And God looked upon all that He had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day.
I. GLIMPSES OF THE DIVINE NATURE.
The first chapter closes with a review of the whole work of the six days. God saw it. Behold, it was very good!
I. The SATISFACTION was in the completion of the earthly order in man, the highest earthly being. For God s good is not, like man's good a compromise, too often, between the really good and the really evil, but the attainment of the highest - the fulfillment of his Divine idea, the top-stone placed upon the temple with shoutings: Grace, grace unto it."
II. "The evening and the morning were the sixth day." OUT OF THE NIGHT OF 'THE INFINITE PAST CAME FORTH THE DAWN OF THE INTELLECTUAL AND SPIRITUAL WORLD. And when God saw that, then he said, It is very good. So let us let our faces towards that light of heaven on earth, the day of Divine revelation, Divine intercourse with man, the pure and perfect bliss of an everlasting paradise, in which God and man shall find unbroken rest and joy in one another. - R.
And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. I.
Why was it very good?
1. It was the offspring of infinite wisdom and power and love.
2. Because guided into existence by Jesus.
3. Because there was no evil in it.
4. Because it was like God.
II. WHAT was very good? Everything which He had made.
III. How are they very good? In themselves — in their purposes — in their arrangements.
IV. IS EVERYTHING VERY GOOD STILL? God is fetching very good things out of the apparent frustration of His plan. He is restoring what is now very bad to be very good.
No one can prove to us that God made the world; but faith, which is stronger than all arguments, makes us certain of it.
1. All which God has made is good, as He is, and, therefore, if anything in the world seems to be bad, one of two things must be true of it.(1) Either it is not bad, though it seems so to us, and God will bring good out of it in His own good time; or(2) if the thing is really bad, then God did not make it. It must be a disease, a mistake, a failure of man's malting, or of some person's making, but not of God's making. For all that He has made He sees eternally, and, behold, it is very good.
2. God created each of us good in His own mind, else He would not have created us at all. Why does God's thought of us, God's purpose about us, seem to have failed? We do not know, and we need not know. Whatever sin we inherited from Adam, God looks on us now, not as we are in Adam, but as we are in Christ. God looks not on the old corrupt nature which we inherited from Adam, but on the new and good grace which God has meant for us from all eternity, which Christ has given us now.
III. That which is good in us God has made; He will take care of what He haw made, for He loves it. All which is bad in us God has not made, and therefore He will destroy it; for He hates all that He has not made, and will not suffer it in His world. Before all worlds, from eternity itself, God said, "Let Us make man in Our likeness," and nothing can hinder God's word but the man himself. If a man loves his fallen nature better than the noble, just, loving grace of God, and gives himself willingly up to the likeness of the beasts that perish, then only can God's purpose towards him become of none effect.
1. The ceaseless and infinite energy of God.
2. The blessedness and beauty of God.
II. LESSONS CONCERNING HUMAN LIFE. It is an old, but true comparison of this life to the seasons of the year. Spring has always suggested the refreshing, promising, transient, and changeable nature of life's early days. But notice, especially, the improvability of life. Spring, the cultivating season. Conditional. Spring neglected, autumn shows barren fields. Precarious. Buds, etc. may be blighted. Need for watching, etc.
III. SUGGESTIONS CONCERNING HUMAN DESTINY. In spring "all things become new." To be "young again" has been the dream of all ages. The distinct proof of immortal youth beyond the grave is given only by Christ "The First-begotten of the dead."
Sketches of Sermons.I. THE NATURAL TRUTHS ASSERTED.
1. The true origin of all things.
2. The original perfection of all things.
(1)Very good, as being well adapted to answer its particular intention.
(2)Very good, as being well calculated to promote the glory of its Maker.
(3)Very good, as being conducive to the perfection and welfare of the whole
3. God's approbation of His works.
II. THE MORAL TRUTHS SUGGESTED.
1. Seeing that God had done for man the utmost that his case admitted, both as respected himself, and as respected the world around him, the blessings of which were given him richly to enjoy, it follows that man was under the greatest obligations possible, in his then present circumstances.
2. Sin is at once the vilest injustice and the basest ingratitude imaginable (Isaiah 1:2; Malachi 1:6).
3. A continuance in sin is the most daring imprudence. According to that constitution of things which was "very good," holiness and happiness went together. Sin, by violating that constitution, "brought death into the world with all our woe."
