Genesis 1:2-23 by Robert Dean
Series:Genesis (2003)
Duration:44 mins 58 secs

Days 1–6

On day #3 there is an initial statement: “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.” Notice that on day one there was one statement of creation, on day two there was one statement of creation, but then on day three there are two statements of creation. Observe how carefully the text is constructed here: “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place,” and then in v. 11 is a second statement from God: “Let the earth sprout vegetation.” So there are two creative activities on the third day. There is the same pattern on days four, five and six.

Day four is one act of creation. Day five is one act of creation. Then in day six there are two acts of creation. So there is a perfect balance here in the text. It isn’t something that is haphazardly thrown together, there is a very precise order in the original text, and we have to take that into consideration. Then in the second part of the third day is the creation of the plant biosphere. V. 11 is the command: “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” Then in v. 12 the execution of the command, “And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Two orders of plant life are mentioned. It appears in the English that there are three orders—vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees. Actually it should be translated this way, “Let the earth bring forth vegetation [Heb. deshe, a basic word for vegetation which is then broken down into two components]: plants yielding seed [eseb, a general word for plants], and fruit trees [etz = trees bearing fruit].” Between the two they cover every category of vegetation. Notice that when God creates the vegetation He creates within each category of vegetation their own reproductive system. Inside that reproductive system you have two things, the basic physical components, chemicals that make up each individual category, and then on that cell structure is printed information. Cells do not generate information. Information has to be inputted from an external source. So God not only creates all the different categories of plants and trees but he creates a reproductive system unique to each, and then inputs the information necessary for each kind so that it reproduces itself.

There are a couple of implications here that should be understood. First, up to this point when God does something He is categorizing some things. He creates the light and separates it from the darkness, and then he called the light day and the darkness night. That is categorization. He is categorizing and classifying everything. As we have seen, categorization and classification are necessary for language to function. Not only that, it is also necessary for thought and knowledge to be transferred. This is one of the reasons why we break down doctrines into various categories. This is how we learn. So we see that from the very beginning God is creating according to a specific categories and classifications, and all of this continues, it is stable. The Bible continues to maintain the same system of classification and categorization in the permanence of these kinds and it is brought forth in the Scriptures later on. For example, 1 Corinthians 15:38, 39, “But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.” So even the New Testament comes along and insists that there are definite unbreakable boundaries between the kinds. In the Old Testament this is stated again as a foundation for categorizations of clean and unclean animals. Cf. Leviticus 11:13ff, “And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey, and the vulture, and the kite after his kind; every raven after his kind; and the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckoo, and the hawk after his kind.”

Conclusion of Genesis 1:12, “And God saw that it was good.” This is the Hebrew word tob. What we will find is that some people will come along and give an implication here of moral quality—good as opposed to evil. The word tob has as its primary meaning, that which is according to plan. It can mean good vs. evil. Some would say that everything was very good, there is no sin here, so therefore Satan couldn’t have fallen yet. Well the premise there is false. The false premise is that good in any of these verses has a moral quality to it. It doesn’t. It only has the idea that God has a blueprint and the result of His work of creation was according to the blueprint, according to plan. In chapter 2 God uses the word tob once again. If it has a moral quality here in chapter one it would have to have a moral quality in chapter two, because in chapter two the word is also related to creation. In chapter two, after God creates Adam, He says, “It is not good for man to be alone.” So here He uses the same word tob again, and he says it is not according to plan. If He is saying it is not moral for man to be alone, then He would be saying it is not moral to be single. Of course we know that is an absurd statement. So obviously the word does not have a moral quality in the context of creation. So you can’t go to the word “good” here and say that sin hasn’t occurred yet, the fall of Lucifer hasn’t occurred yet; that doesn’t hold water.

Then the fourth day where we start to fill those spheres that were created on days one through three. On day one God separated the light from the darkness, and now on day four, in parallel to that, He is going to create the light bearers—the sun, the moon, and the stars. Notice that this is a strong argument against these days being any longer than 24-hour days because God creates the vegetation on day three. For that vegetation to survive it means photosynthesis, and in order for there to be photosynthesis there has to be sun and available light in the near proximity.

Day four. Vv. 14, 15, the statement of the divine command: “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.” The Hebrew word “light” that we found back on the first day is or. Then in this verse we have the word maor, the Hebrew word for a light bearer. At this point light has just been there non-specifically in the universe, it hasn’t been localized in a specific body, but on the fourth day God localizes the light into specific light bodies or receptacles which in turn generate light. So in essence what God does is create the energy systems in the various stars. When this says “for signs” it is not talking about the zodiac, astrological signs. Many people try to say that. The grammatical construction here is that all of these are related to each other, that the purpose for the heavens is to be able to tell the different times of the year for planting, for harvest, for winter, for summer, and for telling time. So they are set up in the heavens in order to have chronology. And they are there to give light on the earth.

