Summary: Genesis 1:1-2:3 teaches us that by his powerful word, God created the heavens and the earth.
Today, I am beginning a new series of sermons on the first eleven chapters of Genesis that I am calling, “In the Beginning.” For the next year or so, I plan to preach short series of sermons, alternating between Genesis and Ephesians.
My intention for “In the Beginning” is to preach 6 messages on Genesis 1–11. Naturally, this will be more of an overview rather than a verse-by-verse exposition of the text. Expounding an entire narrative will give us a view of the flow of redemptive history and what God was doing in the beginning in the salvation of sinners.
I am hoping that by alternating short series of sermons between Genesis and Ephesians we will all stay engaged in worship, learning, and growing in the knowledge and grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Also, if we need to address something different, it will be easy to do so.
The book of Genesis opens with the words, “In the beginning….” This is the English translation of the first word in the Hebrew, “Bereshit.” In fact, God’s people in the Old Testament called this book Bereshit. The English title “Genesis” comes from the Greek word that means “origins.” It was called the “Book of Origins” because it provides a description of the origin of the heavens, the earth, inanimate life, and animate life, including human beings.
So, a good question, as we begin our study in Genesis, is, “Why study the book of Genesis?” Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III answers:
To understand our origins. To understand who we are, our meaning in life. To comprehend our place in the world, our relationship with other creatures, with other humans and with God himself. To recognize the significance of the rest of redemptive history culminating in the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Our brief overview of Genesis 1-11 will address, at least briefly, some of these answers.
I should make one further comment as we commence our study of Genesis. My conviction is that the Word of God, which of course includes Genesis, is the ultimate and supreme authority. So, where there are questions about science and Scripture, or history and Scripture, or geography and Scripture, or whatever and Scripture, the supreme authority belongs to Scripture. The reason for doing so is because God is the author of Scripture. The conviction that Scripture is the supreme authority has important implications for how we view science, history, geography, and so on, as we shall see in the coming weeks.
So, let us now read about God creating the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1:1-2:3:
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.