Genesis 1:1-5, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light!” And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.”
Before we get into the particulars of this week of creation we should point out a few patterns that exist throughout each of these six days. Before we get the numbering of each day following the tag line “evening and morning,” every day begins with God speaking forth a command, a reporting of what happens, and then God’s evaluation that “it was good.”
In order to streamline our examination of the text I want to go ahead and make three observations necessary to understanding the creation account of chapter 1. First, should we accept the plain reading of our text that God created in 6 literal days? To this question I would say, “Yes!” mainly because the text doesn’t tell us to read it any other way!
While it’s true the word we have in the Hebrew for “day” or “yowm” can be used to describe an unspecified age of time such as the “Day of the Lord,” anytime this word is placed with a numerical value such as “first day” it only refers to a literal 24-hour period.
Furthermore, you should note that every “day” in Genesis 1 is defined with the phrase “evening and morning.” In the Hebrew language the phrase itself is emphatic so much so the Hebrew people defined their day beginning with sunset as opposed to sunrise.
It should also be pointed out that Moses accepted a literal reading of Genesis 1. In Exodus 20 he writes, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God… For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.”
This is important for there are those who seek to claim Genesis 1 leaves room for God to use evolutionary processes in the creation of all things (Theistic Evolution); and yet, the problem with this viewpoint is the fact the text simply doesn’t substantiate this position!
Consider that as a response to God’s commands for things to come into existence we’re told over and over again in Genesis 1 that “it was so” not “it became so.”
Additionally, if the six days do represent eons of evolutionary processes initiated by God, two larger problems subsequently surface: First, Genesis 1 claims life began on land and not the sea which contradicts the evolutionary model. Secondly, the development of vegetated life is listed before the very systems it needs to survive (sun and animals).
Beyond this, as it pertains to living things, following God’s command to reproduce you’ll find the repeated phrase for this to occur “according to its kind” - literally “its species.”
While it’s true we see microevolution at work in the natural world through adaptations within various species, it’s also an indisputable reality that we have no evidence of macroevolution ever successfully transitioning one species into another.
Why? Animals are bound by their stored information. Though inherited traits passed on over time do allow a specific species to adapt for survival, DNA and genetics determine that certain fundamental characteristics of a species will never change. Note: Anytime the core genetic fundamentals of a species are not passed along to an offspring the result is always a negative mutation and loss of life!
Let me give you an example… Fetal genetic modification is an incredible development of modern science. As crazy as it sounds, aside from being able to determine gender and eye color, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that we’ll reach a point where we can literally create a Superman (hight, strength, IQ, and health) with one exception… You can’t modify human DNA to do something contrary to its fundamentals - like fly!
Secondly, I love the fact that, following God’s evaluation of what He’d done, each day ends with this phrase “it was good.” Please understand this phrase does not imply that each day God stepped back and took pride in His work. Instead, it means God was evaluating His creation in the context of how man would enjoy His handiwork! “They’ll love this!”
Because God was creating a system man could enjoy and have dominion over, His creation was “day one ready.” The systems were set up to be fully operational the moment Adam and Eve were created. Plants were already producing fruit that could be enjoyed (man was vegetarian). Stars were hung millions of light-years away ready to be seen!
And what’s even more amazing than that is the reality there were things created in Genesis 1 whether it be stars and constellations, plants, marine-life, animals, etc. that humans are just now getting to see and enjoy! Creation was man-centric! If you keep in mind as we travel through the creation narrative that everything God was doing was designed for the benefit of humanity it’s easier to accept a literal six day event.
Finally… One of the fundamental problems with Origin Science is that no human being was actually present to witness and record the origins of anything. That said… What we do have contained in Genesis 1 is in actuality God’s first-hand, eyewitness account of His creation process. “And God saw…” is a phrase often repeated throughout the chapter!
Once again the options you have are rather simple: Either you except the revelation of the God who was present for and initiated the origins of all things or you rely on man’s best guess. But understand this… Both of these positions require a measure of faith.
