The Days of Creation
Day One: Light (1:3-5)
Day Two: Sky (1:6-8)
Day Three: Dry Land, Sea and Vegetation (1:9-13)
Day Four: Sun, Moon and Stars (1:14-19)
Day Five: Sea Creatures and Winged Birds (1:20-23)
Day Six: Living Creatures and Man (1:24-31)
Day Seven: Sabbath; God rested (2:1-3)
Genesis 1:1 | The Beginning
1:1 In the beginning. God is the beginning. He is described as the Alpha and Omega (Rev.1:8). Everything begins and is derived from Him. Natural law teaches that something cannot come from nothing, thus, all things come from Him. He is the first cause of all things seen and unseen.
The Uncausality of God: He has no cause. God was not brought into Being. He is.
God’s Pure Actuality: He exists and there is no potential for Him not to exist.
God’s Aseity: He is eternally self-existing and self-sustaining. He is Totally Autonomous.
These terms answer the childlike question, who created God? The answer? Nobody. God alone is the one who always was, is, and always will be. He is Eternal.
In 1882, the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche stated in his book “The Gay Science” (also, the science of joy) that GOD IS DEAD. What he meant, was that in an age of science and evolutionary theory, there was no longer a need for God. Interestingly, this was the year that Darwin died –“go figure”. As science continues to observe the mysteries of creation, God increasingly becomes the only explanation.
1:1 God created (Elohiym bara). The word used for God throughout the chapter is Elohiym. “Bara” (created) means to form or fashion. It carries the idea of doing something new; to make something from nothing.
Many of God’s attributes are compacted into this one phrase…
- God’s Transcendence: He created matter, time, and space. So it necessitates that God is outside time and space.
- God’s Omnipotence: He is all-powerful. If He can create the universe, then nothing is outside of His power.
- God’s Knowledge and Wisdom: Humanity is incapable of replicating (or even logically explaining) how the universe came to be. God’s wisdom and knowledge are Incomprehensible. “The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens” (Pr.3:19).
- God’s Incomprehensibility: The three previous points show that God is outside our understanding (in His fullness). There is no way for the human mind to fully comprehend God.
1:1 The heavens and the earth (shamayim eth ‘erets). This is a phrase summarizing God’s entire work of creation. However, God chooses to unveil His entire work. We get a front row seat at the most wonderful show in history. The following verses will not only show us the power of God to create but His creativity.
1:2 The earth was without form and void (‘erets hayah tohuw bohuw). The Hebrew phrase “tohuw bohuw” (without form and void) means that the earth had no definite character. Without form comes from an unused root word meaning “to lie waste”. If left in this state, the earth would have been taking up wasted space. God did not create the world to be empty. He created it to be inhabited (Isa.45:18).
1:2 Darkness was on the face of the deep.
- There was complete darkness
- The earth was covered with water (seen also from the next phrase)
1:2 and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water. God is Spirit –ruwach ‘elohiym “the Spirit of God”. This is our first glimpse into the triune nature of God. He is one God with three Person’s. In verse one, we have God. In verse two we have the Spirit of God.
God’s Imminence: God comes within time and space; He is near. Though He is before time and space; and though God exists outside of time and space (Transcendence), He comes among His creation.
God’s Omnipresence. His presence infiltrates every crevice of heaven and earth. He is everywhere at the same time.
God’s Infinitude. God has no limit -both in His presence and character. No one can come to know, see, or grasp Him entirely. He just keeps going, and going, and going.
God is not some being uninterested in His creation. He is as close as your breath. He is concerned with all the miniature details of the earth, and of our lives. As the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the deep, God watches over His creation. You cannot hide, run, or get around God (Prov.15:3, 1kings 8:27).
Genesis 1:3-5 | The First Day
The Law of First Mention: The Law of First Mention is a Principle in biblical studies that requires us to refer to the first mention of a subject to discover its most basic meaning. Many things are first mentioned in the book of Genesis.
1:3 Then God said. This is the first time we see God speaking in the Bible. God’s voice is compared to power, majesty, fire, and life (Ps.29); to a still small whisper (1Kings 19:12-13); and to the roar of many waters (Rev.1:18). As God is All-Powerful (Omnipotent), His Word is All-Powerful. This same Word is Christ, the Son of God. Though a mystery, Christ was the second person of the triune Godhead creating the universe (John 1:1-3, Col.1:15-19, Heb.1:3).
