C.) CREATION LESSONS ON GOD
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Genesis Introduction: Introduction to Genesis | Outline and Genealogies | Genesis' Chronologies (5 & 11) | Unified Themes of Genesis