The Bible never shies from this reality… Hebrews 11:1-3, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God.”
And yet, the irony is that while the scientific community ridicules and marginalizes those who believe in an Intelligent Designer, as it pertain to origins, Evolutionary Sciences also require a measure of faith from the individual for two basic reasons…
First, since no one is sure of the original conditions that spawned life the theories we possess cannot be tested according to the Scientific Method. They require faith!
Secondly, the probability of complex life spontaneously evolving from a simple cell is so incredibly unlikely scientist don’t believe it can or ever could happen again.
To illustrate the immense amount of faith those who’ve substituted the revelation of God for the intelligence of man must possess I’ve included a link to a Radiolab titled, “Cellmates” which presents “the story of one cosmic oops moment that changed the game of life forever.” Talk about an unimaginable amount of faith!
The truth that even the brightest minds overlook when discussing origins is the fact that matter + energy + time for probability still fails to produce life. What life needs to exist, in addition to matter and energy, is information (DNA). Interestingly enough information demands intelligence! How fitting the Bible says God spoke and things were created!
Day One: “And God said let there be light…” It’s not an accident that “light” was the very first thing God created! As one of the elementary elements of the universe light, as a photon, is the smallest amount of energy that can be transported through space.
Furthermore, light is unique in that it’s an element that behaves like a wave and therefore possesses an electromagnetic field that produces a complex spectrum (frequencies like gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet, infrared, radar, FM, TV, AM).
Light is essential to everything for it not only interacts with matter, is ordered by matter, gathers information about the matter around it, but unexplainably (regardless of frequency) travels at a constant speed of C (299,792,458 m/s) which just so happens to be the fastest anything can travel in a vacuum. Why is this the case? No one knows! Understand, without light nothing in the physical universe could be knowable or aged (the constant speed of light is how scientist place such an old age to our universe).
We’re then told “God divided the light from the darkness…” While I have no idea what is happening here what is interesting is that while we will see all kinds of separations and distinctions occur in Genesis the first division is placed in context to “light” and “darkness.” 2 Corinthians 6, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”
Genesis 1:6-8, “Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.”
Day Two: While the “waters” already existed directly following “the beginning,” it is at this point that God provides order from seeming chaos by forming a “firmament in the midst of the waters” with the intention of “dividing the waters from the waters.”
This word “firmament” means “expanse” or to literally “spread out thin.” Not only does God create an atmosphere around the earth, but it’s likely our atmosphere was capped by a thick canopy of water vapor which formed a perfect greenhouse effect on the earth.
Genesis 1:9-10, “Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.”
Day Three: After separating the “waters” God now commands the “waters under the heavens” to “gather together into one place” or literally “one basin” before then commanding “the dry land” to “appear.” It’s likely the materials of “land” already existed under the waters. Note: “Earth” was separated from “the waters” and not from itself meaning there was originally only one super continent (known as Pangea) and no such thing as islands.
Genesis 1:11-13, “Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day.”
“Let the earth bring forth…” After separating earth and sea, God furnishes the land with the ability to produce vegetation: “grass, herbs, and the fruit tree.” Then in an another amazing stroke of genius God enabled vegetation the ability to recreate itself by giving it “seed.” Note: For “seed” to exist these original plants had to be created fully matured.
Once again it’s interesting that the very first mention of this phrase “according to its kind” is presented in context to the development of “seed” essential for continued life! Understand, it is by its very natural order that you can only reap of the very seed you sow! Galatians 6:7-9, “Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
Genesis 1:14-19, “Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.”
Day Four: “Let there be lights…” This word “lights” in the Hebrew means “light-bearers.” On the fourth day God created the sun, moon, and stars for three reasons: (1) “Divide the day from the night.” (2) “For signs and seasons… days and years.” (3) “Give light on the earth.”
While it’s easy to understand the immediate implications of these things as they pertain to the sun and the moon, it’s important to point out “the stars” were created for these very same purposes. What this means is that for a star to shine light on the earth the shaft of light between the earth and star had to already exist the very moment it was created.
