Genesis Bible Study on the First Creation Account of Genesis 1v1-2v3


This newsletter is a literary important learn about of the primary introduction account within the guide of Genesis 1:1-2:3. It’s divided into 3 distinct sections. First, a common literary research of all of the pericope can be tested. Secondly, as according to the necessities of this paper, a phrase learn about follows. Thirdly, a verse by way of verse exam of all of the pericope is incorporated, interacting with commentaries from more than a few prominent students. The interpretation used on this article is from the New American Usual Bible, copyright (c) 1960, 1988 by way of The Lockman Basis.


The preliminary introduction account of Genesis used to be no longer created ex nihilo. Relatively, its content material used to be born out a wealthy plethora of introduction accounts permeating the traditional Close to East. One putting instance of that is observed within the similarities between Genesis and the Enumah Elish1:

Enumah Elish: Divine spirit and cosmic topic are co-existent and coeternal

Genesis: Divine spirit creates cosmic topic and exists unbiased of it

Enumah Elish: Primeval chaos; Ti’amat enveloped in darkness

Genesis: Earth used to be a desolate waste, with darkness masking the deep

Enumah Elish: Mild emanated from Gods

Genesis: Mild created

Enumah Elish: Advent of firmament

Genesis: Advent of firmament

Enumah Elish: Advent of dry land

Genesis: Advent of dry land

Enumah Elish: Advent of luminaries

Genesis: Advent of luminaries

Enumah Elish: Advent of guy

Genesis: Advent of guy

Enumah Elish: Gods leisure and have fun

Genesis: God rests and sanctifies the 7th day

Whilst there are lots of similarities which hyperlink Genesis to the Enumah Elish, amongst different introduction accounts, the putting theological statements of Genesis grasp it in stark distinction to all different accounts of this period of time. The above chart is solely to notice that introduction accounts of this nature and the ones containing an identical orders predated Genesis and influenced its shape, regardless that no longer its theological assumptions in regards to the Divine; for those are a long way got rid of in nature and personality. Even in using templates for the order of when every portion used to be created, the theological postulations of the way precisely they happened grasp it against this to even its closest literary cousins.

Rightly, the literary genius of Genesis is in its very use of different well known introduction accounts. The facility to attract the target market in with acquainted words and orders, handiest to surprise them with surprising ideas which radically modify the average figuring out of fact on the time, finds a well-informed and concept out technique.

The idea and constructions underlying the Genesis 1 account of introduction can’t be overstated. There does no longer appear to be a phrase, word, or repetition that’s not practical and exactly ordered. Believe using sevens and multiples thereof2:

  • Genesis 1:1 comprises 7 phrases
  • Genesis 1:2 comprises 14 phrases
  • Genesis 1:1-Three comprises 35 phrases
  • God is discussed 35 instances
  • Heaven is discussed 21 instances
  • Earth is discussed 21 instances
  • God made 7 instances
  • Naming or blessing one thing is used 7 instances
  • The Word “and it used to be so” is used 7 instances
  • The Word “and it used to be excellent” is used 7 instances
  • God noticed that it used to be excellent 7 instances

Along with the quantity seven, the Genesis account is replete with different quantity and structural repetitions, in addition to using chiasms. Because of the brevity of area I can cope with simply 3 extra on this segment, that have the best have an effect on at the theology of the textual content. First, there are ten divine instructions spoken by way of God.Three 2nd, the best way through which the writer of the Genesis account makes use of phrases can easiest be understood by way of evaluating them to the best way a composer would use tools. Believe as an example that the Genesis account makes use of a trend of an ever expanding selection of phrases for every of the times of introduction, demonstrating an expanding selection and profundity.Four In spite of everything, days 3 and 6 shape crescendos with the double bulletins of the Divine phrase (God stated) in addition to the double approvals (and it used to be excellent).5


The observation at the first Genesis account of introduction can be handled after the Phrase Learn about. That is because of the selected phrase’s theological implications for the primary 3 verses of the textual content. For the phrase learn about I’ve selected to parse the which means of the Hebrew phrase ruach (wind). There’s a particular reason why I’ve selected this phrase as a substitute of the extra glaring number of tselem (symbol). I’ve selected ruach as a result of what I consider to be the central theme of this newsletter. Whilst Genesis 1-11 is a literary unit, Genesis 1-Three additionally stands as a literary sub-unit. It’s my trust that those 3 texts care for the 3 common questions of life:

Genesis 1: What’s the nature of God?

