TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

I.  General

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Chapter 6  Part I

General

The formation of the universe is the most astonishing thing that has ever occurred. The Bible claims that God not only created the universe, but that he also created everything in it. Moreover, it claims that God continues to maintain the universe. If we believe that God is capable of doing all this, then we should have little trouble in accepting the other claims that the Bible makes about God.

God Made All Things

See also:

God has made all things

Isa 44:24a  Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things … ▤ 

Jer 10:16  Not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob, for he is the one who formed all things, and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the Lord of hosts is his name. ▤ 

Rom 11:36  For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. ▤ 

1Cor 8:6  … yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. ▤ 

1Cor 11:12  … for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. ▤ 

God “brings everything into existence” (GNT).

Eph 3:9  … and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages ini God who created all things, … ▤ 

i Or by

1Tim 6:13a  I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things … ▤ 

Heb 2:10  For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. ▤ 

Heb 3:4  (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) ▤ 

Rev 4:11  “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” ▤ 

Ps 89:12  The north and the south, you have created them; Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name. ▤ 

This implies that God created everything – i.e. “everything from north to south” (NIrV®; cf. CEV).

Mark 13:19  For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. ▤ 

God made or created all creation.

Rom 4:17  … as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. ▤ 

In conjunction with being the one who has created all things, it is God who will bring into existence the things that do not yet exist, i.e. that are yet to be created. Paul appears to make this point in reflecting on both God’s promise to Abraham that he would make him a father of many nations and the promise’s fulfillment (cf. vv. 16-17).

  • God has made countless things:

Ps 104:24-25  O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great. ▤ 

God made the earth . . .

1Sam 2:8b  For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world. ▤ 

This somewhat figuratively speaks of God creating all of planet earth, with its inner “pillars” (cf. Job 38:4, 6 ) upon which the outer parts are set. See also the comment below on Psalms 90:2.

Ps 24:1-2  The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,j the world and those who dwell therein, 2for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. ▤ 

j Or and all that fills it

Ps 33:8-9  Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! 9For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. ▤ 

Ps 90:2  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. ▤ 

Note that the reference to both “the earth and the world” refers both to the earth as a whole and to the productive part of it in particular (cf. BKC).

Isa 40:28  Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. ▤ 

Jer 33:2  Thus says the Lord who made the earth,k the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: … ▤ 

k Septuagint; Hebrew it

Job 38:4-6  Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, … ▤ 

The rhetorical questions emphasize that it was God who made the earth. The “line” (v. 5) is a measuring line.

Job 26:7  He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing. ▤ 

. . . God made the heavens as well as the earth

In the following verses, “heavens” and “heaven” appear to refer to the rest of the universe, apart from the earth – as opposed to the abode of God.

Gen 1:1  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. ▤ 

Gen 2:1-2  Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. ▤ 

2Chr 2:12  Hiram also said, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, who has given King David a wise son, who has discretion and understanding, who will build a temple for the Lord and a royal palace for himself. ▤ 

Job 9:8  … [God] who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; … ▤ 

Job 26:13  By his wind the heavens were made fair; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent. ▤ 

Ps 102:25  Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. ▤ 

Ps 121:2  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. ▤ 

Ps 148:4-5  Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! 5Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created. ▤ 

In regard to the “waters above the heavens” (v. 4): “It was believed that the earth and the heavens were surrounded by water” (CEV text note). See also the comment on Genesis 1:6-8 in God made the sky. In addition to Genesis 1, such “waters” possibly are also spoken of in Psalms 104:2b-3a – “… stretching out the heavens like a tent. 3He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters …”

Isa 44:24  Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, … ▤ 

Isa 48:13  My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together. ▤ 

Heb 11:3  By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. ▤ 

2Pet 3:5  For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, … ▤ 

The phrase “by the word of God” may well refer to how the heavens came into existence (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV), as well as the earth. For further comment on this verse see God made all things with his power.

Along with making the earth and the heavens, God made everything in them

Ex 20:11  For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. ▤ 

Some believe that these “days” are literally six 24-hour days, while others take them to indicate six undetermined periods of time. The fact that God did not make the sun until the fourth “day” (cf. Gen 1:14-18) arguably supports the latter.

Neh 9:6  l “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. ▤ 

l Septuagint adds And Ezra said

Isa 42:5  Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: … ▤ 

Isa 66:1-2a  Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? 2All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. ▤ 

“All these things” (v. 2) probably refers to heaven and earth and all things in them (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NIrV), rather than simply to heaven and earth.

Acts 14:15b  We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. ▤ 

Eph 3:14-15  For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every familym in heaven and on earth is named, … ▤ 

m Or fatherhood; the Greek word patria is closely related to the word for Father in verse 14

Commentators differ as to whether the phrase “every family” refers to: believers only; all people (and possibly also all angels); or all created beings. If it is the latter, then v. 15 reflects the fact that God created all things in heaven and on earth (cf. NLT). Additionally, the phrase “is named” would most likely speak of God determining the identity and being of each creature (cf. CEV, CEV text note).

Rev 10:6  … and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, … ▤ 

God made light, alongside the darkness

See also:

Gen 1:2-5  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. ▤ 

2Cor 4:6  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. ▤ 

The quotation is based on Genesis 1:3 above.

Job 26:10  He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness. ▤ 

Ps 74:16  Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun. ▤ 

The context (cf. v. 17) indicates that this may well be alluding to God’s creation of the day and the night (cf. GNT).

Isa 45:7  I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things. ▤ 

Possibly this is speaking of God’s creation of life and darkness (cf. NCV) – hence its inclusion here – but his ongoing control of the cycle of day and night is probably primarily in view (cf. CEV, GNT, NLT).

God made the sky

Gen 1:6-8  And God said, “Let there be an expansen in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7And God madeo the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8And God called the expanse Heaven.p And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. ▤ 

n Or a canopy; also verses 7, 8, 14, 15, 17, 20

o Or fashioned; also verse 16

p Or Sky; also verses 9, 14, 15, 17, 20, 26, 28, 30; 2:1

The term “Heaven” (v. 8) can here also be translated as “Sky” (cf. text note). Verses 6-7 may mean that the sky (the “expanse”) separated the atmospheric waters (or clouds) from the waters of the earth, or that the earth was enveloped by a dense layer of moisture (cf. BKC).

