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Genesis 1:1-5, 26-31 Notes

Genesis 1:1-5, 26-31; 2:1-3 - Bible Ref

INTRODUCTION:  Genesis 1 is nothing less than a bare-bones claim that God created the universe. Setting all of the debates on models and interpretations aside, the chapter undeniably insists on one thing: God means to be known as the Creator of all things. Written in the original Hebrew language according to a rigid, poetic structure, the chapter unfolds in a series of patterns and revelations. For those who believe these words, our response should be nothing less than to worship our Maker.  Genesis 1:1-13 describes the first three days of creation. These follow a common pattern. First, God speaks, then He creates, then names His creation, then declares that creation ''good.'' Finally, the day is numbered. Each of these first three days prepares creation for what God will create in the second three days. Day one creates light, night and day, preparing for the sun and moon on day four. Day two creates the oceans, preparing for sea creatures on day five. Day three creates land and plants, preparing for animals and humans on day six.  Genesis 1:26-31 describes the origin of human beings, the most unique of all God's creations.  As with other aspects of the creation account, very few details are given. The information we are given, however, is unmistakable. Man is uniquely created ''in the image'' of God, invested with authority over the earth, and commanded to reproduce. These points each establish critical aspects of the Christian worldview, and the proper attitude towards humanity. As with other portions of this chapter, debates over certain details do not override the central truth: man is the purposeful creation of the One True God, and represents something special in this universe as a result. 

v. 1: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. - The very first book of the Bible begins with two equally enormous claims: There was a "beginning," and God created everything. This immediately contradicts the view of an eternal or cyclical universe, and any religious view which takes the universe to be an accident, the product of many gods, or part of some other process. History shows that the idea of a "beginning" is so theologically loaded that secular science resisted it until it literally became impossible to deny. ▪ Genesis 1 is a controversial chapter. Debates rage about the meanings and implications of many words. How long ago did God create? How exactly did He create? What were His methods? Much has been written to discuss, debate, and illuminate those questions. The primary debate is over the extent to which Genesis 1 is meant to be read as symbolism and poetry, versus being read as unvarnished narrative. To some extent, such arguments are beside the point of this passage.   ▪ Those who take the Scriptures as inspired must agree that God means for us to understand Him first and foremost as the Creator. Of course, everyone does not agree that the Bible is the authoritative and inspired Word of God. This then produces even more controversies regarding Genesis. That, as well, is beyond the scope of this commentary.   ▪ For the most part, we will stick to the core, crucial, clear ideas. What's beyond debate is that the opening words of the Bible clearly claim that God-who we will come to know as the God of Israel-created the heavens and the earth. That is, He created everything in the natural world from the heavens, the sky, and space, to our planet and everything on it.   ▪ The text begins by saying that God created "in the beginning." Even conservative, Christian scholars come to slightly different conclusions based on that verse, depending on how they understand the original Hebrew language was intended to be read. Was this beginning the instant of "time zero," when there was no "before?" Or, is this a reference to "the beginning [of God's creative work]," or the "season of creation"?   ▪ However we answer that question, it is an awesome thought that one being created all of our universe. Only God could do such a thing. The following verses will add details to God's work as Creator, crediting Him with forming various aspects of the universe. This is crucial not only as a means of giving God due credit, but also for dispelling suggestions that God was uninvolved or disinterested in these creations. And, these words will counter claims that the stars, planets, or plants or animals, are themselves divine and worthy of worship.

v. 2: And the earth was a formless and desolate emptiness, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. - Genesis 1:1 announced that God created everything: "the heavens and the earth." Verse 2 begins to describe the process of that creation. ▪ According to this text, the earth was empty and literally in chaos. The Hebrew words used here are tōhu and bōhu, translated as "formless" and "void." Segments of Bible scholarship disagree about whether this "formlessness" was the state of the earth immediately after the initial creation, or the result of some events between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. In either case, at this point in the story, the earth is covered with deep waters. A darkness was over the surface, and the Spirit of God was over the waters.   ▪ Why darkness? Light will not be created until the following verse. There can be only darkness at this point. Still, God's Spirit is moving in this darkness. God is preparing to speak, to act with great power to bring order and light to this chaos.

v. 3: Then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light. - This verse records God's first spoken words in the Bible: words of creation. God literally speaks light into existence in the universe. As used in this form, in this passage, this is meant to be understood as natural light. While aspects of Genesis chapters 1 and 2 are often debated, this is clearly not intended as a metaphor for spiritual light or something else. Before this moment, light did not exist in the physical universe (Genesis 1:2). God intends for us to understand Him as the Creator even of light itself. Without Him, there would be only darkness. ▪ Some might object to the idea of light existing before stars or the sun. As an interesting scientific point, though, secular models such as the Big Bang themselves theorize that light-photons-actually existed before complex forms of matter. In other words, just as the Bible stated that there was "a beginning" long before secular science admitted the same, the Bible also said that light existed before stars, well in advance of secular science coming to the same conclusion.


v. 4: God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. - This is the first of several times in the creation account where God will pronounce what He has just made as "good." He made light, and He approved of it. Pointedly, God did not call the darkness good. In Hebrew philosophy, "light" was the ultimate ideal, and a symbol of wisdom, goodness, and knowledge. There is powerful symbolism in God's choice to create light among the darkness of the universe. ▪ This verse begins a pattern repeated for the rest of the passage. In each of the next days of creation, God will speak something into existence, see the effect it has, declare it good, and then the text will declare the number of the day.   ▪ Here, God is said to have separated darkness and light. The two would exist in the world separately from each other, with light being the dominant force. To the extent that light appears, darkness will always disappear. Darkness has no defense against light, since "darkness" does not really exist, in and of itself. It is simply the absence of light.

v. 5: God called the light 'day,' and the darkness He called 'night.' And there was evening and there was morning, one day. - Genesis is a book of firsts. In verse 3, we heard God's first recorded words in the Bible: "Let there be light." We saw God's first approval of something as "good." Now, in verse 5, we see God name something for the first time. ▪ God named the light day and the darkness "night." Naming things is a significant act in the book of Genesis, as well as in the rest of the Bible. Naming something, in the ancient mindset, is a claim to ownership. Having the right to name something means claiming sovereignty over that thing. Later, God will task Adam to name the animals as part of his human work in ruling and subduing the earth.   ▪ In part, then, we see that God means to remain Lord over night and day. He created them. He intended for day and night to exist; they are not merely an accidental consequence of the natural world. Another way to apply this point is that God is not merely creating and then allowing this creation to spin out of control. What He has created, He still maintains authority over.   ▪ Finally, the verse ends with the blueprint used for the description of each of the six days of creation: There was evening and there was morning, the first day. From very early on, the people of Israel thought of a day as beginning in the evening, at sunset, and continuing until the sun set on the following day. That may explain the wording in Genesis 1 of "evening and morning."   ▪ Some scholars suggested that these days need not have been strict 24 hour days in the sense that we think of them. As noted before, there is nothing explicit in the text to dispute or support this claim. Nor is there anything which explicitly proves or disproves that they are most certainly 24-hour days. The God who is capable of speaking light into the world is certainly capable of creating as much as He would choose to in a 24-hour period of time, or of creating using a longer process. The important details are those which God has actually given: He created light, and called it "good."  


