Genesis 1:26-2:3 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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It Was Very Good
Comments for Study 2

Genesis 1:26-2:3
Memory Verse 27


>1. What did God say before he created mankind? (26-27) How is this different than when God created everything else? What does this imply about mankind compared to everything else he created?

>2. According to verses 26 and 27, what two things were going to be special about mankind? What does each tell us about what God had planned for man to be? To do? What does it mean to me to know that God had a plan for my life before he created me? (Psalm 139:13-16)

>3. How many times does it say mankind was made in the image of God? What does this imply about the most important thing in our lives? (2 Kings 17:39; 1 Chronicles 16:29; Psalms 96:9, 99:5,9, 100:2; Matthew 4:10; John 4:23,24; Hebrew 12:28; Revelation 14:7)

Genesis 1:26-27 "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." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

* "Then" -It is significant that half of the sentences in the first chapter begins with either "and" or "then". This structure clearly means that each statement is sequentially and chronologically connected to the previous statement. Each action follows directly upon the action described in the statement preceding it.

* "Let us make man in our image" -Man was made to have fellowship with God. In other words man was to have communication and communion with God.

This phrase also shows God's love for man, which is greater than His love for the animal world and the rest of creation for God forethought before he made man. Notice when God created and made the rest of creation he said, "Let there be..." But when he created man he said, "Let man be in our image." There is quit a difference; one is authority verses the other is affection. In short, where God created animals from a distance, God created man with affection and forethought.

Proverbs 8:30-31 says, "Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind."

God making and creating man is written on all men's hearts. Even a atheist knows this in his heart. I heard it said that there is no atheist in a fox hole. In life threatening circumstances men turn to the Creator God that they know exists and controls their life and destiny.

I note that man being in God's image made the incarnation possible.

Psalm 139:13-16 "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

We are wonderfully made. We all are very special to God. We are in his image.

* Man being created in the image of God is special in that we can worship God. Every archaeology dig that has been done that found man shows that man worship some sort of God. Although most have distorted the truth of God and therefore worshipped idols, still they worshipped something. This is because man was meant, made and created to worship God. C.S. Lewis comments and thoughts on this in his book, "The Problem With Pain" is quit enlightening.

Verses that verify this is as follows:

    2 Kings 17:39 "Rather, worship the LORD your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies."

    1 Chronicles 16:29 "ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness."

    Psalms 96:9 "Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth."

    Psalms 99:5 "Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy."

    Psalms 99:9 "Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the LORD our God is holy." Psalms 100:2 "Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs." Matt. 4:10 "Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

    John 4:23-24 "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth."

    Hebrews 12:28 "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,"

    Revelation 14:7 "He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."

>4. In verse 26, what do the words "us" and "our" tell us about God?

* "Let our" -This is the trinity; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These three are one, but each has its own identity.

Somewhat similar to the trinity of God, man has (or is capable of having) three parts; physical body, soul (feelings and thought), and spirit (that which is of the spiritual world). When Adam and Eve sinned we will see that the first part that died was his spirit.

The trinity works together like a team in creating everything.

God discussed with himself about man because when man was made, man was to be dedicated and devoted to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we are now baptized into these three names. Matthew. 28:19 says, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

* "make" -Hebrew for "make" is "asah" meaning, "to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application". Elsewhere it is translated and used such as: accomplish, advance, appoint, apt, be at, become, bear, bestow, bring forth, bruise, be busy, have the charge of, commit, deal (with), deck, do, (ready) dress, (put in) execute, exercise, fashion, fit, fly, follow, fulfill, furnish, gather, get, go about, govern, grant, great, hold ([a feast]), keep, labor, maintain, make, be meet, observe, be occupied, offer, bring (come) to pass, perform, practice, prepare, procure, provide, put, requite, serve, set, shew, spend, take, trim,"

I pointed out many times in the first study about the usage and meaning of "asah" here and "bara" in previous verses. There is a difference. However, I need to point out that in the making and creating of man both words are used. Nowhere else is that done. (See below for the use of "bara".)

