Genesis 1: The Beginning

Earnest Examination

To start, I’ve realized that I have never read the Bible front to back, and so would like to remedy that. On some of my posts, I quote from the Bible, which I feel is a little insincere if I’m not going to study the whole Bible. So this is my chance to get closer to the Word and really understand the book that I occasionally quote from.
 
Originally, I was going to start with the New Testament as a friend has advised me to do, since when I started on the Old Testament I kept getting hung up on what I saw at the time were contradictions, and baseless wickedness and corruption. It repelled me from the Bible. She mentioned that that is exactly why Jesus Christ came. To do away with the “old” ways and bring about a new, better way of living. Which is to love and care about one another. The reason the Old Testament is so important is so that we know the conditions of how the world used to be, before Jesus Christ arrived to show us a more peaceful and loving way to be.
 
Now that I feel I may have a better understanding of this, I am compelled to start from “The Beginning“, both literally and figuratively. After having attempted Matthew 3, I realize that I am constantly having the urge to go back through the Bible to check references and names, etc. Since my desire is to take this one step at a time and build upon the knowledge based upon the timeline laid out before us in the Bible, I have decided to revisit the time I tried to read the Bible front to back, and see if my old views still stand.
 
Make no mistake, I will still have questions and ponderings about why God decided to do the things He’s done (and of course more questions on top of that), but I have learned not to condemn or judge such actions since I do feel some things are beyond our understandings and it is not my place to judge. I will try my best to look at it from an unbiased and simply curious, thoughtful mind.
 

To lay it out in a way that I can manage, I have highlighted the texts of verses that I either don’t understand or have a comment or question about in yellow. And the comments I’ve left beneath it will be of a smaller font and using brown text.

I would love it if you’d join me in this journey and if you have any insights and/or knowledge of these chapters/verses etc., please feel free to share with me and the other readers. Any chance to get a clearer understanding of the Bible and Jesus Christ would be welcomed with open arms.

All verses used are from biblestudytools.com (NIV) Genesis 1

The Beginning

1 In the beginning God created the heavens (I noticed this is plural – upon investigating realized that the Bible describes 3 different heavens, but on this particular verse, it seems to imply that it is used to describe “sky”, not “The Heaven” in which the angels/God/Heavenly hosts reside in. Which begs the questions, did God create The Heavens as well, or is it a construct that we as physical beings can’t quite comprehend?) and the earth.
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.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

In my mind, this is obviously alluding to the sun. However, when reading a few more verses beneath this one, verse 16, it clearly seems to depict the makings of the sun and the moon (the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night) on the fourth day, so my obvious conclusion is incorrect. So what was this “light”?
4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
Now here we can see the deliberate separation of the light from the darkness. It reminds me of the allegory of the candle that I read somewhere. I can’t remember where, but if I come across it I will give credit to where it’s due. But it mentions that you can put light into a dark room, such as using a candle, lamp, light bulb, etc., but you can’t put darkness into a room that’s already lit. It was meant to signify the spiritual side of things. I might have heard this allegory from a near death experience, where I believe someone mentioned that when they were initially heading towards hell or the darkness, they could see a pinpoint of light that was coming towards him and it radiated through the darkness and reached him. Then he mentioned that it was impossible for the darkness to be allowed into the light because the light would just completely engulf it. Darkness simply can’t exist in the light. So if one’s heart or soul is completely dark and cold, there’s no way it could get to Heaven. But as long as there’s light within, you can shine even in the darkness and go to Heaven.
I liked this rendition and it has stuck with me ever since I read it.
Now with this verse, it doesn’t seem to have spiritual connotations, but it makes sense physically and scientifically when thinking about the candle story. If there was light, there wouldn’t be darkness. So God made the means to separate the two.

5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
So since God has not made the sun yet, I can only surmise that this light was, as of yet, an un-contained amount of energy that simply obeyed God’s will.
6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.”
7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so.

8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
Okay, I’m just going to say it. I am very confused. Here is another reason why I was so reluctant to read the Bible, because there are so many different versions, so many different translations, and even with the slightest change could end up with a completely different result or meaning.
Take these verses, for instance. I remember reading that it wasn’t a “vault”, but a “firmament”; which, okay, very slight difference and of no real significance. They mean the same thing, right? I am okay with that. However, in verse 8, I remember it specifically saying “heaven” and not “sky”. And yes, we’ve already covered that there are 3 different types of “heavens”, so that doesn’t quite phase me either. What does absolutely confuse me, though, is that when looking at the KJV, the verse is this: “And God called the firmament Heaven.”
This is a huge difference to me because not only is the word “Heaven” capitalized, but it is also singular. Then, when looking at the very first verse of the KJV, it states this, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” In this sentence, “heaven” is not plural or capitalized. Then, to make matters even worse, when looking at a 1980’s NKJV book that was passed down from my family, the first verse is a lower case “heavens”, yet verse 8 writes “Heaven”. What am I to make with all these differences? To me, they aren’t just slight, insignificant differences. They are large ones that can give a completely new meaning depending on how one looks at it.
For that matter, how do we know which translation is the most correct? Other than actually learning Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic and studying the very first original documentations of the Bible, not to mention the other languages that could benefit from these ancient writings?
(I will leave this particular rant here, because I am sure there’s more to come.)
Getting back to the separation of water from water, I have gathered that to mean the clouds/sky/”heaven”, from the waters of the Earth.

