In the Beginning God Created the Heavens and the Earth

Day 1: Genesis 1-3

When I originally decided to read the Bible in a year, I never thought I would have so many questions, especially on the very first verse of the first chapter of the first book on the first day.

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

  1. Is the ‘beginning’ defined as being the absolute beginning of everything in existence or is the ‘beginning’ defined as the beginning of everything in existence as it pertains to our curiosity of how we came to be?
  2. How did God come to be?
  3. Is God a name or a title?
  4. Do the heavens and the earth encompass every bit of substance and being in the Universe or did God only create the heavens and the earth?
  5. Are the heavens defined as being all-encompassing of the cosmos as seen from earth? (In establishing segregation between the heavens and the earth… Otherwise, for what other purpose would these words be introduced separately?)
  6. Is this verse a summary of all of creationism or a summary of all progress made up to the next verse?

The second verse produces even more inquisitiveness in me.

2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

  1. According to this verse, the earth was created without form or content. Was the earth at this point just a concept or a formless and unpolluted entity of matter and mass?
  2. How can a formless and empty entity also have surface and depth?
  3. How can an empty entity contain water?
  4. How can a formless entity be subject to having a gravitational field such that the preposition ‘over’ may be used to describe a being residing above an object?
  5. Darkness is the absence of light, requiring that light first exist before darkness may occur. God did not create light until verse three. Why the inconsistency?
  6. Verse one talks about God while verse two talks about the Spirit of God. Is the Spirit in this case defined as a component of God, the essence/being/aura of God, or a completely separate entity?
  7. Is there a reason for stating that the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters? There is not any correlation between this imagery and the rest of the chapter. Perhaps it was used as a mechanism for story telling to cause inquisitiveness and wonder?
  8. Is the ability to hover a profound property of the Spirit of God?
  9. The plurality of the term ‘waters’ indicates separate and distinguished bodies of water, which must be separated by some mass. What separated these bodies of water before sky and dry ground were created in verses six and nine, respectively?

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

  1. Is the ability to ‘say’ a personified attribute? Could God have instead thought, “Let there be light?” But perhaps thinking is also a personified attribute…
  2. Is requesting an ambiguous entity’s cooperation in permitting for the spawning of light just a courtesy?
  3. Does existence always cooperate when God says “Let there be?” (This is not to say that existence has the capacity for making decisions regarding cooperation, mind you.)
  4. Does God introduce a source of light or light conceptually?

4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning– the first day.

This verse suggests in a rudimentary tone that God caused the earth to effectively start spinning.

6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.”
7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning– the second day.

This is a very interesting series of verses. Sky is purportedly separating water on the earth from water in the atmosphere. I personally believe that clouds make up this water above the sky, but I have heard of theories regarding a layer of water trapped in the atmosphere that remains far above the earth until it breaks during the Great Flood.

Dry land is formed and vegetation appears next, and then:

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.

This passage refers to the Sun, the moon, and the stars. Once upon a time, it was a common belief that the Earth was the center of the Universe and that all celestial objects revolved around it. This passage is akin to this belief in that these celestial objects were allegedly made for our use, instead of human reasoning and pattern recognition abilities being responsible for our utilitarian nature. After hundreds of years of observation of the cosmos, it is not uncanny to presume that these celestial bodies serve much greater purposes.

The chapter goes on to describe the creation of the birds and the creatures of the sea. God also instantiated the concept of procreation in verse 22. I found another passage quite interesting:

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Up to this point, God was always referred to in the singular form. Once God addresses himself, his entity is pluralized. This is likely associated with the concept of the Trinity. Nevertheless, I’m sure the SAT Reasoning Exam would have this entire passage underlined.

On another note, God induced animosity among all the earthly beings upon reigning humans as supreme, unless of course he hadn’t already created emotions like fear and anger. However, up to this point God commands all living beings including humans to eat vegetation for food. Eating one another is not yet permitted, so that helps a little with mollification.

Chapter two goes on to say that woman was taken out of man and that she was created to be a helper for him. Additionally, God created a tree in the center of the garden called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I believe the reasoning for this may have been to allow Adam and Eve the choice of disobeying his command. Adam and Eve, of course, did not have the capacity of understanding the consequences of disobeying him since they had no knowledge of good or evil. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to argue that had there not been a tree, no fruit could be eaten from it. Henceforth, had there not been a commandment, there would have not been any disobedience.

Chapter three talks about the fall of man. Man commits the inevitable crime against God and learns the difference between good and evil. Moral of the story: If you see a talking serpent, you may want to get a CT scan… Otherwise you may learn that you are indeed naked.

After all is said and done, the serpent loses its legs, enmity is created between the woman with her offspring and the serpent (likely directly referring to Jesus’ enmity with Satan). Additionally, man has to toil and suffer in order to purvey life’s necessities and woman incurs much more pain in childbearing. Adam and Eve are therefore banned from the Garden of Eden, which is guarded by a group of angels and flaming swords. Why God didn’t using flaming M16s is beyond me.

All in all, these stories are not new to me. Many of these questions I have had for some time. However, in parochial school, questioning that which we are taught are incomprehensible topics is blasphemy. So I simply continued to wonder. In any case, I am quite aware that Genesis is written in Hebrew and that the context and semantics of the passages may differ greatly from their native language. Perhaps one day I shall learn Hebrew and review copies of the Dead Sea Scrolls myself.

Stay classy, fellow bloggers.