Category Archives: GENESIS 1:1-19

God’s account of the creation of the world. The first four days.

GENESIS 1:1-19

NOTES ON GENESIS 1:1-19

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS CHAPTER ONE, VERSES 1 TO 13:

1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

1:7 And 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.

1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas: and God saw that it was good.

1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

1:16 And 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.

1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

1:19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

Subject of the chapter
This chapter contains the inspired account of the creation of the material of the heaven and the earth, verse 1, and then their subsequent formation and filling, verses 2-31. There is nothing unscientific about the chapter, for it tells us what really happened. Whilst the Bible does not set out to be a science textbook, nothing within its pages is unscientific, and it is certainly not anti-scientific. The word “science” comes from the Latin verb “to know”. True knowledge is based on evidence. It cannot be based on mere theories. After all, men might speculate about origins, and propose their theories, but as God said to Job, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Since no-one except God was there when the events took place, is it not sensible to take note when He has put it on record for us?

Of course, because man is a sinner, and his mind has been affected badly by his sin, he does not like the implications of what this chapter contains. The reason for this being that if God introduces Himself as the creator of all men, then He has a claim upon them. The natural heart of man is not comfortable with the idea of being responsible to God, especially because when we come on to chapter two of the Book of Genesis we find that God issues laws, and warns of judgement if those laws are not obeyed. And then when we move to chapter three we find that those laws, when disobeyed, really do meet with the judgement of which God warned.

It is no surprise, then, to find that men seek to avoid the plain statements of the first chapters of Genesis. They try to do this in various ways. Some suggest that the passage is just another primitive attempt by uneducated men to explain the things around them. Two things are relevant here. First, the writer of the Book of Genesis was not an uneducated man. Moses was “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians”, Acts 7:22. Yet he was wiser than the Egyptians, for he did not adopt their theories about origins. Second, Genesis 1 is unique among creation accounts, as those who have compared them have shown. In any case, those other accounts were written from an idolatrous standpoint, and as we shall see as we move down the chapter, the whole of Genesis 1 is, amongst other things, a protest against idolatry.

We might ask at the outset why God made the cosmos. One famous scientist asked why the universe bothered to exist. The Christian answer is at least four-fold, as follows:

1. The cosmos exists because God willed it to be so. He had a plan in His mind, and He put that plan into action. It is an expression of His will. As the heavenly host say, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour, and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are, and were created”, Revelation 4:11.

2. It exists because God desires worship, and He made the earth for man to live on and respond to Him.

3. He made all things to display His glory and His power. The apostle Paul, (another highly educated man), wrote under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse”, Romans 1:18-20.

4. He made the earth and mankind, so that His Son might become man, live on the earth among men, and then die for their sins and rise again.

We should remember that Moses and Paul, both intelligent men, did not use their own expertise to devise an account of creation. They were moved by the Holy Spirit of God to do so. Their writings, therefore, are infallibly true, and will not mislead us. Being believers in God, and inspired by Him as they wrote, they give to us what we could not find out for ourselves.

There are those who suggest that “religious” people have no right to speak of scientific things, for science deals with facts, and religion deals with beliefs. It should be remembered, however, that views about the universe contrary to those set out in the Bible, are also beliefs. The difference between the two systems being that in the matter of origins, scientists can only rely on theories, whereas the believer in God has solid evidence in the form of the written testimony of the Bible.

But the scientist may protest that he has his Big Bang Theory. Precisely. He has his theory. So does the heathen savage have his theory when he believes everything came from a lotus flower. He has no evidence. The evolutionist should face up to the fact that he has none either. He has possible explanations, but no solid basis on which to proceed. He should also face up to the fact that very many scientists, competent in their field, and not necessarily Christians, are opposed to the Big Bang theory, and do not think it should be promoted as the only possibility.

George Ellis, co-worker with the late Stephen Hawking said, “People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations. For instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with earth at its centre, and you cannot disprove it based on observations. You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmologists try to hide that”. In other words, there is no scientific reason why the Biblical account of creation should be rejected.

There are others who reject the idea of creation altogether, because they say matter is eternal. This means, assuming we believe in the law of cause and effect, that there is an infinite series of effects, and an infinite series of causes. This means, in turn, that the originating cause is never arrived at. And looking at it the other way, since an infinite series cannot be divided up, and since matter is bound up with time, then we cannot be part-way along the series, so we can never arrive at the present time. This is self-evidently not the case.

When he has formulated all his theories, and indulged in his speculations, man is still left with the idea in the back of his mind that there is a God, and that God is the one who gave us the Bible. The reason for this is found in the fact that God made man in His own image and after His own likeness. Now God is self-aware. But since man is made after the likeness of God, just as God is God-aware, so is man God-aware, however much he may try to hide it and run from it. This is why in the passage from Romans 1 quoted above, the apostle uses words that indicate the idea of knowledge. Who “hold the truth…that which may be known of God is manifest in them…the invisible things…are clearly seen…being understood…they are without excuse”. And if we read the next verse we learn that “when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God”. The only explanation for this God-consciousness on the part of man is the Biblical one.

So how should we approach Genesis Chapter 1? Preferably as a believer in God, but failing that, as an un-biased, unprejudiced and fair-minded person who sincerely desires to know the truth. The Bible does not yield its secrets to cynics, for “God taketh the wise in their own craftiness”, 1 Corinthians 3:19.

There is another matter to be considered. There are those, (even some who wish to be known as Christians), who will say something like “It does not matter how the universe was made, whether by God or by a Big Bang or any other way. It is the here and now that should concern us”. At the root of this attitude is the idea that the Bible is only a book from which to gain moral applications. Because of this, many Christians read the Bible simply to find something for themselves. This is a mistake. We should read the Bible as truth first of all, (“Thy word is truth”, John 17:17), and then seek to interpret the truth, and then, and only then, make applications. It is a primary rule when studying the Bible that we must establish the interpretation of a passage, (and there is only one interpretation of any passage), before we start to make applications. Christ and the apostles spoke and wrote about the Book of Genesis as those who believed it to be literally true. They did not view it simply as a story, which may or may not be true, but from which we may gain lessons.

There are several fatal flaws in the line of thinking which makes the Bible man-centred. First, there must be some reason why the Creation account is in the Bible at all. Is it not reasonable to think that it is there because God wants us to believe Him when He declares how He made all things? If God’s glory is declared by creation as it now is, is it not also declared by how He made it? The manner of the making is part of the glory. To refer again to Romans 1, God’s power and Godhead are known “from the creation of the world”. That is, from the act of creating the world.

Second, the Lord Jesus said that “the scripture cannot be broken”, John 10:35, so it is one whole entity. Despite being written over the space of many centuries, the Bible is one integrated book. So Genesis 1 is as relevant as John 1. It is certainly the case that John 1 reveals deeper truths than Genesis 1, but they are not at variance. The reason for this is that the Spirit of God inspired them both, as indeed He inspired every part of the Bible. If we are prepared to suggest that Genesis 1 is not correct, why should we object is someone else says John 1 is not correct?

Third, the inspired psalmist wrote, “Thy word is true from the beginning”, Psalm 119:116. This is not David’s mere opinion, (although it was his sincere belief), but the Spirit’s testimony through him. Since the Spirit is God, it is God’s testimony on the matter. This should settle it for the believer.

Fourth, the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, the one who declared that He was “the truth”, John 14:6, endorsed the words of the early chapters of Genesis, including chapter 1. He quoted verse 27 when He said, “Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female”, Matthew 19:4. He based His doctrine regarding divorce on this and other verses, so to Him the words of Genesis 1 had weight and relevance. It is important to notice that He thought of what happened on the fifth day of creation as being “at the beginning”. For Him there were no long ages of time between Genesis 1:1 and verse 27, for it was all in the same week, and at the beginning.

