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Known in Hebrew as      ·   


 
£ the book of Genesis is the most criticized and
revered document of beginnings known to man. From antireligious atheists to hyperliteralist
creationists£ there are many to whom Genesis remains an obsession. This ancient work has caused
much controversy in colleges and judicial settings having been used to condemn everything from
homosexuality to evolution. Sadly£ there is a growing aversion to this ancient work especially in
places of education. Something that was once treasured by kings is now detested by peasants.
Though it certainly originated with the Divine£ the identity of its human author has been lost in the
annals of time. Internal anachronisms indicate that it was written long after the events which it
describes. And tradition reports that the hand of Moses penned it originally though many critics
assert otherwise.
Genesis as a whole establishes the prevailing theme of all scripture introducing concepts such as the
second-born being greater than the firstborn£ man as the image of GOD£ the affliction of the
righteous seed£ the Sabbath£ and many others. So it is certainly not a stretch of logic to assume the
book·s most important episode lies at its opening. This pericope often referred to as ›
   is
just as much   ›
 as it is  ›. Many readers fail to apprehend this notion; thus£ its true sense is
almost never acquired.
It is because Genesis truly is foundation of all scripture that acquiring a proper understanding of its
premier account is paramount. Unlocking creation week is the first step to unlocking the Hebrew
Bible.





 
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§1:1.1| 
   - Not from nothingness (ex nihilo) as is commonly believed. The word
´fashionedµ rendered by most translations as ´createµ is the Hebrew word 

· {  ”. It typically
implies creation by means of    
1though debatable in some instances. This implication
of the word is corroborated throughout the rest of the narrative as

· shows up only where matter
is generated from other matter2. In context of creation£ it is concerned with achieving order from
chaos£ a concept common to ancient eastern creation narratives3. And this concept is certainly
present in our creation narrative as the earth was a chaotic mess of darkness and water from which
emerged all that is humanly tangible.
Note the following case where 

· appears functioning in the hiphil stem (causative):

... and honor your sons above Me£ to 


yourselves {      ”... (1Sam. 2:29)

Before matter can be fattened£ it must first exist. This is the case in 1Sam. 2:29 where people are the
object of fattening (´yourselvesµ).
Subsequently£I·ve rendered the verb 

· as ´fashionedµ rather than ´createdµ because evidently
matter had already existed in Gen.1:1.

§1:1.2|         - Note the order: (1) the heavens then (2) the earth are
mentioned in the same order that they are later created ² heavens on day two (1:6-8) and earth on
day three (1:9-13).

§1:1.3|·    
       - At what point in creation
week is this verse describing? Was it on day one that GOD created the heavens and the earth or at
sometime later?
Some believe this to be a record of what occurred on day one and others a summary of what
occurred in days one through six with 1:2-3 being where the narration of day one begins.
Furthermore£ others believe that an indeterminate ´gapµ of time - perhaps millions or billions of
years - lies between 1:1-2£ but the answer is not difficult to ascertain.

1 See entry 1431   Brown£ Driver£ Briggs£ J  


   › 
  p. 135. In a few instances it
is arguable that   can denote creation from nothingness as the intent of the verb is not contingent upon
material existing but rather the creation of order from chaos. It should also be remembered that chaos is only
possible by the existence of two or more entities (material).

2 The word 

· {  ”is used to describe the forming of man (1:27 cf. 2:7) and the work which GOD formed
to do during creation week (2:3-4).

3 See the Babylonian Enuma Elish£ the Akkadian Atrahasis£ and the Egyptian story of Nun.
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The terms ´heavenµ {



  #”  and ´earthµ {·   ,  ” are names issued by GOD on days two
and three of the creation week4. But before GOD issued these names£ the heaven was referred to as
´firmamentµ {

‘    ”£ and the earth was called ´dry landµ {


 # ”.
So why does Gen. 1:1 refer the reader to names not yet introduced rather than using the original
generic terms ´firmamentµ and ´dry landµ?
Further£ ´  heavenµ and ´  earthµ both carry a definite article  { ” in verse 1 which is where
they first appear. While this miniscule point would go unchecked by a reader of English£ it runs
contrary to the way Biblical Hebrew narratives typically introduce characters5. And£ grammatically in
the narrative£ the heavens and earth are treated as characters.
So why in the very beginning of the bible is there a chronological and literary anomaly?
The key is that Gen. 1:1 provides not merely an introduction but a brief   of the entire creation
week; hence£ the appellations ´Heavenµ and ´Earthµ from later in the narrative are employed as
descriptors in the opening summary. This is similar to how a newspaper summarizes an article into a
few words to create an opening headline. Because 1:1 functions as a synopsis£ it is anachronistic6 to
the creation narrative thereby proving that not everything should be understood chronologically.
Note how complex the very first verse of the Torah is! May this testify to the intricacy of scripture
and why it is prone to be misconstrued by myopic and cursory readers.

