Day One - God of Light
Each day for six days we read “And God said”. Creation is a function of the Word of God. Isn’t that how John 1 describes the beginning? This provides an insight into “The omnipotence of the creative word, Ps. 33:9: He spake and it was done, he commanded and it stood (Rom. 4:17).
Let there be light and there was light
God said, Light! Light was! Wow! And God didn’t even have a computer to turn the light on!
God did not create light. He let it shine.
The idea of uncreated light fits in well with how John describes things in John 1. God is light. (1 John 1:5) There is no contest between “darkness” and “light”. Light always overcomes darkness. When Jesus said “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12) He was not limiting His statement to spiritual light.
There is obviously more to “light” than scientists know or tell us. Our look at Wikipedia tells us that “Light is electromagnetic radiation within a certain portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. The word usually refers to visible light, which is visible to the human eye and is responsible for the sense of sight.” This is a limited definition and unscientifically ignores the moral and spiritual aspects of light. Note that God called light “good”, a moral characteristic defined by God Himself.
The speed of light (approx. 186,282 miles per second) seems to have a special significance in modern times. The figure is used to remind us that the lights in the night sky are hundreds of thousands of miles away. The universe is huge. Scientists have still not got to the end of it. Not surprisingly so, really. We just need to remember that at creation, Adam and Eve looked up at a night sky that was less than a year old (I exaggerate). They say sun, moon, and stars with an apparent age of thousands of years which, like they earth they lived on, was very young indeed. Think of that!
Extra on Genesis 1:3-5
Light is separated from darkness. By calling Light, Day and Darkness, Night, He describes the phenomena from a human perspective. Please observe that time is something that God defines and reveals rather than something human beings decide upon. All we decide upon is the division of time whether by seconds, seasons, or lengths.
Day and Night
Why “evening and morning”? Doesn’t that sound backwards - to us? But remember, we are hearing about creation from God’s point of view. Here’s a thought - if “evening” represents the start of “darkness” and “morning” represents the start of “light”, then the context of Genesis 1 is reinforced because God made “light” after the “darkness” appeared. Hebrews count the day beginning at evening. There was no “sunrise” on the first day. This reminds us that God is the sunrise of all things.
One last thought Allman says that God is sovereign over the night. Darkness represents all sorts of bad things. God is sovereign! Night generally means that we must have a light burning in the house. God’s naming of the night indicates God’s sovereignty over the night. He created light for all his creatures. He used His sovereignty for His creatures
Context is important when studying the Bible. The context of Genesis is Egypt. The Egyptian scene is vividly described in the book of Exodus. The chief god of the Egyptians was Ra = the sun god, say ‘the god of light’. That’s why we must not see Day One as involving a “sunrise”. The sun does not show up until Day 4. How can that be? Well, God is light and that’s all that is needed. The source of light is not the sun. The source of the sun is the God of light.
Day Two - God of the Waters
The key term for the second day is “firmament”. What is a “firmament”? The term translates the Hebrew word “rakia”, used of a beaten metal cover. Thus, “firm-a-ment”. I like “expanse/sky” better than firmament. The text does not see the Hebrews understanding the space above the earth like a lid on a kettle!
The purpose of the expanse was to divide waters from waters. You know, water is a wonderful thing. Nothing like a cool drink of water to quench the thirst. I am reminded that water is also used by the Lord Jesus in two interesting ways: (1) To refer to His own personal refreshment to those who thirst spiritually, and (2) To refer to the activity of the Holy Spirit who acts as an artesian well to the soul of the believer.
What God did on Day Two produced the water “under” the expanse. Think seas. He also placed water above the expanse. Think clouds. Some have thought that God produced a hot-house environment into which He placed mankind. I’m not so sure this is the case since clouds can and do carry a lot of water. I like to think that Adam saw a sunny day!