We come now to the actual words of the passage:

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

In the beginning- this is the phrase that the Jews took as the title of the book. They were reluctant to invent their own title, so simply used the first words. We would do well to learn from this a lesson of reverence in relation to the Word of God. As the last words of the last book, the Book of Revelation show us, the words are not to be trifled with or tampered with. A grievous plague will be known by those who have done this or are still doing it, Revelation 22:18,19.

The use of a time-word, “beginning”, alerts us to the fact that we are going to be told what first happened. There were no events, (as we would understand them), before this, and time is the interval between two events. If there are no events, there is no time, for there is no interval to measure. God graciously tells us seven conditions that prevailed in eternity, before “the beginning”.

His presence was the sphere of:

1. Divine Harmony

“Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God”, Philippians 2:5,6. There was no rivalry, pride, or selfishness between Divine persons in eternity.

2. Divine Love

The Son of God could say, “Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world”, John 17:24.

3. Divine Glory

“And now, Father, glorify Thou Me with the glory I had with Thee before the world was, John 17:5.

4. Divine Purpose

The Lord Jesus was “delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God”, Acts 2:23.

5. Divine Choice

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world”, Ephesians 1:3,4.

6. Divine Power

“For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen…even His eternal power and Godhead”, Romans 1:20.

7. Divine Communion

“that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us”, 1 John 1:2.

We have already noted the words of the Lord Jesus when He referred to an event on the sixth day as happening “at the beginning”. So the whole chapter is to be thought of as recording events that occurred in the first six days of time, with the seventh day referred to in the next chapter. That this contradicts the thinking of men is of no consequence. How could we subject the word of Christ to the word of men?

God created- notice that no attempt is made to prove the existence of God, and this in a book which claims to tell us about things we could never discover for ourselves, such as what is beyond death; what God is like; how everything came to be; what the end of all things will be; heaven and hell. If the existence of God is something we cannot discover for ourselves, then why is it not explained to us, like the other undiscoverable things are? The fact is that the existence of God can be discovered by man, for the following reasons:

(i) The existence of God is self-evident, for the law of cause and effect demands it.

Everything that had a beginning has a cause, and that cause is God. The idea that there is an infinite regress of effects, so that we never reach an originating cause, is not a valid one, for in that situation there would not be any present effects. But since we are here to come to that conclusion, then there must be effects, (for we are some of them), so there must be an originating cause. Also, if we go back in time infinitely, the present has not yet arrived, and so we are not able to go back in time!

(ii) The existence of God is demonstrated by the things He has made.

“For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” Romans1: 20.

(iii) The existence of God is something in-built into man when he was made in the image of God.

The apostle Paul goes on to say in Romans1: 21, “when they knew God”. So men instinctively know there is a God; and this knowledge is universal, for it does not depend on culture or upbringing. The reason men deny that God exists is because they have a guilty conscience, and try to escape from the consequences of their actions.

The writers of the Scriptures never set out to be rude, only to be truthful. That is why the psalmist was simply stating a bare fact when he said, “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God'”, Psalm 14:1. For the person who uses logic and reason to come to the conclusion “There is no God”, when all the time, if there is no God, there is no reason or logic, is clearly destroying his position by asserting it- those who do that are justifiably called fools.

We must remember that circular reasoning is inevitable when we are talking about ultimate authority, for authority, if it is to be ultimate, cannot have anything beyond it to prove it to be true. . But the psalmist addressed God and said, “Thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy name”, Psalm 138:2. Therefore if an external proof could be presented which showed that the Bible was the word of God, then that proof would have more value than the word of God. This cannot be the case.

One person cannot prove to another person that the Bible is the word of God, but that other person can have that proof in his own mind, as the Word of God does its work in heart and conscience. This is the very best sort of proof, because it does not depend on a person’s ability to argue the case, but on the inherent ability of the word of God to convince the mind. So how do we prove the Bible is the Word of God? Simply by allowing it to do its own work; for the Bible is self-attesting and self-authenticating. Here are three good reasons why the Bible is the Word of God, and as such deserves our interest and attention:

First, because in it God makes predictions, which always come to pass. Only God can foretell the future accurately. Many of His predictions relate to the coming of the Lord Jesus, His Only begotten Son. The nation, tribe and family He would be born into; the place and unique manner of His birth; the holy and gracious character of His life; that He would be despised and rejected of men, these were all foretold centuries beforehand. Furthermore the prophets spoke of His betrayal, trial, and death by crucifixion, and also gave the reason for His death, for “He was wounded for our transgressions”, Isaiah 53:5. They went further, and prophesied of His resurrection and ascension as well. None of these things could have happened by chance, but happen they did, and their precise fulfilment is convincing proof that the Bible is the Word of God.

The second good reason is the effect the Bible has on those who read it honestly and without bias. It tells us frankly about our sin, and that “God…now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: for He hath appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead,” Acts 17:30,31. When the Bible brings such truths to our attention, those who earnestly desire to be in a right relationship with God will find that they come under deep conviction of sin, as the Holy Spirit applies the truth to their hearts. No other book can produce such an effect.

The third reason is connected with the second. When conviction of sin is known, the proper response should be confession of that sin to God, and unreserved faith in the Lord Jesus, the one who died as a sacrifice for sins. When this important step is taken, a wonderful thing happens, for the Bible says that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new”, 2 Corinthians 5:17. The old things of self and sin are done away, and a new relationship with God is begun. Only the truth of the Bible can bring about this great change of heart, life, and destiny, and it is well for us if we take serious account of what it says.

The scriptures tell us several things connected with the fact that God is the Creator:

1. As Creator He is the source of all things

There is nothing in the universe that He has not created. This is seen from Exodus 20:11, “for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is”. The scribes in Nehemiah 9 also stated “Thou, even Thou, art Lord alone; Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all things that are therein, the sea, and all that is therein, and Thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippth Thee”, Nehemiah 9:6.

2. As Creator He is sovereign over all things

The word “sovereign”, when used of God, means that He is the Eternal King, whose will is always done, whose word is law, and whose rule is absolute. Since everything owes its existence to Him, then all should recognise Him and bow to His authority. The universe belongs to Him, and He will do as He pleases with it. When the early disciples prayed to God in Acts 4:24, they used a word for God which means “Sovereign Lord”, who had “made heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and all that in them is”. The more usual word to address God with is “Father”, see Romans 8:15, but at that time they knew persecution, and appealed to the God who was in complete control.

3. As Creator He is separate from all things

He is closely involved with His creation, but He is not part of it. He is eternal, but the universe was made “in the beginning”. He is infinite, but creation is only as vast as He made it. Pantheism, (the basis of New Age religion), teaches the false idea that “all is god and god is all”, and is totally opposed to the teaching of the Bible.

4. As Creator He is the supporter of all things

God has not abandoned His creation, for it is one of the means by which He displays His glory. It is by Divine power that all things are maintained as God decrees, as we have just noted Nehemiah 9:6. Every part of creation receives His personal attention. The Lord Jesus taught this when He said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?” Luke1 2:6.

5. As Creator He was satisfied with all things

We read repeatedly in Genesis chapter 1 that “God saw that it was good”, and at the end of His six days of work, God pronounced all things to be “very good”. See Genesis 1:4,10,12,18,21,25,31. Notice that we have said “was” satisfied with all things, for when sin entered the world, they were no longer “very good”. Such a situation cannot satisfy God, so then He began to work out another aspect of His purpose, that of bringing salvation to those ruined by sin.

6. As Creator He is set forth by all things

The psalmist wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shewth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard”, Psalm 19:1-3. So wherever men dwell on the earth, and with whatever language they speak, there is the common language that creation speaks to them all concerning the glory of God as Creator.

7. As Creator He will substitute all things

When the purpose for which God made heaven and earth is accomplished, God will say “Behold I make all things new”, Revelation 21:5.

