“An atheist once complained to a friend because Christians and Jews had their special holidays. ‘But we atheists,’ he said, ‘have no special day, no recognized national holiday. It’s just not fair.’ His friend replied, ‘Why don’t you celebrate April first?’
No one wants to be known as a fool. But a person is a fool if he doesn’t acknowledge God. The Lord has not left us without evidence of his existence. Romans 1:20 explains that ‘since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.’ Creation gives evidence in its order, design, and harmony that there is some cause for all this. And mankind must recognize that all creation points to the Creator. All of creation shouts that God exists and that he is a God of power and glory – a being worthy of worship. The fool may talk of ‘Mother Nature,’ but nature itself is powerless to produce life of any kind without the processes put into place by God himself. To substitute ‘Mother Nature’ for “God’ is to confuse the creature or creation with the Creator.”
[Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 17].
Things I don’t like
Because of sin entering the world, I don’t have the perfected body that God originally designed
I’ve worn glasses since the 2nd grade (because of my extreme nearsightedness, my glasses are really thick)
Mitral valve prolapse (heart issue)
High blood pressure
Things I like
I look young for my age
I have hair (you’d be surprised how many people comment about that)
God’s creation of me was good
Everyone probably has at least one physical attribute about themselves that they don’t like
The same is true for the physical attributes we do like about ourselves
The key is understanding that sin has caused the imperfections that we don’t like, but God’s creation of us is good
Last week we saw the general and broad description of creation, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Today we’ll see the specifics of God’s creative ability as He sovereignly speaks everything into being. He evaluates each part of His creation by saying that it is good. Through this we should understand that . . .
BIG IDEA – Everything God creates is good.
GOD (Genesis 1:3-31)
God’s sovereignty, power, and authority
Before we begin looking at the specifics of each day of creation, there are a few overarching principles that I want to highlight
PRINCIPLE #1 – God is sovereign!
The phrase, “And/Then God said . . .” is repeated nine times in the six days of creation (vv. 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 29)
“Genesis gives us the ‘what’ of creation. The ‘how’ is assumed by the concept of ‘God said . . . and it was so.’ This demonstrates the sovereignty of God and the fact that we as finite creatures will never know everything.” [Gangel & Bramer, 16]
God knew exactly what needed to be created and in what order (we’ll see this as we unpack the first two points)
God’s sovereignty means that He has the right to rule and He rules rightly in our lives
#1 – My Next Step Today Is To: Worship the Lord for His sovereign work in my life.
PRINCIPLE #2 – God is omnipotent!
The phrase, “And/Then God said . . .” also shows that He is all-powerful
He didn’t need to use any materials to create the things we’ll discuss today
He simply had to speak
That shows an incredible power that we cannot always comprehend
PRINCIPLE #3 – God has authority over all things!
There are two phrases that are used in the creation account that show God’s authority
“God called . . .” (vv. 5, 8, 10)
“Naming something, both today and in the ancient world, signifies an exercise of sovereign right. Only the parent of a child, or the inventor of an item, has the legal right and authority to name.” [Gangel & Bramer, 11]
God showed His superiority over all of creation when He named the various elements
I once heard a story about a mother who had given birth to a little girl. After the nurses had finished doing all of the newborn tests, washed her up, and put the hospital band around her ankle, they brought her back to the mother. The mother thought the hospital had named her daughter for her, because they had put her name on the band. She thought they had named her Female. She had read the gender of the baby and thought it was her name.
“God made/created . . .” (vv. 16 [2x], 21, 25, 27)
In making or creating something, the person who makes or creates is the one who has authority for it
God’s Word tells us that parents have authority over and responsibility for their children as they raise them
God has authority over us as His created beings
In our sinful, human state, we don’t want anyone to rule over us or have authority over us – we want to be our own boss
In order to spend eternity with God someday, we have to submit to His Lordship in our lives
We have to confess and repent of our sins
We have to acknowledge and accept God’s plan to redeem us through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Perfect Son, Jesus
#2 – My Next Step Today Is To: Acknowledge God’s authority over me, as His created being, by submitting every area of my life to Him.
God has created us and we are His
These three principles will be repeated throughout this passage today
Formed (vv. 3-13)
Day 1 (vv. 3-5)
God’s sovereignty and power shown in creating time
God spoke the words, “Let there be light,” and it happened!
The light was good, because it gave boundaries to the darkness
Everything God creates is good.
“Darkness is no longer boundless but is given its place in the rhythm of time.” [Noort cited by Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Pentateuch, Genesis, 29]
The darkness over the surface of the deep (Gen. 1:2) would be limited to a certain amount of time and it would not be complete darkness, without any light
God then separates the light from the darkness, which will be important for the rest of the days of creation, since the same phrase is repeated, “And there was evening, and there was morning . . .”
