This is a brief look at the first chapter of Genesis. I’ll try to focus on just what the scriptures say and cut through stuff that I or others might “want” it to say. I’ll be using the New American Standard Bible (NASB) since that translation is considered by many to be the least paraphrased english Bible version.
Genesis Chapter 1:
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 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.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
6 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
7 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.
8 God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
9 Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.
12 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.
13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
14 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;
15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.
16 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.
17 God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
20 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.”
21 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.
22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
24 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.
25 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.
26 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.”
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 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.”
29 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;
30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.
31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
A few notes to consider:
1. The earth is shown here to be formed and the first living things introduced prior to the formation of space and the celestial objects. During the first 3 “days” there was no sun or moon or stars so the time was measured some other way. Was the earth being “incubated” in a sense allowing for the first life forms to establish an oxygen bearing atmosphere? Modern cosmology relys entirely on the theory of “uniformitarianism” which doesn’t allow for any manipulation of the natural laws at any point in history and time. In Genesis there is no such assumption. The Creator has full sway over the natural laws and He has in fact designed them to begin with.
2. The Creator “moves over the waters”, perhaps for careful inspection and monitoring of the progress of His cultivation of the first living things to decide when this planet would be ready for it’s placement into context of what we call, “the universe”. Up until the introduction of “string theory”, such a senario might have seemed impossible to imagine, but we have since learned that reality is much more complex and mysterious then ever dreamed, even in the most outlandish of scifi stories.
3. Once in the context of the ‘visible universe’ the dry land mass was gathered in one place, what we refer to today as, “pangea”. The use of the the expression “evening and the morning” must be taken from the Creator’s viewpoint. That could easily mean “epoch”, or a rotation period of the “Milky Way” our galaxy which currently takes about 60,000 years or so. It could just as easily refer to such an event as it occurs in the Creator’s domain or kingdom and that could represent any number of earth rotations. We have no way to tell for sure. (William Jennings Bryan likely was more of a literalist than those fundamentalists that betrayed him!)
4. As the Creator introduced the various life forms in the described succession they are commanded to reproduce “after their kind”. This term does eliminate the possibility for the spontaneous generation of completely novel forms of life by natural processes as proposed by Darwin and his disciples. But, allows for some variation and adaptation. How much is up to debate. I’m inclined to think that not much variation has taken place past the “genera” taxanomic level. So far there has never been a documented case (by man) of the formation of anything remotely translating to a new “genus” of any living thing. So, that may be indication of the great stability of the “kind”. “Genus” and “Genesis” appear to have the same root and that may have been intentional.
4. In any event, the first chapter is a description in “layman’s” terms of the most fantastic events imaginable and I have complete confidence that it tells us all we need to know about them.