In The Beginning
Comments for Study 1
Memory Verse 1:1-2
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Beliefs I Had Before I Begin to Study Genesis
Outline of Genesis
A map of the ancient world during the time of Genesis.
A map of Egypt and Sinai during the time of Genesis.
Genesis Genealogy - A spreadsheet of birth's & deaths of all as listed in Genesis.
Day One Separations and Title
1:1 summary of the act of creation,
1:2 the state of the earth,
1:6-8 separation of the water,
1:9-13 land and plants,
1:14-19 lights in the sky,
1:20-23 sea and winged creatures,
1:24-25 land produced creatures,
2:1-3 Sabbath, a day of rest,
2:4a "this is the account"; Greek "geneseos"
* 1:1-2:4a is clearly written from God's standpoint.
>1. Meditate on the meaning of: "In the beginning", "God", "created", and "the heavens and the earth"; and give a brief description of what each means. (In chapter 1 "God" is the Hebrew word "Elohim" which means "Almighty". From chapter 2 on "God" is the Hebrew word "YHWH" which means "the Lord God." "Lord" is a name which reflects God's love, his purpose of salvation, and his mercy.)
Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
* Genesis 1:1 is the foundation of the whole Bible. Some say that it is a summary statement introducing the six days of creative activity. Others, that it is the first act of creation and the rest of the chapter being God's working the earth. Alfred Edersheim in 1876-1887 wrote, "The first verse in the book of Genesis simply states the general fact, that "In the beginning" -whenever that may have been- "God created the heaven and the earth." Then, in the second verse, we find earth described as it was at the close of the last great revolution, preceding the present state of things: "And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." An almost indefinite space of time, and many changes, may therefore have intervened between the creation of heaven and earth, as mentioned in verse 1, and the chaotic state of our earth, as described in verse 2. As for the exact date of the first creation, it may be safely affirmed that we have not yet the knowledge sufficient to arrive at any really trustworthy conclusion."
* Some believe that all of the universe that is now was made from what was created in verse one. Scientists say that time, space, and matter is what the universe is made up of. If this is true, then verse one states how they came into existence. God is the creator.
* God is the subject of verse one. Therefore, God is the subject of creation. God is the center of creation.
* "In the beginning" -Hebrew for "beginning" is "breshith" or "re'shiyth" meaning "the first, in place, time, order or rank". Creation, God's act of creation, has a definite date.
* John 1:1, 13 also states "In the beginning". 1 John 1:1 states, "That which was from the beginning". John claims what was before creation; this is, the Word, which is Jesus.
* Time came into existence at this point. Perhaps that is why the author said, "In the beginning..." Perhaps time, as I know it, did not always exist. This is not easy to believe and/or understand because time is an abstract; a measurement from one event to another. I am a being trapped in time. Time has been an influence on me and my enviroment ever since I existed. So, it's hard for me to imagine there being no time. But just because I cannot conceive it, does not mean that it was not a reality.
* Augustine wrote in his book Confessions "CHAPTER 14 - What is Time? At no time, therefore, did you do nothing since you had made time itself. No times are co-eternal with you, because you are permanent, whereas if they were permanent, they would not be times. What is time? Who can easily and briefly explain this? Who can comprehend this even in thought, so as to express it in a word? Yet what do we discuss more familiarly and knowingly in conversation than time? Surely we understand it when we talk about it, and also understand it when we hear others talk about it."
"What, then, is time? If no one asks me, I know; if I want to explain it to someone who does ask me, I do not know. Yet I state confidently that I know this: if nothing were passing away, there would be no past time, and if nothing were coming, there would be no future time, and if nothing existed, there would be no present time. How, then, can these two kinds of time, the past and the future, be, when the past no longer is and the future as yet does not be? But if the present were always present, and would not pass into the past, it would no longer be time, but eternity. Therefore, if the present, so as to be time, must be so constituted that it passes into the past, how can we say that it is, since the cause of its being is the fact that it will cease to be? Does it now follow that we can truly say that it is time, only because it tends towards non-being?"
>2. In chapter 1, count the number of times "God" is repeated noting each verse. Who or what is the origin of all things in the world? What difference does it make to know the true origin of all things?
