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My Commentary On The Book Of Genesis



The following commentary is based on the 1984 edition of the New International Bible.  Chapter titles in this commentary correspond to the chapter titles in the NIV for easy study.


Our English word "Genesis" come from Latin that comes from Greek.  It simply means "the origin of something,"  as in the "genesis of a singing group."  In this case, it is the "genesis of the material universe and how it relates to humanity."      


Most conservative scholars believe Moses wrote the book of Genesis, as well as Exodus Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy,  known as the Torah.  You might ask how he could write all these things when he wasn't around to see them first hand.  There are a couple of points to consider here.  One is that he most likely knew these things through oral tradition that was passed down from one generation to another.  Some have trouble with this due to the fact that such passages of verbal information may not be accurate.  Yet beyond this is the inspiration of Scripture.  I know that inspiration is not considered to be scientific in nature by many today, especially within some current philosophies of science, but it is fundamental to Christianity.  I will not explain or prove  inspiration here.  In my thinking, it is a given.  


After His resurrection Jesus spoke to two men as He was walking along a road with them.  They had told Him of the recent death of a man they thought was the Messiah.  Jesus played dumb, pretending not to know what they were talking about at first.  The two men were confused at this point.  In Luke 24:27 Jesus tries to help them out by quoting all the scriptures spoken concerning Him being the Messiah, beginning at Moses and continuing throughout the prophets. Many scholars believe when Jesus speaks of Moses here, He is speaking of Genesis through Deuteronomy.  Thus Jesus attributes the authorship of Genesis to Moses.


In the New Testament there are 165 quotes from Genesis.


The debate over Creationism and Darwinism has been raging for years.  Genesis chapter 1 is brought into the midst of this debate.  Many Christians try to approach the book of Genesis from a scientific perspective, but it's scope is beyond science.   It's basically a pronouncement of the facts, without trying to prove details. It obviously predated modern science and western thought.   


Another thing to think about is that Genesis chapter one was never meant to be an exhaustive thesis on how things were created.  The main point to this chapter is that God is Creator and He created what we presently see around us and more.  For the most part, Genesis only addresses the creation of things pertaining to human existence and humanities relationship with God.  Genesis is the beginning of the story of God and His dealing with mankind.


So I view Genesis, especially the first few chapters as a theological thesis more than anything else.  I'm not a scientist and therefore what I write is  not necessarily from a scientific perspective. 


An important word to know and understand concerning God is the word "anthropomorphic".  This word means "to ascribe human characteristics to something that is not human.  In reference to God, this means, ascribing human characteristics to Him who is spiritual.  He may do this of Himself, or we may do it of Him.  I believe He does it of Himself in Genesis and other places in the Bible.  For example,  in Genesis 1 it speaks of God speaking. That is, it says, "God said…"  Does God really speak?  Well, He probably does, but I'm not sure He speaks like us.  God being spirit doesn't necessarily speak as men speak.  His speaking might well be simple thoughts.  The Bible also talks about God having arms and eyes and a place to sit.  These are all words common to man who has a material body that God doesn't have.  Therefore God is represented in human terms because that helps us understand better.  God may have some kind of eyes, but they're not like ours.  God is so far beyond humanity that there is no way humanity can understand Him, and therefore we speak about God in human terms only to help our limited understanding.   Beyond us speaking anthropomorphically of God, I think He speaks anthropomorphically about Himself.



The Beginning (ch. 1:1 – 2:3)


There are at least three ways of looking at verse 1.  Some say that when verse 1 says that "God created the heavens and the earth", that is a general synopsis and the rest of the chapter explains what this means.  Other's say that this is a former creation, and the verses 2 onward is a re-creation.  Others suggest that verses 1 is part of a very long first day of creation.   


In chapter 1 verse 1 we see that God "created the heavens and the earth."  The very first phrase is important.  It reads, "in the beginning."   Another book in the Bible begins with the same words and that is the book of John found in the New Testament.  It reads, "in the beginning was the Word …"   The Word Is the pre-incarnate Jesus.  Most scholars believe that.  So right here in the beginning of our Bible, the beginning of time as we know it, we see allusions to our Lord Jesus Christ, and that's what the rest of the Bible is all about.  It's all about our Lord Jesus Christ.   


I believe  "in the beginning" means in the beginning of space,  time, and the material universe that we know and even don't know.  Most scholars believe that prior to Genesis 1:1 there was no such thing as space and time.  We know from John 4:  that Jesus said that God is spirit.  God lived, and still does  in the spirit realm where there is no space and no time.  There is no material existence as we know it.  From this place, He created the "heavens and the earth," that is, all that we know and don't know about the material universe.  This is not simply the creation of the earth here.  It's the creation of the heavens as well, although the heavens might have been empty because the stars were created sometime after.


In Scripture there are at least three heavens mentioned.  Paul visited the third heaven, which seems to be that place where God lives.  There is also the atmosphere around the earth, and even into the universe, which is called the heavens as well.  Then, there is the universe itself, outside earth's atmosphere.  This too is known as the heavens.  Thus we have three heavens.