* "let them rule over...all the earth" -This is lesser than the first point. Mankind was created to rule this world. This was the first mission given man. It is stewardship of the earth.

Man was made last of all creation. This is to show us that we had nothing to do with creating the rest of the universe. (Job 38:4). But that the rest of creation fulfilled God's purpose when he created us. The rest of creation is an honor and a favor to us.

God didn't give us life for no purpose. We have meaning in life. We all have a special task from God. Example: David was to bring Israel as one nation. Ap. Paul was to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. Moses was to deliver the people from Egypt and give the law. Joshua was to bring the people into the promised land. Noah was to build a boat to save life on the earth. Abraham was to have Isaac by faith.

We should seek God's plan for us.

Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

* "So God created man" -The Hebrew word "bara" is used. "Bara" is used 44 times in the Old Testament and is used only when God works. It contains the meaning, "made out of nothing and without the pre-existence of matter." It also contains the idea of complete effortlessness since it is never connected with any statement of the material. A proper definition is as follows: "The production of something fundamentally new, by the exercise of a sovereign originative power, altogether transcending that possessed by man."

Man is a fundamentally new act of God. We are different than the rest of creation including the animals. Man is a special act of the Creator. Chapter 2 gives a more precise account of this.

* "in his own image" -Jesus is the express image of God's person, as the Son of his Father, having the same nature. Man has only some of God's honor that is put upon man, who is God's image only as the image in a mirror, or the king's image upon a coin.

God's image on man is in three general areas; 1) in his nature and character (not of the body but the soul) 2) in his position (place, authority); 3) in his purity.

1) a) nature (essence, root):
    spirit (John 4:24) He exist forever, but with a beginning
    soul (mind and heart [feelings])
    mind capable of complex thought (abstract, beauty)
    free will; a choice
    feelings (love, anger, compassion, hate, zeal, ect). (Exo. 20:5-6)

1) b) character:
    self consciousness
    self determination
    happiness and content (peace)
    faith and faithfulness
    patience, self control & gentleness (Gal. 5:22-24)
    ability to grow
    ability to build
    appreciate beauty (Eph. 5:22-23)

2) place:
    power (authority ["rule over"])

3) purity:
    habitual forming to God's will
    quick obedience
    upright (Ecc. 7:29)
    no evil passions or desires

Eph. 4:24 "and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

Col. 3:10 "and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."

Isa. 6:3 "And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."" Mankind's civilization has progressed and regressed without things being the way they were originally created and should be. Why? God's image is still in us but distorted. We are not in our original state. Still the image of God is in us. Therefore mankind's civilization has progressed.

Since mankind is created in God's image we should not speak ill of another. (James 3:9) Nor should we do ill to another. (Genesis 9:6)

* "male and female" -There is a widespread tendency to regard the male as being in some way essentially superior to the female. (Some say because of the effects of sin recorded in 3:16) In God's purpose, however the male and the female are part of the image of God in man. The resultant partnership, equality and voluntary subordination are in some measure a revelation of the tri-nature of God.

The statement "male and female" tells me that men are different than women. This is true on the physical level as well as the mental level, but not the spiritual level. Some of the physical differences are obvious; while others were made known through medicine and science. I will not go into great detail about them at this time. The mental differences have been ignored by many. I am not saying that women are not as intelligent (or capable of) as men. They are. What I am saying is that women think differently than men; women view themselves and the world around them differently than men. Women's way of thinking does not make her superior or inferior to man; rather each speciality combined makes both the better.

* "male and female he created them" -Being male and female is in reference to human physical nature, our earthly body which is only a dwelling place. Being physical, man is limited to a habitat in this world or a environment made like this word. Being physical mankind has similarities to animals and can degenerate to that level. Being physical means to eat, sleep, and bear children. Being physical our flesh needs maintaining.

Man and woman is also spirit which also needs spiritual maintaining. The spiritual body is much more important (for those born again in the Spirit; Jn. 3) for it is what is created in God's image more than anything else and it is what will last forever (until we get a new resurrection body) for we do not have the tree of life to eat from. The spiritual body shouldn't be sacrificed to gratify the fleshly body which is now slowly dying.

