Creation and the Worship of God

Genesis 1:1-2:3 – A Living Commentary

B) THE MEANING OF CREATION

The creation account is a glorious record of God's works. All of it was and remains to be good.

Universe made in 7 days."The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works." (Psalms 145:9).

"Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures." (James 1:17,18).

Wherever we turn, we see the awesome power and design of God. Only in later years with powerful telescopes, satellites and precise computer-enhanced microscopes are we beginning to see the true magnificence of His works. All these marvelous designs swirl about our lives providing more and more evidence of the glory of God.

How do our hearts respond to this God? Do we ever think He could have done better? With our height? Our race? Our sex? Our life? We too are the creation of God called to fulfill His wonderful purpose and design for our lives. Shall we testify to His righteousness in wrath at our ways of trying to foil His purposes or shall we use our life to amplify His light, love and goodness through our lives.

The creation account is headed by Genesis 1:1,

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1).

Heaven and Earth: This phrase can stand for the universe or totality. Some think of heaven as the spiritual aspect of the world while the earth the material. Others think that the heavens speak of God’s realm, perhaps including even the stars but certainly including the spiritual world that cannot be seen with the naked eye. The best description is everything but God Himself.

Below is a chart of the seven days and what occurred on each of them. This will take us right to the end of this section in Genesis 2:3.

FORMED

FILLED

Day #1 LIGHT
      (Genesis 1:1-5)

Created light.
Separated light from darkness (4).

Day #4 LUMINARIES
      (Genesis 1:14-19)

Created great (sun) and lesser light (moon).1
Created stars also.

Day #2 SKY & SEAS
      (Genesis 1:6-8)

Created an atmosphere.
Separated waters from waters (6).
(Expanse seems to be the atmosphere or sky).

Day #5 BIRDS & FISH
      (Genesis 1:20-23)

Filled the sea with creatures .
Created sea monsters.
God created sky creatures: every winged bird.

Day #3 LAND (PLANTS)
      (Genesis 1:9-13)

Creation of dry land (continent).
Separated waters from land (sea).
Earth sprout vegetation/trees with seeds.

Day #6 ANIMALS AND MAN
      (Genesis 1:24-31)

Created land creatures: walking and crawling.
Created man in God's image.
Created male and female.
Charged them to rule over the sky, seas and land.
God's provision for man and animal alike.

Day #7 THE SABBATH REST
     (Genesis 1:2:1-3)

God completed the heavens and earth (form) and all their hosts (fill).
God rested on 7th day from His work.                                          
God blessed and sanctified the 7th day.                                        

Most people who discuss this chapter never get to understand the message. They are too busy repeating senseless arguments. We have included four theories and given simple answers so that we might not get consumed in the arena of arguments: Gap Theory, Literal days, Framework Hypothesis, Modern Science.

The Gap Theory

Hebrew conjunction Waw.The Gap Theory was popular teaching back in the 19th century in Great Britain and America. It proposed that there was a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. There was never found any support for this.

With a little bit of investigation we discover that Genesis 1:1 starts a whole section up to 2:3. Every verse begins with the same popular Hebrew conjunction (waw- see right). Genesis 2:4 starts a new section; it does not start with this conjunction (can mean 'and,' 'but,' then,' 'so,' etc.).

The English versions don't necessarily show this unity because they use different English words for the same Hebrew word. The NASB insists on starting each with a conjunction but the NIV departs and does not always start with a conjunction (examples 1:12, 16,17). The KJV alone faithfully repeats the 'And' at the beginning of every verse. We see one unity, one creation. No gaps.


The Literal Days of Creation

One wonders why there is so much time spent on whether the days in Genesis are true days as we know them or not. There are many today who still deny a literal day. The basic reason these people deny literal days is to bring scientific knowledge under the umbrella of Christian teaching. With good motives, they fear that if what they discovered that which did not agree with the scriptures, then they would need to give up their faith. But their faith is weak and inconsistent and their arguments have done much harm to many Christians.

About Time

The early church father, Saint Augustine, said about whether there was time before creation, “I know well enough what it is, provided that nobody asks me; but if I am asked what it is and try to explain, I am baffled!”

St. Augustine

These proponents of non-literal days assert that a day could mean any time period. During the days of the early 20th century, evolutionary proponents seemed to have an edge on facts that went contrary to the scriptures. But with further research, we are seeing that truth always supports truth. We should trust God's Word and just wait on those things that seem incompatible with what God's Word says.

For example, at one time evolutionists had us all believing that man evolved and used different 'link' fossils to prove it. Now their work is proven untrue. The books don't mention these fossils anymore.

As discoveries have widened, we have discovered how cells work. The complication chemical gene structure could not have evolved. Scientists are abandoning gradual evolution. The cell functions as a wonderful efficient factory that could not have come by chance.

Others are ensnared by the geological strata. They are convinced the aging of the rocks deny God's Word so they change God's Word. We just don't know enough. Interesting scientific research at the University of Arizona shows that the supposed time needed to lay such strata could be done rather rapidly using Mt. Helena's volcano as an example. His repeatable experiment demonstrates the just what we see in our strata today. We simply need more time to understand God's ways; we must not depart from God's Word.

Oil can be produced from organic material in 20 minutes.
Many thin strata layers are now interpreted to have taken days rather than thousand of years.

Some still scared about this suggest that the scriptures can be taken either way. Let us note the most basic arguments for literal days of creation.

