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. 3 And God said, [d]“Let there be light”; and there was light.
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”).
Genesis 1:3This is not in the imperative mood (the ordinary grammatical form for a command), but God willed these creative events into existence. It is the voluntative mood in Hebrew. This translates, “It is My will that this happen.” English does not have the voluntative mood, which includes the jussive and cohortative forms. When “let” is used in this way, it represents a command not in the imperative mood, but rather an expression of God’s will, the jussive form. God literally commanded (willed) the world into existence.
4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you know and have understanding. 5 “Who determined the measurements [of the earth], if you know? Or who stretched the [measuring] line on it? 6 “On what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, 7 When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God (angels) shouted for joy?
8 “Or who enclosed the sea with doors When it burst forth and went out of the womb; 9 When I made the clouds its garment And thick darkness its swaddling band, 10 And marked for it My [appointed] boundary And set bars and doors [defining the shorelines], 11 And said, ‘This far you shall come, but no farther; And here your proud waves shall stop’?
3 By faith [that is, with an inherent trust and enduring confidence in the power, wisdom and goodness of God] we understand that the worlds (universe, ages) were framed and created [formed, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose] by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
5 For they willingly forget [the fact] that the heavens existed long ago by the word of God, and the earth was formed [a]out of water and by water,
2 Peter 3:5Peter is not referring to the creation of earth from water, but to the appearance of land masses from the water that had covered the earth in the early stages of creation. His point is that the mockers who will claim that things continue to be just as they always have been will be overlooking the fact that the status quo, as they see it, took an act of God to create in the first place, and God has already intervened in the history of the world once to wipe out mankind by a cataclysmic flood (v 6; cf Gen 6; 7).
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