Jan. 1 Reading: Genesis 1-3 Commentary
Below is our Genesis 1-3 commentary for our Beginning to End Bible reading program. You can find an email link at the end of this page to share your thoughts or comments with us.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1)
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen. 1:27)
Genesis 1 – The Beginning
Everything has a beginning. The world is no different. While many theories exist as to the beginning of all things, there is really only one answer that satisfies. Genesis 1:1 says it this way, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That verse leaves no doubt who is responsible for everything we see. All that exists has its origin in God.
Genesis 1 gives us the outline of how God created. Over a span of 6 days, He made all things. There is debate about how long this took, whether each day was a literal 24-hr. period or whether each day met some longer time frame. In the end, that point doesn’t really matter. Ultimately, the only issue that matters points to God as the sole creator of the universe.
On each day, God created something new:
Day 1 – Light (and the separation of light from darkness) (vv. 3-5)
Day 2 – Heavens (and the separation of the heavens and the waters) (vv. 6-8)
Day 3 – Dry land (and the separation of the waters from the land) (vv. 9-10) and plants (vv. 11-13)
Day 4 – Sun, moon and stars (vv. 14-19)
Day 5 – Animals (vv. 20-25)
Day 6 – Man (v. 26-27)
God clearly valued His work calling it “good” after each day of creation. But after the sixth day, when He created mankind, He looks at His work and calls it “very good” (v. 31). That makes mankind stand out as the extra special work of God’s creation.
To further support this, mankind is the only created thing that is given a command. They are told to “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (v. 28).
But the real reason humans stand out over all other created things is that they were made in the image of God (v. 26). When we understand what that means it should give us a greater appreciation for all individuals, no matter their background, ethnicity, race, gender or the personal challenges they face. All people are created equal and equally loved in God’s eyes because they originated from Him. And we can also logically assume that the character and personality traits we exhibit (i.e. our capacities to love, give, think, plan, etc.) have their origins in God the Father.
Note: Many believe that the term “Us” used in v. 26, is a reference to the Trinity, or Triune Godhead (God the Father, God the Son [Jesus] and God the Holy Spirit)
Genesis 2 – Life in the Garden of Eden
Chapter two gives us a deeper look into life in the Garden of Eden and the events surrounding the creation of mankind on the sixth day. God planted a garden eastward of a place called Eden. It was paradise, filled with all kinds of living things, water and precious gems in the surrounding regions. We read that the tree of life was in the garden, along with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Of this former tree, man was told not to eat for “…in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (v. 17).
It was there that he placed the man (Adam) He had created. He gave Adam responsibility in the garden “to tend and keep it” (v. 15). Yes, Adam had work to do. What responsibilities did he have in this perfect world? We know he was responsible for naming the animals (v. 20). Beyond that we are not sure. But Adam was expected to take care of and work the garden.
God did notice one thing though. It was not good that Adam was alone. Until this point, he was the only one of his kind created. So God decided to make a companion for Adam, a helper comparable to him. He caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep, removed one of his ribs and created a woman (vv. 21-22). She is called Eve – “…the mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20).
As man and woman, Adam and Eve were uniquely designed for one another. God emphasizes their special relationship by saying, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (v. 24). This is the Biblical picture of marriage.
Genesis 3 – The Temptation and Fall of Man
Life in Eden must have been spectacular. Unfortunately for Adam and Eve, life in paradise did not last.
We don’t exactly know how long they lived in the Garden of Eden before the events of Gen. 3. At some point though, we are told that a serpent approached Eve and tempted her with eating from the one tree God told them not to eat from.
Yes, the serpent spoke to her! Did all animals speak at this point? Again, we don’t know. At the least, this particular animal was speaking through the power of God’s adversary, Satan.
In verse 4, Satan (through the serpent) lies to Eve saying that when she eats the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil she will be like God, knowing good and evil. Eve can’t resist the appeal of the fruit and took some to eat. She then gives it to Adam, who also eats. In that moment, they realize they are naked, are embarrassed about it and make clothes to cover themselves (v. 7)
When God confronts them, they do not take responsibility for their actions. Adam blames Eve. Eve blames the serpent.
Two curses are handed down by God. Additionally, two realities are altered:
- The serpent’s curse – will be forced to crawl on his belly and eat dirt (vv. 14-15)
- The ground’s curse – will produce thorns and thistles and be difficult to work (vv. 17-18)
- Eve’s new reality – will experience pain in childbearing; will desire to lead, but will be submissive (or subject to) Adam’s family leadership (v. 16)
- Adam’s new reality – will endure a life marked by hard work and toil and ultimately death (v. 19)
In addition, to the curses listed above, Adam and Even are cast out of the garden and an angel (a cherubim) is placed at the gate as a guard so no one can reenter the garden and eat from the tree of life (which would have allowed them to live forever).
Note: Many see Gen. 3:15 as the first prophecy in the Bible. The language is ambiguous but could point to the promise of the Messiah (Jesus = “Seed”) who would come one day and through His death on the cross, crush the head of Satan.
Questions and Thoughts to Consider from Gen. 1-3:
What stands out to you about the creation story (Gen. 1)?
How do you overcome temptation to do things that are contrary to the will of God (Gen. 3)?
What other points would you want to know about in our Genesis 1-3 commentary? Email us here with questions or comments.