It is my opinion that God created the heavens, but the heavens do not include the spiritual realm where God lives, and where I believe angels lived prior to Genesis 1:1. I say this because someone might suggest that heaven, or paradise, or that place where Paul visited, that is, where God is, was created along with the other two heavens described above.   In the six days of creation there is no mention of God creating that spiritual realm known as heaven where he and the angels live.  This is a relative point when considering when Lucifer fell out of God's grace.  


In Genesis 8:2 we note that the floodgates of the heavens were closed and it stopped raining.  The same word "heavens" is used in Genesis 8:2 as it is uses in Genesis 1:1.  I therefore conclude, since the "heavens" used in chapter 8 is clearly the sky and the area above the sky where there was an umbrella of water, we should understand Genesis 1:1 in the same way.  God did not create heaven or the heavenly world in Genesis 1:1.  


If verse 1 is not a synopsis of creation but an extended long period of time that ends in the creation of light, then the heavens spoken of here might be empty, just empty space since the stars were not created at this point in time. 


Another thought on the words "in the beginning."  John 1:1 uses the same wording when John says, "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God."   All conservative scholars understand the Word as being the pre-incarnate Jesus.  So one thing to note here is that Jesus was with God in the creation process.  


The fourth word of the Bible is the word "God."  The word for God here is "Elohim", meaning, God, the all-powerful one".   "Elohim" is the plural form of the word "El".  "EL" is the simplest and most basic word for God in the Hebrew language.  Elohim expresses the idea that God is plural, comprised of more than one aspect or personality.  Many see the Trinity in the word "Elohim", but the word itself does not express the idea of three.  It simply expresses the idea of more than one.   


Referring to John 1:1 again, it is thus understandable why "Elohim," the plural form of God is being used here, and why it is used later in Genesis 1 when God said "let us create man…"  Jesus was with God as John 1:1 says, yet Jesus is also God Himself.  God is plural.


Another verse to consider in this connection is found in Revelation 3:15, where Jesus introduces Himself to the church at Laodicea as the "ruler of God's creation."  It was God's creation, but Jesus was involved in the creation process and He is the final ruler of creation.  He was placed into this position by God Himself.      


We also need to look at the word "create" here in verse 1.  The Hebrew word is "bara."  It really means to "create from nothing."  We might think that there was just empty space in the universe before God created, but most Biblical scholars say no to this idea.  There was not empty space.  There was nothing, absolutely nothing, because empty space in itself is something.   Therefore, God created all material things, including what we see, what we don't see, and including empty space.  He also created time.  Modern science has discovered that time is actually material, just as anything we see here on earth.  Time is also not constant.  Time changes under certain circumstances. 


Hebrews 11:3 confirms that God created the material universe out of nothing when it says, "by faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."  The simple fact is that God created something out of nothing merely by speaking it into existence.  


Prior to Genesis. 1:1 there was no such thing as time.  God does not live, nor never has lived in a space time place.  He lives outside of time.  We call that eternity.  It's not that He really looks down on time.  He's just outside of time.   That is why He knows the beginning from the end.  That is how He can foretell the future.   So when we speak of God being "up in heaven", those words might be understood in anthropomorphic terms   because heaven isn't really up, or so I think.  I see heaven as being around us in another dimension.


Verse 2 begins with, "now the earth was formless and empty…"  We need to stop and look at the word "was."   You will probably see an alternate rendering of the Hebrew word here.  The Hebrew word translated as "was" can also be translated as "became".   The word "became" makes the verse completely different  than the word "was."  Look at it this way.  The verse can be read, "the earth was formless and empty," or, "the earth became formless and empty."  These are two different thoughts, and a major doctrine has arisen over this word. 


If the earth "became" formless and empty, that means at some prior time it wasn't formless and empty but for some reason it became formless and empty.  The "Gap Theory" is the doctrine that presents arguments to this effect.  Because of a few certain other scriptures, those who hold to the Gap Theory believe that there is a major gap between verse 1 and verse 2 of Genesis 1.  God originally made the earth with form, but because of sin, maybe satan's sin, or the sin of a pre-adamic race, God judged the earth and His judgment destroyed the earth that once was.  This explains why the earth became formless and empty, assuming the word "became" is the way we should translate the Hebrew word here. 


Those who hold to the Gap Theory suggest that this gap explains why scientist believe the earth is billions of years old.  They just don't know how long this gap was and how long the first earth was in existence prior to God's judgment.


On the other hand, if you translate this Hebrew word as "was', you get a whole different meaning.  It is simply that God's first act of creation made an earth without form and it was empty until He continued His creation to fill the earth in with what we presently have.  It might be suggested that a long period of time might well have occurred during this formless and empty stage.  If this is so, this might well indicate the earth being billions of years old. 


Yet, there are many Christians who believe the earth is only about six thousand years old because they believe that God created the earth in six twenty four hours days as we know days.  They say this because of the words "the evening and the morning " was the firs, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth  day.  These words seem to express a twenty four hour day.  Yet one problem with this thinking is that days and nights, with the creation of our sun and moon did not exist until day four.  So how could there have been days prior to day 4?  Yet on the other hand, as we will see, God created light and separated the light from darkness before He created the sun and moon.  So in God's mind, there were such things as days.  You might want to consider this.   


