Chapter one of the Book of Genesis is a lyrical description of the Creation, the works of God, in which he creates light, the waters, earth, heaven and all that’s in it. It is interesting to note that water is pervasive, having been described as the basis of the earth and with which God created the earth. In this chapter, God creates animal life; all creatures that live on the land, in the seas and in the air. It is more popularly recognized as the first six days of existence, of creation. The descriptions in these passages show an omniscient, omnipresent Creator transforming formlessness into form through the power of his word. The end of chapter one describes God forming man in his own image, the creation of a being with both body and soul, to whom God gives domain over the earth and its creatures. God puts it into all living beings to be prolific, to populate the earth with their offspring. Ultimately, chapter one of Genesis is about God creating order out of nothingness, out of profound chaos.
In chapter one, man is the crowning achievement of God’s creation. Man is the only character in chapter one to be created in God’s image. This is manifested in the fact that man is created differently from animals, a parallel to God’s rule over creation in that man is created superior to animals and, as such, is charged with ruling over them. In this, chapter one lays the basis for the world of man. God, as the central character in chapter one, has by the sixth day created a good thing, a place in which there is no evil. By the seventh day, when God rests, Creation has been ordered, and its components and hierarchy are in place but it is still a moral “blank slate.” Thus, the verses of chapter one repeatedly make references to God’s creation as “good,” as inherently Godly and purse. “And God saw every thing that he had made, and,
behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis, 1:31).
Man was created without companionship and without the means to procreate, to go about the business with which God had charged him, to “be fruitful” and populate the earth. As such, the proto-man was created alone, and from him a female made as a companion. As God is over man, man is to be over woman. In this, Genesis provides a roadmap of sorts, a blueprint for what man is to do with what God has created. In chapter one of Genesis, we see the rudiments of society.
1. Did God create man only in his image, or did he create both man and woman in his image?
Both man and woman were created in God’s image. Though woman was created from man, both were created and meant to be images of God.
2. To what does the “firmament” refer?
The firmament is a collective reference to both heaven and earth, to the universal edifice of creation, the earth and the sky.
3. How does chapter one of Genesis provide a framework, or hierarchy, for the ordering of human society?
Chapter one outlines a process, or sequence, that describes how the beasts, trees and plants are to provide “meat” for mankind, and how man is to have dominion over woman.
4. What role does water play in the creation story?
Water is pervasive in creation, the very essence of the universe, from which God formed everything; the lands, the seas and the creatures of land, sea and air.