There are 1189 chapters in the Bible — 929 in the Old Testament and 260 in the New Testament (Halley's Bible Handbook). Genesis One, however, is unique — it is the beginning.
It is the first chapter of the Bible, and it is God's inspired account of creation. If one wants to start at the beginning — of the Bible or creation — he must begin with Genesis One. Genesis One introduces us to God, the world, and the nature of man. In Genesis One, we glimpse the world when it was new and pristine, man before his fall, and God's original plan for man in this world. Genesis One is the root-germ for "the rest of the story," including God's scheme of redemption.
Genesis One begins with the words, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." With simplicity, God s existence is affirmed without explanation, and His eternal nature, wisdom, and omnipotence are implied. He was in the beginning, and He is the First Cause, the Creator of the universe and man. With the simple words, Let there be..., God spoke the world into existence; something was made from nothing at His command! In Genesis One, God is revealed as the Almighty, Eternal God!
Genesis One also intimates a plurality of persons, each fully possessing the essence of deity, as one God. Perhaps, this germ of the threefold personality of the Godhead is seen in the first three verses of Genesis One — In the beginning God...And the Spirit of God...And God said (hence the Word of God) (From Creation To The Day of Eternity, Homer Hailey). A plurality of persons in the Godhead is most definitely alluded to by the plural pronouns Us and Our when God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness (Genesis 1:26). This early seed-thought of One God but three persons in the Godhead is consistent with later revelation, which states that In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made (John 1:1-3), and that For by Him (Christ, h.h.) all things were created that are in heaven and that are on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist (Colossians 1:16,17). The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are all God, and they were all present in the beginning (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3; Job 26:13).
The beginning spoken of in Genesis One was the beginning of the heavens and the earth, time, and the present order of things. In just six days, God created the heavens and the earth, the sea, all of the sea creatures, all of the birds of the air, all of the creeping things and animals that live on earth, and man. While this time period seems to be suggested by Genesis One, it is stated explicitly by Moses at the giving of the Law. "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day" (Exodus 20:11). The Genesis account does not allow for these days to encompass eons. After God divided the light from the darkness, we are told that "God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day" (Genesis 1:5). Likewise, each day of creation began and ended with an evening and morning. With Almighty God, nothing is impossible. God could speak the world into existence, and He could do so as quickly as He wished. In six literal days, God finished the heavens and the earth and all that is in them; He rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:1,2).
God created man in His own image and in His own likeness (Genesis 1:26). Man did not evolve from sea ooze or fish, frogs, horses, apes, or any other kind of animal. Genesis One does not teach evolution; it contradicts this damnable and degrading theory. God created man in His own image just one day after He had created the sea creatures and the birds and the same day that He created the animals of earth. There is neither time nor text in Genesis One to support evolution.
In as much as man is created in the image of God, he is like God in some way. The word image, itself, will allow this likeness to be either outward or inward, physical or moral. For instance, idols were images that outwardly were shaped like birds, cattle, or other of God's creatures. Christians are to be conformed to the image of Christ, not outwardly, but inwardly — in character (Romans 8:29). Man is not physically in the image of God; God is spirit (John 4:24), but a spirit does not have flesh and bones like man (Luke 24:39). God did, however, give man an invisible, immaterial spirit, or soul, that will exist eternally (Zechariah 12:1;Matthew 10:28). It is this spirit of man that is made in the image of God.
Furthermore, God made man morally upright after His image. This thought is supported by Paul's writings to the Ephesians and Colossians when he exhorted "the new man," or Christian, to be "renewed in knowledge after the image of Him Who created him" (Colossians 3:10), or to be "created after God in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24). The image of "Him Who created " man, God, is "righteousness and true holiness." If man was created in the image of God, he was created righteous and holy.
Some have suggested that since God is righteous, wise, wills, and exercises power, man's intellect and his abilities to discern right from wrong, to will, and to have dominion over the creatures may also be attributed to man's unique nature — made in the image of God. Perhaps, this is so. Man is the only creature on earth made in the image of God, and seemingly, he is the only creature on earth who possesses these traits.
When God created the heavens and the earth and all the things in them, everything was good. He gave the sun and moon for seasons, days, and years (Genesis 1:14), and the herbs for food (Genesis 1:30). He intended for man (male and female) to procreate and fill the earth, to subdue it, and to have dominion over the creatures that inhabited the sea and roamed the earth (Genesis 1:26,27). Admittedly, now, the earth is cursed with thorns, and man sullies his image of righteousness and endangers his soul with sins, but it was not that way in the beginning. In the beginning, the world was ideal.
A sense of awe and duty should arise in us from the truths revealed in Genesis One about God and man. The psalmist said of God, When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth! (Psalms 8:3-5). Furthermore, the psalmist calls on us to worship and serve God with gladness because it is God who made us and not we ourselves (Psalms 100:1-3). However, Paul reminds us that God is not worshipped with men s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things (Acts 17:25). Paul further instructs us that since we are God s offspring, We ought not to think the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man s device (Acts 17:29), and we ought not to change the glory of the incorruptible God into an image of corruptible man, birds, beast or creeping things (Romans 1:23). The glory of God as seen in creation compels us to worship and obey Him and to make no graven images unto Him. Furthermore, God s love for man and His concern for man s eternal welfare has necessitated God s scheme of redemption; only in Christ can man renew his image in righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24) and save his soul (Acts 4:12). The image of God is stamped on man; he belongs to God and should give himself to God (Matthew 22:20). Man should seek the glory of God given man in the beginning (Romans 3:23).
There may be other chapters of the Bible that are as equally important as Genesis One; however, no one can rightly deny that Genesis One is a great Bible chapter. It enlightens those who read its truths and instills a reverence for God in those who believe.