Now God called the expanse “Heaven”. Paul speaks of three heavens in 2 Corinthians 12:1,2. In the 4th verse of that passage, he calls it a journey to paradise. Paul doesn’t seem to know where he was and it is probably of no use for us to speculate whether there are 3 or 5 or 7 heavens.
Day Three - God the Gardner
We are introduced to God the Gardner. He arranged the water (seas) and the earth (dry land). He planted grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit-trees. This has been called the Divine botany. Note that there is skilled agriculture since what God planted was perennial rather than annual. It was also controlled (after its kind) so there was no crab grass, no “weeds”. As a result, growth occurred and “God saw that it was good.” - He was pleased with His Garden.
Why a garden? Not just for God’s enjoyment. God prepared the earth for man - who would eventually “keep” the garden.
Note - “and it was so”. Would that we could plant and cultivate a garden with such ease! This gardening occurred before man!
Note - “and God saw that it was good.” Good? The Hebrew term is potent.
Note - “after its kind”. This phrase has given me confidence throughout the years that the “theory” of evolution is not accurate since evolution is based upon the idea that there is constant change in species. The term “kind” is the Hebrew equivalent and more of the term “species” according to the scholar’s dictionary by Strong. The Scriptures definitely shut that door!
Day Four - God the Governor
Why does the sunrise in the morning? Because God governs the sun to rise! Why do we have seasons and days and years? Because of God’s governing rather than man’s decisions in spite of our attempts with “Daylight Savings Time”!
Sun, moon, stars are the creation of God. Notice that “He made the stars also.” It almost sounds like an after though - Oh, by the way, He made the stars.
God saw that it was good to separate the light from the darkness. It is so common but so good. We are built to sleep better in darkness. Still, darkness is not complete - there is the moon. This is different from Genesis 1:2 where darkness must probably be understood as complete.
Day Five - God of the Living
Genesis 1: 20-23
This is a first occurrence of the term “living”. What does it mean? First, notice that the source of living is God. Living is distinguished by God from non-living like the creation in verses 3-19. From this we understand that life came from God rather than some chemical or physical action/reaction/accident. Second, notice that the term is an adjective - living creatures, active living and moving things. This may anticipate the creation of man - from the dust of the earth. The creatures were made from something that existing but the “living” is from God.
Living has to do with activity. Please note that God created active creatures - swarms of living creatures, birds flying, winged birds, great sea creatures (dinosaurs?) living and moving. There is no evolution here! Picture God created “birds on the “fly”, if you can!
These living creatures are “according to its kind”. This limitation of species has been previously noted regarding plants. Now it is applied to living creatures. Darwin in his theory of evolution simply denies this limitation mandated by God.
The blessing of God means that there will be multiplication of living creatures according to His good will. The multiplying is embedded in the living creatures here described. Multiplication is the essence of God’s blessing. Blessing brings fullness of life. Inherent to the covenant is to bless - bring fullness of life. Ps. 103:1,2 Bless the Lord? Do not forget all of His benefits. Blessing God acknowledges God as the giver of all of the things I am and possess.
Let’s pause here for a moment and realize that the creation of God, as magnificent as it is, is still not completed. God makes a distinction between heaven and earth, between darkness and light, between sun, moon and stars, between living creatures and non-living objects. All of this distinction is important when we come to God’s final creation on Day Six.
Day Six - God of Life
There is reference on the sixth day to three kinds of making: (1) “let the land produce living creatures”; (2) “God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the cattle according to their kinds, and all the creatures that creep along the ground according to their kinds.”; (3) “Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness”.
(1) Let the land produce living creatures. Genesis 1:11 uses the same terminology - the source of the plant world is “the land”. Similarly, the source of the animal world is “the land”. Animals came from “the land”. We find it easy to think of the plant world from “the land”. We find it hard to think of living creatures coming from “the land”. The living creatures are defined by God as animals, cattle, and creatures that creep along the earth. This whole idea undercuts the idea of evolution connecting “animals” to man.
