(Gen 1:1 NASB) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Gen 1:1: This verse speaks of the creation of the universe itself. There are two plausible explanations for the author of Genesis. One is that this passage was started by Elohim, then handed to Adam, then probably Lamech (Noah’s father, who lived at the same time as Adam and probably knew him), then probably Noah, then Noah’s sons, then probably Terah, then to Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob, then Jacob’s sons. These authors can account for the time span from the creation to Abraham. The original narratives were possibly engraved in stone or clay and handed down from father to son until the time of Moses.
It is also possible that Elohim told Moses everything to write into the book. Given the manner of communication Elohim shared with Moses, this appears to be the most likely answer.
The word used for create is the word “bara” which is always used only in the work of Elohim. He alone can actually create, or bring into existence that which is not in existence. This term is used three times in the first chapter of Genesis: v.1, 21, and 27. It is used to bridge the three largest gaps that the evolutionary scientist cannot cross: The bridge from nothing to something (v.1), the bridge from something to life (v.21), and the bridge from life to man (v.27).
Intelligence is always needed when it comes to “creating” something. When I used to speak on the subject of creation in schools, churches, and civic groups, there is one question I would ask that never got an answer. It is “Give me one example of functional complexity arising from chaos by chance.” Such an example does not exist. But the belief of the world is that this is the norm.
The word used for heaven is “shamayim” which can be a plural word like “Elohim.” The essential meaning of the word corresponds with the term “space” or “sky.” The term in this instance seems to refer to sky in the sense that Elohim created the land and the sky.
The word used for earth is “erets.” This word means ground, land, or earth material in general.
The term “in the beginning” is from the Hebrew word “bereshith.” This is the beginning of time itself as we know it.
When did creation take place? There has never been a total agreement as to the exact chronology of the Bible and this means that the issue of the age of Elohim’s creation is still unsettled. The best known chronological system is based upon the works of Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656). He placed the date of creation at 4004 B.C. The Jewish calendar puts creation at 3760 B.C. It is impossible to insert gaps into the creation chapters that total more than a few thousand years without rendering the text of creation irrelevant. The Bible will not support a date for creation earlier than 10,000 B.C., but the chronologies support a date much closer to 4000 B.C.
(Gen 1:2 NASB) And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
Gen 1:2: Every verse in the first chapter of Genesis (kjv) starts with the conjunction “and.” This is the Hebrew letter “waw.” This clearly tells us that each statement in creation is sequentially and chronologically tied to the previous one.
“And the earth was without form and void;…” is essentially saying, “And the matter (earth) so created was unformed and uninhabited;…” The elements comprising earth were still only elements and were not formed into anything yet.
“Darkness was over the surface of the deep.” The physical universe was not yet energized. The Hebrew term for “the deep,” is the Hebrew word “tehom” which refers later to waters of the ocean. Possibly the matter is an unenergized liquid mass throughout the universe. The same picture is suggested in 2 Peter 3:5.
The end of the verse states that the breath of Elohim (Heb.- ruach) was moving over the face of the waters. The Hebrew term for “moving” actually means “fluttering” or “shaking.” This could be a reference to energizing or bringing energy into the creation.
(Gen 1:3 NASB) Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
Gen 1:3: This verse is the first record of Elohim speaking in Scripture. The Word of Elohim brings “light.” The Father is the source of all things (verse 1). His Breath (Spirit) is the energizer of all things (verse 2). His Word is the light of all things (verse 3). These first three verses give us tremendous insight into Elohim.
(Gen 1:4 NASB) And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
Gen 1:4: Here Elohim separates the light and the darkness and He meant for them to always be separated. There is no mixing the light with the darkness (1 John 1:5-7). The darkness was not removed, but was separated from the light.
(Gen 1:5 NASB) And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
Gen 1:5: Elohim is obviously trying to give us a timeframe for His creation. His actions on the first day are to first create the time-space-matter universe, and then to create the 24 hour day. There would be no better way to describe creation as occurring in six days than to have created the 24 hour day on the first day. Elohim creates the day and tells us what constitutes a day (a morning and an evening) and now the modern intellectuals of the day try to tell us that they are smarter than Elohim and that Elohim actually meant billions of years.
Elohim used this same phrase at the end of each of the six days of creation. Notice that Elohim did all His work during the day. Nothing new took place between the evening and the morning.
