1In the beginning God created the heauen and the earth. 2And the earth was without forme and void, and darkenesse was vpon the deepe, and the Spirit of God mooued vpon the waters. 3Then God said, Let there be light: And there was light. 4And God saw the light that it was good, and God separated the light from the darkenes. 5And God called the Light, Day, and the darkenes, he called Night. So the euening and the morning were the first day. 6Againe God said, Let there be a firmament in the mids of the waters: and let it separate the waters from the waters. 7Then God made the firmament, and separated the waters, which were vnder the firmament, from the waters which were aboue the firmament: and it was so. 8And God called the firmament Heauen. So the Euening and the morning were the second day. 9God said againe, Let the waters vnder the heauen be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appeare. and it was so. 10And God called the dry land, Earth, and he called the gathering together of the waters, Seas: and God saw that it was good. 11Then God said, Let the earth bud forth the bud of the herbe, that seedeth seed, the fruitfull tree, which beareth fruite according to his kinde, which hath his seede in it selfe vpon the earth: and it was so. 12And the earth brought foorth the bud of the herbe, that seedeth seede according to his kind, also the tree that beareth fruit, which hath his seed in it selfe according to his kinde: and God saw that it was good. 13So the euening and the morning were the third day. 14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heauen, to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signes, and for seasons, and for dayes and yeeres. 15And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heauen to giue light vpon the earth: and it was so. 16God then made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesse light to rule the night: he made also the starres. 17And God set them in the firmament of the heauen, to shine vpon the earth, 18And to rule in the day, and in the night, and to separate the light from the darkenesse: and God saw that it was good. 19So the euening and the morning were the fourth day. 20Afterward God said, Let the waters bring foorth in abundance euery creeping thing that hath life: and let the foule flie vpon the earth in the open firmament of the heauen. 21Then God created the great whales, and euery thing liuing and mouing, which the waters brought foorth in abundance according to their kinde, and euery fethered foule according to his kinde: and God sawe that it was good. 22Then God blessed them, saying, Bring foorth fruite and multiplie, and fill the waters in the seas, and let the foule multiplie in the earth. 23So the euening and the morning were the fifte day. 24Moreouer God said, Let the earth bring foorth the liuing thing according to his kinde, cattel, and that which creepeth, and the beast of the earth, according to his kinde. and it was so. 25And God made the beast of the earth according to his kinde, and the cattell according to his kinde, and euery creeping thing of the earth according to his kind: and God saw that it was good. 26Furthermore God said, Let vs make man in our image according to our likenes, and let them rule ouer the fish of the sea, and ouer the foule of the heauen, and ouer the beastes, and ouer all the earth, and ouer euery thing that creepeth and moueth on the earth. 27Thus God created the man in his image: in the image of God created he him: he created them male and female. 28And God blessed them, and God said to them, Bring forth fruite and multiplie, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule ouer the fish of the sea, and ouer the foule of the heauen, and ouer euery beast that moueth vpon the earth. 29And God said, Beholde, I haue giuen vnto you euery herbe bearing seede, which is vpon al the earth, and euery tree, wherein is the fruite of a tree bearing seede: that shall be to you for meate. 30Likewise to euery beast of the earth, and to euery foule of the heauen, and to euery thing that moueth vpon the earth, which hath life in it selfe, euery greene herbe shall be for meate. and it was so. 31And God sawe all that he had made, and loe, it was very good. So the euening and the morning were the sixt day.
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The Story of Creation.#This section, from the Priestly source, functions as an introduction, as ancient stories of the origin of the world (cosmogonies) often did. It introduces the primordial story (2:4–11:26), the stories of the ancestors (11:27–50:26), and indeed the whole Pentateuch. The chapter highlights the goodness of creation and the divine desire that human beings share in that goodness. God brings an orderly universe out of primordial chaos merely by uttering a word. In the literary structure of six days, the creation events in the first three days are related to those in the second three.
The seventh day, on which God rests, the climax of the account, falls outside the six-day structure.Until modern times the first line was always translated, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Several comparable ancient cosmogonies, discovered in recent times, have a “when…then” construction, confirming the translation “when…then” here as well. “When” introduces the pre-creation state and “then” introduces the creative act affecting that state. The traditional translation, “In the beginning,” does not reflect the Hebrew syntax of the clause. 1In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth#Gn 2:1, 4; 2 Mc 7:28; Ps 8:4; 33:6; 89:12; 90:2; Wis 11:17; Sir 16:24; Jer 10:12; Acts 14:15; Col 1:16–17; Heb 1:2–3; 3:4; 11:3; Rev 4:11.—2#This verse is parenthetical, describing in three phases the pre-creation state symbolized by the chaos out of which God brings order: “earth,” hidden beneath the encompassing cosmic waters, could not be seen, and thus had no “form”; there was only darkness; turbulent wind swept over the waters. Commencing with the last-named elements (darkness and water), vv. 3–10 describe the rearrangement of this chaos: light is made (first day) and the water is divided into water above and water below the earth so that the earth appears and is no longer “without outline.” The abyss: the primordial ocean according to the ancient Semitic cosmogony. After God’s creative activity, part of this vast body forms the salt-water seas (vv. 9–10); part of it is the fresh water under the earth (Ps 33:7; Ez 31:4), which wells forth on the earth as springs and fountains (Gn 7:11; 8:2; Prv 3:20). Part of it, “the upper water” (Ps 148:4; Dn 3:60), is held up by the dome of the sky (vv. 6–7), from which rain descends on the earth (Gn 7:11; 2 Kgs 7:2, 19; Ps 104:13). A mighty wind: literally, “spirit or breath [ruah] of God”; cf. Gn 8:1. and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters—#Jer 4:23.
|1.||light (day)/darkness (night)||=||4.||sun/moon|
|2.||arrangement of water||=||5.||fish + birds from waters|
|3.||a) dry land||=||6.||a) animals|
|b) vegetation||b) human beings: male/female|
3Then God said: Let there be light, and there was light.#2 Cor 4:6. 4God saw that the light was good. God then separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” Evening came, and morning followed—the first day.#In ancient Israel a day was considered to begin at sunset.