* "God" -Hebrew (as well as Aramaic and Arabic) for the word here is "Elohim". It's meaning has two parts, "El" meaning "Almighty" and "Ohim" meaning "God". The word "God" here has in its contents the meaning "He transcends His creation".
Elohim has a "im" at the ending. This ending is the plural ending. Yet, in this sentence the word Elohim, is used with a verb in a singular way. Therefore, "Elohim" in the first sentence in the Bible speaks of God as many though one. One could say that God is "uni-plural". Christians believe that God is one, yet three. This is the trinity; the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit (whom Jesus sent). No other religion believes this, not even the Jews, even though his name here claims this truth.
God being many, though one, is hard for man to comprehend. Because man could not understand God being one yet many, most rejected it. In fact, many scholars say that this is the stumbling block of the Gentile religions. Later, the Jews could not accept it, thus they handed Jesus over to be crucified.
The Gentiles could not accept God being one yet many, so they simply said that there are many gods. In doing this they ignored the fact that "Elohim" also means one God.
Another place in the Bible that talks of the trinity in creation is Proverbs 8:30. It reads, "Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence." Psalm 90:2 also brings up the truth of the trinity and its existence before creation. It says, "Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God."
C.S.Lewis wrote in his book The Problem of Pain "There is no reason to suppose that self-consciousness, the recognition of a creature by itself as a "self," can exist except in contrast with an "other," a something which is not the self. It is against an environment of other selves, that the awareness of Myself stands out. This would raise a difficulty about the consciousness of God if we were mere theists: being Christians, we learn from the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity that something analogous to "society" exists within the Divine Being from all eternity - that God is Love, not merely in the sense of being the Platonic form of love, but because, within Him, the concrete reciprocities of love exist before all worlds and are thence derived to the creatures."
* "created" -Hebrew for "created" is "bara". "Bara" is used 44 times in the Old Testament and is used only when God works. It contains the meaning, "made out of nothing and without the pre-existence of matter." It also contains the idea of complete effortlessness, since it is never connected with any statement of the material. A proper definition is as follows: "The production of something fundamentally new, by the exercise of a sovereign originative power, altogether transcending that possessed by man."
By the normal powers of nature, creation did not come into being, nor occur. Romans 4:17 says, "As it is written: 'I have made you a father of many nations.' He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed--the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were."
Hebrews 11:3 says, "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."
* "the heavens" -Hebrew for "heavens" is "shamayim". Note the "im"; thus it is a plural. It's meaning is "to be lofty" and "the sky (as aloft; the dual perh. alluding to the visible arch in which the clouds move, as well as to the higher ether where the celestial bodies revolve)."
* "and" -The two are joined together.
* "the earth" -"Earth" in Hebrew is "erets". (See also Isa. 44:24, Ecc. 1:5; Jer. 10:16, and many more.) It probably means "to be firm" and "the earth (at large, or partitively a land)."
* "the heavens and the earth" -This phrase encompasses everything of the physical universe, not only the earth and its atmosphere. This phrase is referring to the building material, the embryo, that would be formed into the universe as it is known now. Acts 17:24 says, "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands."
* A summery of facts derived from Genesis 1:1 are as follows:
God is greater than His creation. God is not limited by His creation.
God created all. All things are possible with God.
God and God alone existed before whatever He created.
God, who existed before creation, does not need anything from His creation, including us, to survive and exist.
God is separated from creation, yet is with it.
God the Creator is worthy of all praise and honor. (Neh. 9:5,6; Rev 5:11)
We are His creation and He is our creator. Without this truth planted in our hearts we become insecure.
God is sustainer of all things.
God gives our life and maintains it and the environment that we live in.
All situations are under God's control.
Nothing is impossible for God. All things are possible for God.
All creation, including man, did not happen randomly or by accident.
God being the creator is a fundamental fact of a Christian's belief. If one believes this then he believes God is sole owner and controller. God did and will reign forever. God is Sovereign Lord.
If we believe we came from animals (monkeys) we will act like animals. Look at much of man's atheistic society today. Is not much of mankind's actions like, or even worse than animals? If we believe we are from God we will act or "at least" to try to follow His will and way. Thus, Christian are a part, but separate from the world.
Although the first state of creation is not what is here today, from the ending material that is now here many things about the first state of creation can be made as well as a little about the Creator. Examples:
1) There is a great variety in creation.
2) There is a great beauty in creation.