Genesis 2: What’s the nature of guy?

Genesis 3: What’s the nature of evil?

Whilst every of those chapters supply sides of the solution to all 3 questions, their central center of attention and theme is apparent. Subsequently, since the point of interest of the writer in Genesis 1 is to present an figuring out of the nature of God, then it stands to reason why that the point of interest of a phrase learn about must try to shine mild on that very same theme.

The phrase ruach in Scripture is expressed within the Previous Testomony with 14 other nuances of which means, showing 377 instances, maximum frequently in Isaiah, Ezra and Psalms.6 The meanings prolong from what’s empty or transitory, spirit or thoughts (each within the human sense), breath, air, wind, wind instructions, to the Spirit of God or even actually Holy Spirit: (ha)ruach.

The type of its utilization in Genesis 1:2 is masculine singular assemble. This hyperlinks it in with using elohiym. So on the very least, it’s of God’s sending or of His will. The query which has been frequently debated is if it is His personal Spirit/essence which is soaring or whether it is simply a mighty wind despatched by way of God.

The ones supporting the view that it’s not anything greater than a mighty wind come with: von Rad, Speiser, Schmidt, and Westermann.7 Their argument is that the ruach discussed right here is solely a part of the chaos demonstrated on this verse. They see this verse as 3 parallel clauses emphasizing the void and chaos. Walton, Matthews, and Chavalas, within the IVP Bible Background Observation, state that the idea that of mighty wind is in a similar fashion provide within the Enumah Elish as a disruptive wind, bringing unrest.8

At the different facet, Cassuto, Kidner, Gispen, Gunkel, Skinner, and Procksch view the use of ruach to seek advice from the Spirit of God.Nine In line with Wenham, this utilization of the phrase ruach in Genesis at all times comprises some manifestation of God.10 This phraseology is also slightly sturdy. It could be more secure to mention that God is concerned one way or the other anyplace the phrase ruach is utilized in Genesis. In particular, the optimistic type of ruach in Genesis 1:2 would permit for such an interpretation.

Bearing in mind the issues above, and that Genesis 1 appears to be a story of God’s interplay with chaos–forming it, ordering it, and injecting it with life–it would make sense to have those opposing forces offered in combination for the sake of distinction. The need to view all 3 clauses as damaging parallelism isn’t readily obvious and no longer conceivable with the inclusion of elohiym on this verse. Whilst there are repetitions of 3 or extra parallel ideas in Hebrew poetry, there are much more circumstances of 2 traces of parallel poetry. Thus, contrasting this one considered chaos expressed in two clauses for emphasis juxtaposed in an antithetical poetic expression towards God’s presence soaring over the waters (the essence of order soaring over the essence of chaos) is simply as apt to be the case.

The general query that will have to be addressed on this utilization of ruach elohiym is the cause of the inclusion of this clause in any respect. It used to be already mentioned that God created in v.1 and God starts forming in v.3, so the inclusion of His ruach in v.2 turns out to serve no vital function in linking God to introduction as both writer (already established in v.1) or orderer of it (established in vv.3ff). So why this inclusion right here of his ruach? Calvin proposes that it demonstrates God is not just the writer (v.1) and the one that paperwork it (v.3) however that it He’s additionally the sustainer, during the presence of His Spirit (v2).11 Kidner additionally touches in this, referencing Process 33:Four and Psalm 104:30 as different circumstances of God’s ruach being a maintaining pressure.12


Genesis 1:1-2: To start with God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth used to be formless and void, and darkness used to be over the skin of the deep; and the Spirit of God used to be shifting over the skin of the waters.