So the earth was formless and empty.  Empty is easy to figure out.  There wasn't anything on the earth.  It is quite possible that there was just water and rock  that we see was dealt with in verse 6 and 7. 


The Hebrew word "tohou" is translated as "formless".  This Hebrew word means "to lie waste."   The earth at this point was barren, and desolate.  "Tohou" can also mean "chaos."  The condition of the earth in the minds of some, those who believe in the Gap Theory, could not have been created in such a waste or chaotic condition.  God would not have created it in such a condition, a condition that does not seem "good," and we know that in God's eyes, everything He created was good.  This is why some believe that a pre-adamic judgment took place prior to the six days of creation seen in the following verses. 


Isaiah 45:18 is a verse that some turn to when thinking about what we are talking about here.  In Isaiah 45:18 God says that "He fashioned and made the earth, He founded it, He did not create it to be empty, He formed it to be inhabited."  Gap Theorists believe that this verse suggests that God didn't create the earth formless and empty in the first place.  Therefore they conclude it became formless and empty, and once again, because God judged a pre-adamic race.  Yet, Isaiah 45:18 doesn't exactly say that, at least in the NIV.   It simply says that God didn't create the earth to remain formless and empty.  He created it to be inhabited. Therefore, at some point prior to day one of creation, He actually might well have created the earth as formless and empty, knowing that this was only step one of His plans.   This might figure into modern science as well when supposing of an earth being billions of years old.  


At this point I'd like to suggest that God created the earth, and it was formless and empty as I said above.  His plan obviously was not to keep it in this state.  At some point, which we don't know, He created light and separated it from the dark that was already in existence.  He called the light day and the dark night.  Then He says, as we will see, the evening and morning was day one.  Therefore day one might be quite a long time.  How long we don't know because we don't know how long the earth was empty and formless.   


 We also see the words "springs of the deep" in Genesis 8:2 in connection to those underground springs being closed up so the flood would end.  This would confirm that the deep spoken of here in verse 2 are the oceans that are fed from underground streams.                     


The next phrase in verse 2 says that "darkness was over the surface of the deep."   Some might think the word "darkness" is in references to sin, especially if the Gap Theory is correct.  But I think it's simple.  I think good hermeneutics suggest that the earth was simply dark.  There was no such thing as light.  Material light had not yet been created at this point in time.  


Most scholars believe the word "deep" is in reference to water.  Most people believe that the earth at this point was completely covered with water, and that includes the earth's atmosphere.  There is some scientific evidence that this might  have been the case billions of years ago, but the assumption is that it was billions of years ago. Genesis 2:6 seems to suggest that at this stage of creation the water that covered the earth came from streams that flowed out of the earth to the surface of the earth.


The next phrase in verse 2 says that "the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."   The words "over the waters" help confirm the point that the earth was covered with water.  One thing to note is what Peter said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  In 2 Peter 3:5 he says that the "heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water."  To me, this suggests that the heavens were made first, then the earth.  At this point before the stars were created and dry land was formed, water covered the whole earth and into the heavens as well, which is confirmed by the Genesis account.     


Here, right in the second verse of the Bible we see the Holy Spirit mentioned.  The words "Spirit of God"  suggests to many that the Spirit of God is another aspect to God.  We've already spoken of the word "Elohim" as being plural.  Therefore when we see the words "Spirit of God" here, they see the plural nature of God, that is, there is God, and there is His Spirit.  I'm not convinced of this.  We know God is spirit, and so the Spirit of God might be God Himself and not another separate identity.


Christians tend to see God as being God the Father, and the Spirit being another part of the Trinity, but I'm not sure we can separate the Spirit of God from God that easily.  We try to understand God in what we call the Trinity, but I think that might well be a pretty simplistic way of trying to understand God.  Don't get me wrong.  I do believe in the trinity, but my point is that we as human being can't understand God, and the doctrine of the trinity might well be our feeble attempt to do so.


The word "hovering" here is suggestive of a hen hovering over her eggs or newly hatched babies.  Some older civilizations actually see God in a female form here as one who hovers.  They see God as creator as being female and not male, and there might be an element of truth here as we will see later.  From an anthropomorphic standpoint, some believe that God is both male and female, and as female gave birth to all creation.


Whatever the case is with male, female, and God, it was at this point that God entered the material universe.  His Spirit hovering over the waters suggests to me that God passed through the barrier that separates eternity and timelessness from the material universe     


Verse 3 says, "God said, let there be light," but does God speak as humans speak?  We might think that God is speaking here as we speak, but God is spirit, so I doubt if He speaks as we think He does.  Yet on the other hand, if the text says that "God spoke," then in His own way, He did speak.


Another thought you might want to think about in respect to God speaking relates to John 1:1 again.  If Jesus is called "the Word of God,"  word is in reference to some kind of speaking.  When the text says that "God said," that might well imply that Jesus who was the Word  of God spoke creation into existence at that point. 


What did God say in verse 3?  He said, "let there be light."  This light was not from our sun and moon because the sun, moon, and stars had not yet been created. 


