Genesis Chapter One

 

Introduction:

 

            In the study of this book one scholar has said that Genesis makes clear to us two things:  “1.) The design of the Bible is to reveal the Divine plan of redemption in Jesus Christ. (2) An understanding of the Bible requires a knowledge of its first book, Genesis.  If we should trace the marvelous unfolding of God’s redemptive processes in Christ, the central fact of the Bible, we must begin where the Bible begins.”  (Genesis – Dickson New Analytical Study Bible) This is the reason that we should use it in this setting as the beginning of our study of those things ‘…WRITTEN AFORETIME” that “WERE WRITTEN FOR OUR LEARNING, THAT WE THROUGH PATIENCE AND COMFORT OF THE SCRIPTURE MIGHT HAVE HOPE.” Romans 15:4

            This first book is called Genesis because it records the generation or beginning of a number of things.  It records the beginning of the world, of life, of domestic relationships, of institutions, such as marriage and governments, of moral order, of sin and the consequences of sin, of God plan for man’s redemption and the beginning of nations, specifically the nation that would bring God’s Redeemer into the world.

            It was written by Moses along with the rest of the Pentateuch; as the first five books of the Bible are called.  It is scripture, inspired of God, written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit just as is the rest of the Bible.  It was most likely written during the 40 years of Israel’s wandering in the wilderness.

            As would be expected there is controversy regarding the date of the creation and the beginning of what is called time.  The analyses most often accepted among Bible scholars are those of James Ussher, a 17th century scholar, a Catholic Bishop and Primate of Ireland and Sir John Lightfoot, Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University in England who published his calculations in 1644.  This chronology gives us a period of 4004 years from the time of Adam until Christ and now 2007 years from the birth of Christ until today making the earth 6011 years old.  Hugo McCord has also written extensively on this subject and supports this chronology.  The Bible, itself, does not tell us; so we are left to the conjecture of learned men.  However, the span of time covered by this book is at least equal to or perhaps greater than the span of time covered by the rest of the Bible.

            In addition to the beginnings Genesis gives us the history of the human race from the beginning of time until recorded history.  It also gives us several undeniable facts:  God Is, man was created by God, when he left God, man fell into moral excess and sin so great the God destroyed his crowning creation except for eight people.  As noted in the beginning it also gives us the foundation for our faith in Jesus Christ as the redeemer promised to Eve as a result of sin being allowed to enter into the world.  As such it is the foundation for the balance of the Bible.

 

Read Genesis 1:1-5

 

v.1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

 

            In this study of this book we are not going to focus on a primary study of the topics of Christian Evidences, but rather we will focus on the scripture itself and what we can glean from a thorough study of God’s Word.  In the beginning God created and we have scriptural testimony to that fact:

 

 David:  Psalms 8:3-4 “WHEN I CONSIDER THY HEAVENS, THE WORK OF

THY FINGERS, THE MOON AND THE STARS, WHICH THOU HAS

ORDAINED; WHAT IS MAN, THAT THOU ARE MINDFUL OF HIM? AND THE

SON OF MAN, THAT THOU VISITEST HIM?”

 

Solomon, speaking of wisdom:  Proverbs 8:23I was set up from

everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.”

 

God himself: Isaiah 44:24Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;”

 

Christ:  Mark 13:19For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.”

 

And we could go on with the Apostle John in John 1:1-4, the apostle Paul at Lystra in Acts 14:15 and the Hebrew writer in Hebrews 11:3 but this is sufficient to our purpose in this study.

 

v.2And 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.”

 

            This mass of matter that is called earth in this verse was not yet the earth that we see today.  It was matter in chaos, no order, not formed, void or empty and open, and dark with no light.  It was shapeless, without any useful purpose, was not inhabited nor did it have even a shadow or rough image of what it was to become.  God had spoken it into existence but, like a handful of clay on a potter’s wheel, had not done any work to make it what is was to become.  The Spirit of God was the power that was to bring out of this confusion, emptiness and darkness the earth, the heavens, the universe in its vast expanse and all therein.

 

v.3  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

 

            No life can exist without light.  Even those small creatures that live in the deepest caves of our country in total darkness could not exist without the sunlight at the surface of the earth that provides the means for them to survive.  Just as God spoke and the heaven and earth came to be, he spoke and light was created.  Paul uses that fact to confirm to the church at Corinth that the light that shines in our lives spiritually also comes from God:

 

II Corinthians 4:6For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

 

            God said “LET THERE BE LIGHT”.  Through the power of his will it was done, immediately, not the light of the heavenly bodies, they had not yet been created but light.

 

v.4-5And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.”

 

            Asaph records in:

 

Psalms 74:16 “THE DAY is THINE, THE NIGHT ALSO is THINE: THOU HAST PREPARED THE LIGHT AND THE SUN.”