Many have commented at the department of one:1 from 1:2, a lot of which tried to handle the more than a few concordists perspectives. Von Rad, however, makes a fascinating theological observation in regards to the necessity of keeping apart v.1 from vv.2ff. He says that the separation is vital as a result of v.1 is theological in nature and if chaos is to be positioned beside the order of God, then chaos would need to be spoken of first, as a prior state, since God undoes chaos in want of cosmos.13

Genesis 1:3-5: Then God stated, “Let there be mild”; and there used to be mild. And God noticed that the sunshine used to be excellent; and God separated the sunshine from the darkness. And God referred to as the sunshine day, and the darkness He referred to as evening. And there used to be night and there used to be morning, someday.

The literary way of sunshine previous the our bodies that give mild (solar, moon, stars) don’t have introduced any of the fashionable clinical puzzlements to the minds of the traditional target market. For they believed that no longer all mild got here from solar. There used to be nonetheless mild when solar used to be down and when eclipsed. Even if clouds lined all the heavenly our bodies, there used to be nonetheless mild.14 Relatively, the literary selection right here that may were obvious to the traditional target market used to be within the portrayal of God as the one that holds the ability of sunshine as a created factor.15 This stood in stark distinction to different myths that portrayed mild as an crucial component of the deities or as a being dominated by way of the solar god. Right here, it’s simply one of the creations of God.

Extra importantly, mild is observed right here because the regulator of time, since its’ introduction brings concerning the first day.16 It arranged the totality of time.17 Additionally it is of observe that the times get started with night. As every section is ordered and/or bursts forth with blessed existence it culminates in God’s approval after which evening–a time of leisure for the population of introduction who transfer and paintings within the sunlight. In different phrases, God’s order brings leisure.

Genesis 1:6-8: Then God stated, “Let there be an expanse in the course of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse, and separated the waters that have been underneath the expanse from the waters that have been above the expanse; and it used to be so. And God referred to as the expanse heaven. And there used to be night and there used to be morning, a 2nd day.

Notice right here that whilst He has the ability to simply “talk” issues into life, He additionally “creates” the issues that want shape. He’s forming them in keeping with their sort. The 2 issues he does no longer bodily shape (the sunshine and the dry land) haven’t any particular shape in keeping with any particular sort; however the vault of the sky, the solar and moon, and the animals every have a sort crafted by way of God. That is every other literary assemble emphasizing God’s center of attention on forming issues in keeping with their sort.

Additionally, realize the exclusion of God perceiving that, “it used to be excellent.” There are handiest two components in introduction that God does no longer unmarried out, perceiving their goodness: the heavens and guy. Many theological conclusions may well be pulled from this omission; then again, they might in large part be speculative in nature.

Genesis 1:9-10: Then God stated, “Let the waters underneath the heavens be amassed into one position, and let the dry land seem”; and it used to be so. And God referred to as the dry land earth, and the collection of the waters He referred to as seas; and God noticed that it used to be excellent.

Of passion on this motion of God is the truth that He didn’t take away the evils of darkness and water. He as a substitute comprises them by way of proscribing them and giving them a correct position.18

Genesis 1:11-13: Then God stated, “Let the earth sprout plants, crops yielding seed, and fruit timber bearing fruit after their sort, with seed in them, on this planet”; and it used to be so. And the earth introduced forth plants, crops yielding seed after their sort, and timber bearing fruit, with seed in them, after their sort; and God noticed that it used to be excellent. And there used to be night and there used to be morning, a 3rd day.

