When you look up at the sky at night what are your initial thoughts? When you see the immense universe, does this cause you to think about how small and microscopic our world is in comparison to it? The past few nights have been very clear and when you looked up at the sky you could see thousands upon thousands of stars. What we see with the naked eye pales in comparison to what is in the universe. It is estimated that there are1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (one septillion) or 10 to the 24th power stars in our observable universe and knows how many more are out there. Is that too mind numbing?
Let’s talk on on a smaller scale; when you travel to the countryside and see the beauty of the landscape or that waters that surrounds you, does it draw your attention to God? When traveling up north or to the west do you see the creativity of God in the hills and the mountains? Do you see his humor in creating both land and sea creatures? Do you see the thoughtfulness of God when you observe complexity of the human body and mind? I can answer these questions honestly, yes, I do!
Last week I talked about the absolute necessity of knowing and believing in faith that God is the foundation of all creation. We must establish in our hearts that God is the creator of all. Genesis does not try to explain whether God exists or not, it just starts with the truth, “In the beginning God…” Today we are continuing our series, “God’s Story from Beginning to End” as we start at the beginning with the creation account. So, let’s begin
Vs 1: Genesis not only establishes that God is the God of beginnings, but he is also the God who creates. Immediately the Bible establishes that God is the creator of everything and proceeds from verses 3 on how the process was done.
“Created” – The Hebrew word for create is bara’, and it is always used in the OT with God as the subject; while it is not always used to describe creation out of nothing, it does stress God’s sovereignty and power.” It is in this creation account we witness everything (The universe) being created.
Vs 2: In the beginning the earth was a created by God as an unorganized chaotic dark mass (deep or waters) and empty. The Spirit of God mysteriously hovered or moved above the earth. This implies the Spirit or wind (ruah) of God was actively present and preparing for the acts of creation that were to follow.
Vs. 3 - 24: There is power in God’s voice. For the next six segments (or days) we see the active spoken Word of God portrayed in the process of creation. Verses 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, begin with “Then God said…” with the end result “and it was so.” God spoke and whatever he said happened. Not only do we see the act of creation in God’s Word but also his pleasure with the outcome. Starting on the third day through the sixth we see God’s response to his creation, “And God saw that it was good.” At the conclusion on creation, I imagine God stepping back and looking at all he created and as verse 31 says, “and he saw, it was very good.” Everything God creates is good (this is an understatement) and it is important for us to know that we (humanity) are included in pleasure we bring to God.
Day 1 – “Let there be light” The first act of God’s creation is light. On this first act the darkness was consumed by light. Light establishes the first day. Note it is not the stars or the sun that are the source of light… they are not created until day four. For the first three days the light that shone was from another source other than the sun. Light in the Bible is often symbolic of salvation, joy, and life. One could read this as God creates light to bring life to the dark chaotic earth. The light is called day and the dark is called night. The NET Bible says the verb separate here explains how God used the light to dispel the darkness. It did not do away with the darkness completely, but made a separation. The light came alongside the darkness, but they are mutually exclusive.
Day 2: Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.” This is the visible expanse that separates the water of the earth with the waters above. This is what we call the sky or atmosphere.
Day 3: Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened. Land and vegetation were created on the third day. R. Kent Hughes describes this vividly, “There was no new creation here, but a final ordering. The world as we know it had been given a shape. The chaos had disappeared.” One can only imagine what was happening as the crystal blue waters of the earth recede as the ground below shakes and comes to the surface to create land that will be suitable for farming and vegetation. It is at this point the earth is now suitable for living organisms.
Day 4: “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night.” On the fourth day God creates the sun, the moon, and the stars. Once again, we see the power of God’s word as he speaks into existence the sun, moon and stars specifically for the purpose of giving light to the earth. The sun will rule the day and the moon will rule the night.
Day 5: “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind” On the fifth day sea creatures and birds were created. Did you know there are 700,000 to one million species that live in the oceans with 1/3 to 2/3’s of the species still undiscovered? There are about 10,000 bird species in the world. On this fifth day God was busy creating these species and giving them the direct command and blessing to be fruitful and multiply.
