IN THE BEGINNING: Not the beginning of God, for God has
Indeed, "from everlasting to everlasting, You are God, (Psalm 90:2).
But the beginning of the physical universe.
GOD: Genesis begins with a presupposed understanding of
the existence and nature of God. It is written to and for those who have
that understanding. The Hebrew word, elohiym, is plural and refers to the
plurality factor within the Godhead (Ie, God is three in personality expression).
The verb, create, occurs in the 3rd person singular and emphasizes the "unity"
factor within the Godhead (Ie, God is one in essence). Essentially, this
verse reads, "In the beginning, Gods, He created . . ." Based
on the plurality factor that is established in the rest of the Old Testament,
it is appropriate to translate this, "In the beginning, The Godhead
created . . ."
I will operate on this premise throughout the rest of this
commentary, making amplification where appropriate. However, for clarification
now, please see the article, BEGINNINGS, and Topic:
There is another most important presupposition that must
be brought to the interpretation of Genesis. In fact, one that must be understood
in order to comprehend the entirety of the Bible and God's dealing with
the creatures of the universe.
That presupposition is established throughout the rest
of the bible and only needs to be brought to bear by those of us looking
back to the time of writing for Genesis. Those who received this initial
verbal and written record from God had the understanding that everything
that is taking place in the universe, both outside and within the realm
of the earth, revolves around the spiritual conflict between God and fallen
See Topics: Satan and
Angels - with Angelic Conflict
GOD CREATED: This is the qal perfect of bArA, which communicates
the simple past action of bringing into existence, that which had not been
in existence before.
This was done by the power of God as He simply "spoke"
into existence that which His wisdom designed as a perfect physical environment
(for indeed, "all His works are perfect," Deut. 32:4), and that
which His sovereignty decreed as an extension of His perfect plan (for,
"because of your will, they existed and were created," Rev. 4:11).
"Yahweh by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens,"
"He who made the earth by His power,
Who established the world by His wisdom;
and by His understanding He spread out the heavens,"
"By the word of Yahweh the heavens were made,
and by the breath of His mouth all their host. . .
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood forth,"
(Psalm 33:6, 9).
"Let them (the parts of the universe) praise the
name of Yahweh,
For He commanded and they were created.
And He established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree and it will not pass away,"
We learn from the New Testament that the creation was accomplished
by The Word, who is a member of the triune Godhead and usually designated
as the 2nd member of that Godhead.
"All things came into being (became) by Him
and apart from Him nothing became that has become."
Speaking of The Word, as Jesus Christ, Paul writes at Col.
"For by Him all things were created, in the heavens
and on earth;
visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions or rulers or authorities
all things were created through Him and for Him."
It is awesome then when we find this same divine personality
who is the Creator identified at Isaiah 42:5 as "God Yahweh."
"Thus says God (el) Yahweh,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread out the earth and its offspring,
Who gives breath to the people on it,
And spirit to those who walk in it."
And find Him speaking at Isaiah 48:12-16,
"Listen to Me, O Jacob, even Israel whom I called;
I am He, I am the first, I am also the last.
The same one who is so designated at Rev. 22:13 as,
"I am the Alpha and the Omega
The First and the Last
the beginning and the end."
and is identified as Jesus at Rev. 22:16.
But of course, when He did the creating, he was The Word
and not the "man" Jesus Christ.
"Surely My hand founded the earth,
And My right hand spread out the heavens;
When I call to them, they stand together."
This is definitely the same divine personality as identified
as THE WORD at John 1:1-3.
"Come near to Me (THE WORD), listen to this:
From the first I (THE WORD) have not spoken in secret,
From the time it took place, I (THE WORD) was there.
And now the Lord Yahweh (The Father) has sent Me (THE WORD),
and His Spirit (Holy Spirit)."
Three distinct divine personalities are very clearly in
view from this passage and simply confirm what we learn throughout the rest
of the bible - that GOD is a Godhead; a plurality of divine personalities
united equally in essence and expressing themselves individually and uniquely
to meet the needs of HIS creation. Deut. 6:4 says,
"Hear O Israel, Yahweh our Gods (elohim); Yahweh,
In view of this, it is most appropriate for Solomon to
exhort his readers, "Remember now your Creators," (Ec. 12:1).
The word, "Creators" is a qal participle from bArA, which is in
the PLURAL, and thus, properly rendered as "Creators" and reflects
the understanding of the peoples back then.
