Introduction to Genesis 1 and 2

By Ron Jones ©Titus Institute 2018

Scripture quotations are from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), ©2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

This introduction begins an exposition of Genesis 1 and 2. We are going to be looking at God's revelation concerning the origins of everything that we see in our universe. God was very concerned that we understand exactly how the world began, civilization began, our whole human society began and his central role in creating it and setting up its structure as a loving God for the blessing of the human beings he created out of his love.

We are dividing this exposition into seven articles:

Genesis 1and 2 Introduction

Genesis 1 Day 1 The Creation of the Earth, Outer Space, and Light

Genesis 1 Day 2 The Creation of the Atmosphere: Sky and Clouds

Genesis 1 Day 3 The Creation of the Dry Land and Vegetation

Genesis 1 Day 4 The Creation of the Sun, Moon, and Stars

Genesis 1 Day 5 The Creation of Sea and Air Creatures

Genesis 1 Day 6 The Creation of Land Animals

Genesis 1 Day 6 The Creation of Man

Genesis 1 Day 7 The Creation of the Day of Rest

Genesis 2: The Creation of Man Detailed

There is a debate going on in evangelical Christianity over the historicity of Genesis. It has come from the secular academic world and has moved into the Christian colleges and seminaries. The debate is over how the Genesis account of the creation of the heavens and the earth relate to two major secular academic issues, the ancient near eastern creation myths and the scientific theory of evolution.

Both of these issues have been embraced by the secular academic world which believes that Genesis is basically just one of the many stories of creation that have come out of the ancient near eastern cultures. The Jews borrowed and changed them to give a monotheistic bent to them, but they are nonetheless ideas that permeated these ancient cultures.

Science has fully embraced a Big Bang cosmos and an evolutionary development of life on the earth where one species developed from another over millions of years. The human genome project has brought even more pressure to bear as they propose that the human species cannot have descended from one couple whether it was the Adam and Eve of the Bible of some other couple.

Christian evangelical academics have faced the issue head on and are lining up under three positions as they attempt to answer the secular academics and provide Biblical answers to their propositions. These positions are defined by what one believes about the days of Genesis. Are they normal 24 hour days? Are they symbolic 24 hour days? Are they long ages of time?

This debate is slowly moving into the local churches of Jesus Christ. There will be many congregations that will have people who believe each of the views or who are just not sure.

This exposition is my attempt to help you sort out what Genesis actually says and what it doesn't say and where the interpretive issues are that have caused disagreement among believers. Which view one takes within the three evangelical positions does not affect one's salvation and these are issue which we as believers are discussing. My goal is not to convince you of my particular position (which is a literal six 24 hour days), but to explain what the text actually says so you can make your own conclusion. In the verses where there is disagreement, I will give the view of each of the three positions, but I will only attempt to defend the six 24 hour day position. That is the one I know best and makes the most sense to me.

As we will see, there is far more agreement on Genesis 1 among Christians than there is disagreement. The disagreement comes over two issues, the creation of light on Day 1 and the creation of the sun, moon, and stars on Day 4.

Today we will be looking at some extremely important issues in interpreting Genesis 1 and 2.

1. The Proper Interpretive Method for the Book of Genesis

The proper method of interpreting any book of the Bible is the historical grammatical literal method of interpretation. This is the same method we use every day when we purchase a book on Amazon or download an ebook or an article from the Internet. As I mentioned, there are basically three evangelical views of the days in Genesis, yet all the evangelical OT scholars that hold these views hold to the same method, the historical, grammatical, literal method.

To understand this method, I want to explain five key words or phrases.

1) Author's intention: The meaning of the text is what the author intended it to mean by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

2) Literal: The meaning of the text comes from the plain everyday meaning of the language of the people which includes similes and metaphors according to its genre.

3) Historical: The meaning of the text must be understood in light of the historical background of the text.

4) Grammatical: The meaning of the text must be consistent with the grammar of the language at the time it was written.

5) Consistency: The meaning of the text because it is inspired by the Holy Spirit must be consistent theologically with the meaning of the rest of Scripture.

2. The Author of the Book of Genesis

The Scriptures clearly teach that Moses wrote the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, which includes Genesis. The Lord commanded Moses to write down his words. It was never the Lord's intent to have his truth passed down to his future followers just by oral tradition.

God authorized Moses to write His revelations down as a record for his people.

Exodus 34:27

The Lord said to Moses, "Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."

