We turn now to look at more of the creative acts of God in this first chapter of Genesis. It is important to note at the outset of our study of these days of creation, that God had an order in all that He did. There is a logical plan to each creative act where God builds on the previous actions that He has taken. He first speaks and declares His creative act, reports the effect of His work, and then He gives His evaluation of what He has done, that it is good. Last, God then numbers each successive day. In each of the days of creation, you see this model or plan as God creates. He takes the basic elements of matter, and forms them to make all things. Read what God said. “Then God said, ‘Let there be light;’ and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day” (Gen. 1:3-5).
The first day of creation.
The first step on the first day of creation was to create the most important thing - light. The first thing to bring order to the basic elements of matter is to form light. Why is creating light so essential as the first act of creation? Because light brings life. Without light there can be no life. Why? Without light, photosynthesis cannot occur which allows human, plant, and animal life to exist. Without photosynthesis no oxygen would be produced in our atmosphere. A plant takes the light energy and converts that energy into chemical energy. This energy is used to fuel that organism so that it might live. As a plant thrives it extracts CO2 from the atmosphere and replaces it with oxygen so that humans and animals can breathe. Without the element of light, nothing else could live that God was about to create. God, the Master-Creator, knew exactly what He was doing by first creating light.
Just as God’s first step was to bring order to the world by creating light, so He does the same in the life of every believer. Light brought life to the physical world, so light does the same thing in our spiritual world. To bring salvation to your life Paul explained, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). What a gracious and loving thing for God to do! He pursued each of us by shining into our hearts the light of the knowledge of Christ, so that we might know who He is, that we might believe and be saved. This light brought salvation to each and every one of us who have been saved. Consequently, both of these creative acts brought physical and spiritual life to men. Notice how the Apostle John connects these two acts of grace upon mankind. He said of Jesus, “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:3-5). The word comprehend means to seize or overcome the light. Rejoice in this fact, that God’s light and life given to you cannot be overcome by the darkness! May each of us experience more of His light and life within our lives!
Do you remember what it was like when the Lord opened your eyes to the light of the gospel? What was it like? I remember vividly going through my middle school, high school, and my college years apart from the Lord. One day someone shared the light of the gospel with me, and my eyes were opened. A light came into me, and all of a sudden, I understood exactly what was being said to me concerning the gospel. What a glorious day! Don’t ever forget it, because it was a miracle of grace bestowed upon you, just as God worked on the first day of creation.
Where did this light come from?
People question how there could be light before the sun and the moon were created on day four. Is there a light source that God can create that doesn’t need the sun and the moon? Of course! God can do whatever He wants to do, because He is God! The Scripture is clear on this topic. “Whatever the LORD pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places” (Psalm 135:6). For anyone to say that God can’t create light before He created the sun and the moon as lights to rule in the heavens, is just simply foolish. Consider the fact that when God creates the new heaven and earth, where there is no sun, He declares, “There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:5). If God can create a light source without the sun at that time, then He could surely create a light source in His original creation. Furthermore, God even gave light to the children of Israel when darkness was upon the whole land of Egypt (Ex. 10:21-23). Remember, God can do whatever He pleases to do!
Science defines light as a form of energy that is just visible to the human eye. Light is the motion of electrons around a nucleus of an atom. These electrons are in motion, and that is what creates light. Light is in essence electromagnetic radiation. Visible light is a tiny portion of a huge range of light called the electromagnetic spectrum. This spectrum has gamma-rays, X-rays, ultraviolet light, optical light, infrared light, and radio photons. However, it is important to remember that they are all just light. There are no hard boundaries in the electromagnetic spectrum, just a continuous range of energy. Just remember that God can create photons any way He wants to, because He is God. He doesn’t need the light that comes from the sun in our solar system. He can do whatever He chooses to do.
God ends this first day of creation with these words, “God called the light Day, and the darkness Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day” (Gen. 1:5). Now, if God declared that there was light and then darkness, that means the earth was in a day-night cycle rotating around the light source He had created. This gives rise to the next question that must be answered. Was this a 24-hour period of time, or were these long geologic ages of hundreds of millions of years? Which was it? You must answer this question by observing that there is obviously no figurative language used in this passage, which means that a grammatical common sense reading of this would indicate a day-night cycle of a 24-hour period of time. This would constitute one day. The Hebrew word yohm is used almost exclusively to refer to a literal 24-hour day. In addition, when Moses defined the days of creation in the normal usage of the word “day” in Exodus 20:11, he wrote, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.” Moses is defining for you the word “day” in this verse. Notice that he is using a seven-day week of time, which would include seven 24-hour days. I believe from this evidence that this should be the common-sense rendering of this word “day.”
