Genesis 1:2

Genesis 1:2

In Genesis 1:1, the author invites us into a story. It is not his story, but God’s story of creation, performed, not just by God, but by the Gods. These Gods worked in unison, to create the heavens and the earth. But verse one leaves us asking the question, “Who are these Gods?” When the verse says, “They created the heavens and the earth, what did this looks like?” “What were the conditions before they began creating?” “Finally, for what purpose did this creation take place?”

The second verse of Genesis chapter 1 begins to answer these questions. The verse says, “The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. What is interesting about this text is, while verse 1 has seven words in Hebrew, verse 2 has fourteen.

The verse answers the question concerning the condition of the earth before creation when it states, “Without form and void.” What that specifically looked like, we are unsure. The author wants us to know that it was in a chaotic state. It was in disorder. Perhaps this means that elements needed for creation were stockpiled together, in a haphazard way. Others have suggested God created out of nothing the earth and the heavens. But the beginning of the text in Hebrew states, “Earth was without void darkness over face deep spirit God hovering over face waters.” I wrote it without punctuation because Hebrew was without punctuation. The subject of the sentence is earth. The author uses three verbs in a row to describe the earth’s condition. They are, “without,” “void,” and “darkness.” Without, void, and darkness was[1] over face deep, means that these conditions ruled over the face of the earth.

The verse uses the word face twice in “face deep” and “face water.” In between, these two statements, it states, “Spirit of* God hovering over.” Verse two is made up of two parts, the first part the subject is the “earth” and the condition it was in; “without,” “void,” “Darkness.” “Over face deep,” meaning this was the condition of everything which consisted. It was chaotic, void of structure, and shrouded in darkness over everything, including all that was present.

The verse ends by saying, “Spirit God hovering over face waters.” The emphasis of the passage is Spirit of God.” In verse 1, we saw that there were Gods in that the writer used the plural form of God to indicate there is more than one and that they worked in unison to create the heavens and the earth. Now we are introduced to the Spirit of these Gods hovering over, or as some translations state, “Brooding” over the waters. It is as if they have sent their representative to examine the earth’s condition and report as they council together, pondering what they will create through their majesty and power. Whether it was the Holy Spirit, or the pre-incarnate Christ, or God the Father that vised upon the face of the waters to see the chaotic condition of the world, the author does not indicate which it was or if it was even all of them. But what is certain, based on the first two verses, Gods created the heavens and the earth. Before they began creating, the world was without, void, filled with darkness over the face of everything. Eloheem came, saw, and counseled together, formulating a plan to create. They created a plan to serve that which was without, void, and filled with darkness. Love cannot store up for itself; it can only serve or create. From a heart of other-centered love, the Gods were about to serve by creating.

I am in no way endorsing pantheism, but simply describing that the Hebrew text uses the plural form of the word God. It describes these Gods working together in unison to serve and create. We will learn through the narrative of scripture that this Eloheem is made up of three eternal co-existing beings, that work together in unison, exemplifying other-centered love.

As the first two verses end, the author wants you to ask the question, what does this creation look like? How is it that they are serving, and why would they serve by creating?

[1] Added for clarity or ease of reading

Genesis 1:1

Genesis Chapters 1 – 5 Overview

Genesis 1:1:

Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The author uses seven words in Hebrew to draw us into the narrative. The author naturally wants us to ask several questions. He provides us the vital information that there is a God. But not just a God, but Gods. As in more than one, for the word Elohym, pronounced El-o-heem, is the plural form of the word God.

Hebrew, like Greek, places the point of emphasis at the beginning of the sentence. Therefore, the sentence focuses on the fact that there is a beginning and that beginning happened when God, in the plural form, did something. What did they do? They created the heavens and the earth. Therefore, the text says, “There was a beginning. That beginning happened when God in the plural form worked together. What is it they did together? They made or created something. What is it that they created? The heavens and the earth.

Therefore, the author is boldly wanting us to see and ask the following:

  1. Something began. There was a beginning.
  2. That God in the plural, meaning more than one God worked together. (More on this in another study)
  3. They worked together to do something.
  4. What was it they did?
  5. They created something (more on what they created in another study).
  6. That the something being created or made was the heavens and the earth.
  7. They, as in El-o-heem, are asking you to do the following.
    1. To accept by faith or trust that there is more than one God.
    1. They existed before the beginning of what they created or made because if they didn’t exist before then, they could not have created or made it.
    1. That they created the heavens and the earth.
  8. And the author naturally arouses your curiosity to ask, “what was the earth’s condition before they began creating?” (See verse 2)
  9. How do they know the heavens and earth’s condition? (See verse 2)
  10. How did they create the earth? (See verses 3 – 31)

That is a lot packed with these seven Hebrew words. Those seven Hebrew words are poorly translated into English, using ten words to create the text we are familiar with. “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth.” In Hebrew, it looks like this. “Be-shit El-o-heem Bara eth Shamayim eth Erets.” God makes a bold statement. “There was a beginning. At that beginning, We (plural form of God) created. What did we create? The heavens and the earth.