It has often been pointed out that the first verse of the Bible takes in all that there is as far as the universe is concerned. There is time, “the beginning”. There is energy, “created”. There is space implied, “the heaven and the earth”. There is matter, “the earth”. These are the building-blocks of the universe, and they all came from God. There is no particular word in the Hebrew language for what we call the universe or cosmos. The expression “heaven and earth” is the equivalent. Notice that it is “the” heaven and the earth, so there are not parallel universes as some suggest, just one, the one we live in.

The verse also introduces us to a feature of Hebrew grammar, namely that nouns have number, whether singular, dual, or plural. It is as if we are introduced to the concepts of numbers and mathematics by God Himself. So we find here that the verb “created” is in the singular; the noun “heaven” is dual; the word “God” is plural. So we have the interesting situation where a plural noun governs a singular verb. It is as if a person said, “We was on holiday last week”, instead of “we were on holiday last week”. The reason for this is simple, and yet profound; easy to understand, and yet difficult. God is the Triune God. He is one God, yet manifests Himself as Three Persons, where the word “person” does not, of course, mean three people. Person may be defined as “centre of consciousness”. Because the three persons of the Godhead are one in essence, they always act in perfect unity. (Note in this connection the words of Genesis 1:26, “let us make man”, and Genesis 3:22, “the man is become as one of us”. But then, in connection with the formation of Eve, “I will make him a help meet for him”, Genesis 2:18).

From the New Testament we learn that the three persons of the Godhead hinted at in the Old Testament are God the Father, the Son of God, and the Spirit of God. By the use of the word person, Christians do not mean one who is separate from another, as we normally use the word of men and women, for this would mean there are three Gods. Rather, the word person in this context means one who is in relationship to another, yet distinct. This guards against the false idea that God is composed of three parts, which together make a whole. Our safest course is to keep strictly to the language of Scripture in this matter, and they show that each of the persons of the Godhead possesses full Deity, and is called God. The following quotations show this:

The Father is God

“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him”,1 Corinthians 8:6.

“And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent”, John1 7:3.

The Son is God

“But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom…Thou Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Thine hands,” Hebrews 1: 8.

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life”.1 John 5:20.

The Spirit is God

“But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God”. Acts 5:3,4.

“And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth…if a man love Me, he will keep my words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him”, John 14:1 6,17,23.

We need to be clear in our minds that the Lord Jesus is equal with God, for some suggest that He was only the agent in creation, and was not equally responsible as the Son of God.

Let us notice the language of John 1:1-3 in this regard:

John 1:1 In the beginning was the word- when the first thing that had a beginning began, then the word already was. This is a clear indication of His eternal existence. That the Lord Jesus is meant is evident from verses 14 and 17, but John deliberately refrains from giving Him any personal name here, however, so that we may concentrate on His attributes. A word is an expression of what is in the mind, so John is telling us that if God is going to be told out, it must be through Him who, because He is the word, is able to perfectly express His mind. He is not a word, one option among many, but the one and only discloser of the mind of God.
The use of the word “beginning” shows there is clearly a link with Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created”, but whereas Moses is starting at the beginning and going forward, John is starting at the beginning and going backwards into eternity, before time was. Thus John is telling us of One who is able to bring eternal realities within the reach of men.
And the word was with God- if the first phrase tells of the pre-existence of the Word before time began, and therefore indicates His eternal being, this phrase tells of His co-existence. To be with God tells us much more than that the Word was in the presence of God, although this is true. By using a preposition that indicates “motion towards”, John is informing us that the Word was actively towards God, concentrating, in eternal perfection, on Him. This gives us great confidence, for it indicates that there is perfect harmony between the Word and God. Their interests are the same, and nothing disturbs their communion. This being the case, believing in His name is a safe thing to do, for it forges a link with God that cannot be broken. The fact that weight is given to both “Word” and “God”, is indicative of the distinct personality of the Word.
And the word was God- a clear statement as to the Deity of the Word. Note that although there are distinctions of Persons in the Godhead, for “the Word was with God”, yet there is identity of essence, for “the Word was God”. This expression assures us that the One who is pre-existent, and co-existent, is co-equal with God as well. This truth is emphasised not only in the teaching of the Lord Jesus, (see for instance John 5:17-29 and 10:30), but also in His miracles, which clearly demonstrated His Deity. For example, He who had made the vine on the third day, Genesis 1:12,13, now acts on another “third day”, John 2:1, as He accelerates the lengthy process by which rainwater is made into the best wine, and thus manifests His power as Creator, with the result that His disciples believed on Him, John 2:11.

John 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God- John makes it clear that the truths stated in verse one were all true together at the beginning- there was no development or progress. It was not that He was the Word, and then was with God, and then was God, but rather that He who was with God, and was God, was this eternally, for the nature of God cannot change. Deity does not develop, but is ever infinite. “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed”, Malachi 3:6.

John 1:3 All things were made by Him- having stated fundamental truths as to the nature of the Word, John now indicates the way in which the Word showed Himself to be God, even by bringing all things into being, something only God can do. Literally rendered, the verse reads- “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being which has come into being”. John is writing about things coming to be that did not exist before- they are not revealed from their hiding-place. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear”, Hebrews 11:3. All things came into being by, or through, the Word, “For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:9. It follows logically, then, that He is not part of creation.
There are three conditions of existence, either as created, or self-created, or Creator. Since it is impossible to create oneself, then the Word is either created or Creator. But since everything was created by Him, with no exceptions, then He cannot be a created being, but must be God.
There are those who appeal to this word “by” to say that the Word was only a high angelic intelligence, who was used by God to make all things as His subordinate. But in Romans 11:36 it is said of God that all things are through Him, (and the apostle uses the same word as “by” here), so on this theory of subordination, God Himself must be acting for another! This, of course, is impossible.
Perhaps as he penned these words the apostle John thought of the language of Isaiah 44:24, “I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by Myself:”. Isaiah declared that the Lord, the God of heaven, had made all things by Himself, yet John, a sincere believer in the One True God, did not hesitate to say that the Word had made all things. Since John was inspired by the same Spirit as Isaiah was, then we are forced to the conclusion that the Word is God, not only by the plain statement of verse 1, but also by the fact that He is Creator.
And without Him was not anything made that was made- there is no secret store of matter that derives its origin from some other power-source. Note how John puts things positively and negatively, (“all things were made by Him…without Him was nothing made”), in order that the truth might be hedged about on every side. The first phrase “all things were made by Him”, might be thought by hostile minds to refer only to things, and not beings with life, leaving the way open to say that the Word was created first, and then brought things into existence. This second statement of the apostle instantly and conclusively disposes of such a blasphemous notion. Everything that has come into being has done so through the Word, therefore the Word did not come into being, but ever is.