4 Genesis 1:8-10

5 Within Biblical Hebrew narratives£ it is typical for a character or object (nouns) with a name to be
introduced as indefinite and then afterward referred to as definite. For example£ the appellations ´heavenµ
and ´earthµ are introduced as     but proper nouns (names) on days two and three ² e.g. ´GOD called
the firmament ‘heavens· {”µ (1:8). But
  their introduction£ they are always joined to the definite
article-particle ² e.g. ´GOD said let there be light in the firmament of  heavens {”µ (1:14). Though
there are few exceptions to this way of operating£ it remains generally true. Survey these from their first
occurrences onward: ´lightµ { -” Gen. 1:3; ´luminariesµ {  ” Gen. 1:14-15; ´mankindµ {c” Gen.
1:26; ´womanµ {  ” Gen. 2:22-23.

6 An anachronism is an event that is chronologically misplaced or out of order - cf. Gen. 14:14 where the
territory of Dan is referred to but had not yet existed until Jos. 18 and19.
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§1:2.1|   - For how long? Only The Holy One knows. The Hebrew of this verse
indicates a 
   › verb7£ according to the subject-verb order where ,   precedes   .
Thus£ the syntax here conveys to the reader that an unspecified amount of time had already elapsed
in earth·s history ² ´the earth 
been«µ Genesis 1:2 isn·t declaring what occurred from the very
inception of primeval earth or time. Instead£ the narrative picks up at some    point in the
distant past afterthe global matter had already been established.
And£ as in 1:1 the term ´earthµ (·  ) refers to the same dry land that doesn·t appear until day 3;
thus£ 1:2 is reporting that this would-be dry land had been in a chaotic state proving its existence on
or before day one.

§1:2.2|    - In Hebrew this phrase is 


  {&&” and conveys an idea
of ´vainly unusable emptinessµ. This exact phrase appears in only one other passage (Jer. 4:23)
where it also describes the state of the earth. In both passages where it occurs there is (1) a lack of
light from heaven and (2) an uninhabitable earth.

§1:2.3|    - The noun rendered as ´darknessµ is ›   {/ 0”


and£ besides deep blackness£
is frequently used as a metaphor for death£ calamity£ wickedness£ and the grave.8 During which
times£ it is reminiscent of when the earth was ´vainly unusable emptinessµ or ´formless and voidµ
(of stability and life). So when used in a negative sense£ it represents the antithesis of created life or
thriving. It is the place of oblivion and all things dead.

§1:2.4|            - When was darkness manifested for the first time?
Did it simply always exist? Furthermore£ where did the deep come from? The text here forces the
reader to assume (1) certain components of the narrative always existed or (2) the documentation of
their origins is purposely neglected. In light of the past-perfect verb discussed in §1:2.1 and other
scripture9£ the second assumption is preferable.

7 The past-perfect verbal form denotes an occurrence in the 


past preceding some other action.

8 See Jb. 10:21£ 15:22-23£ 30£ 17:13; Ps. 35:6£ 88:11-12; Pr. 2:13; Ecc. 11:8; Isa. 5:20; Jer. 13:16.

9 Scripture purposefully neglects details at times. Matthew 1:1-17 and Gen. 5:4 are both examples wherein the
text is silent on what is seemingly noteworthy. Matthew clearly omits certain people in his genealogical record
that spans from Abraham to Jesus. And Gen. 5:4 demonstrates how unimportant the details of Adam's other
children are. It merely mentions their existence in passing.
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§1:2.5|     


    ... - A verse of special importance£ for it conveys the
activities of GOD in relation to time and space. This and Gen. 2:2 are most peculiar to the narrative
in this respect.
Further£ the word rendered as ´hoveringµ { 0   ” occurs in Deut. 32:11 to describe an eagle
hovering over her offspring. This may have allegorical implications.

