Pastor of Iglesia Conexiones, and author of Biblical Prayer for Today's Believers: Transform Your Prayer Life (available on Amazon).
The book of Genesis is one of my favorite books of the Bible. It is ancient, enigmatic, and epic. It also lays the foundation for the doctrines and spiritual principles of the biblical faith.
In this post, I would like to share with you my notes on the second part of Genesis 1. Having created the earth and the skies, nad having ordered the cosmos to sustain life, God then creates animals and humanity.
In my comments, the reader will see that I allow and sometimes favor the possibility of Genesis 1 to 3 being interpreted symbolically rather than literally. This isn't because I believe in Darwinism—I do not—but because I hold that certain elements of the narrartive lend themselves to such interpretation, especially since such interpretation naturally surfaces when the reader compares the text with his own understanding of the natural world (the sun, the moon, and the stars are in space, not the sky; plants don't grow in one day; snakes don't talk, etc.)
Please note that this post is a continuation of my previous post: Reading through The Bible, Genesis 1:1-19.
Commentary on Genesis 1:20-23
(v.20) God commands that the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and that birds fly in the expansion beneath the skies. As I previously noted, God is speaking to his Spirit, and the Spirit is responding to God by following God's direction.
(v.21a) In response to God's command, God created the great sea creatures, all the living creatures that swarm in the waters, and every winged bird. God created all these according to their kinds—there were several different kinds of these.
It is natural for the reader to wonder why God commanded the creatures to exist if God himself then created the creatures he commanded to be. The answer is that the God who commands can be distinguished from the God who creates: the God who creates is the Spirit of God, who was introduced in Genesis 1:2.
Now, do the different kinds necessarily mean that one kind cannot evolve into a different kind as Darwinism proposes? Not necessarily: if the entire creation account is taken literally, then it does contradict Darwinism; if it is not taken literally, it does not necessarily contradict it—in such case, it means that the current varieties that exist are the varieties that God determined should exist together with humanity.
(v.21b) God evaluates his creation and determines it is good.
(v.22) God blessed the living creatures he created, both marine animals and winged ones. God wants his creation to be fruitful (procreate) and to multiply (increase in numbers as a result of the procreation); God wants them to fill the waters in the seas and multiply on earth (he wants them to inhabit the spaces he has made for them).
(v.23) Once again, the author (Moses) states that a cycle transpired: there was evening and there was morning. What is meant is that God completed his work on the fifth day, stopped working in the evening, and resumed his work only until the following morning, when the sixth day began (compare with John 11:9). Thus, God is setting an example for human beings to follow the rhythm of nature in their lives.
Commentary on Genesis 1:24-25
(v.24) God resumes his work on day six, pressumably in the morning. God commands that the earth generate various kinds of living creatures: livestock, creatures that creep, and wild animals.
The statement "And it was so" signifies that God's command was fulfilled.
(v.25a) Of course, although the earth generates the animals, it is the Spirit of God doig the work—earth by itself does not have the power to generate organisms. Thus, we read that God (that is, God's Spirit) made the various kinds of animals: livestock, creeping animals, and wild beasts.
(v.25b) God finally evaluates his work and determines it was good.
Commentary on Genesis 1:26-28
(v.26) God then invites the Spirit to create together with him. God and the Spirit will create humanity in their own image and likeness. The humans are to rule the creatures and the earth—just as the Sun rules the day and the Moon rules the night.
It is important to note that God does not direct the Spirit to create humanity as he had directed him to create all other things, but God intends to be involved with the Spirit in the creation of humanity.
Of humanity alone does God say that he and the Spirit will create them in their own image and likeness.
Although nowhere in the Bible does God ever instruct people to make an image of him, but instead forbids the making of such image and likeness (Exodus 20:4), God himself makes here an image and likeness of himself: humanity.
Humans are, in general, created in the image and likeness of God. This means that humans are like God and therefore they can exercise dominion over all the earth and the creatures in it, and they can also have a meaningful relationship with God, unlike animals.
(v.27) God created the human in his own image and likeness, and he created them male and female. Thus, both men and women bear the image of God.
(v.28) God blesses the man and the woman he created, telling them to be fruitful (procreate), multiply (increase in numbers), fill the earth, subdue the earth, and rule over all the creatures God had created.
Commentary on Genesis 1:29-31
(v.29) God gives them the man and the woman all plants that bear seed and all fruits from trees for food.
(v.30) God also appoints the same plants and fruits as food for the birds and the land animals.
Verses 29 and 30 encompass the following considerations:
- Harmful plants, seeds, and fruits did not yet exist.
- God did not originally create animals to be eaten.
- The consumption of plants does not equal death—plants are not alive in the same way that animals and people are.
- The sea creagtures are probaby included in the blessing in th words "to everything that moves upon the earth in which there is life" (LEB Genesis 1:30) since earth encompassed the waters (see verses 1-2).
(v.31) God examined all his creation, and he determined it was very good.
God finished his work during the daytime of day six, before the evening. Day six ended in the morning, when day seven began.
Commentary on Genesis 2:1-3
(v.1) This verse summerizes the first chapter of Genesis: God finished creating the heavens, the earth, and everything in them (Sun, Moon, stars, plants, animals, humans, etc.). The author of this passage uses the phrase "the heavens and the earth" to refer to the entire cosmos.
(v.2) That God finished on the seventh day does not mean that God (a) worked on the seventh day or that he (b) did not rest in the evenings. What it means is that all the work he had been doing throughout the creation week (days one to six) was finished by the start of the seventh day (the morning of the seventh day). After finishing all his work, God rested on the seventh day.
God did not rest because he was tired—God rested in the sense that he came to an end of all his work.
(v.3) That God made the seventh day holy because he rested in it helps us to understand the doctrinal purpose of Genesis 1 and why it is divided in days: the entire chapter is meant to explain to ancient Israel why they must work six consecutive days and both rest and worship on the Sabbath.
Genesis 1 is the foundation of Moses' Law (the Torah) and the entire biblical faith.
- There is one God.
- This one God is complex—he has a Spirit through whom he creates and to whom he can speak.
- God is the creator of all things.
- God has decreed a certain order for all things.
- God's follows must submit to his order.
- God has even oimposed and exemplified a rhythm for all his creation.
I invite you to check out my next post for my notes on chapter 2.
Do you have any questions? Do you have any suggestions? Did I miss anything? Comment below to let me know.
Also, check out the videos below.
Is Genesis History?
Mathematical Challenges to Darwin's Theory of Evolution
© 2021 Marcelo Carcach