God’s Saving Word: Praise and Thanksgiving
Genesis 1:1—2:4a: The name “Genesis” means “origin” and comes from a Greek word meaning “beginning.” Today’s reading describes the creation of the universe and the origin of human beings. Out of desolation and darkness God creates the world in six days and rests on the seventh day.
The Story of Creation
1 In the beginning, when God created the universe,[a] 2 the earth was formless and desolate. The raging ocean that covered everything was engulfed in total darkness, and the Spirit of God[b] was moving over the water. 3 Then God commanded, “Let there be light”—and light appeared. 4 God was pleased with what he saw. Then he separated the light from the darkness, 5 and he named the light “Day” and the darkness “Night.” Evening passed and morning came—that was the first day.
6-7 Then God commanded, “Let there be a dome to divide the water and to keep it in two separate places”—and it was done. So God made a dome, and it separated the water under it from the water above it. 8 He named the dome “Sky.” Evening passed and morning came—that was the second day.
9 Then God commanded, “Let the water below the sky come together in one place, so that the land will appear”—and it was done. 10 He named the land “Earth,” and the water which had come together he named “Sea.” And God was pleased with what he saw. 11 Then he commanded, “Let the earth produce all kinds of plants, those that bear grain and those that bear fruit”—and it was done. 12 So the earth produced all kinds of plants, and God was pleased with what he saw. 13 Evening passed and morning came—that was the third day.
14 Then God commanded, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate day from night and to show the time when days, years, and religious festivals[c] begin; 15 they will shine in the sky to give light to the earth”—and it was done. 16 So God made the two larger lights, the sun to rule over the day and the moon to rule over the night; he also made the stars. 17 He placed the lights in the sky to shine on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God was pleased with what he saw. 19 Evening passed and morning came—that was the fourth day.
20 Then God commanded, “Let the water be filled with many kinds of living beings, and let the air be filled with birds.” 21 So God created the great sea monsters, all kinds of creatures that live in the water, and all kinds of birds. And God was pleased with what he saw. 22 He blessed them all and told the creatures that live in the water to reproduce and to fill the sea, and he told the birds to increase in number. 23 Evening passed and morning came—that was the fifth day.
24 Then God commanded, “Let the earth produce all kinds of animal life: domestic and wild, large and small”—and it was done. 25 So God made them all, and he was pleased with what he saw.
26 Then God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild,[d] large and small.” 27 So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female, 28 blessed them, and said, “Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control. I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals. 29 I have provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat; 30 but for all the wild animals and for all the birds I have provided grass and leafy plants for food”—and it was done. 31 God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased. Evening passed and morning came—that was the sixth day.
2 And so the whole universe was completed. 2 By the seventh day God finished what he had been doing and stopped working. 3 He blessed the seventh day and set it apart as a special day, because by that day he had completed his creation[e] and stopped working. 4 And that is how the universe was created.
Today’s Key Verse: Genesis 1:31a
God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased.
In this opening chapter of the Bible, we read how God’s speaking is connected to God’s creative activity. Verses 6 and 9 in Psalm 33 say, “The LORD created the heavens by his command, the sun, moon, and stars by his spoken word.… When he spoke, the world was created; at his command everything appeared.” This word-deed connection (“God/he said/commanded”) occurs ten times in Genesis 1 (verses 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28, *29). Reread each of these verses and identify what God created or what God commanded. Verses 26-29 pertain to the creation of humankind and the call for humankind to participate in God’s creative activity. How do these verses speak to you? What does being created to be like God (verse 27) mean to you?
[*In verse 29 in the Good News Translation, the words “God commanded” or “God said” are implied; in other translations, such as the King James Version and the New International Version, the words are explicitly stated.]
Heavenly Creator, your Spirit moved over the waters, and your spoken word brought creation into being. You were pleased with everything you made. Lord God, I thank and praise you for the beautiful world you created for my earthly home. Teach me to care for all of creation. Amen.
Genesis 2:4b-25: A second account of creation.