Note: My husband, DH, is teaching a weekly Bible study on the book of Genesis during his vicarage (internship). These are my notes from his classes. Questions, comments, and respectful debate are welcome.
DH has a B.A. in religious studies and biblical languages.
I have a B.A. in English, history, and Lutheran education.
About the Book of Genesis:
Who? Moses is the author of Genesis. The first five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) are called the Pentateuch or Torah, which Moses authored through inspiration from God. Throughout the Bible, these books are referred to as “the books of Moses” or the “law of Moses.”
What? Genesis contains the history of creation, the history of God’s children, and ends with the death of Joseph.
Where? Genesis takes place in the Fertile Crescent / Mesopotamia.
When? Genesis covers the beginning of time to about 1808 B.C. It was written about 1446-1406 B.C. during the wilderness wanderings. A couple hundred years had passed between Joseph’s death and Moses’ life. The culture back then was focused on oral history, but written history had also been established. Joseph was an educated man who could have recorded history, and only four generations had passed between Adam and Joseph (Adam, Lamech, Shem, Jacob, Joseph).
Why? The purpose of Genesis is to give a context of the world we live in (a fallen creation that was originally perfect), to chronicle history, and – most importantly – to trace the promise of a Savior.
Genesis Chapter 1
Day One: God created the heavens and the earth. Verse two says the earth was formless and empty. God created light and separated it from the darkness. Notice that light was created, but not the sun, moon, or stars. Other Bible verses often refer to Jesus as “the light of the world.” For Christians who believe God guided evolution, the fact that light was created before a light source creates a problem for the theory of theistic evolution.
Day Two: God separated the water from the sky.
Day Three: God separated the land from the sea. We have now had three days of separation. This separation shows that God is a God of order. The separation from the land and the sea is meaningful; think about all the other times in the Bible when land and sea were separated: the flood, the Red Sea, the Jordan. Think about how baptism is a new creation; it gives new life.
Also, we see that God created vegetation on the land this day.
The third day is the first time that God looked at His creation and called it “good.”
Day Four: Although light was created on the first day, God creates the source of light on the fourth day. He filled the sky with the sun, moon, and stars. Evolutionists and theistic evolutionists believe that once the stars and sun formed, it took millions of years for the light to even reach the earth. Once again, theistic evolutionists have trouble reconciling their beliefs with the account of creation, since it records a mature world created within six days.
Again, He called His creation “good” at the end of the fourth day.
Day Five: God filled the sea with sea animals, and He filled the air with birds. He called His creation “good.”
Day Six: God filled the land with land animals, and He called this creation “good.” God also created man on this day. Verses 25 and 26 says man is made in God’s image. Since verse 26 says, “male and female He created them,” we know Eve was created on the sixth day – the same day as Adam – even though we don’t learn the details of her creation until Chapter two. At the completion of creation, God says that it was very good.
(Day Seven will be covered in Chapter two.)
1. How was the world created?
The Bible says the world was created simply through the word of God. It was created from nothing.
2. What important characteristics of God are noticed in the creation account?
- God was not created; He always existed. The Concordia Self Study Bible states in a note on verse one that “the Bible always assumes, and never argues, God’s existence. Although everything else had a beginning, God has always been.”
- The Trinity (Father, Son, and Spirit) is present. Verse 2 says “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Verse 26 uses plural pronouns: “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.” This is one of the first pieces of evidence in a God who is three persons, one essence. Verse 27 (the first piece of poetry in the Old Testament) describes the creation of man three times, emphasizing the Trinity. “So God created man in His own image / In the image of God He created them / Male and female He created them.”
3. How does the order of creation match up with evolutionary theory?
The Bible says that light and vegetation existed before the sun, moon, and stars. This does not align with evolutionary theory. Evolutionary theory also is based on the theory that life advances through deformities and death (survival of the fittest). Creation teaches that everything created was good. Lastly, evolution is based on chance and chaos. Creation is based on design and purpose. Therefore, evolution and creation do not align. Even more so, theistic evolution has too many conflictions between the Bible and the theory of evolution.
The chaos in evolution: Evolution teaches that chemicals and substances combined to create a great explosion, in which matter formed into the planets and stars. Tiny organisms were the first forms of life. Through a series of mutations, these simple organisms formed into more complex organisms. The normal, weaker organisms died off, but the mutated, stronger organisms survived. Over millions of years these organisms adapted to changing environment and also mutated to form different species.
The order in creation: The first three days of creation all involved forming. The last three days of creation all involved filling up what had been formed. Here is a table that helps to reveal a pattern in the order of creation (and is useful to help memorize the order of creation). Notice that the columns correspond: Day one, the earth and sky were formed, and day four, the heavens were filled with the sun, moon, and stars. Day two, sky and water were formed, and day five, the sky and water were filled with sea creatures and birds. Day three, the land and sea was formed, along with vegetation, and day six, the land was filled with creatures.
|Day 1: Forming
heaven and earth
|Day 2: Forming
sky and water
|Day 3: Forming
land and sea
|Day 4: Filling
Sun, moon, stars
|Day 5: Filling
Sea creatures and birds
|Day 6: Filling
Evolution has chaos and chance, with life forming through a series of accidents. Creation has a clear order, design, and purpose.