Israel preserved the Book of the Law of Moses and handed it down throughout their history up to the time of Jesus.

Joshua 23:6

"Be very firm, then, to keep and do all that is written in the book of the Law of Moses, so that you may not turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left"

The Jews, Jesus and the Apostles believed that Moses wrote the Torah.


v. 19 "Master, Moses wrote..."

Jewish leaders call a quote from Deut.25:5 what Moses wrote. Jesus taught that Moses wrote the Torah.

John 5:46

For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.

Jesus says Moses wrote of him in his books.

3. The Genre of the Book of Genesis

What is the genre of the Book of Genesis?

The text of Genesis 1-11 is presented by Moses as non-fiction historical narrative.

How we approach Genesis determines how we interpret it. If the text presents itself as historical narrative and this is how the original audience understood it, then it should be understood as such.

Determining the genre of ancient books (as well as modern books) is how all of ancient literature is understood by all credible scholars, secular or Christian.

There are two ways to determine the genre of book:

1) The content and language of the text will reveal it.

2) Ancient writers, contemporary and later, will reveal how they understood it.

Then, how do we know Genesis 1 and 2 should be taken as historical narrative?

Let's look at the first criteria.

1) The content and language of the book of Genesis is historical in nature.

The "Toledoth" outline structure of the Book of Genesis

Genesis has a structure based on a historical framework. It is based on the phrase "eleh toledoth" ("these are the generations of" or "this is the history of") that occurs ten times in Genesis. Each time this phrase occurs it narrows the focus to something that has already been discussed: the heavens and the earth (2:4), Adam (5:1), Noah (6:9), the sons of Noah (10:1), Shem (11:10), Terah (11:27), Ishmael (25:12), Isaac (25:19), Esau (36:1), and Jacob (37:2).

Genesis 2:4

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

Creation - Adam

Genesis 1:1-2:4 discussed the creation of the heavens and the earth and now the author narrows the focus to Adam and Eve.

Genesis 5:1

This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.

Adam - Adam's descendants in the line of Seth - Noah

Genesis 6:9

These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.

Noah - Through the flood

Genesis 10:1

These are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Sons were born to them after the flood.

Noah - Shem, Ham, and Japheth and the sons born to them after the flood.

The descendants of Shem:

Arpachshad - Shelah - Eber - Joktan - 13 sons of Joktan - Peleg [?Abram left out here, but added in Genesis 11:10

Genesis 10:32

These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood.

Summary statement

Genesis 11:10

These are the generations of Shem.

Shem?Arpachshad - Shelah - Eber - Peleg - Abram

Genesis 11:27

Now these are the generations of Terah

Terah - Abram - Ishmael and Isaac

Genesis 25:12

These are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's servant, bore to Abraham. 13

Ishmael - Descendants

Genesis 25:19

These are the generations of Isaac.

Isaac - Esau and Jacob

Genesis 36:1

These are the generations of Esau (that is, Edom).

Esau?Descendants while in Canaan

Genesis 36:9

These are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir.

Esau - Descendants in Edom

Genesis 37:2

These are the generations of Jacob.

Jacob - Descendants (including sons/grandsons, 12 tribes of Israel)

Genesis is often divided up into two main sections by OT scholars:

Genesis 1-11 The Beginnings to Abraham

Genesis 12-50 Abraham and the Patriarchs

Genesis is often divided up into two main sections by OT scholars: Genesis 1-11 (The Beginnings to Abraham) and Genesis 12-50 (Abraham and the Patriarchs). Some scholars try to say that Genesis 12-50 is historical while Genesis 1-11 is not.

The entire book of Genesis has the toledoth structure which indicates that Moses intended the whole book to be a historical narrative from the creation of the world, through the descendants of Adam and Eve, through the patriarchs to the twelves tribes of Israel.

Todd Beall, points out the significance of this structure as history,

"Since six of these occurrences are in Gen 1-11 and four occurrences are in Gen 12-50, it seems evident that the author intended both sections to be understood in the same way, as consecutive history. Therefore, hermeneutically there is no warrant for treating Gen 1-11 differently from the rest of the book."

(Beall, Todd S., Reading Genesis 1-2: A Literal Approach in Reading Genesis 1-2, An Evangelical Conversation, edited by J. Daryl Charles, Hendrickson Publishers, 2013, p.47)

The content and language of Genesis 1-11 does not have the characteristics of poetry or poetic language. There is a significant difference between poetry and prose in the OT. Poetry is highly figurative in the OT. The OT Wisdom literature is filled with poetry, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. There is also figurative language in prophecy in the OT as well as in the Book of Revelation in the NT. The poetic language we see in these books is simply not seen in Genesis 1 and 2. The content and language of the Book of Genesis does not have the characteristics of poetry or poetic language.

