In the beginning God ([a]Elohim) [b]created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth. 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. And God said, [d]“Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good (pleasing, useful) and [e]He affirmed and sustained it; and God separated the light [distinguishing it] from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was [f]evening and there was [g]morning, one day.
And God said, “Let there be an [h]expanse [of the sky] in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters [below the expanse] from the waters [above the expanse].” And God made the expanse [of sky] and separated the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so [just as He commanded]. God called the expanse [of sky] heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place [of standing, pooling together], and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that this was good (pleasing, useful) and He affirmed and sustained it. So God said, “Let the earth sprout [tender] [i]vegetation, [j]plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit according to (limited to, consistent with) their kind, whose seed is in them upon the earth”; and it was so. The earth sprouted and abundantly produced vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, according to their kind; and God saw that it was good and He affirmed and sustained it. And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.
Then God said, “Let there be light-bearers (sun, moon, stars) in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be useful for signs (tokens) [of God’s provident care], and for marking seasons, days, and years; and let them be useful as lights in the expanse of the heavens to provide light on the earth”; and it was so, [just as He commanded]. God made the two great lights—the greater light (the sun) to rule the day, and the lesser light (the moon) to rule the night; He made the [galaxies of] stars also [that is, all the amazing wonders in the heavens]. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to provide light upon the earth, to rule over the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good and He affirmed and sustained it. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
Then God said, “Let the waters swarm and abundantly produce living creatures, and let birds soar above the earth [k]in the open expanse of the heavens.” God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind; and God saw that it was good and He affirmed and sustained it. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to (limited to, consistent with) their kind: livestock, crawling things, and wild animals of the earth according to their kinds”; and it was so [because He had spoken them into creation]. So God made the wild animals of the earth according to their kind, and the cattle according to their kind, and everything that creeps and crawls on the earth according to its kind; and God saw that it was good (pleasing, useful) and He affirmed and sustained it.
Then God said, “Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]; and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, and over the entire earth, and over everything that creeps and crawls on the earth.” So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.” So God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of the entire earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to all the animals on the earth and to every bird of the air and to everything that moves on the ground—to everything in which there is the breath of life—I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so [because He commanded it]. God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good and He validated it completely. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.
- Genesis 1:1 This 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 1:1 Heb 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 1:2 The 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 1:3 This 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.
- Genesis 1:4 “He affirmed and sustained it” is understood (deduced) from the context. The italic “and” alerts the reader or student of Hebrew that the word or words that follow are amplifications not found in the Hebrew text itself, but implied by it or by contextual factors.
- Genesis 1:5 The Hebrew word translated “evening” indicates dusk or sunset.
- Genesis 1:5 The Hebrew word translated “morning” indicates the time when it is getting light (dawn).
- Genesis 1:6 Or a firmament.
- Genesis 1:11 Or grass.
- Genesis 1:11 Or herbs.
- Genesis 1:20 Lit over the face of.
The Creation of Man and Woman
So the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts (inhabitants). And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested (ceased) on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it [as His own, that is, set it apart as holy from other days], because in it He rested from all His work which He had created and done.
This is the history of [the origin of] the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day [that is, days of creation] that the [a]Lord God made the earth and the heavens— no shrub or plant of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to [b]cultivate the ground, but a [c]mist (fog, dew, vapor) used to rise from the land and water the entire surface of the ground— then the Lord God [d]formed [that is, created the body of] man from the [e]dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being [an individual complete in body and spirit]. And the Lord God [f]planted a garden (oasis) in the east, in Eden (delight, land of happiness); and He put the man whom He had formed (created) there. And [in that garden] the Lord God caused to grow from the ground every tree that is desirable and pleasing to the sight and good (suitable, pleasant) for food; the tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the [experiential] knowledge (recognition) of [the difference between] good and evil.
Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four [branching] rivers. The first [river] is named Pishon; it flows around the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; bdellium (a fragrant, valuable resin) and the [g]onyx stone are found there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the entire land of Cush [in Mesopotamia]. The third river is named Hiddekel (Tigris); it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
So the Lord God took the man [He had made] and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely (unconditionally) eat [the fruit] from every tree of the garden; but [only] from the tree of the knowledge (recognition) of good and evil you shall not eat, otherwise on the day that you eat from it, you shall most certainly [h]die [because of your disobedience].”
- Genesis 2:4 Heb YHWH (Yahweh), the Hebrew name of God which traditionally is not pronounced by the Jews, usually rendered Lord. See front material, Principles of Translation.
- Genesis 2:5 Lit work.
- Genesis 2:6 Or flow of water.
- Genesis 2:7 The word is “formed” (Heb yatsar), but in 1:26, 27 the action is described with the Hebrew word “created” (Heb bara).
- Genesis 2:7 The essential chemical elements found in soil are also found in humans and animals. This scientific fact was not discovered until recent times, but God is displaying it here.
- Genesis 2:8 This is a reference, not to the creation of plant life in general, but to the planting of specific plants in the Garden of Eden (2:8, 9).
- Genesis 2:12 It is often difficult to match the names or descriptions of ancient gems and other materials with their contemporary equivalents. Modern research indicates this may instead be carnelian, a red gemstone.
- Genesis 2:17 Both spiritually and physically, physical death in the sense of becoming mortal; they were created immortal.