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"God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power." - Hebrews 1:1-3
The Old Testament - A Brief Overview
Genesis - The First Book of Moses
Moses under the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote Genesis, the first book in the Bible and the book of beginnings. The beginning of the world, the beginning of man, and the beginning of the Hebrew people.
The Seven Days of Creation
The Bible reveals that God made the world, and all that is in the world, and the entire universe out of nothing. He spoke His Word, and everything came into existence. This is creation.
According to Genesis 1, God created the world in 6 days:
The First Day. Light.
God created light on the first day, and He separated the light from the darkness. The lights he called day, and the darkness he called night.
Gen 1:3-5 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
The Second Day. The Firmament
God created the firmament on the second day, which he called heaven. There were upper waters and lower waters, above the firmament and below the firmament.
Gen 1:6-8 Then God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
The "firmament" here refers to the atmospheric heaven where the clouds are as well as the celestial heaven where the stars are.
The Third Day. Land and Vegetation
On the third day God created dry land in the midst of the lower waters, He called the dry land "Earth" and he called the gathering of the waters "Seas" or oceans. He separated the oceans from the dry land. He also created every plant and tree according to its own kind, and each bearing its own seed.
Gen 1:9-13 Then God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth"; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day.
The Fourth Day. The Sun, Moon, and Stars
God created the sun, moon, and the stars on the fourth day. He placed them in the firmament (heavens) to provide light for the earth, and to provide seasons for each year. The two great lights, the sun and the moon, would provide light for every day and every night. The greater light, the sun, would provide light for the day, and the lesser light, the moon, would provide light in the night. He created the stars to govern and rule the earth, and to give it light.
Gen 1:14-19 Then God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; "and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
The Fifth Day. Sea Animals, and Birds
God created the fish and all other living creatures in the oceans and the lakes. He also created the birds to fly above the earth, and He commanded all living things to be fruitful and multiply.
Gen 1:20-23 Then God said, "Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens." So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
The Sixth Day. Land Animals, and Man
It was on the sixth day that God created man, and He created man in his own image. He also created the animals on the sixth day, and he placed man in charge of all the animals. He told man to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.
Gen 1:24-31 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind"; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "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." And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. "Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food"; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
The Seventh Day. God Rested From His Work Of Creation
On the seventh day, He ceased from His labor and established the Sabbath.
Scholars disagree as to how long these "days" might have been. The Bible seems to indicate a literal 24 hour day. Scholars also differ on the date of creation. It would be impossible to know exactly the number of years back to the creation since the Bible's lists of generations sometimes skips names, and any other historical records are limited. According to the Bible and archaeology man has been here for about 6,000 - 10,000 years approximately. No one can be certain.
The purpose of the Bible is not to scientifically sketch every detail of creation but to reveal to man that God is prior to and distinct from His creation, that He is directly responsible for its having come into being, through His Word, that its continued existence is dependant upon Him, and that man has been given the highest position of honor and responsibility in that creation.
Ps 8:3-4 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?
Isa 40:12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, measured heaven with a span and calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?
Isa 40:26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; he calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing.