Major update: 3rd November 2021
The beginning of the world is described in the Bible like this:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.Genesis 1:1-2
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
God then began to create things:
God named day
And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.Genesis 1:3-5a
God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light ‘day’…”
Mankind can design, create and build amazing things, but we can’t make the sun shine for a few more hours a day!
God named night
and the darkness he called ‘night’. “Genesis 1:5
We may think that the night time is just not long enough after an evening of partying and it is time to get out of bed and go to work, but we just can’t slow down the earth’s rotation.
God named sky (Atmosphere)
And God said,Genesis 1:6-8a
‘Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.’
So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it.
And it was so.
God called the vault ‘sky’… “
We can certainly spoil the ozone but if the Earth’s atmosphere started to disappear out into space could we do anything about it – probably not.
And God said,Genesis 1:9-10a
‘Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.’
And it was so.
God called the dry ground ‘land’…”
The Earth is a beautiful planet with the right conditions for life.
In the soil of the land fantastic plants are able to grow.
The rocks of the ‘land’ provides us with gold, gems, minerals, oil, coal, etc everything that mankind can utilise.
We would have a problem recreating all these things.
There are huge areas of desert in our world (Wikipedia put it at: 32 million square kilometres of land [ii]), but we would find it just about impossible to turn all of that into productive regions.
Also there are often side effects to this:
The use of water is, however, not always without problems.‘Desert greening’ Wikipedia [ii]
Desert greening by the Helmand and Arghandab Valley Authority irrigation scheme in Afghanistan significantly reduced the water flowing from the Helmand River into Lake Hamun and this, together with drought, was cited as a key reason for the severe damage to the ecology of Lake Hamun, much of which has degenerated since 1999 from a wetland of international importance into salt flats…
Prevention of shifting sand dunes is accomplished through plantations of Vachellia tortilis near Laxmangarh town…”
China has started to reclaim some of the huge Kubuqi desert successfully, but it can only restore recently degraded land. [iii]
God named sea
and the gathered waters he called ‘seas’… ”Genesis 1:10
Some people have bought a house by the sea and have then found that the sea is eating away the land.
To stop that is relentless and very expensive and often it is easier just to walk away from the property!
The residents of tiny Happisburgh (Norfolk, UK.)know they are living on borrowed time.‘Norfolk village on the brink of falling into the sea as locals admit ‘nobody can help us’ ‘ by Norfolk Live [v]
It is thought that the village will lose around 97 metres during the next 20 years – one of the fastest eroding coastlines in Britain.
In the next 30 or so years, it is also predicted that this Grade I-listed church, a 16th-century pub and many homes will be lost to the sea, as the Norfolk coast is swallowed up.
The old village is predicted to be gone before 2105, but some people think it will go long before that.
Clive Stockton, 71, and his wife Sue have lived in the village and the historic Hill House for 30 years.
Since then, he has witnessed coastal erosion claim 36 homes, three businesses, the lifeboat, the coastguard hut, the beach car park and the public toilets…”
God names the stars
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.”Psalm 147:4
Even now astronomers are finding more and more stars, there just seems to be an infinite number.
You can even name your own star; for example one is named ‘Lisa’s smile’. [iv]
But we are told that God has already named them and knows them all by name:
To whom will you compare me?Isaiah 40:25-26
Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing*.
Some might say to this; “Hang on a minute, stars die so how can it be said that ‘not one of them is missing’ ?”
The Hebrew word also means ‘lacking’:
* עָדַר (a.dar) ‘to lack’ (H5737c)
So in Isaiah 34:16 it is talking about the wild creatures: “None of these will be missing*” obviously it doesn’t mean that they will never die, because each one of us, all creatures and all created things will have their end.
What it is saying is that wildlife will go on, they will have young ones, they find food and as a generalisation they will lack nothing, they will not be missing from the Earth.
The previous verses put it into context:
wild goats will bleat to each other;Isaiah 34:14-15
there the night creatures will also lie down
and find for themselves places of rest.
The owl will nest there and lay eggs,
she will hatch them,
and care for her young under the shadow of her wings;
there also the falcons will gather, each with its mate.
We know that these creatures (and stars) in their time will die, but when we look at these things in nature they are there – lacking nothing.
Adam gives names to everything else
Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky.Genesis 2:19-20
He brought them to the man to see what he would name them;
and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.
So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
But for Adam no suitable helper was found…”
So why had God named the day, night, sky, land, sea and stars, and then gave the task to Adam of providing names for everything else?
Perhaps God wanted to call attention to the things he had created, to emphasise their importance and to show His unique power over them.
We have got no control over the day and night sequence, nor the weather, nor land or sea, nor the stars.
Whereas man named the trees, fruit, fish, birds, animals because he has the power to cultivate and organise these and to rule over them.
In fact God tells mankind to do so:
‘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 1:26-29
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them,
‘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.’
Then God said,
‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.
They will be yours for food.’ “
Does that mean that God was giving the thumbs up to killing off all the animals and lock them up in small cages, etc…?
No! The Lord wants mankind to care for all the animals, fish and environment.
The verse below hints at this:
The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.”Proverbs 12:10
We all have a responsibility to care for this world, to look after our environment and animals.
That doesn’t mean we have to be Vegans or Vegetarians, because the Lord said to Noah after the flood:
Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.Genesis 9:3-4
But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it.”
Prior to Noah’s flood humans and creatures only ate plants and not flesh:
And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food. And it was so.”Genesis 1:30
But after Noah’s flood the Lord said we can eat meat.
We can choose to eat a vegan or vegetarian diet, but God has said that we can eat meat – provided we look after the animals.
In Paul’s letter to Timothy talking about the ‘end times’ where false teachers will stop marriage and will tell people to abstain from certain foods, Paul tells us about marriage and food:
…God created to be received with thanksgiving…”1 Timothy 4:3
[i] Photo Credit: Les Chatfield Flickr cc.
[ii] ‘Desert greening’ Wikipedia
[iii] ‘China’s Greening of the Vast Kubuqi Desert is a Model for Land Restoration Projects Everywhere’ Time.
[iv] ‘Name a UK Visible Star’ Star Name Registry
[v] ‘Norfolk village on the brink of falling into the sea as locals admit ‘nobody can help us’ ‘ by Norfolk Live
I started on my Faith Journey in 1976 whilst on my sandwich year from college.
Since then I’ve not been restrained to any one denomination – believing that local Church is always important. Through career moves and life changes this has enabled me to play a part in the Assembly of God Church, Elim, various New Church Groupings, Brethren, Anglican and Baptist Churches.
I am married to Jackie and we live in Cambridgeshire in the UK.