Ps 19:1  The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky aboveq proclaims his handiwork. ▤ 

q Hebrew the expanse; compare Genesis 1:6-8

The sky displays God’s “marvelous craftsmanship.” (NLT; cf. NIrV)

Prov 8:27-28  [Wisdom:] When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28when he made firm the skies above, when he establishedr the fountains of the deep, … ▤ 

r The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain

Note that v. 27 may be understood as speaking of God setting “the sky in place” (GNT; cf. NCV) and marking out “where the sky meets the sea” (NIrV®; cf. CEV), i.e. the horizon.

Job 26:7  He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing. ▤ 

The “north” denotes the northern sky (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NCV, NIV, NLT). This verse may be referring to God maintaining the skies as much as to (or rather than) his creation of them (cf. Isa 45:7 ).

  • God established natural phenomena that occur in the sky:

Job 28:25-26  When he gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure, 26when he made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder, … ▤ 

God made land and sea – partitioning the land off from the sea

On the third day of creation God made the land and sea – and also vegetation (as discussed in the following subsection).

Gen 1:9-10  And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10God called the dry land Earth,s and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. ▤ 

s Or Land; also verses 11, 12, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30; 2:1

Ps 95:5  The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. ▤ 

Jonah 1:9  And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” ▤ 

Rev 14:7  And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” ▤ 

Prov 3:20  … by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew. ▤ 

This appears to be speaking of either the waters coming into existence (cf. CEV; Job 38:8 ), or being divided up – “the deeps were broken up” (AMP, NASB, NKJV; cf. NIV).

Job 28:25  When he gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure, … ▤ 

Quite likely “apportioned the waters by measure” is speaking primarily of God determining “the size of the sea” (GNT).

Job 38:8-11  Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, 9when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, 10and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, 11and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’? ▤ 

Note that “thick darkness its swaddling band” (v. 9) may well refer to the darkness that initially was over the surface of the sea (cf. Gen 1:2).

Ps 33:7  He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. ▤ 

This is referring to God gathering the waters at creation (cf. GNT, NCV, NLT, NRSV), restricting them to particular areas on the earth.

Ps 74:17  You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter. ▤ 

Ps 104:5-9  He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. 6You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. 7At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. 8The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. 9You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth. ▤ 

Prov 8:24-29  [Wisdom:] When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. 25Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, 26before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world. 27When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28when he made firm the skies above, when he establishedt the fountains of the deep, 29when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, … ▤ 

t The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain

Verse 26 implies that God made the things mentioned in the preceding verses.

Jer 5:22  Do you not fear me? declares the Lord. Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it. ▤ 

  • God forms the mountains:

Amos 4:13  For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name! ▤ 

God made vegetation

Gen 1:11-13  And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plantsu yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. ▤ 

u Or small plants; also verses 12, 29

Gen 2:4-9  These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. 5When no bush of the fieldv was yet in the landw and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6and a mistx was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. ▤ 

v Or open country

w Or earth; also verse 6

x Or spring

Ps 104:14-16  You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth 15and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart. 16The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. ▤ 

This speaks of God’s ongoing formation of plant life, reflective of his initial creation of it.

  • God gave the plants for food to humans and other creatures:

Gen 1:29-30  And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. ▤ 

God made the sun, moon and stars

See also:

Genesis 1 indicates that God made “light” on the first “day” (vv. 3-5), but did not make the sun and stars until the fourth “day” (vv. 14-18). There are different explanations for this. Possibly these entities were made from that through which God first provided light and first marked off each “day” (cf. v. 5); i.e. the fourth “day” may speak of the source of light being made into the sun and stars. That God “separated the light from the darkness” (v. 4) after having earlier created light (v. 3) also suggests that the source of light has not always been in the same form.

Gen 1:14-19  And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons,y and for days and years, 15and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. ▤ 

y Or appointed times

The “two great lights” (v. 16) are the sun and the moon.

Job 9:9  … [God] who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south; … ▤ 

The “chambers of the south” may well refer to the southern star constellations (cf. NCV, NIV, NLT).

Ps 8:3  When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, … ▤ 

Ps 19:4b  In them [the heavens] he has set a tent for the sun, … ▤ 

The use of “tent” speaks of God making a home for the sun in the heavens (cf. GNT, NCV, NLT). Perhaps, more specifically, it poetically depicts a place from which the sun rises each day (cf. v. 5).

Ps 33:6  By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. ▤ 

Ps 74:16  Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun. ▤ 

Ps 136:3, 7-9  Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; ▤ 7to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; 8the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; 9the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever; … ▤ 

Ps 147:4  He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. ▤ 

This may well be speaking of God’s creation of the stars (cf. CEV, GNT) – particularly as it speaks of God naming them – although alternatively his control over the display of the stars each night could be in view.

Ps 148:3, 5  Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! ▤ 5Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created. ▤ 

Isa 40:26  Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. ▤ 

The phrase “created these” refers to the stars (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT), with God’s control of their appearance each night subsequently spoken of.

James 1:17  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.z ▤ 

z Some manuscripts variation due to a shadow of turning

The title “the Father of lights” speaks of God as the “Creator of the sun, moon, and stars” (NCV™; cf. CEV, GNT, NLT).

  • God created the seasons:

Ps 74:17  You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter. ▤ 

Note that Genesis 1:14 above also points to God creating the seasons. Additionally, see God controls the seasons.

God made all creatures and people

See also:

On the fifth day of creation God made the sea creatures and the birds. On the sixth day God made the land creatures and people.