1:3 Let there be light, and there was light. God speaks in the imperative. This is His first command to creation. The most literal translation of the Hebrew would read… “God spoke, ‘light be’. Light.” Creation obeyed God’s command. “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Ps.33:9). Like a Master in Martial Arts, God spoke with the blow of a single punch.
1:4 and God saw the light, that it was good. God’s observation. Saw (ra’ah) is a verb which means that God look act, observed, and considered the light. His observation: it was good. Towb (good), means pleasant and agreeable. What God created was an expression of His own character. Throughout the rest of His creative acts, He will observe the same thing. Likewise, when we gaze into God’s creation: “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Ps.19:1).
1:4 and God divided the light from the darkness. God separated the light and the darkness. There are more separations in chapter one: the water beneath from the water above (v.6), and the day from the night (v.14). Some things were never meant to go together. In fact, what makes them unique is the separation that exists between them.
1:5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called night. The is the first thing to be named. Light (Heb. Yowm) means day, or hot. Night (layil) means night, or to fold back -like closing the blinds.
1:5 So the evening and the morning were the first day. Evening and morning is a Hebrew expression meaning a 24 hour day. This phrase reinforces a cycle of six literal 24 hour days for creation. God did His work in 24-hour increments. We too should work one day at a time. Tomorrow isn’t promised, but a lot can be accomplished today. Strive to live one day at a time for the glory of God, so that at the close of each day God will look down and see that it was good.
Genesis 1:6-8 | The Second Day
1:6 Then God said. On the second day of creation, God doesn’t change His technique. On day one He created light with the power of His Word. And throughout each day of creation, He will continue. He is not a God of confusion. Neither is He creating the world like an abstract artist. He is more like a classical painter -utilizes His wisdom, skill, and precision. Though there are some differences, this is a similar pattern of each day.
- God spoke, giving a command to creation
- Creation obeyed
- He named and/or observed what He created
1:6 Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. God created the sky. Firmament (raqiya’) is the technical description, meaning a solid extended surface or exspanse. It comes from a root word that means to stretch out: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone [stretched out] the heavens…” (Isa.44:24b). The word firmament can indicate something solid, and Hebrews’ understood it as something which held up the waters above them. This concurs with the Pre-Flood condition of the earth. It did not rain, but the earth was watered by springs and a mist that came over the land (Gen.2:5-6). When God brought the flood, the Bible uses the description of “opening the windows of heaven” (Gen.7:11). And so, I believe this firmament to refer to both the sky, and a protective shield that God placed in the sky before the flood. This is, at least, one of the reasons why it is believed that Man lived for such long periods of time. Because of the lack of exposure to the harmful effects of the sun, and the lower levels of carbon dioxide, men were able to live for hundreds of years. God placed the baby of His creation (man) in an incubator.
1:7 Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters. Firmament (raqiya’), same as firmament is verse 6. Since God had already created the earth with liquid H2O, the water above the expanse became the gas/liquid mixture of this same compound substance. All of Creation reflects God’s character. H2O can be liquid, gas, or ice. Similarly, God is also one in substance, yet three in person. However, unlike the waters being separated from the waters, there is no separation in the Triune Godhead; they are co-equal, co-eternal, with no division or separation, consumption or confusion.
1:8 God called the firmament Heaven. Heaven (shamayim) can refer to the earth’s atmosphere, space, or the abode of God (also known as the first, second and third heaven). There are others who believe the first, second and third heaven to refer to the pre-flood earth, the post-flood earth, and the new heaven and earth. Heaven, in the verse, clearly refers to earth’s atmosphere.
Genesis.1:9-13 | The Third Day
1:9 Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear. God created the land and the sea with one command. He caused the water to recede into separate bodies of water, and He set boundaries for the sea to hold back the waters: “when he assigned to the sea its limit so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth” (Pr.8:29). When God did this, dry land appeared.
Some also believe the world to have been a utopia before the flood. God gathered the water into one large body of water surrounding one large mass of land. This is possible. One place (‘echad maqowm) could refer to this. The naming of Peleg could also support it: “the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided, and his brother’s name was Joktan” (Gen.10:25). However, the dividing in the days of Peleg may just be a reference to the division of languages that occurred at Babel.
1:11 Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth. The same day God created land and sea, He also brought forth Vegetation. This text solves the age-old question: What came first, the seed or the tree? Genesis 1:11 would respond, the tree. God created each of these with the ability to bear seeds.
