The act of creating or causing the existence of someone or something, or the state or fact of having been created or brought into existence.
Throughout the Scriptures Jehovah God is identified as the Creator. He is “the Creator of the heavens, . . . the Former of the earth and the Maker of it.” (Isa. 45:18) He is “the Former of the mountains and the Creator of the wind” (Amos 4:13), and is “the One who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all the things in them.” (Acts 4:24; 14:15; 17:24) “God . . . created all things.” (Eph. 3:9) Jesus Christ recognized Jehovah as the One who created humans, making them male and female. (Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6) Hence, Jehovah is fittingly and uniquely called “the Creator.”—Isa. 40:28.
It is because of God’s will that all things “existed and were created.” (Rev. 4:11) Jehovah, who has existed for all time, was alone before creation had a beginning.—Ps. 90:1, 2; 1 Tim. 1:17.
While Jehovah, who is a Spirit (John 4:24; 2 Cor. 3:17), has always existed, the matter of which the universe is made is not eternal. Hence, when creating the literal heavens and earth, Jehovah did not use preexistent material. This is clear from Genesis 1:1, which says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” If matter had always existed, it would have been inappropriate to use the term “beginning” with reference to material things. However, after creating the earth, God did form “from the ground every wild beast of the field and every flying creature of the heavens.” (Gen. 2:19) He also formed man “out of dust from the ground,” blowing into his nostrils the breath of life so that the man became a living soul.—Gen. 2:7.
Appropriately Psalm 33:6 says: “By the word of Jehovah the heavens themselves were made, and by the spirit of his mouth all their army.” While the earth was yet “formless and waste” with “darkness upon the surface of the watery deep,” it was God’s active force that was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters. (Gen. 1:2) Thus, God used his active force or “spirit” (Heb., ruʹahh) to accomplish his creative purpose. The things he has created testify not only to his power but to his Godship. (Jer. 10:12; Rom. 1:19, 20) And, as Jehovah “is a God, not of disorder, but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33), orderliness, rather than chaos or chance, marks his creative work. Jehovah reminded Job that He had taken specific steps in founding the earth and barricading the sea and indicated that there exist “statutes of the heavens.” (Job 38:1, 4-11, 31-33) Furthermore, God’s creative and other works are perfect.—Deut. 32:4; Eccl. 3:14.
Jehovah’s first creation was his “only-begotten Son” (John 3:16), “the beginning of the creation by God.” (Rev. 3:14) This one, “the first-born of all creation,” was used by Jehovah in creating all other things, those in the heavens and those upon the earth, “the things visible and the things invisible.” (Col. 1:15-17) John’s inspired testimony concerning this Son, the Word, is that “all things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence,” and the apostle identifies the Word as Jesus Christ, who had become flesh. (John 1:1-4, 10, 14, 17) As wisdom personified, this One is represented as saying, “Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way,” and tells of his association with God the Creator as Jehovah’s “master worker.” (Prov. 8:12, 22-31) In view of the close association of Jehovah and his only-begotten Son in creative activity and because that Son is “the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15; 2 Cor. 4:4), it was evidently to His only-begotten Son and master worker that Jehovah spoke in saying, “Let us make man in our image.”—Gen. 1:26.
After creating his only-begotten Son, Jehovah used him in bringing the heavenly angels into existence. This preceded the founding of the earth, as Jehovah revealed when questioning Job and asking him: “Where did you happen to be when I founded the earth . . . when the morning stars joyfully cried out together, and all the sons of God began shouting in applause?” (Job 38:4-7) It was after the creation of these heavenly spirit creatures that the material heavens and earth and all elements were made or brought into existence. And, since Jehovah is the one primarily responsible for all this creative work, it is ascribed to him.—Neh. 9:6; Ps. 136:1, 5-9.
The Scriptures, in stating, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1), leave matters indefinite as to time. Their reference to “the beginning” is therefore unassailable, regardless of the age scientists may seek to attach to the earthly globe and to the various planets and other heavenly bodies. The actual time of creation of the material heavens and earth may have been billions of years ago.
