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God is the all-powerful creator.
For us to create something, we must start with something and mold and combine it to create something else. For God to create something, He can start from nothing. We take trees and make them into lumber. Then, we take lumber and make that into a house. We can only change something that already exists into something else. God started with nothing then said “let there be light,” and there was light.
“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).
Creation must be accepted by faith. In his gospel, the apostle John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being (John 1:1-3). From this verse, we see that Jesus, the second member of the Godhead, was there in the beginning with God.
Hebrews 11:2 says, By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. Faith is, in reality, the starting point for any sort of human understanding. It is popular in our era for people to believe that the universe created itself, in spite of all known observable evidence; no one has ever observed any sort of spontaneous creation from nothing. All understanding begins with faith.
The earth was empty and dark. Isaiah explains God’s purpose in forming the earth, For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited)” (Isaiah 45:18).
The Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters; the Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit. We see the third member of the Godhead present during creation too.
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Throughout Scripture, we see a symbolic use of the words light and darkness (i.e. good and evil). In the book of John, Jesus spoke to the people and said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12), and “this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:19-20).
Jesus is the light of the world and the darkness represents evil or the absence of God.
We also read in 1 John 1:5 that “…God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” The physical world God created reflects spiritual realities, including the nature of the triune God Himself. Romans 1:20 tells us that God created the world around us in order for God to be “clearly seen.”
God declared that the light was good. In other words, He blessed the light and gave it His stamp of approval. God then divides the light from the darkness and He calls the light “day.” He calls the darkness “night.” This ends the first day of creation.
While here in this world, we have light and darkness. When God recreates the new heaven and the new earth, God will dwell among us and the glory of the Lord will be the actual “lamp” that lights the entire world, so there will be no darkness. (Revelation 21:23-24).
God said, “Let there be an expanse.” The expanse is simply space, space that separates the waters from the waters. This means the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth. The word waters may mean water gathered in a liquid state or moisture, seeming to imply that the earth was encased in dense moisture (or water). When God separated the waters, He called this space heaven, which is the sky. This was the second day of creation.
The Bible uses the themes of water and fire from beginning to end. 1 Peter 3:5-7 says, “For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.” God both formed the earth out of water as well as destroying that same earth by water during Noah’s time (Genesis 7).
God promised He would not destroy the earth with water again. 1 Peter 3:8 says “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” We look forward to the New Earth in hope, which will no longer have any sea (Revelation 21:1).
The Hebrew word for Heaven is Hashamayim. Many in the Jewish tradition hold that Hashamayim is a combination of the words Aish which means “fire,” and Mayim which means “water.” They conclude that this construction is due to the physical nature of the universe—that it is a balance of judgment and mercy.
During the beginning of the third day of creation, God divides the seas and the dry land. Then, He creates plant life and vegetation.
During the second day of creation, we saw a vertical division with God dividing the earth from the heavens. Now, we have a horizontal division with God dividing the dry land and seas. God is further establishing control over the chaos in Genesis 1:2. He is forming order from disorder and form from formlessness. God names the dry land “earth.” The gathering of the waters, He called “seas.”
God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation.” God was providing for the future of mankind by making crops that reproduce. The seed-bearing plants and fruit trees represent plants designated for human consumption. Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you” (Genesis 1:29).
It is said in Genesis 1:9-10 that these plants shall reproduce according to their kind, which is restated in James, “Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh” (James 3:12). Plants will only reproduce according to their kind, this is similar to the principle of sowing as we reap, which is explained in Galatians, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8).
Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who are obedient to God will reap life and blessings. This is all according to the design of sowing and reaping, created by God, whether in the physical world, or the spiritual.
God creates the sun, moon, and stars, on the fourth day of creation. The sun, moon, and stars provide the daily and seasonal cycles and the calculation of time.
We have another separation, the day from the night.
For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). Eventually, God’s redemptive work will accumulate in the age to come when there will be no darkness. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever (Revelation 22:5).
The greater light is the sun, and the lesser light is the moon. They govern over the day and night. The Bible says the heavens proclaim the glory of God and the skies display his craftsmanship (Psalm 19:1). In Romans, Paul explains, For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20). God’s incredible creation clearly displays His eternal power and divine nature.
On the fifth day of creation, God creates the creatures of the sky and sea.
God continues to bring order and balance to nature. The waters and the air that was separated on the second day, are filled with their respective inhabitants on this day. God saw that all the creatures of the sea and all the creatures of the air that He created were good, and blessed them saying, “Be fruitful and multiply.” In other words, to reproduce and become numerous. Day five of creation ends with God filling the earth with all that was needed for what was coming next in day six.
It is worth noting here that God made different “kinds.” It is observable in nature that there is great diversity within “kinds.” However, there is no “mixing” observed between the various kinds. There are many types or kinds of dog, whose lineage can be observably traced. But we never consider a dog giving birth to a cat. This becomes important when God preserves the land animals from destruction in the flood of Noah. At that time, God preserves two of every “kind.”
The sixth day of creation finds God creating the rest of the land animals and then He makes man in His own image.
