1:1 The simple statement that God created the heavens and the earth is one of the most significant truths, but challenging concepts confronting the modern mind. The vast galaxy we live in is estimated to spin at the incredible speed of 490,000 miles an hour, and even at this breakneck speed, our galaxy still needs an estimated 200 million years to make one rotation. And there are over one billion other galaxies just like ours in the universe.
Some scientists say that the number of stars in creation is equal to all the grains of all the sands on all the beaches of the world. Yet this complex sea of spinning stars functions with remarkable order and efficiency. To say that the universe “just happened” or “evolved” requires more faith than to believe that God is behind these amazing statistics. God truly did create a wonderful universe.
God did not need to create the universe; he chose to create it. Why? God is love, and love is best expressed toward something or someone else—so God created the world and people as an expression of his love. We should avoid reducing God’s creation to merely scientific terms. Remember that God created the universe because he loves us.
|Origin of the universe|
|The Bible does not discuss the subject of evolution. Rather, its worldview assumes God created the world. The biblical view of creation is not in conflict with science; rather, it is in conflict with any worldview that starts without a creator.|
|Equally committed and sincere Christians have struggled with the subject of beginnings and come to differing conclusions. This, of course, is to be expected because the evidence is very old and, due to the ravages of the ages, quite fragmented. Students of the Bible and of science should avoid polarizations and black/white thinking. Students of the Bible must be careful not to make the Bible say what it doesn’t say, and students of science must not make science say what it doesn’t say.|
|The most important aspect of the continuing discussion is not the process of creation, but the origin of creation. The world is not a product of blind chance and probability; God created it.|
|The Bible not only tells us that the world was created by God; more important, it tells us who this God is. It reveals God’s personality, his character, and his plan for his creation. It also reveals God’s deepest desire: to relate to and fellowship with the people he created. God took the ultimate step toward fellowship with us through his historic visit to this planet in the person of his Son Jesus Christ. We can know in a very personal way this God who created the universe.|
|The heavens and the earth are here. We are here. God created all that we see and experience. The book of Genesis begins, “God created the heavens and the earth.”|
1:1 The creation story teaches us much about God and ourselves. First, we learn about God: (1) He is creative; (2) as the Creator, he is distinct from his creation; (3) he is eternal and in control of the world. We also learn about ourselves: (1) Since God chose to create us, we are valuable in his eyes; (2) we are more important than the animals.
1:1 Just for how did God create the earth? This is still a subject of great debate. Some say that with a sudden explosion, the universe appeared. Others say God started the process and the universe evolved over billions of years. Almost every ancient religion has its own story to explain how the earth came to be. And almost every scientist has an opinion on the origin of the universe. But only the Bible shows one supreme God creating the earth out of his great love and giving all people a special place in it. We will never know all the answers to how God created the earth, but the Bible tells us that God did create it. That fact alone gives worth and dignity to all people.
1:2 Who created God?To ask that question is to assume there was another creator before God. At some time, however, we are forced to stop asking that question and realize that there had to be something that has always existed. God is that infinite Being who has always been and who was created by no one. This is difficult to understand because finite minds cannot comprehend the infinite. For example, we can try to think of the highest number, but we can’t do it. Likewise, we must not limit the infinite God by our finite understanding.
1:2 The statement “the earth was formless and empty” provides the setting for the creation narrative that follows. During the second and third days of creation, God gave form to the universe; during the next three days, God filled the earth with living beings. The “darkness” was dispelled on the first day, when God created light.
1:2 The image of the Spirit of God hovering over the earth’s surface is similar to a mother bird caring for and protecting its young (see Deuteronomy 32:11, 12; Isaiah 31:5). God’s Spirit was actively involved in the creation of the world (see Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30). God’s care and protection are still active.
1:3-2:7 How long did it take God to create the world? There are two basic views about the days of creation: (1) Each day was a literal 24-hour period; (2) each day represents an indefinite period of time (even millions of years).
The real question, however, is not how long God took, but how he did it. God created the earth in an orderly fashion (he did not make plants before light), and he created men and women as unique beings capable of communication with him. No other part of creation can claim that remarkable privilege. It is not important how long it took God to create the world, whether a few days or a few billion years, but that he created it just the way he wanted it.
1:6 The “space between the waters” was a separation between the sea and the mists of the skies.
|Days of Creation|
|First Day||Light (so there was light and darkness)|
|Second Day||Sky and water (waters separated)|
|Third Day||Land and seas (waters gathered); vegetation|
|Fourth Day||Sun, moon, and stars (to govern the day and the night and to mark seasons, days and years)|
|Fifth Day||Fish and birds (to fill the waters and the sky)|
|Sixth Day||Animals (to fill the earth)Man and woman (to care for the earth and to commune with God)|
|Seventh Day||God rested and declared all he had made to be very good|
1:25 God saw that his work was good. People sometimes feel guilty for having a good time or for feeling good about an accomplishment. This need not be so. Just as God felt good about his work, we can be pleased with ours. However, we should not feel good about our work if God would not be pleased with it. What are you doing that pleases both you and God?
1:26 Why does God use the plural form, “Let us make human beings in our image“? This is a reference to the Trinity—God the Father, Jesus Christ his Son, and the Holy Spirit—all of whom are God. From Job 33:4 and Psalm 104:30, we do know that God’s Spirit was present in the Creation. From Colossians 1:16 we know that Christ, God’s Son, was at work in the Creation.
1:26 In what ways are we made in God’s image? God obviously did not create us exactly like himself because God has no physical body. Instead, we are reflections of God’s glory. Some feel that our reason, creativity, speech, or self-determination is the image of God. More likely, it is our entire self that reflects the image of God. We will never be totally like God because he is our supreme Creator. But we do have the ability to reflect his character in our love, patience, forgiveness, kindness, and faithfulness.
Knowing that we are made in God’s image and thus share many of his characteristics provides a solid basis for self-worth. Human worth is not based on possessions, achievements, physical attractiveness, or public acclaim. Instead, it is based on being made in God’s image. Because we bear God’s image, we can feel positive about ourselves. Criticizing or downgrading ourselves is criticizing what God has made and the abilities he has given us. Knowing that you are a person of worth helps you love God, know him personally, and make a valuable contribution to those around you.
1:27 God made both man and woman in his image. Neither man nor woman is made more in the image of God than the other. From the beginning the Bible places both man and woman at the pinnacle of God’s creation. Neither sex is exalted, and neither is depreciated.
1:28 To “reign over” something is to have absolute authority and control over it. God has ultimate rule over the earth, and he exercises his authority with loving care. When God delegated some of his authority to the human race, he expected us to take responsibility for the environment and the other creatures that share our planet. We must not be careless and wasteful as we fulfill this charge. God was careful how he made this earth. We must not be careless about how we take care of it.
1:31 God saw that all he had created was excellent in every way. You are part of God’s creation, and he is pleased with how he made you. If at times you feel worthless or of little value, remember that God made you for a good reason. You are valuable to him.
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