Genesis 1:1

Hebrew text for Genesis 1:1

    ‘eres                                                       elohim        bara      bereshith


The Hebrews call this book “Bereshith” from the first word. 

This Hebrew word is translated in the Greek Septuagint by the Greek word “genesis” which means “birth, origin”


The first two chapters are formed with three units:

1)      Gen. 1:1

2)      Gen. 1:2-2:3

3)      Gen. 2:4-25


Genesis 1:1 refutes all idols and false philosophies through history:
1) Atheism (No God)

2) Pantheism (God is in All)

3) Polytheism (Many Gods)
4) Dualism (Good verse Evil

5) Humanism (Man is God)
6) Evolution (Material is God)

Psalm 14:1 “The fool says in his heart ‘There is no God’.”


Liberal Biblical Scholarship:

1)      J = Jehovah from 850 BC

2)      E = Elohim from 750 BC

3)      D = Deuteronomist from 620 BC (Josiah’s reform)

4)      P = Priestly  from 500 BC (Ezekeil to Ezra)



According to Luke 16:31; 24:27, 44 Moses is responsible of Genesis.  How did Moses write it?

1)      Direct Revelation

2)      Oral Stories

3)      Written Documents

An important word in Genesis is “ toledot”.  “Toledot” is a Hebrew noun from the root “y-l-d” which means “to bear”. 

It is translated by these words in English: “genealogy,” “generations”, account,” family history,” “ancestral narrative.”


It is found in these verses:

2:4 “the account of” is  Hb. “toledot” or “generations”

5:1 -  Adam’s Line

6:9 – Noah

10:1 – Shem

11:10 – Terah

11:27 – Abraham, Isaac

25:19 – Isaac, Jacob

37:2 until Exodus 1:1 – Sons of Jacob


Two themes:

1)      The preparation of the land

2)      The blessing of the creation


(’eres is the Hebrew word translated “earth” in 1:1, 2 but land later.)


Seven Hebrew words form the first verse,  Genesis 1:1

a)      identify the Creator

b)      explain the origin of the world

c)      connect these past events with man’s future


The Creator

“God” is “Elohim”.  (plural used 2,750x in Bible, when used of pagan deities it is “gods”)

“El” is singular.  The “-im” is plural.

This is spelled “God” in the English Bible

“Elohim” is not identified in more detail here.

The creation account reveals his words and actions.

The rest of the book reveals more details of Elohim and his plan as Elohim deals with Adam,

            Noah, Abraham, Jacob, etc.

Genesis will identify the Creator as the one who called Abraham and promised him the “ ‘eres”

            or the “land”


God is different from any other worshipped identities because he acted alone and independently

Jeremiah 10:11 “These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth , will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”

Psalm 96:5 “For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord (Yahweh) made the heavens.”

Isaiah 46:9 “I am God. . .declaring the end from the beginning


Yahweh (LORD) is used first in 2:4.  Yahweh is the covenant name of God for Israel. Ex.3:15)
This is spelled “LORD” in the NIV.


Everything comes from the eternal God

God is eternal and independent of matter, time, space, etc.

Psalm 33:6

John 1:3

Hebrews 11:3


“In the Beginning” or “RESIT”

The term “beginning” is “resit”

Through out the Bible the word “resit” is used to mark a starting point of a specific duration:

a)      “the beginning of the year” (resit hassanah) in Deut 11:12

By using “resist” this verse marks creation not only with a beginning but also with an end.

The concept of “the last days” of the creation is here just as the concept of the “first day” is.

There is clearly a purpose and a goal with in this verse.

Ecclesiastes 7:8, “The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.”

Isaiah 65:17

Revelation 21:1


“In the Beginning” and “In Beginning”

Hebrew does not have an article with “resit” or “beginning”.

Some would say this makes 1:1 a construct dependent on the following verses.

This is not always the case for example in Isaiah 46:10 the same word “resit” is in the absolute

            state without an article again.

This is important because for years scholars feared the existence of the earth occurring in 1:1

            with out the support of the rest of the chapter. This would give room for the preexistence

            of matter.  Or, as some would say, the existence of two eternal beings in 1:1: elohim and


With a clear understanding that 1:1 is the creation account, 1:2 the angelic rebellion, 1:3
the restoration we can interpret it as it is written and not fear evolution, etc.


Four options

1)      Temporal Clause A –  verse 1 is a temporal clause that is subordinate to verse 3 and connected to verse 3 by verse 2.  This is very long and uncharacteristic of the book.

2)      Temporal Clause B – Verse 1 is a temporal clause and subordinate to verse 2.

3)      Independent Sentence A – verse 1 is an independent sentence making 1:1 the act of creation and 1:3 begins to reveal further phases of God’s work after creation of 1:1.

4)      Independent Sentence B – verse 1 is an independent sentence and serves as a summary of chapter 1 and 2.  Similar to 5:1, 6:9; 10:1 but is missing the “Toledot” formula which breaks the consistency.



“Created” is “bara”

Used in: 1:1, 21, 27 (3x); 2:3; 2:4a

The subject of “bara” is always God.

“bara” always refers to the product created and not to the material.

This leads us to conclude that “bara” is a technical term for “creation ex nihilo” (“creation out of


The word “asa” means to make something out of something as in Genesis 3:21.
The word “asa” is found in Exodus 20:11


Consider the Creation Battle scene in Psalm 74:9-23.