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Genesis 1

1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13. And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18. And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20. And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

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Genesis 1

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Gen 1:1-5 1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. Gen 1:1 “In the beginning” Bereshith (BDB 912) is the Hebrew title of the book. We get Genesis from the Septuagint translation. This is the beginning of history but not of God's activity (cf. Mat 25:34; Joh 17:5; Joh 17:25; Eph 1:4; Tit 1:2; 2Ti 1:9; 1Pe 1:19-20; Rev 13:8). R. K. Harrison says it should be translated “by way of beginning” (Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 542 footnote 3). John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One says it introduces a period of time (p. 45). ▣ “God” Elohim (BDB 43) is a PLURAL form of the general name for God in the ancient Near East, El (BDB 42). When referring to the God of Israel the verb is usually (6 exceptions) SINGULAR. The rabbis say that it speaks of God as creator, provider and sustainer of all life on planet earth (cf. Psa 19:1-6; Psalms 104). Notice how often this word is used in chapter 1. I believe that this verse is an independent clause: Ibn Ezra says that it is a dependent clause with the emphasis on Gen 1:2 while Rashi says that Gen 1:2 is a parenthesis and the emphasis is on Gen 1:3. Modern dispensational commentators say that Gen 1:1 is a dependent clause in order to support their view of a previous fall (the gap theory). Notice that there is no explanation of the origin of God. It does emphatically assert that God created matter and did not fashion existing matter (Greek cosmology). In Enuma Elish, (Babylonian creation account), like Greek thought, Spirit (which is good) and matter (which is evil) are co-eternal. The Bible does not discuss or reveal the origin of God. He has always existed (cf. Psa 90:2). There is surely mystery here. Mankind simply cannot grasp the fullness of God! This discussion of clauses is theologically significant. The Jewish Publication Society of America has translated Gen 1:1 a temporal clause, “When God began to create the heaven and the earth‒the earth being unformed and void. . .” This translation might conclude that God and matter are co-eternal like Greek cosmology (cf. “Creation and Cosmology” in Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 5, p. 1059). The Sumerian account of creation, Enuma Elish, begins with “when in the beginning. . .” See SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY <http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/special_topics/names_deity.html>. ▣ “created” Bara (cf. Gen 1:1; Gen 1:21; Gen 1:27; Gen 2:3-4) is the Hebrew VERB (BDB 135, KB 153, Qal PERFECT) used exclusively for God's creative activity. Its basic meaning is to fashion by cutting. God willed into being everything but Himself. Psa 33:6; Psa 33:9; Heb 11:3 and 2Pe 3:5 present creation (cosmology) by God's spoken word (fiat) from nothing (ex nihilo), although water is never said to be created (cf. Gen 1:2). Greek (gnostic) and Mesopotamian philosophies emphasize an eternal dualism between “spirit” and “matter.” Whatever bara implies it accentuates God's activity and purpose! The Bible asserts that creation has a beginning point. Twenty-first century science would characterize this as the “big bang.” Naturalism can now not assert an unlimited regression back in time. However, it is probable that Genesis 1 refers to the beginning of a functioning earth, not the material beginning of matter (John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One). ▣ “the heavens” The word “heavens” (BDB 1029, see SPECIAL TOPIC: Heaven <http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/special_topics/heaven.html>) may be used in several senses: 1. it refers to the atmosphere of the earth as in Gen 1:8; Gen 1:20; 2. it may refer to the entire cosmos (i.e. all material existence); or 3. it may refer to the creation of all things visible (material) and invisible (angels, heaven as God's throne). If option three is true then a parallel would be Col 1:16. If not, then Genesis 1 focuses only on the creation of this planet. The Bible emphasizes a geocentric perspective (i.e. creation seen as a spectator on this planet would have observed it). Some would assert that Genesis 1 is addressing the creation