4. Reformation is well-pleasing to God. He approved of things in their original state. He is unchangeable.
5. The text suggests a lesson of humility. "How is the gold become dim!" the Divine image effaced I Humility becomes every rational creature, on account of its debt and its dependence.
6. The text furnishes ground of hope and encouragement. It proclaims the goodness of Him with whom we have to do; and therefore encourages us to hope in His mercy. Let us remember, however, that it is to the gospel we are indebted for improving hope into assurance (Romans 8:32).
()Let us consider —
I. The natural truths asserted by our text. Among these are —
1. The true origin of all things — "God saw everything that He had made."
2. The original perfection of all things "very good," "very good," as being —
(1)Well adapted to answer their particular intention.
(2)Conducive to the perfection of the whole.
(3)Well calculated to promote the Creator's glory.
3. God's approbation of His work. He saw it very good.
II. The moral truths suggested.
2. Hatred of sin.
3. The discontinuing of all evil.
4. Reformation and return to virtue.
6. A ground of hope and encouragement.All artists, in what they do, have their second thoughts (and those usually are the best); as, for example, a watchmaker sets upon a piece of work (it being the first time that ever men were wont to carry a pastime in their pockets), but, having better considered of it, he makes another, and a third, some oval, some round, some square, everyone adding lustre and perfection to the first invention, whereas, heretofore, they were rather like warming pans, to weary us, than warning pieces, to admonish us how the time passed. The like may be said of the famous art of printing, painting, and the like, all of them outdoing the first copies they were set to go by. But it was not so with God in the creation of the several species of nature; He made them all perfect, simul et semel, at one and the same time, everything pondere et mensura, so just, so proportionate in the parts, such an elementary harmony, such a symmetry in the bodies of animals, such a correspondency of vegetals, that nothing is defective, neither can anything be added to the perfection thereof.
()In these most simple and mysterious words we are plainly told that in the beginning the Creator of this world delighted in the beauty of its outward form. He approved it not only as fit for the material development which He had designed for it, fit for the ages of change, the course of history which should be enacted on it: but also as outwardly delightful. He saw His work, and, behold, to sight it was very good. Apart from all the uses it would serve, its outward aspect was in harmony with a certain Divine law: and for this Almighty God judged that it was very good. If men would only look frankly at the first chapter of Genesis, without either timidity or injustice, it would surely seem very strange to find this simple and complete anticipation of a thought which, though it has been astir in the world for many centuries, has only in the last few years received its due emphasis and its logical force. I mean the thought that our delight in the visible beauty of this world can only be explained by the belief that the world has in some way been made to give us this delight by a Being who Himself knows what beauty is: and that the beauty of Nature is a real communication made to us concerning the mind and will that is behind Nature...We have then a right to say that the quality or character which can thus speak and appeal to our spirit must have been engendered in this visible world by a spiritual Being able and willing to enter into communion with us, and knowing what would affect and raise our thoughts. When we receive and read a letter, we are sure it has come from someone who knew our language and could write it. When we listen to a beautiful piece of music we are sure that the composer had either a theoretic or at least a practical acquaintance with the laws and the effects of harmony. And when at the sight of a great landscape, rich and quiet in the chaste glory of the autumn, or glad with the bright promise, the fearless freedom of the spring, our whole heart is filled with happiness, and every sense seems touched with something of a pleasure that was meant for it, and all words are utterly too poor to praise the sight — then surely, by as good an argument, we must say that, through whatever ways and means, the world received its outward aspect by the will of some being who knew the law and truth of beauty. It does not matter, so far as this inference is concerned, how the result has been attained, or how many ages and thousands of secondary causes are traced between the beginning of the work and its present aspect: it is beautiful now: it now speaks to us in a language which our spirits understand: and, however long ago, and in whatever way, only a spiritual being could have taught it so to speak. Whatever creation means, the world was created by One who could delight in beauty: whenever its Author looked out upon His work He must have seen that it was very good Lastly, but above all, if we are to receive from the visible beauty of the world all that it can reveal to us concerning Him who made and praised it, we must draw near to it with watchful obedience to His own condition for so great a blessing: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." It was nobly said by the founder of inductive science, that for entrance into the kingdom of knowledge as for entrance into the kingdom of heaven, men must become as little children. They must draw near with free and humble hearts if they are to enter into the mysteries of natural science: they must not dictate to Nature, or assert themselves in her presence: they must come to her with affectionate attention to wait upon her self-revealing.
