An Inductive Study Through Genesis 1
-About 10 billion years ago there was a densely packed point of energy that was infinitely tiny. In fact, that infinitesimal point of energy was all there was. In it was contained all space, time, and what would eventually turn in to matter. For reasons that are still unclear – this singularity as it is called, exploded! Energy radiated outward and congealed into tiny proto-particles, which further combined to form electrons, neutrons and protons. These combined to form atoms and molecules. These then began to clump together to form minerals and larger bodies of matter called gas. These gases and minerals further condensed as they cooled and formed stars and planets. These stars and planets then began grouping up into clusters called galaxies.
-But an interesting thing happened on at least one of the planets circling round one of those stars in one of those millions of galaxies. As the planet cooled from its superheated state after the explosion of the singularity, on this particular planet, which was the exact distance from its star necessary to allow it, some water formed. Now liquid water is unusual in the universe because it requires a very narrow temperature zone. Most water is either hard in the form of ice or its hydrogen and oxygen have been split apart by intense heat. As chance would have it, this planet was just the right distance from the nearest star to allow the formation of liquid water. Clouds formed, and the rain came down and washed over the rocks, wearing them down into stones, and pebbles and eventually sand and finally dirt. Then as more stones were carried by the rain down over the dirt, some of the dirt molecules banged together and formed little square shaped buttons.
-As more pebbles banged into the buttons, they etched little numbers on them. Over a couple billion years, these buttons ended up being bumped into a plastic frame that snapped into a case with diodes, memory chips, and an LCD display. But wait, it was without a power source. Not to worry, other rocks and minerals had been banging together to produce batteries, which by chance rolled into a slot in the back of the plastic case, and voila – a Calculator!
-Ridiculous? Of course! And yet you and I are asked to buy this scenario when it comes to the origin of living things. Yet the engineering and mechanics of the simplest cell make the technology of a pocket calculator look like a toy!
-The human eye, the human brain are feats of complexity and engineering NO EVOLUTIONARY SCENARIO could ever explain!
-If it all began with the Big Bang – with that singularity that exploded – you’re still faced with the question of where did THAT come from! Logic demands something which has always been, which owns its own existence and which is greater than the cause and effect universe in which we live. The very first verse of Genesis solves that dilemma.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
-As would be expected, the book of Genesis shows us the beginning of many things – the universe, life, culture, society, sin and death, religion, nations, languages, and the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.
-But there is one thing Genesis does not reveal the beginning of – God! And that is because God has no beginning. By the very definition of what we mean by God, He’s eternal.
-If God had a beginning, He would not be God because He would owe His existence to something greater – and that would be God.
-The word “God” here in v. 1 is “Elohim” which is the plural form of the generic Hebrew word for God which in the singular is “El.” Elohim is used for God some 2000 times in the OT! That’s a bit shocking when you realize how fiercely the Jews hold to idea of God being One. Anyone familiar with the Bible knows its straightforward teaching that there is only one God!
-Throughout most of history Christians and Jews have stood out as unique because while the rest of the world believed in many gods, they professed belief in only one. So why do we find the plural title Elohim used here and in so many other places in Scripture? Christians see in the use of the word “Elohim” a clue to the Trinity or the triunity of God.
-As we track through the Scriptures we see that while there is indeed only One God, this God manifests Himself in Three distinct Persons, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.
-The word “created” used here is the Hebrew word “bara” and means “to create out of nothing.’
-In Rom. 4:17 Paul writes – “God calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” That’s what God did in the creation – He called, He spoke, and the universe leapt into existence.
-In Heb. 11:3 we read – “The worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
-Another word is used in Gen. 1 for God’s creative action. It’s the word “asah” and is translated as “make.” It means to fashion something out of pre-existing material.
-Some of God’s creation was merely a molding of what was already there; that’s asah. But occasionally God brings something completely new into existence; that’s bara. Man can only “asah,” he can only take what already is and fashion it into something different. Only God can “bara.”
