5. The Creation of our World
Before continuing this study, read Genesis 1:1-31.
Gen 1:1 (NIV) In the beginning God created the heavens and the
Now, The Study Guide
You may use the Bible text as it appears
1. WHAT IS THE SUBJECT OF GENESIS 1, AND WHO ARE THE MAIN ACTORS?
1CN Gen. 1:1 The four most important words in all history are found at the beginning of the Bible: "In the beginning God . . . ." God is at the center of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and the entire book is about His relationships with man—His crowning creation.
2. WHAT DID GOD DO ON THE FIRST DAY?
2CN Gen. 1:2-5 We often say that God created light on the first day. But "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5) The very presence of God in the area of space where He intended to create our world brought light. But there is more here than merely the presence of God. There is the absence of light for a period of time as well. He called the light "day" and the darkness "night." And then He called the entire cycle the "first day." It was the beginning of a cycle that still continues to this day. So, on the first day God not only created light, He created time, for time is the collection of days and nights from the first day until the present—and for all eternity.
3. WHAT DID GOD DO ON THE SECOND DAY?
3CN Gen. 1:6-8 It appears that the earth was covered entirely by water at this point. During the hours of the second day, God caused a separation to occur between the oceans and the clouds. Great forces were at work, drawing moisture into the air and forming the atmosphere in which we live and move. Without the atmosphere we would roast in the daytime and freeze at night. So the air that we breathe also insulates the earth from the extremes of space. God planned it that way and on the second day, that was His work.
4. WHAT DID GOD DO ON THE THIRD DAY?
4CN Gen. 1:9-13 Again, monumental forces were at work. Whole continents rose up out of the boundless oceans, mountain chains appeared, islands, peninsulas, isthmuses. Such a massive displacement of water and earth in such a short period of time would normally create great heat because of the friction involved. But God knew how to do it all smoothly and effortlessly without the volcanism that we'd expect.
But God didn't stop with bringing up the dry land from the ocean bottoms: He painted the land with every kinds of flowers and trees and grass, causing vivid hues to appear wherever He desired. Our Heavenly Father is a Master Artist, a Super-Genius, able to design and perform works that dazzle human minds. Men of science still study the intricacies of nature, and a great deal of what they study was created on the third day.
By the end of the day the earth was one vast garden with every imaginable kind of tree and fern and plant. The breezes blew softly through the trees, and murmured through the valleys. But besides the sighing of the breeze, and the crashing of the surf, all was quiet on Planet Earth.
5. WHAT DID GOD DO ON THE FOURTH DAY?
5CN Gen 1:14-19 It's interesting that God didn't create the Sun until the fourth day. All those plants that He made on the third day had to have the light and heat of the Sun to survive. Some have thought that the days of Creation were long periods of time, perhaps many thousands or millions of years. But without the Sun, all those plants would not have been able to live. Here is evidence that the days of Creation were in fact, 24-hour periods.
On the fourth day God also created the Moon, and probably the other planets of our solar system. These too are needed to balance the movements of the Sun and the Earth. The Moon's gravity controls the tides of the oceans, making it possible for all the seashore animals and plants to survive.
The statement "He made the stars also," (KJV) seems to be merely a statement of fact. It does not necessarily mean that God made the stars on the fourth day, although He certainly has the power to do all of that in one 24-hour period. But God's goal during this seven-day period seems to have been to create our world and make it habitable. So it would seem reasonable that Moses merely mentions the stars here in connection with the creation of the great celestial orb we call the Sun.
6. WHAT DID GOD DO ON THE FIFTH DAY?
6CN Gen. 1:19-23 During this 24-hour period God created everything that lives in the sea—from the great whales and giant squid, to the swarming fish, the shrimp, down to the smallest one-celled animals that teem throughout their watery paradise. The waters of the ocean became alive at the spoken Word of God, and every kind of animal began to enjoy the habitat God had created for them. And yet there was room for many more, so God commanded all these sea creatures to "be fruitful and multiply."
On the same day, God called forth all the winged creatures—the sparrows, butterflies, swans, bees, gnats, eagles, and every other flying animal. Suddenly the air was filled with the sounds of flapping wings, chirping, cawing, cackling—all the sounds that birds make in their daily lives. The songs which the birds made at that time were not for the purpose of warning others to stay away from their nests, for there was no fear, no "crime" in the animal world. Their songs were songs of joy at the new life God had given them. Here again, there was plenty of room for more, and God told them to increase in number, just as He had done with the sea creatures.