()"The Lord rejoices in His works." What a wonderful sentence that is! That man must have been inspired when he said that God rested from His labours, and looked upon His works, and pronounced them good. Of all joys, that is the grandest and sublimest, to review one's own work and pronounce it good. There is no passage in English much more beautiful than that which describes the author of that great work on "Falling Rome" (Gibbon) when he had just come to the conclusion of his task. Walking there under the trees of Lausanne, he, like a true artist, drew back and admired his finished work. And he was right. For there are times when a man may look upon his work, and say, "That is genius!" When Swift was beginning to doat, he took down from a shelf one of his own works, and exclaimed, "What a genius I must have had when I did that!"
()I have seen the back of a splendid painting, and there, on the dusty canvas, were blotches and daubs of colour — the experiments of the painter's brush. There is nothing answering to that in the works of God! I have seen the end of a piece of costly velvet; and though man had in it fairly imitated the bloom of the fruit and the velvet of the flowers, there was a common, unwrought, worthless selvage — a coarse, unsightly selvage. There is no selvage in the works of God!
()I once, writes Joaquin Miller, strolled through a miserable Mexican village. The shadows were creeping over the cabins, where women came and went in silence, and men sat smoking at the cabin doors, while children played in swarms by the water. The air was like a breath of God, and all nature seemed as sacred as rest to a weary man. A black, bent, old woman, all patches from head to foot, frosty-headed and half blind, came crooning forth with a broken pot tied together, in which she had planted a flower to grow by her door. I stopped, watched her set it down and arrange it; and then, not wishing to stare rudely at this bent old creature, I said — "Good evening, auntie; it's a fine evening." She slowly straightened up, looked at me, looked away at the fading sunlight on the hills, and said softly, "Oh, it's a pretty world, massa!" The old woman was a poetess — a prophetess. She had a soul to see the beauty, the poetry about her. "Oh, it's a pretty world, massa!" She had no other form of expression, but that was enough. Hers was the password to nature. "And God saw every, thing that He had made, and, behold it was very good.".
TopicsBehold, Evening, Morning, Sixth
Outline1. God creates heaven and earth;
3. the light;
6. the firmament;
9. separates the dry land;
14. forms the sun, moon, and stars;
20. fishes and fowls;
24. cattle, wild beasts, and creeping things;
26. creates man in his own image, blesses him;
29. grants the fruits of the earth for food.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 1:31
1050 God, goodness of
1193 glory, revelation of
1305 God, activity of
1325 God, the Creator
4006 creation, origin
4026 world, God's creation
6201 imperfection, and God's purposes
8321 perfection, divine
1653 numbers, 6-10
1347 covenant, with Noah
(Preached before the Prince of Wales, at Sandringham, 1866.) GENESIS i. 1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. It may seem hardly worth while to preach upon this text. Every one thinks that he believes it. Of course--they say--we know that God made the world. Teach us something we do not know, not something which we do. Why preach to us about a text which we fully understand, and believe already? Because, my friends, there are few texts in the Bible more difficult to believe …
Charles Kingsley—Discipline and Other Sermons
The vision of Creation
'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. So God created man in His own image: in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
In the Present Crusade against the Bible and the Faith of Christian Men...
IN the present crusade against the Bible and the Faith of Christian men, the task of destroying confidence in the first chapter of Genesis has been undertaken by Mr. C. W. Goodwin, M.A. He requires us to "regard it as the speculation of some Hebrew Descartes or Newton, promulgated in all good faith as the best and most probable account that could be then given of God's Universe." (p. 252.) Mr. Goodwin remarks with scorn, that "we are asked to believe that a vision of Creation was presented to him …
John William Burgon—Inspiration and Interpretation
The Purpose in the Coming of Jesus.
