Genesis 1=The First Story of Creation
Bible Background: The 1st story of the Bible is fittingly, the 1st creation story! Genesis 2 offers another account, which is quite different! That tells us the writers/editors of Genesis weren’t trying to solve all the mysteries of creation, and left us 2 accounts to ponder. One is how God calls creation into being (by God’s command) and brings order out of chaos. The second is how God is very personally involved in creation as a ‘hands-on’ God.
Digging deeper: 1. This is the orderly, “six day” story of creation, where God ‘rests’ on the 7th day. While some Christians argue that God created the universe and everything in it in six, twenty-four hour days, is that the main point of this account? Or is it stressing that a) God is responsible, and b) that God put everything in good order, and c) that people have an important part in the care of this creation?
2. There is beautiful ‘rhythm’ to this account: “and there was evening and there was morning, the 1st day…” Note that in Jewish tradition, the day starts at sundown, not at sunrise! Plus, each day, God declares “It was good/very good!”
3. Verses 6-8 describe the ‘dome’ that becomes ‘sky’. The ancient understanding of the earth was a flat earth, with waters above and waters below. (Plus, water was a symbol of ‘chaos’), so this is a scene of God putting needed boundaries in place, like God did in separating the waters from the dry land. This is God bringing order out of chaos! (Sadly, hurricanes breach those boundaries!)
4. In vs. 26-28 God creates humans in God’s own image; male and female. A necessary task for people of God is to look upon every human being, including the ones we can’t stand, as created in the image of God, and bearing signs of God’s handiwork. Jesus gives us a lesson in that in Matthew 25 when we serve him when we serve a stranger or someone in need.
5. V. 28 also reports God giving humans “dominion” over the birds, the fish, and every living thing. Some have taken that to mean “it’s all ours to use as we see fit.” But the word “dominion” is to be understood as like when a king has dominion over land and people, the king’s job is to protect and care for the people and the land. How can we as individuals, as church, as a nation take better care of God’s creation? What change of heart or mindset or lifestyle does that require?
6. This story is not complete without the sabbath day…the day for resting in God!