§1:2.6|         


    
  - This sentence employs a form of literary parallelism called a ´doubletµ10. Employed as
synonymous thoughts here are the words ´deepµ {2 ” and ´the watersµ {1  ”. Further£ the
phrase´upon the face ofµ {
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apparent when this pericope is viewed in its original language. Note the parallel in lines (2) and (4)
below:

(1) And darkness (was) / #0



(2) upon the face of the deep  
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(3) The spirit of GOD (was) hovering  0   0& 
(4) upon the face of the waters 1  
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There is more parallelism within these two clauses to document but not without some explication.
Though not obvious at first£ lines (1) and (3) also share symmetry. The phrase ´and darkness (was)µ
equates to the phrase ´the spirit of GOD hoveringµ as lines(2) and (4) equate.
The text indicates that ´darknessµ and ´the spirit of GODµ existed at the same location
simultaneously: both were ´upon the face ofµ {
. $” the same primeval liquid. Well documented
as synonyms in Hebrew are the terms ´deepµ and ´watersµ 11. This proves that£ at least in regards to
their chronicled locations£ the subjects of lines (1) and (3) coalesce.
Further£ 2Sam. 22:12 and Deut. 5:23 portray GOD as situated in the midst of ›   (darkness)
corroborating the idea of GOD·s spirit existing conterminously to ›   (upon the deep-waters).
Something else that is shared between GOD and ›   in this narrative is that both have no
documented origins which may have further implications. And because GOD and ›   are oft-
antithetical£ 1:2 may also be an example of a › 
   parallelism.12 This complex verse definitely
requires further study if its secrets are to be gleaned.

10A doublet (alt. couplet) is a synonymous parallelism in which there is a set of two or more words (or
constructions) which occur together each expressing the same thought. Psalm 119:105 is an excellent example
of a doublet:

Your word is a 
x to  y and a  x to 
y.

Above£ the same thought is expressed twice where ´a lampµ = ´a lightµ and ´my feetµ = ´my pathµ.

11The terms ´deepµ {   - ” and ´(the) watersµ {


1 ” parallel quite frequently. See Jb. 38:30; Isa.
51:10£ 63:12-13; Ezk. 26:19£ 31:4.
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§1:3.1|-The world was created in ten utterances13. Light£ being the first of these£
is unique from all of the rest because it is the only time GOD commands something into existence
from absolute nothingness14. Light·s institution meant that life could now be introduced and
sustained possibly explaining why succeeding scriptures use the term ´lightµ {·  -” as a symbol
for   and   ›  15 Considering the metaphoric usage of light found in other passages£ is it
possible that the Holy One did not merely manifest photons on this day but also invented the
concept of earthly life?

§1:3.2| ² Light and the seventh day (Sabbath) are the only things in the narrative
which are not formed from other matter. Rather£ these are simply manifested into existence ² one
by GOD uttering ´let there be lightµ and the other by Him simply pausing (2:2-3)Subsequently£
neither of the two verbs 

· {   ” and ‘

 16{
  ӣ which denote generating matter from other
matter£ are used to describe the creation of the Sabbath (seventh day) or light.

12 Contrastive or antithetical parallelism is a literary device that juxtaposes opposite ideas to emphasize
differences or a greater concept. The divisions of the parallelism will sometimes share common components
or words thus linking them. For examples see Ps. 1:6£ 34:10; Pr. 10:1£ 14:20.
13 Genesis 1:3£ 6£ 9£ 11£ 14£ 15£ 20£ 22£ 24£ 26

14Apart from light£ everything is ´createdµ or ´madeµ by GOD or otherwise brought forth by the earth or sea.
Of the ten utterances£ two are followed by the verb 

· {  ” and three by the verb ‘

 {
 ” with the
former often rendered as ´createdµ (1:21£ 27) and the latter as ´madeµ(1:7£ 16£ 25). Both of these verbs
denote creating from an already existing matter. Light simply manifested upon command. Refer to the
footnote below (13) for details on the verb ‘

 43
 ”.

15 Light { -”occurs in numerous doublets and scriptures as a synonym for  and   ›  .
Examples include Jb. 3:20£ 33:28; Psa. 27:1£ 36:9£ 56:13; Pro. 6:23; Joh. 1:4£ 8:12; 1Th. 5:5; 1Tim. 6:16.

16 The verb‘

 43
 ” when used to describe creation denotes formation from an already existing matter in
an even stricter sense than 

· {  ”. The verb ‘

 typically means to ´doµ£ ´implementµ£ or ´performµ£
but at times it means to ´makeµ as is found in the KJV (ex. Gen. 1:16). What decides its function in Gen. 1 is
context as in 1:7£ 25. Typically the verb simply means to ´doµ or ´implementµ.
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§1:4.1| 
         - The Holy One£ blessed be He£ reviews each day·s
relative creations. While read cursorily by most£ this small clause ´GOD sawµ is very important£ for it
documents what was created by GOD on each respective day. By taking note of what GOD saw on
day one£ we can deduce what He  create this day: earth£ darkness£ and the deep. These already
existed. This is more evidence that 1:1 isn·t documenting what occurred on day one and that it is a
synopsis. Nothing in scripture is superfluous.

