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Genesis 1

1
In the Beginning
1When # 1:1 Although most translations view v. 1 as an independent sentence serving as a general heading, it is likely that the first phrase serves as a subordinate time clause, such as “At the beginning [of time], God created” or “When God began the creation of heaven and the earth.” The first word in Hebrew is re’shiyth and means “first,” “chief,” or “firstfruits.” Genesis gives us the firstfruits of God’s creation. The New Testament takes us into the new creation life of Christ until all things are made new. God # 1:1 This is the word Elohim, the commonly used Hebrew term for God. It stresses his sovereignty and power and could be translated “Mighty God.” Elohim is the plural of Eloah and occurs nearly 2,600 times in the Bible. Eloah is derived from the word ahlah, which means “to worship” or “to adore,” and presents God as the one worthy of worship and adoration. After the word Elohim, there is an untranslatable marking, which most scholars believe is a direct object marker with the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. However, it is seen by some as the word known as Aleph-Tav, which occurs over seven thousand times in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. Some believe that this could be pointing to Jesus Christ who declared himself to be “the Aleph and the Tav,” or “the Beginning and the End” (Rev. 1:8, 17; 2:8; 22:13). The first verse of the Bible shouts out: “God is all powerful!” created # 1:1 This is the word bara’, which is used in the Old Testament exclusively for God’s creativity, things that only God can do. Creating is an integral part of God’s nature. the heavens and the earth, # 1:1 Or “the sky and the land.” This is a merism (a figure of speech using two contrasting words to refer to an entirety) for the entire universe. See Ps. 33:6, 9. The Hebrew word for “heaven” appears seven times in this chapter (vv. 1, 8, 9, 14, 15, 17, 20). 2the earth was completely formless and empty, with nothing but darkness # 1:2 See Jer. 4:23–27. Darkness is a frequent biblical metaphor for evil, misfortune, and death. It appears here as something more than an absence of light—it is a distinct entity. See Isa. 45:7. draped over the deep. God’s Spirit hovered # 1:2 Or “God’s Spirit gently vibrated.” The Syriac cognate word can mean “to incubate” or “to brood.” The Hebrew verb rachaph means “to flutter,” “to gently move,” “to hover over with gentle wavering,” or “to be relaxed [grow soft]” and describes the utmost care and affection of a mother eagle caring for her young (see Deut. 32:11). This word is also used for a bridegroom hovering over his bride. This same Holy Spirit overshadowed (brooded over) a virgin named Mary to bring the perfect man into the world (see Luke 1:35). God’s Spirit danced over the waters on creation’s morning. over the face of the waters.
3And then God announced, # 1:3 This is the Hebrew word ’amar, which is most often translated “said,” but it can also mean “to think,” “to imagine,” or “to speak inside your heart.” God imagined light and there was light. God spoke and shattered the cosmic silence to give birth to creation. God spoke ten times in the creation account—the Ten Commandments of creation. See Ps. 33:9; John 1:1–3. God’s thoughts had already imagined and shaped the largest galaxy and the smallest atom before he created them. With exquisite skill and creativity, God shaped all things by his word and spoke them into being with intricate detail and skill (see Heb. 11:3). A dimension separate from the being of God was birthed. No detail was too small for God as he prepared to unveil his masterpiece of wisdom, his dream come true. God spoke order and goodness into his creation. “Let there be light,” and light burst forth! # 1:3 Or “and there was light.” God created light but did not create the sun until the fourth day. God himself filled the universe with the light of his presence and glory. The Hebrew verbs used with the phrases “Let there be” and “and there was” are both related to the holy name Yahweh: yehi (“let there be”) and wayhi (“and there was”). As he released this word of power, the universe began to expand and has been expanding ever since (see Heb. 1:3). God’s kingdom operates according to the principle of endless increase (see Isa. 9:6–7), not of power that diminishes over time.
4And God saw the light as pleasing and beautiful; # 1:4 The Hebrew word tov can be translated “pleasing” or “good [beautiful]” and is used seven times in this chapter (vv. 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). God is mentioned 35 times (7 × 5) and the earth 21 times (7 × 3) in the creation account. God’s goodness was his intention in creation, and he embedded beauty within all he made. he used the light to dispel the darkness. 5God called the light “Day,” and the darkness “Night.” And so, evening gave way to morning—the first day. # 1:5 God begins in darkness and brings forth a new day. Chaos never hinders God from bringing forth light and order. It is not difficult for God to work where there is darkness, chaos, and confusion. See Ps. 139:12.