Returning to Genesis 1:1, we need to notice the word for God used here. It is Elohim. We have seen that it is a plural word. Some say that this only means that is denotes excellence. The problem with that idea is that the word El used for God elsewhere is singular. Does this mean that under that name He is less than excellent? That cannot be, for there are no degrees of excellence with God, for He is infinite in all His attributes. The real reason, as we have seen, is that there is a plurality of persons with God. The reason why men wish to deny that God is Triune is because they wish to deny the Deity of Christ, for that idea is interwoven with it.
It is instructive to notice that Genesis 1:1 does not speak of God as “El”, even though that is the word for God which emphasises that He is first and strong. Did He not show Himself to be those things as He created at the beginning? He did indeed, but there was an over-riding consideration. The word “Elohim” used in the first verse of the Bible is the plural of the singular word “Eloah”, which is derived from the Hebrew word “to adore”. The first thing God is establishing as He creates is that He is to be worshipped. The primary purpose of creation is to produce intelligent beings, (angels and men), who willingly worship God. We read in Nehemiah 9:6 that “the host of heaven worshippeth Thee”, so the angels worship in heaven. But how many on earth do so? Those who believe have far more reasons to worship God than the angels have, so why do we lag behind them? Is it because we are too busy serving our own interests when we should be serving God’s?
There are two words for the making of things in this chapter, “bara”, and “asah”. “Bara” always means to create, and God alone is able to work so that there is what was not. Some speak of God creating out of nothing, and we know what they mean. But that might give the impression that “nothing” produced “something”, which cannot be. Creation is the product of God’s mind, and nothing else.
“Asah” means to form out of pre-existent material. So in verse one God creates the raw materials from which He will make everything, but then in six days proceeds to make that which will fill heaven and earth. There might be thought an exception to this when God “created (bara) great whales, and every living thing that moveth…and every winged fowl”, verse 21. But the word for create is used here because God was introducing a new concept, that of life, and so create is the word that is appropriate, even though the fish and the birds were made from pre-existent matter. The same goes for God creating man, verse 27, for there is a still further idea introduced, that of a creature that is in the image of God, and that image cannot be made from the dust of the ground, for it is a spiritual thing.
The heaven and the earth- notice that although the Hebrew word for heaven is dual, it is translated in the singular. We have already noted that the word for God used in this verse is plural, and yet it is not translated Gods. God is not three gods, but is God in the tri-unity of His being. There is no particular word in Hebrew for the universe, and so the expression “the heaven and the earth” is the equivalent. In that context, the fact that subsequently there was a firmament that God called heaven, verse 6, and also that which is described as “the firmament of the heaven”, in which the stars are, verse 14, is not to the fore. The expression is an all-embracing one, taking in all that God would create. He would indeed form two heavens or firmaments, as we shall see, so it is appropriate that when the heaven is made it should be dual in anticipation. After all, there is no mention of seas in verse 1, for they are included in the idea of “the earth”, that is, the planet Earth.

1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

And the earth was without form, and void- the narrative now continues, as the word “and” would indicate. The verse opens with a noun clause, expressing the situation that was prevailing because of the creating of verse 1. The word “and” at the beginning of verse 2 is a Hebrew letter used as a conjunction. It can either be consecutive, telling of a sequence of events, (as in verse 3), or copulative, telling that something is joined to the previous event, (as here in verse 2). When the copulative form is used, it is never connected to a verb, which is how it is in verse 2. It describes a state, not a series of events as if the earth “became”. The text says the earth “was”, that was its state. And that state was as a result of the creation of all things, not as a result of some supposed events after the initial creation.
There are those, however, wishing to accommodate the millions of years that evolutionists speak of, and trying to reconcile creation with evolution, (which two things are irreconcilable), speak of a gap between verses 1 and 2, and wish to translate the “was” as “became”. Competent Hebrew scholars, however, assure us, that there is no reason to translate this way. In any case, to adopt the word “became” would suggest that there were other, sinister forces at work at this point, (the rebellion and fall of Lucifer, for instance), and that would contradict the verdict of God about His work on the six creation days, that everything was “very good”, 1:31.
We have a description here, then, of the state of things after God had created the heaven and the earth at the beginning. He has brought all the materials of heaven and earth into being, and now He continues His work. He will first of all give form and structure to creation, and then will fill it with that which is appropriate to each part. He first of all deals with the darkness in verses 3-5. Then He gives form to the earth in verses 6-10, and fills the earth in verses 11-13, 20-27 with what He has formed. In verses 14-19 He defined the firmament of heaven and filled it.
And darkness was upon the face of the deep- the component parts of light must have been included in the creation process of verse 1, but as yet the conditions for light to shine have not been brought in. Of course the sun and the stars have not yet been made. That it is dark is not an evil thing, although later on in the scriptures darkness will become a metaphor for evil. But that is only after light has been rejected. Here, the light has not appeared. That it is dark is only because the light has not begun to shine, not because it had shone and had been put out. There was darkness every night of the first week, but God still called everything good, for night time does have its benefits.
The deep is defined by Strong’s Concordance as “an abyss, a surging mass of waters”. The word derives from the verb “to make an uproar, agitate”. The vast waters, covering the whole earth as they do, are restless. Perhaps the fact that “face” is in the plural suggests that the surface was not flat, but disturbed, and as such presented many different faces. There is no sun or moon to exert their gravitational pull, or land mass to offer resistance to the movement. There is no atmosphere to press down upon the waters. The earth is simply a shapeless mass consisting of water with chemicals within it. By “earth” is meant Planet Earth, not soil.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters- it needed a massive source of energy to cause this watery mix to take the form of a globe, and to subdue the waters, and the Spirit of God is that source. Here is the only reference to the Holy Spirit in the creation account, although He was there all the time, because He is one of the persons of the Godhead. He is referred to here specifically because of the special work He does, and also to emphasise that it was a Divine person who was active over the deep. The idolatrous systems of men later said that Chaos, (the “god of the deep” in their religion), was responsible for making the world. This statement pre-empts such a notion.
Was He calming the waters as He moved over them, preparing for them to be divided and rearranged? If “deep” suggests the depth of the waters, then “waters” may suggest their breadth. The Spirit of God moved over their whole surface.
The word used here for move is rare in the Old Testament, but is used of an eagle fluttering over her nest, Deuteronomy 32:11. By the movement of her wings the mother eagle keeps her chicks cool. The eagle’s energy is transmitted into an effect upon her chicks. So here, the movement of the Spirit of God has its effect on the waters, as we shall see.

1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

And God said- the psalmist attributed the work of creation to the word of God, for “He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast”, Psalm 33:9. And the apostle Peter underlines this when he writes, “By the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water, 2 Peter 3:5.
But the Jewish commentary on the Old Testament sometimes exchanges the word God with “word”. So the closeness of the link between the two was recognised. And the apostle John builds on this when he writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…all things were made by Him”, John1:1,3.
L
et there be light: and there was light- the fact that the Spirit was “fluttering” indicates a wave action, and light consists of waves. So when God gave the command that there should be light, very possibly He converted some of this energy into light-energy. The apostle Paul alluded to this bringing in of light with the words, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us”, 2 Corinthians 4:3-7. The word he used for the light shining at the command of God is one which means to “radiate brilliancy”. The shining of the light out of darkness would refer to the fact that in Genesis 1 the Spirit of God was moving on the face of the waters, and darkness was over those waters. He shone from beneath the darkness, so to speak, and radiated forth a brilliant light. The darkness was not able to prevent the issuing forth of the light.
Notice that the formula “and it was so”, that is used in connection with the second, third, fourth and sixth days, is absent here. God said “let there be”, and we know from 2 Corinthians 4:7 that this was a command. That this command was obeyed is seen in that “there was light” as a result. So “it was so” in subsequent verses is the formula for signalling that the particular day’s command was obeyed.

1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

And God saw the light, that it was good- that is, is good in the widest sense, a positive statement, not one that denies the light is evil. It is good because it is beautiful and useful. Light is also good because it reminds us of God who is light, 1 John 1:5; because it enables work to be done, John 9:4; because it enables life to flourish and be fruitful; because it is the sphere in which righteousness and truth are to be found, John 3:20,21.
Notice that God deliberately brings in light before He makes the sun and the moon. He knew that idolaters would worship the sun as if it originated everything. Here at the outset He shows that He can lighten things without the sun and moon.
The light was not the light of God’s glory, because He called it into existence as being outside of Himself, whereas God is eternally glorious, and it would be unnecessary to say the light was good if it was His personal glory. When the apostle Paul used it to illustrate what happens when a soul believes, and the light of the glory of God comes into the heart, he was using a historical event to make a spiritual point. When God said “Let there be light” He was directing that the light manifest itself, as some of the Spirit’s energy was concentrated as light.
And God divided the light from the darkness- this would not be possible if the earth was flat. Because it is a globe there is part night and part day at any one time. When the Son of Man comes, some will be grinding at the mill in early morning, some will be working in the fields in the daytime, and some will be in bed for the night, Luke 17:34. All these three things will be happening at the same moment, so the earth must be a sphere. So this may be known from the first day!
The light is divided from the darkness today by the fact that the sun is a specific distance away so that it shines on approximately 180 degrees of the circle of the earth at any one time. So perhaps God divided the lit part from the dark part of the earth by positioning the light-source He had called into being at the same distance as the sun would be. After all, the days of this first week were all the same length. The transition from day three to day four to day five happened seamlessly, even though two lights were involved. So the light source must have been as far away from the earth as the sun is now. It is very unlikely that the light source was orbiting the earth, since the days are normal days, caused by the rotation of the earth. We are not told in connection with the making of the sun on the fourth day that the earth orbits the sun, but it does. We may safely assume, then, in the absence of other information, that the earth orbited the original light source.