Now, if the earth was experiencing a day-night cycle, or a light-dark cycle, this would imply that the earth was round, and that the earth was rotating. This is a very important fact. Why? There are those today who believe that the earth is flat. These “flat-earthers” really exist. They email me quite often trying to convince me that the earth is flat after reading some of the articles I have posted.
Why is this all so important? God knew the shape of the earth long before man figured it out. He is the One who created it. So, giving us this hint by declaring that there was a day-night cycle was a tremendous blessing. Later in Israel’s history, Isaiah the Prophet, who gave his predictions from 739 to 686 BCE, also told us that the earth was a sphere. In Isaiah 40:22 he wrote, “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.” The words “circle of the earth,” makes it very clear that the earth is a sphere. The Abridged Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew English Lexicon of the Old Testament translates this Hebrew word for circle as (drawn round or make circle or drawn as a circle bound). See also Proverbs 8:27. Job was also inspired by the Holy Spirit to write in Job 26:7, “He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.” Isn’t this the very picture we have sent back to us from numerous space crafts, including the Apollo moon landings? The pictures are worth everything as we watch the earth rotate before our very eyes as it hangs in empty space. Jesus also knew the earth was round as He described His Second Coming to His disciples. He said in Luke 17:34-36 said, “I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed; the one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding together; the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken the other left.” Jesus understood that when He returned, because of the day-night cycle, there would be some people in bed asleep. He also knew that there would be women grinding grain, which is something done in the morning hours, because that is when people made their bread. But Jesus also knew that there would be people working in the fields. So, when people tell you, “Oh, the Bible is so archaic. It has no scientific value at all.” Don’t believe them. They have no idea at all what they are talking about.
Pythagoras was probably the first person to propose that the earth was round somewhere around 500 BCE. He based this idea on his observance of the shape of the terminator, which is the line between the part of the moon that is in light and the part of the moon that is in the dark. In addition, around 430 BCE another scientist named Anaxagoras stated that because of his observations of the earth’s shadow on the moon during lunar eclipses, this was evidence that the earth was round. The important thing to remember is that God knew these facts long before men ever figured it out!
God’s ability to speak and create.
I would like to caution anyone reading verses 3-5 concerning a heresy that originates in these verses. This heresy deals with the concept that God can speak and His creative works instantly come to pass. It is God’s prerogative to speak things into existence, and His ability alone. When God said, “Let there be light,” that is exactly what happened. Light was created. David declared in Psalm 33:6, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” He said it, and it was done! That is the almighty power of God at work!
I bring this issue up, because there is a very destructive heresy that goes through the church periodically which teaches that Christians can also speak things into existence by their words. This teaching is better known as the “name it and claim it” doctrine. This teaching is absolutely not a biblical concept. Why? Because only God has this creative ability. We as believers are not God! It is simply foolish arrogance on the part of men to think they have the power to do what only God can do. This heresy comes from a mistranslation of a passage of Scripture found in Mark 11:22, where Jesus said, “Have faith in God.” Some try and say that it should be translated, “Have the faith of God.” However, no reputable translation renders this passage in this manner. This false idea that you can have the faith of God, is refuted by the very context of what Jesus taught at that moment. Jesus told them to believe in God, and to pray and ask Him for the things they needed. Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24). I am to believe in God, not the words that I speak. The clear intent of Jesus is to encourage the disciples to ask in prayer for what they need, not try and speak things into existence, with their faith. So, be careful when you hear teachings by the Faith Movement today teaching that you can speak things into existence because you are created by God to be a little “god.” Don’t believe it! Remember that this idea that men can become little “gods” was the same lie that Eve believed in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:5).
The second day of creation. Vs. 6-8
On the second day of creation, “Then God said, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.’ Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day” (Gen. 1:6-8). On the second day of creation, we have for the first time the word “made” used. “God made the firmament.” This is a different Hebrew word from the statement, “God created” that you find in Genesis 1:1. There the word created is the Hebrew word barah, which means to shape, cause something to happen, or create out of nothing. Creating is always a divine activity. The Bible never says that man creates anything out of nothing, because we can’t do that. Men make things out of the existing material which God has already created. This is the difference between these two words. God made the original space and matter, and now He is forming that matter, and doing with it as He sees fit. The word made refers to forming or organizing out of existing material. You can see the use of the word made in Genesis 3:7, where after Adam and Eve fell, it declares that “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” This is a very important distinction between what God does, and what man did at this time.
Separating the waters.