v. 26: Then God said, 'Let Us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the livestock and over all the earth, and over every crawling thing that crawls on the earth.' - The creation week now reaches its climax with the creation of human beings. This verse is breathtaking in its implications and puzzling in the questions it raises. ▪ God decrees, "Let us make man in our image," using a Hebrew word-ē'nu-which is unmistakably plural. Why does God speak of Himself as more than one person? Scholars have offered a wide variety of ideas over the centuries. Three explanations are offered more often than any others.   ▪ First, God may be referring to Himself and the angels. This seems unlikely given the rest of Scripture's depiction of angels. These beings are presented as servants and messengers, not creators or rulers.   ▪ Second, this could be what scholars call a plural of self-exhortation or self-encouragement, meaning He is referring only to Himself. This would also be referred to as "the royal 'we,'" something we see used by human kings and rulers when making proclamations or decrees.   ▪ The third possibility is that God is speaking as a Trinity, of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. According to Scripture as a whole, the full Trinity was present at creation. Genesis 1:2 describes the Spirit of God hovering over the waters, and John 1:1-3 reveals that the Word, Christ, was active in the creation of all things.   ▪ Next, this verse raises the question of what it means to be made in God's image, or in His likeness. Without question, this statement does not mean that God created humans to resemble Him physically (John 4:24). Rather, this seems to support the idea that God endowed humans with a certain kind of awareness, one which animals and birds and fish were not given. In other words, humans would possess the capacity for reason, morality, language, personality, and purpose. In particular, the ability to use morality and spirituality are unique to human beings among God's creations on earth. Like God, we would possess the capacity to experience and understand love, truth, and beauty.   ▪ Humans are made in God's image in another way: as a model, or a representative. God is the Maker, and all of creation belongs to Him. He is Lord over it. However, in the moment of creation, God gives mankind the responsibility to rule over all other life He has made on the earth. In that sense, humans would stand as God's image, God's representatives, on earth as we rule over and manage all the rest of His creation.

v. 27: So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. - The blueprint for Genesis chapter 1 is God speaking His intent, then creating. In the previous verse, God decreed what should be made and why. Now in this verse, He makes the first of all human beings. The verse is written with a poetic structure of three lines. God creates man in his own image. In the image of God man is created. God creates both male and female. ▪ One meaning of being created in the image of God is mankind's unique capacity for moral and rational awareness. God made humans to be inherently different from animals. He built into us some of His own qualities; we share with Him the experience of personality, truth, beauty, meaning, will, and reason. These attributes allow us to relate to God in ways other created beings cannot. Another meaning is that humans were meant to stand as the image of God's authority on the earth as we rule over and subdue the rest of His creation.   ▪ That we are made by God, in the image of God, is what gives all men and women deep value. That point is echoed throughout the Bible. James, for instance, points out that we ought not curse human beings because they (we) are made in God's likeness (James 3:9). Those who bear God's image should not be treated disrespectfully or discarded easily. It is not surprising, or illogical, to see that cultures which reject the idea of man's creation in the image of God are cultures which terrorize and abuse other human beings.

v. 28: God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' - After creating humans as male and female in the previous verse, God pronounces His blessing on these first people who are made in His image. Built into the blessing is the capacity to reproduce new generations of human beings-and the command to do so. ▪ God gives four instructions: Be fruitful (or "bear fruit," have babies). Multiply (as each new generation has more kids and they have more kids). Fill the earth (populate). Have dominion (or authority and management) over all the other creatures.   ▪ These commands frame many important aspects of a Christian worldview. One crucial point to note is that the commands to reproduce and multiply came prior to the fall of man in Genesis chapter 3. In blunt terms, this means that God created mankind with the capacity for sex, and sexual reproduction, and intended us to utilize those abilities. Sex, therefore, is not sinful in and of itself. Of course, like all good things, sex has a proper context: marriage. And yet, this simple point-that God created us as intentionally sexual creatures-speaks against the recurring myth that the Bible considers sex itself to be morally wrong.   ▪ As explained in Genesis chapter 2, God would directly create only two humans. The rest of us would come from them, one generation after the next. Humankind's first responsibilities would be to fill up the earth with people and to care for the earth as God's representatives.

v. 29: Then God said, 'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; - After forming humankind on the sixth day of creation and decreeing our first purposes on the earth, God now describes what humans are to eat: the fruit of all the plants and trees created on day 3. As was the case with every other living thing created by God, these plants and trees were designed to reproduce themselves (through their seeds), one generation after the next. ▪ It is interesting that God does not instruct humans to use animals for food at this point in history. Certainly here in the beginning, God does not explicitly offer the animals to the humans for eating. Some Bible scholars hold that there was no animal death before sin entered into the world. Others hold that the natural process of predator-prey did occur, but human beings were not subject to physical death until after the fall.   ▪ Regardless of such debates, what is clear is that God provided for the humans made in His image, and their offspring, to be fed by providing plants and trees that would reproduce themselves. In addition, humans would learn to access the seeds of those fruits and vegetables to grow more and more food for themselves, generation after generation. God has been providing for mankind from the very beginning.

v. 30: and to every animal of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food'; and it was so. - These words are very similar to the previous verse, in which God expressly makes clear that humankind could make use of every seed-bearing plant and tree for food. Now He says the same is true for the animals, birds, and creeping things. It's all but impossible to miss the fact that, in this moment, God does not expressly offer animals as food for humans or for other animals. Later, God would specifically change His instructions to man about what other parts of His creation were available for food. ▪ This is often interpreted to mean that all creatures God created were initially herbivores: plant eaters. Other scholars see this in a less literal and more general sense: that self-sustaining plants are the core source of food for the animal kingdom. While there are various theological, scriptural, and scientific arguments to be made on both sides, neither is really the point of this passage.   ▪ In other words, the specific food being eaten is not the take-home lesson of this verse. Rather, this passage clearly defines God as the provider. That's who He has been from the very beginning. In His own way, by His own will, He provides food for man and beast (Matthew 6:26).

v. 31: And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. - On each day of this creation week, God recognized what He made as good. Now, having created mankind to populate and rule over this world, God declares what He has made as "very good." The balance of nature, the process of reproduction, and the supremacy of mankind are all part of this "goodness." As such, Genesis chapter 1 not only credits God as Creator, and dispels other religious myths, it also establishes His stamp of approval on the natural order. ▪ On every day, at each step along the way, God declared what He would make, and then He made it. He succeeded in creating the perfect version of what He, in His absolute perfection, decided to create. After six days of creation, the universe not only existed, but it was flawless in beauty, in function, in purpose, and in potential. God saw all of it and saw that it was very good.