7. WHAT DID GOD DO ON THE SIXTH DAY?
7CN Gen 1:24, 25 As the days of the week progress we see that God seems to accomplish more and more—at least in the minutiae of creation. On this day God spoke into existence all the creepy-crawly things—which caused no terror to others then. He continued to create the amphibious creatures—the frog, the turtle, the toad and others. He spoke, and snakes began to move about—there is evidence that some of them had wings and could fly. Larger animals began to wander through the forests and the meadows until the whole Earth enjoyed the deer, the bear, the lions, the tigers and all sorts of animals—many of which no longer survive.
8. WHAT CROWNING ACT OF HIS CREATIVE POWER DID GOD DECIDE TO DO ON THE SIXTH DAY?
8CN Gen 1:26-29 Listen as the Creators discuss among Themselves—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—what They plan to do. (We will discuss the members of the Godhead in study guide 14.) They will make a created being like Themselves, to look like Them, to be able to have similar moral characteristics like Them. This being would be free to make decisions, to love, and to interact with each other as well as with their Creator. What a wonderful idea! God decided to create the human race.
9. HOW DID GOD GO ABOUT CREATING MAN?
9CN Gen 2:7 I can just see the Creator bending low over an area of clay that He has made. He's working with it. He constructs tubes, and sacks, and organs of various kinds. There's a liver, a couple of kidneys, reproductive organs, heart, lungs, brain and bones of various sizes and shapes. He arranges them in the order He wants them to have, connects the tubes, and then fastens them all in place by means of muscle fibers. He connects the bones with ligaments and then covers the entire organism with skin. The form on the ground bears a striking resemblance to the Creator Himself. But it just lies there, motionless.
Look, the Creator is bending even lower now. He's touching His lips to the lips of the creature He's just made. The Creator kisses man—He "breathes into His nostrils the breath of life, and man becomes a living soul."
But God wants an entire planet filled with people, and he has only made a man.
10. HOW DOES HE SOLVE THAT PROBLEM?
10CN Gen 2:18, 21-25 It's possible that God led Adam on a tour of a part of the planet, showing him the flora and fauna, right after creating him. If this is the case, as the order of the verses indicates, Adam would have noticed that all the animals came in pairs—a male and a female of each kind.
But God's decision to make a female human did not arise from any desire on Adam's part. God already knew what He planned to do, and His plan included families of humans. And families necessitated that there be women—wives, mothers, sisters, aunts. God had all this planned in advance, because when He first discussed making man He spoke of man in the plural—"let them rule . . . ." (Gen. 1:26)
Actually, Moses spends more time describing the creation of woman than he had spent telling about the manufacture of the man. Woman: made to correspond to man, made from man's rib, made to be a companion and partner and lover and friend. God had only joy in mind for His new pair.
11. WHAT WAS GOD'S OPINION OF HIS CREATION?
11CN Gen. 1:31 All during the week God examined each part of His work and saw that He had done a faithful work. Each day, beginning with day #2, God made a pronouncement at the end of each major part of His work: "And God saw that it was good." (vss. 9, 12, 18, 21, 25)
But at the end of the sixth day, when the entire ecosystem had been completed, when the animals, the birds, the sea creatures, the insects, and His two people were all in place in the absolute perfection that only God could make—only then did God make His final assessment: "Gen 1:31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good."
12. WHAT DID GOD DO NEXT . . . AFTER HE HAD FINISHED CREATING THE EARTH IN JUST SIX DAYS?
12CN Gen 2:2, 3 God was finished making the world. There was nothing left to do. Everything was in order. But God lingered, and in lingering He did something that would light Him down in honor for all eternity: He created a place in time so that He could be with the people He had created.
God did three things on the seventh day:
13. WHY DID GOD SET ASIDE THE SEVENTH DAY AS THE HOLY SABBATH?
13CN Ex. 20:11 God set the seventh day apart from the other six working days in order to remind us of His creative power. Just think. In the time that it took for the past six days to go by, God was able to create everything we can see in our solar system! That fills me with awe—the kind of awe that leads to worship. We worship God because He made the Earth in six 24-hour days. We worship God because He created us. And we worship God on the day He set aside for that purpose. He made the seventh day holy. Nothing I can do will add to or take away from it's holiness. (We will study the seventh day, the Sabbath, in Study Guide 20.)
14. WHAT WAS GOD'S ULTIMATE GOAL FOR HIS PLANET?
14CN Rev. 22:1-5 God's plan was interrupted by sin, but His goal is to have a perfect world, filled with perfect, plants and animals and birds, and inhabited by people who love Him and each other with perfect love.
Rev 21:3-7 And I heard a loud voice from the throne