1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night- the light was so similar to the sunlight that would exist from day four that both could be called daylight. Again there is emphasised that God can make it day without the sun; it is in one sense dispensable. God names five things in the chapter, namely day, night, heaven, earth, and seas. Elsewhere we learn He names the stars, Isaiah 40:26. The rest of the naming He leaves to Adam and those who are descended from him, for the process goes on.
There are those who wish to compromise with the theory of evolution and suggest that these days are long periods of time. That this is not so is seen in the fact that this and all the other six days has an evening and a morning showing it was a normal day of twenty-four hours. We do not speak of long periods of time such as “the law-age” as having an evening and a morning, for those words are associated with the setting and rising of the sun. If the seventh day was not an extended age, why should the sixth be? In any case, Adam was made on the sixth day, yet only lived 930 years. So the days of creation week he lived were not long ages; why should the first five be?

Whilst the seven days are normal-length days, they are referred to slightly differently in the chapter, as follows:
First day, meaning “day one”, or one day, with the definite article, thus defining the length of the day.
Second day, meaning “a second day”, (i.e. of the same length as the first).
Sixth day- with the definite article as the first day, indicating a climax to God’s creative actions.
Seventh day- with definite article, indicating a special day, but still one of twenty-four hours.

Whilst all this detail is scientific fact, it also has moral meaning, as we note as we read through the Word of God. For instance, Isaiah condemns those who put light for darkness, and darkness for light, thus confusing things which are radically opposed, Isaiah 5:20. And the apostle Paul asked the question, “what fellowship hath light with darkness”, 2 Corinthians 6:14. Believers are no longer children of the night, but are light in the Lord, and are expected to walk as children of light, Ephesians 5:8-14. God deliberately separated between light and darkness at the beginning to set a precedent for His people, so that they learn to separate the two in practice.
And the evening and the morning were the first day- that is, the first day’s boundaries were set by the time the darkness began, and the time it began again. The original making of the heaven and the earth must have been in the evening, for up until the bringing in of light all was dark, and God called the darkness night. When God said “Let there be light”, the day began, and it was morning. So the evening of the first day began with the initial creation of the heaven and the earth, and it ended with the bringing in of light on the first morning.
This would perhaps explain why the Jews reckon a day to start in the evening, for the eighth and all subsequent days would have been of the regular sort, and would need to follow on normally. It is sometimes thought that the Jewish day has two evenings in the sense of one either end of a twenty-four hour period. This is not so. The two evenings are as follows. The first, the point at which the sun can be said to be declining, about three o’clock in the afternoon, and the second, the point at which three stars have appeared. This is reckoned to be the start of the next day, at what we call six o’clock. Each daytime had twelve hours, (see John 11:9), irrespective of the exact time of sunrise and sunset. The period between dawn and dusk was divided into twelve, so the length of an hour would vary throughout the year.

1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters- at the beginning God created the heaven. So the materials for the making of all the objects that would fill the heaven were present at the beginning. (The spirit given to man came directly from God). The materials for the earth would no doubt be mainly if not entirely solid and liquid, whereas the materials for the heaven would be mainly if not entirely gaseous, another indication of the make up of the universe with its three states of matter.
God now signals His intention to insert some of this “heaven-material” into the waters so as to divide up the waters of the deep that surrounded the earth. In this way there would be two sets of waters, one below and one above the firmament, this being the name given to the atmospheric part of heaven. This explains why the word for heaven is dual, for there is the lower heaven, where the birds fly, and the heaven of heavens, where the stars are. The apostle Paul spoke of the third heaven, to which he had been taken, 2 Corinthians 12:1-4. This is the uncreated presence of God. So it was quite correct to translate the word heaven in the singular in verse 1, because at that point it was undivided.

1:7 And 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.

And God made the firmament- that is, He took of the “substance” of the heaven He had already created, and gave it a particular place and purpose. We should not think that the word firmament implies that it was a firm or solid dome, as the heathen imagined it. The word translated “firmament” means “a stretched out or spread out thing”, and may indeed be used of gold spread out into thin plates by a goldsmith, Isaiah 40:19, or a silversmith doing the same, Jeremiah 10:9. But Isaiah writes, “Thus saith God the Lord, He that created the heavens, and stretched them out”, Isaiah 42:5. Although this is a different word, it still conveys the meaning of being stretched or expanded. Psalm 104:2 speaks of God stretching forth the heavens as a curtain. It is believed by many astronomers that the universe is expanding. If this is the case, (although it is not a proven fact), then this is God stretching out the heavens still. As an illustration of this, we should note that the exosphere is a layer outermost in earth’s atmosphere so thin that it only contains a few hundred atoms per cubic centimetre, so it indeed is stretched out even so near to the earth. This expanded entity could well be understood as the expanse. Indeed, we speak of the expanse of the heavens in everyday language.
And divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament- in this way God divided the watery mass that covered the earth, and inserted the firmament into it to divide it. The word heaven is simply a “heaved up thing”, and would relate to God causing the space He had made by dividing the waters to lift up part of the waters, so that they would be above the firmament. It lifted it up because God was causing the firmament to expand. It is a debatable point as to whether “divide” implies the waters were halved, or simply made into two unequal parts. By dividing God also distinguished the waters, because some are going to remain as liquid, (either on the surface of the earth or below it), the other will turn into vapour, and either float as clouds or circle the earth as a canopy.
And it was so- we have already noted in connection with verse 3 that this denotes that God’s command was obeyed. The command was issued to the relevant matter in view, and it obeyed its Creator’s command immediately.

1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

And God called the firmament Heaven- we should distinguish between heaven, the lower firmament, put into place on the second day, and what is described as “the firmament of the heaven” in verse 14, where the sun, moon and stars are. We read in Nehemiah 9:6 that God made “heaven, the heaven of heavens”, so that the firmament above the earth is heaven, (roughly equivalent to what we call the sky), whilst the expanse that we call space, is the heaven of heavens.
In Mark 13:25 the Lord Jesus foretold that at the time of God’s judgement of the earth, the stars will fall towards the earth, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken, and so God will have reversed His stretching out activity, no doubt to the great consternation of men upon the earth. He will do it by disturbing the normal laws that powerfully hold the stars in position.
And the evening and the morning were the second day- notice that God does not describe the work of the second day as being good. It was good, or course, because the whole of the six days work is classed by God as good in 1:31. No sin had entered yet, for Lucifer could not have fallen, or else “very good” could not have been said of creation as a whole. It is significant therefore, that the words are not pronounced. Could it be that the Lord knew that the waters above the firmament would need to be used, together with the waters of the ocean and beneath the ocean, to flood the earth in Noah’s day? This may account for His reluctance to call the situation good, for judgement is His strange work.
That some of the water remains above the firmament is clear from the language of the psalmist, “Praise Him, ye heaven of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens”, Psalm 148:4. This is a call to the starry heavens, and to the waters that are above the atmospheric heavens. Some would argue that the psalmist is speaking of things as they were at the beginning, rather than in his day. But how could he call on the heavens to do something thousands of years before his time? Alternatively, the waters could be made to return to a position above the firmament for the duration of Christ’s reign, thus returning to the conditions prevailing before sin disrupted everything.
The existence of a barrier of water-vapour above the atmosphere, even if it was fairly thin, would mean that the climate of the pre-flood earth was much different than it afterwards was. The following conditions might have been produced:
1. What is known as the “greenhouse effect”, would mean the temperature was pleasant world-wide.
2. With the temperature uniform, storms and high winds would be unknown.
3. With no appreciable wind, and therefore no dust particles in the atmosphere, rain would not be triggered over the land.
4. The moderate temperature and high humidity would encourage plant growth in abundance.
5. A vapour canopy would prevent harmful radiation reaching the earth’s surface, and therefore lessen the number of mutations.
6. There would be high atmospheric pressure, which is conducive to healing and combating disease.
This canopy, if it were not to cause complications in other directions, could not be enough to produce the water needed to produce the Flood. The fountains of the great deep were also broken up at that time. As we shall see in connection with the events of the third day, water was stored in the earth at that time.