The sixth day of creation divides into two separate deeds. First, God creates more living creatures and then God makes man. In Genesis 1:24, we have the words living creatures again. These are animals that are alive and they have a mind, emotions, and willpower. If you think a donkey doesn’t have willpower try leading one somewhere it doesn’t want to go. Likewise, a cat will show you its emotions quickly if you accidentally step on its tail. Specifically, God creates cattle, creeping things, and beasts. The creeping things are small moving creatures. The word “beasts” is considered a wild animal, one not domesticated. Again, God saw that it was good.
In Genesis 1:26, God said, “let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.” Here we have three plural pronouns. Most scholars understand these to refer to the plurality of the Godhead (i.e. the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). No one is like God, an eternal omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent being. In 1 Kings, Solomon says, O LORD, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing loving kindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart (1 Kings 8:23). Only Jesus and the Holy Spirit are like God the Father. God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus have existed eternally.
Mankind was to rule or have dominion over all the earth and the fish, birds, cattle, and creeping things. However, because of sin, all things are not under man’s dominion. You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him (Hebrews 2:8). Jesus will re-establish dominion over all the earth at His second coming.
God created man in His own image or likeness. This word in Hebrew means mankind as the shadow (image) of God’s figure. God created man to have fellowship with Himself. So we see at this point, that man was in right standing with God and holy. This special distinction given to mankind was not given to anything else. It gives man a separate distinction in the world. It makes man unique, resembling God, though not equal with Him. Mankind was created as a living symbol of God’s power and rulership. A key thing that God gave to humanity that makes us in His image is the power and freedom to make choices.
God creates mankind both male and female and He blesses them. What does it mean to be blessed? Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). The word, “blessed,” in Ephesians 1:3, is the Greek word, eulogeõ. It simply means to speak well or good of someone or something. This is where we get our English words, “eulogize, and eulogy.” When David says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” he is praising God, speaking well of God.
God finishes the sixth day of creation by commanding man to have children, and to subdue the earth.
God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply.” Regarding children, one of King David’s psalms celebrates them as a great blessing, Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Children are like arrows in the hand of a mighty man, how blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them (Psalm 127:3-5).
God tells the man and woman to subdue the earth, to conquer it or bring it into subjection. He gives them the right to rule over every living thing. This means they have the authority to take control, have power over, and dominate the earth. God commissions them to utilize the resources of the earth and to take charge over it. In verse 29, God gives the gift of plants and fruit from trees for food to sustain them and he gives plants to the animals for food.
This is quite amazing to reflect upon. God, who is all-powerful, handed over the rule of the earth to a newly created being. No wonder the Psalmist exclaims:
“What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet (Psalm 8:4-6).”
God chose humanity over the angels to rule the world. Why? Psalm 8 offers an explanation:
“From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength
Because of Your adversaries,
To make the enemy and the revengeful cease (Psalm 8:2).”
God chose “infants and nursing babes”—these newly arrived humans—over the mighty angels who had been in His presence to rule the earth. Hebrews 2:6-8 quotes Psalm 8 then, in what could be the greatest understatement in the Bible, observing, But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him (mankind). At this point in Genesis, mankind ruled the earth. But, because of the failings of mankind we do not presently possess that same authority over the world.
Hebrews 2 goes on to state that while we do not see humanity taking its proper place to rule over the earth with great stewardship and in perfect harmony with one another and with God, we do see something else quite extraordinary:
But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings (Hebrews 2:9-10).
This launches a grand drama in which humanity is a central actor, along with the angels and God Himself. Many modern stories revolve around the question “Who will rule the world?” This often involves fantasies about creatures from other places. We are a part of this kind of real drama. Which involves God (Jesus) who came in the form of a man in order to redeem humanity to its proper place in the world.
God saw all that He had made and it was very good. Not just good, but abundantly, exceedingly good. God will redeem humanity to its proper place, for that is what God desired. For everything created by God is good (1 Timothy 4:4a). This brings to a close the sixth day of creation.
God concludes the act of creation by resting on the seventh day. God blesses and sanctifies the seventh day.
Genesis 2:1-3 is a conclusion to all of chapter one. God had finished His work. Since He was done, it was time to rest. Later in the book of Exodus, God would set apart the day of rest and make it holy. The word used for rest here is the Hebrew word “shabath” which means to cease or to be still. God wasn’t exhausted and in need of rest from His labor. No, God declared the work to be finished. God did not just take a break from His work, He had achieved His divine plan of the universe.
Then God blessed and sanctified the seventh day: For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy (Exodus 20:11). The word blessed means God’s divine favor and protection was given. The word sanctified means to make holy or to set aside. The seventh day was sanctified as a special day of blessing. The Sabbath would become a reminder of two great truths, creation and redemption. God’s work is perfect and nothing can be added to it or taken away from it. Here is a good example from Scripture, I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it (Ecclesiastes 3:14a). The seventh day was set apart and proclaimed to be a holy day. God ceased from all the work He had set about to do.