As the very foundation of religion must be formed in the knowledge of GOD, and our relation to Him; the Sacred Historian opens this Book of GOD, with a general account of the glorious work of the Divine Persons of the GODHEAD, in Creation; and the particular recital of each day’s work, in the progress of it: concluding the Chapter with an account of the Divine Complacency, in the review of the whole, as being all perfect in its kind, and very good.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
In the beginning ;—that is the beginning of time; for from eternity, JEHOVAH himself subsisted in his threefold character of Persons, revealed in Scripture, under the sacred names of FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST. In proof of this his eternal power and GODHEAD, see Genesis 21:33. Psalm 90:2. Deuteronomy 33:27. Isaiah 44:6. Revelation 1:8, 17, &c.— GOD created, &c. that is, the three Divine Persons in one GOD, here spoken of as GOD in the plural number, in time Hebrew. In proof of the GODHEAD of each person, first consult 1 Corinthians 8:6. John 1:1—3. Job 26:13. And then, in further proof, that in this threefold distinction of Persons, there is but One in unity of the Divine Essence, consult 1 John 5:7. Matthew 3:16, 17. 28:19. 2 Corinthians 13:14.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Mark! what a resemblance there is between ,the empty void of nature, before the lights of heaven were introduced into the creation, and that of the human soul before the light of grace hath passed upon it. No expression can more strikingly point out the state of aim unawakened, unregenerated soul, than that of darkness covering it. Isaiah 60:2.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
2 Corinthians 4:6. Is it not a sweet thought, that the same Spirit which gave light to the old creation, gives light to the new.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. (5) And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Several sweet thoughts arise here. GOD’S approbation of his work. The light was good: James 1:17. And how good and precious is JESUS, who cometh to us from time FATHER, and who is the light and the life of men. GOD divided the light from darkness. Yes: there is an everlasting separation, as in the natural world so in the spiritual, between light and darkness. 2 Corinthians 6:14. The first day of the world was a day of light: so the first day in the spiritual world, in the new life in JESUS, is light indeed from the dead. Thus there is a beautiful correspondence in both. Hail, thou holy LORD! As the sons of GOD shouted for joy when the light at creation sprung out of darkness: so angels celebrated thy victory when, by the glories of thy resurrection, life arose from the dead. And how ought thy people to adore thee, who are interested in this great salvation?
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. (7) And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. (8) And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. (9) And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.† (10) And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. (11) And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.‡ (12) And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (13) And the evening and the morning were the third day. (14) And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:§ (15) And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. (16) And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. (17) And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, (18) And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. (19) And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (20) And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. (21) And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.+ (22) And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.^ (23) And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. (24) And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. (25) And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (26) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Job 37:18 Psalm 19:1 †Job 38:8 ‡Psalm 104:14, 15 §Psalm 74:16, 17 +Acts 17:25 ^Psalm 107:38
And GOD said, Let us;— Pause over this verse; and in confirmation that the creation of man is the result of the Sacred Three, see Ecclesiastes 12:1. where the word Creator, (Hebrews Creators), being in the plural number, means FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST: so again, Job 35:10. where the word Maker, is Makers; see also Isaiah 54:5. Colossians 1:16. Ephesians 4:24.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Reader! mark the peculiarity of expression. Here is not, as before, a command to create, but a council is first called. The Holy Persons of the GODHEAD consult, as it were, before the formation of man. ‘Let us make man in our image.’ What image? what likeness? I desire to speak with all possible reverence while I propose the question. I do not presume to say what that image or likeness is, but only most humbly to enquire. Not the likeness of the invisible GOD, I conceive. For what likeness can man, even in a state of perfection and innocency, bear to GOD? What likeness hath a body to a Spirit? What similitude is there between a creature and his Almighty Creator? But (10th not the HOLY GHOST, by his servant, the Apostle, give some information to this most interesting enquiry, when, speaking of the human nature of CHRIST, he saith, ‘he is the image of the invisible GOD, the first-born of every creature.’ Colossians 1:15. Supposing, then, Adam to have been created in this likeness of the first-born, what a sweet and delightful view is then opened to our meditation on this subject. And when we call to mind what other scriptures have said concerning JESUS as set up from everlasting, and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, it should seem that here, as in all things, JESUS hath the pre-eminence. Proverbs 8:22, 23. Revelation 13:8. Micah 5:2.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (29) And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.† (30) And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. (31) 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.
Proverbs 10:22 Psalm 128:1. 4. †Acts 17:25 Psalm 104:14, 15
It is deserving our attention, that GOD’S approbation of his work, at the close of it,- and after the creation of man, differs from what wa3 said before. All was said to be good; but now it is said to be very good. Was this in consequence of his love to man? Was it as beholding his creature man in his Son CHRIST JESUS? Reader! remember, I ask it as a question: far is it from me to decide upon it. But, methinks, wider this idea, it leads forth the soul of a true believer in CHRIST in sweet meditation from such a thought. If Adam was formed in the likeness of Him that should, in the fulness of time, appear in our manhood, and GOD, beholding Adam in Him, pronounced all his works on his account very good; doth it not lead us to look up and bless the Great Authors of all our n-mercies in creation and redemption, and especially for time personal interest every believer hath in JESUS? LORD! what is man that thou art
mindful of him, or the Son of man that thou visitest him? Psalm 8:4.
AMIDST many other precious instructions arising out of this Chapter, which I pray GOD the SPIRIT to unfold to the mind of the Reader, there are some which I venture to suggest to his more immediate attention.
And first. Is it not a very refreshing thought to the true believer in CHRIST, to behold, in the very opening of the Bible, in time first verse of it, and almost in the very first word of the verse, that the glorious doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which is the foundation of faith, is so strikingly set forth? What an exalted thought is this for the human mind to dwell in contemplation upon, that the GOD with whom we have to do, and from whose goodness we originate, is so widely distinguished, in the nature of his own existence, from all his creatures! And with what veneration, humility of soul, and the most profound homage, ought we at all times to be looking up to this first, greatest, and best of Beings!
But this is not all. It is not enough to look up to the Great I AM, as he is in himself; but we are authorized, nay enjoined, to contemplate and adore the Divine Majesty, as he stands revealed to his creatures. In the 26th verse of this Chapter, we behold the Sacred Three in One, conferring together for our creation: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. As if by this act, they called upon the human mind to admire and adore the GODHEAD in this threefold character of Persons, as the united source of all our mercies. Well might David exclaim, and so may you and I, fearfully and wonderfully am I made! Wonderfully made, indeed, when our creation thus occupied the joint agency of the Sacred Three! Wonderfully redeemed, also, when the redemption of our nature engaged their joint concern! and wonderful will be that joy, which is unspeakable and full of glory, when their joint praises will employ the innumerable host of the faithful before the throne; when that hymn shall be sung: Thou art worthy, 0 LORD, to receive all glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.