In our study of Genesis chapter one, we look at the beginning of everything that we see around us today. There is much debate about the origin of the world but the only plausible explanation is found in God's Word.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Those ten words are the door to everything in that you must believe in God as the Creator or the rest of His Word has no meaning to you. Creator means that there was nothing and then, through the power of God, there was everything. Although we would like to know more details, God did not consider it important and so did not share the how and why with us. We can only guess on how long it has been since this event happened and really it does not matter. Between this verse and the next, most Bible scholars believe that a major disaster happened and so the rest of the chapter deals with the renovation of creation after that disaster. Most believe that the rebellion of Satan and the angels happened at this time (see Revelation 12).
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
When Satan and his angels were cast down to the earth, sin was introduced into God's perfect creation. This introduction of sin made it formless, empty, and dark. The word "hovering" would be better translated as "brooded over". The image of the Spirit of God hovering over His creation makes us feel as if God was not concerned about what had happened but the words "brooded over" shows the sadness at what had happened. The following verses tell us of how God renovated the earth to make it sustain life once again.
And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light 'Day,' and the darkness he called 'night.' And there was evening, and there was morning - the first day.
God begins the renovation with the re-introduction of light and the separation from darkness to create day and night. We see that this renovation process is simple in that, God says it and it happens. Light is essential for the life that will follow because, without light, plants will not grow and without plants no other form of life could live. The last part of the passage places evening before morning and that is why the Jewish day begins at sunset.
And God said, 'Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.' So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse 'sky.' And there was evening, and there was morning - the second day.
On the second day, God created the sky and once again it was created out of nothing simply by God speaking it into existence. Have you ever asked yourself why God did not just create everything on the first day and call it good? The simple fact is that He could have but chose not to in order to teach us how to live. There is a time for everything and many times we have to wait for God's timing as it is different than ours.
And God said, 'Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.' And it was so. God called the dry ground "land", and the gathered waters he called 'seas'. And God saw that it was good.
Not only did God create the waters but, as we see here, He controls them. At His word, the waters moved to expose land. The waters also obeyed when He told them to part and allowed His people to escape from Egypt. They also obeyed when God sent them in judgment of the inhabitants of Noah's day. Today, it seems that many people elevate nature and its forces above God but, as we see here, God has always retained control over everything that he created. The forces of nature obey the words of God and we would do well if we did the same.
Then God said, 'Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.' And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the third day.
Throughout God's word, the number three is associated with the earthly display of God's will and we see that here. God not only created plants and trees but also had them to produce seeds so that they could continue to provide for the needs of the animals and people that will be created. In this way, we see that it has always been God's will to sustain His creation.
And God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.' And it was so.
Without light, the life that was created on the third day could not be sustained. This reminds us of the fact that sin and the fall of man did not take God by surprise. He knew that He would not dwell with man for long on this earth and, since God is the source of light and He loves us so much, He created lights in the sky to sustain us in His absence. This is only temporary as we see, in Revelation 21, that once again God will dwell with men and the lights in the sky will no longer be necessary.
God made two great lights - the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the fourth day.
Throughout the Bible, the number four is associated with trials. On this day, God created the sun and the moon and gave them a threefold purpose (to give light, govern, and separate). We looked at light in the last passage. They govern in that, for much of time, what we did as people was determined by the time of day. (People used to work only during hours of sunlight because there were no other lights such as electric or gas powered lights) To this day, many farmers still plant and harvest by the phases of the moon. Their third purpose was to separate light from darkness. Light and darkness have nothing to do with each other and in fact cannot exist together at the same place and time. God is light and, as Christians, we walk with Him in that light but many times we take a wrong turn and end up in the dark. That usually happens when we are faced with trials and temptations (symbolized by the number 4).
And God said, 'Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.' So God created the creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Once the earth was ready to sustain life, God created creatures to fill the water and the air. God created them for us to enjoy and saw that it was good.
God blessed them and said, 'Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.' And there was evening, and there was morning - the fifth day.
Throughout the Bible, the number five is associated with grace. This passage is a picture of the magnitude of God's grace, in that, He not only created the life in the seas and the air but caused them to multiply. Even at this early point in time, God knew that this life was going to be affected by sin and, even then, He was prepared to send His Son as payment. God continued to bring forth life even as He knew that it would require His Son to go to the cross. That, my friends, is the magnitude of His grace!
And God said, 'Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.' And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
At the start of the sixth day, God created all of the animals. We see that God created all of the different kinds and said that it was good. That reminds us that God loves diversity in life and that all things have a God given purpose (even those animals that we do not like and consider to be pests). The same goes for people and we should not condemn what God has called good. All life has a God given purpose and is precious in His sight!
Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God created us in His image and appointed us to be the caretakers of all that He created. Out of all that was created, we are the only things that this is said about and that sets us apart. No matter what anyone else may say about you, always remember that you were created in the image of God and He does not make junk! A caretaker is someone that works for the owner to look after his stuff. We need to remember that we do not own anything that God has created; He simply allows us to take care of it for Him and to enjoy it but every caretaker answers to the owner for their work. This answering is described in Revelation chapter twenty and is commonly called the "judgment of rewards".
God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'
This verse not only reminds us that we were created to be rulers over the earth but it shows us the wisdom of God. You see, even before sin had entered the earth, God new that death was going to enter through sin. He gave us the order and ability to "replenish the earth" and therefore man still exists here today.
Then God said, 'I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.'
We see, here, that we all were created to be vegetarians. As we will see later on in our studies, blood contains life and we were not created to kill anything. We must remember that this is before the fall and so it is a perfect world without death.
'And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground - everything that has the breath of life in it - I give every green plant for food.' And it was so.
Not only were we, as humans, to be vegetarians but the animals of the earth were not meant to eat other animals. God did not want killing and death to be a part of the earth. It is going to be like this again during the millennial reign (Revelation 20) and on the new earth (Revelation 21).
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the sixth day.
At the close of the sixth day, everything had been created and put into perfect order. When God looked at the pieces of everything that He created on the first five days, He said that it was good. But, as we see here, when everything is done and put into His order we see that it was "very good". That is a reminder to us that we may have and do some "good" things but that is not what God wants for us. What God desires for each and every one of us is the "very good" which comes as His creation is in line with His will. We also see that the number six is associated with man or earthly completeness. Throughout the rest of the Bible, we will be reminded of this and it will help us to understand the things of God.