Gen 1:20-27  And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birdsa fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. 24And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 26Then God said, “Let us make manb in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. ▤ 

a Or flying things; see Leviticus 11:19-20

b The Hebrew word for man (adam) is the generic term for mankind and becomes the proper name Adam

Gen 2:7, 19-24  … then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. ▤ 19Now out of the ground the Lord God had formedc every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adamd there was not found a helper fit for him. 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he madee into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”f 24Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. ▤ 

c Or And out of the ground the Lord God formed

d Or the man

e Hebrew built

f The Hebrew words for woman (ishshah) and man (ish) sound alike

Note that v. 24 speaks of a husband and wife being “one flesh” just as the first man and woman had been (v. 23).

Job 40:15  Behold, Behemoth,g which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox. ▤ 

g A large animal, exact identity unknown

Ps 8:6-8  You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. ▤ 

Ps 104:24-26  O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great. 26There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.h ▤ 

h Or you formed to play with

The Leviathan (v. 26) apparently refers to a large animal of the sea – possibly the crocodile.

Jer 27:5  It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me. ▤ 

  • God gives plants, creatures and inanimate objects different bodies and kinds of glory as he determines:

1Cor 15:37-41  And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. ▤ 

The “earthly bodies” (v. 40) quite possibly refers to such things as mountains and bodies of water.

Note: All that God makes is good

1Tim 4:4-5  For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. ▤ 

In both v. 4 and in the following passage from Genesis 1, the word “good” probably entails more than simply excellence. It would seem to also indicate that all of creation was made as God intended, in accordance with his will – i.e. it turned out as he had planned. Here (v. 4) the context also implies moral goodness.

Gen 1:3-4, 10, 12, 17-18, 21, 25, 31a  And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. ▤ 10God called the dry land Earth,i and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. ▤ 12The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. ▤ 17And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. ▤ 21So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. ▤ 25And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. ▤ 31And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. ▤ 

i Or Land; also verses 11, 12, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30; 2:1

Ps 139:14  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.j Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. ▤ 

j Or for I am fearfully set apart

Matt 6:28-29  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. ▤ 

Eccl 3:11  He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. ▤ 

The suitability of this verse for this subsection is certainly debatable. Some commentators consider it to be speaking of the beauty of everything God has made – the reason for its inclusion here. However more often it is considered to mean that God has a designated time for every activity in which each activity is “appropriate” (NASB) – God “has set the right time for everything” (GNT; cf. CEV, NCV).

Eccl 7:29  See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes. ▤ 

As with all creation, God’s creation of humankind was good, one aspect of which was moral uprightness – something which they have lost.

  • The goodness of light and the sun:

Eccl 11:7  Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

God Maintains Creation

See also:

Every creature’s life is dependent on God

See also:

Job 12:10  In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. ▤ 

Neh 9:6  k “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. ▤ 

k Septuagint adds And Ezra said

The phrase “you preserve all of them” may well include all the creatures referred to in the heavens, earth and seas. Note that it is often translated to mean that God gives life to all of them (cf. CEV, GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV, NLT, NRSV).

Job 10:12  You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit. ▤ 

Following on from speaking of God creating him (cf. vv. 8-12a), the last clause here may be referring to God’s preserving Job’s life as he does everyone everyday; hence the verse’s inclusion here. Alternatively, Job may be speaking of how God has cared for him in particular.

Ps 36:6  Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord. ▤ 

The last clause speaks of people and animals being under God’s care (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT). It can be translated as: “You preserve man and beast.” (AMP, NASB; cf. NIV).

Job 34:14-15  If he should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath, 15all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust. ▤ 

All flesh is reliant on God’s “spirit and … breath” to stay alive.

Ps 104:29-30  When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. 30When you send forth your Spirit,l they are created, and you renew the face of the ground. ▤ 

l Or breath

The phrase “hide your face” (v. 29) or “turn away” (CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT) is used to express God’s apparent removal of his favour and care, evidenced by the loss of his provision or blessings. This naturally causes any creature to be terrified, being dependant on his provision. Verse 30 implies that the ongoing reproduction of creatures is dependent on God.

Acts 17:28  … for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’;m as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’n ▤ 

m Probably from Epimenides of Crete

n From Aratus’s poem “Phainomena”

In the first quotation Paul appears to be citing the Cretan poet Epimenides to illustrate that our existence and its continuation depends on God.

Rom 11:36  For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. ▤ 

In this context “through him… are all things” may mean that all things continue to exist through God – in which case the verse is applicable to this subsection. Alternatively, it may be speaking of all things being created through him. The same applies to the phrase “by whom all things exist” in the following verse from Hebrews 2:10.

Heb 2:10  For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. ▤ 

  • No creature dies apart from God’s will:

Matt 10:29  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?o And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. ▤ 

o Greek assarion, Roman copper coin (Latin quadrans) worth about 1/16 of a denarius (which was a day’s wage for a laborer)

God provides food for all creatures

See also:

Ps 136:25  … he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever. ▤ 

Ps 145:15  The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. ▤ 

The reference appears to be to all living things (cf. v. 16; GNT, NCV, NIrV).

Ps 104:24, 27-28  O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. ▤ 27These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. 28When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. ▤ 

Job 38:41  Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God for help, and wander about for lack of food? ▤ 

Ps 104:21  The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. ▤ 

Ps 147:9  He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. ▤ 

Eccl 2:24-25  There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoymentp in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25for apart from himq who can eat or who can have enjoyment? ▤ 

p Or and make his soul see good

q Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts apart from me

Hos 2:8  And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal. ▤ 

This is speaking of Israel, and points to the fact that God provides food for people.

Matt 6:26  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? ▤ 

The implication is that God supplies food for humans, just as he does for less valuable creatures.

Luke 11:3  Give us each day our daily bread,r ▤ 

r Or our bread for tomorrow

This points to people being ultimately dependent on God for daily provisions.

Acts 17:25  … nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. ▤ 

2Cor 9:10  He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. ▤ 

Paul is referring to God as the one who supplies seed and food, to illustrate that God would also supply the Corinthians with what they needed to produce a harvest from their righteousness, expressed in their generosity (cf. v. 11).

  • God created foods to be received with thanksgiving:

1Tim 4:3  … who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. ▤ 

God sends rain on the earth, making it productive

Sending rain on the earth, making it productive, is of course one of the key ways that God provides food for all creatures (as per the previous subsection) and maintains creation.