As with plants it stands to reason many stars were also created with the appearance of age which means using light from the stars to date the universe is fundamentally flawed.
It’s also interesting that God describes the moon as the “lesser light” as opposed to the sun the “greater light.” Obviously, the reason this distinction is made is that while the sun generates light for the earth the moon simply acts as a reflector of the sun.
To this point 19th-century English preacher C.H. Mackintosh observed, “Now, as the sun is a beautiful and an appropriate symbol of Christ, so the moon strikingly reminds us of the Church. The fountain of her light is hidden from view. The world seeth Him not, but she sees Him; and she is responsible to reflect his beams upon a benighted world. The world has no other way in which to learn anything of Christ but of the Church… What a responsible place! How earnestly should she watch against everything that would hinder the reflection of the heavenly light of Christ, in all her ways. But how is she to reflect the light? By allowing it to shine upon her, in its undimmed brightness.”
I’d like to also emphasize the reality that the only thing which prohibits the moon from fulfilling its task of reflecting the light of the sun is when the world gets in the way!
Genesis 1:20-31, “Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
Day Five & Six: While up until this point in time God has been forming order out of the elements He spoke into existence in verse 1, something different occurs on the “fifth day” with something even more bizarre taking place at the end of the “sixth.”
On the “fifth day” we’re told “God created” marine life for the sea and birds for the sky before on the “sixth” continuing this process by making animals for the land. Then after determining that all of these things were “good” God “created man in His image and likeness.”
First off, this word “created” initially used on day five for fish and birds but can also be applied to land animals is the same Hebrew word “bara” which we originally found in Genesis 1:1 meaning God created out of nothing. What this tells us is that of the living things the animal kingdom is in some way unique from the plant kingdom.
Then in vs. 26, following the creation of land animals, the “sixth day” takes a strange turn when “God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” It would appear in much the same way as the narrative presents a distinction between the animal and plant kingdoms, humanity is further separated from the rest of the land animals.
The reality is that while all life contains the same physical building blocks it’s true not all life is the same. In creating animals God spoke something new into existence that previously hadn’t existed within plant life only to then do something even more unique concerning man! So what does all of this tell us?
Though plants have a body they lack a spirit (desires and nature). Though animals have a body and spirit (animal nature) they lack a soul (consciousness and will). Amongst all of creation it is only humanity (“male and female”) that has been created with all three: body, spirit, and soul (the ability to act consistently with or contrary to our fundamental human nature) once again pointing us to the triune nature of God (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Notice that with our unique standing amongst creation man also possess a greater responsibility. God commanded both Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply (have babies and make many); fill the earth and subdue it (take in your hand and be satisfied); have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” “Have dominion…” literally “to rule” or “to have stewardship over”!
In conclusion I want to take a minute to set the context of the creation narrative focusing specifically on what Moses was seeking to communicate to the Nation of Israel.
Aside from the nuance of intelligent design and the implication this has for the science of the origins of life (which really had no specific relevance for Israel at the time), one reality is inescapable from Genesis 1… It is only God’s Word that brings life and order out of chaos!
You see Moses’ point in presenting the creation account to the people of God is to hammer home the reality that for life to exist things must function as a response to God’s Word. Note: This lesson was extremely relevant for the people had just received the written Law of God!
Please understand… If you will hear God speak and act according to the things He says life and order will always result. It’s a natural law of creation! And yet, anytime you refuse to listen and instead depart from His Word your life will revert back to chaos which only brings with it death. God’s Word creates while sin de-creates!
James 1:21-25, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
But also note where the power for life originates… While there is no doubt you must hear, accept, and then act accordingly, never forget the power to do this exists not in creation itself but instead the Word that initiated the process. If your life is in chaos it is only through the exposure and acceptance of God’s Word that God will bring about in you order and life! It is through grace, not your efforts that God preforms a work of creation in your life!
John 1:1-4, 14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”