 

And we have further confirmation in:

 

Psalms 104:20 “THOU MAKEST DARKNESS, AND IT IS NIGHT: WHEREIN ALL THE BEASTS OF THE FOREST DO CREEP forth.”

 

            So God divided the light from the darkness, put one here and the other there.  He divided time between light and darkness preparing the way for a time that plants, men and certain animals work and prosper and a time when man, those animals of the day rest and the animals of the night prowl.  When we see darkness approach in the evening and the light come in the morning we should realize and reflect upon the fact that God set this cycle in motion, never to end without his direct intervention until the end of time.

            We have four words in this verse that testify to us that God is talking about a normal 24 hour day as we know it.  The light was called day, the dark called night and there was a morning and an evening just as we enjoy today.

 

Read Genesis 1:6-8

 

v.6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”

 

            In verse 2 we see that the “SPIRIT OF GOD” moved upon the waters and from that and further information in later verses that the earth was completely covered with water.  Now we see that God divides the waters with a firmament.  What is this firmament?  What do other translations tell us?  It was an “EXPANSE”.  The Hebrew word signifies an expansion, like a sheet spread or a curtain drawn.  This “EXPANSE” reaches from the ground to the third heaven.  It includes all that is visible above the earth, the air; it’s higher, middle and upper regions – the earth and the universe that we know.  Further in this chapter we find the same word applied to the heaven where the birds fly (v.20) and the heaven where the stars and planets reside (v.14-15).  Elihu in his challenge to Job said::

 

Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?”  Job 37:18

 

Psalms 136:5 “TO HIM THAT BY WISDOM MADE THE HEAVENS: FOR HIS MERCY endureth FOR EVER.”

 

v.7And 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 divided the waters, leaving some of the waters on the surface of the earth and assigning some to the heavens above.  The water above is that which we today call humidity, clouds, vapor; water that circulates in a continuous cycle of evaporation and condensation.  However, rain, as we know it, was not known on the earth until the time of Noah.  Solomon records that wisdom existed:

 

“WHEN HE ESTABLISHED THE CLOUDS ABOVE: WHEN HE STRENGTHENED THE FOUNTAINS OF THE DEEP.”  Proverbs 8:28

 

v8. “And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”

 

Read Genesis 1:9-13

 

v.9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.”

 

            Man, as God created him, could not survive on an earth completely covered by water, could he?  Thus we see bits of God’s Master Plan being completed and revealed in pieces designed so that we might understand their place and their order.  The water that was under the heavens covered the entire earth, there was no dry land and dry land was needed.  So God gathered all of the water under heaven into one place.  So we see that:

 

“HE HATH COMPASSED THE WATERS WITH BOUNDS, UNTIL THE DAY AND NIGHT COME TO AN END.”  Job 26:10

 

“HE GATHERETH THE WATERS OF THE SEA TOGETHER AS AN HEAP: HE LAYETH UP THE DEPTH IN STOREHOUSES.”  Psalms 33:7

 

But the Apostle Peter tells us that scoffers will come who do not believe in God and his creation:

 

“FOR THIS THEY WILLINGLY ARE IGNORANT OF, THAT BY THE WORD OF GOD THE HEAVENS OF OLD, AND THE EARTH STANDING OUT OF THE WATER AND IN THE WATER.”  II Peter 3:5

 

v.10 “AND GOD CALLED THE DRY land EARTH; AND THE GATHERING TOGETHER OF THE WATERS CALLED HE SEAS: AND GOD SAW THAT it was GOOD.”

 

v.11 “AND GOD SAID, LET THE EARTH BRING FORTH GRASS, THE HERB YIELDING SEED, and THE FRUIT TREE YIELDING FRUIT AFTER HIS KIND, WHOSE SEED is IN ITSELF, UPON THE EARTH, AND IT WAS SO.”

 

            Not only did God provide this earthen platform upon which we live but at the same time provided both the plants to sustain animal life, birds and mankind and the trees or plants that carry their means of reproduction in their fruit.  God also set the first law in nature in motion, what might that be?  That each would reproduce after it’s own kind.  God, through his providence gave us the process that sustains us:

 

“…THE EARTH WHICH DRINKETH IN THE RAIN THAT COMETH OFT UPON IT, AND BRINGETH FORTH HERBS MEET FOR THEM BY WHOM IT IS DRESSED, RECEIVETH BLESSING FROM GOD.”  Hebrews 6:7

 

v.12-13And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 13And the evening and the morning were the third day.”

 

Read Genesis 1:14-23

 

v.14-15And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: 15And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.”