NOTE-Chap. 2:  Genesis 2 begins with a description of the seventh day of creation, in which God rested from His work. Then it returns to the sixth day and describes in more detail the creation of man, the garden God placed him into, and the work God gave him to do. God recognizes that it is not good for man to be alone and makes a helper for him out of his own rib. This woman becomes Adam's companion and wife, setting the original example of God's design for marriage. The two exist in pure innocence, naked yet unashamed before sin enters into the world.  Genesis 2:1-3 describes the seventh day of God's creation week, in which God rested from His work. Of all the days of the week, God declares the seventh day both blessed and holy, pointing forward to the time when God would command the Israelites to honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy. The symbolism and importance of this resting by God will become a major theme of the rest of Scripture.  

v. 1: And so the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their heavenly lights. - The first verse of Genesis 2 begins with the term "thus," or, "so." This reflects back to the content of the prior passage, so this verse summarizes all of chapter 1. It is a statement of conclusion: God completed His work of creation. The heavens and the earth and every aspect of God's great creation was finished. ▪ Chapter and verse divisions were not part of the original Bible text; these words are meant to be read in a natural flow from those at the end of chapter 1. In Genesis 1:31, God declared all He had made as "very good." He accomplished exactly what He set out to do, and He was satisfied with the results. In this moment, nothing existed in creation which was bad, or corrupt, or out of sync with the plan and purpose of God. The heavens and earth were vast, teeming with life, and they were exactly as God intended them to be.   ▪ What will change this ideal state is human sin, as described in chapter 3.

v. 2: By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. - As the previous verse made clear, God completed His work of creation on the sixth day. The week was not over, however. The seventh day mattered to God and became the most important of all of the days of the week. Having completed His work, God rested. This is the point where the pattern of chapter 1 is halted. On each of the six creation days, God did specific work and saw that it was good. On the seventh day, He did no work. ▪ What does it mean for God to rest? What does it mean to "rest" from working, for one with the power to create worlds out of nothing with just His command? It's hard to know, but the passage is clear that it was significant to God. Whether for practical, symbolic, or other purposes, we are meant to see this as a meaningful choice on the part of the Creator. This day of rest will become known as the Sabbath, a central point of God's Law and essential to Israel's worship of Him. But even now, before sin enters into the world, before the Law exists, this day of rest is already meaningful to the Creator.  

v. 3:
Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because on it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. - The previous verse described God accomplishing His work of creation in six days. After this, on the seventh day, God rested from work. Here, in verse 3, God does two things: He blesses the seventh day, and He makes it holy. ▪ What does it mean to bless a day? In chapter 1, God's blessing was tied to the fertility of His creation, to reproduction and populating the earth. This blessing of the seventh day is less clear. In the future, under the Law, God would bless Israel for observing the seventh day rest. He would demonstrate His ability to provide for His people even when they sat out a day of work each week.   ▪ God also makes the seventh day holy or "set apart" from the other six days. Even before sin entered into the world, God intended from the very beginning for the seventh day to be a special day dedicated to rest. It's the pattern He set for the world beginning in this verse.

 Lesson: Genesis 1:1-5, 26-31; 2:1-3 - NOTES

Motivation: What does God's creation reveal about Him?  What does it tell us of our responsibility?



1. Out of Nothing (1:1-2)

A. WHEN "In the beginning" - Genesis means "beginnings," so these first three words are a classic introduction.  Genesis records nine beginnings: 1) of the earth as man's habitation (1:1-2:3); 2) of the human race (2:4-25); 3) of human sin (3:1-7); 4) of redemptive revelation (3:8-24); 5) of the human family (4:1-15); 6) of godless civilization (4:16-9:29); 7) of nations (10:1-32); 8) of human languages (11:1-9); and 9) of the Hebrew race (covenant people), (11:10-50:26). The Bible does not set out to prove God's existence, it simple assumes such


1. Creation by the Father "God" (1) (Rom. 1:20, Col. 1:16)

2. Creation by the Son "The Word" (John 1:1-5)

3. Creation by the Spirit "Spirit of God" (2) The Spirit of God was hovering - - how does presence take form? From the power of the Spirit of God!! The word here is ruach and it means "wind" or "breath".  The activity of the Holy Spirit is called that of "hovering" the word used rachaph carries with it the idea of vibration or fluttering (Deuteronomy 32:11). Verse 2 says "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters."  Isn't that significant when we think of the transmission of energy in the form of waves, light waves, heat waves, sound waves, etc. . . waves are produced by vibration.  Note the power of the Holy Spirit to take formless presence and, by "hovering" upon it, give form and purpose to God's will. It is very symbolic of the Holy Spirit's work in the life of each believer.

C. WHAT "Created" The Hebrew word Bara (created) is used exclusively of God and means to create something out of nothing.  Modern students of this account have developed numerous theories; (Gap, Progressive creation, theistic evolution, atheistic evolution) the ultimate question remains:  Did God or Didn't He?  The Biblical account leaves us no choice; clearly, God created by His Word (Heb. 11:3; Psalm 8:3).  To the skeptic, we might pose the question God asked Job "Where were you when I established the earth?  Tell Me, if you have understanding. " (38:4).

D. WHERE "the heavens and the earth" In a word, everywhere.  Verse one becomes a topical sentence for the paragraph of chapters 1-2. God created everything.


1. For His glory: "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands." (Ps 19:1; Rev. 4:11)

2. For His pleasure "Or who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:7)

II. By His Word (3-5)
In verse 1-2 God created.  In the following verses He "made"; He is taking matter which He already created and fashioning it into orderly processes. "Then God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light 'day', and the darkness 'night'." (3-5)

Day OneDay and Night (3-5) One's interpretation of God's creative plan probably centers around the interpretation of "day" (Heb. yom).  Unfortunately, there is much disagreement in the Christian community among those who argue for a "young earth", or an "old earth"; also there are those who advance "theistic evolution" and those who teach Genesis 1 & 2 as a "religious myth."  Our belief cannot change what happened; Christians should unite around the fact the "God created" and not fight each other over that which cannot be changed.


Skeptics like to point out that night and day are mentioned prior to the creation of the sun and the moon (16). Yet, they fail to also mention that heaven has no sun, but is fully lighted by the glory of God (Revelation 21:23). God is the Father of lights (James 1:17) and Jesus is the light of the world (John 1:1-9). It is fitting that on the first day of creation God introduces light to this world.