(2) God made animals, cattle, and creatures that creep along the earth - according to their kinds. Again, He distinguishes kinds (species). That He continues to create new generations of animals is alluded to in Psalm 104:30.
(3) God made man distinct from that which the land produced - plants, animals. The special term “create” (bara) is used. This is notably a special creation!
Man is defined as in the image of God, after His likeness, ruler, male and female, blessed, fruitful, provided with food, and good. Man is not the product of inanimate or living things. Man is the product of God. One writer says “He is made “after the likeness of God”; his character is potentially divine. He is capable of approaching, or receding from, the “likeness” of God. The resemblance can never be perfect: but it can increase, and it can diminish.” Some have defined the image of God as man’s reasoning power. One commentator reminds us that man is royalty. Each person bears the stamp of royalty. This was patently understood by the author of Psalm 8. His description of man in royal terms is his interpretation of the concept of the “image of God” introduced in verse 26. More specifically, Allman says that the image of God refers to the role of rulership given to him, plurality in unity (He made them male and female), and creativity “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it!” = make children. Something unique about the birthing involved showed up in Genesis 3 after Woman is name “Eve”.
Note - “in our image”. The plural of “God” is used. This has been called a plural of majesty. I’m not convinced that the idea should be limited to a plural of majesty. There is a plurality in unity which looks forward to the Trinity in the Old Testament but is completed by the arrival of Jesus in the New Testament. Calvin observes that the chief seat of the Divine image was in his mind and heart, where it was eminent: yet was there no part of him in which some scintillations of it did not shine forth. This is the one central and essential point that sets up the difference between us and the animals: they were not created to be the image of God; we were. To put it in necessary modern day parlance - man is not an animal!
Scientists who believe in the theory of evolution are not very scientific. You see, they believe a theory although no one was there to “observe” the Origin of the Species. They are at a disadvantage. Scientists are not “in the know”. Theologians who believe the Bible are “in the know”. In fact, if you don’t know what the Bible says, you don’t know enough! Van Til, the theologian, observes that man’s scientific procedure was accordingly to be marked by the attitude of obedience to God.
Apparent Age - How old was Adam when God created Him? Did God create a baby? Don’t think so. Genesis 2 says that God spoke to Adam and Eve and gave them instructions. So, Adam’s apparent age must have been at least 12 years of (the “age of accountability). Did God create a teenager? Oh, my!
Day Seven – Sabbath
There’s something special about the seventh day. God says He is finished with creation. That does not mean that He erases or negates what He has already completed. It means that His creative work now is turned over to his sustaining work. We call it Providence.
Now we really get to the special part of the seventh day. The Hebrew term for seven is “sabbath”. Let’s think about the term day for a moment. If, as we propose, the six days of creation are 24 hour days, what does this say about the seventh “day”? Exodus 20:8-11 helps us affirm that a 24-hour period of time is indeed in view here. Did God “rest” for a 24-hour period? He did not have to “rest” if we think of rest as the need after strenuous work that produces fatigue. The Hebrew term שָׁבַּת (shabbat) can be translated “to rest” (“and he rested”) but it basically means “to cease.” God ceased His work on the sabbath day. He was not tired. He stopped.
One commentator observes that the Israelite week has no linkage to seasons or moon phases as other cultures designate the calendar and is entirely independent of the movement of celestial bodies. The Sabbath thus underlines the fundamental idea of Israelite monotheism: that God is wholly outside of nature.
How about the sabbath? Is it still mandated or did it stop? Jesus did not question the principle of a day of rest. Rather, the right use of the day is at the heart of much controversy. Early Christians felt spiritually free to substitute the first day of the week in the place of the seventh as a day of worship. In our busy Western culture, many people (even Christians) violate the sabbath principle by acting as if the rest is not necessary.
Why do should we observe Sabbath? Because God thinks the practice is good and exercised the principle himself. Sabbath is often a metaphor for completed salvation.