6Then God said: Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters, to separate one body of water from the other. 7God made the dome,#The dome: the Hebrew word suggests a gigantic metal dome. It was inserted into the middle of the single body of water to form dry space within which the earth could emerge. The Latin Vulgate translation firmamentum, “means of support (for the upper waters); firmament,” provided the traditional English rendering. and it separated the water below the dome from the water above the dome. And so it happened.#Prv 8:27–28; 2 Pt 3:5. 8God called the dome “sky.” Evening came, and morning followed—the second day.
9Then God said: Let the water under the sky be gathered into a single basin, so that the dry land may appear. And so it happened: the water under the sky was gathered into its basin, and the dry land appeared.#Jb 38:8; Ps 33:7; Jer 5:22. 10God called the dry land “earth,” and the basin of water he called “sea.” God saw that it was good. 11#Ps 104:14. Then God said: Let the earth bring forth vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seed in it. And so it happened: 12the earth brought forth vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree that bears fruit with its seed in it. God saw that it was good. 13Evening came, and morning followed—the third day.
14Then God said: Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, to separate day from night. Let them mark the seasons, the days and the years,#Jb 26:10; Ps 19:2–3; Bar 3:33. 15and serve as lights in the dome of the sky, to illuminate the earth. And so it happened: 16God made the two great lights, the greater one to govern the day, and the lesser one to govern the night, and the stars.#Dt 4:19; Ps 136:7–9; Wis 13:2–4; Jer 31:35. 17God set them in the dome of the sky, to illuminate the earth, 18to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. 19Evening came, and morning followed—the fourth day.
20#Jb 12:7–10. Then God said: Let the water teem with an abundance of living creatures, and on the earth let birds fly beneath the dome of the sky. 21God created the great sea monsters and all kinds of crawling living creatures with which the water teems, and all kinds of winged birds. God saw that it was good, 22and God blessed them, saying: Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas; and let the birds multiply on the earth.#Gn 8:17. 23Evening came, and morning followed—the fifth day.
24#Sir 16:27–28. Then God said: Let the earth bring forth every kind of living creature: tame animals, crawling things, and every kind of wild animal. And so it happened: 25God made every kind of wild animal, every kind of tame animal, and every kind of thing that crawls on the ground. God saw that it was good. 26#Gn 5:1, 3; 9:6; Ps 8:5–6; Wis 2:23; 10:2; Sir 17:1, 3–4; Mt 19:4; Mk 10:6; Jas 3:7; Eph 4:24; Col 3:10. Then God said: Let us make#Let us make: in the ancient Near East, and sometimes in the Bible, God was imagined as presiding over an assembly of heavenly beings who deliberated and decided about matters on earth (1 Kgs 22:19–22; Is 6:8; Ps 29:1–2; 82; 89:6–7; Jb 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). This scene accounts for the plural form here and in Gn 11:7 (“Let us go down…”). Israel’s God was always considered “Most High” over the heavenly beings. Human beings: Hebrew ’ādām is here the generic term for humankind; in the first five chapters of Genesis it is the proper name Adam only at 4:25 and 5:1–5. In our image, after our likeness: “image” and “likeness” (virtually synonyms) express the worth of human beings who have value in themselves (human blood may not be shed in 9:6 because of this image of God) and in their task, dominion (1:28), which promotes the rule of God over the universe. human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth.
27God created mankind in his image;
in the image of God he created them;
male and female#Male and female: as God provided the plants with seeds (vv. 11, 12) and commanded the animals to be fertile and multiply (v. 22), so God gives sexuality to human beings as their means to continue in existence. he created them.
28God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.#Fill the earth and subdue it: the object of the verb “subdue” may be not the earth as such but earth as the territory each nation must take for itself (chaps. 10–11), just as Israel will later do (see Nm 32:22, 29; Jos 18:1). The two divine commands define the basic tasks of the human race—to continue in existence through generation and to take possession of one’s God-given territory. The dual command would have had special meaning when Israel was in exile and deeply anxious about whether they would continue as a nation and return to their ancient territory. Have dominion: the whole human race is made in the “image” and “likeness” of God and has “dominion.” Comparable literature of the time used these words of kings rather than of human beings in general; human beings were invariably thought of as slaves of the gods created to provide menial service for the divine world. The royal language here does not, however, give human beings unlimited power, for kings in the Bible had limited dominion and were subject to prophetic critique. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth.#Gn 8:17; 9:1; Ps 8:6–9; 115:16; Wis 9:2. 29#According to the Priestly tradition, the human race was originally intended to live on plants and fruits as were the animals (see v. 30), an arrangement that God will later change (9:3) in view of the human inclination to violence. #Gn 9:3; Ps 104:14–15. God also said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food; 30and to all the wild animals, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the earth, I give all the green plants for food. And so it happened. 31God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good. Evening came, and morning followed—the sixth day.#1 Tm 4:4.
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