God created Adam and Eve with a physical body, a soul, and a spirit. Physical bodies are chemical as plants and animals are, but angels are not. Souls (heart) are the nexus of thought, will, and emotion like animals and angels have, but plants do not. The spirit is the breath of God which angels are, but animals and plants are not. Mankind is unique in all creation in that we have a physical body, a soul, and a spirit. (Duet. 6:5, 10:12, 11:13, 30:6, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27)

>5. After God created man and women, what did he do? Say? (28) Why was it necessary for God to command them to do the mission that he had created them to do? How does this blessing and command establish creation order?

Genesis 1:28 "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.'"

* "God blessed them" -the first thing God did after creating man and women was to bless them. God wants to bless man. God is the God of blessing.

God blessed man and women before He gave them a mission.

* "and" -The blessing and direction is linked and yet separate. They are distinct, yet connected.

* "said to them" -God gave man direction. His words was a command, but it was said gently out of love. This is because man wasn't to just live. He was created to have mission.

Also, if God didn't give man direction man would do what he think is right.

Mankind would have God's word personally to obey.

* "God blessed them and said to them" -The one who gives the command is over and greater than the one who relieves the command.

God's direction established spiritual order. God over man and man over animals. The order is maintained by obeying God.

God's work now, after man's sin, is to restore creation order.

* "be fruitful...ground" -God's command is three fold:
    1) Be fruitful and increase in number.
    2) Fill the earth and subdue it.
    3) Rule over

Man was to use his God given gifts to fulfill this mission in God's will and way and not causing someone to else to sin or stumble. However, it appears that God was not specific. Therefore there was room left for man's creative and knowledgeable ways. Chapter 2 seems to reinforce this was God let man name the animals.

* "increase in number" -To increase according to God is not to just increase physical man. Rather it is those who would have the image of God. This would take time with children. For example Seth was a man of God. Now it also implies to teaching to gospel to all nations.

Obedience is glorifying God.

>6. What does it mean to "rule over" and "subdue"? What are the practical implication of this mission of mankind today? (John 21:15-17)

* "subdue it" -In Hebrew "kabash". It is a prime root meaning; "to tread down; hence neg. to disregard; pos. to conquer, subjugate, violate:-bring into bondage, force, keep under, subdue, bring into subjection. "

* "rule over" -In Hebrew "radah". "Rabah" is also in verse 26. It is a prime root meaning; "to tread down, i.e. subjugate; spec. to crumble off:-(come to, make to) have dominion, prevail against, reign, (bear, make to) rule, (-r, over), take.

* "subdue...rule over" -Basically together they mean to have dominion over and be the head of as a good ruler would be. Man was to be a steward of creation. Man was to make sure creation was to stay good and improve, not change to evil. Man was to make sure good was to come from creation. This good would be to glorify and honor his Maker. No exploiting is indicated here.

Keep and upkeep.

Psalm 8:5-7 "You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field,"

James 3:7 "All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man,"

Man over animals is part of the image of God in man.

Why not God over animals directly? Why was man put over animals (i.e. "rule over")? God instituted the delegation of authority. Man became God's helper.

Everything is God given to us to be stewards of; Example: our body, children, possession, those we minister to, etc.

Today Satan is called the prince of the world because man follows his ways. Still man has dominion over. But if we don't follow God's ways, then Satan ultimately controls us and our direction.

* Today are mission is recorded in John 21:15-17 "When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."

This is spiritual subduing and ruling over.

>7. Read verses 29-30. What did God do to provide for the physical needs of man doing God's work? How should man respond to God's gracious gift?

Genesis 1:29-30 "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. 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."

* "I give you" -God's gift. Man was not in want in the garden of Eden. Man did not struggle to survive as we do now. But still Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." God gave us all we need to do his salvation work (the Holy Spirit, his word, prayer, fellowship with Christians, elders, etc.)