God Spelling Himself out in Jesus: change in the original language--bother in spelling Jesus out--sticklers for the old forms--Jesus' new spelling of old words. Jesus is God following us up: God heart-broken--man's native air--bad choice affected man's will--the wrong lane--God following us up. The Early Eden Picture, Genesis 1:26-31. 2:7-25: unfallen man--like God--the breath of God in man--a spirit, infinite, eternal--love--holy--wise--sovereign over creation, Psalm 8:5-8--in his own will--summary--God's …
S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks about Jesus
Human Nature (Septuagesima Sunday. )
GENESIS i. 27. So God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. On this Sunday the Church bids us to begin to read the book of Genesis, and hear how the world was made, and how man was made, and what the world is, and who man is. And why? To prepare us, I think, for Lent, and Passion week, Good Friday, and Easter day. For you must know what a thing ought to be, before you can know what it ought not to be; you must know what health is, before …
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God
GENESIS i. 31. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good. This is good news, and a gospel. The Bible was written to bring good news, and therefore with good news it begins, and with good news it ends. But it is not so easy to believe. We want faith to believe; and that faith will be sometimes sorely tried. Yes; we want faith. As St. Paul says: 'Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of …
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God
The Likeness of God
(Trinity Sunday.) GENESIS i. 26. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. This is a hard saying. It is difficult at times to believe it to be true. If one looks not at what God has made man, but at what man has made himself, one will never believe it to be true. When one looks at what man has made himself; at the back streets of some of our great cities; at the thousands of poor Germans and Irish across the ocean bribed to kill and to be killed, they know not why; at the …
Charles Kingsley—The Gospel of the Pentateuch
God in Christ
(Septuagesima Sunday.) GENESIS i. I. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. We have begun this Sunday to read the book of Genesis. I trust that you will listen to it as you ought--with peculiar respect and awe, as the oldest part of the Bible, and therefore the oldest of all known works--the earliest human thought which has been handed down to us. And what is the first written thought which has been handed down to us by the Providence of Almighty God? 'In the beginning God created …
Charles Kingsley—The Gospel of the Pentateuch
Heb. xi. 3.--"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear."--Gen. i. 1. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." We are come down from the Lord's purposes and decrees to the execution of them, which is partly in the works of creation and partly in the works of providence. The Lord having resolved upon it to manifest his own glory did in that due and predeterminate time apply his …
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
Of the First Covenant Made with Man
Gen. ii. 17.--"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shall not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die."--Gen. i. 26.--"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." The state wherein man was created at first, you heard was exceeding good,--all …
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
South -- the Image of God in Man
Robert South, who was born in the borough of Hackney, London, England, in 1638, attracted wide attention by his vigorous mind and his clear, argumentative style in preaching. Some of his sermons are notable specimens of pulpit eloquence. A keen analytical mind, great depth of feeling, and wide range of fancy combined to make him a powerful and impressive speaker. By some critics his style has been considered unsurpassed in force and beauty. What he lacked in tenderness was made up in masculine strength. …
Various—The World's Great Sermons, Vol. 2
Gordon -- Man in the Image of God
George Angier Gordon, Congregational divine, was born in Scotland, 1853. He was educated at Harvard, and has been minister of Old South Church, Boston, Massachusetts, since 1884. His pulpit style is conspicuous for its directness and forcefulness, and he is considered in a high sense the successor of Philip Brooks. He was lecturer in the Lowell Institute Course, 1900; Lyman Beecher Lecturer, Yale, 1901; university preacher to Harvard, 1886-1890; to Yale, 1888-1901; Harvard overseer. He is the author …
Various—The World's Great Sermons, Volume 10
An Essay on the Mosaic Account of the Creation and Fall of Man
THERE are not a few difficulties in the account, which Moses has given of the creation of the world, and of the formation, and temptation, and fall of our first parents. Some by the six days of the creation have understood as many years. Whilst others have thought the creation of the world instantaneous: and that the number of days mentioned by Moses is only intended to assist our conception, who are best able to think of things in order of succession. No one part of this account is fuller of difficulties, …
Nathaniel Lardner—An Essay on the Mosaic Account of the Creation and Fall of Man
The Christian's God
Scripture References: Genesis 1:1; 17:1; Exodus 34:6,7; 20:3-7; Deuteronomy 32:4; 33:27; Isaiah 40:28; 45:21; Psalm 90:2; 145:17; 139:1-12; John 1:1-5; 1:18; 4:23,24; 14:6-11; Matthew 28:19,20; Revelation 4:11; 22:13. WHO IS GOD? How Shall We Think of God?--"Upon the conception that is entertained of God will depend the nature and quality of the religion of any soul or race; and in accordance with the view that is held of God, His nature, His character and His relation to other beings, the spirit …
Henry T. Sell—Studies in the Life of the Christian
The Christian Man
Scripture references: Genesis 1:26-28; 2:7; 9:6; Job 33:4; Psalm 100:3; 8:4-9; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Acts 17:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:7; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10; 1 Corinthians 15:45; Hebrews 2:6,7; Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Corinthians 2:9. WHAT IS MAN? What Shall We Think of Man?--Who is he? What is his place on the earth and in the universe? What is his destiny? He is of necessity an object of thought. He is the subject of natural laws, instincts and passions. How far is he free; how far bound? …
Henry T. Sell—Studies in the Life of the Christian
Appendix ix. List of Old Testament Passages Messianically Applied in Ancient Rabbinic Writings
THE following list contains the passages in the Old Testament applied to the Messiah or to Messianic times in the most ancient Jewish writings. They amount in all to 456, thus distributed: 75 from the Pentateuch, 243 from the Prophets, and 138 from the Hagiorgrapha, and supported by more than 558 separate quotations from Rabbinic writings. Despite all labour care, it can scarcely be hoped that the list is quite complete, although, it is hoped, no important passage has been omitted. The Rabbinic references …
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
Covenanting Adapted to the Moral Constitution of Man.