 

            Job tells us in Job 26:13 that God “BY HIS SPIRIT HE HATH GARNISHED THE HEAVENS.”  Garnished the heavens much like one of the ladies would garnish a dish being prepared to be served to her family.  In this we can perhaps see something of the power of God, in that he would place the stars, moons and planets in space as easily and simply as someone garnishing a favorite dish.  This realm of God’s creation has always fascinated and amazed man; even to the extent that God had to give the Israelite nation rules and laws:

 

“…lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.”  Deuteronomy 4:19

 

And gives us similar warning about false teachers:

 

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator…” Romans 1:25

 

v.16And 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.”

 

Psalms 148:3-5 “PRAISE YE HIM, SUN AND MOON, PRAISE HIM, ALL YE STARS OF LIGHT.  PRAISE HIM, YE HEAVENS OF HEAVENS, AND YE WATERS THAT be ABOVE THE HEAVENS.  LET THEM PRAISE THE NAME OF THE LORD FOR HE COMMANDED, AND THEY WERE CREATED.”

 

            God made two great lights, the sun and the moon and then the stars.  The sun is not only to provide light but through the process of photosynthesis provide the means for plants to live.  The moon likewise has other purposes besides lighting the night sky, one is that it regulates the ocean tides.

 

Psalms 136:7-9 “TO HIM THAT MADE GREAT LIGHTS: FOR HIS MERCY endureth FOR EVER: THE SUN TO RULE BY DAY: FOR HIS MERCY endureth FOR EVER: THE MOON AND STARS TO RULE BY NIGHT: FOR HIS MERCY endureth FOR EVER.”

 

v.17-19And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 18And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. 19And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.”

 

            And God set them in place to serve the purposes for which he made them.  Mankind should be reminded of the power of almighty God every time they look up should they not?  Jeremiah used these examples to remind Judah of their Lord and ruler:

 

Jeremiah 31:35Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:”

 

v.20-2120And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

 

            Each day has progressed in the proper order from the very foundations of the earth and heavens providing those things that were needful before creating the creatures that needed that provision and support.  On the fifth day we find not only every kind of winged bird and fish but the also the mammals that live in water, such as the whale.  As we will study later, we find that these “FOWL OF THE AIR” needed protection during the great flood that destroyed the earth.  Noah was commanded to take:

 

Genesis 7:14They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.”

 

v.22-23 “And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.”

 

            God commanded them to be fruitful and fill the land and the waters of the rivers and seas.  This they did after their kind.  Again we are reminded of the first law of nature that each must reproduce after their own kind.  One of the basic arguments that refutes Darwin’s theory about the origin of species is that nowhere in nature, or in the fossil record can any evidence be found of a transition from one kind to another kind.  Each has reproduced only after its own kind.  Yes, horses and donkeys have been crossed to produce mules but they are still equine creatures of the same kind. 

            God gave the same instructions to multiply and fill the earth to those that were removed from the ark after the flood.

 

Genesis 8:17bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.”

 

Read Genesis 1:24-25

 

v. 24And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”

 

            God, who rules the world, completes the final stage of his creation of the earth and the inhabitants that will be needed to support and sustain his final creation that is yet to come.  Again He creates each animal after its own kind; to reproduce after its own kind.  He creates the food animals and the predators who will keep the multiplication of each kind under control.  In doing so the power of almighty God is again manifested to mankind.  And again it is used by the prophet to help His chosen people understand who is behind their punishment:

 

Jeremiah 27:5-6I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me. 6And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.”

 

Mankind would do well today to honor the power, majesty, and authority of God today as well.

 

v.25And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

 

            God created all kinds, all sizes and shapes of animals, animals of all natures, manners, food and fashions.  He made some to be tame around the house and farms, others to be wild.  He made some to live upon the grass and herbs of the fields that he created and others to live on flesh.  He made some to be the servants of man, others to be feared by man.  Can we not look at these things and not wonder at the power and intelligence of Almighty God?  But God is not done just yet.

 

Read Genesis 1:26-28

 

v.26And 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.”

 

            God now brings into existence his crowning and final creation, mankind.  He made us in his own image and likeness.  What does that mean?  What attributes of man are like God’s?  We know that there is no physical resemblance as God is a spirit and spirits do not have physical features.  We are like God in that we have a spirit, given by God and the intellectual ability to reason.  We have been given the right and responsibility to hold dominion over all other creation.  Moses tells us a little further on:

 

Genesis 5:1This is the book of the generations of Adam.  In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;”

 

David brings honor to God when he contemplates His power and what he had done for mankind:

 

“THOU MADEST HIM TO HAVE DOMINION OVER THE WORKS OF THY HANDS; THOU HAST PUT ALL things UNDER HIS FEET: ALL SHEEP AND OXEN, YEA, AND THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD; THE FOWL OF THE AIR, AND THE FISH OF THE SEA, and whatsoever PASSETH THROUGH THE PATHS OF THE SEA.” Psalms 8:6-8