Then God asks a question which is an implied question, but nevertheless a question. The author asks us the implied question: “Will you trust that We (God in the plural form) created the heavens and the earth?” Why is this important? Because the theme of trust will be asked again and again throughout the creation story.

By the way, the actual creation story is found in Genesis chapters 1 – 5, with a natural break in the narrative at Genesis 2:4a. Some Bible commentators will end the creation story with chapter 3 and others with chapter 4. But the actual creation story ends when the family of Adam is listed. Why is this? Because that marks the end of Adam’s story, preparing us for the next story. The question of trust or faith will be repeated throughout the rest of sacred scriptures and Biblical history.

In our following study, we will continue with verse two.

Love Fulfills the Law

And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. Isaiah 13:19

This promise of prophecy is a prediction to be fulfilled in history.

H. M. S. Richards, the founder of the Voice of Prophecy, tells of a time when he was walking over the ruins of Babylon. There they were, the foundations of the ancient palaces, the hanging gardens, the impregnable walls, the great temple, or ziggurat, the great avenues of victory. But they were all a great ruin.

Richards’s stated, “I found exactly what Isaiah had prophesied. Babylon, the golden city of a golden age, lay in vast disorder with no human inhabitants within its ancient walls. Its worldwide commerce was gone, and its terrible armies vanished into the mists of time.”

King Nebuchadnezzar had looked out over his world capital and said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power and for the honor of my majesty” (Daniel 4:30)? But now, it is only a memory and a name. The history of this world is really “a tale of two cities,” Babylon and Jerusalem. Ancient Babylon declared war against God’s people and God’s city, Jerusalem. But Babylon collapsed and is forgotten in its grave of the past, from which no Gabriel of future history will ever call it forth to pleasant memories. It is indeed like Sodom and Gomorrah. Any nation, any city, any man that forgets God and opposes God’s plan for this world is on the road to ruin.

Babylon was built upon the ruins of another great structure. The Tower of Babel. The tower was built to elevate humanity to the level of God. It was built to allow humans to reach into heaven and take from God what they desired. Babel became the place where human’s attempted to elevate themselves and their accomplishments above God himself. It became the place where humanity showed it wouldn’t trust God and placed its trust in itself to accomplish by its own hands whatever it desired.

Every false teaching in Christianity can be traced back to the tower. And every false teaching in Christianity today results from not fully trusting in God and elevating self to achieve salvation.

When we look at the Great Pharoah’s hosts with tossing plumes, like echoes now in empty rooms, each Pharoah’s dreams of greatness echo as a voice in an empty room.

All of Assyria’s march of death as it conquered the world is but a fading memory upon the pages of time.

Nebuchadnezzar echoed the words of all great kings and Pharaohs when he said, “Look what I have built and done.” But now, Babylon and her golden strands are the places of drifting sand.

The words of Daniel two tell the stories of passing kingdoms, all built upon human strength and wisdom. None built upon God, but upon mistrust of God.

But Daniel two leaves us with hope. From the mount of Israel, a stone would be cut. This stone is cut out without hands. Unlike the kingdoms before, it was not built upon power and oppression. It was not built upon mistrust of God. This rock, cut out without hands, is based upon trust in God. It is based on love, understanding, and reliance, not upon oneself, but only on God.

Daniel chapter two tells us that this kingdom, cut out without hands, is based upon love. A kingdom that is different than all other kingdoms is a kingdom built upon trust in God and will supplant all other kingdoms. Not with or by might or force, but by love and its reliance upon God.

Two thousand years ago, Christ came to model what this kingdom is like. He came to show us what trusting in God looks like and how it can be accomplished. Christ never elevated himself. He never reached into heaven to help himself to what He felt He deserved.

Heaven freely gave to Jesus all that it is willing to give to you and me when we fully and completely trust and love God as Jesus did.

When I attempt to keep the law, I am building a tower as the builders on the plain of Shinar did. My actions say I do not trust God to do the work of salvation for me, for I must accomplish it myself.

Paul tells us in Romans 13:10, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Paul is echoing the words spoken by Jesus in Matthew 19:18, 19, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27 and written by Moses in Exodus 20:13-17, Deuteronomy 5:17-21, Leviticus 19:18.

As Paul says, “Love for God, Love for Others is the fulfillment of the law.” The only way to fulfill the law is by loving God, trusting God, and then loving others. (Deuteronomy 6:5).

Our desire should be and our observation that of the Psalmist, when he says, “But you O God, shall bring them down into the pit of destruction; bloody and deceitful humanity shall not live out half their days, but I will trust in you” Psalm 55:23.

Trust breeds love, and love is the fulfillment of the law!

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