Once more God is observed right here because the ruler over all. Even that which He does no longer create with His personal arms, He’s nonetheless sovereign over by way of command. We can see this afterward with the blessings over the entire creatures. He created the primary and it’s only thru His blessing of them that they may be able to reproduce, an act that after hired is simply performed so underneath the authority and can of God.

This command of the earth to supply plant existence didn’t give it divine standing, slightly nature’s manufacturing of plant existence is simply a proper given to it by way of God and in generating every season it’s appearing itself to be matter to God’s command. This cautious literary construction undercuts any pitfalls of pantheism. With out God, introduction is non-existent, and with out His command, introduction is impotent to convey forth its produce.

Genesis 1:14-19: Then God stated, “Let there be lighting fixtures within the expanse of the heavens to split the day from the evening, and allow them to be for indicators, and for seasons, and for days and years; and allow them to be for lighting fixtures within the expanse of the heavens to present mild on this planet”; and it used to be so. And God made the 2 nice lighting fixtures, the higher mild to manipulate the day, and the lesser mild to manipulate the evening; He made the celebrities additionally. And God positioned them within the expanse of the heavens to present mild on this planet, and to manipulate the day and the evening, and to split the sunshine from the darkness; and God noticed that it used to be excellent. And there used to be night and there used to be morning, a fourth day.

As much as this second of introduction God has divided, ordered and created area. Then again, He now starts to make use of that “goodness” for an additional function by way of injecting it with entities. In doing so, He produces additional “goodness” and brings additional blessing into introduction, in addition to giving introduction stewards to make sure its endured order and due to this fact goodness.

On this first placement of entities into introduction we once more see God proscribing and proscribing the affect of darkness with mild.19 2nd handiest to the introduction of guy, the introduction of the solar and moon are given probably the most consideration. The outline is each detailed for readability and repetitive for emphasis.20 Wenham observes a fundamental construction for this21:

A. to divide the day from the evening 14a

B. for indicators, for fastened instances, for days and years 14b

C. to present mild on this planet 15

D. to rule the day 16a

D’. to rule the evening 16b

C’. to present mild on this planet 17

B’. to rule the day and the evening 18a

A’. to divide the sunshine from the darkness 18b

Conspicuous by way of its absence is any title for the solar, moon or stars. The entire different creations are both given a reputation (days 1-3) or given a blessing (days 5-6). Then again, on this long segment, neither title nor blessing is given. This can be a refined method of disagreeing with historic Close to East, downgrading the average deification of the heavenly our bodies.22

Genesis 1:20-25: Then God stated, “Let the waters teem with swarms of residing creatures, and let birds fly above the earth within the open expanse of the heavens.” And God created the nice sea monsters, and each residing creature that strikes, with which the waters swarmed after their sort, and each winged fowl after its sort; and God noticed that it used to be excellent. And God blessed them, announcing, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters within the seas, and let birds multiply on this planet.” And there used to be night and there used to be morning, a 5th day. Then God stated, “Let the earth convey forth residing creatures after their sort: farm animals and creeping issues and beasts of the earth after their sort”; and it used to be so. And God made the beasts of the earth after their sort, and the farm animals after their sort, and the whole lot that creeps at the floor after its sort; and God noticed that it used to be excellent.

Subsequent God fills the seas, the earth, and the skies with the animal kingdom. The poetic expressions of the filling of introduction with immense attractiveness and springing selection is easily represented by way of the repeating construction easiest learned within the authentic Hebrew. Wenham makes an attempt to put vv.24-25 into the next chiasm23:

A. farm animals creeping issues

B. wild animals

B’. wild animals

A’. farm animals creeping issues

Then again, a better studying of the textual content finds a repetition, slightly than a chiasm:

A. Introductory Method: God Instructions:

B. Speech Right kind

1. Let the Earth Carry Forth…In line with its Type

2. The Types indexed

3. Restatement: every in keeping with its Type

C. God’s Command: Was once So

B’. Motion Right kind

1. And God made…In line with its Type

2. The Types indexed

3. Restatement: every in keeping with its Type

C’. God’s Motion: and it used to be so.