3) There is a great exactness and accuracy in creation.
4) There is great power in creation.
5) There is a great order in creation.
6) There is great mystery in creation.
God is the origin of all things. God is the creator of everything. Nothing has been made without God. (John 1:3, 10; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2.
A specific identity created all, and He alone is God. God is almighty.
God had in mind to make a wonderful creation, and he did.
>3. What part of creation does verse 2 on seem to concern? Meditate on the meaning of: "formless", "empty", and "darkness"; and give a brief description of what each means.
Genesis 1:2a "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep..."
* "Now" -Hebrew for "Now" is "waw". It is a conjunction. Therefore, it is joining verses one and two. Verse two is just a statement on the state that the created earth was when God first created it with the rest of the universe.
* "the earth" -At this point the author of Genesis is focusing on the state of the earth when God was creating "the heavens and the earth" that is mentioned in verse one. In other words, the focus of God's creating work as described in the rest of the chapter focus' on the earth. (See quote from Alfred Edersheim above.)
* "was" -Hebrew for "was" is "hayetha". It is usually translated this way and is not normally used to denote a change of thought or state. Therefore, in this sentence "Hayetha" does not mean "became". The earth did not "become" formless, empty and dark. Nor does the sentence structure warrant the translation "became". The earth simply was formless, empty, and dark at this time.
* "formless" -Hebrew for "formless" is "toha" or "tohuw" meaning "to lie waste; a desolation (of surface), i.e. desert; figuratively, a worthless thing; adv. in vain:-confusion, empty place, without form, nothing, (thing of) nought, vain, vanity, waste, wilderness".
* "empty" -Hebrew for "empty" is "wavohu" or "bohuw" meaning "to be empty; a vacuity, i.e. (superficially) an undistinguishable ruin:-emptiness, void; no substance.
* "formless and empty" -The phrase "formless and empty" is only here and in Jeremiah 4:23. Jeremiah 4:23 reads, "I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone." Does the blank square to the right help imaginations think of formless and empty?
* Augustine wrote in his book Confessions "CHAPTER 12 - THINGS IMMUNE TO TIME. These things I have considered in so far as you have given it to me to do so, O my God, in so far as you have aroused me to knock, and in so far as you have opened up to my knocking. I find two things which you have made immune to time, although neither one is co-eternal with you. One of them has been so formed that, without any interruption of its contemplation, without any interval of change, subjected to change yet never changed, it enjoys eternity and immutability. The other was so formless that it could not be changed from one form into another form whether of motion or of rest, and thus be made subject to time. but you did not abandon this second being to remain formless. For before all days, "in the beginning you made the heavens and the earth" those two things of which I was speaking. The earth was invisible and without order, and darness was above the deep. By these words you have instilled the idea of formlessness, so tht gradually aid might be given to minds that could not conceive complete privation of form without arriving at nothing. From it would be made another heaven and earth, visible and set in order, and beautiful bodies of water, and whatever else is recorded as being made thereafter, but not without days, in the creation of this world. For such things exist, so that in them temporal changes may take place because of ordered alterations of movement and forms."
* "darkness" -Hebrew for "darkness" is "kho-shek" figuratively meaning "misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness; night, obscurity."
* "surface" -Hebrew for "surface" is "paim" or "paniym". It is plural; note the "im" at the end. However, "paim" is always as a singular word. It meaning is "presents; the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (lit. and fig.)."
* "deep" -Hebrew for "deep" is "tehom" or "tehowm" or "teh-home" meaning "an abyss (as a surging mass of water), espec. the deep (the main sea or the subterranean water-supply):-deep (place), depth."
* Summery statement of Genesis 1:2a would be, "The earth was not organized yet. It was shapeless, a shadow or rough draft of things to come. The earth was useless for man in this state. But God would soon change it." This is the nature of things before Jesus begins to work in a persons heart, useless. Through creating the earth in this way, God demonstrated what would be his providence and grace in saving fallen man.
* Isaiah 45:7 says, "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things."
* 2 Peter 3:5 says, "But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water."
* Proverbs 8:27 says, "I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,"
>4. What does "...the Spirit of God was hovering..." suggest? Through what instrument was all things made? (3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24, John 1:1) What does this suggest about God and his word? How does verses 1 thru 3 reveal the trinity?