Thanksgiving and praise is due to our provider. (Psalm 136:25) We are indebted to God. Don't complain to what he has given us. (Psalm 78:18, Dan 1:15) In Eden there was an environment that was easy to do God's work. It was hard work, but not exhausting work as man must work today.

In Eden the work went smoothly and was satisfying, but today this is not the case because of the curse that was a result of sin.

* "They will be yours for food." -God gave man seed-bearing plants and trees that have fruits to eat. Psalm 36:6 says, "Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O LORD, you preserve both man and beast."

Man's body is to be maintained as well as his spirit is. Also since the physical body was from the earth so the earth would maintain it.

It appears that man wasn't to eat meat of animals until after the flood. Genesis 9:3 says, "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

* "And to all the beast...bird...creature" -The beast, birds and creatures were to eat green plants for food.

>8. What does verse 31 teach us about God's sovereignty in creation? What does it teach about the creation itself? What should it mean to me to know that God created me and said, "Very good."?

>9. Think about the meaning of "good". What difference does it make to know that there is a moral absolute good and an absolute good in value? How can we know what these are?

Genesis 1:31 "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the sixth day."

* See notes at the end of lesson 1.

* "God saw all that he had made" -God watches over all creation, over all man. (Psalm 139:1-6, Acts 15:18)

We should also review what God has been doing through us, for us, and by us. (Jer. 2:23; Psalm 119:59)

God began and God finished.

* "very good" -Hebrew for "very good" is "tob mod" which is concise yet vivid language.

All creation pleased God. God had made according to his plan. All was created for himself and his glory.

No defaults, mistakes, no accidents, no flaws, not incomplete.

Creation is for God's glory and serviceable for man.

Every part was good and it was good all together.

I am the way God wants me to be.

Suicide is common because people don't know this truth.

God has made those who believe in his One and Only Son a new creation that is very good.

God values us and it is good.

There is a way that God intended creation to be and to function. There is a way man intended to be; in thought, conduct (action), and heart.

Since the fall, we should strive for a moral good that pleases God. Sin corrupts aspects of good and truth.

True moral standards is not what society or man says but what God says in his word.

>10. Read 2:1-3. What did God do on the 7th day? What does it mean that he blessed the 7th day and made it holy? How do men without God rest? How can we find real rest?

Genesis 2:1-3 "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 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."

* "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed" -No more created work was needed in all creation. However, this does not say that they would not change in shape. (i.e. Molecules would split, chemical reactions would happen, species would grow in numbers and types according to their species, etc.)

* "all their vast array" -There is great complexity and variation in earth.

* "finished" -In Hebrew "kalah". It is a prime root meaning; "to end, whether intrans. (to cease, be finished, perish) or trans. (to complete, prepare, consume):-accomplish, cease, consume (away), determine, destroy (utterly), be (when...were) done, (be an) end (of), expire, (cause to) fail, faint, finish, fulfill, X fully, X have, leave (off), long, bring to pass, wholly reap, make clean riddance, spend, quite take away, waste."

* "so" -When God finished, then he could rest. We should finish a project to our best ability before we rest from it.

God rested not because he was tired (Isa. 40:28), but because he was finished creating and wanted to set man an example who needs to rest.

* "he rested" -Hebrew for "rested" is "shabat". It means, "ceased, cut off."

John 5:17 says, "Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."

Mark 2:27-28 says, "The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath"

The Sabbath rest has often been misinterpreted by mankind. The Levitical laws taught more about the Sabbath rest. Jesus also taught about the Sabbath rest because the Jews had taken the Sabbath rest so strictly that it was not a rest but a hindrance for them.

* "from all his work"

* "God blessed the seventh day" -the Sabbath is a special day. It was different than the other days.

These verses seem to say work for God in six days; rest in him and his word on the seventh.

* "holy" -In Hebrew "kadash". It means; "sanctified, set aside and apart, and distinguished for the rest by God for a special purpose."

Jer 6:16 "This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'"

God appointed a day that we can find rest, refreshment and complete termination of all ordinary work, toil and struggle.

* "rest" -The seventh day was an example for us for we were to take rest in God.

