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In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
In the beginning; - that is the beginning of time; for from eternity, Jehovah himself subsisted in his threefold character of Persons, revealed in Scripture, under the sacred names of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. In proof of this his eternal power and Godhead, see Genesis 21:33 ; Psalms 90:2 ; Deuteronomy 33:27 ; Isaiah 44:6 ; Revelation 1:17; Revelation 1:17 , etc.
God created, - that is, the three Divine Persons in one God, here spoken of as God in the plural number, in the Hebrew. In proof of the Godhead of each person, first consult 1 Corinthians 8:6 ; John 1:1-3 ; Job 26:13 . And then, in further proof, that in this threefold distinction of Persons, there is but One in unity of the Divine Essence, consult 1 John 5:7 ; Matthew 28:19; Matthew 28:19 ; 2 Corinthians 13:14 .
Mark! what a resemblance there is between the empty void of nature, before the lights of heaven were introduced into the creation, and that of the human soul before the light of grace hath passed upon it. No expression can more strikingly point out the state of an unawakened, unregenerated soul, than that of darkness covering it. Isaiah 60:2 .
2 Corinthians 4:6 . Is it not a sweet thought, that the same Spirit which gave light to the old creation gives light to the new.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Several sweet thoughts arise here. God's approbation of his work.
The light was good: James 1:17 . And how good and precious is Jesus who cometh to us from the Father, and who is the light and the life of men. God divided the light from darkness. Yes: there is an everlasting separation, as in the natural world so in the spiritual, between light and darkness. 2 Corinthians 6:14 . The first day of the world was a day of light: so the first day in the spiritual world, in the new life in Jesus, is light indeed from the dead. Thus there is a beautiful correspondence in both. Hail, thou holy Lord! As the sons of God shouted for joy when the light at creation sprung out of darkness: so angels celebrated thy victory when, by the glories of thy resurrection, life arose from the dead. And how ought thy people to adore thee, who are interested in this great salvation?
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
And God said, Let us pause over this verse; and in confirmation that the creation of man is the result of the Sacred Three, see Ecclesiastes 12:1 where the word Creator, (Heb. Creator's), being in the plural number, means Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: so again, Job 35:10 where the word Maker, is Makers; see also Isaiah 54:5 ; Colossians 1:16 ; Ephesians 4:24 .
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Reader! mark the peculiarity of expression. Here is not, as before, a command to create, but a council is first called. The Holy Persons of the Godhead consult, as it were, before the formation of man. 'Let us make man in our image:' What image? what likeness? I desire to speak with all possible reverence while I propose the question. I do not presume to say what that image or likeness is, but only most humbly to enquire. Not the likeness of the invisible God, I conceive. For what likeness can man, even in a state of perfection and innocency, bear to God? What likeness hath a body to a Spirit? What similitude is there between a creature and his Almighty Creator? But doth not the Holy Ghost, by his servant, the Apostle, give some information to this most interesting inquiry, when, speaking of the human nature of Christ, he saith, 'he is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature:' Colossians 1:15 . Supposing, then, Adam to have been created in this likeness of the first-born, what a sweet and delightful view is then opened to our meditation on this subject. And when we call to mind what other scriptures have said concerning Jesus as set up from everlasting, and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, it should seem that here, as in all things, Jesus hath the pre-eminence. Proverbs 8:22-23 ; Revelation 13:8 ; Micah 5:2 .
And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
It is deserving our attention, that God's approbation of his work at the close of it; and after the creation of man, differs from what was said before. All was said to be good; but now it is said to be very good. Was this in consequence of his love to man? Was it as beholding his creature man in his son Christ Jesus? Reader! remember, I ask it as a question: far is it from me to decide upon it. But, methinks, under this idea, it leads forth the soul of a true believer in Christ in sweet meditation from such a thought. If Adam was formed in the likeness of Him that should, in the fullness of time, appear in our manhood, and God, beholding Adam in Him, pronounced all his works on his account very good; doth it not lead us to look up and bless the Great Authors of all our mercies in creation and redemption, and especially for the personal interest every believer hath in Jesus? Lord, what is man that thou art mindful of him, or the Son of man that thou visitest him? Psalms 8:4
ADMIDST many other precious instructions arising out of this Chapter, which I pray God the Spirit to unfold to the mind of the Reader, there are some which I venture to suggest to his more immediate attention.
And first. Is it not a very refreshing thought to the true believer in Christ, to behold, in the very opening of the Bible, in the first verse of it, and almost in the very first word of the verse, that the glorious doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which is the foundation of faith, is so strikingly set forth? What an exalted thought is this for the human mind to dwell in contemplation upon, that the God with whom we have to do. and from whose goodness we originate, is so widely distinguished, in the nature of his own existence, from all his creatures! And with what veneration, humility of soul, and the most profound homage, ought we at all times to be looking up to this first, greatest, and best of Beings!
But this is not all. It is not enough to look up to the Great I AM, as he is in himself; but we are authorized, nay enjoined, to contemplate and adore the Divine Majesty, as he stands revealed to his creatures. In Genesis 1:26 , we behold the Sacred Three in One, conferring together for our creation: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. As if by this act, they called upon the human mind to admire and adore the Godhead in this threefold character of Persons, as the united source of all our mercies. Well might David exclaim, and so may you and I, fearfully and wonderfully am I made! Wonderfully made, indeed, when our creation thus occupied the joint agency of the Sacred Three! Wonderfully redeemed, also, when the redemption of our nature engaged their joint concern! and wonderful will be that joy, which is unspeakable and full of glory, when their joint praises will employ the innumerable host of the faithful before the throne; when that hymn shall be sung: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive all glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Genesis 1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17