The Creation Accounts (Genesis 1:1-2:25)

The First Creation Account

In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth. However, there was a lack of order: the earth was formless, there was darkness over the surface of the deep and God's Spirit was hovering over the waters. So God spent six days creating in order to perfect the world. At the end of each day, once God was satisfied with his creation, he rested.

Day One: God created light, night and day.
Day Two: God created the heavens/sky.
Day Three: God created and ordered the land and sea, and commissioned the earth to bring forth plants and trees to bear fruit.
Day Four: God made the sun, moon and stars.
Day Five: God created sea creatures and birds; they were told to multiply and to fill the sea and sky.
Day Six: God created land animals. Then God created man in his own image. Man was given power over all of the other creatures, blessed, told to reproduce and fill the earth and to rule over it.
Day Seven: God blessed the seventh (Sabbath) day and rested.


Themes

  • All powerful God - Creation happened at God's will - he created and ordered the world in just six days, allowing him to rest on the seventh.
  • Order out of chaos - The predictable language used to describe creation (repeated phrases - "And God said...", "God saw that it was good", "there was evening and there was morning") and the logical sequence of the events themselves imply that chaos is being replaced by order. Imagine "Day 0" as being chaos and "Day 7" as being perfect order.
  • Man given authority on earth - God created man in his own image and gave him power over all the other creatures on earth. He also blessed him, ordered him to have children, and told him to fill the earth with his descendants.
  • God was pleased with his creation - he only rested at the end of each day when he was pleased with the work that he had done, and only rested on the seventh day when he had finished his work.

Contemporary Issues

  • Genetic engineering/human cloning.
  • Creation and science - big bang?
  • Special Sabbath day, different from the rest - Sunday trading/working?
  • Mankind's responsibility on earth - preserving creation and not ruining it (e.g. pollution, destruction of nature). Stewardship.
  • Power of God at work in the world today, through his creation.
  • Arguments between a "God" creator and other methods of creation.

 

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The Second Creation Account

God formed man out of dust from the ground and put him in a garden in the east called Eden. A river flowed out of Eden in order to water the garden, and then divided into four separate rivers called the Pishon, Gihon, Tigris and Euphrates. God planted a whole variety of beautiful trees around the man - and in the centre, he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God formed birds and animals from the ground then asked the man to name them. The man had total freedom in the garden, except he was not allowed to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil on pain of death. God then sent the man into a deep sleep and created a companion out of one of his ribs, and called her 'woman'. The man and woman were both naked, but not embarrassed.


Themes

  • Beauty - the garden is meant to represent paradise.
  • One Rule - the man was given only one simple rule to follow.
  • Freedom - apart from the one rule, the first man and woman had the freedom to behave however they wished.
  • Naïve - the man and woman were inexperienced and innocent, without properly formed consciences.
  • Authority - man was given authority, and was even asked to name the animals.
  • Creation out of something - in the first account God created by commanding; in the second account God created out of the dust of the ground, and then created the woman from the man's rib.

Contemporary Issues

  • Differing roles taken by men and women in the world?

  • What is true perfection?

  • Do we need rules?

      

Revision

Make sure that you know what happened on each of the days of creation in the first account, and be careful not to confuse the two stories!

 

How were man and woman created in each of these two stories?




What phrases are repeated at the beginning and end of each day, in account one?

 



In account two, what instructions/responsibilities was the man given in the garden of Eden?

 

 

List three or four things that we do now which damage the world/environment, and explain what some people are doing to make the world a more pleasant place in which to live.  Which charities might people support?

 

Explain the importance of the seventh day. What do you understand by the word "Sabbath"?  How might Christians keep some kind of "Sabbath Day" today?




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