Genesis One and the New Creation

This look at Genesis one is not unusual for me, so those of you who regularly read my blog will find no surprises here. Hopefully, though, you will find some deep encouragement. I know I did.

I started a reading plan on my YouVersion Bible app on my iPhone. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to read next, so I decided to let a reading plan tell me for a while.

The plan begins in Genesis, so I’m back in Genesis one.

The First Day: Let There Be Light

Somehow, today, the Scriptures just seemed to open up. As soon as I read, “And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night” (Gen. 1:5), something clicked in me. I always try to read the Hebrew Scriptures deeper, to find not just what is on the surface, but what God is saying about me, about us. Is there direction and insight hidden below the surface?

Spiritual people are supposed to be able to interface spiritually with the breath of God that is in the Scriptures. At least, that’s how I understand “in-spiration,” the God-breathed Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16).

We all know the Scripture’s constant use of light and darkness in metaphorical terms, applying to our behavior, our knowledge of God, our spiritual vision, and even specifically greed. (Commentators tell us that an “evil eye” full of darkness and a “good eye” that brings light—Matt. 6:22-23; Luke 11:34—is a reference to greed and generosity. See also Deut. 15:9 & Prov. 28:22.)

The separation of light and darkness happened the first day. With us, too, his new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), the first thing God does is separate the light from the darkness.

Peter describes a progression in our salvation. “Add to your faith virtue,” he tells us (2 Pet. 1:5). The first thing that we do is separate light from darkness. We choose the day, and we choose the light. We choose goodness over evil, and we reject the darkness.

You are all children of light, and children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of the darkness. (1 Thess. 5:5)

The Second Day: Let the Waters Be Separated

The first time you read the Scriptures, it is easy to assume that when God says, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters” (Gen. 1:6), that he is talking about separating one ocean from another. That won’t happen until day three, however. He is talking about separating the “waters above” from the “waters beneath.”

What a wonderful picture of the Word of God at work in our life!

Perhaps the foremost work of the Word of God is to separate our soul from our spirit (Heb. 4:12). Going back to 2 Pet. 1:5, what we are to add to our virtue, or light, from day one is knowledge. What knowledge?

It would be easy, if we forget the garden, to think that the knowledge we want is to distinguish good from evil. But we must not forget the garden. We do not want to distinguish good from evil! That is the tree that separates us from God!

We want the tree of life, and life comes from Jesus, the living Logos of God. And Jesus’ work is to separate soul from spirit.

The knowledge we need is to know the difference between what comes from our soul and what comes from our spirit because “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the children of God” (Rom. 8:14). Paul adds, “Walk by the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

This is the second day. The waters above represent our spirit, infused with the Spirit of God and by the Word of God separated from our soul.

The Third Day: Let the Dry Land Appear

Lest we think that in the new creation, it is only the spirit that matters, Genesis one shows us where the real work of creation is being done.

Yes, we are to walk by the Spirit, but the transformation that is happening in you and in me is happening in our soul. God never mentions the waters above again, perhaps not even through the rest of the Scriptures, but certainly not in the story of the first creation here in Genesis. The waters above are already perfect. They just needed to be separated from the waters below so that they are not defiled.

It is the waters below where all the work is done.

First, those waters are separated. What appears is nothing but dry land. However, that dry land will become the host and source of all the life-giving food by which we will survive in this world of trials.

It is certain that in the new creation, when we first see the dry land appear, that we are convinced that this will be the source of perfection. This will be the garden of Eden. We will live our Christian life in bliss.

There comes a day for all of us, though, that we find that the land also produces thorns and thistles, and that it is only by the sweat of our brow that we can keep fruit growing.

I am getting way ahead of myself by saying that, though. The thorns, thistles, and the groaning of childbirth don’t come until Genesis 3.

I had a first version of this post in which I got confused and was thinking the fruit arose on day 4 and only the dry land on day 3. I was starting back to reading again, and I realized my mistake and corrected the end of this post. Oops.

Looking back at 2 Peter 1:5-7 and its account of growth in the new creation, we see that the third trait was self-control. On the third day the dry land appeared with all its promise of fruit. Self-control arises in the soul, determination to obey the Spirit of God, to be transformed by the influence of the waters above.

With self-control, the fruit finally arises. Grass, herbs, and trees with fruit are the product of patiently continuing to do good (Rom. 2:7; Gal. 6:9). All arise, and all are good for food, both for us and for the animals of the earth. (We don’t eat “grass,” but we do eat wheat, barley, etc.)

Even so, the next step in the new creation, in 2 Peter 1:5-7, is self-control. If we will continue in self-control, the fruit will come. It will grow, and it will feed our soul, and we will have food to give to others.

Days four through six are for tomorrow. I think day seven can have a post of its own. Thanks for reading!

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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