 

            Men seem to have forgotten and need to remember the words of the psalm that we sing occasionally in our own worship to God:

 

“KNOW YE THAT THE LORD HE is GOD: it is HE that HATH MADE US, AND NOT WE OURSELVES; we are HIS PEOPLE, AND THE SHEEP OF HIS PASTURE.” Psalms 100:3

 

v.27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

 

            Not only is the fact that God created mankind a problem to carnal man today but also the additional fact that he created us male and female.  A large majority of the world today is not only perverting what God created in their refusal to accept God’s law for marriage but also a small but vocal and powerful minority is succeeding in legitimizing their perversion of God’s natural law in the relationship between man and woman.  Jesus said:

 

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?”  Matthew 19:4-5 See also Mark 10:6-9

 

            God made but one male and female of the human species.  Adam was the first man:

 

I Corinthians 15:45 “AND SO IT IS WRITTEN, THE FIRST MAN ADAM WAS MADE A LIVING SOUL; THE LAST ADAM was made A QUICKENING SPIRIT.”

 

v.28And 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.”

 

            So then what does this word “REPLENISH” mean?  A lot of people have tried to use it to say that there were others created and the earth was filled before the creation of Adam that we find in our Bibles?  Probably the simplest explanation that I have found was written by Guy N. Woods in Questions and Answers, Open Forum, Freed-Hardeman College Lectures (1976) p. 18:

 

“Here is an excellent example of the fact that words in translation may be used which convey ideas not in the original word or words thus translated.  The Hebrew word translated “replenish”, means simply to fill and carries no suggestion that a world was to be refilled which had become empty.  As a matter of fact, the English word, replenish, in early English signified to stock, to fill; and, it is in this sense that it is used in the foregoing passage.  Only in late English does it denote a re-filling.” 

 

This Hebrew word is used again in Genesis 9:1 in the instructions given to Noah after the flood.  In that case it could mean to fill as well as the earth after the flood is now empty of life.  But we can also draw from the context of the scripture a that it means to re-fill as the earth did previously hold life that has been destroyed.

            Verse 26 states God’s intent and verse 28 states God’s commandment to mankind, His making mankind aware of his intent; that they are to be fruitful, multiply and rule over the creatures of the earth.  This helps us understand the joy that our children and grandchildren bring us.  A psalm written for Solomon underscores this joy:

 

“LO, CHILDREN are AN HERITAGE OF THE LORD; and THE FIRST FRUITS OF THE WOMB is his REWARD.  AS ARROWS are IN THE HAND OF A MIGHTY MAN; SO are CHILDREN OF THE YOUTH.  HAPPY is THE MAN THAT HATH HIS QUIVER FULL OF THEM: THEY SHALL NOT BE ASHAMED, BUT THEY SHALL SPEAK WITH THE ENEMIES IN THE GATE.” Psalms 127:3

 

Read Genesis 1:29-31

 

v.29And 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.”

 

            Paul says and Luke records that all of these things serve as witnesses of the existence of God, his benevolence and his providence:

 

Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” Acts 14:17

 

v.30And 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.”

 

            David in his praise to God honored him for his provision for all life:

 

Psalms 145:15-16 “THE EYES OF ALL WAIT UPON THEE; AND THOU GIVEST THEM THEIR MEAT IN DUE SEASON; THOU OPENEST THINE HAND, AND SATIFIEST THE DESIRE OF EVERY LIVING THING.”

 

            A prophet of God does also in a later Psalm:

 

Psalms 147:9  HE GIVETH TO THE BEAST HIS FOOD, and TO THE YOUNG RAVESN WHICH CRY.”

 

v.31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

 

Psalms 104:24 “O LORD, HOW MANIFOLD ARE THY WORKS!  IN WISDOM HAST THOU MADE THEM: ALL THE EARTH IS FULL OF THY RICHES.

 

            All that God made was very good; there was no sin, no sickness, no pain, no sorrow.  All of that came as a result of man’s actions, not God’s.  Please observe that at the end of each day “IT WAS GOOD” but as the work is completed and everything is in harmony, it was “VERY GOOD.”

            God took six days to make the earth, the heavens and all that are found in them.  Could he have done it in an instant?  Of course, but he chose not to do so.

Are these days long eons of time allowing for all of these creatures to have evolved as the evolutionists would have us believe?  No.  However some of our apostate and rebellious brethren, one of the most well known of which is John Clayton; have tried to compromise with the evolutionists.  They have advocated a “day-age” theory to support their notions of “theistic evolution” or that God created the heavens and earth by using as His method, evolution.  But this is contrary to God’s inspired word and therefore a false doctrine.  Moses tells us further:

 

Exodus 20:11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”