On this second day of creation, God separates the atmospheric waters from the terrestrial waters that are on the earth. Note that there is water that is under the firmament and waters which are above the firmament. The word firmament means the expanse, space, or atmosphere that is between the waters on the earth and those held above the expanse or sky. In Genesis 1:20, God gives us a definition of what the firmament is when He states, “Then God said, ‘Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.’” So, this firmament is literally the sky in which the birds fly.
In addition, the word heaven is used three different ways in the Scripture. The first usage of the word heaven likewise describes the atmospheric heavens or the sky above us. In Jeremiah 4:25 it declares, “I beheld, and indeed there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled.” Therefore, birds fly in the firmament of the heavens as we saw in Genesis 1:20. Second, there is the starry heaven, where the stars and the constellations exist. Isaiah describes these heavens when he writes of the judgment of God that will come one day. “For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine” (Is. 13:10). This is in reference to the future Tribulation period that Jesus referred to in Matthew 24:29, where the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give any light, and the stars will fall from heaven. Third, the throne of God is also described as heaven. In Hebrews 9:24 we read, “For Christ has not entered the holy places made by hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Remember then, there is an atmospheric heaven, a starry heaven where the constellations exist, and a heaven where the throne of God is right now.
Why do we need an atmosphere?
Now this firmament or atmosphere that surrounds the earth is described in Scripture as a big tent which covers the earth. You remember I quoted this verse earlier in Isaiah 40:22 where we read, “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.” This is a very appropriate description of what our atmosphere is like which surrounds the earth. Our atmosphere has a very important purpose. The other planets in our solar system or our moon have very little if any atmosphere. Our moon is about the same distance from the sun as we are, but because of the lack of any atmosphere, temperatures can range from +260 degrees to -280 degrees, depending on whether you are in the light or dark side of the moon. This is why life cannot exist on the moon because of its low gravity and the essential vacuum that surrounds it. Therefore, earth’s atmosphere has tremendous benefits. This is why God created a firmament, because without the atmosphere surrounding the earth life could not exist. The atmosphere traps the heat from the sun, giving us stable temperatures, and keeps the right amount of nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%) so we can breathe. Without the atmospheric pressure the water in our oceans would dissipate into space. Remember what I said about the first day of creation, that if you don’t have light, you can’t have life. The same thing is true concerning our atmosphere. If you don’t have an atmosphere, you can’t sustain the water in our oceans. It you don’t have water; you don’t have life.
Also, the ozone in our atmosphere, which ranges about 6 miles to about 30 miles above the earth, blocks the ultraviolet rays that come from our sun. Again, if there is no ozone in our atmosphere, life could not exist on earth, because the ultraviolet rays would destroy all life. Unrestricted ultraviolet radiation would damage our cells and our DNA.
Our atmosphere also prevents meteors from reaching the earth. The atmosphere creates friction which burns up most of these meteorites that come into our atmosphere. Some of the meteors that enter our atmosphere are huge, and do make it to the earth. But for the most part our atmosphere protects us from a lot of things in space that could destroy us. Our atmosphere also permits the formation of clouds, which allow the distribution of water through rain and snow. If you don’t distribute water over the entire earth, you can’t sustain life in every part of the world. In addition, our atmosphere is like a blanket or a tent that traps the oxygen and nitrogen in our atmosphere, so that we can all breathe and sustain life. These are just a few of the reasons God created a firmament or the atmosphere around us.
Water above the earth.
Another important thing to notice is that God created water above the firmament and waters below the firmament. Why would this be necessary? Many scientists believe that this was probably the reason why people before the flood lived such long lives. Haven’t you wondered how people could live to be 800 or 900 years old? How can anybody live that long, and why don’t we live that long today? Why, after the flood, did the people stop living so long? I believe the Scripture gives an answer to this question. It is interesting that after the flood this water that was above the firmament disappeared, it was this water that fell on the earth. In Genesis 7:11 it declares, “In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” In other words, when the flood began there were fountains of water that came from beneath the earth, and waters that came from above the earth. Scientists tell us that this canopy of water around the earth would have protected the earth from the ultraviolet rays from the sun. This would have enabled the longevity of life and would have made the earth like a huge terrarium. The Bible teaches that before the flood there was a mist that came up out of the ground to water the earth (Gen. 2:6). That sounds like a terrarium to me. Once this canopy of water around the earth was gone, the climate of the earth changed forever. This is why archeologists have found evidence of fossilized tropical plant life in Antarctica, which means that the climate there was very different in the past. This is also why you find recorded in Genesis 11:10 and the verses following, every generation lived shorter and shorter lives. As you read these passages you see that after the flood the life spans immediately descend from 500 years, to 400 years, to 300, then 200, down to Abraham who lived a hundred and seventy years. Later you read that Joseph died at a hundred and ten years old, and King Hezekiah lived only 54 years (2 Kings 18:2).
