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Lesson 5
The Beginning of the World

We live in a great, big, wide and wonderful world. As you study this lesson, you may be sitting in a city or a town or even in a small village or on a farm.

Around us, there are oceans, vast continents, and many nations of people with various languages. There are snow-covered mountains, rivers, lakes, sandy deserts, sea shores, forests and open plains with waving grass.

Animals of all kinds roam the earth, and there are snakes and insects and creatures that live on land or in the water. The oceans are teeming with all kinds of life.

Above us we see the starry heavens and the sun that gives us light by day and the moon that gives us soft light by night. We have regular seasons, and we have the perfect order of day and night, and summer and winter that never fails. When you go to bed at night you never doubt that the sun will rise again in the morning (Psalm 19:1 -6).

How did all these many wonderful things come into being? Where did the beautiful lotus flower with its soft petals and delicate smell come from? Did it just happen that way? Or the red rose that is so beautiful that words cannot describe it? Did you ever sit down to think about the wonderful world that we live in?

While most people on earth will agree that God created the world and the heavens, not many would be clear about it. Indeed, most of them would only have a vague understanding of the origins of the world.

The Beginning

A believer in Jesus Christ, who accepts the Bible as the Word of God, has no doubts or problems about the world in which he lives. He remembers the majestic words with which the Holy Bible begins. The very first verse of the Bible says very firmly and clearly:

"In the beginning, when God created the universe . . ."
(Genesis 1:1).

In this very first verse of the Bible we learn some very important truths. This verse helps us to understand that atheism (the belief that there is no God) and agnosticism (the belief that no one can know whether or not there is a God) is wrong. God exists and it is he who created the world!

If you accept this verse, the belief in many gods becomes meaningless. In the same way, you cannot any longer believe that God is in nature and that somehow the world is God. We know that God created the universe. The world is a created thing, and no created thing can be its own Creator.

Why God Created the Earth

This world was created with a purpose. It is not, as some people say, "a plaything of the gods". The Bible explains that God created the earth for people to live in:

"He formed and made the earth --
he made it firm and lasting.
He did not make it a desolate waste,
but a place for people to live in."
(Isaiah 45:18.)

Since the earth is meant to be lived in, it was created in a certain perfect order. First, after darkness and light were separated, and the earth and sky were made, dry land and oceans were created. Then the earth was clothed with plant life -- the grass, the herbs, the flowers, and all kinds of trees and other plants. Thereafter followed the living creatures in the sea and the birds in the sky. The rich variety of animals and reptiles and insects came after that, and finally God created man to rule over God's creation as God's manager.

The Holy Bible makes this surprising statement:

"God created human beings, making them to be like himself"
(Genesis 1:27).

This does not mean that human beings have the form of God. The God whom  we serve has no form -- he is Spirit. God is not directly visible to our  human eyes. We should thus understand that we are made to be like God in  our spiritual nature. God meant us to be like him. Later on this will be  explained more fully. (See lesson 6.)

The whole of creation is meant to serve God and to bring glory to him. It belongs to God and he cares for it every day.

God Made Everything Good

When God had created man and had given him life and intelligence, the Bible states that the whole universe was made perfect. The last verse of Genesis 1 says:

"God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased"
(Genesis 1:31).

Everyone and everything served God's purpose and glory. Everything was in perfect order and there was not even a trace of evil or pain or suffering or death. It was not necessary for humans or animals to kill for food. The earth was rich in its supply of food for all its creatures. The grasses, herbs and fruits were the ideal food for all creation (Genesis 1:29-30).

You should now be able to see how hollow it sounds when someone says that there is no God or that the earth happened to come into being by accident or chance. The Bible says,

"Fools say to themselves, `There is no God' "
(Psalm 14:1).

Only a fool will try to convince himself that God does not exist. Every day scientists discover more and more of the wonderful secrets of the universe.

Surely God is wonderful!

Now open your Bible and read the first chapter of Genesis carefully and try to get an idea of the great power and wisdom of God as he created the universe out of nothing:

"Then God commanded, 'Let there be light' -- and light appeared"
(Genesis 1:3).

"Let the earth produce all kinds of animal life:
domestic and wild, large and small' -- and it was done"
(Genesis 1:24).

Whatever God willed, became a fact. God created plants (Genesis 1:11-12), fish and birds (1:20-22) and animals and insects (1:24). Everything owes its existence to God and to God alone!

Test Yourself No. 5

Answer the following questions, and then compare your answers with the answers you will see if you click here: [answers]

1. For what purpose did God create the earth?
2. How was the earth when God first created it?
3. Describe some of the other views you may know about the creation of the  world.
4. How do we know that God created the universe?