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The Story of Creation

In the beginning God
created the heavens
    and the earth.[a]
The earth was barren,
    with no form of life;[b]
it was under a roaring ocean
    covered with darkness.
But the Spirit of God[c]
    was moving over the water.

The First Day

God said, “I command light to shine!” And light started shining. God looked at the light and saw that it was good. He separated light from darkness and named the light “Day” and the darkness “Night.” Evening came and then morning—that was the first day.[d]

The Second Day

God said, “I command a dome to separate the water above it from the water below it.” And that’s what happened. God made the dome and named it “Sky.” Evening came and then morning—that was the second day.

The Third Day

God said, “I command the water under the sky to come together in one place, so there will be dry ground.” And that’s what happened. 10 God named the dry ground “Land,” and he named the water “Ocean.” God looked at what he had done and saw that it was good.

11 God said, “I command the earth to produce all kinds of plants, including fruit trees and grain.” And that’s what happened. 12 The earth produced all kinds of vegetation. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 13 Evening came and then morning—that was the third day.

The Fourth Day

14 God said, “I command lights to appear in the sky and to separate day from night and to show the time for seasons, special days, and years. 15 I command them to shine on the earth.” And that’s what happened. 16 God made two powerful lights, the brighter one to rule the day and the other[e] to rule the night. He also made the stars. 17 Then God put these lights in the sky to shine on the earth, 18 to rule day and night, and to separate light from darkness. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 19 Evening came and then morning—that was the fourth day.

The Fifth Day

20 God said, “I command the ocean to be full of living creatures, and I command birds to fly above the earth.” 21 So God made the giant sea monsters and all the living creatures that swim in the ocean. He also made every kind of bird. God looked at what he had done, and it was good. 22 Then he gave the living creatures his blessing—he told the ocean creatures to live everywhere in the ocean and the birds to live everywhere on earth. 23 Evening came and then morning—that was the fifth day.

The Sixth Day

24 God said, “I command the earth to give life to all kinds of tame animals, wild animals, and reptiles.” And that’s what happened. 25 God made every one of them. Then he looked at what he had done, and it was good.

26 God said, “Now we will make humans, and they will be like us. We will let them rule the fish, the birds, and all other living creatures.”

27 So God created humans to be like himself; he made men and women. 28 God gave them his blessing and said:

Have a lot of children! Fill the earth with people and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the ocean, the birds in the sky, and every animal on the earth.

29 I have provided all kinds of fruit and grain for you to eat. 30 And I have given the green plants as food for everything else that breathes. These will be food for animals, both wild and tame, and for birds.

31 God looked at what he had done. All of it was very good! Evening came and then morning—that was the sixth day.

So the heavens and the earth and everything else were created.

The Seventh Day

By the seventh day God had finished his work, and so he rested. God blessed the seventh day and made it special because on that day he rested from his work.

That’s how God created the heavens and the earth.

The Garden of Eden

When the Lord God made the heavens and the earth, no grass or plants were growing anywhere. God had not yet sent any rain, and there was no one to work the land. But streams[f] came up from the ground and watered the earth.

The Lord God took a handful of soil and made a man.[g] God breathed life into the man, and the man started breathing. The Lord made a garden in a place called Eden, which was in the east, and he put the man there.

The Lord God placed all kinds of beautiful trees and fruit trees in the garden. Two other trees were in the middle of the garden. One of the trees gave life—the other gave the power to know the difference between right and wrong.

10 From Eden a river flowed out to water the garden, then it divided into four rivers. 11 The first one is the Pishon River that flows through the land of Havilah, 12 where pure gold, rare perfumes, and precious stones are found. 13 The second is the Gihon River that winds through Ethiopia.[h] 14 The Tigris River that flows east of Assyria is the third, and the fourth is the Euphrates River.

15 The Lord God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it. 16 But the Lord told him, “You may eat fruit from any tree in the garden, 17 except the one that has the power to let you know the difference between right and wrong. If you eat any fruit from that tree, you will die before the day is over!”

18 The Lord God said, “It isn’t good for the man to live alone. I need to make a suitable partner for him.” 19-20 So the Lord took some soil and made animals and birds. He brought them to the man to see what names he would give each of them. Then the man named the tame animals and the birds and the wild animals. That’s how they got their names.