The law of God originates in his nature, but the attributes of his creatures are due to his sovereignty. The former is, accordingly, to be viewed as necessarily obligatory on the moral subjects of his government, and the latter--which are all consistent with the holiness of the Divine nature, are to be considered as called into exercise according to his appointment. Hence, also, the law of God is independent of his creatures, though made known on their account; but the operation of their attributes …
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting
The Work of the Holy Spirit Distinguished.
"And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."--Gen. i. 2. What, in general, is the work of the Holy Spirit as distinguished from that of the Father and of the Son? Not that every believer needs to know these distinctions in all particulars. The existence of faith does not depend upon intellectual distinctions. The main question is not whether we can distinguish the work of the Father from that of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, but whether we have experienced their gracious operations. …
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit
Image and Likeness.
"Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness." --Gen. i. 26. Glorious is the divine utterance that introduces the origin and creation of man: "And God created man after His own image and after His own likeness; after the image of God created He him" (Dutch translation). The significance of these important words was recently discussed by the well-known professor, Dr. Edward Böhl, of Vienna. According to him it should read: Man is created "in", not "after" God's image, i.e., the image is …
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit
Q-7: WHAT ARE THE DECREES OF GOD? A: The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he has foreordained whatsoever shall come to pass. I have already spoken something concerning the decrees of God under the attribute of his immutability. God is unchangeable in his essence, and he-is unchangeable in his decrees; his counsel shall stand. He decrees the issue of all things, and carries them on to their accomplishment by his providence; I …
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity
The Opinion of St. Augustin
Concerning His Confessions, as Embodied in His Retractations, II. 6 1. "The Thirteen Books of my Confessions whether they refer to my evil or good, praise the just and good God, and stimulate the heart and mind of man to approach unto Him. And, as far as pertaineth unto me, they wrought this in me when they were written, and this they work when they are read. What some think of them they may have seen, but that they have given much pleasure, and do give pleasure, to many brethren I know. From the …
St. Augustine—The Confessions and Letters of St
 Gen. i. 5 And it was evening, and it was morning, one day. Hippolytus. He did not say  "night and day," but "one day," with reference to the name of the light. He did not say the "first day;" for if he had said the "first" day, he would also have had to say that the "second" day was made. But it was right to speak not of the "first day," but of "one day," in order that by saying "one," he might show that it returns on its orbit and, while it remains one, makes up the week. Gen. i. 6 …
Hippolytus—The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus
The Sovereignty of God in Creation
"Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created" (Rev. 4:11). Having shown that Sovereignty characterises the whole Being of God, let us now observe how it marks all His ways and dealings. In the great expanse of eternity which stretches behind Genesis 1:1, the universe was unborn and creation existed only in the mind of the great Creator. In His Sovereign majesty God dwelt all alone. We refer to that …
Arthur W. Pink—The Sovereignty of God
The Jews Make all Ready for the War; and Simon, the Son of Gioras, Falls to Plundering.
1. And thus were the disturbances of Galilee quieted, when, upon their ceasing to prosecute their civil dissensions, they betook themselves to make preparations for the war with the Romans. Now in Jerusalem the high priest Artanus, and do as many of the men of power as were not in the interest of the Romans, both repaired the walls, and made a great many warlike instruments, insomuch that in all parts of the city darts and all sorts of armor were upon the anvil. Although the multitude of the young …
Flavius Josephus—The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
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