We notice that in verse 3 that God did not have to actually make light as we would make something.  He just spoke light into existence.  Hyper faith Christians today, as well as new age thinkers cross a line of Biblical thinking  when they believe we can do the same.  I'm not saying words are meaningless because they are, but speaking things into existence as God did is not Biblical.


 Traditionally speaking, Jewish teaching has suggested that this appearing of "light" is the first reference to the Messiah that can be found in the Bible. This is especially interesting when you read the gospel of John.  John in his first chapter says that Jesus is the light of the world.  Jesus says the same thing of Himself.  I'm not wondering if this light that came to earth at this point in time, if it wasn't the light from Jesus.  I think the Jews might have a good point here. It's not that God created light.  He just allowed the existing light to shine on earth, who was Jesus.        


Verse 4 says that "God saw that the light was good."   I don't believe that this good light was a surprise to God.  I don't think these words mean that after God created light, He stepped back and thought, "this is better than what I expected."  God knew what to expect.  He simply stated that what He creates is good. His creation can be nothing else but good. 


Prior to the creation of light, there was just darkness.  Darkness is really just the absence of light.  Yet once God created light, the question might be asked, "what happened to the darkness since darkness is the absence of light?"  Was there no more darkness?  No.  There was still darkness.  Verse 5 tells us that God "separated the darkness from the light."  Just how He did this is unknown to me. It might be possible that God caused the earth to rotate at this point, thus creating night and day based on the earth rotating.  Remember, there is no sun or moon at this point to distinguish day from night and light from darkness.  We simply have light and we simply have darkness.  We don't really know where this light came from.  Maybe it came from God Himself since He is often portrayed as light in the Bible.  We also see that in the new earth, as seen at the end of Revelation, that there is no sun or moon that gives light because God Himself provides the light because He is light. 


In verse 5 we see that God named the light and the darkness.  He named the light "day" and the darkness "night."  God not only created.  He named what He created. 


The Hebrew word for our English word "day" is the word "yom".    The word "yom" is found 1840 times in the Hebrew Old Testament and is translated into about 54 different ways depending on what English translation you are reading.  It is most commonly translated as a 24 hour period of time, that being one day.  Yet it is translated as a long period of time as well, as in "the day of the Lord."   The term "Day of the Lord is often in reference to a period of time leading up to the end of this present age. 


Because "yom" for the most part is understood in a twenty four hour period many Christians believe that the days spoken of here are a twenty four hour day.  Yet some believe it is a long period of time since the word "yom" can be understood this way.  This would provide for the time period that some modern science supposes   allows evolutionary process to occur.  


Verse 5 ends this way.  "And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day."  This sentence seems to suggest that the first day consisted of evening and morning, meaning a twenty four hour period of time.  This doesn't necessarily have to be 24 hours since the sun and moon were not created yet which determines our twenty four hour days.  This day could have had an evening and morning but not in a twenty four hour.  Maybe this first day last centuries in our time. At this point some believe that this evening and morning is simply picture language, symbolic of something else, possibly an evolutionary process.


I'd like to remind you of what I've already said, and that is the creation of light and its separation from darkness took place at some point after the earth was created formless and empty.  How long of a period of time the earth was formless and empty we don’t know, but at the end of this time God created light, thus possibly ending the long first day, not a twenty four hour day. 


Another thing that I believe is important in connection with light, darkness and days is this.  The concept of days, at least at this point, is not based on a twenty four hour period of time.  It's based on the fact that there is both light and dark.  Prior to this there was only darkness.  Therefore, the thing that constitutes a day is not twenty four hours, but the fact that there is both light and dark, and once that light dark cycle has passed a day has occurred.      


The Jewish rabbis throughout the centuries have believed this to mean a twenty four hour period of time.  The Jewish day begins in the evening because of these words.  The sentence seems to suggest that evening is the start of the day, not the morning as we think in western culture. 


Modern physics tells us that "time is relative," depending on your mass, acceleration and gravity. That means that time is not constant.  Time does change under certain circumstances.  Therefore, according to some, time might well have been different in these six days of creation.  Man was not around to experience time.  Therefore the length of these days might not be a 24 hour period of time. This view attempts to support those who think the earth is billions of years old.   


In verse 6 God said, "let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water."  We see in verse 7 that God did what He said.  He made an expanse to separate water below and water above.  The general consensus is that at this time, the earth and the atmosphere around the earth was all water.  There was no dry land on the earth, and the atmosphere was extremely moist or simply in liquid form.   So what God did here was to create a dome of air around the earth that separated the water on the earth from the water  above the earth. 


Verse 8 confirms what I just said concerning this expanse as being the atmosphere around the earth.  The NIV says that God called this expanse the "sky."   So it is clear at this point in the creation process, that water covered the earth, above that is sky, and above that is more water, or possibly clouds.  


At this point I will speculate a bit.  We now have water on the earth and above the sky.  In my thinking, this water is not clouds, but water.   You then might ask, "where did that water go since we know there is no water above our sky?"   The answer might well be that that water flooded the earth in Noah's day and that  is why it no longer exists.  If this is so, that water might well have been kept above our sky for the very reason of flooding the earth in Noah's day, thus pointing to the fact that God knows our future.  He reserved that water for future judgment.   This might be similar to when He destroys the earth with fire in order to make a new earth.  This fire might well be the fire that exists in the centre of the earth that He has reserved for future judgment.       


