Creation Era Overview

Excerpt from “The 14 Eras” booklet by Iva May

Creation Era

Genesis 1:1-11:26 (Approximately 2,500 years)

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created the earth empty and formless and over the following six days, He simply spoke and the “things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Heb. 11:3).

At the beginning of each day, God spoke, and successively the earth was formed and then filled with order and life. God created all the animals and the plants and He commanded that each plant and animal reproduce after its kind. On the sixth day, God created animals, and man was His final creation—what He called “very good.” He created man in the image of God, male and female. He created the man from the dust of the ground, formed him, and breathed His very life into him. He blessed them and commanded them to reproduce and fill the earth with more God-image bearers. He commanded them to have dominion over all animal life.

When God created Adam, the man, He placed him in the Garden of Eden, assigned him the task of naming the animals, and gave him specific instructions regarding the garden. God put two special trees in the middle of the garden, the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam that he could eat from all the trees in the garden except for the tree of knowledge of good and evil, because if Adam ate from it, he would surely die.

When Adam had completed the task of naming the animals, he realized that he, out of all creation, was alone. So God put him to sleep; and while he was sleeping, God took one of his ribs and made him a helper comparable to him—a woman. God established marriage in the garden—the man and his wife together as one flesh. God commanded them to reproduce according to their kind, and they walked with God in the garden, naked, and without shame (Gen. 2:25).

God also created spirit beings who are powerful but invisible to man. One spirit God created was very wise, very powerful, and very beautiful. God assigned to him a special work, to guard God’s holy throne in heaven. But this spirit soon became filled with pride because of his great beauty. He desired to take God’s place in heaven and rule over all the other spirits God had created. He even said, “I will be like the Most High.” This spirit being led a rebellion among the other spirits. Because of their wickedness and rebellion those spirits who joined him were driven from heaven. The spirit who rebelled against God we know today as Satan, Lucifer, and the serpent. His name means adversary. The spirits who follow Satan are called demons (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12b-17).

Satan knows that he has been defeated and that his time is short, so he is filled with hatred and works furiously against man. One day, the serpent, described as more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made, entered the garden of Eden, misrepresented God and His instructions, and deceived Eve. She took of the fruit from the forbidden tree and ate; she gave to her husband with her and he ate. Immediately their eyes were opened and, in their guilt and shame, they hid from God, because they were afraid of Him.

The Lord confronted the couple. Instead of being honest with God about his sin, Adam blamed his wife, and the woman blamed her disobedience on the serpent’s deception.

In response, the Lord punished the couple for their sin. He also cursed the serpent and made a promise regarding a coming Seed who would destroy Satan and restore humanity. God pointed to that day as He slew a “good,” innocent animal, and with its skin, He covered the shame of their nakedness. In His mercy, God exiled man from the garden, so that he would not eat from the tree of life and be separated from Him forever.

Second Generation

Just as God commanded, the man and his wife, Eve, began to be fruitful and multiply; they had children, born in the image of Adam. Their firstborn, Cain, was a farmer, and their second- born, Abel, was a shepherd. When the time came to worship God, Cain offered the fruit of the ground, and Abel offered the firstborn of his flock. God looked at Abel’s offering with pleasure, but He did not regard Cain’s offering. Cain became so angry that even his face changed. God came to Cain, pleading with him and warning him to resist sin’s temptation. Cain, however, killed Abel, so God cursed Cain. He told him that his life would be hard and that he would now live in fear and outside of the presence of God as a fugitive and vagabond. Cain went out from the presence of God. He knew his wife, began to have children, and created cities. His sons took multiple wives and murdered those who hurt them. He and his descendants created a world for themselves away from the presence of God.

God then gave to Adam and Eve another son, whom they named Seth. They understood that through him the seed would come who would crush the head of the serpent. Through Seth’s descendants, men began to call upon the name of the LORD.

The Flood

Both the descendants of Cain and Seth began to multiply and fill the earth. Instead of being full of God-image bearers, the world became corrupt and filled with violence. Some of Seth’s descendants called upon the name of the Lord and walked with God. Others, however, noticed the beauty of Cain’s female descendants and began to intermarry with Cain’s descendants, filling the world with violence and corruption. God grieved in His heart over man’s sin, so He promised to destroy man from the face of the earth. But one man, Noah, found grace in God’s sight, because he walked with God. God promised to destroy all flesh from the earth with a flood, except for Noah and his family, and God commanded Noah to build a very large boat. Noah’s faith in God moved him to obey God. When the boat was completed, Noah, his family, and the animals God appointed entered the boat, and God shut the door. The flood came.

All flesh died on the earth—every animal and man. The waters flooded the earth for 150 days; afterward God sent a wind to dry the waters. God opened the door of the boat and released Noah and his family. Noah then built an altar to the Lord and offered one of every clean animal to God as a burnt offering on the altar. When the Lord smelled the soothing aroma, He said, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the thoughts of his heart are evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21). God made a covenant with Noah that He would never again destroy the earth by flood, and He placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign of His covenant to remind man of God’s His faithfulness.

Noah’s sons and their wives had children and began to repopulate the earth, and his descendants, unwilling to obey God by filling the earth, stayed in one place and built a huge tower, called Babel. So the Lord scattered all the people over the face of the earth by confusing their language, creating many languages so that they could not understand one another.

The Book of Job

Many theologians place the Book of Job early in the Patriarch Era. Though Job possessed only the biblical stories of the Creation Era he expressed great faith in God. These stories gave Job enough truth about God to develop a robust faith that took him through his trials. Job reveals the Sovereignty of God, the limitations of Satan, and the faith that perseveres.

What does the Creation Era reveal about God? God Speaks

• God brings all of creation into being by His spoken word.

• God ascribes names to what He creates and evaluates all that He creates as “good.”

• God gives instructions for the present and for the future.

• God establishes boundaries for creation and man.

• God confronts Adam and Eve regarding their sin. He curses the serpent and Cain.

• God promises to redeem man.

• God shortens man’s life and promises He will not destroy the world again by flood.

God Acts

• God created the heavens and the earth and all that fill them.

• God provides for man’s every need.

• God kills an animal and uses the skin to cover man’s nakedness.

• God evicts the first couple from the garden and prevents their re-entry.

• God opens the heavens and destroys every living thing on the earth except for the contents of the ark.

• God scatters all the people of the earth and divides the continents.

God Reveals

• God is good. God desires relationship with man based on trust.

• Man’s sin separates him from God. As a result, man lives in fear of others and of the spirit world. The evidence of broken harmony with God is the fear, shame, and guilt experienced by all of humanity.

• God moves redemptively toward man as He promises to redeem man through the seed of the woman who will crush the head of the serpent. He grants them an initial picture of atonement when He slays an innocent animal and covers guilty man’s nakedness. God does not accept other sacrificial systems.

• God gives instructions to one generation that will affect future generations. Each generation must communicate them to the following generation.

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