From Genesis 1-3
In this post we have a brief look at the account of creation. The Hebrew worldview is unique. The account itself, structured. The purpose of creation, challenging. Being created in the image gives us dignity and value.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Gen 1.1)
In the beginning there was God. He existed in the beginning. God is eternal. He has no beginning and no end. The alpha and omega.
God created the heavens and the earth. I recommend this book that explains a common meaning of ‘created’ in the Old Testament. The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate, by John H. Walton. His idea is that ‘create’ can be used in the sense of ordering existing elements. A bit like forming a new company out of things like people, buildings and items.
The text continues stating the existence of the earth before it has been made into anything.
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. (Gen 1.2)
The earth already existed, it was ‘without form and void’. The ‘deep’ already existed and the ‘waters’ already existed. This imagery is common to ancient near eastern creation accounts.
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.
20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Gen 1.3-25)
There is a poetic repetition of elements in the creation account.
- God speaks,
- And it was so,
- God names by calling,
- End of the day.
The Hebrew God is the one who created. God continues bringing order out of chaos forming the world in which he will inhabit. Like a temple.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.(Gen 1.26-27)
“Being made in the image of God confers on us dignity, entrusts us with responsibility, and implants in us a certain potential, namely, the capacity to mirror our Creator. As Christians, our redemption has greatly enhanced this capacity and, in the process, has made us more sensitive to the responsibility we have and the dignity shared by all humankind.” (Walton, J.H., 2001. Genesis, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.)
The Gospel of John creates a link between creation and the restoration promised throughout the scriptures.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. …
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn 1.1-5,14)
He is the image of God the creator, and the image guiding our renewal (Col 3.10).
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