VERSE BY VERSE COMMENTARY
Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
“In the beginning” – the beginning of time for the human race was my first thought. After reading Custance, as noted below, I tend to think this is a reference to the beginning of God’s creation of any kind. God is providing this Genesis record through a man. He is going to use language that man can understand.
I liked this quote from MacDonald: “The divine record assumes the existence of God rather than seeking to rove it. The Bible has a special name for those who choose to deny the fact of God. That name is fool.
Psalm 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”
The Hebrew word for God is “elohim” which is plural; this would be the first reference to the trinity.
It’s also interesting to note that the word for heaven is plural since the scripture makes reference to at least three heavens.
2 Corinthians 12:2 “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.”
Gen. 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
When I first began this journal, I did not believe in a gap theory of any kind. In the process of continued study, I have come across some very interesting writers, one of whom is Arthur Custance. I’ve done some reading in his writings called the “Doorway Papers” at custance.org. After considering his presentation, I am more inclined to believe that the original creation became “without form” (waste, desolation, worthless, confusion in the Hebrew) in conjunction with the fall of Lucifer. God doesn’t create confusion.
1Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion.”
Isaiah 45:18 “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”
In the verse from Isaiah above, the Hebrew for vain states “to lie waste; a desolation (of surface), i.e. desert; figuratively, a worthless thing; adverbially, in vain:—confusion, empty place, without form.” This gives further biblical support for the above conclusion.
I also found a quote from Arnold Fruchtenbaum that gives additional insight:
In Genesis 1:1-2, we find two examples of what we call “syntagmes,” which are words that occur together to denote one unique concept. One such example here is “heaven and earth,” which is the totality of the ordered universe. Second, tohu vavohu – waste and void – the totality of judgment and chaos.”
Our conclusion here is that we have a disorderly chaos and an orderly cosmos; of course, these cannot apply to the same thing at the same time. In other words, Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 cannot be contemporary, but must be chronological in sequence. In Genesis 1:1, the earth and the heavens are created in a perfect order. Then, sometime later came this chaos as a result of Satan's fall – the chaos of unformed matter which caused it to become undifferentiated, unorganized, confused and lifeless. The earth, thus, became formless and empty.
Although not necessarily a strong argument, Revelation 16:18 gives more food for thought.
Revelation 16:18 “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.”
As I have continued to meditate in Revelation, it occurred to me that this seemed to indicate there might have been an earthquake that would have compared to it before man was on the earth. This again takes my thoughts back to the fall of Satan and his angels and that event’s impact on our planet.
The book of Job also states that the angels, “the sons of God,” were there to witness the foundations of the earth being laid.
Job 38:4–7 “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
The prophet Ezekiel tells us that Lucifer/Satan was perfect until iniquity was found in him. Taken in context with Job that would mean that his fall was after the foundations of earth were laid.
Ezekiel 28:15 “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”
John tells us that the devil sinned from the beginning. This in context with the previous two would imply from the beginning of the creation of man.
1 John 3:7–8 “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
This in no way affects the account of the six days of creation that follows. God chose to take six literal days to make a new creation of planet earth, even though He could just as easily have done it in one. Just as fallen man has to become a new creation in Christ to fulfill God’s purpose, so the fallen earth had to become a new creation to fulfill His purpose for man—as it will again before eternity begins.
As I have continued to study, especially in the area of prophecy, I believe the six days of creation and one day of rest were necessary to establish the foundation for the consistency of God’s teaching in the area of “types” or examples throughout scripture. He was illustrating His truth by the use of these examples. I personally believe that one of the key truths to be learned from the time of creation regards the timeframe of His plan for the redemption of mankind. Using the idea of a day equals 1000 years as stated by the apostle Peter; that would give a picture of 6,000 years for the work of redemption to be accomplished and a time of 1,000 years during which man would enjoy the rest of Jesus as the authority on planet earth without the interference of Satan.
2Peter 3:8 “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
Gen. 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Gen. 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Gen. 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
God is light. Darkness is the absence of light. God is good. Evil reigns when God is rejected. Heaven is God’s dwelling place. Hell is void of the presence of God. Light pictures day and goodness; dark pictures night and evil.
1 John 1:5 “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
Luke 18:19 “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.”
Revelation 11:19 “And the temple of God was opened in heaven….”
Matthew 5:34 “But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne….”
Proverbs 4:19 “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.”
“evening and the morning” – Day follows night. Blessing follows trial/temptation/testing. Already God is establishing a time frame that man will understand. Evening and morning = 24 hours = 1 day = the first day.
Note from McClean (my paraphrase): When the word for day is used with an ordinal number, it is always a 24-hour day.
It would seem that Satan’s rebellion caused God to remove His presence from our planet, resulting in darkness. It would also seem that the universe as we know it was quite different before Satan’s rebellion. The sun, moon and stars weren’t even made until day 4.
God created “time” for man’s benefit. As the Creator, He defined night and day—evening and morning. He gave the creation account to man through the Holy Spirit, using words and timeframes that man would understand. When He talks about “time” that is different from our normal understanding, such as time in His presence, He explains it using terms that men understand (as in the verse from 2Peter above). He revealed it to the Psalmist a little differently.
Psalm 90:4 “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”
The sun and moon weren’t necessary for God to define “evening and morning,” but they are, however, necessary to man’s understanding of the terms and of what God is saying.
Gen. 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
Gen. 1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
Gen. 1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
God separates the waters by placing the sky in between. Evening and morning = 24 hours = 1 day = the second day.
As I thought through this a bit more, it seems to indicate that the first destruction of earth was by water.