This writer views Genesis 1:1 as a statement of the original
creation of the physical heavens and earth, complete with vegetation and
non-volitional animal life on the earth, at which time all the angels of
heaven (sons of God) rejoiced in the magnificence of God's creation (Job
Verse 2a, indicates a "change of conditions"
on the earth, making it uninhabitable, and verse 2b-25 describes a "restoration"
to habitable conditions as preparation for the presence of the human race.
This then recognizes a "gap" between verses 1 and 2 and between
v. 2a and 2b.
There is debate about the validity of this particular view,
but it is up to the reader to study and discern and become convinced in
his own mind, what is most reasonable in view of all the factors involved.
The key ingredient for understanding what happened and
why, is once again, the reality of the spiritual conflict that exists between
God and the fallen angels. Without this ingredient, there is no reasonable
explanation for the gap and it truly becomes quite difficult to accept.
AND THE EARTH BECAME: The verb hAyAh means to "be"
or "become" depending on the context. Both are proper and possible
in this context.
Here it occurs in the qal perfect which gives it the idea
of past action and can be properly rendered either "was" or "became"
rather than "is."
A few examples where hAyAh is (or should be) rendered
Genesis. 2:7, "and man BECAME a living soul,"
qal imperfect consecutive.
Genesis. 3:1, "and the serpent BECAME more crafty,"
Genesis. 19:26, "and she became a pillar of salt,"
qal imperfect consecutive.
Isaiah 66:2, "and all these things BECAME (came into
It all depends on the context and I suggest that there
is data in the immediate context and elsewhere that gives support to the
idea that after the original creation of the earth in a "perfect"
condition, it was later made into a place which was empty and a waste.
FORMLESS: The Hebrew word here is, tohu and means, "a
AND VOID: This word is bohu and means empty.
The earth became a waste and empty.
It is normally suggested that the "condition"
of verse two is simply that which existed in the "process" of
creating the earth which is stated in summary form at verse one. In other
words, BEFORE God finished with His "original" creation of the
earth, it was indeed in a condition of "waste and empty." God
created it that way first, and then went about to make it better.
However, there is certainly no point in the process of
the creation to make a point - and by the way, everything was a waste and
empty at this particular stage of God's creation activity.
Furthermore it does not seem likely to me that God would
create the earth in the condition that these two words (tohu and bohu) indicate.
The word, bohu, occurs only one other time and in a bad
sense, (Isaiah 34:11).
The word, tohu, occurs 20 other times and always in a bad sense.
More specifically, Isaiah 45:18 actually describes the condition of the
earth when God created it as NOT being in this condition.
"For thus says Yahweh, who created the universe;
He is the God who formed the earth and made it
He established it and did not create it a waste (tohu);
He formed it to be inhabited."
He did NOT create it: the word is bArA and refers to the
creation activity described at Genesis. 1:1
A waste: This indicates that the original creation was
NOT in a "waste" (tohu) condition and supports the idea that "the
earth BECAME a waste," as is described at Genesis. 1:2a.
He formed it to be inhabited, or to be dwelled in. This
describes God's original intent for creating the earth. It was a beautiful
physical environment for animal and plant life which would showcase the
glory of God to His volitional creatures that He had made. That is why,
when the foundations of the earth were laid, all the angels shouted for
joy (Job 38:7).
SUMMARY OF THE GAP:
1. Genesis 1:1 states the original creation of the physical
universe which includes the planet earth as the divinely established center
of the universe.
A. In the beginning: refers to the point of time when
the physical universe came into existence.
At Job 38:4, it is described as "when I founded the earth."
B. It was after the creation of angels that this took
place, as they all were present and rejoicing. Job 38:7
C. The universe was created by the Word of the Godhead.
Ps. 33:6; 2 Pet. 3:5
D. The 2nd person of the Godhead actually did the speaking
and performed the mechanics. John 1:3; Heb. 1:2; Col. 1:16
E. The Hebrew word, bArA, in Genesis 1:1, indicates that
what was created was "ex-nihilo" - out of nothing.
F. The universe and the earth were created perfect. Deut.
G. Isaiah 45:18 describes this perfection.
1. Not a waste place: not tōhu.
2. Created to be inhabited: organized and stabilized and populated by a pre-Adamic, NON-volitional life.
3. Probably dinosaurs.
H. Jeremiah 4:23-26 describes the earth AFTER the judgment.
1. At verse 25, we learn that there were birds present.
2. Cities in v. 26, refers to the organized living arrangements of
the fallen angels who would come to the earth after Satan's fall.
