Genesis 2:1
The finished heavens and earth and their host prepare the day of rest. God ended his work as an interchange of darkness and light.

I. THE REST OF THE SABBATH IS NOT INACTION, BUT THE CESSATION FROM THE LOWER ORDER OF WORK FOE THE HIGHER. The idea of the first proclamation seems to be that creation was perfectly adjusted through the six days into a settled harmony which puts heaven and earth in their abiding relation to one another.

II. Then THERE IS NO MORE SAID OF EVENING AND MORNING. The seventh day is only light. God's rest is complacency in his works. The blessing on the seventh day which hallowed it is the blessing on that which the day represents - perfect peace between heaven and earth, God satisfied in his creation, and inviting his intelligent creatures to "enter into his rest by communion with him. It seems quite unnecessary to vindicate such a sanctification of the seventh day from the insinuations of critics that it was a late addition made by the Jewish legislator to support the fourth commandment. In that case the whole cosmogony must be renounced. Such an observance of a day of rest seems a natural antecedent to the patriarchal as well as the Mosaic economy. We have already intimated that the whole account of creation is placed at the commencement of revelation because it has a bearing upon the positive ordinances of religion. It is not either a scientific or poetic sketch of the universe; it is the broad, fundamental outline of a System of religious truth connected with a body of Divine commandments. The sabbath is thus described in its original breadth. The sanctification of it is -

1. Negative. It is separation from the lower conditions of work, which in the case of man are the characteristics of days which are sinful days - days of toil and conflict, of darkness and light mingled.

2. Positive. It is the restful enjoyment of a higher life, a life which is not laboring after emancipation from bondage, but perfect with a glorious liberty; the true day, sacred, high, eternal noon," God and man rejoicing m one another, the creature reflecting the glory of the Creator. - R. § 2. THE GENERATIONS OF THE HEAVENS AND OF THE EARTH (Genesis 2:4-4:26).

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
I. THE CREATION WAS A GRADUAL PROCESS. The reasons might be —(1) To show that God's works were not the offspring of hasty impulse, but planned from everlasting, and executed with minute and lingering care;(2) To discover the variety of methods which a God infinitely rich in resources can employ in effecting His great purposes.


(G. Gilfillan.)

1. That the universe as it exists now is different from the universe as it existed once.

2. That the creation of the world was not the work of many gods, but of One.

3. That it was a Person that effected this vast work, and not some law of the universe gradually educing all things from a power that was inherent in matter.

4. Respecting the character of the Creator, the Israelite was taught that He had formed all things good.

5. The Israelite was taught also the divinity of order: that it is the law of man's existence; that the unregulated or unruly heart is like the ship with an insubordinate crew which is wrecked on the ocean; that order is to pervade the church, to rule the state, to regulate the family, to influence man's personal happiness, his affections, his desires.

6. The Israelite was taught also this: that it was gradation that regulated God's creation, to be traced not only in this that the more perfect forms of life were created last, but also in the fact that more work was done at the close than at the beginning of the creative period. And this is true of every work which will stand the test of time. It must not be hastily done, but thoughtfully planned and carried out with steady and increasing energy. God who works for eternity lays His foundations deep, He does not extemporize. It matters not whether it be in things great or small: quick, mere outside work is done for time; meant for show, it falls speedily to nothing, there is in it nothing belonging to eternity. If then a man would follow God, he must be content to toil and toil to the last.

7. Once more, the principle of the providence of the Almighty emerges from the history of the creation. We read of man's creation and the creation of the beasts. The vegetables He did not create till the earth was dry; the animals not till the vegetables were prepared for their sustenance; and man not till the kingdom was put in order which man should rule. Now this is what we call providence in God, foresight or prudence in man. Thus we see how a mere earthly virtue may in another sense be a spiritual excellence, and it is the duty of man to rise into this higher view.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

This is, observe, a second account, not a continuation of the first. Yet let us not suppose for one moment that these are two separate accounts thrown together with no object. They are manifestly linked together, each is supplemental to the other. In the first, we have these spiritual truths — the unity of God, His personality, His order: in the second, His dealings with nature and with the mind of man. God gives man law, and annexes to his obedience and disobedience reward and punishment. We make three remarks on this second account.

1. The first is with reference to the reason given for man's creation, that there was a man wanted to till the ground. We should not have said that of man. We should have held another view, and looked upon ourselves as the rulers of this world for whom all things were created, were it not for this verse which teaches us the truth. In the order of creation man is the highest; but the object for which man is created is that he should, like all the rest, minister to the advance of all things. That is our position here; we are here to do the world's work.