Grass (deshe) comes from a root that means to sprout or grow green
Herb (eseb) likely refers to plants that grow in the earth
Tree (pĕriy ‘ets) literally means fruit tree
1:11,12 according to its kind. God created a variety of plants and fruit. We are still discovering plants that descend from a genetic pool of those created by God on day three. We could ask some interesting questions: Did the rose bush have thorns? Did fruit spoil before the fall? Was there ever an apple with a worm in it?
1:12 and God saw that it was good. He created the sky (day two), and “it was so”. After the sky, He made the dry land and sea. Now He makes vegetation with the ability to reproduce. Only now does God see that it was good. Day two and three, done.
Genesis 1:14-19 | The Fourth Day
1:14 Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens. God created the heavenly lights. Light (ma’owr) is a masculine noun that means luminary. Thus, it is not just a descriptive word. It indicates an object that is illuminating. This short phrase God refers to the innumerable stars and planets in the universe. For God, this was a simple task. All of the stars and planets were created in less than 24 hours. God’s creative power left David in awe: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon, and the stars, which you have set in place” (Ps.8:3). David describes the heavens as the work of God’s fingers. It is an anthropomorphic expression signifying the delicate artwork of the heavens. It didn’t take two hands; not even one, just His fingers. However, this is just an expression. It does not contradict the Genesis account of God creating the World with His Word.
Not only did God command for the Lights to be; He commanded them to become. He assigned a specific purpose to them. Was is to become a home for alien life? No. The Bible tells us why God created the innumerable stars and planets.
- To divide the day from the night (v.14). They were to distinguish a 24-hour day.
- And let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years (v.14). They were to ack as a weather forecaster, indicating new seasons and changes in weather; and as a calendar to keep track of time.
- And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth (v.15). They were to be a source of light. This purpose is repeated four times in these verses.
1:16 Then 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. God gives a specific purpose for the sun and moon in the milky way galaxy. They were to become a source of light for our world.
The word made (‘asah) is different than the word create (Bara’). ‘Asah means to fashion something already made. Bara’ (v.1 created) means to bring it into existence. God created and made the earth, just as He created and made Man (Gen.5:1). Figure this out: God created the light on day one. He created the Sun, Moon, and Stars on day four.
Genesis 1:20-23 | The Fifth Day
Question: What came first, the Chicken or the egg?
Irreducible complexity is an argument used to refute Darwinian Evolution. Irreducible complexity means that “new life cannot come into existence by the Darwinian method of slight successive changes over a long period of time … As with a car engine, all the right parts must be in place in the right size at the same time for there to be any function at all. You can build an engine part by part (and that takes intelligence), but you can’t drive to work with only a partial engine under the hood. Nor could you drive to work if one essential part of your engine were modified but others were not. In the same way, living systems quickly would become nonfunctional if they were modified piece by piece.” (I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be an Atheist, Pg.146, 145).
Answer: The Chicken came first.
1:20 Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens. God created the sea creatures and winged birds. These were peculiar classes of life that were characterized by the environment God placed them.
1:20 Abound with and abundance (mayim sharats). Literally, swarm swarms.
1:20 Face of the firmament (paniym raqiya). Literally, the face of the solid surface or exspanse. This could be another reference to the protective cover that God placed in the sky before the flood.
There were two distinct classes of sea life…
- Great sea creatures (v.21).
- Every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind (v.21).
The great sea creatures likely refer to the present and “prehistoric” (using that term loosely) sea dinosaurs and whales. This included the Leviathan which is mentioned in scripture as a great sea creature (Job 41:1). The other living things summarize a variety of fish.
1:22 and God blessed them … Be fruitful and multiply.
Parah Rabah, Literally, bear fruit and become great. This is God’s first blessing. And this blessing is also a command. God commanded them to reproduce and multiply. All forms of life are precious to God. Though animal life is not equal to that of a human, they are still God’s creation. God commanded a fair treatment of animals in the Law of Moses. They were even to partake in the Sabbath rest (Deut.5:14; Ex.23:4).
Genesis 1:24-31 The Sixth Day | Episode One, Two & Three
1:24 Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind. God Made the land animals…
- Cattle (bĕhemah) is a general designation of a variety of species; large cattle, and even reptiles.
- Beasts of the field (chay ‘erets) can mean living creatures of the earth. Its meaning is vague but likely implies wild animals.
- Creepy things (remes) is a very good translation. This refers to all kinds of insects.
1:26 Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. Elohiym is a Hebrew title for God used throughout scripture and in Genesis one. It is the plural form of the singular name of God, El. Elohiym is a title that indicates the triune nature of God.