III. Day Two: The Firmament (6-8) The heaven mentioned in verse 8 is not to be confused with the heaven where God dwells. In fact, the HCSB translates the word "sky".  J. Vernon McGee (Thru the Bible, p. 14) comments, "Actually, there are three heavens that are mentioned in Scripture.  The Lord Jesus spoke of the birds of heaven, and I think that is the heaven mentioned in this verse.  Then there are the stars of heaven, meaning the second heaven, and there is the third heaven where God dwells.  So the first layer up there, the first deck, is the deck where the clouds are and where the birds fly." HCSB translates firmament as "the expanse".

IV. Day Three: Dry Land and Plant Life (9-13) God first divided the waters by the expanse; now, He divides the water "under the sky" further from the dry land.  In a very orderly progression, He covers the dry land with plant life.

V. Day Four: Lights in the Expanse of the Sky (14-19) Astrology and ancient religions supposed that the stars and planets have innate power to direct our lives.  God's Word declares that they are created objects designed to give glory to their Creator (Ps. 19:1-2).

VI. Day Five:  Fish and Fowl and Animals (20-25) A key phrase is "according to their kinds." (cf. 24-25)  The ability to breed different kinds of horses or different kinds of dogs is well established.  However, cross-breeding, between a horse and a donkey for instance, produces a sterile animal.  Evolution has difficulty producing any evidence of one "kind" (phylum) of animal producing another "kind."  "large sea-creatures" are given a special note (21) because they were worshipped by the pagans as gods.

VII. In His Image (26-31)

A. His Image "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. "(26a) - The image is spiritual rather than physical.  When Jesus showed the coin to the Pharisees, He asked "Whose image and inscription is this?" (Matthew 22:20).  The image of God on our lives implies ownership, capability and responsibility.

B. Our Custody (26) "They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth." (26b) "rule" implies stewardship. God has appointed as the caretakers of His world.

C. Separate Forms "So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female." (27) Male and female suggests equality of creation (Mark 10:6), but distinction in roles.   


D. Divine Mandate "God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.' God also said, 'Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you, for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth-everything having the breath of life in it, I have given every green plant for food.' And it was so. God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day." (28-31)


HCSB, p. 9: 1:28 "In this the longest of the five blessings found in the account of creation, God gave humanity five different commands.  Implicit in the first three commands is God's blessing on the institutions of marriage and the family.  The final two commands, to subdue the earth and rule the animal kingdom, express God's blessing on the use of the planet's renewable and nonrenewable natural resources.  Of course, only the wise use of these resources permits people to fulfill God's command to fill the earth.  A similar command to the survivors of the flood is shorter, having only the first three verbs in it (9:1)."


VIII. For His Glory


"So the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed. By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation." (2:1-3) God didn't cease activity because He was tired!  His Sabbath rest is a model to us.  (Exodus 20:8)

  1. Complete the Task - God had a specific goal and a plan to get there.  When the work was completed, He knew it was "very good."
  2. Celebrate the Accomplishment - A day of rest is "blessed" and "sanctified" only if it is used as intended.  Physical rest from labor is only a small part of God's design.  It is clear that the day is to be set aside to honor God through Spiritual refreshment, fellowship with other believers (Heb. 10:25) and service.
  3.   Cycle Your Energy- We are not made to work seven days a week. While the early church changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, the day is not as important as the concept. God set an example to us to reserve one day a week to rest from the ordinary and focus on the Divine.


  1. God created this world and desires glory from His creation.
  2. God reserved a special place in His creation for men and women.
  3. God modeled the principle of Sabbath rest.

1:1-5 - EXEGESIS (Donovan)

OVERVIEW-GEN. 1:1-2:4a. THE CREATION STORY:  Scholars generally agree that the creation story in Genesis is divided into two accounts from two sources. The first account is Genesis 1:1-2:4a (or 2:3-scholars disagree whether 2:4a belongs to the first or the second account) and was written by P. The second account is Genesis 2:4b-3:24, and was written by E.

The creation story "is cast in the form of a prose poem. It is written in terse, controlled phrases with rhythmic repetitions, the slow ascent of the cosmic drama culminating in the creation of humankind and the serene postscript describing the sanctification of the seventh day. In sparse, austere language, it speaks of God, the world, and humans in relationship to each other and reveals the basic and unalterable dependence of the world on the presence of God. (It) tells, with the assurance of faith, of life's foundations, and it is in the light of this faith that it must be read and understood" (Plaut, 17).

The six days of creation form two groups of three, and there is a correspondence between the pairs formed by the respective days of the two groups:

Day 1: Light (1:3-5) Day 4: Lights (1:14:19) Day 2: Dome (1:6-8)Day 5: Fish/birds (1:20-23) Day 3: Earth/seas/vegetation (1:9-13)

Day 6: Animals/people (1:24-31)

Days 1 & 4: The correspondence between Light and Lights is obvious, if somewhat confusing. We are familiar with the Lights of Day 4 providing illumination, so we are left to wonder how God provided Light on Day 1. However, if God could create the sun and moon on Day 4, he could surely provide illumination by other means on Days 1-3.

Days 2 & 5: On Day 2, God created the dome to separate "the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome." This created the habitat for the creatures of the seas and sky that God would create on Day 5.

Days 3 & 6: On Day 3, God gathered the water together to allow dry land to appear-separated the Earth from the Seas. This created the habitat for the land animals and people that God would create on Day 6. Also, on Day 3, God created vegetation, and on Day 6, he authorizes the use of vegetation to feed people and animals. It won't be until Genesis 9:3 that God authorizes humans to use animals for food.

There were, then, eight creative acts in the six days of creation. Days 3 and 6 each have two creative acts, the Earth/Sea separation and vegetation for Day 3 and land animals and people for Day 6.

Of course, the word "day" cannot have its usual meaning until the sun and moon are created on the fourth day (v. 14). We must allow for poetic license here, as throughout the creation account. We must remember that the writer's purpose is not to transmit scientific data but to tell exiled Israelites that God is the creative force behind the universe-and to encourage them with the knowledge that, in spite of their current circumstances, they are in the hands of a loving and all-powerful God who will redeem them. We should also remember that, to God, a thousand days are as an evening's watch (Psalm 90:4).

The creation for each day follows a basic pattern, but with enough variation to maintain our interest:

  • "God said"-God is the creator and God's word is the creative force
  • "Let there be" or "Let the"-God commands creation 
  • "and there was"-God's command is executed
  • "And God saw that (the creation) was good"-God evaluates the creation
  • "God called"-God names the creation
  • "And there was evening and there was morning, the (number) day"

On Days 1, 3, 4, and 5, God pronounces the creation "good" (1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). On Day 2, there is no such pronouncement-perhaps because the work of Day 2 (separating waters-above from waters-below) will not be fully concluded until Day 3 (with the gathering together of the waters-below). On Day 6, after creating humans, God "saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good" (v. 31)-presumably God's commentary on creation in general and on human creation in particular.

