1 In the beginning God ([a]Elohim) [b]created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth.2 The earth was [c]formless and void or a waste and emptiness, and darkness was upon the face of the deep [primeval ocean that covered the unformed earth]. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters.
Genesis 1:1This is originally a plural form based on el (root meaning: strength), which itself is used to refer to God in compounds like El Shaddai (Almighty God). The word el is also used to refer to false gods, so the context determines whether Elohim means “God” or is better understood as “gods” (elohim).
Genesis 1:1Heb bara. Here and in 1:21, God created from nothing which is something only He can do. In 1:27, God used preexisting materials (man from the dust of the ground; Eve from Adam’s rib); each use of the word bara (“create”) must be considered in its specific context.
Genesis 1:2The Hebrew text here has two rhyming words, tohu and bohu, which have similar meanings of “wasteness” and “emptiness.” The construction is a figure of speech called hendiadys, in which two words are used together to express the same idea. The meaning is that the earth had no clearly discernible features at this point in creation but essentially was a mass of raw materials. This proves to be very important from philosophical and scientific viewpoints, because it documents the fact that the raw matter of the earth—and by extension, of the universe—did not coexist eternally with God, but was created by Him ex nihilo (Latin “out of nothing”).
You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more
You must be logged in to view your newly purchased content. Please log in below or if you don't have an account, creating one is easy and only takes a few moments. After you log in your content will be available in your library.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Now that you've created a Bible Gateway account, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus, the ultimate online Bible reading & study experience!
Bible Gateway Plus equips you to answer the toughest questions about faith, God, and the Bible. There's no software to install; it's all integrated seamlessly into your Bible Gateway experience. Try it free for 30 days!