6And God said, “Let there be a dome # 1:6 Or “vault” or “expanse [atmosphere].” See Ezek. 1:22. between the waters to separate the water above from the water below.” 7-8He made the dome and called it “Sky,” and separated the water above the dome from the water below the dome. Evening gave way to morning—day two.
9And God said, “Let the water beneath the sky be gathered into one place, and let the dry ground appear.” # 1:9 On the third day, the dry ground was raised up out of the waters (see Ps. 104:6–9), then God clothed it with vegetation. This can be compared to the new birth that comes to a believer, who is raised up and then clothed with the virtues of Christ. See Rom. 6:1–11; Eph. 2:1–10. The progress of creation moves from the lower to the higher, from the darker to the brighter, from the evening to the morning. The Word of God put light into darkness, land in the midst of sea, air in the midst of water, and life in the midst of the uninhabited earth. In creation, God started with form and filled it with fullness. In nature, the seed sprouts: first the bud, then the blossom, and then the fruit. In human life the baby is first, then the child, and then the mature adult. So it is also in grace. And so it happened. 10God called the dry ground “Land,” and the gathered waters he called “Seas.” And God saw the beauty of his creation, and he was very pleased.
11Then God said, “Let the land burst forth with growth: plants that bear seeds of their own kind, and every variety of fruit tree, each with power to multiply # 1:11 Or “with seed within itself” or “seeding seed.” The work of God at creation involved three separations: (1) God separated the light from darkness (v. 4). (2) God separated the waters above from the waters beneath (vv. 6–8). (3) God separated the water from the land (v. 9). Out of this separated, resurrected land, God brought a variety of life. from its own seed.” # 1:11 Everything with life produces life after its own kind. Each species is able to reproduce itself. The Lord Jesus was the firstfruit of a new species of humanity. See Matt. 7:16–19; John 3:6; 2 Cor. 5:17; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23; 2 Peter 1:4. And so it happened. 12The land flourished with grasses, every variety of seed-bearing plant, and trees bearing fruit with their seeds in them. And God loved what he saw, for it was beautiful. 13Evening gave way to morning—day three.
14-15And God said, “Let there be bright lights to shine in space to bathe the earth with their light. Let them serve as signs # 1:14–15 The heavens contain the embedded codes of God’s glory, and are full of symbolic signs that testify to his greatness and wisdom. They are like huge billboards and advertisements in the sky telling people how good and great our Creator is. See Ps. 19:1–6; Rom. 10:18. to separate the day from night, and signify the days, seasons, # 1:14–15 Or “appointed times [feasts].” See Lev. 23:4. The stars are for signs, signals, and seasons. and years.” And so it happened. 16God made two great lights: the brighter light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night. He also spread the tapestry of shining stars # 1:16 Scripture often uses stars as a picture of believers or ministries who shine with supernatural light (see Dan. 12:3; 1 Cor. 15:40–41; Phil. 2:15). We see from Ps. 147:4 that just as God named the “sun” and the “moon,” he also gave names to each of the stars. It is noted by numerous scholars that Gen. 1 never uses the names for sun (shemesh) or moon (yareach) that were also Canaanite names of deities. This served a polemical purpose against the stories of the gods and other creation narratives in the ancient Near East. 17and set them all in the sky to illuminate the earth, 18to rule over the day and to rule over the night, and to separate the light from darkness. God loved what he saw, for it was beautiful. 19Evening gave way to morning—day four.
20God said, “Let there be life! Let the waters swarm with sea life, and let the sky be filled with soaring birds of every kind.”
21God created huge sea creatures # 1:21 Or “sea monsters,” “dragons,” or “dinosaurs.” and every living creature that moves of every kind—swarming in the water and flying in the sky, according to their species. God loved what he saw, for it was beautiful. 22God blessed # 1:22 This is the first mention of God’s blessing in the Bible. On this day, God created life—birds and sea life—and blessed them. This blessing included being fruitful (reproduction) and multiplying (increasing in number). them, saying, “Reproduce and be fruitful! Fill the waters of the sea with life, and the earth with flying birds!” 23Evening gave way to morning—day five.
