God Created the Heavens and the Earth
Key Verse: 1:1
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
In today’s passage we are given the account of how God created the heavens and the earth. Through this passage we can learn not only how God created everything, we can learn several things about God Himself. May God open our spiritual eyes and ears so that we can know Him deeper through this study. May God bless our study of Genesis.
First - In the beginning (1). Since the beginning of recorded history mankind has been struggling with several fundamental questions regarding our existence. Questions like, “Where did this all come from and why is it here?”, “Why am I here?” and “Is there a purpose or meaning for my life?” Thoughtful men and women through the ages have pondered these questions endlessly. Yet many, if not most of them, have not found satisfactory answers. Those who haven’t found answers have generally failed because they have approached the problem from the wrong point of view.
There are two ways of looking at ourselves and the world that we live in. There is the atheistic viewpoint which presupposes that man can discover the answers to these questions with our own intellect. These people deny the existence of God and they try to think their way to meaning. They have come up with all kinds of theories over the ages, but none of these theories give satisfactory answers to life’s fundamental questions. The current theory in favor with the atheistic thinkers is that the universe began with a big bang and over billions of years the stars, galaxies, solar systems and our earth evolved into the state we see them today. In their thinking, mankind is just a product of random evolution. This approach to the meaning of our existence leads to the inevitable conclusions that we are nothing more than a product of pure chance and ultimately our life and the existence of everything is meaningless.
The other way of approaching the questions concerning our existence is from a theistic viewpoint. This viewpoint begins with God and ultimately ends with God. This is the viewpoint we will explore as we worship God through the study of Genesis. Genesis is a book of beginnings. It begins with the creation of the heavens and the earth. We find here the beginnings of the world, of all material things, of life, man, sin, salvation and faith. We also find the foundation from which we can begin to learn the answers to the fundamental questions posed above. So let us throw off everything that hinders, open up our hearts, and worship God through learning about how and why He created us.
Look at verse 1. The very first sentence of the Bible lays the foundation for everything that follows. It is the beginning point or premise, not only for the Bible, but for all theistic thought. This is the foundation on which the whole Bible rests. The atheistic thinkers have no such foundation. Their “big bang” theory deals only with and a theoretical process that has led to the state of existence that we now see. It does not address the most fundamental of all questions - What caused all this to exist? Their elaborate theory has nothing to stand on. The Bible addresses this first cause in the very first sentence. The cause of everything we see and of our life itself is God. God was there “in the beginning” and He created the heavens and the earth. This is a very important point. Since God is the creator of all things we have a place to look for the answer to why He created it and why we exist. Where do we look? Why, of course we should look to God Himself. This means that in order to find the meaning of our life we must stop looking for it in the physical world around us and look beyond to the One who created it all. This is where the atheists fail. They can’t find any answers to the meaning of our existence because they are looking at the created things rather than the creator. God is our creator and He alone can tell us why we exist. If you ask a watch why it exists it cannot give you an answer. But if you ask the watchmaker why he made the watch he can give you the answer. Then you will know why the watch exists. Likewise, God created the heavens and the earth for a specific purpose and the only way to know that purpose is to seek Him out and ask Him. But someone may ask, “How can you seek out God.” We can seek God through Bible study and prayer. All Bible study leads us to Jesus who is God. And prayer is the way we can communicate and inquire of God.
Therefore, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” is our beginning point; He is our firm foundation.
Second - And God said…And it was so. Look at verses 2 and 3a. “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. And God said…” Verse 2 tells us the state of things before God spoke - formless, empty and dark. So how did we get from that state to what we see around us today; everything has a form of one kind or another, there is no place that is truly empty, and no matter where you go there is at least some light. Verse 3a gives us the answer. God spoke. As you read through this passage you will find the words “And God said…” 9 times and “and it was so.” 7 times. By verse 25 everything but man was created. Everything came into existence by the word of God.
From this we can learn something about God and His word. In the first three chapters of Genesis the author uses the Hebrew word Elohim for God. The word Elohim means the Almighty One. God demonstrated his Almighty power in the very act of creation. Simply by speaking he was able to bring something out of nothing and order out of chaos. When He spoke things simply came into being. He said “let there be light,” and there was light. He said “earth, sun and moon come into being” and they did. God and His word are all powerful. God’s word always accomplishes its task. God’s word does not return to Him empty (Isaiah 55:1). Practically for us this has great implications. There are two points in particular I would like to emphasize. First, a servant of God once told me that the opposite of faith is fear. It took me a while to understand this, but if we live by the Almighty word of God what could we possibly have to fear? If we believe His word brought everything into being including our life, and that He loved us enough to send His one and only son to pay off the price of our sins, then what in the world should we be afraid of? Not even death is subject to the Almighty power of God. God demonstrated this when He raised Jesus from the dead. Death was swallowed up in victory, so those who believe in the Almighty power of God’s word have nothing at all to fear. Second, if we believe the almighty power of God’s word, the words “I can’t” should never pass our lips. Of course, on our own there are a lot of things we can’t do. But, God can do all things. Remember what Jesus told the father of the boy possessed by an evil spirit in Mark 9:23 - “Everything is possible for him who believes.” God’s word is all powerful and we must have absolute faith in it.