Genesis 1:2b "...and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."
* "Spirit" -Hebrew for "Spirit" is "ruach" or "ruwach" meaning, "wind; by resemblance breath, i.e. a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; fig. life, anger, unsubstantial; by extens. a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (includ. its expression and functions).
* This is the second part of the trinity. First, God (Elohim) was mentioned in verse one. Now, in verse two, the Holy Spirit is mentioned.
* "hovering" -Hebrew for "hovering" is "rachaph" or "rachaph" meaning, "to brood; by impl. to be relaxed:-flutter, move, shake." "Rachaph" appears 3 other times in the Bible; Jeremiah 23:9, Deu. 32:11, and 2 Peter 1:21 which says, "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried by the Holy Spirit." In the ancient Near East a winged sun disk was a symbol of divine majesty. Perhaps they used it to interpret what was said of here in Genesis 1:2.
* Summery of Genesis 1:2b. The Spirit of God working, inciting, and bringing order to disorder for God did not create the world to remain empty. The empty state was only a beginning. (Isaiah 45:18) If the Spirit wouldn't be there the earth would remain dark, empty, and void.
* The Spirit of God brings motion and action to lifeless and dead things. The words portray the energy-giving presence of the Spirit, swathing and caressing the chaos and unfinished earth as He prepared to complete it. Like a devoted mother bird, He moved about, lavishing His love on the newborn. This word is also used in Deuteronomy 32:11 which talks about an eagle on her nest.
* The Holy Spirit in creation is also seen in Psalms 33:6 and Job 26:13. Psalms 33:6, "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth." Job 26:13, "By his breath the skies became fair; his hand pierced the gliding serpent."
The Spirit of God brings the light of life to dead and dark mankind. Jesus sends us the Spirit when we believe. (John 14)
See a wood engraving by Gustave Dore (1832-1883) to the right. Dore's drawings were in Bibles that are now in public domain. This one was scanned in by creationism.org.
>5. What is the progressive development and order in the first six days? What is significant about this? What is significant about light being first? What are the characteristics of light? And darkness?
Genesis 1:3-5 "And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness." God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night". And there was evening, and there was morning-the first day."
* "And God said" -God used word to form everything. (3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24) The psalmist learned this and said in Psalm 33:6,9, "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth...For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm."
The author of Hebrews also said this in 11:3; "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."
Paul in Ephesians 3:8-10 says, "Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms," and in Col 1:15-16 Paul wrote; "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." and in Romans 11:35-36 Paul wrote, "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen."
The Apostle John says who the word is. He wrote in John 1:1,14, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God....The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
God works and communicates with his Word to the world and to men.
Whenever God's word is spoken things powerful happen. God speaks; he is not a innate being or things.
God has an identity. God is personal and has a personality. Much of God's words are recorded in the Bible. God's word gives life.
The word of God has changing power. The word makes things useful. The word organizes. God sent Jesus to speak his word. (John 14)
* "light" -Hebrew for "light" is "owr" meaning, "illumination or (concr.) luminary (in every sense, including lightning, happiness, etc.)"
Apostle Paul used the Greek equivalent of this word (phos) to illustrate God's re-creating work in sin-darkened hearts in 2 Corinthians 4:6 which says, "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."
* "And God said, "Let there be light." -The word of God brings light to fallen mankind's soul. Mankind's heart without God is dark as the earth was dark. As God brought light into a dark creation through the word, so He can do through the Word, Jesus; bring light into mankind's dark heart. (John 1:9, 9:5)
Light always overtakes darkness.
No light, no life.
A characteristic of light is that it exposes. (John 3:19-21)
When the Son comes the light shines. Then we can see with spiritual eyes. (Mat. 4:13-16)
Light is one of God's outstanding attributes. (John 1:4, 2 Cor. 4:6, 1 John 1:5).
God is called the Father of lights. (James 1:17)
God dwells in inaccessible light. (1 Tim. 6:16)
* The formation of the angles are not specifically mentioned, but it can be concluded that they were also created by God. Some have said that angles might have been formed on the first day of creation when light was created for they are sometimes called, "Sons of light". However, since angles are not mentioned in Genesis 1 it can be conclude that God did not think that it was important for us to know about angles at this point in Genesis including the time of their creation. Only later does the author of Genesis refer to angles.
