Who are we? Why do we exist? Where did the world and all matter, space, and time come from? These questions have caused a lot of wonder, curiosity, research, and even stress and discouragement for human beings throughout the years. While one can look at the vastness and complexity of nature and come to an appreciation of some sort of higher power (Psalm 19:1), by nature we’re still left wondering, “How did all of this get here, and why?” Thankfully, God has given us his written Word to reveal to us how and why it all came to be. God’s Word reveals we are his creation.
Out of Nothing
At the very beginning of his Word, God reveals that he created the world in six days out of nothing. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). As the writer to the Hebrews says, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Therefore, in the beginning God created the world and everything we see in the universe out of what you couldn’t see, out of nothing.
During the six days of creation, God created the following:
Day 1 — light and time (Gen 1:3-5);
Day 2 — the sky and “separated” waters (Gen 1:6-8);
Day 3 — dry ground, bodies of water, and plants (Gen 1:9-13);
Day 4 — the sun, moon, stars, and planets (Gen 1:14-19);
Day 5 — fish and birds (Gen 1:20-23);
Day 6 — land animals and humans (Gen 1:24-30; 2:7,15-25).
On the seventh day God rested from his work (Genesis 2:2-3). (See also the timeline below.)
Six 24-hour Periods
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”
God also reveals that the days of creation were six normal, 24-hour days. As God said for each day, “And there was evening, and there was morning” (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31), and as Moses stated, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11; for the word “LORD” in all capital letters see the Church Lingo section). In these passages the most natural way of understanding “day” is a reference to what we know as a 24-hour time period.
Why did God create the world in six days? That’s a funny question considering the points of view that have historically approached it. Before the Theory of Evolution became widely accepted, that question was actually centered on the point of view of “If God is so powerful, then why six days and not just one second?” But now, after scientists have seen how complex this world truly is, the most common point of view has become “Only six days and not billions of years?” And yet, while it seems crazy to believe for many people, in the same Word that reveals our Savior God tells us that he created the world in six days. It was in six days and not in one second because God was showing how much he cares for his creation and especially for us, the crown of his creation. And it was in six days and not in billions of years because God truly is all-powerful.
The Purpose of It All
But why did he create the world and us in it? The answer to that question rests simply on God’s great love for mankind. He wanted to create beings that could be the focus of his immense love, with whom he could have a very special relationship, and who could be precious to him and him to them.
To create and give life to such special beings, he needed to create a place for them to live. As an all-powerful God who could create everything simply by speaking it into existence, he still took great care to create a world that would be a joy and a blessing for humans to live in. He took so much care that this almighty God spent over 5 days to prepare for his special creation, mankind.
The Crown of His Creation Is Created
When everything was finally ready, it was time for God to create mankind. But before he did, he showed just how special they were as he introduced them with an exhortation within himself: “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (Genesis 1:26). And so God created his precious mankind, both male and female, in the very image of God, that is, in God’s image of perfection and holiness. He showed yet again just how special his creation of mankind was to him by describing it with poetry (Genesis 1:27) and by using the whole next chapter to describe how and why he created both male and female (Genesis 2:1-25).
Stewards of God’s Creation
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Having created the ultimate object of his love, he then gave them the opportunity to have the same joy in caring for something as he has. God gave them the joy and privilege of caring for the rest of his creation: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (Genesis 1:28). Mankind could now share God’s caring love with all other beings in creation. By doing so, they would be showing love and thanks to God while also giving glory to him for everything he had done.
But perhaps you’ve noticed that things are different nowadays. And that’s exactly what God is trying to reveal to us by telling us about his creating work. That perfect existence and perfect creation has now been lost because the first two human beings God created disobeyed him and brought sin into the world (Genesis 3:1-24). They lost the image of God and therefore became spiritually disconnected from him, and they passed that new sinful “image” on to us all (Genesis 5:1-3; Romans 5:12). Something needed to be done to fix it. God needed to step in.
Thankfully, he did. He made a promise. He promised a Savior to overcome and to destroy the work of the one who tempted them into sin (Genesis 3:15; 1 John 3:8; see also Forgiveness of Sins for All People). The fulfillment of that promise is the focus of the rest of God’s Word. It reveals that the Savior Jesus eventually came and won our salvation.
The Theory of Evolution Contradicts God’s Plan of Salvation
“By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”
For the sake of preserving the truth and importance of that promise, it’s important to preserve the truth of what led to that promise. Therefore, it’s good to make mention of what some Christians do with the creation account in Genesis. Some Christians combine the six days of creation and the Theory of Evolution into one theory by viewing the days of creation as very long periods of time. As previously stated, God shows that these were six normal days. However, we can’t combine the Theory of Evolution with the six days of creation because the Theory of Evolution contradicts God’s entire plan for our salvation.
If other species evolved into human beings, then there is no Adam and Eve, the first two human beings. If there is no Adam and Eve, then there is no fall into sin. And if there is no fall into sin, then there was nothing that brought death into the world, which means God had always intended for death to serve as the driving force for species to evolve. The problem there is quite simple and yet very big: God never intended for things to die. Death is a result of sin, and that’s the whole reason Jesus came to this earth. He came to die for sin and do away with death, pain, and sadness (see The Resurrection).
Thankfully, as God tells us, there was no sin when he created the world—it was perfect. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). “Good” in God’s eyes equals perfect, so “very good” means that his creation must have been very perfect before Adam and Eve sinned. And thanks to Jesus coming to this earth, dying for our sins, and rising to life three days later we have the hope of an all-new creation someday with no sin or death. “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create” (Isaiah 65:17-18). He did it once, and he promises to do it again. God will create a new, perfect world—all for us.