Hebrews chapter 4 teaches another rest of God for God's people. Hebrews 4:9 says, "There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God."

Sabbath is for what really rests us and is what is good for us and the Sabbath is for God and his people.

Fellowship with God is rest.

Spiritual rest is in Christ.

Jesus said, "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy burden and you will find rest."

The presence of God gives us peace of spirit.

God created man in his own image which can only find rest in God.

Our spirit has to come to the source of life, God, so if we don't then no matter how much rest we get we will still be restless.

Deut. 33:12 says, "About Benjamin he said: "Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders."

Rest is not going to church it is going to God.

Special note one the phrase, "And there was evening, and there was morning-the______day," which is not said after the seventh day as it was in the first six days.

* In the first lesson I quoted Origen; "Neither could the seventh day be twenty-four hours," according to Origen. He saw the six Genesis creation days as representing the time that men work on the earth (the period of human history) while the seventh day represents the time between the creation of the world and its extinction at the ascension of all the righteous: "He [Celsus] knows nothing of the day of the Sabbath and rest of God, which follows the completion of the world's creation, and which lasts during the duration of the world, and in which all those will keep festival with God who have done all their works in their six days, and who, because they have omitted none of their duties will ascend to the contemplation (of Celestial things) and to the assembly of righteous and blessed beings."

I also quoted Augustine. In Confessions Augustine notes that for the seventh day Genesis makes no mention of an evening and a morning. From this omission he deduced God sanctified the seventh day, making it an epoch extending onward into eternity.

Special note on the date of the creation of man.

* In 1642, just thirty-one years after the completion of the King James translation of the Bible, Cambridge University Vice Chancellor John Lightfoot completed and published his voluminous (some would say, convoluted) calculation of the exact date for the creation of the universe -September 17, 3928 BC. He drew this conclusion by analyzing the genealogies in Genesis, Exodus, 1 and 2 kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles, taking the years cited in the text as precisely 365 days.

Eight years later James Ussher, an Anglican archbishop of Ireland, published his correction of Lightfoot's date for creation, making it October 3, 4004 BC, again with copious commentary and calculations. Ussher's work included his derivation of specific dates for every historical event mentioned in the Bible.

In a final round of academic sparring, Lightfoot made an adjustment to Ussher's date. He concluded that all creation took place during the week of October 18-24, 4004 BC, with the creation of Adam occurring on October 23 at 9:00 a.m., forty-fifth meridian time. This extraordinarily precise conclusion has provoked some mirth among both Bible scholars and critics.

Young-earth creationists who deny Ussher's assumptions about the genealogies adopt dates for the creation of the universe anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 years ago. From their perspective, the deviation from Ussher's date is significant. But the difference between their dates and the rang of dates affirmed by science is only about 0.0001 percent. For this reason most scientists see little need to distinguish between Ussherite and non-Ussherite young-earthers. From these scientists' perspective, stretching the 6,000 years to 50,000 is inconsequential and does nothing to enhance credibility.

* Some other calculated dates of creation are as follows:
Ussher-4004 BC
Jewish-3760 BC
Using the Septuagint dates-5270
Josephus-5555 BC
Luther-3961 BC
Lightfoot-3960 BC

* Since these dates conflicted with Darwin's ideas there has been a great battle between many "science" and many "creationist". However, before Lightfoot the date of "creation" was never in question. Nor was it a major issue for most did not write much about it, even though they wrote many volumes on the book of Genesis.

In Lesson one I quoted many Bible scholars before Lightfoot's announcement. Obviously there was a diversity among them too, while many did not agree with Lightfoot and Usshers.

After carefully studying the words of Genesis 1 I would agree more with the Bible scholars of old rather than Lightfoot and Usshers. However, I was not there, so I could be wrong in my studies.

If anything I will say that Lightfoot and Ussher were calculating a good estimate of when man (Adam) was first created. However, it is true that I created a Genesis Geneology and put it at the beginning of my Genesis 1 Commentary. Yet, I do note that I did not, nor am I included to set a date for the creation of man because more than anything else I find other facts in the Bible much more interesting and relevant.