§1:4.2| 
             ² This most pivotal event
should pique the interest of any careful reader. Why? Because during day four (1:18)£ this 
 act is
repeated through the implementation of firmamental lights { ·     ” that

  are said to
divide the ·  (light) from the ›   (darkness). But GOD Himself had already divided the light and
darkness here!
So£ why does GOD cause the heavenly luminaries on day four to perform the same action that He
already completed on day one? Did the light and darkness recombine between days one and four?
What is this redundancy hinting at? There are a few possibilities:
(1) Days one and four are actually the same event told twice each time from a different point of
emphasis which holds much probability in light of the 
   17
(2) Maybe the text is hinting at a special relationship between GOD and the heavenly lights by
equating their actions with GOD·s actions. Much like theophanic angels£ the luminaries are agents
operating in GOD·s stead. As is the case in other books18£ perhaps these luminaries represent the
angels and their roles as the ambassadors of GOD. Genesis is a book of theology£ so this is possible.
(3) GOD may have created all of the dividing lights on day one when He divided light from darkness
and only chose to   them on day four. This understanding is feasible based on the conjunct
usage of the two verbs ´implementµ {‘

    ” and ´setµ {

 ” in 1:16-17. In his
commentary on the Torah£ the medieval commentator Rashi19 put forth this interpretation.
(4) All of the above.
As a final note£ darkness is said to have been ´separatedµ {c  ” from light. If darkness is a  
how was it ´separatedµ from light? This concept merits further consideration.

17 The framework hypothesis is an interpretation of the first chapter of the Book of Genesis which holds that
the seven-day creation account found therein is not a literal or scientific description of the origins of the
universe; rather£ it is an ancient religious text which outlines a theology of creation. The seven day
"framework" is therefore not meant to be chronological but is a literary or symbolic structure designed to
reinforce the purposefulness of GOD in creation and the Sabbath commandment. (source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framework_interpretation_(Genesis))

18 See Jb. 38:7; Dan. 8:10£ 12:3; 1Eno. 86:1-6£ 88:1-3; Rev. 9:1.

19Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki) was an eleventh century Talmudic and biblical scholar that many religious
Jews hold to be the premier commentator of all time.
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§1:5.1|
 
 ² Earth·s illuminating force is now named ´dayµ { -”.
Just as in English£ the appellation ´dayµ not only denotes daylight itself but also one cycle of daylight
and darkness. Often overlooked is that the introduction of daylight into the existing darkness
created not only what we call a ´dayµ but a means to 
   . This is why the appellation  
denotes not just ´daylightµ but also an entire ´dayµ. So by introducing light and separating it from
darkness£ GOD actually created an entire period of time (called  ) that would serve as a temporal
outline for the rest of creation week as well as holy times and earthly time in general.
Further£ the biblical system of reckoning days is modeled directly after what occurred on creation
day one. On Earth£ just as darkness was before light£ so does a biblical day begin at the darkening of
evening when the sun has set20. And then the darkness is followed by light just as light was
introduced after darkness in the narrative. After this state of light wanes£ the next evening arrives£
and concludes the day while beginning the next one.

§1:5.2|          - The portion of a day wherein   is absent is likewise
given a name ² ´nightµ {

   ”. This reoccurring state of darkness will forever remind GOD·s
creation of what the earth was like before He said ´let there be«µ For this word ´nightµ is
synonymous with the primeval state known as ´darknessµ or ›  {/ 0” from 1:2. Perhaps the
lack of light£ life£ and harmony in this undefined period of primeval darkness holds the answer to
why evil£ death£ and misfortune come to be identified with darkness and night in other books21 as
well as the human psyche.

§1:5.3|       - The word ´eveningµ {‘     ” is the period of day that scripture
refers to as ´the sun·s goingµ.22 It begins the instant the sun descends beneath the horizon to the
point of invisibility but ends when total darkness seizes the sky. Thus£ an ‘  is only possible with
the presence of light.
Given that days begin at evening£ day one may have began when light was first introduced because£
just as at evening£ light and darkness were initially tangential ² see §1:4.2. Therefore£ it is likely that
the introduction of light in 1:3 was the first ´eveningµ and thus the beginning of day one.

20In the instructions for observing the Day of Atonement£ we are told to reckon the day from ´evening until
eveningµ (Lev. 23:32). Also£ the Passover is offered ´between the two eveningsµ (Exo. 12:6 & Lev.23:5). 
An evening begins at sunset and also begins a new day that last 24 hours until the next evening arrives. Also
see Dan. 8:14 where twenty-three hundred ´evenings and morningsµ denote days.