Days 5, 6, and 7 each include a blessing-of birds and sea life (v. 22)-of humans (v. 28)-and of the seventh day (2:3). Days 5 and 6 were the days when God populated the earth with living beings of various kinds. Day 7, of course, was the day that God rested.


1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.

 "In the beginning" (v. 1). The phrase, "In the beginning," "anticipates the 'end' of the universe and human history" (Mathews, 126). That comment causes us to remember that the Bible deals with the end of time as well as its beginning-and that the New Testament closes with the Book of Revelation, which focuses on eschatology (last things) just as the Old Testament opens with the Book of Genesis, which focuses on creation (first things).

  • "In the beginning" cannot mean the absolute beginning, because God is eternal and had no beginning. "In the beginning," therefore, must refer only to the beginning of creation.

"Now the earth was formless (to·hu) and empty" (bo·hu) (v. 2a). To·hu means a wasteland or wilderness such as the deserts with which the Israelites were familiar. These deserts were difficult places-hot in the day and cold at night. Food and water were scarce, as were landmarks by which a person could navigate. People familiar with the desert could survive in it, but their lives were not easy. People unfamiliar with the desert or careless of its dangers could not survive. Bohu means "void" or "empty." The similar sounds (tohu and bohu) and meanings (wasteland and void) reinforce the idea that the world was, at this stage, formless and empty-an inhospitable world, to say the least.

  • "It is easy enough to conceive of such a place. Many planets in our solar system are empty, dark, and deep. Jupiter, for instance, is composed primarily of hydrogen and helium. In 1995, a NASA spacecraft penetrated Jupiter's atmosphere and found very high winds there. At the base of Jupiter's atmosphere, pressures are so great that they turn hydrogen gas into a liquid (Encarta).
  • "Try to imagine taming Jupiter's hostile environment to sustain human life. That is the kind of challenge that God faced in the first stage of creation when the world was formless, empty, dark, and deep. But every creative enterprise begins with some sort of chaos. It takes vision and skill to turn a pile of building materials into a house. It takes vision and skill to turn a muddy lot into a landscaped yard. Imagine the vision and skill required to transform a chaotic world into a place fit for human habitation.

"Darkness was on the surface of the deep" (v. 2b). The scriptures speak frequently of light, darkness, and the deep:

  • Light symbolizes God (Isaiah 60:19-20), Jesus (John 8:12; 9:5; 12:35), Christians (Matthew 4:6), spiritual understanding (Psalm 119:105-106, 130), spiritual health (Luke 11:34), and salvation (Psalm 27:1).
  • Darkness, the absence of light, symbolizes evil (John 3:20) and a lack of spiritual enlightenment and health (Luke 11:34; Acts 26:18).
  • "The great deep" is a forbidden, dangerous place (Genesis 7:11). The book of Job uses the phrase "deep darkness" to describe a gloomy, forbidding place (Job 10:21) filled with terror (Job 24:17) and associated with eyes red with weeping (Job 16:16). People familiar with the sea know the dangers associated with the deep. When the author of Genesis describes the world as a place where "darkness was on the surface of the deep," the picture is one of a gloomy, forbidding place.

At the very beginning of the Old Testament, then, we read of darkness and the deep (v. 2). At the very end of the New Testament, we will hear the promise that there will be no more seas and no more darkness (Revelation 21:1, 25).

"God's Spirit ( weruah elo·him-wind/spirit of God) was hovering over the surface of the waters" (v. 2c). Ruah can be translated "wind" or "spirit." The NIV translates ruah elohim "Spirit of God." Most commentators agree that the capital S in Spirit, suggesting the Holy Spirit, is inappropriate here. While the phrase "holy Spirit" is used three times in the Old Testament (Psalm 51:11; Isaiah 63:10-11), it will not be until the New Testament that God's people will become aware of the Holy Spirit as a distinctive persona of God.

Those who suggest that "wind" is a better translation than "spirit" note that there are three parallel phrases here:

  • "the earth was formless and empty" 
  • "Darkness was on the surface of the deep"  
  • "God's Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters"

The first two phrases have a dark quality, so they conclude that "wind from God" (NRSV) is appropriate here because it continues that dark quality (Wenham, 17). However, it seems equally logical to translate the third phrase "God's spirit" (note the small s), because it counters the dark quality-injects a glimpse of light into the darkness-and provides a subtle transition from the darkness of the "formless and empty" to God's creative work, which will begin with the very next verse when God says, "Let there be light" (v. 3).


Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

 "God said" (v. 3). It is at God's word that creation takes place. God's word is not empty, but has power (Isaiah

55:11). When God speaks, things happen. Even the chaos obeys.

"Let there be light" (v. 3). God commands, but gently. The mood is jussive (a mood with which few people are familiar) instead of imperative (an order-giving mood with which we are all too familiar). The jussive, "Let there be," is gentler-softer. God does not jerk the creation into existence, but speaks it gently into existence (Roop, 27).

"and there was light" (v. 3). The light comes into being at God's word. The "lights in the expanse of sky" will not be created until verses 14 ff., so we do not know from whence the light of verse 3 comes. Certainly God has no shortage of resources to provide light. Perhaps God is the light at this point.

Light is God's first creative enterprise, and we understand instinctively the rightness of that. It is difficult to create in darkness, and even more difficult to appreciate that which has been created. When we begin a creative process, we turn on the lights-or bring in floodlights-or adjust the lighting so that it suits our art. It is possible to create in darkness, as blind musicians demonstrate, but we prefer light. Darkness is something to overcome, not to embrace.

  • "Light will continue to be an important motif in God's dealings with people. During the plague of darkness in Egypt, God will provide light for the Israelites (Exodus 10:23). God will light their way at night during their wilderness journeys with a pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21). God will give them lights to light the tabernacle (Exodus 25:37). Moses' face will shine so brightly that it will be necessary for him to wear a veil (Exodus 34:29-33). The Psalmist will pray, "Yahweh, let the light of your face shine on us" (Psalm 4:6)-and "Yahweh is my light and my salvation" (Psalm 27:1). Jesus will say, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12), and will assure the disciples, "You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14).

"God saw the light, and saw that it was good" (v. 4a). As noted above, God's evaluation is part of the standard formula for God's creative enterprise. Only on Day 2 do we do not hear it. The pronouncement "that it (the light) was good" (v. 4a) follows the creation of light (v. 3) and precedes the separation of "the light from the darkness" (v. 4b), so it is the light rather than the separation of light from darkness that God pronounces good.

"God divided the light from the darkness" (v. 4). When God first created light, "the light ...poured in and ...removed chaos to a gloomy condition of twilight" (Von Rad, 52)-so God finds it necessary to separate light from darkness. "Every night, when the created world of forms flows together into formlessness, chaos regains a certain power over what has been created.... And every morning...something of God's first creation is repeated" (Von Rad, 52-53).