FURTHER CREATIVE ACTIVITIES INVOLVING THE EARTH
Genesis, chapter one through chapter two, verse three, after telling about the creation of the material heavens and earth (1:1, 2), provides an outline of further creative activities on the earth. Chapter two of Genesis, from verse five onward, is a parallel account that supplies details not furnished in the broad outline found in Genesis 1:1–22:3. The inspired Record tells of six creative periods called “days,” and of a seventh period or “seventh day” in which time God desisted from earthly creative works and proceeded to rest. (Gen. 2:1-3) While the Genesis account of creative activity relating to the earth does not set forth detailed botanical and zoological distinctions such as those current today, the terms employed therein adequately cover the major divisions of life and show that these were created and made so that they reproduce only according to their respective “kinds.”—Gen. 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25; see KIND.
The following chart may make it easier to grasp God’s creative activities during the six “days” outlined in Genesis.
EARTHLY CREATIVE WORKS OF JEHOVAH
Day No. Creative Works Texts
1 Light; division between Gen. 1:3-5
day and night
2 Expanse, a division between
waters on earth and watery
canopy above Gen. 1:6-8
3 Dry land; vegetation Gen. 1:9-13
4 Heavenly luminaries become
discernible from earth Gen. 1:14-19
5 Marine souls and
flying creatures Gen. 1:20-23
6 Land animals; man Gen. 1:24-31
Genesis 1:1, 2 relates to a time before the six “days” outlined above. When these “days” commenced, the sun, moon and stars were already in existence, their creation being referred to at Genesis 1:1. However, prior to these six “days” of creative activity “the earth proved to be formless and waste and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep.” (Gen. 1:2) Just what caused this “darkness” and what process resulted in the “watery deep” covering the earthly globe the Bible does not say. But such circumstances were in accord with the divine will for that time. (Isa. 45:6, 7) Nonetheless, on Day One the obstruction causing the darkness, or the darkness itself, was dispelled when God proceeded to say: “Let light come to be.” In response to his words, “then there came to be light,” which God saw to be good. The source of this light evidently was the sun, already in existence, but now that light could reach earth’s vicinity. God brought about a division between the light and the darkness, calling the light Day and the darkness Night. This indicates that the earth was rotating on its axis as it revolved around the sun, so that its hemispheres, eastern and western, could enjoy periods of light and darkness.—Gen. 1:3, 4.
On Day Two God made an expanse by causing a division to occur “between the waters and the waters.” Some waters remained on the earth, but a great amount of water was raised high above the surface of the earth, and in between these two there came to be an expanse. God called the expanse Heaven, but this was with relation to the earth, as the waters suspended above the expanse are not said to have enclosed stars or other bodies of the outer heavens.—Gen. 1:6-8; see EXPANSE.
On Day Three by God’s miracle-working power the waters on the earth were brought together and dry land appeared, God calling it Earth. It was also on this day that, through no chance factors or evolutionary processes, God acted to superimpose the life principle upon atoms of matter, so that grass, vegetation and fruit trees were brought into existence or created. Each of these three general divisions was capable of reproducing according to its “kind.”—Gen. 1:9-13.
The divine will concerning luminaries was accomplished on Day Four, it being stated: “God proceeded to make the two great luminaries, the greater luminary for dominating the day and the lesser luminary for dominating the night, and also the stars. Thus God put them in the expanse of the heavens to shine upon the earth, and to dominate by day and by night and to make a division between the light and the darkness.” (Gen. 1:16-18) In view of the description of these luminaries, the greater luminary was quite apparently the sun and the lesser luminary the moon, though the sun and moon are not specifically named in the Bible until after its account of the Flood of Noah’s day.—Gen. 15:12; 37:9.
It is noteworthy that at Genesis 1:16 the Hebrew verb ba·raʼʹ, meaning “create,” is not used. Instead, the Hebrew verb ʽa·sahʹ, meaning “make,” is employed. Since the sun, moon and stars are included in the “heavens” mentioned in Genesis 1:1, they were created long before Day Four. On the fourth day God proceeded to “make” these celestial bodies occupy a new relationship toward earth’s surface and the expanse above it. When it is said, “God put them in the expanse of the heavens to shine upon the earth,” this seems to indicate that they now became discernible through the water canopy surrounding the earth, as though they were in the expanse. Perhaps because the atmosphere in the expanse had cleared of murkiness, their light reached the earth’s surface. Also, the luminaries were to “serve as signs and for seasons and for days and years,” thus later providing guidance for man in various ways.—Gen. 1:14.