* "saw" -Hebrew for "saw" is "ra'ah" meaning, "to see, lit. or fig. (in numerous applications, direct and implied, trans., intrans. and causat.)."
* "the light was good" -Hebrew for "good" is "towb". It is used as an adjetive. It's meaning is in the widest sense; used likewise as a noun, both in the masc. and the fem., the sing. and the plur. (good, a good or good thing, a good man or woman; the good, goods or good things, good men or women), also as an adv. (well):-beautiful, best, better, bountiful, cheerful, at ease, X fair (word), (be in) favour, fine, glad, good (deed, -lier, -liest, -ly, -ness, -s), graciously, joyful, kindly, kindness, like (best), loving, merry, X most, pleasant, + please, pleasure, precious, prosperity, ready, sweet, wealth, welfare, (be) well ([-favoured])."
* "separated" -Hebrew for "separated" is "badal" meaning, "to divide (in var. senses lit. or fig., separate, distinguish, differ, select, etc.)."
2 Corinthians 4:6 says, "he separated the light from the darkness"
Darkness and light persisted together when God allotted them, until darkness consumed light for a while so that there would be night and day.
* "God called the light 'day' and the darkness he called 'night'" -God gave them both names for God is Lord of night and day, that is twenty-four hours of the day.
We can worship God in the day and in the night.
Often the Bible talks of darkness as evil and light as good. (Psalms 74:16)
Hell is all darkness. Heaven is a place of all light. Earth which is between both, has both.
In ancient times, to name something or someone implied having dominion or ownership.
* "And there was evening and there was morning" -Exodus 20:11 says, "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." Note the word "made" in Exodus 20:11. In that verse, the word "created" was not used. (Hebrew 11:3 also does not use created.) Even the original Hebrew words were different; being that when Genesis used created it is not the same word used in Exodus 20:11.
The word in Exodus 20:11 in Hebrew is "asah" meaning, "to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application."
* "the first day" -"Day" in Hebrew is "yowm." It is from an unused root meaning, "to be hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether lit. (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next), or fig. (a space of time defined by an associated term), [often used adv.]. It has also been translated; age, always, chronicles, continually, daily, days), now.
This phrase (in the first six days) has caused much debate in the church. Some say since verse 2 begins talking about the earth, obviously this is bringing light to the earth (ground) was a clearing of materials blocking sunlight from reaching the earth (the sphere we live on).
The question asked is how long is the day mentioned here since the Hebrew word could mean any expanse of time. Being attached to the previous phrase one could say that it was a 24 hour period. The fundamentalist Christians (also called young - universe creationists) hold firmly to this teaching. There are other Christians (called old-universe creationists) who believe that this day is a period of time rather than days.
* The following are quotes from the church fathers about this phrase.
Justin Martyr (AD 100-166) and Irenaeus (AD 130-200) and Hippolytus (AD 170-236) used Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 as the support for their view that the creation days were each thousand years long. Describing the events of the sixth day, Irenaeus expresses the reason behind his interpretation: "Thus, then, in the day they did eat, in the same did they die...For it is said, "There was made in the evening, and there was made in the morning one day." Now in this same day that they did eat, in that also did they die... On one and the same day on which they ate they also died (for it is one day of creation)... He (Adam did not overstep the thousand years, but died within their limit...for since "a day of the Lord is as a thousand years," he did not overstep the thousand years, but died within them."
Clement of Alexandrai (AD 150-220) believed that the Genesis creation days were not literal, twenty-four -hour days. He claimed that the creation days communicated the order and priority of created things but not the time. As he understood it, creation could not take place in time since "time was born along with things which exist.
Oregen (AD 185-254) taught that in approaching certain difficulties in Scripture we should seek a spiritual meaning, not always a literal one. In the six creation days of Genesis he saw just such a difficulty. He claims that time as we mark it did not exist until the fourth day. Hence, for him, at least the first three creation days could not possibly have been twenty- four-hour days. He wrote: "The text said that "there was evening and there was morning." it did not say: "the first days," but said, "one day." It is because there was not yet time before the world existed. But time begins to exist with the following days. Now what man of intelligence will believe that the first, and the second, and the third day, and the evening and the morning existed without the sun, moon, and stars?"
