Published on May 20th, 2011 | by Stephanie S. Smith
Genesis Study (Part I)
Sometimes it helps to take a fresh look at a well-known passage. No matter how many times I read Genesis, I am amazed at how chock-full of truth it is, which newly reveals itself to me every time. I’m interested in learning how God created things in the beginning, in His original purpose for the fall, and also tracing back to Genesis why the world is the way it is today. I am reading from my ESV Ryrie Study Bible, and here are a few insights I gleaned on different themes I noticed in Genesis 1…
In God’s economy, naming is a divine privilege. He not only names people, but He names the Day and the Night (Gen. 1:5), the Heavens (v. 8), the Earth (v.10), and the Sea (v. 10). Like an artist creating masterpieces one by one, He titles each of His creative works, declaring and defining His authorship and purpose for each work.
Charles Ryrie offers this helpful note on the ancient understanding of naming, “The act of naming this and other parts of creation was, in the Semitic world, an evidence of lordship.” I also think that naming has implications of family and identity. Parents name their children whom they have born, and in God’s family, we inherit His Name of righteousness and holiness as part of our new identity in Christ.
Ten times in this chapter the phrase “according to its kind” appears. God creates vegetation according to its kind, animals according to its kind, sea creatures according to its kind, and so on. My study notes indicate that we cannot be entirely sure what “kind” is referring to, whether biological family or some other category, but the general principle seems to be that God created a variety of living things. He did mass produce one creature with all the same features, rather He tailor-made each creature to be different. He created plants and animals in technicolor, in 3D, everything from tall trees to swimming sea creatures…surely this is a creative God, One who delights in bringing beauty and ingenuity to life.
I also noticed for the first time the build-up in the language from the uniqueness of all the earthly life to the zenith of God’s creativity and uniqueness in creating humans. Ten times Genesis 1 mentions that biological life has been created “according to its kind,” but then in verse 26, God takes a whole new approach. He says, “Let us make men in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26, emphasis added). Animals and plants were created in their own right, but the man and woman would be created like their Creator, introducing a whole new genre to being. Humans would be imprinted with the very image of God, an intimate and holy connection. Genesis presents humanity as the capstone of God’s creation.