The Hebrew word for “day” is the word “yom.” Depending on the context, it stands for a 24 hour day (most common usage), the daylight portion of the day, a year, or an indefinite period as in “the day of the judges.” “Yom” is only used as an indefinite period when the context clearly calls for it, or when it is used in parable or prophecy.
It appears the writer of Genesis is trying to guard against the notion of nonliteral days for creation.
Occasionally, the subject comes up, “When were the angels created?” We are not really given that information. They wouldn’t have been created before the universe itself because their function is to “minister to the heirs of salvation” (Heb. 1:13-14). They probably weren’t created before heaven because they are called “the host of heaven.” They were apparently present when the Elohim “laid the foundations of the earth,” (Job 38:4-7) so they were created before the third day. Psalm 104:2-5 implies that they were created after the light-arrayed presence of Elohim, but before He laid the foundations of the earth. So, while it doesn’t say that on the this first day angels were created, they possibly were created then in order to witness the remaining acts of creation.
(Gen 1:6 NASB) Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
(Gen 1:7 NASB) And God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.
(Gen 1:8 NASB) And God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
Gen 1:8: The word “heaven” is the Hebrew word “raqia” and it means “space” in the same way “heaven” means “space” in verse one.
The “waters above the expanse” possibly constituted a vast canopy of water vapor that extended far beyond the atmosphere into space. This could not have been the rainclouds as we know them today because Scripture says they were ABOVE the heaven (atmosphere, or sky). We also know Elohim is not referring to rainclouds because rain probably did not fall on the earth until the flood (Gen. 2:5).
A canopy of water vapor surrounding the earth could accomplish the following:
1. Water vapor has the ability to transmit incoming solar radiation and retain and disperse much of what has entered. This would cause a true global greenhouse effect that could maintain a uniform pleasant climate worldwide.
2. Since temperatures would be nearly uniform, there would not be large movements of air mass and we essentially wouldn’t have strong winds.
3. Without global air circulation, there would not be a hydrologic cycle as we know it and rain would not occur except above large bodies of water from where it evaporated.
4. The earth would not only have uniform temperatures, but uniform humidities through local evaporation and condensation (morning dew) cycles.
5. This tropical type climate would be conducive to lush vegetation. There would not be deserts or polar ice caps
6. A vapor canopy would be very effective in filtering out ultraviolet radiation, cosmic rays, and other adverse energies from outer space. These are known to be a source of genetic mutation and could be the main cause of the aging process. All life on earth would be greatly prolonged.
7. The atmospheric pressure of the earth would be greatly increased. Biomedical research has shown that these pressures would be helpful in combating disease and promoting good health.
8. This vapor canopy would provide a reservoir for the great flood waters used to destroy the hopelessly corrupt people of that day. (The content of all existing water vapor in the atmosphere would cover the earth only about an inch.)
The Psalms often speak of prophecy and about the future reign of Messiah on earth. Psalm 148 is one such Psalm and in verses 4, 6, it speaks of the waters above the heavens that will be established forever and ever. (This Psalm does not speak of any time in the past because it mentions all of creation including all kings and all people praising His name.)
(Gen 1:9 NASB) Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
Gen 1:9: Elohim is making the world habitable for man since man is not a sea creature.
(Gen 1:10 NASB) And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:10: On the first day Elohim separated the light and the day, on the second day Elohim separated the waters and the firmament, and on the third day Elohim separated the land from the sea.
(Gen 1:11 NASB) Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with seed in them, on the earth”; and it was so.
(Gen 1:12 NASB) And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
(Gen 1:13 NASB) And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.
Gen 1:13: Verse 11 mentions “seed” and “kind”. There is significance in these words being together because all living things are implanted with “seed” that reproduces “after it own kind.” This “seed” is the DNA molecule. Each type of organism has its own unique structure and is programmed to enable the replication of that type of organism. Modern genetic research has shown the extreme complexity of the DNA molecule to be far beyond what we could have imagined. DNA will allow a tremendous amount of variation within its limits, but will not reproduce beyond its own kind.
The term “after its own kind” occurs ten times in the first chapter in Genesis. The evolutionary dogma of all living things being interrelated from common ancestry is refuted by Scripture, by genetic research (among other research), and by scientific observations. Evolution is also refuted in other parts of Scripture (1 Cor. 15:38,39).
