Genesis 1:1-2:4a: In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so. God made the two great lights-the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night-and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. 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,
Summary – Genesis is the book of beginnings and the very first chapter explains the creation of the cosmos by the voice of God. On day one, God made light; day two, sea and sky; day three land, plants, seeds; day four, sun, moon, stars; day five, fish and birds; day six, animals humans; day seven: God rested.
Insight – There is so much to mine from this famous passage, but the main thrust of the author is in the order of the creation process. Notice that if you take the first three days and line them up above the last three days, they perfectly correspond to each other, day by day. God was working in the first half of the week to prepare and then in the second half of the week to fulfill and complete His creation. If you were there on the first part of the first day, it would have been unclear that God was up to anything “good.” Even by the third day, it “did not yet appear what the earth should be.” But by the end, God brought it all together in beauty and completion. He loves order. He loves preparation. He works things out to fulfillment according to His plan. Remember where we are in the lectionary readings [and Church History]. This is the Sunday after Pentecost, Trinity Sunday. We remember the way that God had been working throughout all of human history to prepare, then “in the fullness of time” when it was just right, He sent Christ. Then, following this, He sent His Spirit. At the end of this process, we can join Him as we look back on His work in the world and declare it all to be “very good”.
Child’s Catechism – What did God make on each day?
Discussion – What specifically is the relationship of the first half of the week to the last? If the earth was created as a very “good” thing for us to enjoy and tend to, how should we then live – how should our attitudes and dispositions reflect this?
Prayer – Holy Father, You are good. The universe which You have created is too small a place to contain Your goodness. We praise You for Your eternal goodness, and thank You for this good earth, over which You graciously reign according to Your good plan. Give us eyes to see the light of Your Word overcoming the darkness in the world today. And give us hearts to rest and rejoice in it, for You are at work, doing all things well. Finally, make us to be faithful stewards in all things over which You’ve placed us, by the power of Your Spirit Who moved upon the waters, and in the name of Your Son, our Lord, Whose world this is. Amen.
Contributed by Pastor Ben Rossell