9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so.
10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.
12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years,
15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.
16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.

So here we see the creations of the sun, moon and stars, perhaps the constellations as well, but does this include the other planets? The other galaxies? After all, the motion of the planets have helped people determine special days and times, along with solar and lunar cycles, so I would surmise that these were created as well. The Bible also alludes to some significance in regards to the planetary alignments and of course the “morning star”, which has been considered as Venus on numerous occasions.
17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth,
18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.
19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”
21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.”
23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.

25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
I want to mention, these verses as well as verse 21 mentions “kind(s)” numerous times. Enough times to make it quite significant. Why would these verses be so specific in this regard? Perhaps it’s because these verses attempt to drive home the importance of not interbreeding these species and instead let natural reproduction occur. As we know in today’s time (and, to be honest, who knows how long it’s been going on for) the practice of interbreeding and hybridization has been on the increase and there are many attempts at cross-breeding and dna-altering, genetic manipulation, etc., etc. going on. Quite so that it’s actually pretty terrifying. I think these verses were specifically referring to let each kind be it’s kind, and to interfere with that could lead to unexpected consequences.
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
This is a very interesting verse to me.
For one, who was God speaking to?
“Let us”
(Who else? Who’s “us”?)
“in our image”
“in our likeness”
This would imply that there are others that are of God’s image as well. Not just God Himself, or humankind, apparently, but other beings. Are these the angels? Separate Heavenly host members? A kind of “counsel”, if you will? Surely He did not mean “other gods”, correct?
Secondly, who actually wrote Genesis? Many Bible scholars attribute Genesis to being written by Moses, perhaps under divine revelation. But this has not been confirmed. Only speculated and theorized upon. So no one really knows for sure.

27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
I won’t quite get into this verse just yet, since I know the particular issue I want to raise stems from Genesis 6, but wanted to point out the dichotomy between the male/female human being. Angels themselves, at least biblically, are more often than not considered to be of a masculine form.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
This verse makes me sad because it sets up the world to be a blissful utopia in which humankind and animalkind can live side by side in peace and harmony, yet before even the first human child is to be born (Cain), that perfect world has been tainted. Even though at that time animals were still peaceful, the fact that from the very beginning, “we” lived in sin, makes my heart sad.
29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

This verse and the one above it implies that at this time there were no carnivorous beings. Yes, humans had dominion over the animals, but there is nothing to implicate that they were given to us for food. But verse 29 specifically mentions that all plants and fruits are given to us for food. And then in verse 30, all green plants are given to animals to eat. There is no mention that animals or humans are to eat one another.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” – I have to repeat that line because as most of us know, the drama that enfolds on the following pages shows us the dark turn that the world gets thrusted in due to certain specific decisions of God’s creations. Now, while I love God’s creations, and it is due to the actions of a small handful of characters that pivots us into a world of chaos, I must still admit that my understanding of His sovereign plan is out of my reach. Thankfully, I have the faith and trust in the Lord to see me through, and I am, as always, searching for the Truth.

That concludes the first chapter of Genesis, and I am interested to see what my reaction will be when I finally get to the chapter that initially made me give up on the Old Testament. (I didn’t even finish Genesis originally…)

But now that I have a more patient outlook and understanding of what I’m reading, I feel more encouraged and determined to gain further insights and knowledge into the Holy Bible.

And again, if you have further revelations/knowledge about this chapter, please feel free to share. I enjoy bouncing off theories and theology off of each other. Thank you for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!

Fact checking is extremely important. I want to reiterate not to take everything at face value; no matter what you read, where you read it from, or who you hear it from. And to be clear, do not rely on “fact checking” websites to give you accurate information either. These are just as likely, (if not even more likely…), to feed false information and false debunking accounts to manipulate the reader. Please take everything into consideration before adhering to a certain narrative – and always keep your mind open to other possibilities.

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Earnest Examination

Genesis 16: Hagar and Ishmael - Earnest Examination
Genesis 14: Abram Rescues Lot - Earnest Examination
Genesis 13: Abram Inherits Canaan - Earnest Examination
Genesis 12: The Call of Abram - Earnest Examination
Genesis 11: The Tower of Babel - Earnest Examination
Genesis 10: The Table of Nations - Earnest Examination
Genesis 8: Noah’s Deliverance - Earnest Examination
Genesis 7: The Flood Begins - Earnest Examination

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