Genesis 1:1–3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 26–27 comment (0)
February 13, 2014
By Thomas L. Fuller
Related Scripture: Genesis 1:1–3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 26–27
Bible Studies for Life
Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
How Did We Get Here … and Why?
Genesis 1:1–3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 26–27
Discussions that take place around this week’s question seem to require a unique vocabulary, consisting of words like evolution, creationism, intelligent design and big bang.
The Bible’s account of our origin, however, really only requires two words: “God said.” The primary purpose of Genesis 1 is to set forth the truth that God alone is “Maker of Heaven and Earth” and that He accomplished this by His spoken word.
(1–3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20)
God is the undeniable subject of Genesis 1, His name appearing 32 times in 31 verses of text. The clear intention of this first chapter of the first book of the Bible is to introduce the One about whom the entire work is written. It first presents to us God as the Creator of “the heavens and the earth,” an all-encompassing expression for the whole of the universe. But there is more depth to this initial portrait of God than just that. We see here a God of purpose, whose creative acts bring life and order.
The opening scene of creation is one of chaos. The earth is “without form and void” and darkness pervades (v. 2a). But, as a dramatic note of hopeful tension, we are told, “The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (v. 2b). Thus the stage is set for what God would do in the six days of creation that follow (vv. 3–31). On the first day, God dispels the darkness, saying, “Let there be light” (v. 3). On the second, third and fourth days, God proceeds to address the formlessness of things: He gives form to the earth and the sky (heaven); He separates the dry land from the seas; and He sets in place the sun, moon and stars (vv. 6, 9, 14). And on the third, fifth and sixth days, God fills the lifeless void of His creation with all manner of plant life, with the fish of the seas and the birds of the air and with the animals that roam the land (vv. 11, 20–25).
Upon completing each phase of creation, “God saw that it was good,” i.e. it fulfilled God’s intention and satisfied His purpose. That same goodness is evident in the marvelous complexity and intricate balance of the universe, which we see in the smallest atom and the most immense galaxy. While science has yielded astounding insights into the inner workings of life, world and space, the Bible alone reveals the purposeful goodness of our Creator God and His handiwork.
In several respects, God’s creation of human beings is similar to His creation of the other creatures of the earth. Both are created on the sixth day; both find sustenance in the bounty of the land (vv. 29–30) and both reproduce with a similar blessing (vv. 22, 28a). What sets us apart from all other parts of creation, however, is that we were made in God’s image, after God’s likeness. The full and precise meaning of this has been interpreted differently over the centuries of biblical scholarship, and space does not allow for a fuller treatment of the matter here. Suffice it to say, though, that all human beings bear the image of the Creator in a way that makes us one-of-a-kind among all the creatures of the universe. That by virtue of this, God saw fit to grant us dominion over all other parts of His creation (v. 26b); and that we are endowed with a unique capacity for meaningful relationships with God and with one another. It is this dimension of creation, maybe most of all, that reveals the wisdom, purpose and grace of our God and helps us to understand in the fullest sense not only how we got here, but why we are here.