None of these was the right kind of partner for the man. 21 So the Lord God made him fall into a deep sleep, and he took out one of the man’s ribs. Then after closing the man’s side, 22 the Lord made a woman out of the rib.

The Lord God brought her to the man, 23 and the man exclaimed,

“Here is someone like me!
She is part of my body,
    my own flesh and bones.
She came from me, a man.
    So I will name her Woman!”[i]

24 That’s why a man will leave his own father and mother. He marries a woman, and the two of them become like one person.

25 Although the man and his wife were both naked, they were not ashamed.

The First Sin

The snake was sneakier than any of the other wild animals that the Lord God had made. One day it came to the woman and asked, “Did God tell you not to eat fruit from any tree in the garden?”

The woman answered, “God said we could eat fruit from any tree in the garden, except the one in the middle. He told us not to eat fruit from that tree or even to touch it. If we do, we will die.”

“No, you won’t!” the snake replied. “God understands what will happen on the day you eat fruit from that tree. You will see what you have done, and you will know the difference between right and wrong, just as God does.”

The woman stared at the fruit. It looked beautiful and tasty. She wanted the wisdom that it would give her, and she ate some of the fruit. Her husband was there with her, so she gave some to him, and he ate it too. Right away they saw what they had done, and they realized they were naked. Then they sewed fig leaves together to make something to cover themselves.

Late in the afternoon a breeze began to blow, and the man and woman heard the Lord God walking in the garden. They were frightened and hid behind some trees.

The Trouble with Sin

The Lord called out to the man and asked, “Where are you?”

10 The man answered, “I was naked, and when I heard you walking through the garden, I was frightened and hid!”

11 “How did you know you were naked?” God asked. “Did you eat any fruit from that tree in the middle of the garden?”

12 “It was the woman you put here with me,” the man said. “She gave me some of the fruit, and I ate it.”

13 The Lord God then asked the woman, “What have you done?”

“The snake tricked me,” she answered. “And I ate some of that fruit.”

14 So the Lord God said to the snake:

“Because of what you have done,
you will be the only animal
    to suffer this curse—
For as long as you live,
you will crawl on your stomach
    and eat dirt.
15 You and this woman
    will hate each other;
your descendants and hers
    will always be enemies.
One of hers will strike you
    on the head,
and you will strike him
    on the heel.”

16 Then the Lord said to the woman,

“You will suffer terribly
    when you give birth.
But you will still desire
your husband,
    and he will rule over you.”

17 The Lord said to the man,

“You listened to your wife
    and ate fruit from that tree.
And so, the ground
will be under a curse
    because of what you did.
As long as you live,
you will have to struggle
    to grow enough food.
18 Your food will be plants,
but the ground
will produce
    thorns and thistles.
19 You will have to sweat
    to earn a living;
you were made out of soil,
and you will once again
    turn into soil.”

20 The man Adam[j] named his wife Eve[k] because she would become the mother of all who live.

21 Then the Lord God made clothes out of animal skins for the man and his wife.

22 The Lord said, “These people now know the difference between right and wrong, just as we do. But they must not be allowed to eat fruit from the tree that lets them live forever.” 23 So the Lord God sent them out of the Garden of Eden, where they would have to work the ground from which the man had been made. 24 Then God put winged creatures at the entrance to the garden and a flaming, flashing sword to guard the way to the life-giving tree.

Footnotes

  1. 1.1 the heavens and the earth: “The heavens and the earth” stood for the universe.
  2. 1.1,2 In. . . life: Or “When God began to create the heavens and the earth, the earth was barren with no form of life.”
  3. 1.2 the Spirit of God: Or “a mighty wind.”
  4. 1.5 the first day: A day was measured from evening to evening.
  5. 1.16 the brighter. . . the other: The sun and the moon. But they are not called by their names, because in Old Testament times some people worshiped the sun and the moon as though they were gods.
  6. 2.6 streams: Or “mist.”
  7. 2.7 man: In Hebrew “man” comes from the same word as “soil.”
  8. 2.13 Ethiopia: The Hebrew text has “Cush,” which was a region south of Egypt that included parts of the present countries of Ethiopia and Sudan.
  9. 2.23 a man. . . Woman: In Hebrew the words “man” and “woman” are similar.
  10. 3.20 The man Adam: In Hebrew “man” and “Adam” are the same.
  11. 3.20 Eve: In Hebrew “Eve” sounds like “living.”

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