  • "For people in exile (as Israel was when the book of Genesis was written), remembering God's bringing light out of darkness is a powerful, hopeful thought. Job will also find strength in that thought-"He uncovers deep things out of darkness, and brings out to light the shadow of death" (Job 12:22). In the book of Job, the word "light" appears in 28 verses.

"God called the light 'day', and the darkness he called 'night'" (v. 5). Kings have the sovereign right to assign names (2 Kings 23:34; 24:17), so God exercises his naming rights as king of the universe (Von Rad, 53). We will see this naming convention for the creative acts on Day 2-for the Earth and Seas (but not vegetation) on Day 3-but for nothing thereafter. God will later delegate the naming of animals to adam (2:19-20). Man will also name the woman (2:23; 3:20).

"There was evening and there was morning, one day" (v. 5). This formula will be repeated to conclude each of the six days of creation (vv. 8, 13, 19, 23, 31).

Gen. 1:1-5, 26-31; 2:1-3 - EXTRA COMMENTARY

 1 - Gen. 1:1-5:

Verses 1:1 - 2:3: This description of God creating heaven and earth is understood to be: (1) recent, i.e., thousands not millions of years ago; (2) ex nihilo, i.e., out of nothing; and (3) special, i.e., in 6 consecutive 24 hour periods called "days" and further distinguished as such by this phrase, "the evening and the morning."

 "In the beginning": While God exists eternally (Psalm 90:2); this marked the beginning of the universe in time and space. In explaining Israel's identity and purpose to her on the plains of Moab, God wanted His people to know about the origin of the world in which they found themselves.

"God": Elohim is a general term for deity and a name for the True God, though used also at times for pagan gods (31:30), angels (Psalm 8:5), men (Psalm 82:6), and judges (Exodus 21:6). Moses made no attempt to defend the existence of God, which is assumed, or explain what He was like in person and works which is treated elsewhere (Isa. 43:10, 13). Both are to be believed by faith (Heb. 11:3, 6).

"Created": This word is used here of God's creative activity alone, although it occasionally is used elsewhere of matter which already existed (Isa. 65:18). Context demands in no uncertain terms that this was a creation without preexisting material (as does other Scripture: Isa. 40:28; 45:8, 12, 18; 48:13; Jer. 10:16; Acts 17:24).

"The heavens and the earth": All of God's creation is incorporated into this summary statement which includes all 6, consecutive days of creation.

Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

"In the beginning": Creation marks the absolute beginning of the temporal and material world. The traditional Jewish and Christian belief is that Geneses 1:1 declares that God created the original heaven and earth from nothing (Lat. "ex nihilo") and that verse 2 clarifies that when it came from the Creator's hand, the mass was "without form, and void," unformed and without any life. The rest of the chapter then explains the process of Creation in detail.

There is no evidence in the Hebrew text for long ages of evolutionary development or a gap of time between verse 1 and verse 2.

"God": (Hebrew Elohim): This form of the divine name occurs 2,570 times in the Old Testament. The plural ending "im" indicates a plural of majesty and takes a singular verb.

"Created": (Hebrew bara): Meaning to create, shape or form. This verb is used exclusively with God as its subject. It refers to the instantaneous and miraculous act of God by which He brought the universe into existence. Thus, the Genesis account of Creation refutes atheism, pantheism, polytheism, and evolution.

This leaves no doubt that God is an eternal being. It also leaves no doubt that God himself created the earth. God, mentioned in Genesis 1:1 is actually Elohim (a plural word). Another Meaning of Elohim is, the highest being to be feared, Elohim indicates more than one involved in the act of creation. "Elohim", (high and mighty).

This high and mighty Eternal One is actually God the Father, God the Word, and God the Holy Spirit. All who is

in fact God, a singular verb is used often with the plural word Elohim indicating that there not only is a trinity of beings, but they are one in Spirit.

The three words used in the creation are different, but all translated created (Bara, Yatzar, and Asah). Bara means to create from nothing and is used in Genesis 1:1.

Genesis 1:2 "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

"Without form, and void": This means "not finished in its shape and as yet uninhabited by creatures" (Isa. 45:18-19; Jer. 4:23). God would quickly (in 6 days) decorate His initial creation (1:2 - 2:3).

(Hebrew, Tohu wabohu, "unformed and unfilled") describes the condition of earth after the initial act of Creation. It does not describe a chaotic condition as a result of judgment. Thus was (Hebrew "hayetah") is correct and should not be translated "became". How the earth became formed and filled is described (in verses 3-31).

"Darkness" is not always a symbol of evil (Psalm 104:19-24. Here it simply refers to the absence of light.

"Deep" refers to the waters covering the earth, not some primitive evolution. Sometimes referred to as existing waters, this is the term used to describe the earth's water-covered surface before the dry land emerged (1:9-10). Jonah used this word to describe the watery abyss in which he found himself submerged (Jonah 2:5).

"The Spirit of God" Not only did God the Holy Spirit participate in creation, but so did God the Son (1 John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2). Here is a clear reference to the creative activity of the Holy Spirit.

John 1:3 indicates that Christ actually created all things for the Father. Thus, all three persons of the Trinity are active in the Creation. This undoubtedly accounts for the plural pronouns "us" and "our" (in verse 26), which take singular verbs in expressing the tri-unity of God.

The first emblem of the Holy Spirit in Scripture is that of the Spirit "moving" or literally "brooding" over the waters, much as a bird broods over her eggs to hatch them. The Scriptures assign to the Holy Spirit the works of creating the world (Psalm 33:6), of brooding over the waters (verse 2), of garnishing the heavens (Job 26:13), of renewing the earth (Psalm 104:30), and of sustaining life (Psalm 104:29).

"The heavens and the earth": All of God's creation is incorporated into this summary statement which includes all 6, consecutive days of creation.

The Holy Spirit's work in Creation results in order (Isa. 40:12, 14; Gen. 1:2); life (Job 33:4); beauty (Job 26:13); and renewal (Psalm 104:30).

The work of the Holy Spirit in Creation is one of the biblical proofs of His deity. The Scriptures also describe the physical body of the Christian as the temple of the Holy Spirit, and suggest He is in the process of recreating us into Christ's image (Phil. 1:6; Gen. 1:2; Luke 4:18).

Genesis 1:3 "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."

"And God said": God effortlessly spoke light into existence (Psalm 33:6; 148:5). This dispelled the darkness of verse 2.

This is the first of a highly-structured series of succinct and formulaic sentences expressing the creative commands of God. Thus, Creation is accomplished by His word. Each command consists of:

(1) An announcement, "God said";

(2) A creative command, "Let there be";

(3) A summary word of accomplishment, "And it was so";

(4) A descriptive word of accomplishment, "The earth brought forth";

(5) A descriptive blessing, "God blessed";

(6) An evaluative approval, "It was good"; and

(7) A concluding temporal framework, numbering each day.

