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What a Wonderful World!
All Bible references are to the New International Version (NIV)
Do you enjoy television programmes about the great variety of animals and birds on the earth? Have you learned what amazing life exists under the oceans, and perhaps wished you could dive into the depths to see everything for yourself? Have you gazed at the night sky and wondered how the universe came into being?
Not everybody believes it all came about by chance, or by some unexplained automatic process over many millions of years. Thousands of people, including many highly educated scientists, believe that everything was planned and created by a supremely intelligent mind, and they agree that the God of the Bible is that great Creator.
What does the Bible tell us?
Genesis, Chapter 1 teaches that God took six days to finish the work, and Genesis 2: 1, 2 says that “the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work . . .”.
In Six Days?
We do not have to believe that the creative days were each 24 hours long, as in our own measurement of time, which is governed by earth’s orbit around the sun. It is reasonable to accept that the days of creation were epochs – long periods of time which the great Designer did not need to explain to us. We are given a brief account of how the work progressed:
Epoch 1 In the beginning, planet Earth was in darkness, so God brought forth light and separated it from the darkness. He called the light ‘day’, and the darkness He called ‘night’.
Epoch 2 The Creator assembled and set in position the various layers of earth’s atmosphere, its protective canopy.
Epoch 3 The seas and the dry lands were separated, and the land produced all kinds of vegetation – trees and shrubs bearing fruit, grains and edible root crops, and all manner of beautiful flowers. All the plants bore seeds which would ensure their regular growth.
Epoch 4 The sun by day and the moon and the stars by night were now revealed. Besides giving light, these served as signs to mark the days and the nights, and the seasons and the years.
Epoch 5 God created the great creatures of the sea, so that it teemed with life. The birds of the air appeared also, and all creatures were programmed to multiply themselves after their own kind, to fill the earth.
Epoch 6 Livestock and domestic animals, wild creatures great and small, in all their amazing variety, were the earth’s next inhabitants, all made in their own distinct kinds. God surveyed everything He had made, and pronounced it very good.
His crowning achievement was the creation of the human being – in His own image and likeness. He created male and female, and gave them instructions to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, and all creatures that dwell on the earth. Then God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” And it was the evening of the sixth creative day or epoch.
Who Was Put in Charge?
Of course the animals were not made in God’s likeness, and they have remained to this day more or less as they were created, though variations have been developed within species.
The Bible is clear that human beings were made responsible for the welfare of the earth. Being made in the image and likeness of God means that men and women had certain qualities that God Himself has. They could exercise leadership and kindly control of the lower creatures. They could plan the growth of crops to feed their families. They were quick to learn, and made use of earth’s provision to design tools, clothe themselves, and build homes.
The supreme attribute of man, above the lower orders, is the exercise of reason. The human family were given free will – the privilege of making their own decisions, and at the beginning of their life on planet earth, Adam and Eve, the man and the woman made in God’s likeness, talked with Him as their Friend, and obeyed His instructions, which would enable them to live for ever.
Though they knew that the penalty for disobedience would be death, sadly there came a time when they rebelled and God could no longer approve of them. He decided that they should learn by experience how difficult the consequences of wrongdoing could be, and ever since that time long ago men and women have struggled to survive.
But God still loved the people He had made so much that He sent His son Jesus into the world to give His life to save them. Simply by accepting this great gift, and becoming obedient once more to the Creator, everyone may enter into everlasting life, to enjoy the good things yet in store for the human family.
Copyright October 2008, UKBibleStudents.co.uk.
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