Now, let’s leave all compromise behind, start forming our worldview based on God’s Word, and look at how God told us He created the universe. Let’s take God at His Word. It may be helpful to follow the instructions of Martin Luther: “But, if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are.”
First, let’s remember a few things:
1 - Before Genesis 1:1, there was nothing
Nothing means nothing. There was no Heaven, there were no angels, there was no time, there was no matter or molecules, and there was no space for any matter or molecules to exist in! There was nothing. Only the Godhead existed before the beginning - God the Father, God the Son (God the Word), and God the Holy Spirit.
2 - God began creation for a purpose
Isaiah 45:18 tells us: “For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited...”
God made everything with an end-goal in mind; to be handed over to mankind. His plan all along was to give the authority of the earth and all it’s creatures to humanity. Psalm 115:16 reinforces this idea: “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men.” We were made to rule and have dominion over this earth.
As Christians, let’s separate ourselves from the pagan ideas of “mother nature” and radical environmentalism. This Godless mentality has begun to creep into the church, using codewords such as “conservation” and “green innovations.” The simple reality is this: the earth was made for us, we weren’t made for it (or by it)!
3 - Before the very first verse, God had everything planned out
Hebrews 4:3 “...although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.”
Ephesians 1:4 “...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”
Revelation 13:8 “...the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
The foundation of the world was laid at the very beginning. We see this in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Obviously, the earth wasn’t completed yet; God took the rest of the week to form it and fill it. So, what happened on Day One was the creation of the world’s foundation - that is, the creation of what God was going to build on later.
In the previous verses, we see that God had things worked out from the foundation of the world. He had already set in motion and accomplished everything that He was going to do throughout history (Hebrews 4:3), He had already chosen and justified us (Ephesians 1:4), and He had already committed Himself to sacrifice (Revelation 13:8). Sin didn’t take God by surprise. God knew that Adam would abuse the free will that He gave him. Still, out of love for us - God planned everything out! Before there was anything, God knew everything that was going to happen!
It’s important to understand that our wise and powerful Creator knew the end from the beginning. He is omniscient (all-knowing)! He knew every sin, every cruelty, every injustice and every offense to His nature that mankind would develop throughout the millennia. In spite of the evil we would bring into the earth, out of love for us God began to create...
Genesis 1:1-5 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.”
“In the beginning...” - The Creation Of Time
In order for a beginning to be possible, time itself had to be created.
Incidentally, the very first three words of the Bible are in total agreement with science. Science itself teaches us that anything that can be measured has a definite beginning and end. Since we can measure time (using seconds, minutes and hours), we know that it had a definite beginning. What science can’t explain is how time began. For the answer to that question, we need to look at the first phrase in God’s Word - “In the beginning, God created...” Time is a created thing - created by God at the very beginning!
“...God created the heavens...”
Notice that the word heavens is plural. Apparently, there is more than one heaven - and more than one heaven was created at the beginning of Day One. Paul clarifies this to us, and is specific about the number of heavens in existence. 2 Corinthians 12:2 says, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago - whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows - such a one was caught up to the third heaven.” Nowhere in the Bible do we see mention of a fourth heaven, fifth heaven or seventh heaven. Apparently, three is the number.
So there are three heavens - what are they? The Bible isn’t silent about this, but clarifies what each heaven is made of.
The third heaven is where God is enthroned. It is the place that we commonly call Heaven. Psalm 11:4 is referring to the third heaven: “The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in Heaven.” Isaiah also speaks of the third heaven in Isaiah 66:1: “Thus says the LORD: ‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool.” So we can see that God is enthroned in the third Heaven.
The second heaven is the spiritual climate of this world. It’s the very real spiritual realm where we encounter spiritual forces such as angels and demons. Ephesians 6:12 speaks about these spiritual forces in the second heaven (which Paul calls “heavenly places”) - “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 2:2 refers to Satan as the “prince of the power of the air” - a reference to the authority that Satan believes he has over the second heaven. The second heaven is where God’s people receive angelic help and engage in spiritual warfare.
The first heaven is the natural heaven. It was created in Genesis 1:6. Originally, it was known as the “firmament” (or expanse), but in verse 8 it was renamed “heaven”. We see from verse 20 that the birds fly in the expanse of heaven. We also see in verse 14 that all of the stars are also inside the expanse of heaven. So the first heaven starts just above the ground - with the earth’s atmosphere - and extends out as far as the furthest star.