Day two ends as day one did.  Verse 8 says that "there was evening and there was morning, - the second day."   God's work of creation ends in our early evening.    


In verse 9  God separated the water under the sky, exposing dry land.  In verse 10 God calls the dry ground land.  He also called the waters that were gathered together seas.  Note the words "the gathered waters."  In my non-scientific mind, the waters were gathered, that is, they rushed from one place to another.  This extreme rushing of water surely must have changed the structure of the surface of the earth.  This rushing of water might be what the scientists have seen in a so-called ice age thaw, when the ice melted and waters spread over the earth, causing the formation of lakes and rivers, the Great Lakes being one example.  In this process of gathering water, there might well have been upheavals in the earth to create the seas, lakes and rivers for water to flow into, also accounting for what modern science says happened in the thawing of an ice age.


Also God saw that this gathering of water to expose the dry ground was good.  All things that God does is good.


Things didn't stop here on this third day.   Once the dry land was exposed, we see in verse 11 that vegetation grew from this dry land.  God said, "let the land produce" this vegetation.  What we see here is actually a secondary way in which God created.  Prior to this, He has simply spoken things into existence.   This is a bit different here.  He does not speak the vegetation into existence.  He basically commands the dry land to produce this vegetation.  The speaking was to the dry land, and once God spoke,  trees, grains and all kinds of vegetation began to grow from the dry land.  Note that dry land, that is earth and all it contains could hear from God resulting in dry land obeying God.   We note from Paul's writings in Romans 8 that all of creation is waiting for a day where it will be redeemed.  All creation is groaning until that day, according to Paul.  "All creation" means all creation, including the soil we walk on.  I therefore think that even dirt has some kind of capabilities of hearing from God.  So when Jesus says that the stones could cry out in praise to God, they certainly can, because stones somehow can respond to the command of God.   Some might suggest that Paul is speaking figuratively in Romans 8.  I concede that this might be the case, but I tend to believe Paul meant it to be literal.   


We don't know why the repetition takes place in verse 12, but verse 12 is basically a repeat of verse 11. 


We need to note that plants came from the earth.  That is why plants have the same molecular structure as the ground we walk on.  Really, all of life, in its various forms are very similar in its basic formation because all of life originated from the same source.   


In verse 12 God says that what He did on that day was good.  Verse 13 tells us that the evening and the morning was the third day.  You might say that's our Tuesday.


In verse 14 God said, "let there be lights in the expanse to separate the day from the night."   In verses 14 through 16 we have the creation of the stars, sun and moon. Now we have to note here that this was not the creation of light.  In verse 2 we see that "darkness" covered the then known earth.  In verse 3 God created light.  So light has already been in existence.  So what happened here is that God made the stars, sun and the moon.   You see the creation of the sun and moon specifically mentioned in verse 16.  Upon making the sun and moon, God set our galaxy in motion with our moon revolving around earth, earth revolving around sun. and earth rotating on it's axis.   Because of this motion we track days and nights.  We now have the ability to measure time that had already been created.  We also have the ability to produce a calendar based on seasons.  In verse 14 we note that these celestial stars were  to be "a sign to mark seasons, days, and years."  Once again, here we see the first mention of a calendar. 


So at this point we can now understand days as being days in our time frame.  Prior to this there were days because God called them days.  This is where some debate comes in to whether the prior days were twenty four hour days.  It might be possible that the twenty four hour days didn't actually begin until the formation of the sun and moon. 


In verses 14 through 16 we see the word "expanse" again.  God set the sun, moon and stars, in this expanse.  Earlier we saw God create this expanse called sky to separate the water so there'd be water below the expanse or sky, and water above the expanse or sky.   Here we note that in this expanse, or in the sky are stars.  This then suggests to me that the universe as we can see it is the expanse.  It might not be just the blue sky above our heads.  If this is so, then beyond the universe as we know it could well be some kind of water, that is, the water that God separated in verse 6, or else as I said earlier, the water is gone because it was that water that might have flooded the earth in Noah's day.


Another thing to note here is that God had already created the heavens and the earth, that's assuming that you don't believe that verse 1 is a synopsis of chapter 1.  Therefore, prior to this, the heavens might well have been empty of any kind of planets.   


If you read verse 14 in the NIV and then in the KJV, because of the use of commas in the KJV, these two versions seem to differ in thinking. The NIV states that the lights in the sky were "to serve as signs to mart seasons".  That's easy enough to understand.  Seasons come and go because of the sun.  The KJV states that the lights in the sky are to "be for signs, for seasons, for days …"  In my thinking, the KJV says something altogether different.  The KJV says the lights in the stars are actually signs.  They tell us something.  Those holding to this thinking state that paganism of old made gods out of these signs.  Modern day astrology follows this pagan practice by believing the stars foretell the future among other things.  This is a key starting point for those who believe the stars are more than lights in the sky.  They begin at this verse and proceed throughout the rest of the Bible to prove their point.   


