The series commencing under this general title aims to present suggestive outlines on the book of Genesis in the following form:
Crises in creation, chs. 1-11
Heroes in history, chs. 12-50
The purpose of this section of Genesis is not to give a scientific theory of creation, but to state the fact that one God created all things. The title “Genesis” (Greek) means “origin”, and the first word in the Hebrew is the word for “beginning”.
Author of creation. “In the beginning God . . Genesis 1 describes not so much the greatness of creation as the wisdom and power of the Creator. The Bible is essentially the revelation of God to man, in creation, in history and in redemption. The only explanation of the origin and the process of creation is God.
Authority in creation. “God said … and it was so”. The record bears the stamp of sovereignty. God’s word is but the expression of His will – He willed and it was done. Note: God created, 1. 1; God moved, 1. 2; God said, 1. 3; God divided, 1. 4; God called, 1.5.
Agent in creation. “All things were made by him”, John 1. 3. The New Testament reveals that the Word of God was none other than the Son of God. He “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers: all things have been created through him, and unto him; and he is before all things, and in him all things consist (hold together, marg.)”, Col. 1. 15-17 R.V. He is Creator and Controller, and it is often easier to make than to control. Gunpowder is simple to make but is difficult to control. Think of the power which controls the universe!
Accomplishment in creation. “God saw that it was good”. The phrase recurs in the record to emphasise the completeness and the perfection of God’s work. What God had willed, He had performed to His satisfaction. How often this is not the case with man, the result of whose labours may fall so far short of his original intention. The sabbath rest symbolises not God’s need of repose but rather the perfect accomplishment of His purpose – He could rest because His work was finished. As for God “his work is perfect”, Deut. 32. 4.
Advance in creation. “And there was evening and there was morning”, R.V. God’s method was progressive. All could have been brought about by one word and one act; but God chose to advance His work in stages, one stage resting upon another, each in itself complete. There were “steps” not “leaps” until the edifice was complete.
Apex of creation. “Let us make man in our image”. This is the climax of God’s creation. The work of the days was an obvious preparation for the appearance of man. There was light, air, water, herbage, fruit, seasons, fish of the sea, fowls of the air and cattle of the field – man was to have dominion over all, 1. 28. Note that God no longer says “Let there be” in relation to man’s creation, but “Let us make man”. Here is the great gulf between man and beast; he is made in the image of God and as the result of divine counsel. No living creature could form a helpmeet for him, but God created them, male and female, 1. 27. Both stand side by side, on one level before God. Adam’s commission implied domination, multiplication, subjugation, cultivation, 1. 28; see also Ps, 8; Heb. 2. 5-9.