Job 5:10  … he gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields; … ▤ 

Job 37:11-13  He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. 12They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. 13Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen. ▤ 

Jer 14:22  Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are you not he, O Lord our God? We set our hope on you, for you do all these things. ▤ 

Amos 9:6  … who builds his upper chambers in the heavens and founds his vault upon the earth; who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the surface of the earth— the Lord is his name. ▤ 

Matt 5:45  … so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. ▤ 

Lev 26:4  … then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. ▤ 

Note that this and the following verses refer to how God sending rain on the earth makes it productive. A number of the verses in the following two subsections likewise speak of this.

Ps 147:8  He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. ▤ 

Isa 55:10  For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, … ▤ 

Zec 10:1  Ask rain from the Lord in the season of the spring rain, from the Lord who makes the storm clouds, and he will give them showers of rain, to everyone the vegetation in the field. ▤ 

God’s provision of rain and food is abundant . . .

See also:

Job 36:27-28, 31  For he draws up the drops of water; they distill his mist in rain, 28which the skies pour down and drop on mankind abundantly. ▤ 31For by these he judges peoples; he gives food in abundance. ▤ 

Ps 36:8  They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. ▤ 

The term “your house” denotes the earth – God’s estate. The latter term “the river of delights” quite possibly refers to the constant flow of God’s delightful provisions.

Ps 65:9-13  You visit the earth and water it;s you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide their grain, for so you have prepared it. 10You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. 11You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with abundance. 12The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, 13the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy. ▤ 

s Or and make it overflow

Ps 68:9  Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad; you restored your inheritance as it languished; … ▤ 

Note that here “inheritance” refers to the Promised land.

Ps 104:16  The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. ▤ 

Joel 2:22-24  Fear not, you beasts of the field, for the pastures of the wilderness are green; the tree bears its fruit; the fig tree and vine give their full yield. 23“Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. 24“The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. ▤ 

This speaks of God’s abundant renewal of the land after a devastating locust plague sent as a judgment on Israel.

1Tim 6:17  As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. ▤ 

Note that “everything” refers to more than just food, encompassing all that we need and more.

Gen 27:28  May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. ▤ 

Note that “the dew of heaven” may be poetically speaking of rain (cf. NCV) rather than simply dew.

. . . God’s provision satisfies his creation

See also:

Deut 11:13-15  And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14het will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. 15And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full. ▤ 

t Samaritan, Septuagint, Vulgate; Hebrew I; also verse 15

Job 38:25-27  Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain and a way for the thunderbolt, 26to bring rain on a land where no man is, on the desert in which there is no man, 27to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground sprout with grass? ▤ 

Job 38:39-40  Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, 40when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in their thicket? ▤ 

Ps 104:10-15  You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; 11they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. 12Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches. 13From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. 14You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth 15and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart. ▤ 

As well as being stated in vv. 11, 13 (cf. v. 28 ), the fact that God’s provision satisfies his creation appears to be implied or reflected in vv. 12, 15.

Ps 104:27-28  These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. 28When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. ▤ 

Being “filled” with good things is indicative of being satisfied (cf. Ps 107:9 ).

Ps 107:9  For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. ▤ 

Ps 132:15  I will abundantly bless her [Zion’s] provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread. ▤ 

Ps 145:16  You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. ▤ 

Acts 14:17  Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness. ▤ 

God regulates all aspects of the weather

Job 36:27-30  For he draws up the drops of water; they distill his mist in rain, 28which the skies pour down and drop on mankind abundantly. 29Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings of his pavilion? 30Behold, he scatters his lightning about him and covers the roots of the sea. ▤ 

Job 37:6, 9-10  For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour. ▤ 9From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds. 10By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. ▤ 

The “breath of God” (v. 10) refers to the cold driving winds (v. 9), alluding to God ultimately being their source and/or his control over them.

Job 38:28-29  Has the rain a father, or who has begotten the drops of dew? 29From whose womb did the ice come forth, and who has given birth to the frost of heaven? ▤ 

This is implying that God is the one who does all this and/or that as the one who designed these things, he alone fully comprehends such phenomena (cf. v. 18).

Ps 77:17-18  The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side. 18The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. ▤ 

This speaks of God being behind a mighty thunderstorm.

Ps 147:16-18  He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. 17He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? 18He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow. ▤ 

The “waters” (v. 18) most likely refers to “streams” (CEV) resulting from God firstly melting his snow and ice, and then stirring up his wind.

Jer 10:13  When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses. ▤ 

Amos 4:13  For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name! ▤ 

God controls the cycle of day and night

See also:

Ps 104:20  You make darkness, and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep about. ▤ 

Ps 74:16  Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun. ▤ 

This points to God’s dominion and control over day and night.

Jer 31:35  Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name: … ▤ 

Jer 33:20-21  Thus says the Lord: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, 21then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers. ▤ 

The implication is that God’s covenant or “agreement” (CEV, NCV) with the day and night cannot be broken, with them always coming at “their appointed time” (v. 20).

Amos 5:8  He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name; … ▤ 

Isa 45:7  I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things. ▤ 

Matt 5:45  … so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. ▤ 

Ps 19:4b-6  In them [the heavens] he has set a tent for the sun, 5which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. 6Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. ▤ 

This may well refer to God’s control over – or at least his lasting design of – the daily course of the sun.

Isa 40:26  Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. ▤ 

This points to God’s control over the commencement of each night, speaking of God controlling the appearance of the stars each night.

Job 38:12-13  Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, 13that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it? ▤ 

God controls the seasons

Gen 8:22  While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease. ▤ 

God’s promise that these things will continue is indicative of his control over them.

Ps 104:19  He made the moon to mark the seasons;u the sun knows its time for setting. ▤ 

u Or the appointed times (compare Genesis 1:14)

The context shows (cf. v. 20 ) – that it is God who causes these things to happen.

Job 38:31-32  Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion? 32Can you lead forth the Mazzarothv in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children? ▤ 

v Probably the name of a constellation

God’s control over the seasons is reflected in the regulated variations in the appearance of the star constellations (cf. text note). The “Bear with its children” most likely refers to the constellations commonly called the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper (cf. CEV, NIrV).