In verses 20 to 23 we see the creation of all living creatures that live in the water, and all living creatures that fly through the air.  We've seen the creation of plants from the dry ground in verse 11 and now we see the sea and sky creatures created. 


You will note that in the creation of plant and animals God commanded the earth to produce the plants and the animals.  As stated earlier, this is known as a secondary creation since God didn't speak them into existence.  He told the earth to produce the plants and animals.   When it comes to the creatures of the sea and birds, the text is not as clear in this respect, but as in the case with the earth, the seas and the sky might well have produced the sea creatures and the birds.  The word "teem" in verse 20  might suggest this.    


In verse 22 we see that God actually speaks to the  sky and sea creatures.  He tells them to multiply, to reproduce themselves.  This tells me that these creatures instinctively are in tune with God and can hear Him and what He tells them.  There's even some biologists now that suggests that plants have a way of chemically communicating with each other. If this is so, then plants could be in communication with God as well.  We see God speaking to the dry ground or earth earlier.  He told the ground to produce plants.  This may be simplistic thinking, but if somehow God communicates to dry ground to produce plants, the dry ground must be able to understand such communication.  


In verse 24 God says, "let the land produce living creatures…"   Once again, we see a secondary type of creation here.  God doesn't speak living creatures into existence.  He allows the land to produce these living creatures.  Land animals are direct descendants of the earth, you might say. 


There are three types of animals spoken of here.  I'm not sure that it's an exhaustive list.  Maybe it is.  The three groupings are, livestock, creatures that move on the ground, and wild animals.  Animals that move along the ground are easy to figure out.  They would be snakes, other reptiles and such.  There is some debate when speaking of livestock and wild animals.  The King James Bible uses the word "cattle" instead of livestock.  It is hard to exactly know what this means.  From our western viewpoint, that might well suggest farm animals or even pets, especially in light of the term "wild animals".   Wild animals are clearly differentiated from livestock.  The question then is asked, "what was the purpose of the livestock?"


One purpose might be for milk, or so some suggest.  Some even say that the livestock was meant to be killed and to be eaten by man, but I don't believe that.  They might well need to be looked after more than the wild animals. Whatever the case, this is all quite speculative. We need to remember that God allowed man to eat animals after the flood, and not before the flood.   In Genesis 9:1 to 3 we see that after the flood all living creatures, became afraid of man, and man was allowed to eat them.  Maybe that's why fear came into their hearts. 


Concerning wild animals, Moses might have been writing from his frame of reference.  That is, there were wild animals and livestock around when he was writing these words.  The wild animals might not have been wild at creation.


One more point before we move on and that is found in Genesis 4:2 where we see that Abel was a keeper of sheep as the KJV puts it, or a keeper of flocks as the NIV puts it.  These cattle or livestock might well be what Abel looked after, although we don't know for sure, especially in light of the fact that Abel lived after the fall of man.   


Verse 25 is a repeat of verse 24.  The same repeat was seen when God created vegetation in verses 11 and 12.  At the end of verse 25 we see that God stepped back and said that the creation of these animals was good, but His work on day six was not complete.


Verse 26 reads, "God said, let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let him rule…"   Much has been said and speculated over concerning this verse.  The first word of debate is over the word "us".  Such a short and simple word to cause such a great stir.  The obvious question is, "who is us?"   This clearly points to the "plural nature of God."   Does it point to the Trinity?  You can't conclude that God's nature is triune by this verse.  You can only say that God is some plural being. 


Some have suggested that the "us" refers to angels, but I don't see that.  There's no hint in Scripture that angels helped God in the creation process.  John 1 verses 1 through 4 gives a picture of the "us" here.  John reports that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by Him and without Him was nothing made.   All conservative scholars believe that the Word spoken of here is the pre-incarnate Jesus. So it does appear then that the "us" referred to here in Genesis 1:26  could refer to both God and Jesus.  Some might suggest that since the Spirit of God has been mentioned in verse 2 that the "us" is then clearly the trinity.  I think that's a step or two removed from the direct meaning of verse 26, but I see how such thinking is derived.  Still, there is no clear statement concerning a trinity in Genesis 1, only plurality.  Trinity can only be derived after other passages are considered.


According to verse 26 God made man in His "image and likeness."   These two words have caused great discussion over the centuries as well.  What do they mean?  Here's my thinking, whether right or wrong. 


Some say that since God made man in His likeness and image, He has a body and that our body looks like His.  I don't see that.  Jesus specifically said in John 4:24 that God is spirit, so I don't believe God has a body that looks like ours. 


The Hebrew word for "likeness" seems to suggest "similarity," that is, in some way or other, man is similar to God.  The Hebrew word translated as "image' seems to suggest "a shadow" or "a mirror image."  Combine these two words together and it is clear that man was made to be very much like God Himself, but not an exact representation.  Man "was similar – in shadow form."   In Hebrews 1 verses 1 to 4 we see that Jesus was an "exact representation of God," but not us.  


Some New Age philosophers say that we are in fact gods.  Some of these people say this because God reproduced Himself in mankind, but that's not really what the text says.  It's not really what the Hebrew means when speaking of "likeness and image".   