Another interesting fact that negates the theory that these days were millions of years long is that plants were created on the third day and insects (which plants use to reproduce) were created on the sixth day. If these days were millions of years, plants would have been long gone before insects came along.
(Gen 1:14 NASB) Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years;
(Gen 1:15 NASB) and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.
(Gen 1:16 NASB) And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
Gen 1:16: The lights in the expanse of heaven (sun, moon, and stars) are for determining the seasons, days, and years. The Scriptural Feast days are determined by using these lights in the expanse of heavens.
(Gen 1:17 NASB) And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
(Gen 1:18 NASB) and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
(Gen 1:19 NASB) And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
Gen 1:19: On the first days Elohim said, “Let there be light.” On the fourth day, Elohim said, “Let there be lights (Hebrew: ma-or – “light givers.”) Elohim created light first and created the light givers three days later. Why did Elohim do that? That was His method. Keep in mind that Elohim created a fully usable universe in six days. If He hadn’t created the light path that leads to the stars first, we would never see stars that are millions of light years away! The light from the sun, moon, and stars was in place before the heavenly bodies were actually created. Why were they created then? Verse 14 tells us that the light GIVERS were created to divide the day and the night and for man to use for signs, for seasons, for days, and for years.
How do we explain something like supernovas and star explosions that are hundreds of thousands of light years away and therefore took place hundreds of thousands of years ago? There are a number of points to make on this issue. Geometric methods of these long measurements can only reach 330 light years. Anything farther than that could be somewhat suspect. Also, there is no assurance of the uniformity of the speed of light at great distances. There exist credible models of relativity and space curvature which yield light motions that are believed to have the ability travel infinite distances in only a few years.
However that best answer to that dilemma has been recent. Physicist Dr. Russell Humphreys has performed an extensive amount of research into the subject of light travel over time. He was careful that his theory correlates with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and other laws of physics. His research shows that time itself moves at a much faster rate the further it is away from mass. So much so that during this fourth day, Dr. Humphreys proposes that billions of years of activity were taking place at the outer edges of the universe. His theory was first proposed to the public in 1994 and has yet to have met a serious challenge.
Elohim separated the light from the darkness. Elohim separated the day from the night. Elohim separated the land from the water. Elohim separated the waters from below and above the firmament. Elohim has drawn all the lines of separation in His creation and He draws the line between right and wrong. How can we know what is right? Elohim says so. He gave us His Word so we can separate right from wrong. In this manner we are to be set-apart and separate for His use also (Lev. 11:44-45).
(Gen 1:20 NASB) Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.”
(Gen 1:21 NASB) And God created the great sea monsters, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
(Gen 1:22 NASB) And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
(Gen 1:23 NASB) And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
Gen 1:23: The sea was instantly filled with living creatures in ABUNDANCE. There were not just a few little fish that multiplied.
The Hebrew word for “living creature that moves” in verse 20 is “sherets.” It is most often translated “creeping thing.” The Hebrew word for “great sea monsters” is “tannin.” This word occurs in other places in the Bible and probably refers to dinosaurs in other places in Scripture. Stories of dinosaurs were handed down from previous generations before dinosaurs became extinct.
(Gen 1:24 NASB) Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.
(Gen 1:25 NASB) And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:25: Elohim names the beasts (wild animals) of the earth first, then cattle (domestic animals), and then creeping things (reptiles, amphibians, and insects). All these life forms were created simultaneously. It is interesting that Elohim mentions these in the opposite order of the imaginary evolutionary order (insects, then amphibians, then reptiles, then mammals).
(Gen 1:26 NASB) Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Gen 1:26: There have been many “discussions” concerning this passage and the plurality expressed here. Those who contend that God is a Trinity might use this as a proof-text, but it almost makes God sound like several Gods instead of one. Many scholars who are trinitarian do not encourage this as evidence of the Trinity for this reason. If it is taken in that light, it sounds like the three gods are putting their heads together and doing a work by committee. I don’t really care for that way of thinking.
If God is a “Trinity,” how do you explain Isaiah 9:6? The Son is called the “Eternal Father.” There are numerous problems with this viewpoint, including its pagan origin and its difficulties with logic.
