An Introduction to Genesis/ Genesis 1: Creation
We are going to begin by looking at a verse in II Timothy Chapter 3. Because we want to understand why God has given us his written word. You know, it is possible to study the Bible for the wrong reasons, And I think a lot of Christians do.
Now we need to study the scriptures and approach the scriptures for the same reason, with which God gave it. And that's described in II Timothy 3:16-17.
All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.
It says, all scripture is inspired by God. The Greek word used here is theopneustos, and literally means "God breathed". Simply put, the scriptures came straight from the mouth of God! God is the one who breathed his breath, into this book, just like he breathed into Adam. If God had not breathed into Adam, he would've been just a pile of dust. And any book into which God is not breathed is just a pile of dust. And God breathed into the bible and it's been given to us for teaching to show us the just path for reproof. God's given us his word to rebuke us strongly. To correct us when we've gone astray, to lead us back to the right path, to train us in justice. That means our character should change. It should straighten us because we are all crooked, and ultimately so that we can become men and women of God. As II Timothy 3:17 says, "That the man of God may be perfect" that is complete, And just like a glass of water when it's filled, is complete, our character is rounded off, balanced, complete. And not only are we complete, we are thoroughly furnished, equipped, for every good work. To serve God for every good work that he has prepared for us. So that's the purpose of scripture. And if you study the Bible, you must study it for these reasons. That your character might be full, rounded, and become the way God wants it to be. That you can be anointed and equipped to serve other people the way God wants you to serve.
The Bible was not given for us to increase in knowledge or just to teach other people.
A lot of people use it for the wrong reasons. You must keep that in mind when we go through these studies and all through your life. I started studying the Bible at a very young age, and this is the goal that I've had before me all these years. I did not study the Bible to teach other people. I studied the Bible because I wanted to know what God had to say to me. I studied it at the feet of Jesus and His Church, asking the Holy Spirit to teach me. And he can teach you too.
You know, it says that when the disciples were walking to Emmaus after the resurrection, Jesus opened the scriptures to them. And that is the thing which we want him to do to us as well. We want Jesus to walk with us.
That's how I want to study the scriptures. Jesus walking with me, opening the scriptures. Not only through the reading of His Word but also the hearing of His Word as it is being taught to us by His Holy Church and confirmed to us by His Holy Spirit. And those disciples said our hearts burn within us when Jesus opened the scriptures. And that's how it should be in our life. When the Holy Spirit shows us scripture, our hearts should burn within us. The scripture's not boring. Do you think those two disciples, Going to Emmaus found Jesus boring? Jesus is never boring. An anointed Ministry is never boring at any time.
If we walk with Jesus and allow him to open the scriptures to us, saw hearts will always burn because the scriptures reveal Christ.
The other thing I want to say to you is God has not written the scripture for lazy people.
We got to meditate on scripture. Blessed is the man. It says in Psalm one who meditates on the law of the Lord Day and night. That doesn't mean he's reading the Bible day and night, He meditates on it. Maybe you read it just a few minutes in the morning, but he meditates on it right through the day. And in the middle of the night, if he wakes up, he thinks about scripture. And as he meditates, he understands God's laws. Now in the Old Testament, they meditated on God's laws. In the New Testament. We are told in II Corinthians 3:18 that we meditate on Jesus. The word made flesh and we see Jesus in the scriptures. We meditate on him as he is revealed to us in the pages of the scripture. And such a man, it says in Psalm one, will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. He will always be green. He will always be fruitful all the time.
Another Psalm says, even in old age, he will bring forth fruit. That is God's will for every one of us. It is not God's will that any of you should be a barren tree even when others around you are barren. In a time of drought, you can be green and fruitful. The secret is to meditate on the scriptures, on God's word. There's another verse that's in Proverbs 25:2 which says, it is the glory of God to conceal a matter and is the glory of kings, to search it out. God has in the world concealed deep down under the surface of the earth, all the valuable metals. You don't find gold on the surface. You don't find diamonds on the surface. They're all deep down. What do you find on the surface is grass and mud and dirt. Cheap stuff. And if you read the scripture superficially, you won't get the real riches of it.
It's the glory of God to conceal a matter and if you're going to be a king, one who is reigning in Christ, it's your glory to search it out. To dig out and find it. As God sees that whole heartedness and eagerness in you, the Holy Spirit will reveal to you the meaning of scripture. Jesus said, I thank you father, that you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and you have revealed them to babes. You don't need to be clever, but you've got to have a clean heart. The baby's got a clean heart, it's your heart condition that determines whether you understand scripture, not your head intelligence. It's hidden from the clever and the intelligent. You can't understand scripture by getting a doctorate in theology. You can understand scripture if you've got a humble heart and a good conscience. That's how we understand scripture.
