f) Gen 1:31: This verse provides us with God’s evaluation of all that he created.[1]

Moses wrote, “And God saw all which he had made, and behold, it was very good.”

This differs from the Lord’s previous assessments in three ways. First, he proclaimed it “very good,” rather than “good.” While difficult to articulate in English, the expression of goodness here is actually a superlative:[2] all was the very best it could be.

Furthermore, God’s words apply to the entirety of creation, not merely to what he had made on a particular day.

Finally, a definite article (“the”) appears only here and on the seventh day.[3]

On each of the first five days, no definite article occurs before the number of each day (e.g. “a second day”). In Hebrew grammar, authors employed the word “the” (ha) to denote a particular person or thing.[4]

This likely signifies that the events of days six and seven occurred in the order in which they appear.[5]

Moses continued, “And it was evening and morning, the sixth day.”

God’s character shines forth from the harmony and perfection of the heavens and the earth.[5]

The Egyptian Theology of Memphis says a similar thing of the god Ptah:

Thus all the gods were formed and his [nine major deities were] completed. Indeed, all the divine order really came into being through what the heart thought and the tongue commanded…

And so Ptah was satisfied, after he had made everything, as well as all the divine order. He had formed the gods, he had made cities…he had put the gods in their shrines.”[6]

However, in contrast with biblical thought, only after creating the gods “Ptah was satisfied.” This fits with the subservient view of humanity which applied to all but the king.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

 

Read Gen 1:31. Why would the addition of people cause God to pronounce his work the very best it could be? How does this affect the way you view yourself and others?

 

 

 

Go to Blessings from the Father

 

[Related posts include Let There Be Light (Gen 1:3–5); Inhabitants of the Sea and Sky (Gen 1:20–23); Living Things from the Earth (Gen 1:24–25); Let Us Make Humanity (Gen 1:26); Stewards of the Earth (Gen 1:26 cont.); Male and Female He Created Them (Gen 1:27); The Blessing of Fruitfulness (Gen 1:28); The Lord Provides Food (Gen 1:29–30); In the Likeness of God (Gen 5:1–2); In Adam’s Likeness and Image (Gen 5:3–5); God’s Perception of Time (2 Pet 3:8); An Israelite View of Genesis 1; Author and Date of Genesis; and Ancient Literature]

 

[Click here to go to Women and Marriage Throughout Redemptive History or to Chapter 3: The Image of God (Genesis 1:26–31)]

 

[1] Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 67.

[2] Gesenius, GKC, 426, https://archive.org/stream/geseniushebrewgr00geseuoft#page/426/mode/2up.

[3] Hamilton, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17, 141.

[4]Gesenius, GKC, 407, https://archive.org/stream/geseniushebrewgr00geseuoft#page/406/mode/2up.

[5] Waltke and Fredricks, Genesis: A Commentary, 77.

[6] Wenham, Genesis 1–15, 34.

[7]John A. Wilson, trans., “Theology of Memphis,” in ANET, lines 57–9, 5. Italics mine. https://archive.org/stream/Pritchard1950ANET_20160815/Pritchard_1950_ANET#page/n29/mode/2up.