Jer 5:24  They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’ ▤ 

Dan 2:21  He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; … ▤ 

The appropriateness of including this reference here is debatable, as it is more likely figuratively speaking primarily of God determining “the course of world events” (NLT; cf. NCV), as opposed to the year’s four seasons.

God regulates and maintains the other aspects of nature

See also:

Gen 9:13  I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. ▤ 

The “bow” is the rainbow.

Ps 75:3  When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars. Selah ▤ 

The psalmist most likely is speaking figuratively of God’s control amidst the institutions of the earth and its people being in turmoil. However some commentators interpret this more literally as referring to earthquakes and the distress they cause amongst people, with God holding firm the foundations of the earth amidst such turmoil. The verse certainly at least reflects God’s control over these things – hence its inclusion here.

Isa 51:15  I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name. ▤ 

Jer 33:25-26  Thus says the Lord: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth, 26then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them. ▤ 

God has established and also maintains “the fixed order” – the laws of nature – regulating the sky and earth (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT).

Matt 6:28-29  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. ▤ 

This illustrates that God maintains plant life.

Note: God made the earth and all creation to last

See also:

Ps 78:69  He built his sanctuary like the high heavens, like the earth, which he has founded forever. ▤ 

Ps 96:10  Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.” ▤ 

As with Psalms 104:5 below, this appears to be speaking of the earth being firmly secure, not being able to be moved or “shaken” (CEV, NLT). But note that some commentators understand “world” in this context more generally as the world order, under God’s reign.

Ps 104:5  He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. ▤ 

Ps 119:90  Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. ▤ 

Ps 148:3-6  Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! 4Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! 5Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created. 6And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.w ▤ 

w Or it shall not be transgressed

Eccl 1:4-7  A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. 5The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastensx to the place where it rises. 6The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. 7All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again. ▤ 

x Or and returns panting

Verses 5-7 speak of the never ending cyclic nature of these aspects of God’s creation.

Pray for persecuted Christians

How God Made and Maintains Creation

God made all things with his wisdom

See also:

Ps 104:24  O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. ▤ 

Ps 136:5  … to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; … ▤ 

Prov 3:19-20  The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; 20by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew. ▤ 

Prov 8:27-30  [Wisdom:] When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28when he made firm the skies above, when he establishedy the fountains of the deep, 29when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, 30then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily hisz delight, rejoicing before him always, … ▤ 

y The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain

z Or daily filled with

Here God’s wisdom is personified and speaks of its presence and role in creation.

Jer 10:12  It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. ▤ 

God made all things with his power

See also:

Ps 65:5-6  By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; 6the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; … ▤ 

Jer 27:5  It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me. ▤ 

The term “outstretched arm” (cf. Jer 32:17 ) depicts God’s strength.

Jer 32:17  Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. ▤ 

Jer 51:15a  “It is he who made the earth by his power … ▤ 

God made and maintains all things by his word or command

See also:

Gen 1:3, 9, 11, 14-15, 24  And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. ▤ 9And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. ▤ 11And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plantsa yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. ▤ 14And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons,b and for days and years, 15and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. ▤ 24And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. ▤ 

a Or small plants; also verses 12, 29

b Or appointed times

“God said” occurs nine times in Genesis 1, largely in introducing the making of the various aspects of creation, emphasizing that God made all things by his word or command.

Ps 33:6, 9  By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. ▤ 9For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. ▤ 

Ps 148:3-5  Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! 4Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! 5Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created. ▤ 

Heb 11:3  By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. ▤ 

2Pet 3:5  For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, … ▤ 

The clause “the earth was formed out of water” is often thought to have Genesis 1:9 in view, which says that God commanded that the water covering the earth “be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”. The phrase, “through water”, may well indicate that God formed the other parts of creation with water, one of the first elements he created.

Ps 147:15-18  He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. 16He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. 17He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold? 18He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow. ▤ 

This and Job 37:11-12 below suggest that in addition to creating all things by his command, God continues to control nature (vv. 16-17a, 18b) through his command (vv. 15, 18a).

Job 37:11-12  He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. 12They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. ▤ 

God made and sustains all things through Jesus Christ

Heb 1:2-3a, 10  … but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. ▤ 10And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; … ▤ 

The quotation in v. 10 is attributed to God, as addressing Jesus Christ – i.e. it is here applied to Jesus Christ.

John 1:1-4, 10  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life,c and the life was the light of men. ▤ 10He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. ▤ 

c Or was not any thing made. That which has been made was life in him

“In him was life” (v. 4) is possibly referring primarily to physical life (cf. text note), following on from v. 3. However it may well simultaneously be alluding to spiritual or eternal life. (Similar comments are made below on 1 Corinthians 8:6 and Acts 3:15a.) Note that this passage may in a sense associate Jesus Christ, “the Word” (v. 1), with God’s spoken word through which all things were created (as per the previous subsection). Such an assertion is perhaps supported by the opening phrase, “In the beginning”, echoing the opening phrase of the account of creation in Genesis (cf. Gen 1:1 ). However, Hebrews 1:3a above speaks of Jesus Christ sustaining creation by his “word”, suggesting that such uses of God’s “word” may be in a similar vein.

1Cor 8:6  … yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. ▤ 

The phrase “through whom we exist” may well speak of Jesus Christ’s role in creation (like the preceding clause) or of his role in preserving or sustaining creation.

Col 1:16-17  For byd him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. ▤ 

d That is, by means of; or in

The final clause, “in him all things hold together” (v. 17), refers to Jesus Christ’s work in sustaining creation – i.e. “he holds all creation together” (NLT); “all things continue because of him” (NCV™).

Acts 3:15  … and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. ▤ 

The title “the Author of life” may be referring to Jesus Christ’s role in creation – hence this verse’s inclusion here. But his role in giving eternal life could instead be primarily in view (cf. CEV, GNT).