2. The next thing we have to observe is the unity of the human race. All that we are told in the first account is that God, in the beginning, created them male and female. All that we are told in the second is that He placed Adam and Eve in paradise. Theologically, the unity of the human race is of great importance. Between the highest and the lowest animals there is an everlasting difference, but none between the highest and lowest men; and it is only as this is realized that we can ever feel the existence of our common humanity in Jesus Christ.

3. The next thing to observe is this, that we have here a hint respecting immortality. It must have struck every attentive reader of the Scriptures, that in the Old Testament there is so little allusion to futurity. We are told, in a phrase that declares the dignity of man's nature, that God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And when the mind of the Israelite began to brood on this he would remember that there was also a sad, dark intimation, "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return," apparently a denial of immortality. But then there were aspirations in the soul that never could be quenched; and this yearning aspiration would bring him back again to ask: "Dust is not all; the breath of God, what has become of that?"

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

First, God says, I made all these earthly treasures which you see; value them for My sake, and do not misuse them. A child on its birthday finds a present on its plate at breakfast time. Who could have put it there? Presently, the father says, "I put it there, my child: it is my gift to you." Has not that gift, however small it be, a value over and above its intrinsic worth as bought in a shop? And still more, if the father says, "I did not buy it, I made it for you myself." Let us all so regard God's gifts to us! Secondly, God says, I made you: I made that wonderful body of yours out of the material elements, the "dust of the ground," and I breathed into it that "living soul" which makes the body alive. So says Genesis 2:7. But look also at Genesis 1:26. There God seems to say, I did more than this: I made you in My image, like Myself; are you like Me? No, indeed, we are not; but then comes in the new creation in Christ Jesus. Christ is "the image of the invisible God," and He took our human nature. If we yield ourselves to Him, He will make us "partakers of the Divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4), and hereafter "we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."

(E. Stock.)

I. THAT CREATION IS AN EXPRESSION OF GOD'S MIND. It is the embodiment of an idea; the form of a thought. Theology says that creation had a beginning, and that it began at the bidding of God.

II. THAT CREATION, BEING AN EXPRESSION OF GOD'S MIND, MAY FORM THE BASIS FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF GOD'S PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER. If we see something of the artist in his work, we may see something of the Creator in creation.

1. The works of God proclaim His eternal and incommunicable sovereignty. Man cannot approach the dignity of having himself created anything. He is an inquirer, a speculator, a calculator, a talker — but not a creator. He can reckon the velocity of light, and the speed of a few stars. He can go out for a day to geologize and botanize; but all the while a secret has mocked him, and an inscrutable power has defied the strength of his arm. The theologian says, that secret is God — that power is Omnipotence.

2. There is more than sovereignty, there is beneficence. "Thou openest Thine hand; they are filled with good." "He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry." This is a step downwards, yet a step upwards. Over all is the dread sovereignty of God — that sovereignty stoops to us in love to save our life, to spread our table and to dry our tears; it comes down, yet in the very condescension of its majesty it adds a new ray to its lustre. The theologian says, This is God's care; this is the love of the Father; this bounty is an expression of the heart of God. It is not a freak of what is called nature; it is not a sunny chance; it is a purpose, a sign of love, a direct gift from God's own heart.

III. THAT GOD'S WORD IS ITS OWN SECURITY FOR FULFILMENT. God said, Let there be — and there was. "He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast." "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth." This is the word which alone can ultimately prevail. This is of infinite importance —

(1)As the hope of righteousness;

(2)As the inevitable doom of wickedness.

IV. THAT THE WORD WHICH ACCOUNTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF NATURE ACCOUNTS ALSO FOR THE EXISTENCE OF MAN. "Know ye not that the Lord He is God? It is He that made us, and not we ourselves." "O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and we are the work of Thy hand." "Have we not all one Father? hath not one God created us?" "We are the offspring of God": "In Him we live, and move, and have our being." See what a great system of unity is hereby established. He who made the sun made me!



(J. Parker, D. D.)



1. There is reason to think that when God began to create, He would not rest, until He had completely finished His whole work of creation. This Moses represents Him to have done in the text.

2. All the works of God must compose but one whole, or perfect system. This we may safely conclude from the perfect wisdom of God. He could not consistently begin, or continue to operate, before He had formed a wise and benevolent design to be answered by creation.