"Neither could the seventh day be twenty-four hours, according to Origen. He saw the six Benessis creation days as representing the time that men work on the earth (the period of human history) while the seventh day represents the time between the creation of the world and its extinction at the ascension of all the righteous: "He [Celsus] knows nothing of the day of the Sabbath and rest of God, which follows the completion of the world's creation, and which lasts during the duration of the world, and in which all those will keep festival with God who have done all their works in their six days, and who, because they have omitted none of their duties will ascend to the contemplation (of Celestial things) and to the assembly of righteous and blessed beings."
Lactantius (AD 250-325), Victorinus of Pettau, and Methodius of Olympus, all concurred with Justin Martyr's and Irenaeus' view of the creation days as thousand-year epochs.
Augustine (AD 354-430), in The City of God, wrote: "As for these 'days,' it is difficult, perhaps impossible to think-let alone explain in words-what they mean." In The Literal Meaning of Genesis, he added, "But at least we know that it [the Genesis creation day] is different from the ordinary day with which we are familiar." Elsewhere in that book he made this comment: "Seven days by our reckoning after the model of the days of creation, make up a week. By the passage of such weeks time tolls on, and in these weeks on day is constituted by the course of the sun from its rising to its setting; but we must bear in mind that these days indeed recall the days of creation, but without in any way being really similar to them." In Confessions Augustine notes that for the seventh day Genesis makes no mention of an evening and a morning. From this omission he deduced God sanctified the seventh day, naming it an epoch extending onward into eternity.
Others who wrote on this "day" as the former did were Eusebius (AD 260-340), Basil (AD 330-379), and Ambrose (AD 340-397).
So was it twenty-four hours as we know a day is now? Was it one thousand years as some claim? Was it an expanse of eons as some hold true? There are so many opinions on what these words mean it is hard to conclude. I know that these words are true. I know that these words are literal and expandable. I know that I don't have the knowledge and wisdom to comprehend how and when and how long God created all that is.
Genesis 1:6-8 "And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning--the second day."
* "God said...it was so"-(6>7, 9>9, 11>11, 14>15, 24>24) This reuse of the phrase shows that what God says is so, right, and true. It also shows God's words are powerful, quick, and active. (Heb.4:12; Rev. 1:16, 2:12)
* "an expanse" -Hebrew has no word for gas for it is a modern word. Hebrew for "expanse" is "raqi" meaning firmament. "Expanse" here is the gas atmosphere of the earth. The Bible talks of earth's air as the first heaven, the place of the stars as the second heaven, and the place of angles the third heaven.
Ezekiel 1:25-26 says, "Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man."
In 2 Corinthians 12:2 Ap. Paul was caught up into the third heaven; the place of the angles. It says, "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know--God knows."
* "to separate water from water" -Perhaps this is what Peter wrote about in 2 Peter 3:5-8 "But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."
* "God called the expanse 'sky'" -See notes on "an expanse" above.
Genesis 1:9-13 "And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good. Then God 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." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the third day."
* "water" -Hebrew for "water" is "mayim", used in a singular sense. This Hebrew word is elsewhere translated water literally and figuratively juice, urine, and semen.
* "gathered to one place" -Of course there was ponds, rivers, lakes, natural aqueducts, and seas as well as oceans. The author did not go into the details.
* "sky" -same as in verse eight.
* "land" -same word as in verse one. So it could have been translated "earth." The King James version translates it "Earth".
* "seas" -Hebrew for "seas" is "yam". It means; "to roar; a sea (as breaking in noisy surf) or large body of water; spec. (with the art.) the Mediterranean; sometimes a large river, or an artificial basin; locally, the west, or (rarely) the south:-sea (X -faring man, [-shore]), south, west (-ern, side, -ward)."
* "according to their kinds" -There was a limitation to the breeding and to the changing within a species. This also would indicate that God did not create all the families in a species at this time. Later, the families would develop within their "kind".
* Psalm 95:5 "The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land." Psalm 104:6-8 "You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them." Job 38:8-11 ""Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt'?" Jonah 1:9 "He answered, "I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land."" I note is Johah 1:9 "made" is "asah". (See note in "And there was evening and there was morning" on the meaning and other uses of "asah".
Genesis 1:14-19 "And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the fourth day."
* "lights" -Hebrew for lights is "morot" meaning luminaries or instruments of light or lamps. It is not the plural of light; nor does it end in the Hebrew "im".