Scripture gives us promises and commands that we have to believe and obey. Words to rebuke us and words to comfort us. So having said those words as an introduction, let me move straight away. We're going to go right through the scriptures, starting with Genesis chapter one.
The word 'Genesis' means “beginning”. In this book, we read about the beginning of creation, the beginning of man, the beginning of sin in the human race, the beginning of redemption, the beginning of the two streams of religiosity and spirituality, the beginning of Babylon, the beginning of Jerusalem, and the beginning of counterfeit religion and true religion.
The Scriptures begin with the words, “In the beginning God.” (vs 1) That's how it must be in our life everyday. God must be in the beginning of everything in our lives, not man. In every area of our life- there will be no limit to what God will do in and through such a person.
In Chapter 1, we have a description of creation. Notice two different words that occur in this chapter-'created' and 'made'. There is a difference between these two words. The difference between something being created and something being made is that when something is created, it is brought into existence out of nothing. But, when something is made it has been formed out of something else that already exists. So, when God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1), he did not form them out of something that already existed. Instead, he brought them into existence when there was no existence beforehand.
However, God made man out of the dust of the ground. He formed man out of that which already existed, the ground.
"Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being," (Genesis 2:7).
"Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule 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. God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28).
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. When the heavens and the earth were created by God through His spoken word, (Hebrews 11:3), He made them perfect. Nothing that God creates is ever imperfect. How then did the earth become empty, dark and shapeless (1:2)? God never creates anything empty, dark and shapeless. I believe it became like that because something happened between verses 1 and 2.
The angel Lucifer fell and became the devil. That was when sin first came into the universe. That is not mentioned at this point, because the Bible was not written for angels , but for man. That's why the creation if man is mentioned in the first chapter, and the fall of Lucifer is mentioned only much later (in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28).
What we read of in the rest of Chapter 1 is the re-making of that corrupted, spoiled, dark, empty earth. And by the time you come to the end of the chapter, it has become a beautiful earth once again. God Himself could look at it and say “it was very good.”
Chapter 1 has a message for all of us. Satan has come into the human race too and made man exactly as mentioned in verse 2- empty, dark and shapeless. We have lost the image of God. God did not create Adam like that. Adam was created perfect. But the devil came in and ruined man. And God had to begin to remake man.
God is in the business of remaking humanity today.
It doesn't matter how shapeless, dark or empty you are. Chapter 1 teaches that God can remake you. He can make you so perfect that you will finally reflect His likeness perfectly, and God himself will be able to certify about you, “Very Good”. That is the message of the very first chapter of the Bible. But how did this change take place? If you understand how it happened, the same thing can happen in your life as well.
Every day God spoke His word. He said something the first day. And He said something the second day. Every day He spoke. That's what you need to see in the very first chapter of the bible-that our God is a living God who speaks. If you want to be transformed, the most important thing you need is to hear God speaking to you.
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4). that's how God planned for man to live. And so if we don't listen to His voice daily, we will not be transformed.
We have to develop the habit of listening to God.
God speaks every day. But most believers do not listen to Him. Even those who read the Bible everyday do not listen to God. Listening to God is not the same as reading the Bible. You can read the Bible like you read a storybook or study it like a chemistry book- and never hear what God is trying to say to your heart.
The other thing we see here is that the Spirit of God moved over the face of the waters. (1:2). After the Spirit of God moves upon you, you must listen to God speaking to you. Only then can you be transformed. We see the Holy Spirit working along with God's Word right from the beginning. Only the Holy Spirit can change man. It was the combined working of God's Word and of the Holy Spirit that brought change and beauty to that chaotic earth that we explained about last week.
The great need in the Church today is for balance. Many believers emphasis the study of the word of God, but do not emphasize dependence on the Holy Ghost equally. If you study the word of God without the Holy Spirit's enabling, you will be as dry as a bone and just as dead. Others emphasize the ministry of the Holy Spirit and neglect God's Word and thus get sidetracked into emotionalism, which they mistake for the Spirit's workings. Like steam engines (that have gone off the rails of God's Word), they blow there whistles furiously and make a lot of noise, but they are stuck in the mud and make no progress, because they do not allow the word of God to guide them.