Day Five was marked by the creation of the first conscious life on earth. Not just one creature purposed by God to evolve into other forms, but literally swarms of living souls were then brought forth by divine power. It is stated: “God proceeded to create the great sea monsters and every living soul that moves about, which the waters swarmed forth according to their kinds, and every winged flying creature according to its kind.” Pleased with what He had produced, God blessed them and, in effect, told them to “become many,” which was possible, for these creatures of many different family kinds were divinely endowed with the ability to reproduce “according to their kinds.”—Gen. 1:20-23.
On Day Six “God proceeded to make the wild beast of the earth according to its kind and the domestic animal according to its kind and every moving animal of the ground according to its kind,” such work being good, as were all of God’s previous creative works.—Gen. 1:24, 25.
Toward the end of the sixth day of creative activity, God brought into existence an entirely new kind of creature, superior to the animals even though lower than the angels. This was man, created in God’s image and after his likeness. While Genesis 1:27 briefly states concerning humankind “male and female he [God] created them,” the parallel account at Genesis 2:7-9 shows that Jehovah God formed man out of the dust of the ground, blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul, for whom a paradise home and food were provided. In this case Jehovah used the elements of the earth in creative work and then, having formed man, He created the female of humankind using one of the man Adam’s ribs as a base. (Gen. 2:18-25) With the creation of the woman, man was complete as a “kind.”—Gen. 5:1, 2.
God then blessed mankind, telling the first man and his wife: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:28; compare Psalm 8:4-8.) For humankind and other earthly creatures, God made adequate provision by giving them “all green vegetation for food.” Reporting on the results of such creative work, the inspired Record states: “After that God saw everything he had made and, look! it was very good.” (Gen. 1:29-31) The sixth day having come to its successful conclusion and God having completed this creative work, “he proceeded to rest on the seventh day from all his work that he had made.”—Gen. 2:1-3.
Concluding the review of accomplishments on each of the six days of creative activity is the statement, “And there came to be evening and there came to be morning,” a first, second, third day, and so forth. (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31) Since the length of each creative day exceeded twenty-four hours (as will be discussed hereinafter), this expression does not apply to literal night and day but is figurative. During the evening period things would be indistinct; but in the morning they would become clearly discernible. During the “evening” of each creative period or “day” God’s purpose for that day, though fully known to Him, would be indistinct to any angelic observers. However, when the “morning” arrived there would be full light as to what God had purposed for that day, it having been accomplished by that time.—Compare Proverbs 4:18.
LENGTH OF CREATIVE DAYS
The Bible does not specify the length of each of the creative periods. Yet all six of them have ended, it being said with respect to the sixth day (as in the case of each of the preceding five days): “And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, a sixth day.” (Gen. 1:31) However, this statement is not made regarding the seventh day, on which God proceeded to rest, indicating that it continued. (Gen. 2:1-3) Also, more than 4,000 years after the seventh day or God’s rest day commenced, Paul indicated that it was still in progress. At Hebrews 4:1-11 he referred to the earlier words of David and also urged: “Let us therefore do our utmost to enter into that rest.” By the apostle’s time, the seventh day had been continuing for thousands of years, and had not yet ended. The thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ, who is Scripturally identified as “Lord of the sabbath” (Matt. 12:8), is evidently part of the great sabbath, God’s rest day. (Rev. 20:1-6) This would indicate the passing of thousands of years from the commencement of God’s rest day to its end. The week of days set forth at Genesis 1:3 to 2:3, the last of which is a sabbath, seems to parallel the week into which the Israelites divided their time, observing a sabbath on the seventh day thereof, in keeping with the divine will. And, as the week of the Israelites was composed of seven individual days of equal length, it may reasonably be concluded that each of the six creative periods or days was the same length as the seventh day or God’s great rest day.—Ex. 20:8-11.
That a day can be longer than twenty-four hours is indicated by Genesis 2:4, which speaks, in part, of “the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.” Also indicative of this is Peter’s inspired observation that “one day is with Jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Pet. 3:8) Ascribing not just twenty-four hours but a longer period of time, thousands of years, to each of the creative days better harmonizes with the geological evidence found in the earth itself.