Let me give you some examples. Compare Psalm 104 and Genesis 1. Psalm 104 is accepted by everyone as poetic so comparing Genesis 1 to this psalm is helpful to see the differences.

One literary genre is poetry. All poetry shares specific characteristics. Poems are written in lines and stanzas instead of sentences and paragraphs. Some poems follow strict rules as to the number and length of lines and stanzas, whereas many poems are free flowing.

Most poetry is abundant in figurative language. Using devices like a simile, metaphor, and hyperbole. Poetry can claim an emphasis on imagination, emotions and heartfelt ideas.

Psalm 104

Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire. He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved.

The figurative language is abundant in these first five verses as well as the rest of the verses in the psalm. Phrases such as "covering yourself with light as with a garment," "stretching out the heavens like a tent," and the others are metaphors about God as Creator typical of poetry.

The book of Job also has a lot of poetic imagery in it. God speaks to his people using poetic form for emphasis because it is vivid and more easily remembered.

Look at

Job 38:1-11

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:"Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?" Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding." Who determined its measurements - surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? "Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb," when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed'?

This is full of figurative language as God pictures himself as a master contractor building the earth and even as a mother birthing the sea.

There is also poetic language in the prophets. Look at

Isaiah 40:21-23

Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness.

Again, phrases like "who sits above the circle of the earth," "its inhabitants are like grasshoppers," are metaphors and "stretches out the heavens like a curtain" and "spreads them like a tent to dwell in" are similes. Both are typical of poetry.

All three passages speak of creation by God the Creator just as does Genesis 1 and 2. But when we look at the Book of Genesis and in particular Genesis 1 and 2 we don't see this use of figurative language. All the things described in Genesis 1 and 2 are things we can see and understand in the language of a narrative.

The use of "toledoth" and the non use of poetic language are two solid reasons for taking the genre of Genesis 1 and 2 as historical narrative. This is important. Hugh Ross and others try to say that Psalm 104, Job 38, Isaiah 40 are creation accounts just as Genesis 1 and 2 are. But that I do not believe it correct based on these two main reasons. Psalm 104, Job 38 and Isaiah 40 are not creation account. They are poetic descriptions of creation which is narrated in one historical creation account, Genesis 1 and 2.

There is a second way we can know Genesis 1 and 2 should be taken as historical narrative.

2) The original audience understood Genesis 1-11 as historical narrative.

The Jews, Jesus, and the Apostles reflect the understanding of the original Jewish audience. Did the Jews, Jesus, and the Apostles understand Genesis 1 and 2 as historical narrative?

Jesus mentions Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 in his answer to the question about divorce and remarriage.

Mark 10:6-9

But from the beginning of creation, "God made them male and female. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.

Jesus calls Abel, Adam's son who was killed by his brother Cain, the first among the prophets killed in the history of Israel thus implying that he was a real historical person. If he was a real historical person, it is logical to assume Adam and Eve, his parents, were also.

Luke, in his genealogy in Luke 3:23-38, mentions the ancestors of Jesus as real historical people who birthed descendants who were the human ancestors of Jesus.

Luke 3:34-38

the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

In Romans 5, Paul mentions Adam and Moses together in a historical timeline of the reign of death. Jesus, the Jews, and the Apostles clearly believed in the historicity of Moses. For this timeline to make sense, Adam had to be a historical person also.

Romans 5:12-14

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned - for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

Paul mentions Adam and Eve and the details of Eve's creation and her deception exactly as detailed in Genesis 2 and 3 in making his point that the man has a primary role in the church.

1 Timothy 2:13-14

For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

His point would make no sense if Adam and Eve were not real historical individuals as described in Genesis 2 and 3.

Hebrews 11 is a description of the great men of faith who trusted God in the OT. Abel is mentioned along with Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses whose historicity no one doubts. As I said previously, if Abel was real so were his parents, Adam and Eve.

Hebrews 11:4-7

4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

Peter mentions Noah and the flood in both of his letters.

1 Peter 3:20

"because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water."

2 Peter 2:5

if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;

Jude mentions Enoch as a prophet.

Jude 14-15

It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him."

Genesis 1-11 as well as the rest of Genesis were viewed by the Jews, Jesus, and the Apostles as the actual history of their ancestors.

4. The series of Instantaneous Supernatural Acts by God During Creation Week

The creation of the heavens and the earth is a series of instantaneous supernatural acts by God that defy scientific explanations. The entire week of creation is a week in which the present laws of physics did not apply. This has to be remembered. God's demonstration of supernatural power cannot be explained. How do you explain the process where Jesus turned water into wine? It just happened instantaneously. How do you explain the resurrection of Jesus? It just happened instantaneously. How do you explain each creation act where God declares "Let there be..." It happened instantaneously. No explanation possible.

There are no rules or explanations that need to be given during the time of creation. No one is able to explain a miracle. We do not need to explain how God actually created the universe from a scientific perspective. We need to merely describe it as God reveals it in the Scriptures.

What we see in Genesis 1 is God speaking creation into existence - that's it. God creates instantaneously. There are no evolutionary intermediary life forms. God creates all the birds at one time, all the sea creatures at one time, all the animals at one time and he creates Adam and Eve at one time.

5. The Simple Language of the Creation of the Physical Universe in Genesis 1 and 2

The Bible is written in the plain everyday language of people. God describes the universe from the perspective of what we see on earth! When we speak about physical phenomena, we often describe things by what we see from the viewpoint of standing on the earth. In Genesis 19:23, Moses writes, "The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar." In Mark 16:2, "And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb." The Scriptures here speak of the sun rising. We speak in the same way. We say the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, but we all know that the earth revolves around the sun and the sun is not actually rising and setting. When we say "the sun rises in the morning" is that a true statement? Yes. It is a true statement of a description of what we see each day. We see the sun rising in the morning. It would not be true if we were in a science class giving a report on the revolution of the earth around the sun.

The Bible uses the plain language of describing physical phenomena by describing it according to what is seen by people standing on the earth. Ancient peoples did not know what was behind physical phenomena so they described it simply by what they saw. Simple descriptive statements about what people see are true when they are described as they see them. This is called phenomenological language, that is describing the phenomena one sees as it is seen, not always as it is.

To understand Genesis imagine standing outside on a sunny day or on a clear night and looking all around. In Genesis 1, God says, "What you see I created!" This language we use every day in our lives and it has been that way since the beginning even though we know that it is not exactly like that. It is not an error to use that kind of language.

6. The Order of Creation

Six Days

The arrangement of the creation is in six days marked by the recurring phrase "there was evening and there was morning." Each of the six days end with the number of the day it was.

Eight Creative Acts

Among the six days are eight creative acts, each introduced by the statement "And God said." The third and sixth days have two creative acts.

The First Three Days On the first three days God creates a world that can be inhabited by his creatures:

Day 1 - v. 3-5 Light/Day and Darkness/Night

Day 2 - v.6-8 Expanse/Sky/Heaven

Day 3 - v.9-13 Seas, Land, Vegetation on Land

The Second Three Days

On the next three days God populates this world:

Day 4 - v.14-19 Heavenly Lights/Sun, Moon, Stars

Day 5 - v.20-23 Sea Creatures, Sky Creatures

Day 6 - v.24-31 Land Animals, Man

The Seventh Day - Rest

The seventh day is holy. So six (the days of creation) symbolizes the natural order, seven the supernatural.

The general order is logical.

If an ancient father wants to provide a place for his son and daughter-in-law to live, he needs to provide habitable land in an environment rich in water, good soil that can yield vegetation for food, and good weather. Then he brings his son to it. God creates a good earth and then the sea, sky, and land creatures and then finally man, made in his image. Notice, it is a simple and straightforward account.

Is the Order of Creation Important?

As I said, God could have created the heavens and the earth all at once "Let there be the heavens and the earth." Done. Or he could have created it with a series of commands, one after the other in a matter of minutes where there is no mention or consideration of days, no evening, and morning. However, we interpret the six days as six 24 hours days or six symbolic days or six day ages, the six days is significant or God wouldn't have done it that way.

It's important to understand that everything God does is for a purpose and for man's instruction. So, what is the purpose of the six days? In Exodus 20:8-11 God gives it to us. He says, "8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." God himself tells us the purpose of the six days of creation. It showed a pattern that human beings were to follow, six days of work, the seventh day of rest and spiritual focus. We will see this when we get to Genesis 2:1-3.

