Home Bible Studies STUDIES IN GENESIS #3
Written by Calvin Fox   
Thursday, 04 June 2015 12:37

Last time we listed words used in the process of creation, particularly the Hebrew word, bara = to shape, fashion or to create. That word does not necessarily mean creation out of nothing, eg in 2:7 God creates Adam out of dirt. The Doctrine of creation “ex nihilo” is not in this text. It is in John 1:3, Rom 4:17 and Heb 11:3. Rather the emphasis in Genesis 1-2 is Creation by Word: God spoke and it was so (10 times in chap 1, eg-1:3; Psalm 33:6-9) and the Word was efficacious because the Spirit of God (v.2) accompanied that Word (v.2) cf Ezek 37 and 1 Thes 1:5 This connection, this synergy of Word and Spirit is important truth.

The word bara does not explain what actually happened in the process of creation. It does not preclude the use of secondary causes (the “fixed order” or so-called Laws of Nature which God also created. See Jer. 33:25, etc) Every living thing God made reproduced itself according to those “laws” and thus the work of creation continued by natural means.

Genesis 1-2 is not primarily about how the Universe or Humankind began [origins], but is, as we wrote earlier, about Who began the Universe. Genesis 1-2 is about the God who is behind all physical, natural processes. If we focus on the processes to the neglect of the Creator, we miss the main point- and most essential truth of the chapter.

1:1 God created the heavens and the earth. Hebrew has no word for Universe. Simply put, God created the sky and the land. This is the basis of His claim to be the one true God. His authority, His “rights”, is predicated on that fact. His claim to be worshipped and obeyed by all people and nations is based on His work as Maker of the heavens and the earth. This is why the Doctrine of Creation by God is so very important. Read Isaiah 40!

The actual Process of Creation begins with v.2 [Verse 1 is the title of the chapter]

2 [In the beginning] the earth was without form and void, and darkness was [not became] over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. ESV

  • Earth = the Hebrew word is usually translated “land”. It is the focus of the Narrative, not the heavens
  • Formless = [tohu] = chaotic, confused; also wasteland or wilderness
  • Empty = [bohu] =void
  • “Formless and Empty” together as a phrase means thoroughly disorganized, unproductive and uninhabited, eg- Jeremiah 4:23
  • The deep = the watery deep = the dark depths of the ocean, chaotic abyss

When first created, what was to become land (v 9-10) was a thoroughly unproductive and uninhabited mass covered by deep water and darkness. The imagery of the Spirit of God moving in the darkness is powerful- and encouraging!

Creation is about bringing order to what is chaotic. This is a very important principle to be applied in our lives and culture. The creative acts of God describe how He formed the formless and filled the empty. We will consider what was involved next time.

Isaiah 45:18 For thus says the LORD [Jehovah], who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it. He established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!: "I am the LORD, there is no other.”

Psalm 115:16 The heavens are the LORD's heavens, but the earth He has given to the children of man.







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