Us, Our, Our. God speaks of Himself in the plural. We see God in verse one, the Spirit of God in verse two, and a possible reference to the Son of God in verse twenty-six. All evidence points to a Triune God in the first chapter of the Bible.
Imagine a god that is not triune; a god that in eternity past was all alone. Such a god would not want fellowship; such a god would not know how to give it. We worship a Triune God who is essentially a God of fellowship. In Eternity past, the Father was in sweet harmony with the Son, and they with the Holy Spirit. He welcomes us into His triune fellowship through faith in Jesus Christ. (For a thorough Creed of the trinty, refer to the Athanasian Creed.)
1:26, 27 Our image … Our likeness … So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Human beings are created “Imago Dei” -in the Image of God. Image (tselem) is a masculine noun. Likeness (dĕmuwth) is a feminine noun. They are very close in meaning. Though tselem (image) is sometimes referred negatively to an idol.
Though masculine and feminine words rarely have to do with gender, I believe the distinction is intentional here. It is possible that the masculine noun tselem is referring to the logical capacity that humanity uniquely possesses. We are intelligent creatures that can speak complex languages, make art, music, and more.
The feminine noun dĕmuwth possibly refers to the emotional capacity that God has given humanity. We can love and hate, experience joy and grief, communicate concern and hope at a capacity much higher than animals.
1:27 male and female He created them. Male (Zakar) comes from a root that means to remember, recall, call to mind, or to mention. This could indicate the male’s logical bent. Female (nĕqebah) comes from a root that means to pierce, perforate, bore, appoint, curse. This could point to the woman’s emotional/verbal bent. The image of God is more accurately observed in the unity of a male and female as they live unto God. In the fall, Adam and Eve lost the moral image of God. Only Christ can restore us as we are created in His image through the process of sanctification.
1:28 Then God blessed them. His blessing came in the form of a command. When our heart is loosed from the power of sin and we live under God’s power, His commands are a blessing and not a burden (1Jn.5:3).
Be fruitful and multiply. A command to reproduce.
Fill the earth and subdue. A command to spread throughout the entire earth and establish God’s peace.
Have dominion. A command to bring the animal kingdom under their control.
1:29, 30 I have given. God gave them food. Ps.136:25: “he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever.” All our needs are met because God has given them.
1:29 every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. They were vegetarians. This reflects the diet and that we will likely have in the New Heaven and earth. The effect of Christ’s rule will be peace on earth. The lion will lay down with the lamb. The bear will eat straw like an Ox. No longer will man learn war (Isa.2:1-6, 11:6-9, 35).
1:31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed, it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. God makes a positive declaration. Not just good, it was VERY GOOD! He is pleased by what He sees. In six 24-hour days, God created the universe from nothing by the power of His spoken Word.
The Old Earth Doctrine has become somewhat popular recently. Old Earth is a blanket term for different types of creationism; each of which teaches that the earth is millions if not billions of years old. What are some of these theories?
Evolutionary Creationism: This theology inserts God’s creative power into the Darwinian Theory. It is a Theistic Evolution.
Progressive Creationism: This theology teaches that God progressively created life over millions of years -though not necessarily according to Darwin’s theory. Some use this to explain where Cain’s wife came from. Often, in this theory, the six days are considered to be symbolic of an extensive period of time.
Ruin-Restoration Creationism: Also known as Gap Theory. This teaches that there was a habitable earth prior to the one we now inhabit. The order is as follows: God created the earth at some incalculable time in the past. This earth was inhabited by angels, dinosaurs, giants, etc. (the possibilities are endless); and God then destroyed the earth because of Satan’s rebellion. Some even say that the earth was “without form and void” because Satan was cast down to the earth; that like a meteor it ruined the world. This is all inserted between verses one and two. Then in Genesis 1:2 God begins a new creation.
The number one issue with all of these theories is just that, they are theories. The Bible teaches that God spoke the world into existence. He did not use an evolutionary process like Evolutionary Creationism asserts. Genesis one identifies the days of creation as 24 hour days, with an evening and morning. There were not extensive periods of time used by God to progressively created the universe as Progressive Creationism claims. And it is near heresy to insert a wild tale of another earth between verses one and two as Ruin-Restoration Creationism conjure up.
There is little to no biblical support for any of these. They must be inserted by the invention of men. Yes, there are some mysteries to creation that we may never solve on this side of eternity. However, we should trust that God has revealed everything necessary for our knowledge of Him and salvation. If we believe in Christ, we should trust the words of Christ, who Himself affirmed the authenticity and accuracy of the historical narrative of Genesis.