V. 16, “And God made.” The Hebrew word here for “made” is asah, the generic term for creation, to make or to manufacture, or even to do. The moon doesn’t generate its own light, but the language that is used here is phenomenal-logical language, i.e. language that we use all the time. It is like when we ask, “What time did the sun come up this morning?” We all know the sun didn’t come up; neither does it go down. The earth rotates on its axis, but we talk phenomenal-logically, it looks like it rises and goes down. We use this language to describe what it appears to be from our vantage point.

This has raised several major questions about the universe based on the fact that the stars aren’t created until day four. One issue is the distance that light travels. So the problem is of light years and the transmission of light because what do you do with a sun that is 2,000 light years away and it would take 2,000 years of light travel before it came to the earth, and wouldn’t that be a problem? There are several possible answers. First of all, the easiest solution is that when God created the stars He made the light instantly appear on the earth as well. If God can create stars He can create their light travel so that it hits the earth instantly. But then others raise other questions, like what happens when we see a star nova, and that star is, say, 10,000 light years away? That means that star that we see nova today had actually occurred 10,000 light years ago.

Various answers proposed. According to Henry Morris’ book, “The Genesis Record,” he makes the following statement: “The tremendous stellar distances commonly cited are obtained only on the basis of a number of very esoteric and questionable assumptions. Geometric methods for measuring such astronomical distances can reach only to about 330 light years. So any great distances beyond that are, to say the least, uncertain. Furthermore, there is no assurance of the uniformity of the speed of light at such tremendous distances. There is nothing to indicate that light travels that distances throughout the universe. Furthermore, there exist respectable models of relativity and space curvature, for example, which yield light motions such that light would reach the earth even from infinite distances in only a few years.” What he is saying there is that there is evidence that light may not travel in a straight line in space. It may travel in an arc. That is one possible solution, and one hypothesis that is being studied.

So there are various ways to resolve that particular problem. Furthermore when God creates the stars, is He just making the stars reappear? For example, did He just turn the lights off in Genesis 1:2 and now is turning the lights back on? That is possible but it doesn’t really fit the concept of asah here. Asah indicates creation in every other place—God is making something new. In that hypothesis He is not making anything new, He is just turning the lights on. My suggestion is that this is in this present universe—the existence of the sun, the moon and the stars—unique to God’s plan and purposes for this particular universe. This is based on the way things are going to be at the end in the new heavens and the new earth—Revelation 21:23-26, where we have a glimpse of that future new heavens and earth. “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.” The implication is that there is no sun, no moon, no stars in the future new heavens and new earth, so we have to be careful. When we read that word “heavens” we want to import into that the starry skies, but the new heavens and new earth apparently aren’t going to have starry skies. So the model proposed for understanding Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 is that the original creation did not have sun, moon, or stars either. Whatever the special dynamics were in terms of the heavens we don’t know.

Day five, the creation of the birds of the sky and the creatures in the waters. “And God said, 'Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.' And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” In verse 20 we have the articulation of the command, God is commanding these creatures into existence. Then in verse 21 we have the application or fulfillment of that command. V. 21 adds a category that is not stated in v. 20, the great sea monsters. What are these great sea monsters? In v. 20 we are told, “Let the waters team with swarms of living creatures.” This is the Hebrew word sherets, and this is creeping things or living creatures and has to do with everything from microscopic to the large creatures: everything that is in the waters from plankton all the way up to animals.

The word that is translated “sea monsters” is the Hebrew word tannin. It is a word that has been translated dragon, sea monster, and is a term that could very easily include large dinosaurs. There is a passage in Scripture that seems to fit the description of a dinosaur-type creature in Job 40:15, “Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox. Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly. He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together. His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.” First of all, he is a vegetarian. He is also a creature which has extremely powerful legs and muscles in his body. “He bends his tail like a cedar”—what animal has a tail like a cedar? That rules out an elephant or a hippopotamus. So this particular creature could easily be classified as some category of dinosaur. So the assumption that man could not live alongside a dinosaur assumes a number of things. It is assuming that they live in the same area.

Genesis 1:22, “And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply in the earth.” There are four verbs here that are all qal imperatives. So God expects these creatures to follow His orders. He has, as with the plants and the trees, given them a reproductive system so that they can multiply after their kind. This is a real command that goes into effect prior to the fall.

Then we come to the sixth day when God creates the land creatures, v. 24. “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.” There are three classifications of land animals here. The first is cattle, which is probably domestic animals, not just cows and beef cattle. Creeping things would include everything from lizards, to bugs and insects. Beasts of the earth would include the non-domestic animals, the wild animals. That is an important thing to notice here because later on in chapter two we will discover that God brings the beasts of the filed to Adam to name them. Some people would question how Adam could name all the animals in one day. But God doesn’t bring the beasts of the earth to Adam to name; He brings the beasts of the field to Adam which is a much smaller classification than beasts of the earth. This is the end of the first creative activity on day six.