I. Orientation to Jer. 4:23-26:
These verses are an "illustration" of God's
judgment. Jeremiah is given a vision that reviews a past judgment from
God in order to communicate the severity of His wrath and relate it to
the present crisis in Jeremiah's time. I designate this as a "prophetic
flashback" for it takes the prophet back in time and describes activities
or beings in that past time frame.
At v. 27, he makes application to the present judgment
coming upon Judah in 586 BC, "the whole land shall be a desolation."
"it will NOT be a complete destruction" as was
illustrated in v. 23-26.
This same technique is used at Psalm
Psalm 18: subject - obviously, David's persecution from
Saul and others and the fact that God delivered him from the situation.
The subject then, is really God's judgment on the enemies which resulted
in David's deliverance.
v. 1-3 - His devotion and trust in the Lord
v. 4-5 - David encounters a death crisis
v. 6 - But he trusts in God for deliverance
v. 16-19 - David records the Lord's deliverance from his enemies and from
the death crisis.
But in v. 7-15 - we have a record of God's judgment in
a different situation.
Here, the language changes totally. Here there is no mention of people.
Here we must look beyond David's life to find the reference.
Even if we were to symbolize the passage as a whole (and I see no basis
for doing so), it can find no correlation to David's deliverance.
Let me add that there most certainly are pieces of symbolism
scattered throughout the section, but it must be viewed in the context
of a "literal" event at sometime in history.
It seems to be more an "illustration" of God's judgment upon
a group of His enemies at some time either in the past or the future. I
can find nothing in the future that would fit the language.
It must be a past event and the only one "on the surface" that
it might go back to is the flood. But as I look at the language, although
there is mention of water (and the flood was certainly in a "wrath"
context), the description does not really correlate with what happened
at the flood. But this must await the verse by verse discussion.
Now first of all, for the Holy Spirit to use such a format
is not a problem for it has been done many times in the scriptures as God
used his prophets to teach truth. And David did indeed function as a prophet
of God even though he did not have the office of prophet.
So through the Spirit's inspiration, David reviews a past
judgment of God upon his enemies. The occasion, David may very well not
understand. I don't think we can with dogmatism say one way or the other.
But he did recognize it as an illustration of God's deliverance in his
own crisis situation.
2. This act of creation took place before the angelic revolt
of Ezekiel 28:11-17 and Isaiah 14:12-17.
A. Based on Job 38:7
B. The purpose for the universe was to promote the greatness of the Godhead
in the eyes of his angelic creation. Principle of Psalm 19:1
3. When Lucifer rebelled against divine policy, he and
the angels who followed him were kicked out of heaven and they made their
place of residence, the earth. Ezek. 28:16; Is. 14:12a; Rev. 12:4
A. Lucifer's sin initially was creature arrogance which
caused him to promote himself above God's plan and pursue "material"
That is, he became totally occupied with the physical things of the universe
that God had made and thus violated the divine trust assigned to him. Ezek.
28:16a, 17a, 18a.
B. When this sin emerged, Lucifer was removed from his
heavenly duties and personally condemned to the lake of fire.
Ezek. 28;19, "you will be no more."
C. In this promotion of self and criticism of God, he
persuaded 1/3 of the angels to follow him. Rev. 12:4
D. All the angels who followed Lucifer were indicted by
God and given the same destiny of the lake of fire. Mat. 25:41.
E. At this point, Lucifer protested and postulated his
doctrine of love and fairness, "how can a loving God cast his creatures,
whom he loves, into the lake of fire?"
1. This is an attack on divine righteousness and justice,
thinking that love supersedes them. Job 4:18.
2. Thus, for God to be perfectly fair, he must demonstrate
the perfect compatibility between all three of those attributes, without
compromising any of them.
4. So the plan of the ages (Eph. 3:11) was put into operation.
A. Created a lower life form than the angels but with
the same volition. Heb. 2:6-8
B. Give it the reality of divine provision in every area
of life and make known the potential and consequences of evil.
(The tree + specific instruction, Gen. 2:15-17).
5. Satan and his angels were given a stay of execution
until such time as God demonstrates the validity of His judicial indictment
upon them. This is the issue at Philip. 2:9-11.