Genesis 1:26-28: Then God stated, “Let Us make guy in Our symbol, in keeping with Our likeness; and allow them to rule over the fish of the ocean and over the birds of the sky and over the farm animals and over the entire earth, and over each creeping factor that creeps on this planet.” And God created guy in His personal symbol, within the symbol of God He created him; female and male He created them. And God blessed them; and God stated to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the ocean and over the birds of the sky, and over each residing factor that strikes on this planet.”

This oddity of God taking suggest with Himself or with different deities has been profusely debated, however no delight has emerged because the hallmark argument. If one holds to the past due relationship of the JEDP idea, then a polytheistic rendering of “our” may no longer be readily authorized. The opposite excessive of it being simply a self-encouragement could also be needless from a being who shaped all of the cosmos with little to no effort.

The writer’s center of attention of this segment of the introduction account isn’t at the nature of God, however slightly on explaining in nice element many theological ideas relating to guy. Thus, it’s smart on this segment to spend extra time addressing this factor of the character of guy. For those verses be offering us: 1) probably the most phrases used to explain any a part of introduction; 2) it’s the handiest time God takes suggest ahead of developing; 3) guy is created within the symbol of God; 4) 3 of the seven instances the phrase create is used is provide right here with the introduction of people; 5) a pronouncement of blessing on people; and six) provides them authority.24

That is important as it provides humanity a framework from which to know its position within the general created order: 1) entrusting we who undergo His symbol with stewardship over the earth; 2) God has set barriers inside of which the more than a few dimensions of the created order satisfy their functions; 3) God assigns duties and tasks to more than a few participants of introduction, for instance lighting fixtures in heaven for instances and seasons; 4) no member of the created order is a deity; and 5) in resting God supplies a time period for people to revel in the wonderful thing about the created order. As well as, this counters false worldviews of dualism, astrology, nihilism, and philosophies that devalue human existence.25

Genesis 1:29-31: Then God stated, “Behold, I’ve given you each plant yielding seed this is at the floor of the entire earth, and each tree which has fruit yielding seed; it might be meals for you; and to each beast of the earth and to each fowl of the sky and to each factor that strikes on this planet which has existence, I’ve given each inexperienced plant for meals”; and it used to be so. And God noticed all that He had made, and behold, it used to be excellent. And there used to be night and there used to be morning, the 6th day.

Wehman and Westermann argue that telling guy he can consume of the earth stands against this to the mesopotamian tales the place guy used to be created to provide the gods with meals.26 Whilst this can be a real observation, it does no longer monitor with the bigger message of the textual content. If “meals for guy” as a substitute of “guy for meals” used to be the guts of the message then the literary repetition of giving all of plant existence to the animal kingdom after giving it to mankind turns out to sidetrack the point of interest, this is, if the point of interest used to be in this reversal of the Mesopotamian introduction account.

A more in-depth studying of the literary center of attention of all of the introduction account finds that preserving divisions and limits is a very powerful thrust of God’s will. To consume of every other sort is to damage those barriers, and so the message of those verses when learn in context turns out to want God supplying all the residing introduction with a way to nourish itself with out crossing the bounds that permit for order and existence.

Genesis 2:1-3: Thus the heavens and the earth have been finished, and all their hosts. And by way of the 7th day God finished His paintings which He had performed; and He rested at the 7th day from all His paintings which He had performed. Then God blessed the 7th day and sanctified it, as a result of in it He rested from all His paintings which God had created and made.

