The Bible begins with a dramatic display of the glory of God. The historical account of creation is nothing short of pure majesty. God is clearly the center. Genesis 1 describes the set which God builds to show the drama of redemption. So, let’s look at the first words of God. As we walk through the creation account, we are faced with seven foundational truths we are called to embrace.
#1: God created everything out of nothing. The Bible begins with a definitive statement: God created the heavens and the earth. “Heavens” refers to the expanse of sky, atmosphere, outer space. The “earth” is our planet. Together, this is another way of saying “the universe.” Hebrews 11:3 affirms what Genesis records as history: By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
The Holy Spirit did not lead Moses to begin the Bible with a defense of God’s existence (Genesis 1:1-2). He simply begins, “In the beginning, God.” His existence is declared, never defended. He is God; we are not. He is the Creator; we are the creatures. We do not appraise Him; He appraises us.
#2: God spoke the universe into existence. God alone has the power to create something out of nothing. He alone has the power to speak life into existence. “And God said…” is repeated for all 6 consecutive days.
- Day 1 – 1:3-5 (light)
- Day 2 – 1:6-8 (sky, atmosphere, “first heaven”)
- Day 3 – 1:9-13 (God pushes the water aside to uncover the earth, and dry land appears. He then speaks vegetation and plants into existence with seeds already inside.)
- Day 4 – 1:13-19 (sun, moon, galaxies filled with stars)
- Day 5 – 1:20-23 (He fills the waters and skies with creatures)
- Day 6 – 1:24-25 (animals, insects, and human beings)
#3: God was pleased with everything He created. At the end of each day, God appraised His work and said it was good (1:12, 18, 21, 31). In its original state, everything God made was good.
#4: God made living things already mature, ready to reproduce. On Day 3 (Genesis 1:11-12), we see that God created all vegetation and plants with seeds already in them. Trees were already bearing fruit with seeds in them. Likewise, on Day 5 (Genesis 1:20-22), the animals were created with the capacity to reproduce. The stage was now set to receive the pinnacle of His creation: man.
#5: God created man and woman, two genders, as image-bearers. On Day 6, God made man and woman in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). God created man, singular, in two genders: male and female. We are image bearers, reflectors of His glory.
#6: God commanded man and woman to reproduce and dominate the earth. “Be fruitful and multiply” is the first command given to the man and woman (Genesis 1:28-30). As stewards, man was commanded to take the beauty and purity of the Garden of Eden and spread it throughout the whole earth by means of fruitful reproduction and dominion. The Garden of Eden was a mini-kingdom. As Adam and Eve lived humbly and happily under God’s rule, the kingdom would become worldwide.
#7: God established the seven-day week, which included a day of rest. When you read through Genesis 1, you will notice the repetition of the phrase, “And there was evening and there was morning…” Then came the 7th Day (Genesis 2:1-3). In God’s design, there are six days for labor and one day for rest. God’s example, then, became the pattern to follow, as made clear in the fourth of the Ten Commandments, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). God based His command upon the example He set. “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11).
How does all of this apply to us, today?
In contrast to the society in which we live, man is not the beginning and end of all. God is. We are not the center of the universe. God is. We are created beings. Totally dependent beings. We are not free to run our lives independently, doing as we please. The very fact that we received life from God means we now owe Him everything. The point of Genesis 1 is clear. God made everything, and everything He made was good and for His glory. Therefore, when we pattern our lives in simple faith and obedience to His original plan then we live in the fullest experience of His blessing.
[Adapted from yesterday’s sermon, God’s First Words, at Cornerstone Community Church in Cleveland, Ohio.]