The book of Genesis starts by affirming that God created the universe. It explains how He did it, why man has a special place in creation and why the seventh day is important.
God is the creator of everything
Genesis 1:1 starts by identifying the God that the rest of the Bible talks about. He is not a created being but rather He is the God that created everything at the beginning of time. As such, He is the only one worthy of worship and glory.
How God created the universe and specifically the way the earth is, the vegetation, fish, birds and animals
From verse 2 t0 25 we then get an account of how God systematically formed the earth, the skies and the various life forms that are present around us. This account states that in 6 days the earth went from formless and dark to having light, seas and dry land, vegetation, fish in the seas, birds in the sky and animals on the land.
Whenever I read this passage of scripture, I am filled with wonder at the simplicity and order with which God worked. I am filled with the desire to have witnessed it and shared in the divine exclamation at the end of each day stating that everything was good.
And indeed everything was good. There is nothing that God created that was not good and even us humans; we were very good when He created us.
God created man in a special way and provided food for him and the animals
Verses 26-28 then describe the creation of human beings. We were created in the likeness of God and even though I don not fully understand what that means, it implied that we would have supreme power and authority over the earth and everything in it.
This passage emphasises that human being were created male and female and both were in the image of God. From the very beginning male and female were held in equally high regards and with this understanding, a man will not feel superior because he is placed in a position of leadership in the family. Nor will a woman feel inferior because she was given the position of a helper to the man. Rather both in their roles will honour each other and seek to bring glory to God, whose image they both equally bear.
God concludes His creative work by giving the vegetation to man, the land animals and birds as food.
God set the seventh day apart as a special day from the very beginning
After He had created everything, God stopped on the seventh day and He set that day apart as special. Later God would speak to the Israelites about this seventh day in the form of one of the commandments. In Exodus 20:8-11 we read, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.“