A. Name of Jesus: reputation and essence
B. Confess He is Lord: sovereign
C. To the glory of God the Father: full vindication of His essence.
6. Satan chose to "wait it out" by setting up
homestead on planet earth. Isaiah 14:12
A. You have been cut down: God's activity
B. To the earth: Satan's choice.
C. Satan was not "kicked" down to the earth, but was kicked out
of heaven as an abode. Satan then chose what planet he would make his abode.
7. It is here that he organized paragraph 1 and 2 of his
darkness manifesto to take the place of God. Isaiah 14:13
A. Paragraph One: directed toward himself, "I will
ascend to heaven."
B. Paragraph Two: directed toward the other angels, "I will exalt
my throne above the stars of God."
8. But God had chosen to use the earth for the environment
of the new volitional creature (man). Reflected in Isaiah 45:18
A. So God put a stop to Satan's possession of the earth
and totally destroyed its surface by covering it with water and ice.
2 Pet. 3:5b
B. This is described in Genesis. 1:1-2 in general.
1. The earth became: The verb is, hAyAh which can be translated
as, "became." (Genesis. 2:7; 19:26; Isaiah 66:2)
2. Formless: a waste = tōhu Cf. Is. 45:18, it was
not created this way.
3. And empty: bōhu - lit., emptiness
a. Physical non-volitional life forms destroyed.
b. Satan and angels driven away.
4. And then God (possibly immediately) began reforming
the surface which is described in detail at Genesis. 1:2b through 2:4.
5. Thus the 6 days of "creation" are actually
6 days of "restoration."
C. This judgment is also described by prophetic "flashback"
in Psalm 18:7-15 and Jeremiah 4:23-26.
D. When Satan and angels were kicked off the earth, they
were probably forced to be "wanderers" without any "world"
as a place of residence.
E. So it is that when man was created he was given possession
and authority over the earth. Genesis. 1:28; Ps. 8:6-8
F. And when Satan procured Adam's spiritual fall in the
garden, he wrested that authority from Adam and became the ruler over the
earth and the atmosphere in his place. 2 Cor. 4:4; Jn. 12:31; Luke 4:6;
G. Satan organized this rulership into a "world system"
of darkness in order to advance His plan to discredit and frustrate the
progress of God's plan. 2 Cor. 4:4; 11:13-15; Eph. 6:12; Col. 2:8; 1 John
H. From within this darkness system, he then formulated
the rest of his darkness manifesto. Is. 14:13b-14
1. Paragraph 3: directed toward man, world rulership over
the human race.
2. Paragraph 4: Directed toward the Messianic presence. "the Cloud"
(singular in the Hebrew).
3. Paragraph 5: directed toward God, "I will be like
the Most High."
I. The length of the gap is unknown and can be speculated
about through geological discussion.
However, the gap is NOT a device invented in order to accommodate the geological
ages or support any ideas of "evolution.
The existence of this "gap" is both reasonable and necessary
in view of the revealed details of the angelic conflict.
AND DARKNESS WAS OVER THE SURFACE OF THE DEEP:
The deep refers to the body of water that covered the earth
after it became empty and a waste. Basically, God removed the light from
the planet and covered it with water. This is described at Psalm 18:15,
"and the channels of water appeared." The extreme cold that resulted
produced a covering of ice over the surface of the earth.
AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD:
This is the first reference to God the Spirit. The Old
Testament does not give us alot of information about this 3rd member of
the Godhead, but He is certainly given "personality" in certain
places and clearly presented as GOD through the New Testament. See Topic:
WAS MOVING: The word is rAchaph and it means to hover or
brood. It indicates very personal attention. See Deut. 32:11 for the idea
Here, the action of the Spirit is producing heat to melt the ice, as God
begins to restore the earth to a condition conducive to human life.
ON THE FACE OF THE DEEP:
Peter describes this as "the earth was formed out
of water and by water," (2 Pet. 3:5b).
Then verses 3-26 describes the process which takes place
during the six literal, 24-hour days of restoration, including the creation of animal life
and Adam, the first man.
The Hebrew verb, bArA communicates and ex nihilo (out of nothing) creation.
It is used at verse 1, at verse 27 for man, and at verse 2:4 in the summary
The verb, AsAh means to MAKE or manufacture, using existing materials. This is
what God did in bringing the earth back into a habitable condition. It is the
verb used throughout the restoration process and is the verb used in the summary
statements at Exodus 20:11 and 31:17. It is also used WITH bArA at Genesis 2:4
to distinguish between the original creation, which was INSTANTANEOUS and ex
nihilo, and the MAKING which was a process of restoration and took 6 days.
Study from Clarence Larkin