I think this representation is not in a physical body, but in mental, emotional, and spiritual ways.  We are like God in many respects.  We have a capacity to think as He does.  We create as He does.   I've always said that any emotion that we have, God first had.  That is, we laugh because God laughs in His own way.  We cry because God cries in His own way.  All human emotions are similar to the emotions that God has because we are made similar, but not the same as He.  Of course our emotions have been influenced by the fall and are not pure.


We see the word "likeness and image" in Genesis 5: 1 to 3.  We see these words in reference once again to God creating man. We also see them in reference to Adam and Eve giving birth to children.  This is another way in which we are created in the likeness and image of God.  Our offspring are in our "likeness and image".  Our children are like us in many respects, but they aren't us.  They are different.  We are like God, but we are different.  I don't believe that God reproduced Himself in man as many New Age thinkers believe.  New Age thinkers say that we are all gods.


We should note that God made man in His likeness and image, but the text does not say that He created animals in His likeness and image.  Man was special.  We will also see later that God breathed a special breath of life into man that He didn't breathe into animals.  Also, in verse 24 God commanded the land to produce animals.  He did not command the land to produce man.  He made man.   That being said, God did create man from the earth.


The rest of verse 26 says that man was made "to rule over all other living creatures on earth."  The Hebrew word translated as "rule" in its simplest form means "to tread or trample upon."    It's used in the Old Testament when harvesters trampled on the grapes in a wine press.   In my thinking, God is giving man both the authority and responsibility to take care of the earth, something we haven't done.  The earth and the animals were given to man to look after.  We will see later that we lost this responsibility.  We defaulted on what God asked us to do and gave it over to satan.  Thus, instead of ruling and having authority over the earth and it's contents, we ourselves are subject to the one we handed this responsibility over to, and that's satan. 


Verse 27 reads, "so God crated man in His own image, in the image of God He crated him, male and female He created them."   This verse two has created some debate over the centuries.  There are at least two ways of looking at this verse, and maybe a third way which would be a combination of the two. 


Some say that God created man and woman in this verse, even though there is no mention of woman.  The word "man" is generic, as in "mankind" which would include both man and woman.  The specifics of the creation of man or mankind is seen in chapter 2 where woman is created from man's side.  The other way to look at this is that God created man as both male and female in one body in this verse.  Man was originally created with the ability to reproduce on his own since he was both male and female.  Some see this as man being made in God's likeness and image because they feel that God is both male and female, that is anthropomorphically speaking.  Then in chapter 2 the female part of man is taken from him and separated into another person.     


I think that both ways of looking at this have their validity and maybe both are true.  I tend to see this verse to say that God made man to be both male and female, and a later date made woman from man, that could possibly be inferred to in this verse as well.


In verse 28 we see that God blessed them.  The word "them" here would give credence to the idea that the last verse is speaking about God creating both male and female in separate bodies.  Genesis 2 would then be further clarification  of the creation process.


The Hebrew word "barak" is the word translated as "blessed".  This Hebrew word finds it's roots in a word meaning "to kneel", that is, "kneel, bow down, almost like worship."  The point here is that God set apart man to be special in his own way.  He also blessed the see creatures and birds in verse 22.  There's no mentioning of him blessing the land animals, but I think we can safely say that He did.  This tells me that both man and animals have a special place in God's thinking.  They were all blessed, all set aside as being special in their own way.  The rest of creation didn't seem to get this blessing, so there is a distinction between plants, animals and mankind that is distinct from the rest of creation. 


Also in verse 28 we see the first thing God told "them", as in both Adam and Eve.  How He spoke is unknown.  It would not surprise me if God did not use words to speak.  I know there are words recorded in the Genesis account that God spoke to Adam and Eve, but this too might be anthropomorphic.  But, He might well have spoke to Adam and Eve, in whatever language they would have spoken at the time.  I'm sure that some would say Adam and Eve spoke Hebrew, but there is no hint of that being so.  My guess is that it was a different language altogether.


So what did God tell Adam and Eve?  The first thing He told them was "to be fruitful and multiply in number."  Simply put, have children.  That's not hard to understand.  This statement by God might well suggest that God did not create Adam both male and female since he told "them" to reproduce.  This would  suggest that God created Adam and Eve in Genesis 1.  The Genesis 2 account is merely further clarification.   


Then God said "fill the earth and subdue it."   "Fill the earth" is easy.  It was God's intent for mankind to reproduce and occupy the whole earth.   The question then would be asked, "what would happen when the earth was filled?"  "Would man then be told not to have children?"  We don't know the answer to this question. 


One thing to note here is that the KJV does not use the word "fill" but the word "replenish".  Replenish suggests that Adam and Eve were to repopulate the earth, as if it had already been populated before.  Those who believe in the "gap theory" say this is further evidence of a pre-Adamic race.  You might want to note that God told Noah the same thing after He destroyed the earth in a flood (Genesis 9:1).  Once again the NIV uses the word "fill" while the KJV uses the word "replenish."  For Noah is was a replenishing, a repopulating of the earth.   


