{2}         Gen 1:1—2:3  Creation


Part A. Creation (1:1—2:3)

A1.      In the beginning (1:1-2)

A2.      Days 1-3 (1:3-13)

A3.      Days 4-6 (1:14-31)

A4.      Day 7 (2:1-3)

        The 6 days of creation are in 2 parallel sequences of 3 days each. Day 3 and Day 6 both include two separate creative acts, totalling 8 creations.

Day 1: light/darkness

Day 4: sun, moon, stars

Day 2: sky/sea

Day 5: birds, fish

Day 3: land AND plants

Day 6: land animals AND human beings



1:1       beginning: the point when time began. God existed before everything else.

God did not need to create the universe; he chose to create it. Why? God is love, and love must be expressed toward something or someone else—so God created the world and people. They are an expression of His love. He wants to share His glory with man.

This verse can be interpreted in 3 ways:

o        [a] Title view: Verse 1 is the summary heading of the whole account, and 1:2—2:3 presents the detail.

o        [b] Traditional view: Creation began in v.1 when the entire universe was created, but one that was not organized and not completed. The rest of the passage describes how the Earth was organized.

o        [c] Restitution view or gap theory: Creation began in v.1; v.2 describes a creation, that became “chaos” because of Satan’s rebellion (Isa 14:9-14; Eze 28:12-15). There was a large gap between v.1 and v.2.

God (Heb. Elohim): The name means strong and mighty. It is a plural noun used to represent His magnificence, not multiple gods. Some believe the plural form points to the triune God.

created (Heb. bara): creation not from pre-existed materials. The word bara occurs only in 4 verses in the creation story: 1:1,21,27; 2:3 (also 2:4a).

the heavens and the earth: the whole universe. The Bible did not record the creation of the unseen spiritual world but it is likely that angels were created before this visible world (Job 38:7).

1:2       earth: The rest of the creation story was then told from the perspective on the surface of the Earth.

without form and void: 2 different connotations: [a] both mean uninhabited; [b] same words used in Isa 45:18, with the meaning of “confusion and emptiness”.

the deep: The Earth was covered with water (Ps 104:6), and darkness above it; similar to Job 38:9.

the Spirit of God: The participation of the “Spirit of God” in creation is also affirmed in Ps 104:30.

hovering: The word describes a mother eagle spreading its wings over her young chicks (Dt 32:11). It suggests the personal loving, caring, nurturing characteristics of the Spirit.

1:3       DAY 1: God said: God decreed and the result followed immediately.

Let there be light”: The source of the light could be: [a] cosmic light, [b] divine light from the glorious God (Ps 104:2), [c] light from the Big Bang, [d] the sun.

1:4       good: God is a Judge. The word “good” can mean beneficial, aesthetically beautiful, of superior quality, or of ultimate value.

1:5       evening, morning: creation completed by evening. Hebrew day starts at sunset.

1:6       DAY 2: expanse: can be translated firmament, or the sky.

1:7       separated the waters: separated clouds from liquid water, created weather and climate.

1:8       called the expanse Heaven: naming of the sky; did not have “God saw that it was good” because there is nothing new

1:9       DAY 3: separated land and sea, allowing eventual inhabitation by man.

1:11     according to its kind: “Kind” is used for broad categories. Equating “kind” with the modern term of “species” is unwarranted. The term is never used of man, as we are a unique order of creation.

1:12     plants: 2 categories: [a] plants producing seed, and [b] fruit trees whose fruit possess seeds.

1:14     DAY 4: made (Heb. asa): completed action, different from the word “created” (Heb. bara) in v.1. This possibly infers that the sun and the stars were created before the 1st creation day.

1:15     lights in the heavens: The celestial bodies are light-bearing bodies not to be worshipped.

1:16     rule: dominion, govern.

1:20     DAY 5: birds: can include all organisms that fly, such as insects.

1:21     great sea creatures: in the Bible, called Rahab (Isa 51:9) and Leviathan (Ps 74:14; isa 27:1).

1:24     DAY 6: livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth: [a] Livestock are those that can easily be tamed for agricultural purposes. [b] Beasts of the earth are those that are difficult to tame. [c] Creeping things are short-legged land mammals, such as rodents, hares, and armadillos.

1:26     let us make: The possibilities include: [a] the “plural of majesty”, [b] self-deliberation, [c] divine dialogue within the Godhead, and [d] address to a heavenly court of angels. While the Jews would not have understood the concept of a triune God, “the Spirit of God” permits a coparticipant in creation. Pr 8:30 speaks of the personified “Wisdom” as God’s coparticipant in creation.

image, likeness: Image can include sculptures, painting images, etc. Likeness refers to more abstract, internal qualities. The two terms are generally regarded as identical.

1:27     male and female: both God’s image, equal in position.

1:28     be fruitful: a God-given responsibility.

fill the earth: to occupy the whole Earth, not just staying in one place.

2:1       DAY 7: Creation is completed.

2:2       rested: an action taken after work is finished, not in the sense of resting in weariness.

The fact that the refrain of “There was evening, and there was morning” was absent may indicate that the 7th day has not ended (Ps 95:7-11; Jn 5:16-18; Heb 4:1-11), extending into the future.

2:3       made it holy (NIV: sanctified): a day separated out for God. When God sanctified the day, He declared that this day was specially devoted to Him (Ex 20:8,11).


        Reflections on creation:

[a] Everything is in order. God is a God of order, not confusion.

[b] God’s words have power. Once said, they will be fulfilled.

[c] The sun, and living beings are all created by God. Only the Creator is worthy of our worship.

[d] God loves His creation, especially man. He prepared everything before He created man.

[e] Man is created in God’s image and likeness. Everyone is special; everyone deserves our respect.

[f] God made the Sabbath holy. Keep the Sabbath day holy.