3. Those things which we know God did create in six days, compose a whole, or form a complete system. The lower heaven is intimately connected with the earth. The sun, the moon, the stars, the firmament, the atmosphere, the heat, the cold, the clouds and the rain, were all made for the service and benefit of mankind; and are so necessary, that they could not subsist without the kindly influence of these things, which belong to the lower heaven. And it is no less evident that there is a constituted connection between the inhabitants of the upper heaven and the inhabitants of this lower world.

4. Those things which were created in six days, not only form a whole, or system, but the most perfect system conceivable. All the parts, taken together, appear to be completely suited to answer the highest and best possible end that God could propose to answer by creation.

5. It appears from the process of the great day, that angels and men are the only rational creatures who will then be called to give an account of their conduct.Improvement:

1. It appears from what has been said, that the enemies of Divine revelation have no just ground to object against the Bible because it does not give a true and full account of the work of creation.

2. If angels and men are all the intelligent beings that God created in six days, then there is no reason to think that this world, after the day of judgment, will be a place of residence for either the happy or miserable part of mankind.

3. If God acted systematically in the work of creation, and formed every individual in connection with and in relation to the whole, then we may justly conclude that He always acts systematically in governing the world.

4. If God created all things at once, and as one whole connected system, then He can remove all the darkness which now rests, or ever has rested, on His providence. It is only to bring all His intelligent creatures together, and show them their relations to and connection with each other; and that will discover the various reasons of His conduct towards every individual, and convince them all that He has been holy, wise, and just, in all the dispensations of His providence and grace. When they see the same reasons that He saw for His conduct, it will carry irresistible evidence to every created being, that He has treated him perfectly right.

5. If God created all things at once, to answer a certain great and good purpose, then that day will be a glorious day, when this purpose shall be completely accomplished. And it will be completely accomplished at the end of the world. So that the end of the world will be a far more glorious day than the day of creation.

6. If the end of the world will exhibit such a blaze of perfect light, then we may be sure that it will fix all intelligent creatures in their final and unalterable state. Those who are happy in the light of the last day, must necessarily be happy forever; and those who are unhappy in Chat light, must be unhappy and completely miserable forever.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

The first narrative commences, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth": and then follows the detail of God's work through the six days of creation, concluding with His rest on the Sabbath of the seventh. This carries us to the third verse of the second chapter. But with the fourth verse we make a new commencement. "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created": words which appear to refer solely to what follows them, and to contain no recognition of the narrative which has just preceded. This second account traverses a new and more deeply interesting field, as far as the end of the fourth chapter. But with the fifth chapter again we seem to encounter a third commencement: "This is the book of the generations of Adam"; a clause which is followed up, after a very brief summary of creation containing no direct allusion to the fall, by the genealogy of the earliest line of Patriarchs.

1. The first chapter, as contrasted with the others, relates especially to the physical aspect of creation. It deals more with powers than with persons: more with the establishment of law, than with the gift of will.

2. But the second narrative at once enters on the moral record. Man is now charged with personal duties, and holds individual relations to the Personal Jehovah. There is a moral law, a moral probation, a punishment which it would need a moral principle to understand. While man's dominion is defined and explained, as the beasts are summoned to their master to receive their names, yet he is taught that he must obey as well as rule: that if he is higher than the brute creation, there is a law, again, which is higher than himself; which he cannot break without descending from his sovereignty, and submitting to the forfeiture of death. And then follows the minute history of his fatal trial, fall, expulsion from Eden. To this division belongs the whole fourth chapter, which does but lead us from that point of expulsion, through the original quarrel between Abel and Cain, up to the actual establishment of a Church, and the consequent establishment, by exclusion, of an ungodly world, when men began to call upon the name of Jehovah, and so again to recognize a personal God.