First of all, who is Elohim talking to? Is He talking to Himself? It might make sense that speaking to Himself is okay because Elohim “spoke” everything into existence. But Elohim is not speaking man into existence. He seems to be making a proclamation rather than a command of creation here.
This is the sixth day of creation. Elohim has already created the heavens and the earth, angels, creatures, and everything but man. How is man “created in Elohim’s image” as opposed to animals? If this is speaking of some physical resemblance, then we could include monkeys also (j/k).
I believe that Elohim is referring to our spirit (our relationship to Him), our ability to reason, our emotions, and our responsibility to morality (or accountability). These are things that only man was blessed with. These are things that are shared only with Elohim and possibly angels as well.
Therefore, I have to say that this passage is Elohim speaking to angels who were witnessing creation.
There are other explanations for this passage, but I think that this fits the information best.
(Gen 1:27 NASB) And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Gen 1:27: What does it mean to be created in Elohim’s image? This is referring to the aspects of human nature that are not shared with animals such as moral consciousness, an understanding of beauty and emotion, the ability to think abstractly, and, most of all, the ability to worship Elohim.
If we are made in Elohim’s image, does that mean that Elohim has a body? Not necessarily. Even though Elohim has no body that we can comprehend, He fashioned us with a body that would enable us to function in much the same way that He does without a body. Elohim can see (Gen. 16:13). Elohim can hear (Psalm 94:9). He can smell (Gen 8:21). He can touch (Gen. 32:32). He can speak (2 Peter 1:18). We know that Elohim has these attributes even though we don’t know if He has eyes, ears, a nose, a mouth, or hands.
We know that Elohim is Spirit (John 4:24).
(Gen 1:28 NASB) And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Gen 1:28: Elohim is telling man that he is the steward over the world. Man’s problem is that we have not used the earth for good. We have denied Elohim and abused His stewardship.
Elohim tells man to “subdue the earth.” This is the basis for exploration and scientific learning in our day. Elohim hid diamonds, gold, and other metals and gems where man would need to dig to find them (Prov. 25:2). This same principle is true about knowledge. Elohim wants us to go into the laboratory to use the test tube and microscope. The problem is that man steps out of the lab with the atom bomb instead of the cure for disease. Elohim also conceals many truths about Himself in His Word. He wants us to “subdue His Word” to uncover the precious gems He has hidden there.
(Gen 1:29 NASB) Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
Gen 1:29: Man was apparently a vegetarian before sin came into the world. Some people use this as justification that we should not eat meat.
While being a vegetarian is a decent health option for many, apparently the world was filled with vegetarians when Elohim destroyed the earth..
(Gen 1:30 NASB) and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.
Gen 1:30: Evidently all animals were vegetarians. Even carnivorous animals apparently didn’t develop the appetite for meat until after the fall or after the flood. It has been shown that such animals can and will survive on plants if they have to. Initially, the “balance of nature” with predators and prey was not necessary nor was it Elohim’s original plan. Scripture tells us that our world will return to this type of peaceful environment (Isaiah 11:1-9, Hosea 2:18).
(Gen 1:31 NASB) And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Gen 1:31: Elohim looked at everything He made and said, “indeed it was very good.” This should refute any idea that Elohim had taken billions of years to create things this point and that life had been in a bloody and gruesome struggle in a “survival of the fittest.” Up to this point, there must not have been any struggle for existence, no disease, no pollution, no physical disasters such as earthquakes, no disorder, no sin, and no death.
Fossils speak of death. They speak of the violence, disease, and injuries we see today (Romans 8:22). Scripture tells us that death did not come into the world until after man sin’s sin was revealed (Romans 5:12). Therefore, the fossils could not have been deposited before the six days of creation as suggested in the gap theory or during the six days of creation as in the day age theory. Could Elohim have looked upon a fossil record telling the story of billions of years of death and struggle and say “indeed it was very good”?
When we study the record of the great cataclysmic flood we will see that this event was quite sufficient to account for the sedimentary rock fossils that we find worldwide. However, up to the point of this sixth day of creation, the world was a beautiful creation that was perfectly devised by Elohim for the good of for man.
In years past, I put a lot of time and effort into studying and teaching on a recent creation. That was back in the days when I thought it was what we “believe” or “think” that is so important. Believing in, or having good thoughts about, a recent creation without Torah is meaningless.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas