Week 1 – Creation and God

Scripture: Genesis 1:1-2:4

There are probably no more debated chapters of the Bible than Genesis 1 and 2. From creation versus evolution to young earth versus old earth, and perspectives on how to read these initial chapters either as historical narrative or simply figuratively, the reason for debate are numerous. However, as we look at Creation and God, we will set aside these secondary issues – though important – and focus on what I believe to be the primary focus of Genesis 1 and 2.

At its core, the purpose of Moses’ account of the universe’s beginning is theological. Genesis chapters 1, and 2 teach us about God and how we relate to Him.

Let’s begin.

Genesis 1:1-2

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

These two verses provide the summary of Genesis 1-2. God is the sole Creator who is distinct from and independent of His creation. Before creation, nothing existed except the Triune God. This means that God is eternal, a truth that informed part of Moses’ prayer in Psalm 90. In Psalm 90:2 (NIV), Moses speaks of God’s eternality, His existence before He spoke the cosmos into existence!

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

This eternal God created “the heavens and the earth.” The phrase “the heavens and the earth” is a literary device known as a merism. A merism states two opposites and includes everything from one opposite to the other. Moses says that God made everything, period. Paul clearly confirms Moses’ words from Genesis that God created all things in the opening chapter of Colossians.

Colossians 1:16

for through him (Jesus, God the Son) God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.

The Triune God created everything, even the elements needed to create, by simply speaking it into existence (Psalm 33:6, 9). Genesis 1:1 teaches us that God created the world out of nothing. Sometimes you might hear someone describe God creating something out of nothing by saying that God created ex nihilo. Ex nihilo is a Latin phrase meaning “out of nothing.” Creation ex nihilo emphasizes that before God began to create the universe, nothing else existed except Himself.

The Holy Spirit then leads Moses to record God’s orderly creation of “the heavens and the earth,” with what the Bible describes as six days of creation and God resting on the seventh day. While there is debate surrounding the meaning of the word “days” in theological circles, for the sake of our study in this series, I simply want to point out that the Bible’s account of creation describes a singular Creator God who intentionally brings order out of chaos and this account stands in stark contrast to other creation myths believed during the time of Moses.

As we look at the chart below, we see that the six days of the creation narrative can be divided into two groups. Days 1-3 show God transforming a world that is inhabitable into one that is inhabitable. Days 4-6 describe God creating things to inhabit the corresponding space prepared by God on days 1-3.

Three Important Truths from the Creation Week

God alone is Creator.

Genesis 1 tells us that there is only one creative power in the universe; Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created.” The unquestioned belief in the existence of many gods was an unquestioned assumption in the ancient Middle East. However, the Holy Spirit, through Moses unapologetically declares that there one God, separate from and supreme over His creation. Since He is greater than His creation, He alone and not any part of His creation, should be worshipped.

God created with intentionality.

As you can see from reading Genesis 1 and observing the chart above, God created the universe and its inhabitants in an orderly way, displaying His unmatched wisdom. Other ancient Near East creation myths portray creation as an afterthought or an unintentional result between disputing gods. For ancient readers, this revealed that they were not simply an unintended byproduct of gods feuding but the pinnacle of God’s creation week. God had prepared everything for Adam and Eve to flourish so they could enjoy Him, the Creator, and His creation.

Today, we are not tempted to believe and embrace creation myths like the Enuma Elish or the Epic of Atrahasis. Still, the theory of evolution can lead people to believe that they are simply the random result of millions of years of cells and life evolving. Every person who hears or reads the Bible’s account of origins can know that they are not an afterthought, but the pinnacle of God’s creation, placed in a world prepared for them to enjoy and thrive with a purpose and hope. When we embrace the Bible’s account of creation to form our worldview, we can say with David that we are “so wonderfully made!”

God declares His creation good.

“And God saw that it was good” is a key phrase through the creation account. Creation is good because God calls it good. Later in Genesis 3, we will see that the perfect creation of God in Genesis 1 is marred because of sin entering the world. However, we can still see beauty in God’s creation in cotton candy skies, during a sunrise or sunset, in the joy and laughter experienced in our relationships, and in the comforting peace and companionship, we experience as we pet our dog as it lays in our lap after a long day. We enjoy the goodness of Creation because a good God brought it into existence. The good in creation that we enjoy should be received with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:4), enjoyed joyfully (1 Timothy 6:10), and stir us to praise our Creator (Revelation 4:11).

Week One’s Main Thing

What do we learn about the Creator?

We learn that there is one God who created everything. This God is separate from His creation, independent of His creation, lovingly provides for His creation, and is sovereign over all His creation.

How big is your God?

Has your God become small? In other words, has your vision of God become small? Do you doubt His care for you (Matthew 6:26; Luke 12:28)? Do other gods seem more desiring and satisfying (Jeremiah2:11-13)? Are you relying on the all-powerful Creator God or depending on your thoughts, abilities, and strength (Isaiah 40:28-31)? Are you seeking direction from the all-wise Creator and His Word? Or are you looking to horoscopes, podcasts, self-help books, or your wisdom for direction (Proverbs 3:5-6; Isaiah 40:12-14)?

If you find that your vision of God is smaller than He reveals Himself in Genesis 1, I invite you to glance at the stellar nursery NGC604 below with me.

C23YH0 Nursery of New Stars This is a Hubble Space Telescope image of a vast nebula called NGC 604

The picture above is of a giant stellar nursery! This cosmic nursery gives birth to new stars. Scientists say that there are 200 new stars in this nursery. From end to end, this nursery measures 1,500 light years. This means that it would take you 1,500 years, traveling at the speed of light, to make it from one end of this nursery to the other. If you are like me and need to be reminded of how fast light travels, it travels at 186,000 miles per second!

Let me try again if that doesn’t cause you to pick your jaw up off the floor. This massive nursery isn’t just a tiny part of the universe but a minor part of a single galaxy! The galaxy that houses NGC 604 is 3 million light years across! But this is only one galaxy, and by merely speaking, God created an estimated 2 Trillion galaxies.

Psalm 33:6

The Lord merely spoke,
    and the heavens were created.
He breathed the word,
    and all the stars were born.

As breathtaking and astounding as the staggering size of God’s creation is and His power to bring it into existence, an even more awe-demanding truth is that God is as loving as He is powerful!

Psalm 36:5

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.

Need to enlarge your vision of God even more? Check out this video!

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