"Light": The greater and lesser lights (the sun and moon) were created later (1:14-19), on the fourth day. Here, God was the provider of light (2 Cor. 4:6), and will in eternity future be the source of light (Rev. 21:23).

"Verses 1:4-5 "Divided ... called": After the initial creation, God continued to complete His universe. Once God separated certain things, He then named them. Separating and naming were acts of dominion and served as a pattern for man, who would also name a portion of God's creation over which God gave him dominion (2:19-20).

Genesis 1:4 "And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and God divided the light from the darkness."

"Good": Good for the purposes it was intended to serve (1:31). The word contains less an aesthetic judgment than a designation of purpose and correspondence to God's will, indicating the moral goodness of the Creation.

"Light": Not the sun which was created on the fourth day (verse 16), but some fixed light source outside of the earth. The earth passed through a day-and-night cycle in reference to this light.

Genesis 1:5 "And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day."

"God called": This act demonstrates His sovereign dominion over His creation. In the Semitic world, the naming of something or someone was the token of lordship. Reuben changed the names of the cities of the Amorites after he had conquered them (Num. 32:38). Likewise, Pharaoh Necho changed Eliakim's name to Jehoiakim after he defeated the Judean king (2 Kings 23:34).

"First day": God established the pattern of creation in 7 days which constituted a completed week. "Day" can refer to: (1) the light portion of a 24-hour period (1:5, 14); (2) an extended period of time (2:4); or (3) the 24 hour period which basically refers to a full rotation of the earth on its axis, called evening and morning.

This cannot mean an age, but only a day, reckoned by the Jews from sunset to sunset (verses 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). "Day" with numerical adjectives in Hebrew always refers to a 24-hour period.

Comparing the order of the week in Exodus 20:8-11 with the creation week; confirms this understanding of the time element. Such cycle of light and dark means that the earth was rotating on its axis so that there was a source of light on one side of the earth, though the sun was not yet created (verse 16).

"Day" (Hebrew yom): Apart from the use of the word day in verses 5, 8, 13, 19, 23, and 31, where it describes the days of Creation, it is used in at least four ways in the first two chapters of Genesis:

(1) The 12-hour period of daylight as opposed to night (verses 14, 16, and 18);

(2) A solar day of 24 hours (verse 14);

(3) The period of light that began with the creation of light on the first day (verse 5); and

(4) The entire, six-day creative period (2:4).

Everywhere in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Hebrew bible), the word "day" when used (as here) with a definite article or numerical adjective means a solar day or a normally calibrated, 24-hour day. Thus, the biblical account of Creation clearly indicates that God created the world in six literal days (Exodus 20:11).

In verse one, the only indication we have when heaven and earth were created is that it happened in the beginning. We must dwell on Genesis because a true and firm revelation of faith and God's grace begins right here at the beginning.

God's grace in that he wanted fellowship with mankind so much that He would go to the trouble to create the world and everything in it for man's use. Then the faith comes in on our part. We must believe that God's Words are true and that the world was created by Elohim God.

Thus, brings the end of the first day.

vv. 26-31:

Genesis 1:26 "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."

In contrast to animals in verses 20 and 24 where God said, "Let the waters bring forth" and "Let the earth bring forth," He now says, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." All others reproduce after their kind," but man is the only one made in the image of God and reproducing in that image (5:3).

The terms "image" and "likeness" are used synonymously, and refer primarily to man's spiritual resemblance (rationally and morally) to his Maker. God placed a chasm between man and the beast, for only man has the capacity for eternal life, fellowship, moral discernment, self-consciousness, speech, and worship.

"Us ... our": The first clear indication of the triunity of God (3:22; 11:7). The very name of God, Elohim (1:1), is a plural form of El.

"Man": The crowning point of creation, a living human, was made in God's image to rule creation. Even after the Fall, man retains this image of God (9:6; James 3:9), though it has been marred. The plural pronoun "us" is most likely a majestic plural from the standpoint of Hebrew grammar and syntax.

"Our image": This defined man's unique relation to God. Man is a living being capable of embodying God's communicable attributes (9:6; Rom. 8:29; Col. 3:10; James 3:9). In his rational life, he was like God in that he could reason and had intellect, will, and emotion. In the moral sense, he was like God because he was good and sinless.

"Image and likeness of God": Man was created in both the image and likeness of God. An image is a representation or replica of one person or thing by another. An image may be similar but not necessarily identical to its original. The term "likeness" is used as a gauge of comparison, or analogy. When man fell, he retained an impaired image of God (9:6).

Regaining a likeness of God is one of the accomplishments of salvation. Our spiritual likeness is restored in justification. Our character likeness is being continuously developed in the process of sanctification. We will be like Christ physically when we are glorified. God's purpose in our lives today is to conform us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29; Gen. 1:26-27; Heb. 4:12).

Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

"Man" is used in a generic sense which is amplified by the phrase "male and female" even though Eve's physical formation is not detailed until 2:18-24.

These words are not the usual Hebrew words for "man" (ish). and "woman" (ishah). The words used here specifically distinguish the sexes, male and female. Sexes are only implied with regard to animals, but not here. The reason is that a completely unique relationship was to develop, namely, holy marriage (2:22-24).

Man was created by God on the sixth day of Creation and is the grand climax of all that God had accomplished in the Creation week of miracles. The final act of Creation was that God joined the material and immaterial parts of man. Man's body was shaped from the dust, but then became a living soul only after God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils (2:7).

Our formation; by natural birth is no less noteworthy than Adam's formation from the dust. With David, we need to say, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14; also Genesis 2:7).

The image and likeness of God is SPIRIT. God is SPIRIT. We are a spirit. We are housed in a body and possess a soul. If God is Spirit as the Word says He is, then the image and likeness of us, are spirit as well. As we read in verse 27, both man and woman are spirit.

We will find as we continue this study that woman is just as responsible for the care and nurture of her spirit as man is. This is directly opposite of what some religions teach today. We are individual spirits, but our flesh is one with our spouse.

Between verses 25 and 26 there is a separation. If you will notice after verse 25, God closed that creation with His statement, "And God said that it was good". Man has a preeminence that no other creation has. Mankind, male and female, are made in the image of God. God created all the rest for mankind to rule over.

Man, unlike all of the other creations, was created with a mind and will. Even to the point that God allows man's will to choose God or Satan. Man alone was created with power to make decisions. Man alone was made to commune or fellowship with God.

God is Supreme Ruler of heaven and earth. He made man ruler of the earth.

Because of man's fallen state from his magnificent beginning (image of God), God the word, Jesus, took on a body and redeemed mankind and restored them to their original state of standing with God. The Bible says that when we get to heaven, we will recognize Jesus because we will be like Him.

We will be restored to the image and likeness of God. We will not be God. We will be a shadow or image of the real thing. Our spirit will be in accord with His Spirit. We will be His servants or subordinates.