of the universe (i.e. sun, moon, stars, and galaxies), while Genesis 2-3 focuses on this planet and the creation of mankind. This is surely possible because chapters 2-4 form a literary unit. In both (i.e. Genesis 1, 2-4) creation is geocentristic (i.e. earth focused). ▣ “the earth” The term (BDB 75, see SPECIAL TOPIC: Land, Country, Earth <http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/special_topics/land_country_earth.html>) can refer to a specific land, country or the whole planet. Genesis 1 is admittedly geocentric (cf. Gen 1:15). This fits the theological purpose of the chapter, not science. Remember that the Bible is written in the language of description for theological purposes. It is not anti-scientific, but pre-scientific. Gen 1:2 “The earth was” This VERB (BDB 224, KB 243, Qal PERFECT) can only very rarely be translated “became.” Grammatically and contextually “was” is preferable. Don't let your (i.e dispensational premillennial) pre-suppositional theology of two falls (the gap theory) affect the exegesis of the text. NASB “formless and void” NKJV “without form, and void” NRSV, NJB “a formless void” TEV “formless and desolate” NIV “formless and empty” REB “a vast waste” SEPT “invisible and unfurnished” JPSOA “unformed and void” These two terms are found in BDB 1062, KB 1688-1690 and BDB 96, KB 111. Does this imply water only? The earth is changing form (i.e. tectonic plates) continually (i.e. one original continent called Pangea became several continents). The question again is the age of the earth. These words appear together in Jer 4:23. They are used in the Sumerian and Babylonian accounts of creation but in a mythological sense. This state of creation shows that God used a progressive process to an inhabitable earth (cf. Isa 45:18). These two words describe, not the beginning of matter, but a state of undeveloped non-functioning orderly system (John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One p. 49). It is not ready for humanity! ▣ “darkness” This term (BDB 365) does not represent evil, but original chaos. God names the darkness in Gen 1:5 as He does the light. These two terms, though often used in the Bible to denote spiritual realities, here are representing original physical conditions. ▣ “the deep” The Hebrew term is tehom (BDB 1062 #3, KB 1690-91). A similar, but different, Semitic root is personified as Tiamat in the Sumerian and Babylonian creation myths as the monster of chaos and the mother of the gods, wife of Apsu. She tried to kill all lesser gods that came forth from her. Marduk killed her. Out of her body Marduk fashioned heaven and earth in the Babylonian Genesis called Enuma Elish. The Hebrews believed that water was the beginning element of creation (cf. Psa 24:1-2; Psa 104:6; 2Pe 3:5). It is never said to have been created. However, the Hebrew term is masculine, not feminine and it is unrelated etymologically to Tiamat. There are passages in the OT which describe YHWH in conflict with personified watery chaos (cf. Psa 74:13-14; Psa 89:9-10; Psa 104:6-7; Isa 51:9-10). However, these are always in poetical, metaphorical passages. Water is a crucial aspect of creation (cf. Gen 1:2 b,6-7). NASB, NKJV, TEV, NIV “the Spirit of God” NRSV, JPSOA “a wind from God” NJB “a divine wind” REB “the spirit of God” SEPT “a breath of God” The Hebrew term ruach (BDB 924) and the Greek term pneuma (cf. Joh 3:5; Joh 3:8, see SPECIAL TOPIC: Spirit in the Bible <http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/special_topics/spirit.html>) can mean “spirit,” “breath” or “wind” (cf. Joh 3:5; Joh 3:8). The Spirit is often associated with creation (cf. Gen 1:2; Job 26:13; Psa 104:29-30; Psa 147:14-18). The OT does not clearly define the relationship between God and the Spirit. In Job 28:26-28; Psa 104:24 and Pro 3:19; Pro 8:22-23 God used wisdom (a feminine noun) to create all things. In the NT Jesus is said to be God's agent in creation (cf. Joh 1:1-3; 1Co 8:6; Col 1:15-17; Heb 1:2-3). As in redemption, so too, in creation, all three persons of the Godhead are involved. Genesis 1 itself does not emphasize any secondary cause. NASB, TEV “moving” NKJV, NIV “hovering” NRSV “swept” NJB “sweeping” This term (BDB 934, KB 1219, Piel PARTICIPLE) developed the connotation of “brooding” or “active hovering” (cf. JB). This is a mother bird word (cf. Exo 19:4; Deu 32:11; Isa 31:5). It is not related to Phoenician cosmology which asserts that the earth came from an egg, but a feminine metaphor for God's active parental care, as well as the development of His creation at this