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Summary: Each day’s work of Creation closes with the divine evaluation, “it was good.” Only the work of the sixth day, on which the Lord created humanity, earned ultimate approval—“very good.”

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THE CROWN OF CREATION

Genesis 1–2

“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).

Each day’s work of Creation closes with the divine evaluation, “it was good.” Only the work of the sixth day, on which the Lord created humanity, earned ultimate approval—“very good.”

Overview

God created the heavens and the earth (1:1). The orderly process described here moves from formation of a unique setting for life (vv. 3–19), to populating earth with animal life (vv. 20–25), to the creation of beings in God’s own image (vv. 26–27). Man, the crown of the completed Creation, is destined for dominion (vv. 28–31). Genesis 2 returns to examine more closely these beings intended to be the crown of God’s Creation.

Understanding the Text

Create Gen. 1:1. The Hebrew word bara’ does not mean to “make something out of nothing.” It means to begin or originate a sequence of events. Genesis affirms that God is the cause of all that exists. God, not chance, originated all life and uniquely shaped human beings. Contemplating God as Creator is a source of great comfort.

Create Gen. 1:1. The Hebrew word bara’ does not mean to “make something out of nothing.” It means to begin or originate a sequence of events. Genesis affirms that God is the cause of all that exists. God, not chance, originated all life and uniquely shaped human beings. Contemplating God as Creator is a source of great comfort.

“Formless and empty” Gen. 1:2. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that, left alone, any system will decay. Yet our earth contains life-forms that are highly organized and complex, far from the “formless and empty” state this universal law of nature predicts.

In Russia Dr. Boris P. Dotsenko, then head of the nuclear physics department in the Institute of Physics in Kiev, began to think seriously about the nature of the universe. “It suddenly dawned on me,” he wrote later, “that there must be a very powerful organizing force counteracting the disorganizing tendency within nature, keeping the universe controlled and in order. This force could not be material; otherwise it too would become disordered. I concluded that this power must be both omnipotent and omniscient. There must be a God—one God—controlling everything” (Larry Richards, It Couldn’t Just Happen [Fort Worth: Sweet, 1989], p. 17).

Later, in Canada for further studies, Dr. Dotsenko picked up a Bible. There he met the God he had decided must exist, and became a Christian.

“The first day” Gen. 1:5. Christians debate the implications of “day” in Genesis 1. Some believe “day” is used loosely to indicate an age. Others, noting the “morning and evening” mentioned in the text, conclude a 24-hour day is intended. Even here there is debate. Were the 24-hour days consecutive? Or might they have been separated by millions of years?

Scripture does little to satisfy our scientific curiosity. Why? Perhaps because it is “by faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Heb. 11:3). Even if the details were known, those without faith would scoff and still hold fast to their fancies.

But there is another reason as well. Genesis calls us to look beyond the material to the immaterial—beyond the Creation to the Creator. Nothing should distract us from the reflection of God that we see in what He has made.

“Let there be” Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, etc. All but one of God’s creative acts was accomplished by the simple expedient of speaking the word. The psalmist picks up this theme and cries, “He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm” (Ps. 33:9). The echoes of God’s speech still are heard in the creation that then sprang into being. Psalm 19 says that “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” It adds that “there is no speech or language where their voice is not heard” (vv. 1–3).

Creation’s witness to the existence of God is a cornerstone of Paul’s argument that human beings have wandered far from God. In Romans 1:20–21 Paul says that “since the Creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” They are without excuse because “although they knew God, they neither glorified Him nor gave thanks to Him.”

What a reminder for you and me. As we walk by the seashore, gaze in wonder at the stars, or smell the fragrance of a flower, we are to sense God speaking to us through His creation. And, seeing Him, we are to worship and give thanks.

“Let them rule” Gen. 1:26. The concept of dominion stated here is not a “right to use” but an “obligation to guard and protect.” Modern man’s responsibility for earth’s ecological well-being is stated here in Genesis, long before “advances” in modern science threatened the balance of nature.

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