Creation begins with the separation of light and darkness. Interestingly, God creates light before he creates any sources of light. Some have speculated that God’s glory served as the initial source of light. The FSB study notes point out that the order of creation is consistent with the ancient perception of the universe. An article by Michael Heiser explains this, and this helpful chart is included to illustrate.
Six times in the first chapter of Genesis, God affirms his creation as “good” or in a right relationship with him. This changes a few chapters later when, because of sin, God curses the earth and all its inhabitants.
The first day, and all the subsequent days of creation, close with an expression: “evening and morning.” Ken Ham is a staunch literalist, meaning he interprets the seven days of creation as 24-hour periods of time. But there are several different approaches to the creation narrative. For a quick summary of some ways the creation story is perceived by theologians, refer to the table, “Interpretation of Days in Genesis.”
The FSB study notes point out how Genesis 1 provides a subtle critique of prevailing ancient–Near Eastern beliefs by deliberately avoiding the words for “sun” and “moon” that carried idolatrous undertones. The writer makes it clear that these two bits of creation respectively rule over the daytime and nighttime only at the creator’s divine appointment.
One of the most exciting applications of Genesis 1 for me is the precedent of creativity that God sets for mankind. Trey Boden explains in his devotional article about creativity:
To understand our place in the drama of creation, we should look at how God created us. God made us in His image to give Him glory through service and love to the world. Because we are made in His image, we can assume that we have a likeness of His creative spirit within us. God initiated this sharing in His creative works by giving Adam the tasks of cultivating the garden (Genesis 2:15) and naming the animals (Genesis 2:20). The major difference between God’s creative action and ours, however, is that God has the power to create something from nothing.
The creation story closes in Genesis 1:27’s summary of mankind’s origin:
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
The FSB study notes summarize the first chapter of Genesis with this huge infographic (click to enlarge) that depicts the seven days of creation like never you’ve never seen it before.
To explore the creation narrative and the rest of Scripture in a new way, download the free Faithlife Study Bible on your smartphone or tablet today.