The basic creation story is found in Genesis 1 and 2, with the account of the Garden of Eden in chapter 3. Genesis 1 begins before the existence of anything except God Himself. Since this is the case, there is no such thing as a “pre-historic” time. God’s revelation of Himself and His will for mankind is the beginning. In this beginning, God created everything in the universe in six literal 24-hour days. This includes all the heavenly bodies (including every star and planet), as well as everything on the earth. While the triune nature of God is not explicit in the Genesis account, God does reveal an “us” within the Godhead (Genesis 1:26). The Spirit is active in creation (Genesis 1:2) as is Christ (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15-17).
In the six days of Creation, God formed the universe and the earth (day 1), the sky and the atmosphere (day 2), dry land and all plant life (day 3), the stars and heavenly bodies including the sun and moon (day 4), birds and water creatures (day 5), and all the animals and man (day 6). Mankind is special above all other creatures because he bears the image of God and has the responsibility to steward and subdue the earth. All of creation was completed in six days in all its vast array and wondrous beauty. The six literal 24-hour days have no time spans separating the days. God announced that His creation was very good. Genesis 2 sees the completion of God’s work and gives a detailed account of the creation of man.
The seventh day is marked by God resting. This is not because God was tired, but He rested or ceased from His act of creating. This establishes a pattern of taking one day in seven for rest and sets the number of days in the week still in use today. The keeping of the Sabbath will be a distinguishing mark of God’s chosen people (Exodus 20:8-11.)
Genesis next takes a closer look at the creation of man. This passage is not a second creation account, nor is it contradictory to Genesis 1. The account simply takes a step away from a linear report to refocus the reader on God’s work concerning man. God formed man from the dust of the earth He had previously created. After forming man, God breathed life into him. The fact that God chose to form man this way shows His great care in this process. God next placed the first man, Adam, in a special place, the Garden of Eden. Eden was beautiful and bountiful. Adam had almost everything he needed including food and productive work. However, God was not done with man.
God helped Adam to see his need for a mate by having him review all the other creatures and naming them. Adam understood that he needed a mate. God caused Adam to sleep and then formed Eve with as much care as he formed Adam. Eve was made from Adam’s rib. When Adam saw her, he understood that she was special. She was his counterpart, his complement, and flesh of his flesh. God made both Adam and Eve in his image (Genesis 1:27). This passage establishes the family as the basic building block of society (Genesis 1:24; Matthew 19:5-6.) As a God-ordained institution, marriage is to be only between one man and one woman. Adam and Eve were created in a state of innocence (Genesis 1:25) and had not committed any sin. They enjoyed communion with God in Eden. Part of the relationship was the inclusion of one simple rule. Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat from one tree and only one tree in the entire Garden (Genesis 1:17).
At some point Eve was tempted by the serpent to eat from this one tree, which she did. Adam also ate from the forbidden tree. Adam and Eve sinned against God and lost their innocence (Genesis 2:8-12). Sin brought consequences. God cursed the serpent to crawl forever on the ground and be hated by men. God cursed Eve to pain in childbirth and conflict with her husband, and He cursed Adam with toil and hardship in his labors (Genesis 3:14-19). Part of the consequences for their sin included Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden (Genesis 3:22-24.) But also included in the consequences is a message of hope. The first mention of the coming Messiah is found in Genesis 3:15. He would come to crush the Serpent (Satan), but not before Satan bruised Him at the Cross. Even in the midst of sin and its dire consequences, God shows Himself to be a God of grace and mercy and love.