MAN LEARNS FROM CREATED THINGS
There are many evidences to prove that men of science have actually learned much by observing and studying creatures. In this way modern-day man has been able to solve complex problems associated with the development and use of certain devices. Frequently, though, man is completely at a loss to reproduce by technical means the characteristics inherent in creatures. For instance, a bird known as the Tasmanian shearwater yearly circles the Pacific, flying across Japan and the Aleutians and returning to its home nest the same week every year. Man would like to know how birds can fly great distances over unfamiliar terrain and unerringly return to familiar surroundings. Such a navigational system would be of immense value to fog-bound ships and those in waters where no navigational guide exists.
With keen interest scientists have observed the speed attainable by the dolphin. It seems that this creature’s elastic, ducted, hydraulic skin prevents eddies of turbulence from forming and growing in intensity as they would if its skin were rigid. The creature’s skin, having such elasticity, “gives” where an eddy forms, quashing the turbulence and allowing the dolphin to attain great speed. Also, built-in sonic devices enable owls, bats and porpoises to navigate with an effectiveness that far outreaches that of devices man can construct. Illustrations of this kind are numerous, attesting to the supreme wisdom of the Creator, Jehovah God.
NOT BORROWED FROM PAGAN CONCEPTS
Some persons seek to associate the Biblical account of creation with mythological pagan accounts, such as the well-known Babylonian Creation Epic. Actually, there were various creation stories in ancient Babylon, but the one that has become best known is a myth having to do with Marduk, Babylon’s national god. Briefly, the story tells of the existence of the goddess Tiamat and the god Apsu, who became the parents of other deities. The activities of these gods became so distressing to Apsu that he determined to destroy them. However, Apsu was killed by one of these gods, Ea, and when Tiamat sought to avenge Apsu, she was killed by Ea’s son Marduk, who then split her body, using half of it to form the sky and the other half in connection with the earth’s establishment. Marduk’s subsequent acts included creating mankind (with Ea’s aid), using the blood of another god, Kingu, the director of Tiamat’s hosts.
In his book Creation Revealed in Six Days, P. J. Wiseman points out that, when the Babylonian creation tablets were first discovered, some scholars expected further discovery and research to show that there was a correspondency between them and the Genesis account of creation. Some thought that it would become apparent that the Genesis account was borrowed from the Babylonian. However, further discovery and research have merely made apparent the great gulf between the two accounts. They do not parallel each other. Wiseman quotes The Babylonian Legends of the Creation and the Fight between Bel and the Dragon, issued by the Trustees of the British Museum, who hold that “the fundamental conceptions of the Babylonian and Hebrew accounts are essentially different.” He also cites the words of Sir Ernest Budge, who stated: “It must be pointed out that there is no evidence at all that the two accounts of the creation, which are given in the early chapters of Genesis, are derived from the seven tablets.” (See Babylonian Life and History, page 85.) Then Wiseman himself observes: “It is more than a pity that many theologians, instead of keeping abreast with modern archaeological research, continue to repeat the now disproved theory of Hebrew ‘borrowings’ from Babylonian sources.”—Creation Revealed in Six Days, London, 1948, p. 58.
While some have pointed to what seemed to them to be similarities between the Babylonian epic and the Genesis account of creation, it is readily apparent from the preceding consideration of the Biblical creation narrative and the foregoing epitome of the Babylonian myth that they are not really similar. Therefore, a detailed analysis of them side by side is unnecessary. However, in considering seeming similarities and differences (such as the order of events) in these accounts, Professor George A. Barton observed in his book Archœology and the Bible: “A more important difference lies in the religious conceptions of the two. The Babylonian poem is mythological and polytheistic. Its conception of deity is by no means exalted. Its gods love and hate, they scheme and plot, fight and destroy. Marduk, the champion, conquers only after a fierce struggle, which taxes his powers to the utmost. Genesis, on the other hand, reflects the most exalted monotheism. God is so thoroughly the master of all the elements of the universe, that they obey his slightest word. He controls all without effort. He speaks and it is done. Granting, as most scholars do, that there is a connection between the two narratives, there is no better measure of the inspiration of the Biblical account than to put it side by side with the Babylonian. As we read the chapter in Genesis today, it still reveals to us the majesty and power of the one God, and creates in modern man, as it did in the ancient Hebrew, a worshipful attitude toward the Creator.”—Fifth printing of seventh edition, July, 1949, pp. 297, 298.