21See Jb. 10:22£ 12:22£ 17:13£ 30:26; Isa. 5:20£ 45:7; Jer. 13:16£ Matt. 4:16; Rom. 13:12; Eph. 6:11-12; 1Th. 5:5.
1Eno. 41:8£ 63:11£ 94:9£ 107:2.

22Deuteronomy 16:6 commands the Passover be slaughtered # 5 -    ´in the evening as the sun
goesµ. 2Chronicles 18:34 parallels    $c ´until the eveningµ with # *
  
 ´at the time of the going
of the sunµ.
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§1:5.4|        - The word ´morningµ {    ” denotes a ´seekingµ or


´breaking throughµ. This is the point of day when light breaks through the darkness and seeks out
all which is not visible.

§1:5.5|   - Paraphrased it maybe ´one completed period of  (daylight)µ. Though  can
mean either ´daylightµ or a ´dayµ£ it also can denote a longer or unspecific period of time.23

§1:5.6|            ² Here on day one evening
and morning were first manifested because they require the presence of light to exist. After events
are documented£ the reoccurring formula ´evening « morningµ concludes each creation day. This
proves that day one   was created as the temporal model for all days thereafter.
Interesting is that only
  documenting each day·s events is when this formula occurs. GOD·s
activities are recorded but not as they occurred within the timeframe of the day. For example£ the
text never says whether GOD created fish in the evening£ the morning£ midday£ or in anywhere
between. Rather it just tells how He created them£ and then at the end of day five the ´evening«
morningµ formula occurs as a conclusion. This mode of narration is common to all of the days of
creation.
Day one is the only of six creation days where the order of events can be determined£ but only by
deduction. It transpired according to one of the two scenarios below. In either case£ however£ there
is an apparent chronological problem:
(1) There was static darkness. GOD then introduced light and then separated the two from a mixed
state which either was evening or preceded evening. He then allowed darkness to ensue again and
then caused light to break through the darkness making morning.
In this scenario£ the reader is never told that GOD caused darkness to reemerge. For the evening and
morning to have transpired according to a biblical day£ this had to have occurred.
(2) There was static darkness£ and then GOD introduced light£ and then separated the two from a
mixed state thus causing morning to occur. Then as the light waned£ darkness overtook light which
signaled evening. In this scenario£ the advent of light would·ve created a morning before an evening
which undermines the basic order of a biblical day·s beginning as well as the ´evening« morningµ
formula wherein evening is always stated first with morning following.
Though the first scenario is most parsimonious£ cases like the above present issues for the literalist
who chooses to read the creation account as a science book expecting a fully detailed order of
events. The ´evening« morningµ formula is only used to indicate that an entire day occurred. And
it serves to show that the creation of the first day£ as a temporal frame for all other days£ remained in
use. Even today it still does.

Baruch ADONAI.

Including all details in chronological order is not what the inspired author of Genesis had in mind.
This intentional negligence is very important to note because it informs the reader that the narrative
is not meant to be read in a strict scientific and chronological sense. Conversely£ it is written in

23 See this word·s usage in Gen. 2:17£ 4:3 & Jer. 28:11
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topical order24£ a method of constructing poetry that was common to the ancient near east. In doing
so£ this supremely crafted work employs rhetorical parallelisms£ doublets£ layers of chiasmi25£ and
other literary devices. These masterful arrangements will be skeletonized for the reader at the
conclusion of this work.

24Many are not familiar with the notion of the Hebrew Bible /  arranging ideas£ stories£ and events£ by
order of topic rather than chronologically. This phenomenon is well documented in the book of Jeremiah
where events occur out of chronological order. Such a style of writing is typical of the thinking system
common in the ancient near east known as  › ›and which contrasts the western style of thinking know
as   › ² where things are group by order of events or in ´stepsµ. This suffices to show how easy it can be
for a westerner to read an eastern book and have all everything but the pages backwards. For a more detailed
explanation see this excellent article:
http://www.godward.org/Hebrew%20Roots/hebrew_mind_vs__the_western_mind.htm

25Essentially the same as an antimetabole£ a chiasm (alt. ´chiasmµ pl. ´chiasmiµ) is a verbal device in which an
expression is divided into two parts with the word order of each mirroring the other (e.g. ABC|C·B·A·).
The Hebrew Bible is replete with these devices. One such example is the command of equal justice GOD gave
to Noah in Gen. 9:6a. For clarification£ the translation is literal:

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one ding  of    by    his  will be