Where did this light come from if the sun, moon, and stars weren’t created until the fourth day?
The simple answer – from God
Psalm 104:2, He wraps himself in light as with a garment . . .
Habakkuk 3:3b-4, His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth. His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden.
Think about Moses face after he met with God in the Tent of Meeting (it glowed so brightly that the Israelites asked him to wear a veil)
Read 2 Corinthians 4:1-6
Revelation 21:23, The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
“God’s presence was now manifested (creation of light) that would allow God’s creative works to be visible.” [Gangel & Bramer, 12]
God’s authority shown in naming light and darkness
God called the light, “day”
God called the darkness, “night”
God has authority over light and darkness, over day and night
English translations of the Bible are split on the use of the definite article, “the”
“The” is a definite article, but the definite article is not in the original Hebrew
Eight of the fourteen English translations have, “the first day” (using the definite article)
Six of the fourteen English translations have either “day one,” or “one day” (without the definite article)
The only day that has the definite article in the Hebrew is the sixth day (we’ll talk about the significance of that when we get to the sixth day)
God created time on the first day by separating light from darkness
Day 2 (vv. 6-8)
God’s sovereignty and power shown in separating the waters
God spoke the words, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water,” and it happened!
I don’t know what it looked like before God separated the waters
Perhaps it was similar to one of those mornings here in Idaville when we have a heavy fog and visibility is limited
It’s like the sky is touching the earth
Adam and Eve were going to need to see the plant life and trees that they would be responsible to take care
The Hebrew word for expanse has the idea of something being spread out, stretched out, or beaten/hammered out (like a dome) – we should think of it like a tent or canopy that is spread out, not something solid
God’s authority shown in naming the expanse between the waters above and the waters below
We see that God names the expanse “sky”
He has authority over space
The author reminds us of God’s first creative act of making time when he repeats, “and there was evening, and there was morning . . .”
Once again, the better translation would be “a second day”
God has formed time and space, and now He’s going to form dry ground and vegetation
Day 3 (vv. 9-13)
God does two creative acts on day 3 (he also does two creative acts on day 6)
God’s sovereignty and power shown in separating the waters under the sky from the dry ground and allowing vegetation to grow
God said the words, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear,” and it happened!
We’re not given the details about how this process actually happened
“It is probable, however, that the separation was caused both by depression and elevation.” [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 34]
The sea bed got deeper and hills and mountains were pushed up above the water level
God also said, “Let the land produce vegetation,” and it happened!
There is some more information about the vegetation that is important
The NIV translation makes it sound like there were two kinds of vegetation that were produced – seed-bearing plants and trees that bear fruit with seed in it
The NASB, which is a more literal translation of the original, defines three kinds of vegetation – grass, small plants that have seeds, and fruit trees with seed in it
Whether it’s two or three kinds of vegetation, doesn’t really matter at this point
The vegetation was formed and ready to be harvested – Adam and Eve were not going to have to wait months or years for the plants and trees to begin producing
God is a God of order
When He created the vegetation, He did it in such a way that when we plant a certain kind of seed, we can know with certainty that a particular kind of plant is going to grow
Aren’t you glad for that?
Imagine for a moment that every year when you go to plant your garden, that you plant all the seeds you bought at the store, but you have no idea what will come up
Perhaps every seed you planted, even though the seeds looked different and were different sizes, produce the same crop (what if you don’t like lima beans, peas, green beans, brussel sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)
How frustrating would it be if the local orchard farmers had no idea what kind of fruit would be produced on their trees when they planted them
God created vegetation with a specific order in mind – each plant and tree that has a seed, will produce the exact same kind of vegetable or fruit
We can worship the Lord for being a God of order and not chaos
His order is evident in how He is forming the earth before filling it
God’s authority shown in naming the dry ground and waters below
God calls the dry ground, “land”
He calls the gathered waters, “seas”
It was good
The narrator does not use the phrase, “And God saw that it was good,” after day two of creation
Perhaps he waited to do this, because God continues to separate the waters under the sky and allows land to appear
Once the total separation of the waters under the sky is complete, God announces that all of the separation is good
Everything God creates is good.