-The word “heavens” is the Hebrew word “shamayim” and can be translated “space.” “Earth” is “erets” and means “ground.”
-”In the beginning” translates the Hebrew “bereshith” and speaks of that which is first. The beginning here is the first of time.
-Based on Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, modern science refers to the universe as the space-matter-time continuum. Astrophysicists now understand that the universe came into being at a fixed point, and that space, matter and time are all intimately linked to one another. Genesis 1:1 affirms that and shows it’s origin in the creative act of God.
Genesis 1:2 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.
-God is not a deity of chaos and disorder. His nature is order and symmetry – so after speaking the basic constituents of the physical universe into existence, He set to work shaping them into an orderly arrangement.
-Here in v. 2 we see that at first matter was formless. There was no light – meaning there was no energy. But then the Spirit of God began to move and shape the matter.
-We read that “the Spirit hovered over the face of the waters.” The word hovered is an interesting choice because it pictures a unique action of moving back and forth. A good modern translation would be “vibrated.” “In the face of” means in the midst of something. And the word for “waters” is even more obscure; it refers to something juicy or soupy.
-What we have in v. 2 is the Spirit of God taking the basic un-energized constituents of the universe from v. 1 and energizing them so that they begin to form into the shapes, structures and forces of our universe.
Genesis 1:3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
-In Hebrew – the language is even simpler. “Elohim said – Light be! Light was!” One of the primary forms of energy God created was electromagnetic energy – light!
-Though it may not be obvious in a casual reading, these first 3 verses of the Bible reveal The Trinity. In v.1 we have the Father birthing and initiating the universe out of nothing. In v.2 we see the Spirit energizing and shaping the raw stuff of the new creation into something useful. And in v.3 we find the Word of God, the Son illuminating the creation.
Genesis 1:4-5 And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
-We will now see the process of creation divided into days. Some consider these to be literal 24 hour days. Others see them as pre-scientific descriptions of long ages of time; epochs of earth history. Those who see the days of Genesis 1 as epochs usually try to fit some kind of evolutionary scenario into them.
-I believe what we see here are literal 24 hour days.
1) The text is really pretty straightforward!
It’s obvious the author intended his readers to take these as literal days because he repeats the formula again and again that we see here in v. 5 – “So the evening and the morning were the first day.”
2) Most day-age views are driven by a perceived need to reconcile the theory of evolution to the Creation account of Gen. 1.
They’re an attempt at accommodation to a godless theory, an attempt to harmonize secular science with what ends up being merely a poetic mythology of creation. The theory of evolution is simply really BAD SCIENCE! So to bend and twist scripture to accommodate it is a vain pursuit.
-Dr. Hugh Ross has gained a lot of attention and support for his theory called progressive creationism. This view holds to the day-age theory.
-Here is how Ross himself defines Progressive Creationism – “The hypothesis that God has increased the complexity of life on earth by successive creations of new life forms over billions of years while miraculously changing the earth to accommodate the new life.” Ross rejects the theory of evolution, but he says that the earth has seen many different periods of God’s creative action in setting the world stage, and then bringing increasingly complex flora and fauna, plants and animals onto that stage.
-One stage arises, then dies off and God starts over again. This all takes place over billions of years. Of course, this makes the straight-forward reading of Genesis 1 a meaningless pursuit because there’s no correlation between the scenario of the progressive creationist and what we find here!
-Thus, the Genesis account of Creation is reduced to the place of poetic myth; and when you do that, then you cut the heart right out of the gospel because the work and message of Christ is all based on the events of Genesis 1-3 being literally true.
-One of the clear evidences for the young age of the universe is the earth-sun system. Our sun losses about 1,200,000 tons of mass every second. If you chart that back over billions of years the sun would be too big and too hot to allow the existence of the earth, let alone life on earth.
-Here in vs. 4 and 5 we see God dividing the light and the darkness. These two things He separates into two phases and calls them “Day’ and “Night.’ Since we have a period of light and a period of dark we can infer the earth is now spinning around an axis and there’s some kind of light source shining on earth.
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.” 7Thus 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. 8And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
-The word firmament simply means expanse. This refers to the atmosphere, which is the way the word “heaven” in v. 8 ought to be understood – sky. These verses speak of the firmament standing between the waters.
-There were waters above and beneath it. The waters beneath would be the oceans and seas. The waters above refer to the vapor canopy that existed above the atmosphere at that time.
-It is this vast and dense shell of water we’ll see collapse in ch. 6 that produces the torrential downpour of the Flood.
-One of the things that appears almost mythological in the early chapters of Genesis is the super long ages of people; some living to be over 900 years! Yet immediately after the flood, the lifespan of man declines to about a hundred years.
-Why the major difference in life-expectancy? Well, interestingly, the vapor canopy that existed prior to the flood would have had a number of significant positive effects on earth. The atmospheric pressure would have been significantly higher – leading to more oxygen in the blood stream of humans and animals. The higher pressure would also have retarded the growth of viruses, thus reducing disease. The vapor canopy would have shielded the earth from all the harmful effects of solar and most cosmic radiation. The canopy would have acted like a greenhouse ceiling, allowing for increased plant growth.
-But the canopy allowed sufficient plant growth and nutrition to support all animal life. In fact it proliferated in abundance, as the fossil record and the world’s oil reserves reveal.
Genesis 1:9-13 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. 10And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11Then 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. 12And 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. 13So the evening and the morning were the third day.
-On the 3rd day we see the emergence of dry land and vegetation. It should be noticed that God created plants as fully formed things. The plant was first, with its fruit and seed and coming from it. If God had simply planted the seed in the soil of the earth, it would not have been ready for the birds to eat in 2 days when they were created.
-When God created plants, He made the plant, not the seed first. That means He drew up out of the soil a whole plant. If one of the trees was cut – how many rings would there be in it? Who knows!
-When Adam was created, how old did he look? Don’t know, but he wasn’t an infant. The point is this – at this stage of the creation, God created the first things with an apparent age to them. They were mature and complete – perfect in their creation!
-In fact, as we just saw, the plants were grown in soil. But what is soil; where does dirt come from? It’s the product of the weathering of rocks – a process which takes hundreds of years by normal aging.
-All of this leads us to the conclusion that though the earth is in fact young, it may at points appear aged simply because necessity demands it to.
Genesis 1:14-19 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night;
-”The firmament of the heavens” here is the expanse of space – what we call outer space.
and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16Then 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. 17God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on 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. 19So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
-On the 4th day God created the celestial lights, the stars, planets and the moon. Now we seem to have a problem because vs. 3-5 told us there was light on day 1 before the creation of the sun on day 4 in v. 16. Where was the light coming from before the creation of the sun?
-Quite frankly, we don’t know because we’re not told here. A plausible explanation is that prior to the formation of the sun, God Himself was the light of the world.
-This would be a nice fulfillment of John 1:4 and would coincide with God being the light of the new heavens and earth.
-Notice in v. 14 that the celestial lights were given not only to light the earth but to be for signs and seasons, for days and years. The ancients looked to the heavens as their primary time-piece. The calendar was kept by watching the heavens. This was crucial because they were an agricultural economy and the seasons of sowing and reaping were their life-blood.
-All the ancient cultures had elaborate and accurate records and procedures for calculating the time of year. Because their economy was tied to the time-piece of the skies, astronomy became the first science. It also became one of the first religions for it wasn’t much of a leap in the fallen heart of man to see the stars as exerting power and influence over their lives.
-This may account for the fact why God waited till the 4th day to create the heavenly lights. They aren’t first, but later, after the creation of plants – because God wants to impress upon man that they are just tools He’s created, signs to be used – not deities to be worshipped.
-It’s interesting to discover that the calendar of the ancients was based on a 360 day year. Imagine if it was off what a problem that would be in just a few years to their planting cycle. We see this reflected even today in the 360 degrees of a circle and the 60 seconds of our hour. But a change occurred at some point that added an additional 5Ã‚Â¼ days to our year.
-What happened that may added these days to the original calendar will be discussed in later studies of Genesis.
Genesis 1:20-23 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.” 21So 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. 22And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
-On the 5th day we see the creation of marine life and the birds. Note that in v. 21 we have the word created; this is that word bara. We find this word used here because God is doing something totally new and unique – He is creating conscious animal life.
-Notice as well that God blessed the sea creatures and birds and told them to reproduce – filling the earth with their presence. God is in to LIFE! And a part of life is the production of more life.
Genesis 1:24-26 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. 25And 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.
-Now we see the land creatures created. The words here describe everything from insects to reptiles and mammals.
-But notice the emphasis on kinds we see throughout this chapter. As God creates the plants and living creatures, He creates them according to their “kinds” and tells them they are to reproduce according to their kinds.
-This is the Holy Spirit’s answer to the theory of evolution which has simpler life forms giving rise to higher and more complex life forms over long periods of time. According to Evolution, life moves from a state of lesser complexity to higher complexity. One species gives rise to another through the process of mutation and the mechanism of natural selection.
-According to Biblical Creation, God created plants and animals in fixed kinds. You may have an abundance of variation within a kind, but it will remain fixed within that basic creature.
-For instance, there are lots of different kinds of dogs. But a dog is a dog is a dog; they all possess the ability to inter-breed. A dog never becomes a cat. And in the fossil record we see no transitional forms between a dog and a cat.
-When Charles Darwin first proposed his Theory of Natural Selection which gave rise to the modern theory of Evolution, the science of paleontology, the study of fossils, was young and the fossil record was sketchy. What was lacking was the transitional forms that evolution demands as proof that one species gives rise to another through mutation and adaptation. Darwin expressed his confidence that as the fossil record was filled in the transitional forms would be found and the gaps in the record would be closed. Armed with this positive outlook, a whole generation of evolutionists went out into the field to discover the missing links.
-But as the fossil record has grown, the gaps have gotten wider, not smaller. This is the very opposite of what the theory of evolution demands.
-If Darwinian evolution is true, then the fossil record has to have an abundance of transitional forms between one species and another – for ALL the forms of plant and animal life we have on the planet today. This ought to be a massive body of fossils.
-If Darwin’s theory is false, then what we expect to find in the fossil record is a lack of transitional forms, and instead we expect to find creatures that just appear fully formed with no antecedent forms. Which do we find?? The latter!
-In fact, because this is what we find in the fossil record, Darwin’s theory has had to be updated to what is now called Punctuated Equilibrium. PE says that species go along for long periods without change, and then shazam – they experience a quantum leap.
-When this idea was first proposed many years ago, the man who invented it was ridiculed and made the laughing stock of the scientific community because it is so patently absurd. Now – it’s the currently accepted theory.
-Despite all these machinations – the text here is very clear – and it squares perfectly with what we find in the real world – that plants and animals remain fixed within their kinds.
-How the Biblical idea of kinds relates to the scientific field of taxonomy is not clear. You may remember the divisions of taxonomy: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.
-At what level does a “kind” relate to this system? At the species or genus level? Friends, never forget that the whole taxonomic chart is man-made and artificial. The Bible divides the plant and animal kingdoms up into kinds.
-One of the tricks evolutionists like to use is the example of micro-evolution. We would expect that God would include in the genetic makeup of the plant and animal world the capacity to adapt to a certain degree to its environment. So an animal might show small signs of adaptation, like skin color, or minor structural changes like increased lung capacity or adding on more fur.
-These are what are called micro-evolution, small changes that facilitate an animal or plant living in a different environment. But the plant or animal is still in the same species. Evolutionists use examples of micro-evolution as proof of macro-or cross species evolution. But they are without foundation for there are simply no examples of this kind of change in the evidence at hand.
-A study of the history of evolution shows that Darwin was NOT the originator of the idea; he merely developed a mechanism for it and then popularized it in his book, The Origin of the Species.
-Darwin’s mechanism was “survival of the fittest;” the idea that only the fittest animals survive due to their superiority and winning out over others in the never ending game of competition for food and space. At first glance, this seems reasonable – a kind of common sense reaction.
-But the more time you spend in nature, the more you realize that many things defy this idea. One simple example is the peacock. The peahen is attracted to the peacock with the biggest plumage. Yet the larger the plumage, the more vulnerable the peacock is to predators. So what eats the peacock, can eat the chicks too.
-Or consider the whole development of the male and female. There is simply no evolutionary scenario you can develop that makes the development of the male and female, along with pregnancy or egg laying an advantage.
Genesis 1:26 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.”
-God says, “Let Us” – Who is He speaking to? It can’t be the angels because man isn’t created in the image of angels and we don’t see the angels involved in the creative process. God the Father is speaking here to the other members of the Trinity.
-Man is unique in God’s creation because He bears the image of God. He is patterned after God in ways the animals are not. Man has a moral consciousness; he possesses reason and volition.
-But man has even more than the image of God, that image is in the “likeness” of God as well. Man doesn’t merely possess a moral conscience – he knows right and wrong, good and evil. He doesn’t possess the intellectual capacity of God but His thinking is in the same vein as the thoughts of God.
-It’s this likeness to God that was marred and all but lost in the Fall. Man continues to bear the image of God, but the likeness has been so distorted, so bent that it is often difficult to discern.
-As soon as God registers His intention to make man, He includes that this new thing He is about to create will be over the rest of the creation. It will have dominion over all the animal kingdom. This establishes something new in the creation, a ranking of relationships.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
-The word “created” here is bara. This is only the 3rd time we find the word. It was used in v. 1 of the physical universe; in v. 21 of conscious animal life, and now of mankind. Yet in this verse, bara is used 3 times!
-What’s crucial is that we see that while man may share some of the physiology of the animals he is something new and unique in God’s creative order. He possesses a level of life and existence that is not shared by the animals. The emphasis in this verse is on both the uniqueness of man’s creation and the fact that man is fashioned in God’s image.
-For that reason the final phrase is all the more interesting for it tells us that this image includes both the male and the female. In the Bible we see God in primarily the masculine mold not because He is more like a man than a woman but because it better captures the flavor of our relationship to Him. In other words, as Initiator, He is the Father, we are the children. As the Savior, He is the Groom, we are the Bride and so on.
-But God, in His nature and essence is a combination of all the positive traits of male and female. We see the feminine side of God in such passages as His saying that He would gather His people under His wings as a hen gathers her chicks. [Matt 23:37] We see it when He refers to taking Israel to His bosom and nursing her. [Isa. 49:13-15 66:13] We see it in those passages which speak of God giving birth to Israel. [Deut. 32:18 Job 38:28-29 Isa 46:3-4]
Genesis 1:28 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.”
-When God blessed man and woman, He told them to be fruitful and multiply, filling the earth. Here’s one of the fields that we need Christians who think biblically to apply themselves. We’re told by many secular environmentalists that mankind is a cancer on the planet and that we need to roll back the population lest we damage the environment irreparably.
-But God said – “Be fruitful and multiply.” Who should we listen to? GOD.
-If man lived by the principles of Biblical justice, equity and stewardship, the planet could easily accommodate several billion more people with no problem or danger to the environment. The threat only comes when people forsake the way of God and pursue their own selfish interests.
Genesis 1:29-30 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. 30Also, 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.
-Prior to the flood, the diet of man and animals was vegetarian. It wasn’t till after the flood that God gave man permission to eat In n Out burgers.
Genesis 1:31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
-At the conclusion of each step of the creation, God had given a eulogy-a good word. Now as He looks over the entire scope of the creation – He announces His good pleasure with all He sees – it is VERY good.
-This reinforces and reminds us that the creation is a good thing because it is God’s thing. As His redeemed, we ought to rejoice in its goodness and take delight in it, showing a lost world what it really means to be redeemed to the Creator and His creation.
Taken from a sermon by Pastor Lance Ralston.