So, in the very first paragraph of Genesis chapter 1, we see that we can get correction and instruction in righteousness in order to be perfect.
In Chapter 1:4, we read that “God divided the light from the darkness.” This separation is repeated on the fourth day in chapter 1:18. This is a very important thing, and that is why it is repeated. When God created the light, He didn't want the darkness mixed up with it and that was why He made a separation.
Many people imagine that all division must be from the devil. But here we read that the first person to make a division was God Himself. Life can have no fellowship with darkness. When light comes into our hearts, the very next thing that God wants to do in our lives is to separate us from all that is darkness. In 2 Corinthians 4:6 we have a Divine commentary on the creation of light. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus.” Then two chapters later, in 2 Corinthians 6:14-17, we are told of the necessity of separating ourselves from all darkness, The world is full of darkness and there must be nothing of the world in our hearts. “What fellowship hath light with darkness?” When Christians don't separate from the darkness, confusion is the result.
When God place the sun and the moon in the middle of the skies, again He separated the light from the darkness. “And God made two great lights...to divide the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:16-18). In both occasions we see that God “saw that it was good”. Only when you are separated from all that is of darkness can God say, “it is good.”, not otherwise. Many who have received the light have not separated themselves from the darkness. That is why they have so many problems in their Christian life.
Man was created on the sixth day. The beasts of the field were also created on the same day, just before Adam (verse 24). those beasts were made from the same dust that man was made from. Only one thing distinguished man from those beasts: God “breathed into his nostrils” (Genesis 2:7). It is only the Spirit of God in man that lifts him above the level of animals. From this we learn that if we stop living by the Spirit of God, we will sink to the level of animals very soon!. God mad man from the dust to teach him that he was worth nothing apart from the breath of God.
God kept the seventh day as a day of rest. That was the seventh day for God, but it was the first day for man. Man was created towards the end of the sixth day and so his very first living day was a day of rest. God was trying to teach man thereby that he must fellowship with God first before going out to work for Him. Adam and Eve were to work in the garden of Eden only after they had spent a day in fellowship with their God. That is the Divine order for Man: Fellowship first and then service. In the beginning God himself-then God's work. We forget that order to our peril. This was why God taught Israel to respect the Sabbath so strictly. Today, there remains a Sabbath rest for God's people to live in. “There remaineth therefore a day of rest for the people of God.” (Hebrews 4:9).
In Genesis 1:28, God told Adam and Eve to “Increase, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” How did He expect them to do that? Obviously by having sexual relationship. It was God who produced the sexual function in man and told man to use it to produce children. The sexual function in man was also included in what God finally called “very good.” (Genesis 1:31). So we see that sex in marriage is something that God himself has termed “very good”. Sex is very bad outside of marriage, but very good inside it.
When God created man, He blessed him (Genesis 1:28). He told him not only to be fruitful, but also to subdue everything under him and to rule over everything. So we see that God created man to be a ruler, not a slave. God created man to be an overcomer who has everything under his feet. In Genesis we read of God's desire for man to rule. And in Revelation we read of God's desire for man to overcome. (Revelation 21:7). That was God's original will for Man, and he finally finds a few who fulfill His plan and become overcomers. God's purpose for you is to rule over everything. He wants you to rule over sin in your life, over your anger, your lusts, and your passions. He wants you to put them all under your feet. God never created you to be a slave. He created you to be a conqueror and a ruler. And that can come about only when God blesses you (as we read in chapter 1:28). Notice in chapter 1, that God examined each day's work and certified it as good. (God did not say that on the second day, because Satan who had been cast down by God was permitted to dwell in the second heaven). We too should allow God to examine our work each day, to see whether it meets with His approval.
St. Francis of De Sales gives us some great advice concerning an examination of our work each day:
“As to the examination of conscience, which we all should make before going to bed, you know the rules:
Thank God for having preserved you through the day past.
Examine how you have conducted yourself through the day, in order to which recall where and with whom you have been, and what you have done.
If you have done anything good, offer thanks to God; if you have done amiss in thought, word, or deed, ask forgiveness of His Divine Majesty, resolving to confess the fault when opportunity offers, and to be diligent in doing better.
Then commend your body and soul, the Church, your relations and friends, to God. Ask that the Saints and Angels may keep watch over you, and with God's Blessing go to the rest He has appointed for you.
Neither this practice nor that of the morning should ever be omitted; by your morning prayer you open your soul's windows to the sunshine of Righteousness, and by your evening devotions you close them against the shades of hell.”