Rev 3:14  And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. ▤ 

The final phrase appears to refer to Jesus Christ as the “origin” (GNT, NRSV) of God’s creation.

The Holy Spirit played a role in creation – and still does

Gen 1:1-2  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. ▤ 

Many commentators understand the reference here to the Holy Spirit’s presence in the very early stages of creation to be pointing to him playing key a role in it.

Job 26:13  By his wind the heavens were made fair; his hand pierced the fleeing serpent. ▤ 

The word translated as “wind” can also be translated as “Spirit” (cf. NKJV, NLT). As such this may refer to the Holy Spirit.

Job 33:4  The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. ▤ 

Ps 104:30  When you send forth your Spirit,e they are created, and you renew the face of the ground. ▤ 

e Or breath

Isa 40:12-13  Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? 13Who has measuredf the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? ▤ 

f Or has directed

Verse 13 appears to refer to directing (cf. ESV text note, AMP, CEV, GNT, NASB, NKJV, NLT, NRSV) or understanding (cf. NCV, NIV) God’s Spirit. With it immediately following what appears to be references to God creating the world and heavens in v. 12, Isaiah may have in view the Holy Spirit’s role in creation.

Gen 6:3  Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide ing man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” ▤ 

g Or My Spirit shall not contend with

This appears to imply that the Holy Spirit plays a critical role in sustaining or preserving people (cf. CEV, NCV). But note that the Hebrew text is not clear (cf. CEV text note). Job 34:14-15 below may also speak of such a role of the Holy Spirit (cf. NKJV).

Job 34:14-15  If he should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath, 15all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

Implications of God Being Creator

See also:

God is the Father of all things, notably of all people

See also:

1Cor 8:6  … yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. ▤ 

This may be speaking of God as “the Father” of “all things”, being the one “from whom are all things”. However, it may simply be using “Father” to refer to God as either the Father of Jesus Christ or of believers.

Eph 3:14-15  For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every familyh in heaven and on earth is named, … ▤ 

h Or fatherhood; the Greek word patria is closely related to the word for Father in verse 14

As indicated earlier in this chapter, “every family” could refer to all creation or all people. If this is the case, then this verse would appear to point to God being the Father of them. But bear in mind that the comment above on 1 Corinthians 8:6 is also applicable here.

Deut 32:6, 18  Do you thus repay the Lord, you foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you? ▤ 18You were unmindful of the Rock that borei you, and you forgot the God who gave you birth. ▤ 

i Or fathered

This is most likely speaking of Israel’s creation as a nation – quite possibly also the case in Isaiah 64:8 and Malachi 2:10a below – rather than the physical creation of each one of the Israelite people (which would be better illustrative of God being the Father of all people). However, even if the former is the case, the verses are still applicable to the latter.

Isa 64:8  But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. ▤ 

Mal 2:10a  Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? ▤ 

Heb 12:9  Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? ▤ 

The title “the Father of spirits” is probably acknowledging God as the creator of our spirits. As such the verse would be applicable to this subsection. However possibly it could instead be speaking of God as the “spiritual Father” of believers.

Acts 17:28-29  … for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’;j as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’k 29Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. ▤ 

j Probably from Epimenides of Crete

k From Aratus’s poem “Phainomena”

The uses of the term “offspring” imply that God is our Father.

  • Adam is spoken of as “the son of God”:

Luke 3:38  … the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. ▤ 

In referring to Adam as “the son of God”, Luke appears to have in view that Adam was made directly by God.

God is sovereign over all things

Because God has made all things, God has the right of sovereignty over all things. God’s almighty power and incomparable wisdom enable him to enforce his sovereignty. Note that most of the references in this subsection do not explicitly attribute God’s sovereignty to his status as creator, but they do at least imply it.

2Ki 19:15  And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said: “O Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. ▤ 

Neh 9:6  l “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. ▤ 

l Septuagint adds And Ezra said

The first statement and the final clause point to God’s sovereignty, here linked with him being the creator of all things.

Isa 40:21-22, 25-28  Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; ▤ 25To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. 26Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. 27Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”? 28Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. ▤ 

Note that the term “God” (v. 28) itself implies sovereignty over all things.

Jer 10:10-12  But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation. 11Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”m 12It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. ▤ 

m This verse is in Aramaic

In contrast to other supposed “gods”, God is “the everlasting King” (v. 10), the creator of everything (vv. 11-12).

Acts 4:24  And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, … ▤ 

Acts 17:24  The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,n … ▤ 

n Greek made by hands

Isa 45:11-12, 18  Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him: “Ask me of things to come; will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?o 12I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host. ▤ 18For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other. ▤ 

o A slight emendation yields will you question me about my children, or command me concerning the work of my hands?

As the one who formed Israel (v. 11a) – indeed the one who formed the whole earth, mankind and the heavens (v. 12) – the Israelites had no right to question what God chose to do regarding them (v. 11b). In v. 11b, “children” appears to refer to Israel (cf. CEV), which may also be the case with “the work of my hands” (v. 11b) – although in the light of v. 12 the latter could refer to all creation. Together with v. 18, vv. 11-12 point to God as creator being sovereign over all things.

Isa 48:13  My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together. ▤ 

The second part of the verse probably speaks of God’s sovereignty over the earth and the heavens which he made –portraying them as complying with his every command. Alternatively, it possibly has in view his calling them into being.

Jer 27:5  It is I who by my great power and my outstretched arm have made the earth, with the men and animals that are on the earth, and I give it to whomever it seems right to me. ▤ 

Job 25:2-3  Dominion and fear are with God;p he makes peace in his high heaven. 3Is there any number to his armies? Upon whom does his light not arise? ▤ 

p Hebrew him

The fact that the sun is God’s and it shines on all people (v. 3b), reflects that God’s dominion and control extends over all (v. 2).

All things belong to God

See also:

Ps 24:1-2  The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,q the world and those who dwell therein, 2for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. ▤ 

q Or and all that fills it

Ps 89:11  The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them. ▤ 

Ps 95:4-5  In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. 5The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. ▤ 

“In his hand are the depths of the earth” (v. 4) indicates either that: he owns them – “He owns the depths of the earth” (NLT, cf. NCV); or he has control over them (cf. GNT). Possibly both alternatives are encompassed.

