God and Creation
In Genesis 1, God begins to reveal Himself. He shows that He is Triune, He is omnipotent, how He views sin, how He cares for and protects His creation, and how He has given His creation good gifts.
How we view Genesis 1 sets the tone for how we understand the rest of the Bible. More importantly, it sets the tone for how we understand who God is.
“The lordship, power, and omniscience of the Triune God are plainly presented from the very first pages of Genesis. “Genesis 1:1 is clearly one of the greatest apologetics in all of Scripture, for if we stumble here, we cannot, or will not, appreciate God in the rest of the Bible. Accepting God as Creator demands our acceptance of Him as Judge, and that is exactly why many refuse to acknowledge that God exists, for doing so obligates them to deal with their sin before a righteous Judge.” ~ Lawrence E. Ford, Sr.1
It is vital that we understand that what God has revealed to us through His Word is inerrant and infallible. We also must read Genesis knowing that it is written in Jewish historical narrative and it is to be taken as literal history. However, because Genesis is part of God’s inspired Word, we can recognize that He is also explaining even deeper truths that are revealed in greater clarity further in the Bible.
“But for the redeemed, the Bible is a book of hope. It gives us assurance. It soothes us with God’s comfort. It enlightens us with God’s plans and purposes for now and into eternity. From the very first verse, God has revealed Himself in such a way as to cause us to lift our hearts in wonder and praise and thanksgiving.” ~ Lawrence E. Ford, Sr.1
Elohiym: The Triune God
In the first few words of this book, we see God referred to as “‘elohiym” in the original Hebrew. This phrase alone carries so much theology within it.
“El signifies the strong God; and what less than almighty strength could bring all things out of nothing?” ~ Matthew Henry2.
God’s omnipotence is testified by His name and demonstrated in the fact that He not only created everything but He did it by merely speaking it into existence.
This name also means judge or ruler. God is the Supreme Ruler, King of kings, and Sovereign. Nothing is outside of His Sovereign control. Nothing occurs without His knowledge and nothing happens that He has not allowed or ordained (omniscience).
A very interesting fact behind this word “‘elohiym” is that it is plural. This may cause some of us a few questions like, “Is this passage teaching polytheism?” The answer is no. Throughout Scripture, we see there is only one God. Christianity is monotheistic. However, this title does tell of the unique nature of God; the Creator God is a Triune. The Trinity is one God in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I do not intend to go into the doctrine of the Trinity today but this very first verse from God’s word is already laying the foundation of who our God is.
Creation Sings of His Glory
Genesis 1 gives us a very general explanation of the creation of the universe. God does not go into the specifics of each atom He fashioned but we do get enough information to spend eons in awe of His splendor, majesty, and power.
The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. (Psalm 19:1)
God’s creation, even in its fallen state, continues to declare His majesty and glory.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
God does not go into the creation of gravity, radiation, magnetism, or the other invisible properties of our universe. In the case of time, He doesn’t go into how He created it but He does define it for us on day one when He tells us, “God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day” (Genesis 1:5). We still measure time in this way.
“There are phenomena in nature which cannot be solved, secrets which cannot be fathomed nor accounted for. But from what we see of heaven and earth we may easily enough infer the eternal power and Godhead of the great Creator, and may furnish ourselves with abundant matter for his praises.” ~ Matthew Henry
The God with the power to create the entire universe, to set time at the beginning, to organize all worlds to the subatomic level is the same God that cares for and sustains me today. Surely if He has the power to create and control all things He has the power to stay in control over my life. This is such a reassuring and peace giving truth.
“Let there be light!”
God spoke light into existence just as He speaks the light of knowledge of Christ within His children upon regeneration. The Holy Spirit grants the Child of God understanding of the Scripture that he did not have before becoming a Christian. This process is called “illumination.”
To illuminate is to shine light upon something. The role of the Holy Spirit in illumination is “shining light” upon God’s Word so that the Christian can accurately understand it.
The person who has not been granted this gift, who has not been regenerated cannot understand the Scripture fully.
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16)
Christ is often referred to as “the Light” to those whom He has chosen.
And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)
But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:13-14)
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1a)
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12)
Matthew Henry, in his commentary2. brings up an interesting analogy to God separating the light from darkness and approving specific times for each.
There are many passages in the Bible that compare evil and sin as darkness and God and righteousness as light. God separating the two can be seen as representative of how light and darkness cannot mix (2 Corinthians 6:14, John 1:5). Light always drives out darkness.
Henry2 also references that both light and darkness had their appointed roles. God could have created only light and completely obliterated all darkness. However, just as darkness has its role to play, so does evil, suffering, pain, and all other results of the fall.God is not the creator of evil but He is Master over it. Click To Tweet
God is not the creator of evil but He is Master over it and He works all that is meant for evil to fit His preordained will and plan (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28). God has a purpose for evil, pain, and suffering of all kinds. This should encourage us. God is Sovereign over evil and suffering and molds it to fit into His plan and to the eternal benefit of His children.
Just as darkness gives us the opportunity for rest and renewing through sleep, God uses our times of darkness, suffering, pain, and even our sin to purify and sanctify His children. Soon a new dawn breaks forth and our renewed spirit rises to face a new day.
We also see how Heaven is described as a place of eternal light coming from the Father (Revelation 21:23). There will be no darkness in heaven, there will be no evil there. On the other hand, we see hell described in a few places as “the outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12).
Darkness should remind us to pray for forgiveness of our sins and continue to repent and mortify those sins we still struggle with. It should remind us to pray for the lost and for boldness to share the Gospel with them. Night time should cause us to thank God for His sovereignty over evil and for using the suffering of this world to make us more Christlike.
The sun shining should remind us to thank God for His glory and for bringing redemption to us. It should cause us to look forward to eternity in His glorious presence. The day should cause us to remember that our time is limited on this earth and we must make the most of our time here bringing the Light into this dark world.
Protection Even Before Danger
Another truth that popped out to me during this study that I had not recognized before, was how God had developed protective devices before there was any need for them.
In the perfect creation, there was no need for protection because there was no threat of danger. Yet, God established two specific forms of protection at creation.
In Genesis 1:6-8, God describes the creation of the atmosphere. One of the attributes of our atmosphere is in protection from space debris falling to earth and from harmful radiation. Before there was any chance of these dangers, before He had even created man, God knew man would fall and death would enter creation. And even before these things occurred, God was protecting us.
In Genesis 1:14-19, we see God creating the sun, moon, and stars. These heavenly bodies are a form of protection for humanity. These creations were not necessary for plant life; God had already created light. They do not need the sun, they just need light.
These heavenly bodies are made for us to tell the time of day, the months, and the seasons. They are creations specifically for man to measure time. However, another function, especially in regard to the moon and stars if for man’s protection.
The night is a time given to us for rest and sleep, but there are occasions where we need to venture out into the darkness. Without the night lights, we would be stumbling into who knows what kinds of danger? It would also be quite frightening.
God has shown great compassion and His protective nature by putting these protective elements in place even before the fall of man, even before the creation of man.
The Gift of Variety
The final point I would like to discuss that I was especially blessed by was how God has gifted mankind with variety.
In Genesis 1, we specifically see God has created diversity in environments, plants, and animals. God could have very easily created one food source for mankind that would meet all of our nutritional needs. He could have created a planet with only one ecosystem. Yet, God provided for a want that we never realized we would have. He has gifted us with choice over the kinds of foods we eat and the places we live.
Now, I do not believe that we were created to eat the flesh of animals before the fall. However, knowing mankind fall, God, once again, provided for us even before it became necessary. Even before the fall, before death entered the world, before He had cursed creation, God was preparing a good gift for us.
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. (James 1:17)
How often we take for granted these “hidden” gifts from God! How often do we abuse these gifts? How often do we complain about some aspect of these gifts?
Let us praise God for His gift of diversity in His creation!
While Genesis is historical narrative and is to be taken as literal history, we can see how God has also used it to point to other truths of Scripture. Seeing the beauty and the amazing truths behind each day of creation helps us to appreciate God’s handiwork and glorify Him for His awesome truths.
“The azure sky and verdant earth are charming to the eye of the curious spectator, much more the ornaments of both. How transcendent then must the beauty of the Creator be!” ~ Matthew Henry
1 Ford, L. 2011. Three Reasons Why Genesis Matters. Acts & Facts. 40 (7): 4-5.
2. Henry, Matthew. 2017. “Chapter 1 – Matthew Henry’s Commentary – Bible Gateway”. Biblegateway.Com. Accessed August 14. https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/matthew-henry/Gen.1.1-Gen.1.31.