New European Version: Old Testament

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The Intention And Context Of Genesis 1-3

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CHAPTER 1 Jan. 1 
The Record of Creation 
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty; darkness was on the surface of the deep and God’s Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3God said, Let there be light, and there was light. 4God saw the light, and saw that it was good. God divided the light from the darkness. 5God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. There was evening and there was morning, one day. 6God said, Let there be an expanse in the middle of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7God made the expanse, and divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. 8God called the expanse sky. There was evening and there was morning, a second day. 9God said, Let the waters under the sky be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so. 10God called the dry land earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called seas. God saw that it was good. 11God said, Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with its seed in it, on the earth; and it was so. 12The earth sprouted vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with its seed in it, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. 13There was evening and there was morning, a third day.14God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of sky to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; 15and let them be for lights in the expanse of sky to give light on the earth; and it was so. 16God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He also made the stars. 17God set them in the expanse of sky to give light to the earth, 18and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. God saw that it was good. 19There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. 20God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of sky. 21God created the large sea creatures, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind. God saw that it was good. 22God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth. 23There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.  24God said, Let the earth produce living creatures after their kind, livestock, creeping things, and animals of the earth after their kind; and it was so. 25God made the animals of the earth after their kind, and the livestock after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind. God saw that it was good.
The Creation of Man
26God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 27God created man in His own image. In God’s image He created him; male and female He created them. 28God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, replenish the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth. 29God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree, which bears fruit yielding seed. It will be your food. 30To every animal of the earth, and to every bird of the sky, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food; and it was so. 31God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. There was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.


1:2 Moses wrote Genesis, presumably during the 40 years wandering. He therefore wrote it in a context- of explaining things to Israel as they stumbled through that wilderness, wondering who they were, where they came from, where they were headed. This explains why there are so many links within the Pentateuch- e.g. the Spirit “flutters” over the waters in Gen. 1:2, just as God like an eagle [a symbol of the Spirit] “flutters” over Israel in bringing about their creation as a nation (Dt. 32:1). The point is, what God did at creation, He can do at any time in re-forming our lives into a new creation. Those baptized into Christ are “a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). This process of making us new means that the creation of life, the huge expenditure of energy out of God which happened at the natural creation, is ongoing in our lives today.
The earth being “without form and void” (Gen. 1:2) uses a phrase elsewhere used to describe the judgment that has come on an order of things (Jer. 4:23; Is. 24:10; 34:11). It may be, therefore, that there was a previous creation on earth which was destroyed in judgment. Hence the command to “replenish the earth” (1:28).
1:12 God created matter. All that exists was made by Him; and by faith we believe that things which now exist were not made from what already existed apart from God. The Genesis record of creation, however, emphasises how God brought order out of chaos. He brought this present world of beauty and order out of a darkness that brooded upon a sea, and from an earth that was “without form and void”, the Hebrew images behind the words implying ‘a chaos’. The frequent references to the earth and sea ‘bringing forth’ (e.g. Gen. 1:12,24) use a Hebrew word which means ‘to let something which is within to come out’. The present world was created by a re-organization of things which existed in some form before. This means that when our own lives, or the collective life of God’s people, appears to be in chaos- then we can in faith reflect that God has brought beautiful order out of chaos, and He can likewise powerfully bring order to what seems hopeless. 
1:26 Let us - The Hebrew construction here is a “communicative plural”, implying God conferring with His council. To assume that God is speaking to Jesus here is a desperate assumption. The Bible doesn't teach that Jesus literally existed before His birth. The Hebrew word elohim translated “God” here literally means 'mighty ones', and here refers to the Angels. The Angels were the agents of creation (Job 38:7). The word elohim is translated “Angels” by many translations in Ps. 8:5. The Hebrew construction used here has been described as “a plural of deliberation”, whereby an individual may use a plural to describe his or her decision. Take David’s words in 2 Sam. 24:14: “Let us fall into the hand of the Lord…but let not me fall into the hand of man”. Ezra 4:18 has a King saying: “The letter ye sent unto us hath been plainly read before me”. In Is. 6:8 we read the same of God Himself: “Whom shall I [singular] send, and who will go for us?”. And this would enable us to better understand God’s decision making in Gen. 11:7: “Go to, let us go down, and there confound their speech. So “Let us make man…” may refer to God’s personal self-deliberation in making human beings; to a Semitic reader of the original, it would emphasize the vast passion which God Almighty put into this decision. And it therefore follows, that He passionately wishes to have a very definite purpose with us, that Heso loves us, and wishes only our eternal good. 
In our image, after our likeness-  We aren't in God's mental likeness, because His thoughts are so far above our thoughts (Is. 55:9). But the “our” refers to the Angels, and whenever they appear on earth, they have appeared in human form. God is a real, actual person, existing in Heaven but everywhere present by His Spirit. Thus man is made in the image and likeness of God, as manifested through the angels. James 3:9 speaks of “, which are made in the similitude of God”. Our creation in the image of God means that we can infer something about the real object of which we are but an image. Thus God, whom we reflect, is not something nebulous of which we cannot conceive. Ezekiel saw God enthroned above the cherubim, with the silhouette of “the likeness of a man” (Ez. 1:26; 10:20); it is God Himself who is located above the cherubim (2 Kings 19:15). All this has a practical import; because we are in the image of God, because it is imprinted on every part of our bodies, we must give that body to God, just as men were to give the penny which had Caesar’s image on it to Caesar (Lk. 20:25). The Hebrew word tselem, ‘image’  is in modern Hebrew ‘photograph’.  God is personal and He has a concrete, actual form and being.