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Creation in Genesis

23rd December 2005, sjh

 

1) Reading the Bible

The Bible is actually a collection of 66 individual books, collected together in a conventional order. The names of these books often is that of a person, or a descriptive title. The first book is called “Genesis”, which means “beginning”.

Each book is further divided up into chapters and verses. An average chapter is about one page in length, while each verse is numbered and is only about the size of a sentence. The numbering is useful for referring to specific sections of the text. The notation “Genesis 12:4” Means the 4th verse of the 12th chapter of the book of Genesis in the Bible.

Language

The Bible was originally written down primarily in two languages. The first section, called the Old Testament was written in the ancient Hebrew language, and the New Testament in the Greek language of the 1st century AD. In modern times, people will normally read a translation of the text into their own languauge. There are many different translations of the Bible into English, and each have their own different properties. Some are targeted at accuracy, some at readability, while others aim at particular styles of language and interpretation.

This study series uses the World English Bible Translation. It was chosen because of its permissive copyright license and its use of modern English language.

2) Creation of the World

The very start of the Bible gives a brief description of the creation of the world. Initially there is a couple of sentences about the state of the Earth and/or universe before the days of creation, and then there are accounts of what happened on each day over a seven day period.

This chapter can be a source of confusion when trying to fill out the details of this basic record. It is useful to recognise the broad audience that it has been written for over the years, and to see the description in the context of a person on the Earth

Genesis 1

Genesis 1:1: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep. God's Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters.

3 God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 God saw the light, and saw that it was good. God divided the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. There was evening and there was morning, one day.

6 God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." 7 God made the expanse, and divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse, and it was so. 8 God called the expanse sky. There was evening and there was morning, a second day.

9 God said, "Let the waters under the sky be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear," and it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas. God saw that it was good. 11 God said, "Let the earth put forth grass, herbs yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with its seed in it, on the earth," and it was so. 12 The earth brought forth grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with its seed in it, after their kind: and God saw that it was good. 13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

14 God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of sky to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of sky to give light on the earth," and it was so. 16 God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of sky to give light to the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

20 God said, "Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of sky." 21 God created the large sea creatures, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind. God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." 23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

24 God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, cattle, creeping things, and animals of the earth after their kind," and it was so. 25 God made the animals of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind. God saw that it was good.

26 God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion 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." 27 God created man in his own image. In God's image he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them. God said to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29 God said, "Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree, which bears fruit yielding seed. It will be your food. 30 To every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the sky, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food." And it was so.

31 God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. There was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. WEB

Genesis 2:1: The heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 On the seventh day God finished his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 God blessed the seventh day, and made it holy, because he rested in it from all his work which he had created and made. WEB

3) Creation of Life

After describing the overall creation process, the record then follows on a more specific description of the creation and role of humans. This sets down the relationship between God and humans, and also between humans and their environment.

This chapter gives a location for the birthplace of civilisation in the Middle-East. Using inference from time periods through the rest of the Bible, the date of this creation of Adam can be placed at around 4000BC.

Genesis 2

Genesis 2:4: This is the history of the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Yahweh God made earth and the heavens. 5 No plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for Yahweh God had not caused it to rain on the earth. There was not a man to till the ground, 6 but a mist went up from the earth, and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Yahweh God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 8 Yahweh God planted a garden eastward, in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 Out of the ground Yahweh God made every tree to grow that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 10 A river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it was parted, and became four heads. 11 The name of the first is Pishon: this is the one which flows through the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; 12 and the gold of that land is good. There is aromatic resin and the onyx stone. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon: the same river that flows through the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Hiddekel: this is the one which flows in front of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates. 15 Yahweh God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16 Yahweh God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die."

18 Yahweh God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him." 19 Out of the ground Yahweh God formed every animal of the field, and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field; but for man there was not found a helper suitable for him. 21 Yahweh God caused a deep sleep to fall on the man, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 He made the rib, which Yahweh God had taken from the man, into a woman, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She will be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh. 25 They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. WEB

4) The Sin of Adam and Eve

In Genesis chapter 2, the newly created Adam was given one basic law. He was not to eat from a particular tree that grew in the garden of Eden. The punishment for eating the fruit of the tree was death. Chapter 3 looks at a temptation to disobey this law, and the consequences that it would have on both himself and on Adam's descendents, who are the people of the world today.

Genesis 3

Genesis 3:1: Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, "Yes, has God said, `You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?'"

2 The woman said to the serpent, "Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, `You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'"

4 The serpent said to the woman, "You won't surely die, 5 for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit of it, and ate; and she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Both of their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8 They heard the voice of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God among the trees of the garden.

9 Yahweh God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?"

10 The man said, "I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."

11 God said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

12 The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate."

13 Yahweh God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

14 Yahweh God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above every animal of the field. On your belly shall you go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel."

16 To the woman he said, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will bring forth children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."

17 To Adam he said, "Because you have listened to your wife's voice, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, `You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 Thorns also and thistles will it bring forth to you; and you will eat the herb of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face will you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

20 The man called his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 Yahweh God made coats of skins for Adam and for his wife, and clothed them.

22 Yahweh God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, lest he put forth his hand, and also take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever..." 23 Therefore Yahweh God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed Cherubs at the east of the garden of Eden, and the flame of a sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. WEB

Notes

The behaviour of the serpent indicates the existence of an animal on the earth that we obviously don't see anymore. Through the Bible there are examples at times of things reported to have happened that we no longer see now. It is understood that God has the power to do these things or make changes in the world to suit his plans.

The consequences for breaking this law have followed through to history. The mortality of Adam and Eve has propagated through to all of humanity as their descendents. Also, later the role of Jesus as a saviour was in some ways to reverse this process. A hint of the role of Jesus is given here in Genesis 3:15, where the offspring of Eve (Jesus) would conquer the offspring of the evil.

Following these first three chapters, there is a very brief scan of two thousand years of history over the next eight chapters. A sequence of people are named and several events, including the great flood at the time of Noah.

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