Third, our God is a personal God. Human beings communicate with one another mainly through words. Likewise God wants to communicate with us through His word. It was His word that created us in His image. It is not a coincidence that God created all things through His Word. This is God telling us that He wants to communicate with us and have a personal relationship with each of us. Throughout the Bible we see God communicating with His servants and His servants passing God’s message on to the masses. The culmination of God’s word is Jesus. John 1:1-2 say, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” Jesus is the perfect example of God’s desire to communicate with us. As I said, all Bible study leads to Jesus and from Genesis chapter one God is speaking to us, leading us to Him. We must listen to and obey God’s word. When we study God’s word with a sincere heart God speaks to us and reveals Himself to us.
Fourth, our God is a God of order. To know a person we need to know the characteristics or personality traits of that person. Genesis chapter one tells some of God’s characteristics. We have already thought about His eternal presence (He was there in the beginning), His Almighty power and desire to have a personal relationship with us, but chapter one tells us more. When we read the account of creation it is evident that God is a God of order. God did not just create the universe in a haphazard way. He did it step by step in such a way that he provided the proper environments for His creatures before he created them. What would have happened if God created fish before he created the oceans? Or if he created birds before he separated the waters and created the expanse between them? God didn’t do these things because He knows that His creatures need the proper environment to survive. So God created the perfect environments for His creatures and then He placed them in these environments.
God also created His creatures in very specific ways. God created all vegetation and every living creature “according to their kinds.” This brings about a tremendous amount of order. It ensures that a cat won’t give birth to a dog or a monkey give birth to a human. God created each creature just the way he wanted it, each according to its own kind. Furthermore, if we look around and see the diversity of life that God created we can’t help but stand in awe of His absolute attention to detail. The order that is found in the variety of life alone is beyond human comprehension, but that is not where God’s order ends. Look around at all creation. There is order everywhere from spiraling galaxies to tiny atoms. All of this order God created out of formless, empty, darkness.
Because God is a God of order and we are God’s children, order should be apparent in our lives. God created us in His image so we should not live haphazard lives. Sin causes us to live our lives without order. Sin drives us to chase after one pleasure after another and makes us lose direction in our life. Living without direction or order produces nothing but chaos. But when we come to Jesus and He washes away our sins we can have a clear focus for our lives; that is to glorify God by doing the good works He has prepared in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10). Learning from the God of creation, we should work hard to prepare a proper environment for the tasks He has prepared for us. Then we should work through those tasks step by step in an orderly fashion. When we do this we will see order and great accomplishments come out of our lives. Our Father is a God of order so we should live our lives in an orderly fashion according to His example.
Fifth, God saw that it was good. When God created the heavens and the earth He did not make any mistakes. He created things exactly as he wanted them. Each day beginning with day three, after finishing his creative work, God would step back and assess what he had done. Each time He did this his conclusion was the same - “God saw that it was good.” When God looked at what He created it pleased Him. He never once said, “Well that’s not quite right, but it is good enough.” No, when He saw what He had made He saw that it was “good.” In fact, when God had finished all the work of creation, He “saw all that He had made and it was very good.” This means that it was exactly the way that He wanted it.
God doesn’t make mistakes with His creations. God made each one of us exactly as He wanted us made. We must accept this. We should never complain and say that I’m no good because I’m not smart, or my left arm is shorter than my right, or I’m not as tall as Johan. God made each of us just the way He wants us. Of course over the years we have all been corrupted by sin and this sin severely distorted the image that God created in us. However, if we accept Jesus the stains and distortions of those sins are washed away and we are born again - “born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husbands will, but born of God.” (Jn 1:13) We are a new creation once again. A creation that is just the way God wants us to be.
Through the study of this passage we can learn several things about God. First and foremost, to find any meaning in life Genesis 1:1 must be the foundation of our world view and our thought process. Second, it was God who was there “in the beginning” and He was the original cause of all creation. In fact, He was not only the first cause of creation He was the creator of all things. Third, we can learn God’s almighty power and the power of His word. By His word alone He brought something out of nothing and order out of chaos. Fourth, God is a personal God who speaks to His creation. Fifth, our God is a God of absolute order. He brought order out of chaos when He created all things and He can bring order to our chaotic lives. Sixth, there is no mistake in God’s creation. Each thing has been created just the way God intended it to be and He gave it His seal of approval when He proclaimed it very good.