In my opening blog post I quoted the beginning of the Bible where it reads, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The Word of God begins with the One who creates. It doesn’t start with mountains or trees or the stars. Instead of beginning with the world we see around us its initial focus is on God Himself.
This is fitting, for without God there is nothing. Although it may not be immediately apparent, we see God’s authority throughout the first chapter of Genesis. This may be confusing because the word “authority” isn’t anywhere in the text. Some may honestly ask the question, “Where do we see God’s authority in the days of creation?”
We see it everywhere that God speaks. Let’s examine why that is the case.
Before there were any heavens or earth, there was God. He existed before any physical matter. The heavens and the earth would have never been created on their own. God had to bring them forth according to His own will. His authority was first seen when He created the heavens and the earth. He had power over them and they had to obey His will.
As we read the creation account in Genesis we repeatedly see the Almighty’s authority. For example, in the third verse of the Bible it reads, “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” There was no debate about whether it would happen. God spoke with authority. He said, “Let there be light,” and it came to be. Light appeared. God said it and it was done.
The Phrase, “It Was So”
Genesis 1 contains a particular phrase that conveys this same idea. The phrase is, “It was so.” It is a simple, amazing statement. In just three words it highlights the power and authority of God. When God spoke there was no option to reject it. It was going to happen, and it did.
The phrase is used in relation to multiple creation events. Some of these include,
- Making the expanse and dividing the waters (vv. 6-7)
- Gathering the waters under the sky together and the dry land appearing (vs. 9)
- Bringing forth grass, herbs, and fruit trees on the earth (vs. 11)
- Creating lights in the sky to divide the day from the night (vv. 14-15)
- Producing living creatures, livestock, creeping things, and other animals (vs. 24)
All of the above are awesome displays of God’s authority. He spoke of things that did not exist, and after He was done speaking, they came to be. The Almighty wanted dry land on the earth, and he gathered the waters to made it appear. There was no dry land beforehand. He desired lights in the sky to divide the day from the night, and it was done. The Lord had ideas for animals in the air, on the ground, and in the oceans. He spoke and they came to be. Before God did these things there were no creatures, sun, moon, or dry land.
They were created because the Lord God decided to do so. As we see in Genesis 1, He did this by speaking true, authoritative words.
The Connection Between God’s Authority and Commands
In the above list, I purposely left off one example of the phrase, “It was so.” It is from verses 29 and 30. They read,
“God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree, which bears fruit yielding seed. It will be your food.  To every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the sky, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food;’ and it was so.”
This passage is distinct from the others in two ways,
- It restates the creation of herbs and trees from day three (vv. 11-13).
- It explicitly commands what humans and animals were to eat.
In verse 29 God speaks of the herbs, seeds, and trees that He made. He then says, “It will be your food.” By this statement, the Lord told man what he was allowed eat. God spoke with authority when He said it. Man was expected to obey. At the time of Genesis 1 and 2 mankind could not eat the flesh of animals. In a similar sense he commands the animals to eat certain foods in verse 30. The verse then ends with the same phrase that was used in the previous passages, “It was so.”
These verses may help us recognize that God spoke with authority. They do so by including specific instructions on what to eat. He told man what to eat. This was a command and it was explicitly stated. In the other times that God spoke the command was implied.
He told the sun and moon where to be in the sky. He told the waters under the sky to be gathered together so that the dry land would appear. He told the earth to produce living creatures after their kind. God’s authority over creation demonstrated that He commanded things to happen. Such is the case for all of God’s statements during the week of creation.
Reflecting on God’s Amazing Creation
There may be some who are are questioning why any of the above matters. Even though we can read of God’s authority during creation week, how does that make a difference for us today? I think the answer will reveal itself if we reflect on creation itself.
It is true that mankind has a great deal of power and ability. We can feed large multitudes, climb the highest mountains, and motivate thousands by the words we speak. We are able to take physical objects and design remarkable machines and tools that impact the lives of others for generations.
Many such activities are good and worthy of commendation, but there is at least one thing that we cannot do. We cannot create matter out of nothing. We can do great things with the physical materials that God has already formed, but we cannot create new matter through own power.
As such, an appropriate response when we study the world around us is a sense of awe. With it, we recognize that it is remarkable how the universe is crafted together. Much of what we see today hearkens back to God’s authority when He created the universe. Consider some of the things that we can observe with the human eye:
- The amount of water in the ocean is incredible, and yet we still have dry land to live on
- Fruit trees still produce food after their own kind
- The sun and the moon are seen every 24 hours
- Living creatures still reproduce after their own kind
All of these are easy to take for granted. Many of them are seen on a cyclical basis, and we just expect them to happen. They demonstrate that God’s authoritative words from creation still hold true today. Even though we were not present during that first week, we can still see the lasting effects of it. By combining the testimony of nature with the Word of God, may we be humble before our Creator and be grateful for the awesome things that He has done.