3. Then this scene also closes. It had unveiled relations which exist upon this world no longer. It had spoken of higher communion, and of purer glory, than the fallen mind can maintain, or than the eyes of the fallen can behold. Adam now stands only as the highest term in these our mortal genealogies. There is no further notice of the innocence which he had lost; of that open intercourse with God which he had forfeited; of the mode in which sin had found an entrance into this world; of the establishment of a Church, as defining and completing the separation, between those who were satisfied with their evil, and those who were struggling to recover their good. And this is the account of creation, which especially connects it with our present history.(1) The object of revelation is to deal with man's moral and religious, but not with his material interests. It is obvious, therefore, that the physical account of creation must come first, though it was not necessary that we should be told more about it than would be sufficient to mark man's precise place in the creation, of which he forms so prominent a part. This, and no more than this, is the duty discharged by the first of these narratives. Next, the necessity of explaining how man fell, that is, how God's image came to be defaced, how man's eye came to be darkened, and his will corrupted, governs the arrangement of the second narrative. This is pursued simply to its natural completion; and then it gives place to the record of succeeding history. No order could be more perfect, none could more accurately follow out the very course which a clear view of the needs of the narrative would have led us to anticipate, than the precise order in which these chapters are arranged.(2) The same is evident if we regard the subject from the other side. God's revelations of Himself have always been gradual. Ever since the fall this has been the law of His communications. We can trace it throughout the sacred records, through every point in which the Old Testament furnished any type or prophecy or symbol which had to wait for its explanation in the New. Now the Divine names which are used in these chapters furnish the strongest confirmation of the account which I have given, and of the propriety of the order on which the record proceeds. In the first narrative, the Creator describes Himself only as Elohim, that is, God. We can conceive that He might even here have been spoken of as Jehovah. He bears that name in other parts of Scripture in reference to this very act of creation: and the nearest name, when we know it, must surely be applicable even to His grandest operations. But the name of power, rather than the name of individuality, seems to have been intentionally chosen, for the very same reason that placed first the merely physical narrative of creation, and thus gradually introduced us to the moral attributes of God. In the next section, in perfect conformity with what might have been looked for, we read of Jehovah, the Lord: or rather we find the compound expression, Jehovah Elohim, the Lord God. The Personal Jehovah appears to us, with all His moral attributes, as soon as the personal Adam is disclosed. But that man may no more doubt His power than His goodness, the name of creation is retained, in combination with this nearer and more personal name.

(Archdeacon Hannah.)


1. Because the excellency and perfection of every work is in the end whereunto it is directed and applied.

2. Because the wisdom of God is most discovered in the ordering and disposing of His works, as His power is most seen in creating of them: as usually the workman's skill is more commended in the use of an instrument than in the making and framing of it.


1. Let all men carefully search into the order, mutual correspondence, and scope, whereunto all the ways of God, in the administration of the creatures, tend.(1) Judging of His works, in and by them, not apart, but laid all together.(2) Looking to, and waiting for, the end of the work which He hath in hand, as we are advised to do (Psalm 27:37).

2. Tremble before that God, and trust in Him that hath power in His hand to command all the creatures in heaven and earth, and to arm them at His pleasure for the defence of those that fear Him, and against such as hate Him.


1. In their measure, which is proportioned to the end, whereunto they were appointed.

2. And in their time, for they are brought to perfection by degrees, as David professeth of the framing of His own body (Psalm 139:16).(1) Let us in imitation of God, work till we bring things to perfection; as Naomi assures Ruth that Boaz would do (Ruth 3:18). Especially in the works that more immediately concern God's honour and our own salvation; not contenting ourselves with laying the foundation, but labouring to go on to perfection (Hebrews 6:1). Adding still one grace to another (2 Peter 1:5), and growing strong in every grace, that we may perfect holiness (2 Corinthians 7:1). And abounding in every good work (Hebrews 13:21). Lest we prove like the foolish builder (Luke 14:30), or the ostrich (Isaiah 39:14, 15).(2) Let it be a means to strengthen our hearts, in the assurance of the perfecting the work —(a) Of sanctification. God, according to His promises, will not leave purging us till He have made us without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:17-20).(b) Of our salvation (Philippians 1:6). He that suffered for us, till all was finished (Job 19:30), will not leave till He have brought us into the full possession of the glory which He hath purchased for us.

(J. White, M. A.)

God now proclaims the completion of His creation work. It was no mere sketch or outline: it was no half-finished plan: it was a "finished" work. A goodly and glorious work! Not merely on account of what we see and touch in it, but on account of what we cannot see or touch. For creation is full of secrets. Science, in these last days, has extracted not a few, but how many remain secrets still! What a multitude of hidden wonders does each part of creation contain! Outwardly, how marvellous for the order, beauty, utility of all its parts; inwardly, how much more marvellous for the secret springs of life, motion, order, health, fruitfulness, and power! Each part, how wondrous in itself, as perfect in its kind; yet no less wondrous, as wrapping up within itself the seeds of ten thousand other creations, as perfect, hereafter to spring from them! God proclaims the perfection of His works, not as man does, in vainglory, but that He may fix our eye on their excellency, and let us know that He, the Former of them, is fully satisfied, and that His work is now ready for its various functions and uses. The great machine is completed, and now about to begin its operations.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

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