Remember, we saw in Genesis 1:1 that God created the “heavens.” This means that at least two heavens were created on Day One. Were all three created at the beginning? If not, which ones were? Genesis 1:6-8 shows us the answer - the natural heaven was created on Day Two! So on Day One, we see the creation of the second and third heavens. So after the creation of time itself, God created His heavenly dwelling place and the spirit realm.
Presumably, the creation of the second and third heavens also included every angelic being that inhabited them. We see support for this idea in Job 38:6-7 “To what were [the earth’s] foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” We’ve already discovered that the foundation of the earth was laid on the first day. But the physical stars weren’t created until the fourth day. So the stars in Job 38 are not literal stars - but symbolic of angels. The creation of the second and third heavens at the beginning included the creation of every angel in them!
Another interesting fact can be seen in Job 38:7 - we can actually find the time of day that the angels were created! In this verse, angels are actually referred to as morning stars - indicating that they were created on the morning of the very first day! All of the angels, including Lucifer himself, were made on day one - before anything else had been created. They watched in wonder as God continued to create, singing His praise all the while!
"...and the earth."
After the creation of the heavens (Heaven itself and the spirit world) and the angels that filled them, God turned His attention to the natural realm. He created the earth.
This was a very different earth than we know today. We can see the initial state of the earth in verse 2, "The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." At its beginning, on the first day of its existence, the earth was a dark, formless and water-covered mass. Once again, this condition wasn't a result of some kind of judgement. The earth was unformed because God hadn't formed it yet! It wasn't filled because He hadn't filled it yet! This water-covered earth was what the Bible calls the "foundations of the world." This wasn't a destroyed world - it was the foundation of the world to come!
Here we can see a distinct difference between the biblical and secular worldviews. The secular worldview states that the original earth was a ball of molten rock that had to cool down for 500,000,000 years before the oceans could form. This view is in direct opposition to what the Bible says - that the earth was covered in water from the very beginning. These worldviews are complete opposites from the very beginning; they can't be reconciled!
Genesis 1:3 "Then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light."
As we read this passage carefully, paying attention to every detail, we can see that there is something missing - the sun! In fact, there is no sun, no moon, no stars; no light of any kind. You see, God doesn't need a natural light source - He is light! 1 John 1:5 says "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all." So on the first day, God created light without a light source. Earth was being illuminated by God Himself!
One day, there will be a new heaven and a new earth - crowned by the New Jerusalem. We don't know if the earth itself will be sunless, but we do know that the city will have no need of a natural light source. Revelation 21:23 shows us why, "The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light." God Himself will be the light of the New Jerusalem!
This was the state of the earth for the first three days of its history!
Day and Night
Genesis 1:4-5 "...and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night."
There were two parts to this creative act:
First, God had to contain the light that He created and make it shine from a particular direction. When God said, "Let there be light" - you better believe there was light! There was light everywhere! Every rock, every crevice, every inch of the earth was illuminated by God's glory! The only way to divide the light from the darkness was to isolate and direct the light. When He did this, one side of the earth was lit up while the other side was dark.
Second, God had to begin the rotation of the earth. Think about this; the idea of a rotating earth is ingenious! Without a spinning earth, one side would be perpetually light and the other side perpetually dark. Rotating the earth allows every side of it to experience day and night.
The First Day
Genesis 1:5 "So the evening and the morning were the first day."
This was Day One. It began with the creation of time itself ("in the beginning"). It included the creation of the heavens (the place we call "Heaven" and the spiritual world), the creation of the angels (the "morning stars" - the inhabitants of the heavens), the creation of earth (the water-covered foundation of what was to come), and the creation of light. The day ended with the division of light and darkness and the creation of daytime and night.
Once again, remember this rule: the Hebrew word for day (yom) always means a 24-hour period if there is a number or a time of day attached to it. In Genesis 1:5 we see two times of day ("evening and morning") and a definite number ("the first day"). You see, God has insisted three times in this verse that Day One was an actual, literal day. How much clearer could He be?
This was the very first day - the very beginning of the Creation Week!