In Genesis 1:14 God says, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years." So, we build our calendar from the movement of the sun, moon, and stars. But there is nothing about the fundamental time frame our entire planet uses called the seven-day week. That comes from God himself.

8. Genesis also shows God followed a simple pattern within each day:

1. Announcement: God said

2. Command: Let there be

3. Result: it was so

4. Description of creative act

5. Evaluation: it was good (because God is good)

Note: One reason for patterns in ancient society was memory. Stories are easier to remember when there are patterns throughout. Again, that brings us to an important point. When God acts, he is not only concerned about the people of God at the time of the action, but he is also concerned with future generations who will listen to or read about it when it is recorded. Everything that God does during creation week is to teach his people important lessons and to help them remember it to hand it down to future generations.

Everything that God does during creation week is to teach his people important lessons and to help them remember it to hand it down to future generations. Again, those who hold to literal days and day/ages will see this in the very acts of God. Those who hold to figurative days will see it in the way God tells the story through Moses.

7. The Purpose and Theme of Genesis 1 and 2

The purpose of Genesis 1 and 2 has three aspects:

1) God (Elohim Yahweh) is the Sovereign Creator of the universe.

We will see many of God's attributes displayed in this creation week which gives Adam and Eve and their descendants a solid idea of who Yahweh Elohim is (Genesis 2:5). I will bring these out as we go along.

The purpose of Genesis 1-2 is to reveal that a sovereign God created everything by the Word of his power according to his will without restraint. God's revelation of Genesis was handed down from generation to generation, some of it in written form (Genesis 5:1) and was fully revealed to Moses and the Hebrew people while Israel was in the wilderness and God was forming his people into a holy nation. It was crucial that they know who God is and his relationship to the world as Creator. They were coming from Egypt which had a strong polytheistic religion centered in their sun god. They were surrounded by the ancient near eastern cultures which also had strong polytheistic cultures.

The creation stories of these cultures were perversions of the original story handed down from Noah to his three sons whose descendants populated the earth after the flood. These stories were all similar. They were filled with many gods who were no more than spirit beings with human faults who were associated with natural phenomenon. The world was molded out of a great battle between the gods. Conflict, violence, pride, and rivalry characterized the creation of the universe in their minds. But the true God, Elohim, was infinitely different which Genesis brings out.

2) God created and structured the universe, the earth, and human society for the good and benefit of mankind.

When God chose to create the universe, he wanted to set up a structure for human civilization that all human beings would follow so that there was not chaos, but order for the benefit of mankind. This order would have basic structures:

1) Society's annual time structure of days, months, and years from the sun, moon, and stars

2) Society's weekly work and worship structure of six days of work and a seventh day of worship

3) Society's food structure of agriculture from the plants and trees God created

4) Society's relationship structure of a family made up of a husband and wife and children.

5) Society's structure of a theocracy where a patriarch (like Samuel the prophet before Israel demanded a king) such as Adam who would lead his family spiritually followed by his designated son from generation to generation

Everything that God does in Genesis 1 and 2 is to set up these structures to create order for human civilization. God is the benevolent ancient father who sets up his son and daughter-in-law for their lives together by providing a piece of land, the materials to build the house of their dreams, the agricultural animals and tools to farm and provide for their family and around them a community of neighbors and friends to share in their lives. All this takes structure and order which was for the benefit of the human beings God created and loved. We will see this throughout Genesis 1 and 2

3. God is full of generosity and goodness and blessing which he pours out on human beings.

Genesis 1 and 2 is all about the abundant generosity and goodness of God who has created man and woman and blessed us abundantly with this incredible world and universe we live in.

Psalm 136:4-9 says,

"to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever."

8. Genesis 1 & 2 and the Ancient Near Eastern Creation Myths

When Moses recorded the Genesis 1 and 2 account of creation did he borrow from other creation myths that were held by the surrounding Ancient Near Eastern Cultures? Did the Jews as a people group believe in a polytheistic landscape of gods, one or two of which created the earth and man? For example, the ANE creation myths speak of a "primordial deep," an ocean, that covered the earth at the beginning. Did Moses believe in that primordial deep because of the ANE cultures around the Hebrews and adopt it in Genesis 1:2? The answer to these questions are important to the proper interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2.

The Jews did not borrow doctrines from the ANE pagan religious culture that surrounded them nor did they reform their doctrines in creating a system of Jewish religious beliefs. The Jews did fall into idolatry at times in their history, but the core beliefs of the earliest Hebrews before they went into Egypt and the core beliefs of the Jewish nation after they left Egypt.