Gen. 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
Gen. 1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
Gen. 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
Gen. 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gen. 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
The waters under the sky are gathered into seas, and dry ground is put into place between the seas. Vegetation is produced on the land. Each act of creation is prefaced with “And God said”—His word is all it took to accomplish His purpose.
It is at this point that the earth’s land mass is revealed. It’s interesting to note that the waters are described as covering “one place,” seeming to infer the same for the dry land. This is significant when compared to Genesis 10:25 where we are told that the earth was divided in the days of Peleg. This, seems to support the thought that the continents were the result of the dividing of the earth in the days of Peleg.
“And God saw that it was good” – Again, I think this statement is for our benefit. God already knew it would be good before He spoke it into existence. It’s an emphasis that His purpose was to create a GOOD (implies absence of anything “bad”) environment for mankind. For God to emphasize that what He did was “good” implies that “bad” already exists. This would again seem to support that the fall of Satan had already occurred.
Seed was created to produce vegetation according to its kind—orange seeds don’t produce apples. The spiritual parallel is to the fruit we produce in our lives as Christians.
Evening and morning = 24 hours = 1 day = the third day.
Gen. 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
Gen. 1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
Gen. 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
Gen. 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
Gen. 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
Gen. 1:19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
God created the sun, moon, and stars to separate day and night. They were also to serve as signs to mark the seasons, days and years. Obviously, God didn’t need these bodies to calculate the time for each day. They were created for man’s benefit in calculating time and planning for planting etc.
Greater light = sun = rules day.
Lesser light = moon = rules night.
Obvious parallels to me are: Greater light = Christ = righteous = heaven.
Lesser light = Satan = evil = this world.
A couple of different resources have pointed out that the Hebrew for “seasons” is a reference to “appointments, fixed times, festivals.” Of course, my first understanding was the reference to the times of the year—spring, summer, winter, fall. It’s significant to note that the Jewish feasts are determined by the phases of the moon, and these were important appointments that the LORD expected His people to keep in obedience to His command. These festivals are very important in marking God’s interactions with His people, those who follow Him in faith, both past and future.
These heavenly bodies are to give light to the earth, govern day and night, and separate light from dark. It’s interesting that even in the night God provides a measure of light. The obvious parallel is to His presence in our lives even when we feel surrounded by sin/despair. Christ, the light of this world, will separate good from bad. Only the presence of His light in our lives can separate us from the power of evil/dark/Satan.
Again, the affirmation that “it was good.”
Evening and morning = 24 hours = 1 day = the fourth day.
I was reading through an article by Wayne Walter, “The Genesis of Life – 1st Sedrah” at lampresource.com and was struck at his description of how God “set” the lights of the sky:
The Hebrew word for set means enhance, show off as a jeweler might magnify the brilliance of his diamond by placing it in a case of black velvet. The firmament surrounding the earth enhanced the beauty of the luminaries even as a magnifying glass.
Gen. 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
Gen. 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gen. 1:22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
Gen. 1:23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Whales = dragon, sea monster
God SPEAKS into existence the creatures of the sea and the winged birds and commands them to be fruitful and increase in number. The sea creatures are to fill the water in the seas and the birds are to multiply on the earth.
Again, “it was good.”
Evening and morning = 24 hours = 1 day = the fifth day.
Gen. 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
Gen. 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
God has the land produce wild animals, livestock, and creatures that crawl on the ground. The creatures, cattle, creeping things and beasts were created to fit into certain categories, “after his kind.” They didn’t start out as one thing and evolve into another.
Again, “it was good.”
Gen. 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Gen. 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Gen. 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Gen. 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
Gen. 1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
Gen. 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Replenish = to fill, overflow
“Let us”…“in our” – This is a reference to the triunity of God. Man was made in the image (likeness) of God. He was made to rule over all other living things on the earth. Verse 27 defines them as male and female.
Man and woman are then told to be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth and subdue it. The seed bearing plants and fruit with seed in it are given to man for food. God then adds that all green plants are for food for “everything that has the breath of life. (Eating meat was not an option for man or animal.)
This time, “it was very good” (referring to all He had made).
Evening and morning = 24 hours = 1 day = the sixth day.
As far as I am concerned, people can argue the time it took for creation all they want. His words were to mankind. He is speaking in a language that we were meant to understand. When He makes a point of defining each day by saying that “evening and morning” this was done, I believe He is referring to a literal day. How long can it take to speak something into existence? If you can believe He spoke it, why can’t you believe He did it in the timeframe stated? Exodus 20:11 affirms this truth: “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
One of many books I have read is The Secret of the Universe, by Nathan Wood. It’s a wonderful presentation as to how the creation reflects the triunity of God. Following are a few observations from this book that will add to our thinking and inspire one with awe concerning our Creator and His creation.
First, Mr. Wood declares that the universe consists of three things—space, matter and time. He goes on to explain that “each one of these elemental things of the physical universe is threefold.”
“If God is Three in One, each one of the three is God, and each one is the whole of God.”
The last quote I’ll use is as follows:
“This universe about us is vast beyond our comprehension. New universes of stars beyond this universe are floating into our ken. Apparently it is infinite. Certainly it is inconceivably vast.
The cause of it must be at least as great.
This universe, from the island universes quintillions of miles away to the electrons whirling in the invisible atom, is one immeasurably articulated, rationally working fabric.
The cause of it all must be at least as rational as that.
This universe contains personal beings, who think, who love, who hate, who hope, who fear, who choose, who determine.
The cause of such beings, of a universe which contains such beings, must be at least as personal they.
The equation of the universe is clear. A vast, rational, personal cause of the universe = God.”
He goes into much more detail, but that’s enough to make you go WOW! We truly serve an awesome God.