* There is three given purposes for the lights here:
1) "to separate the day from the night"
2) "serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years"
3) "to give light on the earth".
Perhaps a reason for the description of the sun, moon and stars' purposes was to down-play the worshiping of the luminaries so prevalent in the days of Moses and before Moses.
* "made two great lights... made the stars" -Again "made" here in Hebrew is "asah"; so the statement here is not saying God created the sun, moon and stars. Rather he gave them the purpose of giving light. (Again see note above on the word, meaning and usage of "asah".)
* Being that since verse 2 the author of Genesis is focusing on the earth from the viewpoint of being on the land (earth), we can say that verses 14-19 are different than verses 3-5 in that in verses 3-5 only light shined through, but the sun, the moon and the stars were blurred. However, now in verses 14-19 the sun, moon and stars shown through the water above the earth as well as the air (expanse) between the water above and below the expanse.
See a wood engraving by Gustave Dore (1832-1883) to the right. Dore's drawings were in Bibles that are now in public domain.
Genesis 1:20-23 "And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." And there was evening, and there was morning--the fifth day."
* "teem with living creatures"-Hebrew for this phrase is two words. "Sharats" meaning "bring forth abundantly; to wriggle, i.e. (by impl.) swarm or abound:-breed (bring forth, increase) abundantly (in abundance), creep, move."
And "sherets" meaning "moving creature; a swarm, i.e. active mass of minute animals:-creep (-ing thing), move (-ing creature)."
* "birds" -Hebrew for "birds" is "owph". It means "covered with feathers" or "covering with wings".
* "fly above the earth" -this phrase is interesting. It gives them an ability and a mission.
* "across the expanse of the sky" -This phrase is a limitation to their ability and mission.
* "created" -Hebrew "bara" is again used. (See notes above on the usage and meaning of "bara". I note that this is the first time "bara" is used since verse one.
* "great creatures of the sea" -This phrase is interesting in the fact that the Mediterranean does not have whales in them as far as I know. Yet it defiantly indicates them. Most likely Moses would not have known about the great sea creatures of the ocean, i.e. the whales. However, God would have.
* "according to their kinds" -(See note on the creation of the different plant life "according to their kinds").
* "winged bird" -includes birds (flying and non-flying), flying reptiles, flying mammals, and flying insects.
>9. What does the phrase "according to their kinds" mean? What does this say about living things? About God?
Genesis 1:24-25 "And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good."
* "according to their kinds" -(See note on creation of different plant life "according to their kinds").
>6. How did God appreciate and feel after creating the things he made? What does this teach us about God? What is his view of everything in the created universe, including all men and women? (1:31)
>7. Note the verses in which the phrases "God said...it was so" appear. What does this show about God's word? Why might the seventh day not have this phrase?
* "And God saw that it was good." -Before man was created creation and the earth was as God intended it to be. It conformed to his will. It was to his pleasure. He was pleased with it. God accepted what he created. Therefore, God's purpose in creating everything was good and meant to be complete.
The world God created was right in his sight. However I note that at this point the effects of sin is not in creation. (Genesis 3:11, 17, 19) Thus in my time all is not us was to be. However, all will be "good" in creation when Jesus comes and restores all things to as it was in chapter one of Genesis.
Special notes concerning Gods statement of creation including the creation of man:
* Verse 31 says "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." Everything God created was good each by itself, and according to verse 31, very good all together because now man was created. This tells me that all things of creation, including myself is very good. God likes me just the way I am. He hates sin, but loves me. Like a human bond of father and son and more, God loves me as I am. Similarly, a Christian by himself is good but Christians all together is very good.
>10. When we believe in the God of Genesis, what must we believe? Why don't most accept the truth? (John 3:19-21, Romans 1:18:23)
*Summery of Genesis 1:1-25.
Everything seems to be created and made for man to use for God's purpose.
God was preparing a perfect environment for man to live in.
Creation and the earth is going from less to more perfect.
Creation and earth becomes more complex as time increases.
Creation and the earth has greater meaning as time increases.
Creation and the earth was very complex and beautiful and pleasant and imaginative.
Creation and the earth was very organized and planned out; smooth flowing, no problem.
Creation and the earth was without fault, good and very good.
God does not make a mistake.