However, evolutionary scientists do not believe in a global flood. Why? If they acknowledge that there was a global flood, they would have to acknowledge the reason for the global flood, which was man’s sin, and the existence of a God who has judged the earth. They will not acknowledge these facts, so they attempt to find another explanation for what we see today. The evidence for a global flood is overwhelming, and I will cover this information when we come to Genesis chapter seven.
The third day of creation. Vs. 9-13
On the third day of creation, “God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear’; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth’; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day” (Gen. 1:9-13).
The creative work that occurs on the third day is very simple. God causes the waters and the dry land to be gathered into one place. The waters are arranged in one place, and the dry land is also put in one place. The natural question that people ask is, when did the land masses separate into our present-day continents? The Bible does not explain exactly when the dry land separated into the continents, but most creation scientists believe this separation took place during the flood. There are several passages of Scripture that also give evidence of this fact. In Psalm 104:6-9 you find in the English Standard Version that it states concerning the flood, “You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.” The New American Standard Version also translates this passage in a similar fashion. During the flood the surface of the earth went through cataclysmic changes, where mountains became valleys, and the valleys became mountains. This would explain why scientists find huge fossil deposits at the highest elevations in the Andes and Himalaya Mountain ranges today. The only way this could have occurred is that these mountain ranges were under water in times past. This fossil evidence obviously reveals that the earth was dramatically and radically changed during the flood. The earth broke apart and was changed in ways that are hard to comprehend.
There is also another biblical option given to us in Genesis 10:25. There the Bible declares, “To Eber were born two sons; the name of one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided.” What this passage means is not told to us. Some think that this was when the continents were divided, possibly when the languages of men were confused in Genesis 11. But personally, I believe that it is much more plausible that the dry land was rearranged during the time of the flood. Why? Because to shift entire continents apart thousands of miles from each other could not result from a slow continental drift as some believe. This kind of cataclysmic change would require a massive and dramatic movement. Yes, scientists can measure small amounts of continental drift along faults and plate movement today, but moving continents thousands of miles apart, would not result from an inch per year of movement. We get slight movements along fault lines when there is a 6 or 7-point earthquake on the Richter scale. But to move continents thousands of miles would require an earthquake of 100 points on the Richter scale. This is why this kind of radical transformation in the surface of the earth fits better during the flood.
Grasses, herbs, and fruit bearing trees.
After God made the dry land appear, then God created the grasses, herbs yielding their seeds, and fruit trees, and all the vegetation on the earth. But people object and say, “How can God do that? Doesn’t grass need sunlight to experience photosynthesis? But God has not created the sun yet.” This is not a problem for someone who believes in seven days of creation. This would only be a problem for an evolutionist. Why? Because if there were millions of years of geologic ages between these days, then obviously this wouldn’t work. Which only proves and gives you further evidence that these days were a 24-hour period of time. For a creationist, there is no problem with grasses and fruit trees to have 12 hours of darkness before the sun is created on the very next day. All vegetation can exist and survive over one night without sunlight!
One last thing to note in these verses is the statement God makes for the very first time that He created this vegetation after “its kind.” This term is used ten times in the first chapter of Genesis. A biblical kind is what the scientific community would define as a species or genus. This statement that plants and animals reproduce after “its kind” indicates that that there are limits of variation within a kind. This is why lizards don’t reproduce with sheep. There is a barrier between the kinds or species that cannot be crossed, which also refutes the teaching of evolution, that man and animals all evolved from a common ancestry. Probably one of the best proofs for this fact of individual kinds or species not evolving is found in the fossil record. I would encourage you to read the book Evolution, the Fossils Say No, by Dr. Dwayne Gish. Dr. Gish was a biochemist and the former vice-president of the Institute for Creation Research. In his book Evolution, the Fossils Say No, he shows you the evidence in the fossil record that there are no transitional forms from one species to another. He explains that what you do see in the fossil record, is that all the same animal life that we have on the earth today is just what you see in the fossil record. He declares that hundreds of millions of fossils have been found around the world, and they are proof that all animals and plant life were all created ready to go from the beginning. These animals and plants all abruptly enter the fossil record with no transitional forms found to date. With the hundreds of millions of fossils we have, you would think that they would find at least one transitional form if evolution were true. But archeologists have not found one. The fossil record is the proof that God created all plant and animal life just as He declared in Genesis. These are the facts that you must consider. The evidence backs up the Word of God, again and again!