You see God gave mankind dominion over this earth. Mankind, through an act of his will, turned this dominion over to Satan, as we will see in a later lesson.

You know our whole country is under a president, and then smaller areas or states are under dominion of a governor, and then even smaller areas under a mayor. However, the mayor is under the governor on important matters; and all are under the president on the most important matters.

You see, God is over all. We are His subordinates. Even though we shall rule and reign with Him, we will not be His equal.

Genesis 1:28 "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."

"Dominion over": This defined man's unique relation to creation. Man was God's representative in ruling over the creation. The command to rule separated him from the rest of living creation and defined his relationship as above the rest of creation (Psalm 8:6-8).

Dominion is not the content by the consequence of the divine image (1 Cor. 6:3; 15:27-28; Heb. 2:7-10); James 3:7-8).

"And God blessed them:" To "bless" is not only to bestow a gift, but also to assign a function.

"Replenish" is better translated "fill the earth," indicating the first time. It cannot be used in support of the refashioning of an already judged earth, for it always means to fill something the first time.

 "Blessed": This second blessing (1:22), involved reproduction and dominion.

"Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth": God, having just created the universe, created His representative (rule over) and representation (image and likeness). Man would fill the earth and oversee its operation. "Subdue" does not suggest a wild and unruly condition for the creation because God Himself pronounced it "good."

Rather, it speaks of a productive ordering of the earth and its inhabitants to yield its riches and accomplish God's purposes.

In this verse, we see that mankind did not have to take dominion. The dominion was given to him by God.

So many people associate sex of any kind (even the marriage bed), as the sin that caused the fall of man. This verse above proves this is not so. Mankind was commanded of God to be fruitful and multiply long before the sin in the Garden of Eden. The sin in the garden was disobedience to God.

Verses 29-30: "I have given ... for meat": Prior to the curse (3:14-19), both mankind and beasts were vegetarians.

Genesis 1:29 "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat."

"Meat" meant "food" in the early seventeenth century, when the KJV was translated. No actual animal flesh was condoned until after the Flood in Genesis 9:3.

God provided the means for mankind's needs from the very beginning. Everything that God created here on the earth was directly or indirectly for the use of man. Even the food for the animals would ultimately be of use to man as we read in verse 30.

Genesis 1:30 "And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein [there is] life, [I have given] every green herb for meat: and it was so."

"God saw" is an expression in anthropomorphic terms (human characteristics or behavior), relating His evaluation of His Creation (6:5; 11:5). Now at the end of His Creation work, He says "it was very good," "exceedingly good" and not simply "good" as before in the chapter.

Genesis 1:31 "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."

There are several things the spirit must understand in the Scripture above. The number six means man. The verse reiterates again that God made all of it, and that everything was good. It also establishes the six days of work that we will see all through the Bible.

Ch. 2 - Gen. 2:1-3: These words affirm that God had completed His work. Four times it is said that He finished His work, and 3 times it is said that this included all His work. Present processes in the universe reflect God sustaining that completed creation, not more creation (Heb. 1:3).

Genesis 2:1 "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them."

The process of "filling" and "forming" is now "finished" (1:1).

"Host of them" refers to all the things that God created, as opposed to stars in Nehemiah 9:6 and angels in 1 Kings 22:19.

"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished": Perfected and completed in the space of six days, gradually, successively, in the manner before related; by the word and power of God they were on the first day created out of nothing, but they were not perfected, beautified, and adorned, and filled, until all the creatures in them were made.

"And all the host of them", (of the heavens and the earth), the host of heavens are the sun, moon, and stars, often so called in Scripture. And the host of the earth are the plants, herbs, and trees, the fowls, fishes, animals, and man, were finished, brought to completion.

No permanent change has ever since been made in the course of the world. No new species of animals been formed, no law of nature repealed or added to. They could have been finished in a moment as well as in six days, but the work of creation was gradual for the instruction of man, as well, perhaps, as of higher creatures (Job 38:7).

And these are like hosts or armies, very numerous, and at the command of God, and are marshaled and kept in order by him; even some of the smallest of creatures are his army, which are at his beck and call, and he can make use of to the annoyance of others, as particularly the locusts are called, Joel 2:11.

Verse 1 of chapter 2 tells us a lot. Heavens is plural meaning more than one. There are three:

(1) Earth's Atmosphere, which is the immediate sky (Genesis 2:19; 7:3, 23; Psalms 8:8, etc.);

(2) Outer Space, the starry heavens (Deuteronomy 17:3; Jeremiah 8:2; Matthew 24:29);

(3) Where God and the holy angels (and creatures), and spirits of just men dwell. It's called "The heaven of heavens, or the third heaven" (Deut. 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27; Psalms 115:16; 148:4).

Finished means nothing else remains to be done. Just as Jesus said on the cross "It is finished" the work was and is completed.

Genesis 2:2 "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made."

"He rested" employs the root for "sabbath" that later relates to Israel (in Exodus 16:29; 20:10-11; and Deut. 5:15). It implies He stopped or desisted from His creating work. No weariness is suggested. John 5:17 indicates the Father is always at work.

"Ended ... rested": God certainly did not rest due to weariness; rather, establishing the pattern for man's work cycle, He only modeled the need for rest. Later, the Sabbath ordinance of Moses found its basis in the creation week (Exodus 20:8-11).

The Sabbath was God's sacred ordained day in the weekly cycle. Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for man" (Mark 2:27), and Genesis 2:3 stated that God "sanctified" or set apart the Sabbath day because He rested in it. Later, it was set aside for a day of worship in the Mosaic Law (see note on Exodus 20:8).

Hebrews 4:4 distinguishes between physical rest and the redemptive rest to which it pointed. Colossians 2:16 makes it clear that the Mosaic "Sabbath" has no symbolic or ritual place in the New Covenant. The church began worshiping on the first day of the week to commemorate the resurrection of Christ (Acts 20:7).

In verses 1 and 2, God is Elohim. Remember Elohim is a plural word.

This is also the rest that God speaks of for the Christian. Total cessation from the struggles of life.

Genesis 2:3 "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made."

"Sanctified": that is, He set it apart from the other days (Exodus 20:11).

God blessed that seventh day for mankind, to give mankind rest. Jesus said "The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath" (in Mark 2:27). You see, even in the day of rest that God set up; He still had the needs of mankind at heart. He knew our bodies would wear out, if we did not have 1 day in 7 for rest.

"Seven", as we have mentioned over and over again, means spiritually complete.

Sanctified means that God Himself made it holy. He set the seventh day aside and declared it holy. When we are sanctified, it means we have been set aside by God and made holy by Him. We are not made holy by what we have done, but by what He has done.

When we see the example that God did not rest until His work was finished, we see what He expects from us, when He returns. He expects to find us working, trying to get one more saved before the trumpet blows.