Ps 74:16  Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun. ▤ 

Ps 100:3  Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his;r we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. ▤ 

r Or and not we ourselves

“It is he who made us, and we are his” may be implying that “he made us and so therefore we are his”. As such the verse would be applicable to this subsection. The text note gives another possible meaning. Also note that it may well be God’s formation of Israel as a nation that is primarily in view.

Gen 14:19  And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessors of heaven and earth; … ▤ 

s Or Creator; also verse 22

“Possessor” and “Creator” (text note, CEV, NLT, NIV) here being alternative renderings of the Hebrew word in question, arguably supports the assertion that because God created all things everything belongs to him.

  • As the world was made through Jesus Christ, it is “his own”:

John 1:10-11  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11He came to his own,t and his own peopleu did not receive him. ▤ 

t Greek to his own things; that is, to his own domain, or to his own people

u People is implied in Greek

As the world was made through Jesus Christ (v. 10), it is referred to as “his own” (v. 11a) – although note that “his own” could be referring in particular to his own people, the Jews.

All things exist for God

Rom 11:36  For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. ▤ 

The phrase “to him are all things” implies that all things have God as their focus – essentially that “all things exist… for him” (GNT, cf. NCV, NLT). The suggestion is that this is because God created all things, with all things coming “from him and through him” (cf. 1Cor 8:6 ; Heb 2:10 ).

1Cor 8:6  … yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. ▤ 

The phrase “for whom we exist” possibly has believers primarily in view, but even if this is the case one can construe from it that all should exist or live for God.

Heb 2:10  For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. ▤ 

Ps 119:91  By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants. ▤ 

The clause “all things are your servants” suggests that all things exist for God. Note that Psalms 22:30 speaks of all future generations of people serving God – “Posterity shall serve him…”

  • All things were created by Jesus Christ and “for him”:

Col 1:16  For byv him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. ▤ 

v That is, by means of; or in

The assertion that all things were created “for him” would appear to be implying that all things were made for Jesus Christ and/or his purposes. In addition, some commentators understand it to be indicating that Jesus Christ is the goal towards which all creation converges or moves.

Creation attests to God’s greatness and glory

See also:

1Chr 16:25-26  For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and he is to be held in awe above all gods. 26For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. ▤ 

Job 36:24-26  Remember to extol his work, of which men have sung. 25All mankind has looked on it; man beholds it from afar. 26Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable. ▤ 

In v. 24 “his work” most likely refers primarily to God’s creation and control of it (cf. vv. 27-33), much of which – such as the stars – can only be observed from afar (v. 25). This leads Elihu to exclaim in v. 26, “Behold, God is great …”

Ps 104:1a, 5  Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! ▤ 5He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. ▤ 

Ps 8:1, 3-4  O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. ▤ 3When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? ▤ 

The exclamation, “how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (v. 1a) indicates that God’s majesty is displayed throughout the earth, it being so wonderfully created. Likewise the subsequent statement (v. 1b) probably is speaking of God’s glory being displayed by the creation of the heavens (cf. Ps 19:1 ). Such a creation prompts David to question why God bothers with humankind (vv. 3-4), alluding to God’s surpassing greatness.

Ps 19:1  The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky abovew proclaims his handiwork. ▤ 

w Hebrew the expanse; compare Genesis 1:6-8

Ps 29:3-4, 7-9  The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters. 4The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. ▤ 7The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. 8The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 9The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birthx and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, “Glory!” ▤ 

x Revocalization yields makes the oaks to shake

God’s glorious power and majesty is spoken of as being manifested or evidenced in an awesome storm or storms – part of the natural world that he has created and controls – evoking the cry ascribing glory to him (v. 9).

Ps 104:24, 31  O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. ▤ 31May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works, … ▤ 

Quite possibly the psalmist is reflecting on God’s glory (v. 31a) in view of God’s creative work (vv. 24, 31b).

Isa 43:7  … everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. ▤ 

This is speaking primarily of God’s creation of his own people bringing him glory. Arguably it can be applied to his creation of all people.

Num 14:21  But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, … ▤ 

The similar expressions here and in Isaiah 6:3 below may be linking God’s glory with his presence (cf. GNT). However, alternatively (or in conjunction) creation’s testimony to God’s glory may be in view.

Isa 6:3  And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”y ▤ 

y Or may his glory fill the whole earth

Creation attests to God’s power

See also:

Rom 1:20  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. ▤ 

Isa 40:26  Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. ▤ 

Ps 33:8-9  Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! 9For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. ▤ 

This indicates that God’s creation of the world is ample reason to fear him because it illustrates how incredible is his power. (The same is the case with Jeremiah 5:22 immediately below.)

Jer 5:22  Do you not fear me? declares the Lord. Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it. ▤ 

Ps 124:8  Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. ▤ 

God’s creation of the world is a great comfort to his people, showing how incredibly powerful is the one who is the source of their help. The references below from Psalm 146, Isaiah 44 and Isaiah 51 have the same theme.

Ps 146:5-6  Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 6who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; … ▤ 

Isa 44:24  Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, … ▤ 

God’s people have a mighty Redeemer, emphatically shown by him creating the heavens and the earth by himself.

Isa 51:12-13, 15-16  “I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, 13and have forgotten the Lord, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy? And where is the wrath of the oppressor? ▤ 15I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord of hosts is his name. 16And I have put my words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of my hand, establishingz the heavens and laying the foundations of the earth, and saying to Zion, ‘You are my people.’” ▤ 

z Or planting

As the God of his people (vv. 15a, 16b), the one who in his care comforts them (v. 12a), his people have no reason to fear anyone else (v. 13b). For God created all things (vv. 13a, 15-16), such is his power.

Creation and God’s control over it show his power and wisdom to be incomparable . . .