Whilst it’s simple to learn this as a lack from or against this to the primary six days of introduction, that’s not absolutely the case. On this ultimate day of the introduction account, God provides the general department, that of standard time and holy time.27 It’s fascinating that God starts by way of developing the way for the passage of time (mild) at the first day after which provides our bodies to rule over this “introduction clock” (solar & moon) at the fourth day and after all He sanctifies and divides time at the 7th day. Notice additionally the threefold use of the phrase “7th” in 2:2-3.28

Then again, the 7th day isn’t simply every other day of introduction. The truth that there is not any parallel to the sabbath day presentations “a place of emphasis.”29 The blessing and hallowing listed here are putting phrases, taking into account that God typically reserves blessing for God, guy, and animals. The divine blessing that rests at the animate participants of introduction result in fruitfulness, good fortune, multiplication. Thus, it’s paradoxical that the day on which God refrains from ingenious task is pronounced blessed.30 There may be then the recommendation that those that apply the sabbath will revel in divine blessing of their lives.


Calvin, John, Calvin’s Commentaries: The First Guide of Moses Referred to as Genesis, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Corporate, 1948.

Dorsey, David A., The Literary Construction of the Previous Testomony, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999.

Hartley, John, Genesis, Peabody, MA: Henderickson Publishers, 2000.

Holladay, William L. Ed., A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Previous Testomony, Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Corporate.

Kidner, Derek, Genesis, Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1977.

Speiser, E. A. , The Anchor Bible, Genesis, Lawn Town, New York: Doubleday & Corporate, Inc., 1964.

Walton, John H.; Matthews, Victor H.; Chavalas, Mark W.; The Bible Background Observation: Previous Testomony, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000.

Von Rad, Gerhard, Genesis: A Observation, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1956.

Wenham, Gordon J., Phrase Biblical Observation, Vol.1: Genesis 1-15, Waco, TX: Phrase Books, 1987.

Westermann, Claus, Genesis: A Sensible Observation, Grand Rapids: MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1987.


1 E. A. Speiser, The Anchor Bible, Genesis, (Lawn Town, New York: Doubleday & Corporate, Inc., 1964), p. 10.

2 Gordon J. Wenham, Phrase Biblical Observation, Vol.1: Genesis 1-15, (Waco, TX: Phrase Books, 1987) p. 29; Kidner additionally alludes to the phrase God getting used 35 instances, regardless that no longer in connection with the repetitions of 7. Derek Kidner, Genesis, (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1977) p. 43.

Three Wenham, p. 29.

Four David A. Dorsey, The Literary Construction of the Previous Testomony, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), p. 49. (Day 1: 31, Day 2: 38, Day 3: 69, Day 4: 69, Day 5: 57, Day 6: 149)

Five Wenham, p. 6. Double announcement: vv 9, 11, 24, 26; Double approval vv 10, 12, 25.

6 William L. Holladay Ed., A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Previous Testomony, (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Corporate), p. 334.

7 Wenham, p. 16.

Eight John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, The Bible Background Observation: Previous Testomony, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), p. 28.

Nine Wenham, p. 16.

10 Ibid, p. 17.

11 John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries: The First Guide of Moses Referred to as Genesis, (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Corporate, 1948), p. 74.

12 Kidner, p. 45.

13 Gerhard von Rad, Genesis: A Observation, (Philapelphia: Westminster Press, 1956), p. 46.

14 Walton, Matthews, Chavalas, p. 28.

15 Calvin, p. 76.

16 Walton, Matthews, Chavalas, p. 28.

17 Claus Westermann, Genesis: A Sensible Observation, (Grand Rapids: MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1987), p.7.

18 Hartley, p. 41.

19 Ibid, p. 44.

20 Wenham, p. 21.

21 Ibid, p. 22.

22 See additionally: Walton, Matthews, Chavalas, pp. 28f.

23 Wenham, p. 25.

24 Hartley, p. 40.

25 Ibid.

26 Wenham, p. 33; Westermann, p. 11.

27 Hartley, p. 50.

28 Wenham, p. 35.

29 Dorsey, p. 49.

30 Wenham, p. 36.

&replica; 2005 Matthew Daniel Freeman. All rights reserved.

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