Regarding ancient creation myths in general, it has been stated: “No myth has yet been found which explicitly refers to the creation of the universe, and those concerned with the organization of the universe and its cultural processes, the creation of man and the establishment of civilization are marked by polytheism and the struggles of deities for supremacy in marked contrast to the Hebrew monotheism of Gn. i, ii.”—The New Bible Dictionary, J. D. Douglas Organizing Editor, p. 272.
The “history of the heavens and the earth in the time of their being created” (Gen. 2:4) preceded any Sumerian, Assyrian, Babylonian or other mythological stories relating to creation. The account preserved in the Scriptures was written down and originally Possessed by Adam. By means of preservation by faithful patriarchs of ancient times it came into the Possession of Moses, who, under divine inspiration, used it when compiling Genesis. This being an account possessed by the first man long before the confusion of the language of mankind (Gen. 11:1-9), it could not have been borrowed from mythological tales developed by later peoples. Nations such as Assyria and Babylon did not even come into existence until after the flood of Noah’s day (hence not until after 2370 B.C.E.). Of course, it is not surprising that various peoples should endeavor to account for creation in some way, ascribing certain creative activities to their deities. However, the time element alone is sufficient to show reasonable persons that the truthful Genesis account of creation was not based on legendary stories contrived at a later date, partially, perhaps, on the basis of traditions passed on from generation to generation that bore some resemblance to what ancient patriarchs had learned about creative activities involving the earth.
So, peoples of antiquity had their mythological stories about creation and humankind and doubtless often stood in awe when contemplating such things. Modern-day man studies his own biological nature, observes the animal creation and thus learns much, being moved with wonder at the way he is made and such things as the unerring accuracy with which birds migrate to and from distant points. Thinking persons agree with David’s sentiments: “I shall laud you [Jehovah] because in a fear-inspiring way I am wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, as my soul is very well aware.” (Ps. 139:14) Yet despite man’s advancing knowledge about created things, he cannot fully comprehend the creative works of Jehovah. (Eccl. 3:11) For instance, man is “not aware of what is the way of the spirit in the bones in the belly of her that is pregnant”; he does not know “the work of the true God, who does all things.” (Eccl. 11:5) Thus, the congregator also fittingly declared: “I saw all the work of the true God, how mankind are not able to find out the work that has been done under the sun; however much mankind keep working hard to seek, yet they do not find out. And even if they should say that they are wise enough to know, they would be unable to find out.”—Eccl. 8:17.
THE “NEW CREATION”
After the sixth creative period or “day” Jehovah ceased from earthly creative work. (Gen. 2:2) But that does not mean that God’s activity having to do with the invisible realm came to an end, for Jesus said: “My Father has kept working until now, and I keep working.” (John 5:17) During His rest day or sabbath, Jehovah has worked in spiritual ways, as indicated by Paul’s words: “Consequently if anyone is in union with Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away, look! new things have come into existence.” (2 Cor. 5:17) Before speaking of “a new creation,” the apostle mentioned the dissolving of “our earthly house,” pointed out that anointed Christians would have “a building from God, a house not made with hands, everlasting in the heavens,” and showed that God had given such ones “the token of what is to come, that is, the spirit.” (2 Cor. 5:1-5) Paul also showed that Christ died for them and was raised up, and stated: “Even if we have known Christ according to the flesh, certainly we now know him so no more.” (2 Cor. 5:14-16) So the apostle was discussing those who, like himself, had a heavenly hope.
A plant that rises from a seed in the ground is a new body differing from the seed itself in appearance. Similarly, those resurrected to heavenly life have a resurrected body that differs from the fleshly body planted in death. Each one of them, already called a “new creation” in union with Christ, is resurrected as a new creature with a spirit body in the heavenly realm. Such a “called and chosen and faithful” one takes a position with Jesus Christ as an associate ruler with him in the heavenly kingdom for the blessing of obedient mankind.—Rev. 17:14; 20:4-6; 1 Cor. 15:35-57; see RESURRECTION.
Great blessings under Kingdom rule are assured to obedient mankind due to Jehovah’s promise: “For here I am creating new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be called to mind, neither will they come up into the heart.” (Isa. 65:17-25) In that system of things promised and created by God “righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Pet. 3:13) The certainty of its establishment is emphasized by John’s apocalyptic vision and his statement: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth.”—Rev. 21:1-5.