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Recap:

So far in our study of Genesis we have looked at time and eternity, and the creation of the heavens, the earth and light. We saw that light was separated from darkness, and the earth from the water. We then covered the creation of plants and trees, and the Sun, Moon and stars. In our last study we looked at Evolution and DNA, life and the Holy Spirit, and God’s purpose in creation.


Read Genesis 1:26 – 2:3

26 Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the Earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.

   

27 So God created man in his own image,

   in the image of God he created him;

   male and female he created them.

   

28 God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the Earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.

29 Then God said, I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole Earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

30 And to all the beasts of the Earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground— everything that has the breath of life in it— I give every green plant for food. And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning— the sixth day.


1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.


Verse 27:

 So God created man in his own image,

   in the image of God he created him;

   male and female he created them.

This reminds us of why we are here, and emphasises three times the fact that we are not an accident; we were created by God in his image. And both men and women now share God’s blessing.


What does ‘God blessed them’ (v28) mean?

A statement that God would not only provide for them all good things (1 Timothy 6:17) but that of all his creation, humankind was unique – being made in the likeness of God – and we would always be particularly cared for by him. It may be helpful to consider that it is the exact opposite of ‘God cursed them’.


Psalm 89:15-17a

15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
   who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD.
16 They rejoice in your name all day long;
   they exult in your righteousness.
17 For you are their glory and strength,

But in return we were given responsibilities v28:

1. Be fruitful and increase in number;

2. Fill the Earth and subdue it.

3. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.


1) It was important that the spread of mankind throughout the world would match that of the rest of creation. All animals and plants have an inbuilt desire to reproduce and this is true of Humans too – but they also have free will and needed direction from God. Note that in this perfect world, there was no degradation of the genetic material and so intermarriage was not a problem.


2) What could ‘subdue it’ mean? The Created world contained all plants, animals, and minerals for our benefit – but we would have to learn how to control them for our use. Selective breeding would produce the best varieties for different circumstances, and every scientific discovery is only discovering something that God placed there at creation! But we still need to learn how to put them to best use.


3) And what does ‘Rule over’ mean? Here we are given authority over all animal life. We are to understand our position in the created order, but our decisions must be fair and just, taking into account the needs of all.


Plant life was not included in this – but plants were for our use, particularly for food. Originally all animals were vegetarian:


29 Then God said, I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole Earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.

30 And to all the beasts of the Earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground— everything that has the breath of life in it— I give every green plant for food. And it was so.


And remained so until after the Flood (Genesis 9:3).


This raises many questions to which I have few answers. Creationist websites offer theories as to how meat-eating species could have once been vegetarian – some plausible, some not so. Why a woodpecker should choose to beat its head against a tree rather than continue to eat seeds is a mystery to me!


But at the same time we must remember that conditions on earth before the flood were probably very different to afterwards. The distribution of coal deposits around the world point to a true ‘Greenhouse Effect’ with tropical rainforests from Australia in the south to Arctic Russia in the north. And oil and gas fields throughout the world also point to vast amounts of biological material – although with no fossil evidence their origins can only be guessed at.


After the flood, with new climatic conditions, vegetative regrowth would have been much slower and a more immediate food source would be needed – hence the permission to eat meat in Genesis 9:3.


31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.


God looked at his creation and decided that in his view it was very good. No need for hyperbole – ‘it was very good’ says it all. Actually, the more you think about the incredible complexities of creation the more you can understand exactly what God was saying.


And there was evening, and there was morning— the sixth day.

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.


Did God breathe a deep sigh and sink back into his favourite chair and put his feet up?


Psalm 121

 3 He will not let your foot slip—
   he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
   will neither slumber nor sleep.


How then do we explain ‘he rested from all his work’?

The word rested (sabat) is more often translated ‘put an end’ and means simply to stop work, to complete what you are doing, and I think that that more accurately states what was happening. But that shouldn’t take away from the fact that God established the Sabbath as his final act of creation, specifically making it holy.


What implications does that have for us today?


Genesis 2Genesis 1c








Genesis 1:1:26-2:3 Man