1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so- there were two major events on the third day. First, the gathering together of the waters that were “under the heaven”, that is, beneath the atmospheric heaven, so that dry land could appear. Second, the filling of that resulting dry land with plants. The two-fold action of gathering the waters together and causing the dry land to appear would have dramatic and far-reaching effects. One of them would be that by the rising up of the dry land, caverns would be formed under the sea-bed. We read of this elsewhere in scripture:

“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For He hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods”, Psalm 24:1,2.
So the earth is founded on the seas, and established on the floods, (the same word as is used of the Flood of Noah’s day). This means that there are seas beneath the sea-bed.

“By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathereth the waters of the sea together as a heap: He layeth up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitant of the world stand in awe of Him” Psalm 33:6.
The word “storehouses” suggests that the waters were reserved for some future need, which we now know to have been the Flood.

“To Him that stretched out the earth above the waters: For His mercy endureth for ever”, Psalm 136:6.
Again we are told of earth above the waters. Notice that when the earth is stretched, it is in the past tense, for it is not happening now, but when we read of God stretching the heavens, it is in the present, suggesting it continues.

“Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?” Job 38:8.
This would most likely refer to the stopping of the fountains of the great deep after the one hundred and fifty days of flooding, Genesis 8:2. Again it is implied that there was a reservoir of water that was once restrained before the flood, then was opened to cause the flood, and then closed again.

“For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea”, Isaiah 11:9.

So not only does the water of the ocean cover the sea-bed, but it also covers the sea that is beneath the sea. The waters of the Flood gradually abated as the waters coming from beneath were prevailed on by the waters on the surface, and were stopped from coming to the surface.

1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas: and God saw that it was good.

And God called the dry land Earth- the apostle Peter wrote of this situation in his second epistle as he warned of coming judgement. He used the past judgement of the flood as the basis for his assertion that another world-wide judgement was coming. His words were:
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgement and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness”, 2 Peter 3:3-13.

Notice the following things about the passage:
For this they willingly are ignorant of- men instinctively know that the Bible is right, but reject its testimony because they have a conscience about sin and judgement.
That by the word of God the heavens were of old- the psalmist wrote, “He spake and it was done; He commanded and it stood fast”, Psalm 33:9. And the writer to the Hebrews stated, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God”, Hebrews 11:3.
And the earth standing out of the water- the heavens were mentioned because of their connection with future judgement. Peter emphasises the earth in relation to the water because it was the interaction of these two parts of creation that caused the Flood. By God’s command on the third day the earth had risen up above the surface of the water that had covered the entire earth from the first day. It was now standing out of the water. We should not think of the earth rising up very high. It is true there were mountains, but not of the Mount Everest sort. That came as a result of the flood-waters abating, and causing the mountains to rise, which explains why seashells have been found on the top of Mount Everest.
W
hen Peter says the earth was standing out of the water he means more than that the land stood out and was easily seen, as we would say of a landmark that it stood out. He also means that the standing or mode of existence of the earth was an “out-of-the-water” situation, in contrast to what pertained during the flood. That mode of existence was held in place by the word of God; but by His word that situation was temporarily interrupted. So the earth being submerged by the waters of the Flood was not its normal state. Something abnormal happened to make it to be submerged.
And in the water- not only was the earth in an out-of-the-water situation, but it was in an “in-the-water” situation also. This is because of the water-chambers that had formed when the earth rose up at God’s command on the third day. As a result, the earth was standing in that subterranean water. So we could say that the earth was out of the waters of the deep, but in the waters of the great deep. Scripture speaks of the pillars of the earth, Job 9;6, Psalm 75:3, which are the columns of rock which stand in the lower waters and support the roof of the chambers under the sea.
Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished- the word “whereby” tells us that it was because this situation existed, the earth could be overflowed with water. The fountains of the great deep, (the lower waters) were broken up, and the earth was ruptured by the tremendous forces that had been built up precisely because of the arrangement Peter describes. Water was released that was propelled into the atmosphere, (and beyond), and then fell and flooded the earth. In this way the physical earth was overflowed with water, and as a result the world perished. The world is the world of men, together with all that he had built up on the earth. It was all taken away by the waters of the Flood. Perhaps this is why God pronounced the seas to be good, on the third day, but He did not say “good” on the second day, because then the waters above and the waters below are described, and their coming together at the time of the Flood was not a good thing, but resulted from the evil of man.
Notice that the world perished. So the Flood was not local. As the Lord Jesus said, “and knew not until the flood came and took them all away”, Matthew 24:39. God had said, “the end of all flesh is come before Me”, Genesis 6:13. The Genesis account goes on to expressly say, in several different ways, that the Flood was world-wide. For example, “And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days”, Genesis 7:19-24.

Peter sees three main lessons from the Flood-event:
(a) All things do not continue as they were from the creation of the world, contrary to what the scoffers asserted in verse 4.
(b) Sinners should beware of being judged when God deals with the world again, this time by fire. God stored the earth with water before; now it is reserved unto fire.
(c) Saints should take note that all that is in the earth shall be burnt up at the end of time, so they would be well advised to work for eternal things, and not the temporary trifles of time and sense.

Returning to Genesis 1:10.

And the gathering together of the waters called He Seas- the pre-Flood would have looked very different to what we see in the atlas today. As a result of the breaking open of the earth’s crust at the start of the Flood, (the result of which still leaves its mark on the ocean floor, as is evident from satellite mapping carried out in recent years), the continents were pushed away from one another, so were originally not in the position they are today. (This should not be confused with plate tectonics, which is not a workable option, despite being taught as science). The plural word “seas” would refer both to the upper waters of the oceans, and the lower waters of the chambers in the earth below the oceans. The psalmist tells us that God has founded the earth “upon the seas”, Psalm 24:2.
And God saw that it was good- this arrangement was preparation for man to live on the earth, an idea God found pleasurable. But more than that, the earth was prepared so that His Son might one day walk upon it, and that gave God the utmost pleasure. In fact, the expression “God saw that it was good” occurs twice on the third day.

1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind- this is the second stage of activity on the third day. Out from the newly-emerged earth comes, at God’s command, and fully grown, the vegetation that will be needed for both animals and man. The psalmist said of God, “He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that He may bring forth food out of the earth; and wine that maketh glad the heart of God and man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart. The trees of the Lord are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon which He hath planted”, 14-16. There is provision here by a faithful Creator both for man and beast. The animals eat the grass, (and only grass until after the flood), and will eventually, after the Flood, provide food for man in the form of meat. The herbs provide him with vegetables, and also, (after the fall of man), the remedies for his ills. The trees will yield fruit, and drinks made from the fruit. Others will yield oils for man’s health, and bread, (“which strengtheneth man’s heart”, Psalm 104:15), for the maintenance of life.
The Amazon rainforest contains over a third of all the world’s trees. It has been called “the lungs of the planet” because it sends out 20% of the world’s oxygen as it changes carbon dioxide into the oxygen we need to breathe. It also assists the distribution of rainfall throughout the world. The forest contains a vast number and diversity of trees, as many as 750 different types of tree and 1500 species of higher plants. Many of these could be used against disease if there was the will to do so. For instance, it is said that of the three thousand plants that are thought to be active against cancer, 70% are found in the rain forest. However, in the last one hundred years, ninety Amazon tribes have been wiped out, including all the accumulated knowledge that they had acquired about the benefits of plants. What is man’s response to God’s goodness? He bulldozes the forest at the rate of the area of a football field per second. No wonder the God of creation is angry at man’s ingratitude and greed, and will show His anger in the dramatic way set out in Revelation 15. He will “destroy them which destroy the earth”, Revelation 11:18.
Note that the trees produce fruit after their kind. This means there are Divinely-set limits to the ways in which they may be crossed with one another; this preserves their identity.
Whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so- not only is the kind of tree preserved, but also the very existence of the tree, for it contains within itself its own means of propagation, and does not need a constant act of creation on God’s part.

1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind- this passage explains that the “and it was so” of the previous verse was justified. God had said “Let there be” and so it came to pass. This is true of all God says, for all shall be fulfilled.
And God saw that it was good- despite the fact that included in this collection of trees is the tree of knowledge of good and evil, (as well as the tree of life, 2:9), which will figure in the account of the fall of man, nonetheless, all is good at the beginning. This vindicates God’s honour, for He did not create the tree of knowledge in order to trick man. It only became the tree of knowledge to man after he and his wife had eaten of it in disobedience, and gained the knowledge of good and evil in that way.

1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

And the evening and the morning were the third day- it is interesting to compare this statement with the ones in John’s gospel, “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee…they have no wine”, 2:1,2. It is the third day after the successive days mentioned in John 1. John is telling us how the Lord Jesus, as Creator, (for “all things were made by Him”, 1:3), remedies the situation that man by his mismanagement has brought in. The trees of the field and the third day are found together again there, and so is their Creator.

1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven- notice that the lights are in the “firmament of the heaven”. That is, the firmament or expanse of heaven that God created at the very beginning. This expression marks the distinction between the firmament that was inserted between the waters, and which is what we call the expanse of the sky, and the original firmament, the expanse of space. The apostle Paul was caught up to the third heaven, 2 Corinthians 12:2, which is uncreated, being the very presence of God. Hebrews 9:11 describes it as “not of this building”, meaning not of this creation of time and space. So the first heaven is the sky, the second heaven is space, and the third heaven is not mentioned in Genesis 1, being the uncreated presence of God.
To divide the day from the night- the light that God had brought into being on the first day is now superceded by what we now call the sun and the moon. Those names are not given to them at this point, however.
One purpose of the verses we are looking at is to prepare the people of Israel for their entrance into Canaan. Moses is setting the record out so that they know the truth before they are confronted with the myths and errors about the heavens believed by the heathen. No names are given to the sun and moon to set a precedent, for pagan idolaters would give them names that suggested they were lords over man, and not servants for man. God numbers and names the stars, Isaiah 40:26, but He does not tell us what those names and numbers are, lest we use the information wrongly.
Before, the absence of the light of day made it night. Now there is the added indication, for the moon shines in the night. We need a period of darkness to allow us to sleep easily. But it is also true that some light is needed at night, and this is provided by the moon, which was not needed on the first day, as there were no living creatures on the earth.
And let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years- we now learn further uses for the sun and moon:
(a) They are signs of God’s goodness, for He has provided this lighting for man upon the earth. They are provided for man whether he is evil or good, for as the Lord Jesus said, “He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good”, Matthew 5:45.
(b) They are signs of His power, as is the rest of creation, for the invisible things of God are clearly seen through the things He has made, even His eternal power and Godhead, Romans 1:20.
(c) They are for seasons also. God promised that summer and winter would not cease while the earth remaineth, Genesis 8:22.
(d) They enable time to be measured, so that man may number his days.  It would be by the sun that men would be able to calculate the passing of each day, and the moon would enable them to count the months. That men did count time is seen in the fact that they knew how old they were, how old they had been at the birth of a particular one of their sons, and what year their father had died. See, for instance, Genesis 5. The position of the sun at midsummer and midwinter is an important marker for man. He knows by this at what point of the year he is at, and the moon gives fine-tuning to this with its monthly cycle. Those who built Stonehenge understood this, for the midsummer sun rises between the most prominent uprights in that structure. Whatever else it was built for, it certainly had the practical use of telling men where they were in the year. They may have used an hour-glass to measure each day’s length, so they knew when the longest and shortest days were, and built their circle accordingly.
There is reason to believe that just as the moon influences the sea, and causes tides, so it also influences the sap in plants, so that there are optimum times during a month for planting and harvesting. Moses spoke of “the precious fruits brought forth by the sun”, and “the precious things put forth by the moon”, Deuteronomy 33:14. The sun brings forth at the end of the year as it ripens the fruit, whereas the moon puts forth at the beginning of the cycle of growth. The moon would subsequently be used to regulate the religious festivals of Israel, and they would carefully watch out for the first signs of the new moon.
There is a fearful day coming when, as the Lord Jesus said, “the powers of the heaven shall be shaken”, Matthew 24:29. In accordance with the prophecy of Haggai 2:6,7, the Lord shall shake, not just the earth as He did at the giving of the Law, but the heavens also; see also Hebrews 12:26-29. This will involve the disruption of the processes that keep the universe as it is, whether it be gravity, electro-magnetism, or nuclear energy. At that time, the sun and the moon shall withdraw their light, so that the glory of Christ is alone seen.

1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth- despite the fact that the greatest proportion of light emitted from the sun does not come in our direction, nevertheless that is the purpose for the light of the sun. This shows the importance and uniqueness of the earth. It shows also, that God expects men to work, for as the psalmist said, “The sun ariseth…man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening”, Psalm 104:22,23. And the Lord Jesus said, “the night cometh, when no man can work”, John 9:4.
And it was so- this constantly recurring phrase assures us firstly that God’s intention, “Let there be”, was carried out. Secondly, the constant repetition shows that despite men’s alternative ideas, (ancient and modern), this is how it happened.

1:16 And 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.

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night- no names are given to these light-givers, for God knew that man in his perversity would make them into gods and give them names. God simply calls them lights. As the apostle Paul told the philosophers of Athens, “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth”, Acts 17:24. The word “He” in that statement is emphasised, as if to say, “Despite the fact that pagan idolaters have called the sun their lord, it is God who is Lord”.
hese two lights give light in different ways, for the sun is a heat-source, whereas the moon simply reflects the light it receives from the sun.
The sun is not called the greatest light, not only because it is only being compared to one other thing, but also because actually “our” sun is not very large compared to some other stars. For instance, the diameter of the star men call Betelgeuse is 215 million miles in diameter, so it would not fit into the space within the orbit of the earth around the sun, which is 93 million miles away from earth.
The sun is four hundred times greater than the moon in size, but it is also four hundred times further away from us that the moon. Because of this, eclipses are more meaningful than they otherwise would be, because the moon or the sun, (depending on what is being eclipsed), “fits” over the other.
The sun and the moon are said to rule because when they are shining at their respective times they dominate the sky, and cause the stars to be insignificant. They also determine when men work and when they sleep, and so control them in that way.
He made the stars also- when we consider the immensity of the universe, and then we find that the stars are only allotted five English words for their creation, we understand God’s priorities rest with the earth, despite its insignificance astronomically. We see this also in the fact that the earth was made before the sun. The sun is the servant of earth, and not its lord. This, of course, goes directly against the ideas of men, who say that the earth is the result of matter spinning off the sun billions of years ago.
t is sometimes asked if Adam could see stars that are billions of light years away. Surely their light had not reached the earth in his day? We should remember the following things:
1. Measurement of the distance of stars over 330 light years away is not accurate.
2. A light year is a distance, not a period of time. It is a distance, moreover, calculated on the assumption that light is travelling at 176,000 miles per second.
3. According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, gravity affects the speed of light.
4. Gravity also affects the passage of time, so that if two clocks are synchronised, and then one is taken to the top of a high mountain, after a while they will read different times.
It is perfectly possible that the force of gravity was such at the time of creation, (decreed by the Creator of course), that the light from the stars arrived at the earth by the time Adam was created two days later. In any case, just as God made Adam a fully grown man, He could have made the starlight on its way from the stars, as well as the stars themselves. It is important to note that the Big Bang theory has its Horizon Problem with starlight as well, so evolutionists would do well to avoid criticising the creation account on this matter.
David the psalmist wrote by inspiration of God, and his words were, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard”, Psalm 19:1-3. So David is telling us that one of the reasons why there are stars in the sky is that we may appreciate the glory of God. As far as we know, the distant stars, (as opposed to our star, the sun), have very little effect on the earth physically. But they can have an effect, spiritually, if we realise they are set in the heavens for a purpose. Notice that David goes on to say that there is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. In other words, where-ever men are upon the face of the earth, whatever their language and dialect, they all have one testimony borne to them by the stars in a way they can understand.
The apostle Paul elaborated on this when he wrote, “That which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse”, Romans 1:19,20. We may learn several things from these statements as we look at them in turn.
1. “That which may be known of God is manifest in them”. In other words, it is possible to know certain things about God, and those things are manifest in or among us, surrounding us on every side in creation.
2. “For God hath showed it unto them”. He has not kept things to Himself, and hidden these truths away, so that only a select few may discover them. They are not obscure, but readily available to all.
3. “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen”. The created universe is a visible, clearly-seen exhibition of the invisible, (because spiritual), attributes of God. The attributes of God being the character and properties that He possesses.
4. “Even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse”. We come here to the heart of the matter. One famous scientist admitted that he didn’t know why the universe bothered to exist. Here is the answer- it exists to display the power and person of God. What does it tell us of His power? For by learning of His power we shall learn of His Godhead, or what He is like as God.
First, it tells us that His power is unique, for only Divine power can bring forth the universe in all its immensity, so that there is something where before there was nothing. The scriptures say, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear”, Hebrews 11:3. So His unique power tells us that He is the First Great Cause of everything. If He is the First Cause of physical things, then He is also of spiritual things too.
Second, it tells us His power is controlled, for despite the fact it is eternal power, the point at which He put it forth was entirely decided by Him. There was a moment that the Bible calls the beginning, for “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”, Genesis 1:1. His controlled power tells us that He is not nonplussed or thwarted by any circumstance.
Third, that His power is immense. Think of the following facts:
(a) One speck of sky, (the amount that would be covered by a grain of sand held at arm’s length), that seemed to have no stars in it, was photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope and found to contain 2500 galaxies that emitted enough light to be recorded. Each galaxy might contain 100 billion stars. And how many are there whose light is not strong enough to be recorded? All in an “empty” piece of space!
(b) Our sun gives off more energy in one second than would be used by one billion major cities in a year. Yet our own galaxy is 20 billion times brighter that our sun.
(c) There are probably as many stars in the whole universe as there are grains of sand on the seashores of the earth. So God’s immense power tells us He is great beyond our comprehension.
Fourth, that His power is purposeful. Why should there be such vastness of space and its contents? What is the point of them? Why are they there? It is because God thereby signifies His sovereign will. It exists solely because He wills it. Or, to use the words of Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour, and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created”. The over-riding purpose for the existence of the universe is the pleasure of the One who created it. The secondary purpose is that His creatures should respond to His greatness and not ignore Him. So His purposeful power shows that He ever acts for His own glory, and in the best interests of His creatures.
Fifth, His power is put forth so that we may learn things. God has showed man His greatness in creation, so that he might be encouraged to enquire further of Him.
Despite all this, there are some things about God that we cannot learn from the stars. Such things as His righteousness and His love have to be expressed in a different way. This is why He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into the world, so that we might know God in a fuller way than we could through gazing into the heavens. Because He is God’s Son, the Lord Jesus shares all the attributes of God fully. The Bible puts it like this, “In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”, Colossians 2:9. And again, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him”, John 1:18.
We might ask why there needs to be this further revelation. The first reason is that God made man with a will, so that he might worship God and give Him His due. Man is not made to serve his own interests, but to serve God. If he is to do this intelligently then he must have guidance, and this the stars cannot give us. The second reason is that the stars cannot tell us anything about our sinfulness. The Bible says clearly that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”, Romans 3:23. No star could tell us that, even though it is vitally important for us know that solemn truth.
So the Lord Jesus needed to come. The epistle to the Romans puts it this way, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh”, Romans 8:3. This verse tells us several important things. First, that the only God-given system of works has been shown to be ineffective as far as pleasing God is concerned. God gave to the nation of Israel His law, known popularly as the Ten Commandments. The Israelites, however, despite their many privileges and advantages, were unable to keep the law. This was not because the law was faulty, but because they were weak and sinful, powerless to earn God’s favour by works. And what is true of Israel is true of the rest of humanity, for we are no different in nature to them. So the apostle Paul concludes, “By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin”, Romans 3:20.
The second thing we learn is that God sent His Son that this situation might be dealt with, so that those who believe might be brought into the good of God’s salvation. He came “in the likeness of sinful flesh”, which means that He became real man without having the sin-nature that we have. He is pure and holy, without one trace of sin in nature or practice. He is therefore in a unique position, and as such is able to become our Saviour.
Thirdly, by His life He “condemned sin in the flesh”. His holiness and righteousness exposed the sins of men. And what was true when He was here two thousand years ago, is true now, for mankind has not improved since He was here. The sinless life of Christ still rebukes us, and shows up our sin.
But He was not only sent to condemn sin, but also to deal with it. He could not do this simply by living. He must die as a sacrifice for sin. This He did, for we read that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that He was seen”, 1 Corinthians 15:3-5. His death was not simply that of a martyr, but was sacrificial. “Once in the end of the world hath He appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself”, Hebrews 9:26. That His sacrifice for sin was accepted is shown by the fact that God raised Him from the dead. This would not have happened if there was anything faulty about the work of the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary.
So what should our response to these things be? The wise response to these truths is to own up to our sins, confess them to God, turn from them, (which the Bible calls repentance), and rest in simple faith in the Lord Jesus and what He did on the cross for us. We cannot save ourselves from sin and its penalty, but He can; and He will, if we turn from self-effort, and rest by faith in what He did when He died on the cross and rose again.

1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

1:19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

These three verses highlight the three major effects of having the sun and moon in the sky, namely, to give light, to rule, and to divide. The other purposes are found in verse 14, to be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. So there are seven functions in all that the sun and moon perform as they serve man. It is important to remember that in a soon-coming day “the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken”, Matthew 24:29. These are the words of the Lord Jesus Himself as He referred to His coming to earth to judge. It is not that the stars will actually fall onto the earth, but they will begin to fall unto the earth. Imagine the consternation of scientists as they discover that the stars have reversed their direction of travel, (assuming they are, indeed, travelling away from us), and are now hurtling towards the earth. But writing of that same time, John tells us that the heavens are going to depart as when a scroll is rolled together, Revelation 6:14. This means that the stars in their familiar places will be jumbled up and be unrecognisable. Men will have used the stars to bolster their God-denying theories, and it is only right that God should signal His disapproval in this way.