A third day
God now moves from forming the creation to filling the creation
Filled (vv. 14-28)
What we see with days 4 through 6 is that they match with days 1 through 3 – there was a forming that took place in days 1 to 3, and now God will fill those same areas in days 4 to 6
Day 4 (vv. 14-19)
God’s sovereignty and power shown in creating lights in the sky to separate the day from the night
To separate the day from the night (pretty simple)
To serve as signs
It was to mark seasons and days and years
This is a function of time, which goes back to day one of creation when God created time
The movement of the sun and moon would provide a solar and lunar calendar
The Israelites would know when to conduct the morning and evening sacrifices, and when to celebrate Sabbath and all the other festivals and feasts that God would outline for them [Goldingay, 32]
One commentator mentioned that when a POW is in an underground cell, without access to light, they have to use other ways of determining the number of days – such as when they are fed (they don’t have the luxury of seeing sunlight and moonlight
Individuals who are blind often have a hard time knowing when to sleep, because they don’t have the cues from light and darkness
“Mesopotamian and Egyptian religions speak of their great cosmic gods of Heaven, Air, and Earth. The Sumerians have their Anu, Enlil, and Enki; the Babylonians have their trinity of stars, Sin, Shamash, and Ishtar; and Egypt has Nut, Shu, and Geb with the preeminent astral deity, the sun god Re. Genesis declares otherwise: Israel’s God rules the heavens and the earth.” [Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1A, Genesis 1-11:26, 154]
God is sovereign!
To give light on the earth (pretty simple)
Vegetation needs light to grow
We need light to function properly – sunlight helps to give us vitamin D, which helps to boost our immune system
We see the purposes for creating lights, but what kind of lights did God create?
Kinds of light
The greater light to govern the day (sun)
The lesser light to govern the night (moon)
Why aren’t the sun and moon mentioned or named?
“Whereas in the ancient Near East myths, the sun and the moon are principal deities, here they are nameless objects designed by the one Creator God to serve humanity.” [Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary, 62-63]
“. . . Genesis 1:14ff. is saying that these luminaries are not eternal; they are created, not to be served but to serve.” [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17, 127]
PRINCIPLE #4 – God desires that His people worship Him.
God is the Creator of everything, including the sun, moon, and stars
Therefore, they cannot and are not deities that we should worship
Now, I’m not talking about worshipping the “s.u.n.” through sun bathing (getting a tan)
One area of astrological worship that some people label as harmless is the daily horoscopes
They use the position of the stars, moon, etc. to predict what will happen to us today
This is a form of idol worship that elevates God’s created things to deity status
Pantheists and Druids worship trees and other created things as gods
Most of us probably aren’t using the daily horoscope or worshiping trees or rocks as gods, but we may be worshiping money, our car, celebrities, or some other possession and placing them in a higher position that God in our lives
As followers of Jesus Christ, we should not be involved in anything like this
#3 – My Next Step Today Is To: Make sure that I am worshiping God alone and not His creation.
Repeated in reverse order
We see the three purposes, for the created lights, stated again in reverse order in verses 17-18
This highlights verse 16 as the center of a chiastic structure and the thing that we are supposed to remember
God created two great lights and the stars
Everything God creates is good.
A fourth day
Day 5 (vv. 20-23)
God’s sovereignty and power shown in filling the sky and the seas
Day 5 is a matched pair with Day 2, because God is now filling what He formed/separated, the waters above from the waters below
God’s statement begins with a general description and then moves to more specifics
The waters were to teem with living creatures
The sky was to be filled with birds
The narrator then gives more specifics about the living creatures and the birds
Great creatures of the sea
In the ancient Near East mythology there were great monsters that occupied the seas
The Hebrew word is translated as “serpent, dragon, monster”
Scripture speaks of the great dragon in reference to Satan
Scripture also mentions Leviathan, a multi-headed sea serpent (Ps. 74:14; Isa. 27:1)
Most scholars see these great creatures of the sea as whales, sharks, giant octopus, crocodiles, large snakes, etc.
“The primeval monsters, which symbolize rebellion in ancient Near Eastern myths, are here depicted as merely a few of God’s many creatures, depending upon and ultimately serving God.” [Waltke, 63]
Every living and moving thing in the sea
This would include small fish
Other aquatic animals that glide or walk across the bottom of the seas (eels, crabs, lobsters, seahorses, sea slugs, sea cucumbers, etc.)
Every winged bird
According to their kind
Each sea creature and animal will reproduce its own kind
Each different kind of bird will reproduce its own kind
We see again that God is a God of order, not chaos
“The great Architect of the universe does not permit the colors of his canvas to run together.” [Mathews, 157]
Everything God creates is good.
God’s blessing on the sea creatures and the birds was for them to be fruitful and multiply
They were to fill the waters and the sky
God again marks time – a fifth day
Day 6 (vv. 24-28)
God’s sovereignty and power shown in filling the land
Day 6 and Day 3 are paired together and they both have two creative acts
God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds . . .,” and it happened
What animals were created?
Livestock – domesticated animals that would be used to help with farming and such (they dwell with man)
Creatures that move along the ground – animals that are smaller and perhaps move across the ground without feet or with feet that are very close to ground (reptiles, insects, worms, etc.) [Keil & Delitzsch, 38]
Wild animals – those animals that live apart from man
We see once again that God is a God of order
Just as He did with the vegetation and the sea and air animals, the land animals will reproduce their own kind
Everything God creates is good.