early stage! Gen 1:3 “God said” This is the theological concept of creation by the spoken word, using the Latin word fiat (cf. Gen 1:9; Gen 1:14; Gen 1:20; Gen 1:24; Gen 1:29; Psa 33:6; Psa 148:5; 2Co 4:6; Heb 11:3). This has often been described as “out of nothing matter came into being using,” by God's command, using the Latin phrase ex nihilo (cf. 2Ma 7:28). However, it is probable that Genesis 1 is not about the original creation of matter but the organizing of existing matter (cf. John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One, p. 54ff). This power of the spoken word can also be seen in: 1. the patriarchal blessing 2. God's self accomplishing redemptive word, Isa 55:6-13, esp. Genesis 1-11 3. Jesus as the Word in Joh 1:1 and 4. Jesus as returning with a two-edged sword in His mouth (cf. 2Th 2:8; Heb 4:12; Rev 1:6; Rev 2:12; Rev 2:16; Rev 19:15; Rev 19:21). This is an idiomatic way of creation by God's will through thought and word. What God wants, occurs! ▣ “Let there be” These are JUSSIVES (cf. Gen 1:3; Gen 1:6[twice], 9[twice in meaning, not form], 11, 14, 20[twice in meaning not form], 22, 24, 26[in meaning not form]). Gen 1:4 “God saw that the light was good” (Gen 1:4; Gen 1:10; Gen 1:12; Gen 1:18; Gen 1:21; Gen 1:25; Gen 1:31) All creation was good (cf. Gen 1:31). Evil was not part of God's original creation, but a perversion of the good. “Good” here probably means “fits its purpose” (cf. Isa 41:7) or “intrinsically without flaw” (BDB 373). ▣ “God separated” This VERB (BDB 95, KB 110, Hiphil IMPERFECT) is characteristic of how God develops His creation. He divides (KJV) and starts new things (cf. Gen 1:4; Gen 1:6-7; Gen 1:14; Gen 1:18). ▣ “light” Remember that there is no sun yet. Be careful not to be dogmatic about the time sequence (i.e. 24 hours for the earth to rotate which has not been constant throughout earth's history). Light (BDB 21) is a biblical symbol of life, purity, and truth (cf. Job 33:30; Psa 56:13; Psa 112:4; Isa 58:8; Isa 58:10; Isa 59:9; Isa 60:1-3; Joh 1:5-9; 2Co 4:6). In Rev 22:5 there is light with no sun. Also notice that darkness is created (cf. Isa 45:7) and named by God (cf. Gen 1:5) which shows His control (cf. Psa 74:16; Psa 104:20-23; Psa 139:12). John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One (p. 55ff), based on Gen 1:4-5, asserts that this means “a period of light,” not the origin of the sun. Gen 1:5 “God called” (Gen 1:8; Gen 1:10) This naming shows God's ownership and control. ▣ “And there was evening and there was morning” This order could reflect the existence of darkness before the creation of light. The rabbis interpreted this as the day as a unit of time beginning in the evening. There was dark and then there was light. This is reflected in Jesus' day also where the new day began at twilight, in the evening. ▣ “day” The Hebrew term yom (BDB 398) can refer to a period of time (cf. Gen 2:4; Gen 5:2; Rth 1:1; Psa 50:15; Psa 90:4; Ecc 7:14; Isa 4:2; Isa 11:2; Zec 4:10) but usually it refers to a 24-hour day (i.e. Exo 20:9-10). SPECIAL TOPIC: DAY (YOM) <http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/special_topics/day_yom.html>


NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Gen 1:6-8 6Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. 8God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. Gen 1:6 This verse has two Qal JUSSIVES (“Let...) From the verb “be” (BDB 224, KB 243). The same construction is in Gen 1:14 and Gen 1:22. NASB, NET JPSOA “an expanse” NKJV “firmament” NRSV, TEV “dome” NJB “vault” This term (BDB 956, KB 1290) could mean “to hammer out” or “to stretch out” as in Isa 42:5. This refers to the earth's atmosphere (cf. Gen 1:20) depicted metaphorically as an air vault or inverted bowl above the surface of the earth (cf. Isa 40:22). ▣ “waters” Fresh water and salt water are important elements in extra-biblical creation accounts, but in the Bible they are controlled by God. There is no distinction in Genesis 1 made between salt water and fresh water. The water in the atmosphere is divided from the water on the earth. Analysis of Genesis 1 shows that God separates several things as a process to an inhabited earth (light from dark, water above from water below, water below from dry land, sun time from moon time). Gen 1:7 “separated the waters” God is in control of watery chaos (BDB 95, KB 110, Hiphil PARTICIPLE). He sets their boundaries (cf. Job 38:8-11; Psa 33:6-7; Isa 40:12). ▣ “and it was so” Whatever God willed occurred and occurs (cf. Gen 1:9; Gen 1:11; Gen 1:15; Gen 1:24; Gen 1:30).


NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Gen 1:9-13 9Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. 11Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. 13There was evening and there was morning, a third day. Gen 1:9-10 The initial two VERBS (BDB 876, KB 1082 and BDB 906, KB 1157) are both Niphal IMPERATIVES used as JUSSIVES. Does this imply one continent (i.e. Pangaea)? The earth is changing form (i.e. tectonic plates) continually. The question again is the age of the earth. Notice also God controls all natural phenomenon. There are no nature gods! Gen 1:9 “let the dry land appear” This is similar to the original holy hill of Egyptian cosmology. Another example of this sharing of a common world-view throughout the ANE would be humans created from clay. This is common to the creation accounts of Mesopotamia, Egypt and Israel. Gen 1:11-12 This was not meant to be a technical description for the origin of all plant life. It seems to refer to three types of plants: grasses, grains, and fruit. The animals will eat the first and second; humans will eat the second and third. God is preparing the earth step by step as a stage or platform on which to fellowship with and sustain His highest creation, mankind. There have been several modern scientific theories as to the order of the development of plant life. Some scientists would assert this very order. But we must be careful because scientific theories change. Christians do not believe the Bible because science and archaeology confirm a matter. We believe it because of the peace we have found in Christ and the Bible's own statements of inspiration. Gen 1:11 “Let the earth sprout” This is a Hiphel JUSSIVE of the verb “sprout” (BDB 205, KB 233). ▣ “after their kind” Creation is structured (cf. Gen 1:12; Gen 1:21; Gen 1:24-25; Gen 6:20; Gen 7:14) so that once created, plants, animals and humans can reproduce and adapt in and of themselves. God created life to adapt. At this level, evolution to varying conditions surely occurred through time (micro-evolution or horizontal evolution). There is a growing trend in theology toward the concept of progressive creation which implies that God may have created mankind (1) in stages or (2) Adam and Eve were created at a later stage, fully developed (cf. writings of Bernard Ramm and Hugh Ross). In contrast to the ancient Near East where fertility was worshiped as twin gods, this shows the source of life as God, not a sexual act. In many ways this creation account diminishes the gods of the ancient Near East (water; light/dark; heavenly bodies; forces of nature; and fertility gods) as the plagues of the Exodus depreciated the gods of Egypt. The sole initiator is the one and only God!


NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Gen 1:14-19 14Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; 15and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. 17God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. Gen 1:14 “for signs and for seasons and for days and years” The heavenly lights were to mark feast days (cf. Gen 18:14; Leviticus 23; Deu 31:10) and cycles of rest, work, and worship (cf. Psa 104:19-23). The sun was created to divide the calendar and each day into segments of time to help humans fulfill all their responsibilities (i.e. physical and spiritual). Gen 1:16 “the two great lights. . .He made the stars also” God is creator of the heavenly bodies (cf. Isa 40:26). They are not deities to be worshiped (Mesopotamian astral worship, cf. Deu 4:19; Eze 8:16) but physical servants (cf. Psa 19:1-6). This is a theological statement! Gen 1:17-18 The parallel structure of the Hebrew implies three purposes in addition to Gen 1:14.


NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Gen 1:20-23 20Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” 21God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 22God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. Gen 1:20-23 Invertebrates appear in the Cambrian Period suddenly and in abundance of forms. There is no physical evidence of a gradual development. The verbs “swarm” (BDB 1056, KB 1655) and “fly” (BDB 733, KB 800) used in Gen 1:20 are both IMPERFECTS used as JUSSIVES. Gen 1:20 “living creatures” This same word, nephesh (BDB 659), is used of humans (cf. Gen 2:7) and animals (cf. Gen 2:19; Lev 11:46; Lev 24:18). It represents life force (cf. Eze 18:4) related to and dependent on this planet. ▣ “birds” Literally this is “flying things” (BDB 733) because in Deu 14:19-20 it can also refer to insects. Gen 1:21 “created” This is the term bara (BDB 135, KB 153, Qal IMPERFECT) as in Gen 1:1. It implies divine creation. “Man and the animals” are “made” in Gen 1:24-25 which implies out of previously existing matter (i.e. dirt). However bara is used for “man” in Gen 1:27 (three times). This special term is used of (1) the universe (or earth) in Gen 1:1; (2) of the sea creatures in Gen 1:21; and (3) of mankind in Gen 1:27. NASB, NRSV, TEV, NJB “the great sea monsters” NKJV, NIV “great sea creatures” LXX, KJV, “great whales” JB “great sea-serpents” This may refer to leviathan (BDB 1072, cf. Psa 104:26; Psa 148:7; Job 41:1 ff). Sometimes the word is associated with Israel's enemies: (1) Egypt, Isa 51:9; Eze 29:3; Eze 32:2 (sometimes referred to as “Rahab” cf. Psa 89:10; Isa 51:9) and (2) Babylon, Jer 51:34. Often it is associated with cosmic/spiritual enemies, Job 7:12; Psa 74:13; Isa 27:1. The Canaanite creation account makes this a god fighting against Baal but in the Bible it is a good creation of the one true God. ▣ “every winged bird” This includes everything that flies, birds and insects (cf. Deu 14:19-20). Gen 1:22 As the plants were made to reproduce, so too, the animals. God wants His planet filled with life (series of Qal IMPERATIVES [and one JUSSIVE], cf. Gen 1:28; Gen 9:1; Gen 9:7). This was one of the rebellion issues (i.e. unwillingness to separate and fill the planet) of the Tower of Babel (cf. Genesis 10-11). DISCUSSION QUESTIONS This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator. These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive. 1. How is science related to the Bible? 2. The real questions are the who and why of creation, not the how and when. If this is true, how then should we interpret Genesis 1-2? 3. How did God create the physical world? Should we push fiat, ex nihilo if this is poetry? 4. What is the major thrust of Genesis 1? 5. How is the Bible like/unlike other creation accounts? SOME HELPFUL RESOURCES A. Objections Sustained by Phillip Johnson B. Darwin on Trial by Phillip Johnson C. Creation and Time by Hugh Ross D. The Creator and the Cosmos by Hugh Ross E. The Genesis Question by Hugh Ross F. The Christian View of Science and Scripture by Bernard Ramm G. The Scientific Enterprise and Christian Faith by Malcolm A. Jeeves H. Coming to Peace with Science by Darrel R. Falk I. The Language of God by Francis S. Collins J. Who was Adam? by Fazale Rana and Hugh Ross K. The Lost World of Genesis One, IVP (2009) by John H. Walton CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS INTO Gen 1:24 to Gen 2:3 INTRODUCTION A. In the past two centuries, OT scholars have often asserted that Genesis records two creation accounts by different authors, using different names for God. However: 1. this may be typical eastern literary form of a general account followed by a more specific account 2. Gen 1:1 to Gen 2:3 may be a summary account of the creation of this planet and Gen 2:4-25 refers to the creation of the first couple. 3. this may reflect the different aspects of God's character (i.e. rabbinical, see SPECIAL TOPIC: Names for Deity <http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/special_topics/names_deity.html>) a. Elohim - creator, provider and sustainer of all life b. YHWH - savior, redeemer and covenant God of Israel B. There seems to be a distinction made between God creating out of nothing and created things bringing forth. Example: God created in Gen 1:21 yet in Gen 1:20 the water produces; in Gen 1:25 God made yet in Gen 1:24 the earth produced. Augustine noticed this distinction and postulated two acts of creation: (1) matter and spiritual beings and (2) their organization and diversification. C. This passage clearly