There is a lot that can be said about the first chapter of Genesis. This first chapter of the Bible is so packed with great stuff that if I tried to cover every point, I would be writing blog posts for days! So instead of trying to say everything that can be said, I’m going to touch on just a few obvious things. If you work slowly through this first chapter of Genesis, you will notice that it has a lot to say about God. It has something to say about the way he created this world. And it has something to say to you and me about who we are.
What does the first chapter of Genesis say about God? Well, it begins by saying that he is the creator of everything. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) It also says he created it by the power of his word. He spoke, and his words were so power that amazing things started to happen. “Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Gen 1:3) Water, sky, land, seas, plants, trees, sun, moon, stars, and all kinds of creatures, God created them by his powerful word. And if it wasn’t enough to say that God created them with his words, we also notice that he created them out of nothing. Have you ever tried to create something out of nothing? It’s incredibly hard to do! When there was nothing, God spoke light in the midst of darkness, land in the midst of sea, air in the midst of water. Genesis 1 is all about our God who can take an empty place, an unproductive and uninhabitable earth, and shaped this uninhabitable world into a beautiful home, filled with good things. This first chapter of Genesis gives us a picture of a powerful creator, who can take anything or nothing, and create something good out of it. It gives us a picture of the one who is responsible for all that is. It is his creation. He is the author and the owner of it all.
This first chapter also tells us something about how God creates things. In the first 25 verses, we are told six times that God looks at his creative work and reviews it. He concludes that his work is “good”. After creating mankind, God looks over everything that he created and calls it all “very good”. We should see a picture in this first chapter of our God who creates, and when he creates, he creates everything very good. In this chapter, this word, “good”, tells us that it was perfect. God was pleased with it. It was just as he wanted it to be.
This chapter finally tells us something about ourselves. It shows us that we are created things. We are not God. We are his creation. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:27) He made us. The fact that he creates us means he has creator rights over all of us, and everything that exists!
If you’ve stuck with me this far, then you’re probably asking yourself: “Paul, thank you for pointing out the obvious to me! I didn’t need your blog post to point all this out to me. Are you at least going to tell me why this matters?” Let me simply give you a few questions to reflect on that revolve around these three pictures.
First, if God created you and this world, who gets to say how you live and how you treat other created things? Who are you? Are you living like you’re the creator or the creation? Or think about this question: What do you think will happen if you continue
to live like you are the creator? What would you expect if you decide to name yourself the creator and live in opposition to your God who creates good things, who brings life? Read Genesis 2 & 3! You’ll see it doesn’t turn out good! Those are just a few things to think about.
Finally, let me try to address something else that might be floating around in the back of your mind. If you’ve ever stepped out your front door, it won’t take you very long to figure out that the world described in these verses doesn’t quite match current state of the world. It’s far from perfect. Most of us would look at our neighborhoods and wouldn’t conclude that it is good. If we were honest, we would probably even say that we feel far from perfect. So what happened to this world? And how do we get back to this good place? What follows after the first chapter of Genesis is the rebellion and fall of mankind. Sin appears on the scene of this story and begins to wreck havoc on God’s creation. And it has been doing so ever since that day.
But thankfully we read of the one who can bring goodness back. In the first chapter of John’s gospel story, we read of the light that breaks into darkness again. We read of the person who created everything and brings life. We read about the Word of God, who put on human flesh and moved into our jacked up world. He came to die so that others might live again. He came to restore people back to God, to destroy sin and death. And one day he will come again to finally and ultimately bring goodness back, to bring those who believe in him back to perfection, to bring them back to a garden where they will live with him forever. When that happens, it will be very good again. Genesis 1 stands as a reminder to us that God is God and we are not. It is there to remind us that life lived in opposition to our creator is a life that will bring death and not goodness. It is there to make us ask ourselves what happened to that world and how do we get back to this place of goodness and perfection.
The only answer we have to all those questions is the one who the Apostle John calls “the Word”. The one who “came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.” (Jn. 1:10) The one who is the light that “shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” (Jn. 1:5) The one who “came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” (Jn. 1:1-12)
Read (and listen to!) Genesis 1 & John 1.
You’ll hear more about him there!