God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness . . .” (two weeks from now, we’ll see the specifics about how that took place)
Who is God talking to when He says “us” and “our”?
Some scholars believe He is talking to a court of angels and “Sons of God” in heaven
Others believe He is talking to Jesus and the Holy Spirit
Even though the original author and readers of Genesis, probably did not have a theology or understanding of the Trinity, since that is introduced and taught in the New Testament, I still believe that God is talking with the Jesus and the Holy Spirit
We see in Genesis 1:2 that the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters
John 1:1-3, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
Humans were created in God’s image and therefore they have dominion over the other created things on earth
Dominion over the earth
This control is not a domineering, harsh, overload, kind of rule
It has the idea of guiding and taking care of God’s creation
It’s with compassion and not with a desire to exploit
God’s image and likeness
Humans are the only created things that are made in the image and likeness of God
Likeness – “. . . probably involves the personality, aesthetic appreciation, authority, moral, and spiritual qualities that both God and humans share, unlike the animals.” [Gangel & Bramer, 14]
Image – Waltke cites D. J. A. Clines characteristics of being made in the image of God [Waltke, 65-66]
“First, the term image refers to a statue in the round, suggesting that a human being is a psychosomatic unity.”
“Second, an image functions to express, not to depict; thus, humanity is a faithful and adequate representation, though not a facsimile.”
“Third, an image possesses the life of the one being represented.”
“Fourth, an image represents the presence of the one represented.”
“Fifth, inseparable from the notion of serving as a representative, the image functions as ruler in the place of the deity.”
God’s design for the family
PRINCIPLE #5 – God established the family from the beginning (male and female).
Notice here that God created man, both male and female
That’s important, especially when it comes to the blessing He makes in verse 28
If God’s design for the family wasn’t a man and a woman, then there wouldn’t have been a need to create both male and female
He created both male and female, because that is how they would be fruitful and increase in number
For procreation to take place, by God’s design, there has to be a male and female
If we set aside the Bible and God’s design for a family and procreation, we still have the anatomical hurdle to overcome
A man and a man cannot be fruitful and increase in number
A woman and a woman cannot be fruitful and increase in number
I know what some will say, “But two women can have a baby together, through artificial insemination!”
Did you notice the one key word there? – “artificial” – it’s not by God’s natural design
What we do is justify in our minds what we want to do, even if it goes against God’s perfect design
#4 – My Next Step Today Is To: Embrace God’s design for the family as one man and one woman.
God’s blessing for human beings included being fruitful and increasing in number
They were also to fill the earth and subdue it
God mentions again the responsibility to rule over the other created things
God created the land animals and the human beings on the sixth day
He has one more instructional item for His creation, both animals and humans
Fed (vv. 29-30)
God gives all the fruits and vegetables to humans as their food source
In the perfect created world, at the beginning, humans were probably vegans
God gives the seed-bearing plants to the animals for food
It appears at this point that there are no carnivores, or the animals who are carnivores today were herbivores at the beginning
The prophet Isaiah, in prophesying about the new heaven the new earth says this, The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 65:25)
God said it and it happened!
Finished (v. 31)
God saw everything he made and it was very good (this includes all six days of creation)
Everything God creates is good.
God marks time for the sixth time
The definite article is used in the Hebrew with the sixth day
So, the NIV has it right here, the sixth day
The definite article used here brings everything to completion
Are you worshiping God for His sovereign work in your life?
Are you recognizing God’s authority over you by submitting every area of your life to Him?
Are you worshiping God alone and not His creation?
Have you embraced God’s design for the family as one man and one woman?
As followers of Jesus Christ, we have to lead the way in modeling these principles and truths from His Word.
“Professor and journalist Terry Mattingly writes:
[In his talks, author Phillip Johnson quotes] the Gospel of John, which states: ‘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 were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.’
After reading this, Johnson asks: ‘Is that true or false?’
Then he turns this Scripture inside out and creates a credo for use in sanctuaries aligned with the National Center for Science Education. It sounds like this: ‘In the beginning were the particles and the particles somehow became complex, living stuff. And the stuff imagined God.’
After reading this, Johnson again asks: ‘Is that true or false?’
Johnson argues that today's debates over science, creation and morality are, literally, clashes between people who believe there is scientific evidence that God created man and those who believe there is scientific evidence that man created God.
‘If there is no Creator who has a purpose for your life, then there is no such thing as sin,’ he said. ‘Sin would mean that you are in a wrong relationship to your Creator. Well, you can't be in the wrong relationship with the particles. They don't care. So you don't need a Savior to save you from the consequences of your wrong relationship with the particles.’
‘When you give away creation, you have given away everything.’”
Terry Mattingly, senior fellow for journalism at the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, from his column "Phillip E.