teaches that humans are like the higher land animals: 1. both have nephesh, Gen 1:24; Gen 2:7; 2. both were created on the sixth day, Gen 1:31; 3. both were created from the ground, Gen 2:19; 4. both eat plants for food, Gen 1:29-30; 5. both procreate. However, humans are also like God: 1. special creation, Gen 1:26; Gen 2:7; 2. made in the image and likeness of God, Gen 1:26; and 3. have dominion, Gen 1:26; Gen 1:28. D. Gen 1:26 “Let us . . . “ (cf. Gen 1:26; Gen 3:22; Gen 11:7; Isa 6:8) has been greatly discussed. Several theories have emerged: 1. The plural of majesty (but no early example in the Bible or in rabbinic literature) 2. God speaking of Himself and the heavenly court of angels, 1Ki 22:19 3. Points toward plurality in God, and therefore, foreshadowing of the Trinity, see SPECIAL TOPIC: The Trinity <http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/special_topics/trinity.html>, Gen 3:22; Gen 11:7; Isa 6:8. It is to be noted that (a) Elohim is PLURAL and (b) divine persons are mentioned in Psa 2:2; Psa 110:1; Psa 110:4 : Zec 3:8-10. E. Theories as to the meaning of image and likeness: 1. Irenaeus and Tertullian: a. Image — physical aspects of humanity b. Likeness — spiritual aspects of humanity 2. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, Hilary, Ambrose, Augustine, and John of Damascus a. Image ‒ nonphysical characteristics of man b. Likeness ‒ aspects of man that can be developed such as holiness or morality, and if not developed then are lost. 3. The Scholastics (Thomas Aquinas) a. Image — mankind's rational ability and freedom (natural) b. Likeness — original righteousness and supernatural gifts that were lost at the fall. 4. The Reformers a. All basically denied any distinction between the terms (Gen 5:1; Gen 9:6). b. Luther and Calvin both express this concept in different terms, but basically expressed the same truth. 5. I think that they refer to our (1) personality; (2) consciousness; (3) language skills; (4)volition; and/or (5) morality. F. See SPECIAL TOPIC: Natural Resources, below SPECIAL TOPIC: NATURAL RESOURCES <http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/special_topics/natural_resources.html>


NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Gen 1:24-25 24Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. 25God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. Gen 1:24 “Then God said,” Elohim (BDB 43) is the ancient plural name for God which dominates chapter 1. The etymology is uncertain. See SPECIAL TOPIC: NAMES FOR DEITY <http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/special_topics/names_deity.html>. The rabbis say that it shows God as creator, provider and sustainer of all life on planet earth. The PLURAL seems to be theologically significant when connected with Gen 1:26; Gen 3:22; Gen 11:7 and the plurality of the word “one” which is found in the great prayer of monotheism(Shema), Deu 6:4-6. When used of the God of Israel the VERB is almost always SINGULAR. The term elohim in the OT can refer to (1) angels (cf. Psa 8:5); (2) human judges (cf. Exo 21:6; Exo 22:8-9; Psa 82:1); or (3) other gods (cf. Exo 18:11; Exo 20:3; 1Sa 4:8). ▣ “Let the earth bring forth” This (BDB 422, KB 425) is a Hiphil JUSSIVE. There is a distinction made in Genesis 1 between God creating by the spoken word out of nothing and that which He created, reproducing (i.e. adapting). Compare Gen 1:20-21 and Gen 1:24-25. ▣ “living creatures after their kind” Gen 1:24-25 describes the land animals both large and small, domestic and wild. Notice the term “living creatures”(BDB 659 and 311) is based on the term nephesh which is the word used for humans in Gen 2:7. It is obvious that the uniqueness of mankind is not found in the term nephesh, often translated in Greek as “soul.” See note at Gen 35:18 <http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/old_testament_studies/VOL01BOT/VOL01BOT_35.html>. ▣ “creeping things” Literally this refers to “gliding,” or “sliding” (BDB 943). This is the same word that is used in Gen 1:21, “that moves.” It seems to refer to all animals which do not walk on their legs or that they have such short legs that they are unnoticeable. ▣ “and it was so” God's desires became reality! See note at Gen 1:7. Gen 1:25 “and God saw that it was good” God's creation was good (BDB 373) and is proclaimed to be “very good” in Gen 1:31. This may be a Hebrew idiom meaning adequate for an assigned purpose. Theologically it may also speak of the absence of sin from God's original creation. Sin is the result of rebellion, not creation.


NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Gen 1:26-31 26Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Gen 1:26 “Let Us make” The form (BDB 793, KB 889) is Qal IMPERFECT, but is used in a COHORTATIVE sense. There has been much discussion over the PLURAL “us” (cf. Gen 3:22; Gen 11:7). Philo and Eben Ezra say it is “the plural of majesty,” but this grammatical form does not occur until much later in Jewish literary history (NET Bible says it does not occur with VERBS, p. 5); Rashi says that it refers to the heavenly court (cf. 1Ki 22:19-23; Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-6; Isa 6:8), but this cannot imply that angels had a part in creation, nor that they have the divine image. Others assume that it is an incipient form of the concept of a Triune God. See Special Topic: Trinity <http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/special_topics/trinity.html>. Interesting is the fact that in the Mesopotamian accounts of creation the gods (usually linked to individual cities) are always contending with one another but here not only is monotheism evident but even in the few PLURAL expressions there is harmony and not capricious discontent. ▣ “man” This is the Hebrew word “Adam” (BDB 9), which is an obvious play on the Hebrew term for ground, adamah (cf. Gen 1:9). The term may also imply “redness.” Many scholars believe that this refers to humanity being formed out of the red clods or clay of the Tigris/Euphrates River valley (cf. Gen 2:7). Only in these opening chapters of Genesis is the Hebrew term “Adam” used as a proper name. The Septuagint uses the word anthropos to translate this term which is a generic term referring to men and/or women (cf. Gen 5:2; Gen 6:1; Gen 6:5-7; Gen 9:5-6). The more common Hebrew term for man or husband is ish (BDB 35, cf. Gen 2:23 the etymology is unknown) and ishah (BDB 61) for woman or wife. At this point in my theological understanding it is very difficult to relate the Bible's account of the creation of the original pair with the fossil remains of several types of bi-pedal Homo erectus. Some of these ancient grave sites include the burial of items apparently connected to a belief in an after life. I am not offended by evolution within species. If this is true, then Adam and Eve are primitive humans and the historical time-frame of Genesis 1-11 must be radically expanded. Possibly God created Adam and Eve at a much later period of time (i.e. progressive creationism), making them “modern” humans (Homo sapiens). If so, then their relationship to Mesopotamian civilization demands a special creation sometime close to when culture begins. I want to emphasize that this is just speculation at this point in time. There is so much moderns do not know about the ancient past. Again, theologically, the “who” and “why,” not the “how” or “when” are crucial! ▣ “in Our image, according to Our likeness” The term “image” can also be found in Gen 5:1; Gen 5:3; Gen 9:6. It is often used in the OT to denote idols (KB 1028 II). Its basic etymology is “to hew into a certain shape.” There has been much discussion in the history of interpretation to identify the exact meaning of image (BDB 853, KB 1028 #5) and likeness (BDB 198). Comparable Greek terms are found in the NT to describe humanity (cf. 1Co 11:7; Col 3:10; Eph 4:24; Jas 3:9). In my opinion, they are synonymous and describe that part of humanity that is uniquely capable of relating to God. The Incarnation of Jesus shows the potential of what humanity could have been in Adam and will be one day will be through Jesus Christ. See Who was Adam? By Fazale Rana and Hugh Ross, p. 79. ▣ “let them rule” This is literally “trample down” (BDB 853, KB 1190, Qal IMPERFECT used in a JUSSIVE sense). This is a strong term that speaks of mankind's dominion over nature (cf. Psa 8:5-8). This same concept is found in Gen 1:28. The two terms, “rule” in Gen 1:26; Gen 1:28, and “subdue” in Gen 1:28 have the same basic etymology which means “to tread upon” or “trample.” Although these VERBS seem hard they reflect the image of God's reign. Mankind has dominion over the created earth because of his/her relationship to God. They were to reign/dominate as His representatives, in His character. Power