Day 6: Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened. On the sixth day God created all creatures great and small… including humanity. God created ALL living things on the earth
Vs. 26: Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” The sixth day is the climax of the creation account. It is here that we find the origins of humanity, our purpose, and our calling. You and I are created in the image of God. Again, before we can move forward in Genesis, we must be good with this. Are you? Because if you are not then you are going to have a hard time with the words that follow. We are created in the image of God after his likeness. This is what sets us apart from all the other creation. We have intellect. This means we can think, we can reason, we can solve problems. We have a spirit or soul. We are relational. We can give love and we can receive love. And unlike any other species we have morals. We have a conscience. We can know the difference between right and wrong. Whether we choose to make the right moral decisions is another issue, yet we can know the difference to choose between right and wrong. We are created in the image of God; we are not gods; we are only created in his likeness. This means we bear his image, and we are his representatives.
Genesis 2:7: Let’s pause for a moment and move forward to this passage. This is a detailed account of the creation of humanity. The author begins with God forming man from the dust of the earth and breathes life into him. Through this traditional image Genesis implies that people are by nature more than material (we are more than an empty vessel); we have a spiritual, God-breathed, element. Man is more than a lump of clay or a pile of dust. He is a creature that was crafted by the hand of God with great care and has received life and breath from God himself. Genesis 2:7 says, “and the man became a living person.” Some Bibles translate the word “person” as “creature”. However, this word creature has been translated a “being” or even “soul”. If you note in God’s act of creation he merely speaks and things, come into existence; yet with man we are told that he created or crafted man from the dust or clay and made it into something new.
Vs. 2:18, 19: If we move forward even further to verses 18 and 19, we see for the first time God does not find pleasure in his creation. It is not because he is not satisfied with creation; he notices that man was not finding the companionship that he obvious craved. He notes that man is alone. He has no companion. There is no suitable or compatible helper to assist him. God did not want Adam to be alone. God in his tender care, grace and love creates woman for the man from the man.
God causes a deep sleep to fall over Adam and he takes a rib from his side and forms and fashions the woman. I love what Martin Luther’s wrote about the creation of woman, “God might have taken a bone from a toe and thus signified that Adam was to rule over her; or He might have taken a bone from his head to indicate her rule over him. But by taking a bone from his side, God implied equality and mutual respect.” The result, woman, was pleasing to Adam. He declares, “Finally! I have someone like me, and someone who is compatible with me and can be my companion!”
So here we see a more detailed overview of the creation of humanity. This is a significant account because it not only details our origins it also shows our worth as God’s creation. God has taken great care in creating humanity as he formed him and breathed life into him. We are not an accident, an afterthought, or an abomination. My friends we are truly God’s beloved creation, and we have a purpose.
Once humanity was made in the image and likeness of God man and woman were given purpose…
Genesis 1:29: Now God gives permission for humanity to eat of the plants of the earth that he has provided for them. He placed man in the Garden of Eden to tend it, enjoy it, and rule over it lovingly as God’s representative. The man and woman had the joy of caring for God’s creation and walking with Him in the cool of the day. It was glorious. It was created for humanities enjoyment and God’s glory. It was paradise. However, God did have rules. They were not permitted to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. One simple request… Enjoy everything in the garden but stay away from that tree. We will return to this tree next week.
Everything is great. The sixth day is complete. God steps back and looks at his creation… The world, the atmosphere, the universe, the land, the sea, the birds, the sea creatures, the beasts of the land and humanity… everything is VERY GOOD.
Day 7: God rested. On the seventh day God’s work was finished. It was complete. Everything He set out to do was finished and then He rested. There is no implication that God dropped everything and went into cruise mode. The word rested is translated as “ceased” in some versions and the Hebrew word is “shabbat” which is where we get the word Sabbath. It is interesting that the rest God took was not out exhaustion because he was tired, but it was because he ceased, finished, or completed his work of creation. On the seventh day God had Sabbath. This means not simply ceasing work to pick it up again but being satisfied with what He had done and considered these things complete.
In Romans 1:20 the Apostle Paul acknowledges, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” The glory and the splendor of the invisible God can be seen throughout creation. God has revealed himself to us through creation. When we look around, we don’t see creation as God, but we see God the Creator.
I am continually in awe when I consider God and his handiwork. When I think of these things, I can’t help but respond as David does at the beginning and the end of Psalm 8, “O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth.”
Take some time this week and go out in the evening and look up to the heavens or take in the view of God’s handiwork in his creation and consider how great our God is! Thank and praise Him because He has entrusted us with his wonderful creation, and He has crowned us with glory and honor.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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