See also:

Job 9:3-10, 12-15  If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times. 4He is wise in heart and mighty in strength —who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?— 5he who removes mountains, and they know it not, when he overturns them in his anger, 6who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; 7who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars; 8who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; 9who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south; 10who does great things beyond searching out, and marvelous things beyond number. ▤ 12Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back? Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ 13“God will not turn back his anger; beneath him bowed the helpers of Rahab. 14How then can I answer him, choosing my words with him? 15Though I am in the right, I cannot answer him; I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.a ▤ 

a Or to my judge

In view of God’s wisdom and power as shown in his creation – and power over it – Job acknowledges that there is no way that he (v. 14-15) – like everyone else (vv. 3, 12-13) – can hope to contend with God. Note that v. 6 most likely refers to earthquakes (cf. GNT); and, in v. 13, “the helpers of Rahab” is probably a reference to evil forces.

Job 26:7-11, 14  He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing. 8He binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not split open under them. 9He covers the face of the full moonb and spreads over it his cloud. 10He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness. 11The pillars of heaven tremble and are astounded at his rebuke. ▤ 14Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways, and how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand? ▤ 

b Or his throne

As shown in creation (vv. 7-11), God’s power is so much greater than that of people that it is even beyond their comprehension (v. 14). Note that the “pillars of the heavens” (v. 11) are most likely mountains, poetically portrayed as holding up the skies.

Job 37:1-5, 14-18  [Elihu:] “At this also my heart trembles and leaps out of its place. 2Keep listening to the thunder of his voice and the rumbling that comes from his mouth. 3Under the whole heaven he lets it go, and his lightning to the corners of the earth. 4After it his voice roars; he thunders with his majestic voice, and he does not restrain the lightningsc when his voice is heard. 5God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. ▤ 14“Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God. 15Do you know how God lays his command upon them and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine? 16Do you know the balancingsd of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge, 17you whose garments are hot when the earth is still because of the south wind? 18Can you, like him, spread out the skies, hard as a cast metal mirror? ▤ 

c Hebrew them

d Or hoverings

Elihu trembles (v. 1) as he begins to contemplate the manifestations of God’s incomparable power in thunder and lightning (vv. 4-5). Verse 17 reinforces the supremacy of God’s power over people, as manifested in creation, by showing how people are subject to his forces of nature.

Prov 30:4  Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know! ▤ 

Isa 40:12-15, 25-26  Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? 13Who has measurede the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? 14Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? 15Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. ▤ 25To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. 26Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. ▤ 

e Or has directed

Verses 13-14 may well have primarily in view God’s incredible understanding as shown in him being able to create the universe. As such, vv. 12-14 emphasize that it was God who created the universe (v. 12), without the need of anyone to advise him (vv. 13-14). The implication is that this was/is far beyond the ability of anyone else. In fact this shows that in comparison to God the nations are next to nothing (v. 15).

Eccl 11:5  As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the wombf of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. ▤ 

f Some Hebrew manuscripts, Targum; most Hebrew manuscripts As you do not know the way of the wind, or how the bones grow in the womb

. . . God made this point very clear to Job

During his suffering Job had at times complained against God, making incorrect and unjust assertions. In chapters 38-41 (extracts from which compose this subsection) God answered Job in no uncertain terms.

Job 38:1-8, 12-13  Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 2“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3Dress for actiong like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. 4“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8“Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, ▤ 12“Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, 13that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it? ▤ 

g Hebrew Gird up your loins

The phrase “surely you know!” (v. 5) may indicate that surely Job knew that God was the one he had done all this (cf. CEV). But more likely it is irony (cf. v. 21), scornfully suggesting that surely Job – who had shown that he considered himself to be knowledgeable and wise enough to question God – knew how all this had been done (cf. GNT, NLT).

Job 38:31-41  Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion? 32Can you lead forth the Mazzarothh in their season, or can you guide the Bear with its children? 33Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth? 34“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you? 35Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’? 36Who has put wisdom in the inward partsi or given understanding to the mind?j 37Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, 38when the dust runs into a mass and the clods stick fast together? 39“Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, 40when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in their thicket? 41Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God for help, and wander about for lack of food? ▤ 

h Probably the name of a constellation

i Or in the ibis

j Or rooster

Verse 34 is speaking of God shouting orders to the clouds to make it rain (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT).

Job 39:1-2, 5-6  Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of the does? 2Can you number the months that they fulfill, and do you know the time when they give birth, ▤ 5“Who has let the wild donkey go free? Who has loosed the bonds of the swift donkey, 6to whom I have given the arid plain for his home and the salt land for his dwelling place? ▤ 

Verses 1-2 imply not only imply God’s knowledge of such things, but also his active involvement in them.

Job 39:19-20, 26-27  Do you give the horse his might? Do you clothe his neck with a mane? 20Do you make him leap like the locust? His majestic snorting is terrifying. ▤ 26“Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars and spreads his wings toward the south? 27Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high? ▤ 

Job 41:1-5, 8-10  k “Can you draw out Leviathanl with a fishhook or press down his tongue with a cord? 2Can you put a rope in his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook? 3Will he make many pleas to you? Will he speak to you soft words? 4Will he make a covenant with you to take him for your servant forever? 5Will you play with him as with a bird, or will you put him on a leash for your girls? ▤ 8Lay your hands on him; remember the battle—you will not do it again! 9 m Behold, the hope of a man is false; he is laid low even at the sight of him. 10No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up. Who then is he who can stand before me? ▤ 

k Ch 40:25 in Hebrew

l A large sea animal, exact identity unknown

m Ch 41:1 in Hebrew

If no one is able to control (vv. 1-5) or challenge (vv. 8-10a) the leviathan (cf. text note), then no one has the capacity to stand against God (v. 10b).

  • Job’s acknowledgment of God’s far superior power and wisdom – and subsequent repentance:

Job 42:1-6  Then Job answered the Lord and said: 2“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ 5I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6therefore I despise myself, and repentn in dust and ashes.” ▤ 

n Or and am comforted

In the first part of each of v. 3 and v. 4, Job is quoting questions that God had asked him (cf. 38:2-3; 40:7), before responding to them. Note that Job had earlier acknowledged God’s superior power and wisdom. However Job did not appreciate them enough to refrain from complaining against and questioning God.

Pray for persecuted Christians