The Hebrew word "male" is translated as "replenish" in the King James Bible.  Most newer translations translate this Hebrew word as "fill" because that is what the word means.  It doesn't mean "refill."  As a matter of fact "male" is translated many times in the KJV Old Testament as "fill" and not "refill."  What appears to be happening here is that in the 1600 the English word "replenish" didn't necessarily mean to "refill."  It was often used to simply fill.  Therefore, the difference between the KJV and the NIV is more of a matter of the English language evolving since 1611.  


With the above in mind then, you cannot build your doctrine of the Gap Theory on the word "replenish" that appears here in verse 28 because this verse is not talking about a "refilling" but a "filling."          


The Hebrew word translated as "subdue" here means to tread, to trample, as in trampling on grapes in a wine press."  I believe this command is to look after the earth and to do what is necessary to make it a place for man to live.   The problem since the fall of man is that we have subdued the earth, but not in the proper way.  We've exploited and have brought great harm to God's creation.


The next thing God tells man is to "rule over the fish, the birds, and the animals."  Somehow these animals would be subject to us.  We don't really know exactly what that would look like because since the flood, man and animals for the most part have lived an estranged life in connection to one another.  God specifically said in Genesis 9:2 that animals would fear man.  I believe this fear makes it not possible for man to rule over the animals.


It is interesting to note that some have asked the question, "how did Noah get the animals into the ark.  The answer is simple.  Prior to the flood man did rule over the animals which meant the animals were subject to man and obeyed him.  Once again, what this looked like is unknown.


In verse 29 we see the next thing that God spoke to man about.  He told them what to eat.  He told them that He gave them every seed bearing plant and fruit tree to eat from.  There is some debate at this point.  Many believe that man was created to be vegetarian, which changed after the flood.  This might well be so, but some suggest that is reading too much into this command.  We at least know that plants and fruit with seeds in them were given to mankind to eat. 


In verse 30 we see the same plants and fruit trees were given to the animals as well.  Both man and beast would eat the same plants.  


Another thing to note here in verse 30 is that animals have the breath of life in them.  In chapter 2 verse 7 we note that God breathed into man the breath of life and he became a living soul.  There is no account of God breathing directly into each and every animal, but it is clear from this verse that they like men, had the breath of life in them.  I believe that when God breathed into Adam the breath of life, something of God was placed into Adam.  That something was spiritual, making man a spiritual and eternal being.  The same must then be true for animals because they too have the breath of life in them.  


Verse 31 raps up day number six.  God saw what He had done and said that it was "very good."


The first three verses of chapter 2 go along with chapter 1 in the NIV and most other modern translations.  Verse 1 tells us that at this point all the heavens and the earth in their vast array were completed.  Note here that it wasn't just the earth that was finished being completed.  It was the heavens as well, the whole material universe.  This tells me that before this creation there was nothing, as we said in verses 1 and 2.  God created the material universe out of nothing at all, absolutely nothing.  Prior to this creation, all appears to be  spiritual.


In verse 2 of chapter 2 we see that God's "work" of creation ended and so He "rested from His work."  I'm not sure we can think of the words "work" and "rest" in human terms.  I don't think God worked at creation as we work today.  Simply speaking things into existence doesn't seem like a heavy load of work that we might think in human terms.  Therefore, the resting should be seen in a different light as well.  Rest might well be seen as simple completion.


Like most other things in the creation account there are differing ideas concerning this rest spoken of here.  Some of the Jewish rabbis actually think in terms of the universe resting along with God.  Everything was created and set in order, in a place of rest, and ready to function freely without the effects of sin.   Still, the account says that God rested.  That might simply mean that God completed the process of creation.  It might not mean He sat back and put His feet up so to speak. 


The book of Hebrews speaks of God's rest, especially in chapter 4.   It relates God's rest here to rest that you and I can have when we trust Jesus.  The rest here is in reference to us ending our own works to rely on the work Jesus has done. The point being, that there is a place of rest where we can find God through Jesus.  This place of rest is where God presently is.  He is still in His rest.  Some suggest that since the text does not say, "the evening and the morning – the seventh day", that God's day of rest is still continuing, and that might well be so. 


Another thing to consider is that God made man on the sixth day.  Man's first full day of life was God's first full day of rest.  We were meant to live a life of rest.  The point here is that in both creation and in salvation, God does all the work for man.  All we need to do is rest.


Verse 3 says that God blessed the seventh day.  The word "blessed" here means to reverence, as to fall on ones knees.   Thus God set aside the seventh day as a special and holy day, a day that is signified by rest.  Once again, I believe from my study of the book of Hebrews that this day of rest spoken of here in Genesis is prophetic of the rest we find in Jesus, that rest that we lost in the garden through disobedience .      


I won't get into the discussion here, but the idea of rest was codified into the Law of Moses that was subsequently nailed to the cross with Jesus, as Paul puts it in Colossians 2:14.  I don't believe that New Testament Christians are subject to this Sabbath rules as found in the Law of Moses, and that includes all of the  numerous Sabbath laws. 


It's clear that the command God institutes to Israel later on in history concerning keeping the Sabbath day holy finds it's roots right here in Genesis 2:2. 

Next Section - Chapter 2

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