In the beginning …the earth was without form, and void…And [then] God said…
And God said…
The land had no shape and it was covered with water and empty and formless, but then ‘God said’. Those two words changed everything. When ‘God said’ things changed, a habitable environment formed, lands and seas appeared. When ‘God said’ light and life came into existence and everything was different. It is the Word of God that gives light and life to men.
By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
What happened when ‘God said’?
|(1)||‘Let there be light’||‘and there was light’||‘it was good’|
|(2)||‘Let there be a firmament’||‘and it was so’|
|(3)||‘Let the waters be gathered’||‘and it was so’||‘it was good’|
|(4)||‘Let there be lights’||‘and it was so’||‘it was good’|
|(5)||‘Let the waters bring forth’||‘And God created’||”|
|(6)||‘Let the earth bring forth’||‘and it was so’||‘it was good’|
“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good.”
It Was Good
Formerly the land was formless and empty, but God spoke, and now it is good. Everything God does is good. God is good.
“And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth… (Ex 34:6)
Everything God did was good and so everything God saw was good; but after man fell into sin – “GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
What is Creation
According to the Baptist Catechism, God’s work of creation is:
The work of creation is God’s making all things of nothing (1), by the Word of His power (2), in the space of six days (3), and all very good. (4)
- Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
- Hebrews 11:3 – “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God”
- Exodus 20:11 – “For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is”
- Genesis 1:31 – “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good.”
God completed His work of Creation in 6 days. On each of the first 3 days, God created a realm and on each of the succeeding 3 days God filled that realm with items which correspond to it.
Sun, Moon, and Stars
Sky and Seas
Birds and Fish
Land, Grass, and Trees
Animals and Man
Day 1 – Light
2Cor 4:6 – For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
…this was the first thing made out of the dark chaos; as in the new creation, or work of grace in the heart, light is the first thing produced there…
Were heavenly bodies that give light created in day 1? If there was no sun, how could the Earth have day and night? Is it possible the sun was created on day 1, but was not visible from Earth until Day 4, after God had separated the waters above and below the Earth with an expanse, as per Scofield?
Day 2 – Sea and Sky
Psalm 19:1 – The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
The word ‘firmament’ here in verse 6 comes from the Latin Vulgate: ‘firmamentum’.
According to Webster, firmament means:
The region of the air; the sky or heavens. In scripture, the word denotes an expanse, a wide extent; for such is the signification of the Hebrew word, coinciding with regio, region, and reach. The original therefore does not convey the sense of solidity, but of stretching, extension; the great arch or expanse over our heads, in which are placed the atmosphere and the clouds, and in which the stars appear to be placed, and are really seen.
The expanse here forms the atmosphere of Earth – the humid air (waters above) and clouds above the Earth – the space where the birds fly (Gen 1:20) – and on up to the space occupied by celestial bodies (Gen 1:17) are all the ‘firmament’ or ‘expanse’.
Ps 148:4 – Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.
God does not say ‘it was good’ on this day. Gill quotes Jarchi who postulates that ‘because the work of the waters was not finished; it was begun on the second day, and perfected on the third; and therefore the phrase is twice used in the account of the third day’s work.’ This may be true – the Septuagint does include the phrase, though. Perhaps the phrase is not used because nothing was completed on this day that is benefiting for God’s people to dwell in His good land.
Day 3 – Dry Land
Ps 33:7 – He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
Two ‘good’ acts are performed on this day: (1) preparation of dry land and (2) furnishing of that land – seed bearing plants and fruit bearing trees. These items are suitable and essential for animal life.
Preparation of the Land is key in Genesis: see 12:7, 13:15, 15:18, and 26:4, for example.
Somehow, God made mature (already having seeds and fruit) living plants and trees before the sun existed. Though there was no sun (Day 4), there was light (Day 1). The sun was put in place on the next day. When God created the first trees with their seeds, He created not only this first generation, but all those that would exist throughout history, because they would descend from them.
he [Moses] signifies not only that herbs and trees were then created, but that, at the same time, both were endued with the power of propagation, in order that their several species might be perpetuated. Since, therefore, we daily see the earth pouring forth to us such riches from its lap, since we see the herbs producing seed, and this seed received and cherished in the bosom of the earth till it springs forth, and since we see trees shooting from other trees; all this flows from the same Word. If therefore we inquire, how it happens that the earth is fruitful, that the germ is produced from the seed, that fruits come to maturity, and their various kinds are annually reproduced; no other cause will be found, but that God has once spoken, that is, has issued his eternal decree; and that the earth, and all things proceeding from it, yield obedience to the command of God, which they always hear.
Day 4 – Sun, Moon, and Stars
According to Scofield, there is no creative act on this day. The lights from the heavens were allowed to reach the dry land on this day, merely. John Gill says on this verse:
…some writers, both Jewish and Christian, and even modern astronomers, understand this only of the appearance of them [sun, moon, and stars], and not of the formation of them; they suppose they were made on the first day, but did not appear or shine out so clearly and visibly as now on the fourth day: but it seems rather, that the body of fire and light produced on the first day was now distributed and formed into several luminous bodies of sun, moon, and stars…
“…let them be for signs, and for seasons…”
The phrase ‘let them be for signs’ is clearly NOT an endorsement for astrology, given other things the Scriptures have to say regarding diviners. Rather, the sun and moon were given the role of marking out ‘seasons, days, and years’.
Is this a Biblical mandate to follow a lunar calendar?
O give thanks to the Lord of lords: …To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever: The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever: The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Ps 136:3-9)
Days 5 & 6
‘Let the waters bring forth…’
All fowl and water life derive their being from water. On this, Calvin says:
Why should it not be lawful for him, who created the world out of nothing, to bring forth the birds out of water? And what greater absurdity, I pray, has the origin of birds from the water, than that of the light from darkness? Therefore, let those who so arrogantly assail their Creator, look for the Judge who shall reduce them to nothing. Nevertheless if we must use physical reasoning in the contest, we know that the water has greater affinity with the air than the earth has.
‘Let the earth bring forth…’
It is interesting to note that land animals were taken from the Earth. Animal creatures are made up of Earthly materials – they are taken from the Earth and return to it in death.
We will consider the creation of man in a separate article…
Why Did God Create the World?
Says Thomas Watson:
God made the world to demonstrate his own glory. The world is a looking glass, in which we may see the power and goodness of God shine forth. …The world is like a curious piece of tapestry, in which we may see the skill and wisdom of him that made it.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Day unto day uttereth speech,
and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language,
where their voice is not heard.