Genesis 1 & 2 is Moses' formal written account of the oral/written records of the events of Genesis that took place at creation and were handed down by Adam through Seth through his line to Noah and his sons before any ANE cultures existed.

Genesis 5:1 says, "This is the book of the generations of Adam."

This is the only toledoth statement in Genesis that has the Hebrew word translated "book" in it. This is significant. It shows that Moses had a written source for the story of Adam and his descendants.

Ken Mathews writes concerning this statement in his Genesis Commentary, "The toledot formula ("account") differs from all others in and outside Genesis by the descriptive word "written" (seper), specifying that the author has used a written source. It is reasonable to surmise that other genealogies occurring in Genesis were also recorded resources available to the author." (Mathews, K. A. (1996). Genesis 1-11:26 (Vol. 1A, pp. 306-307). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

The Hebrew word seper (translated "book") simply means something that is inscribed, irrespective of the external form it takes. A seper can be a scroll or a tablet. Considering the time period, it was probably written on tablets.

Many scholars say that the Jews had similar beliefs about the origin of the earth and the universe as the civilizations of the ancient near east. However, it must be kept in mind that the events in Genesis took place at the beginning of creation, a time way before the ANE cultures existed. This record of the creation event was handed down by Adam through his line to Noah and was brought off the ark with Noah and his sons. It was kept through the line of Shem to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and kept through his sons and their descendants during the time in Egypt.

When God split up mankind in Genesis 11 and confused their languages, the sons of Noah's descendants eventually corrupted the memory of the true God and the true creation into the Enuma Elish and other creation myths. Hebrews 11 records the key descendants of Adam who handed down this record to their descendants to Moses. They were Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Moses did not hear Genesis 1 and 2 for the first time by God. He already knew the basic story from his ancestors who knew the story. Genesis 1 is not a Hebrew development of ANE myths. ANE myths are a pagan twisting of the truth of the Genesis events.

As Moses described the events of Genesis 1, he writes it in a way that emphasizes the differences between the ANE myths and the truth of creation of the true God of the universe and the superiority of the true God Yahweh Elohim from the pagan deities of the ANE world.

9. The Three Major Evangelical Views of the Days of Genesis

There are three major evangelical views about the six days of creation. They are the Literal 24 Hour Day View (Traditional Interpretation), the Figurative 24 Hour Day View (The Majority View of Evangelical OT Scholars), and the Literal Day Age View (Progressive Creation/Hugh Ross).

5.1 The Literal 24 Hour Day View (Traditional Interpretation)

This views interprets the days of Genesis as literal 24 hour days and that Genesis 1-2 establishes a young age of the earth around 6000 years old. Those who hold this view believe that the physical evidence is consistent with a young earth when interpreted properly.

5.2 The Figurative 24 Hour Day View (The Majority View of Evangelical OT Scholars)

This view affirms that the days of Genesis are 24 hour days used figuratively. The intent of Genesis is to tell the story of how God created the universe in a 6 day framework that is easy for people to understand. The age of the earth cannot be determined from the Scriptures. Those who hold this view believe that the physical evidence is consistent with an old earth when interpreted properly. Thus, the current scientific interpretation of the physical evidence establishing an old earth of 4.5 billion years is accepted.

5.3 The Literal Day Age View (Progressive Creation/Hugh Ross)

This view affirms that the word "day" literally interpreted can mean "age" as well as a 24 hour day. They say that in this context, the word means "age" and should be understood as long ages of millions of years. Those who hold this view believe that the physical evidence is consistent with an old earth when interpreted properly. Thus, the current scientific interpretation of the physical evidence establishing an old earth of 4.5 billion years is accepted.

Although we emphasize the differences when we discuss these issues, there are major similarities which all Christians agree on. All three views believe that God is the Creator of everything, God supernaturally created each kind of life on each day, God created in the order Genesis gives, and the evolutionary theory that everything evolved by chance is contrary to Genesis.

Which view one takes within the three evangelical positions does not affect one's salvation and these are issues which we as believers are discussing. My goal is not to convince you of my particular position which is a literal six 24 hour days, but to explain what the text actually says so you can make your own conclusion. But I can't be completely unbiased. Nobody can. And I can't go back and forth from each position. I would be too confused and so would you. So, I will give each view's perspective and then what I believe is the proper view and why. As we will see, the biggest specific disagreement between the three views is the creation of light in Genesis 1:3 and the sun, moon, and stars in 1:14.