Genesis 1:3 Commentary - Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)
3. The six days of creation 1:3-31
Cosmic order consists of clearly demarcating the various elements of the universe. God divided light and darkness, waters and dry land, the world above from the world below. Likewise people should maintain the other divisions in the universe. [Note: See Mathews, p. 124.] In three "days" God made the uninhabitable earth productive, and in three more "days" He filled the uninhabited earth with life. The process of creation, as Moses described it, typically follows this pattern for each day of creation: announcement, commandment, separation, report, naming, evaluation, and chronological framework. [Note: Waltke, Genesis, p. 56.]
One writer sought to retain six literal days of creation and to harmonize them with an old age earth model, allowing a long period of time (possibly billions of years) between Gen 1:2-3. [Note: Gorman Gray, The Age of the Universe: What Are the Biblical Limits?] However, this explanation does violence to the Hebrew text. [Note: For a critique of this book, see Douglas C. Bozzung, "An Evaluation of the Biosphere Model of Genesis 1," Bibliotheca Sacra 162:648 (October-December 2005):406-23.]
The first day 1:3-5
The world came into being by God’s word (cf. Psa 33:9; Heb 11:3). Each of the six creative days began with God speaking. God’s ten pronouncements in this chapter anticipate His ten commandments at Mt. Sinai (Exo 20:2-17). All but one of Jesus Christ’s miracles occurred immediately after He spoke. The exception occurs in Luk 8:25 when He laid His hands on a blind man. Jesus Christ, the Word of God, was the Creator (Joh 1:3). The theme of God’s word (spoken, written, or incarnate) continues through the Bible. His word is consistently powerful, as here. Fiat (the Latin word for "Let there be") creation means creation that came into being by God’s word.
"The idea of creation by the word preserves first of all the most radical essential distinction between Creator and creature. Creation cannot be even remotely considered an emanation from God . . . but is rather a product of his personal will." [Note: Gerhard von Rad, Genesis, pp. 51-52.]
The "light" might not have been sunlight (cf. Gen 1:14). Perhaps it came from a source fixed at a distance from the earth such as the shekinah, the light that manifests God’s glory (cf. Rev 22:5). [Note: Hamilton, p. 121.] Perhaps God created the sun on the first day, but it became visible on the fourth day. [Note: Sailhamer, "Genesis," p. 26.] A third view is that God created the sun, moon, and stars on the first day and assigned them their specific functions on the fourth day (cf. Gen 1:14-18). [Note: Ibid., pp. 33-34.]
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Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)
Copyright 2012, Dr. Thomas Constable. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
Dr. Thomas Constable graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 1960 and later graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary.
Dr. Constable is the founder of Dallas Seminary’s Field Education department (1970) and the Center for Biblical Studies (1973), both of which he directed for many years before assuming other responsibilities. Today Dr. Constable maintains an active academic, pulpit supply, and conference-speaking ministry around the world. He has ministered in nearly three dozen countries and written commentaries on every book of the Bible. Dr. Constable also founded Plano Bible Chapel, pastored it for twelve years, and has served as one of its elders for over thirty years.