Lesson #2 Creation and the Worship of God

Genesis 1:1-2:3


Our understanding of God, the world and man largely comes through the Genesis creation account. We are not saying there are no other teachings, but when we think of the overall picture Genesis 1:1 - 2:3 is invaluable to our clear understanding. We will look at six lessons we learn about God: God's Name, God's Word, God's Thoughts, God's Power, God's Goodness, God's Wisdom.

1) God's Name

Elohim is plural form for god but used as singular.Although nothing is directly said of God, we gain an immense understanding through what He did and said. The word 'God' is used 34 times alone in Genesis 1:1-2:3.

Some suggest this plural Hebrew word 'Elohim' is used to indicate the Trinity (plurality in unity). Others suggest it is a plural of majesty. The shortened form 'el' is often seen on the end of names such as Joel. No one seriously suggests that one should translate Elohim as gods because every time it takes a singular verb form.

Only starting in 2:4 is God's name, 'LORD' (Yahweh) used when it speaks of personal relationship and fellowship.

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2) God's Word

God is separate from nature. God is not creation. He abides in creation as much as His purpose and design and provision is given to it. God existed before the universe. The universe was something He created. The creation did, however, come from God's Word. God spoke, and it came into being.

The phrase 'Then God said, Let ...' occurs eight times; the phrase 'God said' occurs ten times. We see a whole series of commands from God creating matter, time, order and changes.

God also spoke to man in verses 28-29. Psalm 19 takes the same pattern dividing what God spoke with His works with the words He spoke to man. He warns us of the consequences of disobedience. Everything else He said came about as He directed. Man should also follow the direction of God's Words.

Ge 1:3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
Ge 1:6 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
Ge 1:9 Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
Ge 1:11 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.
Ge 1:14 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;
Ge 1:20 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.”
Ge 1:24 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.
Ge 1:26 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.”

Ge 1:28 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."
Ge 1:29 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;

3) God's Thoughts

Five times we see the phrase 'God called.' God was defining things for us. He was aiding us in our understanding of things. Once He calls something in its descriptive way, man is obligated to use this understanding to think and define those objects.

Ge 1:5 And God called the light day
Ge 1:5 And the darkness He called night.
Ge 1:8 And God called the expanse heaven.
Ge 1:10 And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas.
Ge 1:10 And the gathering of the waters He called seas.

God's thoughts become our thoughts. Man is called to shape his thoughts after God's.

We need to note, though, that in 2:19 and 2:23, God actually gave man the authority and privilege to 'call' the animals their own names. In 2:23 man actually names 'woman.' This granting of man such authority should caution us to the power and influence of words.

4) God's Power

Nothing awes us so much as God's ability to do what He says. This is real authority and power. Two words stand out in this Genesis 1:1-2:3 passage: created (barah) and made ('asah). Create gives us the sense of 'out of nothing' while 'made' speaks more of form and shaping. This however is not so evident when we look at the actual word usage. We only can conclude that the more 'creative' demanding works such as sea monsters and man was the word 'create' used.

Ge 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Ge 1:21 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.

Ge 1:27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Ge 1:7 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.
Ge 1:16 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.
Ge 1:25 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...
Ge 1:31 And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. ...

Ge 2:3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

When we understand our mighty God, it humbles us that this same powerful God would deal so graciously and kindly with His creatures. Usually power stands for impatient. In this case, however, God's power enables Him to be utterly patient and kind. If God is so gracious and kind, we ought to be the same way.

"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9).

5) God's Goodness

Seven times the phrase, 'God saw that it was good' is used to describe what God thought of His work. (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). If what a person produces characterizes his inner self, then we can truly say that God is good. God is good because He does good things. He sees His work as that which is absolutely wonderful. Non-Christians confirm this by saying that the only problem with this world is man (by man is meant fallen and sinful man).

Creation is not mother-nature; it is God's goodness made manifest. This is why understanding the creation of the world is so important. If people can see God's goodness in what they see around them, then they might tend to seek Him. From Romans we find that this world lies under a curse. So even all the goodness that we find in the earth is still held back from revealing its fully glory.

"For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God." (Romans 8:19-21).

One thing for sure, the Lord does not look lightly on asceticism. This is a rejection of God's good gifts. This does not mean that we should not fast. Fasting is not based on the evil nature of God's creation but on prioritizing ones focus on His will. This is quite different than those who look at nature or sex with a negative glance as if anyone who is married or enjoys foods cannot be spiritual. Surely Jesus did not think that way. He fully enjoyed all that God made.

6) God's Wisdom

Lastly we must note that God was perfectly satisfied at the whole of creation. Everyone always has another project around the yard to make it better. God however used the seventh day to rest. This thought of taking a day off because everything is done to its completion is beyond our comprehension. God knew everything was complete. Nothing was lacking. The world and His redemptive plan was set in motion.

"Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made." (Genesis 2:1-3).

The pattern for us, then, is never to rush about completing singular projects while missing the beautiful completeness of what has been done. Never rush about life so that we do not pause. Never operate as a cog in a machine for we were designed to reflect, enjoy and worship. We must dare not move through a series of seven days without resting for one for then we violate God's pattern and insist on the priority of the things we do over God's.

We have learned a lot about God, the world and mankind from these brief studies. Let's look at what we have learned and apply it to our understandings of religions and philosophies. •> Next

The Genesis Index

Genesis Introduction:  Introduction to Genesis |  Outline and Genealogies  |  Genesis' Chronologies (5 & 11) |   Unified Themes of Genesis
Genesis 1-2:3:   The Worship of the Creator |  The Meaning of Creation  |  Creation Lessons on God.  |  God and the World's Religions
Genesis 2:4-17:    Preparation for Man (Genesis 2:4-6) |  Creation of Man (Gen. 2:7, 1:26-27) |  Purpose for Man (Genesis 2:8-17)
Genesis 2:18-25: The Foundations of Marriage
Genesis 3:1-13: The Fall of Man | Temptation (Genesis 3:1-6) | The Fall (Genesis 3:7-13) | Questions 3:1-6 | Questions 3:7-13
Genesis 5-9: Genesis Flood | Genesis 05 Genealogical Chart
Genesis 10-11: Noah's Sons| Questions | History Genesis 10:6-11 | Tower of Babel Genesis 11:1-9 | Questions | Culture Genesis 11
Genesis 12-22:   The Call: Genesis 12.1The Promises: Genesis 12.2-3  |  The Means: Genesis 15The Testing: Genesis 22
Genesis 12-16: Introduction |   Place Detour: Genesis 12:10-20; 20 |  Person Detour: Genesis 12:13-14Procedure Detour: Genesis 16-17
Genesis 14:1-24: Three Steps to Spiritual Growth | #1 Observe | #2 Utlilitize | #3 Secure
Genesis 18-19: Cultural Woes of Sodom | Appearing to Abraham | Visit to Sodom | Debate of Homosexuality and Sodom
Genesis 21-26: Isaac's Model for Godly Marriages
Genesis 27-36: Genesis 27-36 Jacob's Life of Faith
Genesis 25-37: Influence of Sin | God and Man's Sin | Understanding Man's Sin Nature | Understanding Jacob's Sins
Genesis 37-50: Joseph’s Dillusonment | Genesis 42-47:12: The Big Picture | Conclusion | The Reason

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