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Genesis: Chapter 1

Categories: GenesisTags: 4.8 min read

This week our Bible reading group began to read and talk about the book of Genesis. When reading this first book of the Bible we need to consider carefully what we really believe. If we can stand on a starry night and view just a small part of the universe within which our world exists and say “this all happened by chance” then Genesis 1 will be a difficult chapter to read. However, if we believe that this world, and the whole universe, was brought into existence by the creative power of God then Genesis 1 is just the beginning of our understanding of his power. We talked about the fact that the Bible is full of references to God as a creator with the Psalms singing his praises. Even Sir Isaac Newton, the scientist who developed the theory of gravity, realised that nothing happens by chance.

“Atheism is so senseless. When I look at the solar system, I see the earth at the right distance from the sun to receive the proper amounts of heat and light. This did not happen by chance.” Sir Isaac Newton

The Hebrew word for ‘beginning’ is the title for this first book of the Bible and it introduces us to the creative power of God. The Hebrew word for ‘create’ means to bring something into existence. In Genesis 1:1 – 2 we read that, although the earth had been created, it had no shape but was dark and empty. These first two verses give us a mental picture of what the world was like before the Spirit of God moved over the surface of the earth and he began his creative work.

We looked at the description of the creative order of events in Genesis 1:3-5 as viewed from the earth. God dispelled the darkness and brought light to the world. By God’s command all that he had created became visible. He said “let there be light: and there was light.” God saw that the light was good because life on the earth needed light and heat in order to live but it also needed the darkness as a protection from the strength of that light and heat. He therefore ‘divided the light from the darkness’ in order to give the earth rest. By naming the light ‘day’ and the darkness ‘night’ God gave the world a pattern for living on day 1.

We read how the firmament was given a name by God in Genesis 1:6-8. It was called ‘heaven’ and the meaning of the Hebrew word is ‘sky.’ This was the name given to the earth’s atmosphere in day 2. By creating this atmosphere God began the cycle of water separation by which life has been sustained on the earth.

We talked about the amazing power of God and how he caused tremendous upheaval on the earth, creating the mountains, valleys, oceans, seas, lakes and rivers in Genesis 1:9 – 13. ‘God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas.’ By this act of creation God had prepared the world for life on earth. So the bare soil was clothed in vegetation; trees, plants and grasses, each one capable of producing seed in order to propagate and sustain life on earth on day 3.

Then we read about the details of creation, described as from the point of view of an observer on the earth in Genesis 1:14 – 19. Once the atmosphere had been purified by God’s creation of vegetation, then the sun, moon, and stars were, for the first time, unveiled in all their glory in the sky. They are described as “in the firmament” which to the human eye they appear to be, though we know they are really at vast distances from it. The Jewish day was reckoned as commencing at sunset. The moon, which would be seen first on the horizon, would appear ‘a great light,’ compared with the smaller stars. The sun, in comparison, would appear “the greater light” that ruled the day and both these great lights were given to influence the progress and divisions of time in day 4.

We talked about how God created fish, birds and the great mammals that lived in the sea and he blessed them in Genesis 1:20 – 23. The nature of the blessing pronounced upon these creatures refers to the gift of life and the ability to propagate as given by God. He had placed them in favourable conditions where they were able to prosper and be abundant in day 5.

We looked at how God created the land animals and ‘creeping things’ which included the insects in Genesis 1:24 – 31. The conditions on earth on day 6 were ready for the final stage in the process of creation. ‘God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ People were the only part of God’s creation that reflected God’s likeness. God did not create anything else that was like himself. Mankind was considered superior to the animals and therefore was given the responsibility of caring for the earth and all that had been created. This is a responsibility which we share to this day and we also share in God’s first blessing on mankind in that we have the ability to have children and continue the human race. Through God’s kindness and grace we can count all that we have as a blessing.

Verse 29 indicates that both people and animals did not eat meat initially. The plants and trees grew abundantly and produced food for both animals and people.

God is represented as pausing at every stage of creation to consider his work. He ensured that all was in its right place and that everything he had made was according to the plan which his eternal wisdom had conceived; and, ‘Behold it was very good.’

ADDITIONAL READING

FURTHER THOUGHTS

Mark 1

Categories: Mark|Tags: |

Mark’s gospel has been chosen as a starting point for the group and from the very first chapter it was

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