is not the theological issue, but the way it is exercised (for self or for the good of others)! Notice the PLURAL, which implies mutual dominion of male and female (cf. Gen 5:2). Also notice the PLURAL IMPERATIVES of Gen 1:28. The submission of the woman only comes after the Fall of Genesis 3. The real question is, “Does this submission remain after the inauguration of the new age in Christ”? Gen 1:27 “God created” There is a threefold use (Qal IMPERFECT followed by two Qal PERFECTS) of the term bara (BDB 127) in this verse, which functions as a summary statement as well as an emphasis on God's creation of humanity as male and female. This is printed as poetry in NRSV, NJB and acknowledged so in NIV footnote. The term bara is only used in the OT for God's creating. ▣ “in His own image” It is extremely interesting that the PLURAL of Gen 1:26 in now a SINGULAR. This encompasses the mystery of the plurality, yet the unity, of God. God's image (BDB 853) is equal in men and women! See Special Topic: Women in the Bible <http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/special_topics/women_bible.html>. ▣ “male and female He created them” Our sexual aspect relates to the needs and environment of this planet. God continues to separate (see note at Gen 1:4). Notice the mutuality here, in Gen 2:18; Gen 5:2. Our divine image allows us to uniquely relate to God. Gen 1:28 “God blessed them . . . Be fruitful and multiply” Part of God's blessing (BDB 138, KB 159, Piel IMPERFECT) was procreation (cf. Deu 7:13). This blessing was both on the animals (cf. Gen 1:22) and on man (cf. v.28;Gen 9:1; Gen 9:7). In the Mesopotamian creation accounts the noise of the overpopulation of humans is the reason for the gods' destruction of humanity. The Genesis account urges population growth. It is surprising that one of the first acts of rebellion (cf. Genesis 10-11) was mankind's reluctance to separate and fill the earth. ▣ “subdue it; and rule” There are two commands in the Hebrew text which are parallel to “Be fruitful and multiply” (series of three Qal IMPERATIVES). This makes both human sexuality and human control God's will. Both the Hebrew verbs, “subdue” (BDB 461, KB 460) and “rule” (BDB 921, KB 1190), can have a negative (i.e. cruel domination) connotation. The specific context must determine whether the meaning is benign or aggressive. Gen 1:29 The plant kingdom is divided into three different groups. The food chain begins with photosynthesis in plants. All earthly animal life depends on the miracle of plant life. In this verse, mankind is given the grains and the fruits for his food (cf. Gen 2:16; Gen 6:21), while the third group, the grasses, is given to the animals. It was not until after the flood that humans were allowed to eat flesh (cf. Gen 9:3). This may be connected with the fact that there was no harvest possible that year. It is theologically inappropriate to draw universal dietary food laws from Genesis 1. It is also possible that this description is only related to the Garden of Eden. Death and carnivores go back to the earliest fossils relating to the Cambrian layer 500,000 years ago where the fossilized record of life begins with profusion. Gen 1:30 “I have given every green plant for food” The thrust of this statement is that all life is based on the process of photosynthesis (i.e. the food chain). Gen 1:31 “it was very good” This is an extremely important conclusion to creation because in later gnostic Greek thought, matter is evil and spirit is good. In this Greek system (as well as some Mesopotamian texts) both matter and spirit are co-eternal which serves as their explanation of the problems on earth. But the Hebrew account is very different. Only God is eternal and matter is created for His purpose. There was no evil in God's original creation, only “freedom”! ▣ “there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day” It is important to note that, like the third day, the sixth day has two creative acts, so there are eight creative acts in six days. The rabbis begin the new day at twilight which is based on this phrase, “evening and morning.”



King James Version

This is the 1769 King James Version of the Holy Bible (also known as the Authorized Version). "Public Domain"