The Life-Changing Verbs in Genesis 1

I’m starting over with my chronological reading plan, so I thought I’d share any special insights this time around. When I began Genesis 1 yesterday, I didn’t have high expectations that the Holy Spirit could teach me something new and astonishing. How much more could I learn?

I was wrong. I was so wrong!

In Genesis 1, the first verb we read is create. God created. Why does it matter that the first way God chooses to present Himself to you and me is that He creates? I thought about this for a long time. And then I was filled with so much joy when I thought about what it means to create. God makes something out of nothing. He takes raw materials and He designs incredible things. Moreover, God creates things that can reproduce. The vegetation he designed had seeds within it to produce more vegetation (1:11-12).

Think of your own life. Think of what feels empty and void, chaotic and bleak. Think of what feels unproductive, stale, and lifeless. When we give the raw materials of our lives to God, He creates beauty and meaning from it. He creates something that’s so abundant in itself that it overflows to seed new growth in others. Consider your relationships, your work, your daily life. Now imagine infusing it with the creative power of God Most High who brings about the shape, the purpose, and the blessing from it. God’s creative work intends to spill over.

God created. God creates. And His work bears fruit.

But what about the first verb designated to humans? Can you guess? It’s that mankind rules (1:26). Humans have dominion. We subdue our surroundings. I also thought about this for a long time. Why does it matter that God’s first way of presenting humans in scripture is that we rule as image-bearers? I thought of the power, authority, and position God grants us in Christ. I thought of how I don’t truly realize my authority in Christ. I don’t know my power. Can you imagine walking into the settings God has placed you and operating with the rule and dominion God has ordained for you? Oh my goodness! I would be way less insecure or uncertain of myself. I would stop shrinking back from spiritual warfare. I would stop wallowing when things feel chaotic. I would rise up into my authority in Christ to subdue those things causing chaos in my life.

In case you’re wondering, Satan doesn’t get any creative or vivid verbs. He exists; he can speak, and he mostly lies. He calls into question the verbs of God with that first question, “Did God really say?” In other words, it seems to me like Satan can only respond to what already exists and work to corrupt it. Satan doesn’t create or invent. He only reacts. I could be wrong, but that’s what I see here.

Overall, I remember that God creates, humans rule and subdue, and Satan causes us to doubt God’s words.

After reading the beginning of Genesis, I think carefully about the primary activity assigned by the often-overlooked verbs. I thank God for His creative power at work even now. I step forward in His full authority. And I don’t listen to any lie that causes me to doubt what God has said.

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