Here is what we’ve already begun to grasp from just the first 13 verses of Scripture:
God created the earth (and everything else in the universe).
He created it as good (originally).
He established His order at creation.
His order benefits creation itself, especially humankind. Humans thrive when they live according to God’s created order. When they try to live outside the created order, things don’t go so well.
For example, let’s say I’m a fish in a pond. I see a puppy playing near the pond. I want to play where that puppy is playing. I want to be free like that puppy. If I manage to get myself up out of the water and onto dry ground where the puppy is, does it go well for me?
Not at all. I’m like a, well, like a fish out of water.
When humans try to find freedom by acting in ways that take us outside God’s created order, we don’t thrive. In fact, many don’t even survive. When they do what they were created for, they thrive.
In the Bible we get the idea very quickly that the earth was created for a reason. We need to find out what that reason is so we can live according to our purpose on the earth.
Here’s an example to help us grasp what the earth is for.
Let’s say I get a gift and as I open it I can’t tell what it is right away. My first question is, “What’s it for?”
Third question, “How does it work?” Fourth question “How do I use it without cutting off one of my fingers?” (Apple peeler machine.)
In the biblical account of creation, we need to ask, “What’s it for?” (We have that answer right here in Genesis 1.)
We also need to ask, “How does it work?” The answer to this comes easier if you know its purpose.
We also need to ask, “How can we operate in this world without doing damage to ourselves?”
Here is the second half of creation, starting with day 4 and ending with mankind.
Vss. 14-19 – Lights
4 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
Vss. 20-23 – Sea and Land
20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
Vss. 24-25 – Creatures
24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Vss. 26-27 – Humans
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Gen. 1:28)
What’s creation for?
Vss. 14-19 (We are given more detail about the results of the separated lights.)
How do these lights help mankind distinguish between, days, years and seasons?
Rising and setting sun (days).
Birds’ migration, changes in temperature and foliage (seasons).
Years (days get shorter, then longer – sun dial, marks from shadows).
Recognition of location of stars in relationship with objects on the earth(At our former house, the big dipper pours right onto a specific tree on the north by northwestward side of the property on the longest day of the year, June 21st. That’s when we have over 15 hours of daylight. Ahhh.)
This further reference to the separation of light and dark isn’t the same as their original creation (“Let there be light.”). This second reference refers to making permanent the regular order of the sun, moon and starts, making it possible to distinguish days, years and seasons.
What happens as we look at the stars? We are filled with awe.
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars. (Ps. 148:3)
The stars fill us with wonder. Everything God created points us to Him and reveals His glory.
“…The whole earth is filled with His glory.” (Isaiah 6:3)
Vss. 20-23 (More detail about the separated waters and dry ground.)
Water creatures, birds and land creatures.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, (Ps. 148:7)
Everything in God’s creation points to His glory and His intelligence.
How in the world (an apt beginning to this question) can a sea creature reveal God’s glory?
Sea cucumbers have a really bizarre defense mechanism.
You know how when you get really scared it feels like your insides get all twisted up? Well, a sea cucumber literally gets its insides mixed up. And then… (this is pretty gross), it can expel their guts toward a threatening predator. What happens next? They regenerate their guts really quickly.
Only a truly intelligent creator could make something like that.
Mutation can’t account for that. First mutation, “Oops. I shot out all my guts but haven’t mutated the ability to regenerate them yet.” End of species.
Vs. 20 – Not only sea creatures, but birds that fly above the earth.
A woodpecker is a wonderful representation of the concept called “irreducible complexity.” It is the “mousetrap” of the bird world. A mousetrap shows us how something with any degree of complexity needs to have all its parts at the very beginning of its life, otherwise it won’t work.
If you remove any part of the mousetrap, it fails to function the way it was intended. The same is true with the woodpecker. It has a long beak. It has a shock absorber built in just behind that beak. If the shock absorber wasn’t designed and included in the original package, the woodpecker would peck itself to death the first time it tried to drill a hole in a tree.
Can mutation account for this complexity? Nope.
Let’s say a woodpecker has a really long tongue but no sheath in which to wrap that tongue around behind its brains. It flies around with this really long tongue just hanging out. The bird flies over a tree limb, the tongue wraps around it. Twang! End of species.
Vss. 24-26 (More detail about creatures that inhabit the dry ground.)
God created livestock and creatures that move along the ground and wild animals.
We see in verses 24-26 that God creates livestock, creatures that move along the ground and wild animals. God created all of them. And yet, he created them, each according to their “KIND.”
That’s why, if you visit the Ark Encounter in Kentucky, you can see how it would take relatively few kinds of animals to preserve all the basic created kinds and then in a relatively short amount of time after the ark landed and the animals were able to reproduce and spread out, adaptation would account for so many other variations of that kind, but without becoming a new species. (Scientists have often mislabeled species and subspecies because they didn’t start with the correct definition of the word “Kind.”)
Wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
Let them praise the name of the Lord. (Ps. 148:10, 13)
How does a sea cucumber or a mammoth or an elephant or a woodpecker point to the glory of God?
They fill us with wonder because of their complexity and intelligent design. The fact that a Creator was intelligent enough to create a creature capable of doing all the things these huge creatures can do, AND that He is creative enough to plan for adaptation within the different KINDS, points to His intelligence.
Vs. 26 – “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…”
Who is the “us” and “our” in this sentence? The Godhead. Father, Son, Spirit. (God in three persons, blessed trinity.)
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:27)
What does that mean that we were “made in God’s image?”
We were made both male and female. God served as the original perfect complimentary relationship. He is the Three in One. The “Triune Godhead.” There we see three individual persons (Father, Son, Spirit) and yet they are all three equal. They present for us a perfect example of perfect compliments. Mutual submission takes place without being marred by sin.
Let’s go one verse further in the Creation account and see something important about the place of humankind in Creation and the purpose of mankind in Creation.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Gen. 1:28a) “Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Gen. 1:28b)
As God’s “Viceroys” (appointed authoritative representatives, or image bearers) on earth, we are charged to oversee all the other animals in creation.
We as humans have been created distinct from all the other living creatures on the earth. And we have been placed above all the other living creatures. That’s the created order in the world as created by God who cares about His creation.
Humans (Male and Female) flourish when they live within the sphere of maleness and femaleness, because that’s the created order. That’s the sphere God created for them. They compliment each other. They are a perfect fit as mates for one another. God made them unique yet meant to be together. They thrive when operating within God’s order.
To operate outside that sphere – outside that created order – is to operate like a fish trying to act like a puppy. It’s like a fish out of water. And it cannot thrive.
Vs. 31 – At the end of the sixth day, God looked at all that he had made and he says what? “It was…” Very good.
We are reflections of God’s image and of His rule and reign on the earth, as long as we operate within the sphere he has created for us, and as long as we submit to his ultimate authority.
We humans are the crowning achievement of God’s creativity.
We are to reflect His glory.
We are to steward this planet and everything in it.
We are to seek God and live within the order He created for us.
When we do those things, we thrive.
When we try to be something we’re not, we don’t thrive. In fact we do the opposite of thriving:
Decrease, fail, lose, shrink, shrivel, wither, decline, recede, retreat, languish.
At the end of His creative work, “God blessed them!” What an encouragement.
That’s a great description of what happens when people live according to God’s created order. When they fulfill their purpose (multiply, subdue the earth, rule over other creatures), and when they reflect God’s glory, God blesses them.
He wants to bless! But He cannot bless if we choose to reject Him and His created order.
In the next episode of The Grand Stories of the Bible we’ll talk about “The Fall” and we’ll see why the “good” in creation became “not good.”
We’ll also see what needs to happen in order for it to be good again. All the stories in this series help tell the Grand Story that leads to a God who so loved the world (that He created) that He gave His only son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life.” (See John 3:16)