This chapter lets us eavesdrop on God as He creates everything. He creates light. He creates the atmosphere and all its layers and complexities that I haven’t studied since middle school. He creates dry land and vegetation – i.e. mountains, valleys, hills, plains, forests, that weird creeping ivy that clings to everything, Venus flytraps, palm trees, dandelions, clovers, and even boring old grass. Then He creates the lights in the sky, probably thinking of all the songs people would write about them in the future. He creates fish and birds and animals and then He creates humans. He blesses them and tells them what they can eat. Meanwhile, God has also subtly created time (verses 5 and 14) and language (verses 5, 8, and 10). This took place in six days. For comparison, it takes me sixteen days to create code that barely works.
The Treasures Within
Getting To Know Him
I think one of the funnest stages of making a new friend is that part where you start to notice all of these new, interesting things about him or her and his or her personality. This chapter is like that stage, only the new friend is God. There’s so much to God, but we do learn quite a bit in just thirty-one verses.
- God is careful and detailed. He painstakingly makes sure everything is just right before bringing living creatures into this new home. He doesn’t forget anything. He even takes His time – six days is short, but couldn’t He have done this in, say, six hours? But no, He takes it day by day, carefully – maybe He was thinking about Adam’s and Eve’s faces when they saw it.
- God is excited about giving us really amazing things. I swear I could hear His excitement in verse 20 when He said “let the water teem with living creatures” (emphasis added). It’s like He was saying “Just put them everywhere!”
- God works majestically and effortlessly. I think we all know someone who we love to watch work or some task we love to watch people do because of how beautifully and deftly the work is done. It must have been so spellbinding to watch God create the world. You can just imagine Him “setting the sun, moon and stars in the vault of the sky” (verse 17), one by one, carefully, perfectly. You can imagine the angels watching them, mouths open, eyes following Him as He works, creating things they’ve never seen before.
God’s Message To Us
Every letter has a purpose. Whether it is to alert of a past due bill, ask for more information, or catch up with a friend, there’s a reason each letter is written. Why was this letter, Genesis 1, written to me and to you? There are probably tons of correct ways to answer this question, because the Bible is such a personal book, but here’s my answer.
God’s message to us with this chapter is “You are my likeness”. We were born to look like God, to talk like God, and to act like God. You are His image. I am His image. That’s beautiful. It’s sobering.
Creating us was the most personal thing God did during creation. With all of the other creation acts God says “Let there” or “Let the land” or “Let the water”. But when God creates man He says “Let us“. God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit were intimately involved in our creation. They were excited. They were in love. This was a special moment in Earth’s history. This was The Beginning.
There Are Always Questions
I don’t think it’s possible to read any part of the Bible without some questions arising. Here are some of mine. Some of them don’t really matter, some do. Maybe you have other questions, the same questions, or even some answers. Let’s talk about them in the comments section.
- People talk a lot about how the earliest moments of Earth’s history reflect God’s original plans for things and thus how things will be in heaven. In verse 29 it looks like God’s original plan for our diet was “every seed-bearing plant…and every tree that has fruit with seed in it”. Does that include or not include greens like lettuce, that don’t bear fruit? Will there be salad in heaven? Also, does the original plan thing apply to God’s injunction to Adam and Eve as the first family? He tells them in verse 28 to “be fruitful and increase in number”. Will we “be fruitful and increase in number” in heaven?
- God says to the animals and to us “fill the earth”. Overpopulation is an issue now – I know it won’t be in heaven, but why not? If time can be infinite, like it will be in heaven, will space be infinite as well?
- There is parallelism used in verse 27 when it says “in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” This structure seems to link “the image of God” with “male and female”. Is the image of God both male and female? Does male + female = God’s image? Or does male = female = God’s image? How does this relate to marriage and sex?
What do you think? What jumped out at you in this chapter of the Bible? What do you think God’s personal message in this chapter is for you?