First Account of creation
- God was the only/sole creator and he created by a simple utterance, “Let there be……,”
- In the beginning, the universe was formless and chaotic. This became the beginning of God’s creative action.
- n was done in six days as follows;
Day One: Light and Darkness.
Day Two: Sky.
Day Three: land, sea and vegetation.
Day Four: Sun, moon and stars.
Day Five: Birds and sea creatures.
Day Six: Animals and human beings in His image.
Day Seven: God rested.
NOTE: The first account is God centered and describe God as the sole/only creator.
After each work of creation, God emphasize the goodness of his creation and always ends with; “and Gods saw that it was good…..”
He created out of nothing by his command.
Second Account of Creation
Gen 2:4 – 25
It is a man centered story and everything is created to serve the needs of man.
- The earth is described as waterless and uncultivated desert.
- God made man from clay or dust and put the breath of life in him.
- God planted a garden called Eden in the East where he put man to cultivate and guard it.
- God made fruit tree to produce food and in the middle of the garden, he put the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
- God created animals and asked man to name them.
- He commanded man to eat all the fruits except fruits from the tree of knowledge of what is good and evil.
- A river flowed through and watered the garden.
- The river then split into four rivers:-
- God then discovered that man was lonely and made him fall into deep sleep and created a woman out of his ribs as a companion and helper.
- He initiated marriage because he is a caring and loving God.
The meaning of Biblical Accounts of creation
- God worked as a spirit e.g. in the beginning the spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
- God created the universe all alone. He is the sole creator.
- He created by word of mouth and out of nothing and substance.
- He created human beings in his own image and likeness.
- God put man in charge of the creation and man is to take care of it.(Gen 1:26, 28)
- After each work of creation, God emphasizes on the goodness of creation and always ends with “And God saw that it was good”.
- God gave people/human beings understanding, namely; of good and evil and man had to make a choice.
- The dignity of a woman is emphasized. She is portrayed as a companion to man and both are equal before God and are also complementary.
- God is depicted as a God of order.
- He created the earth with a plan e.g. He created light first to be used by human beings.
- The seventh day is set aside by God as a holiday or sacred for rest and worship.
Comparison between the two accounts of creation
- In both, God is portrayed as the only sole creator.
- In both, man is portrayed as a special creature; Man was created in God’s image and likeness and there was nothing else created in that way.
- Both outline the creation of the living and non-living things i.e. heaven, man, plants and animals etc.
- In both, Man shares in life with God. God breathed life into man’s nostrils and created him in his own image.
- In both cases, the earth was empty, formless.
- In both cases, Man is given special privileges and responsibilities and is to multiply and fill the earth.
- In both stories, God existed before creation.
- In both mankind is created into full sexuality (male and female).
- The creation of the firmament, the sun, the moon, stars, fish and creeping animals is only mentioned in the first story.
- The planting of the Garden of Eden and the making of the river is only mentioned in the second story.
- The creation in the first account is out of nothing (word) but out of substance in the second account e.g. the creation of man.
- In the first account, creation took place for six days and God rested on the seventh day (Sabbath) while there is no mention of duration and the Sabbath day in the second story.
- The first account is God-centered i.e. God is pictured as the one doing the work of creation while the second account is man-centered i.e. man is created first and the rest of the creatures are then made to serve the needs of man.
- Marriage is meant for procreation in the first account (Genesis 1:38) while it is meant for companionship in the second story. (Genesis 2:23 – 24)
- In the first account man was created last but in the second account man is created first.
- In the second story there is mention of the forbidden tree of knowledge of good and evil which is not mentioned in the first account.
- In the first account God affirms the goodness of all that he created but this is lacking in the second account.
- The privileges and responsibilities given to man are more emphasized in the first account. (Genesis 1:26 – 30)
- In the second account human beings are forbidden to eat the fruits of the tree in the middle but in the second, they can eat all plants yielding seeds and none is forbidden.
Attributes of God from the Biblical Creation Accounts
Genesis 1 and 2
Attribute refers to the characteristic/ nature / quality or attribute of someone.
The two creation accounts bring out the following qualities of God;
- He is the only God.
- God is moral and is concerned with the behavior of human kind.
- He is the sole creator and created out of nothing/substance.
- He is a God of order, a planner and organizer of the universe e.g. He created in stages.
- He is good and the source of goodness and real happiness. (Genesis 1:10).
- He is a personal God and likes having a loving relationship with him.
- He is all-powerful-omnipotent e.g. He created out of a word.
- He is a spirit and Omni-present or is spiritually present everywhere.
- In the beginning the spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:2).
- God is self-existent. He was there from the beginning.
- He is the source of life.
- He breathed life into man’s nostrils.
- God is all knowing/ omniscient.
- God is immortal (cannot die) /eternal.
- God is a worker. His creativity is described as work.
- God is the provider/sustainer of the universe.
- He provides life, food and companionship to mankind.
- God is Holy.
- He consecrated the 7th day and made it Holy and set it aside for rest and worship.
- God deserves, honour, respect and obedience from human beings.
- God is the author of human sexuality.
- He created man and woman and made them equal.
Responsibilities given to human beings at creation
- To procreate/ multiply.
- To cultivate the land and guard it.
- To name the living creatures.
- To eat from all plants.
- Not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
- To rule/ be in charge/ have dominion over other creatures.
- To marry and procreate/ multiply.
- To care for the environment.
- To obey God.
Relationship between human beings and the environment from the creation stories
- Both human beings and the environment were created by God/ have a common origin.
- Human beings are superior to all other creatures.
- Human beings should take care of the environment/ conserve/ preserve it.
- Human beings have authority over the rest of creation.
- Human beings should enjoy/ use God’s creation/ rest of creation was made for human beings.