(1) Usage of the Word Day

The word 'day' is used in Genesis 1 to convey the time period of a day as we today know it. Nothing has changed. Yes, Genesis 1:14 does use day as an opposite of night suggesting day can be used as a period of daylight. In English we use the word, daytime. The Hebrew word for 'day' (yom) can have a range of meanings as most Hebrew words do.

However, whenever the ordinal number is used with day, it is always the 24 hour day referred to, though starting with the darkness (evening) and proceeding into the light (daytime).

Genesis 1:5
Genesis 1:8
Genesis 1:13
Genesis 1:19
Genesis 1:23
Genesis 1:31
And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.
And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

The seventh day is purposely kept open ended. We see from this that if this was not a literal day, then it would not make sense to speak of days in such clarity and finality. The burden is on those who see these as non-literal 24 hours to show that the sun has changed axis or scripture that speaks otherwise.

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(2) Day before Light

Some are concerned about the term 'day' being applied before the sun and moon was made. This can be easily understood once we allow the fact that God established the day (time) before the sun and moon. He made the sun and moon to govern the day. This is not a totally foreign scriptural idea.

And there shall no longer be any night; and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:5).

(3) The Sabbath Command

The first time the Ten Commandments are given in Exodus 20:8-11 as part of the Sanctity Covenant, God authoritatively commands His people to keep the sabbath. The pattern is based upon the creation as the following scripture shows us. This makes perfect sense if there was a literal week of creation. We are meant to understand the six days of man's labor to imitate God's six days.

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 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 20:8-11).

The sabbath, of course, was to imitate the seventh day. This argument only works if there were literal days.


The Framework Hypothesis

The Framework Hypothesis is a particular 'mentology' (i.e. mental methodology) which asserts that the days are not literal days or even time periods but literary markers for assumed poetic and organizational reasons. The markers then form a framework in which we are to understand the whole creation passage. There are many theories not worth discussing and this is one of them!

If these words are not presenting what God said and did, then they are not truth but falsehood. People use such arguments to introduce their teachings which disagree with scripture.

The concept of create and creation is preserved for us all the way through God's Word all confirming a genuine creation by God (119 times - search 'creat'). Besides this, note Jesus' own words.

"But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE." (Mark 10:5,6).

"Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk in it," (Isaiah 42:5).


Modern Science Relation to Creation

Modern science is based upon three principles. Interestingly, all three had its origin in or were consistent with Christian teachings.

   1) The world is real and the human mind is capable of knowing real nature.
   2) The structure of science is based upon cause and effect.
   3) Nature is unified.

Christian scientists founders of key creation (scientific) principles.

Isaac Newton - Dynamics
Johann Keplar - Astronomy
Robert Boyle - Chemistry
Lord Kelvin - Thermodynamics
Louis Pasteur - Bacteriology
Michael Faraday - Electromagnetics

Even non-Christian scientists can apply these principles from Creation to their work and make discoveries. If they do not believe in God, though, are they not embarrassed using Christian teaching to live out their lives?! They are living by faith.
If we have so much confidence in the world God made, maybe we ought to put more trust in God who made and sustains the universe!

What are the lessons we can learn from this Genesis account? •> Next

 


Genesis: The Book of Foundations - The Living CommentaryThe Old Testament LibraryThis is just a sample of the great amount of materials found in the book: Genesis: The Book of Foundations. Only some of our Genesis materials have been put on the web.

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The Genesis Index

Genesis Introduction:  Introduction to Genesis |  Outline and Genealogies  |  Genesis' Chronologies (5 & 11) |   Unified Themes of Genesis
Genesis 1-2:3:   The Worship of the Creator |  The Meaning of Creation  |  Creation Lessons on God.  |  God and the World's Religions
Genesis 2:4-17:    Preparation for Man (Genesis 2:4-6) |  Creation of Man (Gen. 2:7, 1:26-27) |  Purpose for Man (Genesis 2:8-17)
Genesis 2:18-25: The Foundations of Marriage
Genesis 3:1-13: The Fall of Man | Temptation (Genesis 3:1-6) | The Fall (Genesis 3:7-13) | Questions 3:1-6 | Questions 3:7-13
Genesis 5-9: Genesis Flood | Genesis 05 Genealogical Chart
Genesis 10-11: Noah's Sons| Questions | History Genesis 10:6-11 | Tower of Babel Genesis 11:1-9 | Questions | Culture Genesis 11
Genesis 12-22:   The Call: Genesis 12.1The Promises: Genesis 12.2-3  |  The Means: Genesis 15The Testing: Genesis 22
Genesis 12-16: Introduction |   Place Detour: Genesis 12:10-20; 20 |  Person Detour: Genesis 12:13-14Procedure Detour: Genesis 16-17
Genesis 14:1-24: Three Steps to Spiritual Growth | #1 Observe | #2 Utlilitize | #3 Secure
Genesis 18-19: Cultural Woes of Sodom | Appearing to Abraham | Visit to Sodom | Debate of Homosexuality and Sodom
Genesis 21-26: Isaac's Model for Godly Marriages
Genesis 27-36: Genesis 27-36 Jacob's Life of Faith
Genesis 25-37: Influence of Sin | God and Man's Sin | Understanding Man's Sin Nature | Understanding Jacob's Sins
Genesis 37-50: Joseph’s Dillusonment | Genesis 42-47:12: The Big Picture | Conclusion | The Reason



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Biblical Foundations for Freedom

Notes
(1) Purpose of great lights was to give light on earth, to rule (govern) day and night, and to separate light from darkness.