24God said, “Let the earth produce every class and kind of living creature: livestock, crawling things, wild animals, each after its kind.” And so it happened. 25God made the wild animals according to their species, livestock according to their species, # 1:25 God had a lamb before he had a man. Metaphorically, Jesus (God’s Lamb) was slain before the foundation of the world (see Rev. 13:8). The print of the nails was upon him even as his hands formed the world. As the Creator shaped Adam from dust, redeeming mercy was stamped upon him. and all the creatures that creep along the ground according to their species. And God loved what he saw, for it was beautiful.
Shaped by Love
26Then God said, “Let us # 1:26 The plural form of the verb indicates there were more beings than Father God in the activities of creation. When taken as a whole, the Bible also points to the Holy Spirit and God the Son as participators in the glory of creation. See John 1:1–3; Heb. 1:1–3. make a man and a woman # 1:26 That is, humanity. The Hebrew word is simply ’adam, which can be translated “man,” but without a definite article it is used here as a collective term for man and woman. The definite article the does not occur before the word man until after God made woman, and together, they are ’adam. According to the Talmud, the three Hebrew letters of Adam’s name represent the initials of three men: Adam, David, and Messiah. The Hebrew word ’adam means “to show [blood] red,” and adamu means “to make.” The statement to “make [adamu] Adam [ruddy] from [red] soil [adamah]” is full of Hebrew puns that are lost in translation. in our image # 1:26 Or “as our image.” “Image” can also be translated “representation” or “resemblance.” God created someone like himself to reflect who he is into all his creation. He created trees after their kind, birds after their kind, fish after their kind, and animals after their kind, but now he creates a God-kind of being. Christ is the image of God; man and woman will resemble him and bring his image into the created order (see Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 11:7; 2 Cor. 3:18; 4:4; Col. 1:15; 3:10; Heb. 1:3). The first man, Adam, was a type or figure of the Last Adam, Christ. See Rom. 5:14; 1 Cor. 15:40–58. to be like us. # 1:26 Or “according to our likeness,” or “to be like us [comparable to us].” God is neither male nor female (see John 4:23–24), but he has both male and female dimensions to his nature. What is this image given to each of us? It includes personality, the capacity for worship, the ability to make moral decisions (our conscience), and the ability to reflect God. Created as his image-bearers, all human beings bear the expression or image of God. As “photographs” of God, our characteristics are copies of his. Because he desired to give himself for you and to you, he took his own nature and likeness and fashioned a creature just like him—one he could love with unlimited passion. Let them reign over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the livestock, over the creatures that creep along the ground, # 1:26 Man was meant to rule over all the things that creep along the ground, including the serpent and scorpion, which represent the powers of darkness (see Luke 10:18–20; James 3:7–8). and over the wild animals.”
27So God created man and woman
and shaped them with his image inside them.
In his own beautiful image, he created his masterpiece.
Yes, male and female he created them.
28And God blessed them in his love, # 1:28 God’s blessing upon the human family implies love. God blesses both men and women, empowering them to live on this planet, infusing them with power and favor to succeed in life. saying, “Reproduce and be fruitful! Populate the earth and subdue it! # 1:28 The word subdue means “to take dominion” or “to control.” This would imply harnessing natural resources in an appropriate fashion, caring for the earth, cultivating and harvesting its fields, mining its resources, and releasing its potential to benefit God’s highest creation, humankind. See Ps. 8:6–8. Reign over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every creature that lives on earth.” # 1:28 Man and woman were both given the command to care for the earth and subdue all things. Man and woman are blessed by their Creator with authority to rule with him as co-regents. God’s image is reflected in both men and women, and so is rulership.
29And God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant growing throughout the earth, vegetables, and every fruit-bearing tree with its seed within itself. They will be your food. # 1:29 After the fall of Adam and Eve, meat was likely included in their diet. See Gen. 9:3; 1 Tim. 4:4–5. 30They will also be food for every animal and bird, and every creature that moves on the ground—every creature with the breath of life.” # 1:30 A day will come when the carnivorous animals will become herbivorous again. See Isa. 11:7; 65:25. And so it happened.
31God surveyed all he had made and said, “I love it!” For it pleased him greatly. Evening gave way to morning—day six. # 1:31 Because God created man on the sixth day, the number six is the biblical number of man.

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