The book of Genesis is absolutely one of my favorite books of the Bible. This is where we learn about the origin of mankind, find out who we are, and what our purpose is. Genesis 1:1 sums up a very important concept: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This is important because the secular world wants to convince us that we got here by chance, and that we have no purpose except that which we make for ourselves. But God has revealed something far greater, namely that His creation was intentional and on purpose; there was no chance involved.
Next God tells us about the first day of creation (Genesis 1:2-5)- how the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. When He speaks He says, “Let there be light”, and there’s an immediate response and obedience by something that didn’t previously exist. Billions of years weren’t needed for light to arrive on earth; it was instantaneous. And what really amazes me is that there’s no apparent source to the light; at this point God hadn’t created the sun, or any other stars. So what is the source of the light? I find this fascinating because we’re seeing a glimpse of, not only what happened in the past, but what we’ll see in the future. I suggest that the answer to the source of the light is found in the book of Revelation. Revelation 21:23-24 gives us a clue: “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it”, and Revelation 22:5: “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever.” So we can see that God is the source of this light, and this is important when attempting to understand the creation account when contrasted with the secular Big-Bang cosmology (theory of the universe).
One of the things that many people don’t recognize is that the universe, when it was first created, was a radically different place than what it is today. It’s typically assumed that what we see and observe today is what happened in the past and will happen in the future. For example, wild animals are dangerous and should be avoided; therefore this has always been the case and will always be the case. But we’ll soon see all that the universe God created was initially very good; in contrast, today we live in a fallen and cursed world. This is important to understand because there’s a huge contrast between a very good creation and a world fallen in sin.
God tells us that He separated the light from darkness, calling the light “day”, and the dark “night”. This is significant because at the conclusion of Day One there’s a physical evening and morning. God has just described what he did in a normal twenty-four hour period. There’s no reason to believe that these events took longer than this if we simply read the text as it’s plainly presented. God also tells us that the light he created was “good.”
On Day Two God (Genesis 1:6-8) spoke again and made an expanse, separating water under the expanse from water above it and called the expanse “sky”. Again when God spoke there was an immediate response; in fact the Bible tells us, “And it was so.” No millions of years were required for an atmosphere. And at the conclusion of the day we see, once again, that there was an evening and morning.
Day Three (Genesis 1:9-13) is when God gathers the water under the sky into one place and has dry ground appear, and once again it happens at his immediate command (And it was so). God calls the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters “seas,” and He saw that it was “good.”
Then God created vegetation, and this is of great significance because he, in essence, places limits on how they can reproduce, and prevents the possibility of evolution. He said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” This happened immediately (“And it was so”), and when he commanded the vegetation to produce after their various kinds, they continue to do so to this day, just as they have done from the beginning. In other words they didn’t evolve into something else. They were fully formed in whatever their original, various kinds were, and then were able to speciate over time (but continue to be the same kind of organism). If there was an original kind of pine tree, then today we see different types of pine trees, but they’re all ancestors of the same kind of tree and continue to reproduce after their kind.
Day Four (Genesis 1:14-19) was a big day because it’s here that God creates the sun, moon, stars, and other heavenly bodies. God even gives them three primary jobs: “to separate the day from the night,” to “serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years”, and to “be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” His command brought an instantaneous response (“And it was so”), and it was simple for God to do; it didn’t take much effort or energy. We can see this by the way the Bible says, “He also made the stars,” as if it was no big deal. He saw what he created and called it “good”.
On Day Five (Genesis 1:20-23) we see that God created sea creatures and birds. And not only did He create them, but He specifically created them according to their kind (once again this rules out the possibility of evolution). God then observes His creation and saw that it was “good”. Evening and morning conclude the day.
Then on Day Six (Genesis 1:24-31) God creates all land creatures according to their kinds at His command (“And it was so”), and He saw that it was good.
Finally God gets to His most significant creation- making man “in our image, in our likeness”, and assigns man the role of ruling “over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” God blessed them and commanded them to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”
Something else that’s very significant is that in Genesis 1:29 God says, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. This is significant because we can see what food source God gave both man and animals to eat- He gave them fruits and vegetables. All animals were originally vegetarian. I point this out because a lot of people, including Christians, haven’t really studied these verses, thought through them, and made that connection. It wasn’t until after Noah’s flood that God gave man permission to eat animals; Genesis 9:3 says, “Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.”
At the conclusion of Day Six God saw all that he had made, and it was “very good”. Then there was evening, and there was morning.
I believe the Genesis account, if it is truly God’s Word, can be trusted to give us an authentic view of who we are and where we came from: we were created by God in his image; therefore we have real significance and worth.