numbers 5:6-8)

        2. This permission to rule over God’s creation gives no license to exploit nature, does not give unrestrained power and authority over this world, its resources, or its creatures. Responsibility is subject to accountability to the One who gave the right.

        3. When God gave this dominion power to Adam, this was a perfect world in which interrelationships between all organisms was in perfect harmonious balance, a balance that was mutually beneficial to all of creation.

        4. Although man has dominion over all plant and animal life, God still specifies what may be eaten of the plant world, and specifically declares that no flesh will be eaten.

        5. Vegetarianism is God’s ideal diet for all His creatures, both man and animals (Isaiah 11:7 and 65:25).

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

  1. Only after creating man does God declare that things are “very good.”

With the creation of this world and everything in it, God established His everlasting covenant with His creation. His covenant included the whole earth and everything in it as a gift to mankind. When man was created he was without a single blemish or spot of sin. He was therefore able to stand before his Creator in his nakedness without shame. God is calling His people to return to Him. He promises to save us from our sin (Matthew 1:21), to redeem us in righteousness, us and restore us in holiness before Him. His promise includes covering our sinful nakedness with His righteousness (Revelation 3:18), and the restored gift of the whole earth made new as our eternal home (Revelation 21:1-27).

“Do not forget as we proceed that the covenant and the promise are the same thing, and that it conveys land, even the whole earth made new, to Abraham and his children. Remember also that since only righteousness will dwell in the new heavens and the new earth, the promise includes the making righteous of all who believe. This is done in Christ, in whom, the promise is confirmed” [Galatians 3:13-18] (Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, p. 72).

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