- All creation is very good/ human beings should treat the rest of creation with reverence/ respect.
- Human beings and the environment are interdependent/ owe their existence to each other.
- Human beings and the rest of God’s creation have a common destiny.
The teachings about human beings from the Biblical creation accounts
- Human beings are created in the image/ likeness of God.
- They have the breath of life from God.
- They have the authority/ dominion over God’s creation.
- They communicate/ fellowship with God.
- They are special/ the greatest of God’s creation.
- They have the ability to think/ reason/ make choices/ decisions in their lives.
- They are blessed by God.
- They have been given special place to stay/ Garden of Eden.
- Human beings are to use other creation/ plants for their benefits.
- They are to take care of the creation and till the land/ work.
- Human beings are to procreate/ multiply through marriage.
- Man and woman are to complement/ provide companionship for each other.
- Human beings are God’s creation i.e. both man and woman.
- The woman is created out of the man’s rib.
Teachings about marriage from the biblical stories of creation
GEN. 1:26-29; 2:18-25
- Marriage is monogamous.
- Marriage is between a man and a woman.
- It is a permanent union/ no divorce/ it is a covenant.
- Marriage is for procreation.
- It is a continuation of God’s work of creation.
- Husband and wife should not be ashamed of one another.
- Man and woman are to complement each other/ help each other/ are equal.
- Marriage is for companionship.
- Marriage is for love/ mutual relationship.
- Marriage is sacred/ is ordained by God.
Ways in which Christians continue with God’s work of creation
- Through procreation.
- By planting trees/ crops/ afforestation.
- Through generation of electricity.
- By helping the needy.
- Through provision of medical care.
- Through advancement of science and technology.
- Through discovery and space exploration.
- Through provision of education and training.
- By establishing income generating projects in rural areas.
- Through cleaning of the environment.
- Through building and construction.
- Through growth and development of industries.
- By conserving and managing wildlife.
Reasons as to why man is considered the most special creation of God
- He was created in God’s image and likeness.
- He has the will to choose between good and evil.
- God gave him the breath of life/ share in the life of God.
- He can worship/ fellowship.
- He can reason/ is rational.
- He was given control over the earth.
- He is a caretaker of God’s creation.
- All creation is for his benefit.
- Consultations were made before his creation.
- He was told to procreate/ co-creator.
- He was created with a mate/ social being.
TRADITIONAL AFRICAN VIEW OF CREATION
- This refers to the traditional African ideas about creation.
- The African creation stories are different from one community to another and myths are used to explain them.
- A myth can be defined as a story that explains the origin of something, some customs and practices.
- It has a deeper meaning and even tries to explain the origin of a community.
Common ideas in Traditional African views of creation
- African communities acknowledge God as the creator of the universe.
- God is the sustainer of his creation for example, He provides for human beings.
- God is the only creator and created the earth independently.
- God’s work of creation is continuous and he does so through humankind e.g. through pro-creation.
- It is God who set up human customs and traditions which humankind should follow.
- Man was created with a mate.The woman is supposed to be his companion and helper.
- The creation of man was after the rest of the creation.
- To sustain him, plants and animals were created for food.
Similarities between the traditional African myths and the Biblical accounts of creation
- In both, God pre-existed the creation of the universe.
- In both cases, God is portrayed as the creator of the universe and man and He did it independently/alone.
- In both, God had a plan of creation; He did it in an orderly way.
- In both cases, man has a close relationship with God although Man is not the same with him.
- In both, Man occupies a special place in God’s creation.
- In both, this good relationship remained until man disobeyed God/ broke the rules set for him and the consequences of the disobedience were punishment.
- In both cases, man was created in order to complete God’s plan e.g. through pro-creation and maintaining the environment.
- In both cases, man has a duty/obligation to worship or have fellowship with God and be obedient e.g. in the Bible God set aside a day for worship while African communities worshipped God in many ways e.g. through prayers, sacrifices e.t.c.
- In both cases, God created man first and at a certain point created a woman as a companion. Therefore God is the one who institutionalized marriage.
- In both cases, man was supposed to live forever until a misfortune happened and death was introduced into the world.
- In both, creation is a continuous process and man is a pro-creator with God through procreation and taking care of the environment.
- In both cases some attributes / characteristics of God are common e.g. He is the provider, a moral God, sole/ only creator.
- In both cases God gave mankind skills and gifts e.g. skill of cultivation and land respectively.
Differences between the traditional African myths of origin and the Biblical creation stories/African myths
- In the African myths, God uses materials like clay, water and plants to create while in the first account God creates out of nothing
- Some African myths do not specify where man came from while in the Biblical stories God created man and gave him the breath of life.
- In some African myths the earth was created at one go while in the Biblical stories the earth was created in stages.
- In the African myths an external object/ animal causes the separation of God and man e.g. snake while in the Biblical story man is blamed for the separation.
- In the African myths the woman is portrayed as inferior or subordinate to man while in the Bible man and woman are shown to be equal.
Teachings from the Biblical creation Accounts
We learn the following lessons from the Biblical stories of creation:
1. Human beings are given the mandate /power to subdue the earth.
- This means that human beings have been given the ability to transform the world for their benefit through Science and Technology.
2. Human beings were given the power to name plants and animal.
3. Human beings were given the command to care for the environment and therefore, man has to act responsibly.
- It is therefore wrong for man to misuse the environment.
4. Human beings are social beings.
- Male and female were created for companionship.
- Neither is complete without the other. So they should treat one another with mutual respect for they are both equal in Gods eyes.
5. Work and leisure are Gods gifts to human kind.
- Human beings are expected to work in order to obtain their basic needs and to transform the world.
- This is because, work was ordained by God. Work is also related to leisure.
Therefore the setting aside of the seventh day. It is a day of rest/recreation and worship.