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AMP: In the beginning God (Elohim) created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth.
EXB: In the beginning [or In the beginning when] God created [C this Hebrew verb is used only when God is the one creating] the ·sky [heavens] and the earth.
MSG: First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don’t see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God’s Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss.
NLV: In the beginning God made from nothing the heavens and the earth.
OJB: In the beginning Elohim created hashomayim (the heavens, Himel) and haaretz (the earth).
WYC: In the beginning God made of nought heaven and earth. (In the beginning God made out of nothing the heavens and the earth.)
Pastor John MacArthur writes: The English title, Genesis, comes from the Septuagint Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, meaning “origins”; whereas, the Hebrew title is derived from the Bible’s very first word, translated “in the beginning.” Genesis serves to introduce the Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Old Testament) and the entire Bible. The influence of Genesis in Scripture is demonstrated by its being quoted over 35 times in the New Testament and hundreds of allusions appearing in both Testaments. The story line of salvation which begins in Gen. 3 is not completed until Rev. 21, 22 where the eternal kingdom of redeemed believers is gloriously pictured. The initial setting for Genesis is eternity past. God then, by willful act and divine Word, spoke all creation into existence, furnished it, and finally breathed life into a lump of dirt which He fashioned in His image to become Adam. God made mankind the crowning point of His creation, i.e., His companions who would enjoy fellowship with Him and bring glory to His name. Genesis presents creation by divine fiat, ex nihilo, i.e., “out of nothing.” From Abraham on, the pattern is to focus on God’s redemption and blessing.
Pastor Adrian Rogers writes: “What do you think is the verse that is read more than any other verse in the entire Bible? Some will say it is John 3:16, and others will quote many other verses, but that’s not the most read verse in the Bible. The most read verse in the Bible is Genesis 1:1. So many people have thought that they would like to read the Bible and they always open it and read that familiar verse, Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” In fact, the golden key to the entire Bible is hanging right on the front door. When we try to truly comprehend how great the God of this one verse is, we are bringing a teacup mind to an ocean of truth! As we look around, we see He is a God of might and miracle and power. And in Genesis 1:1, we see He created it all.
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No light. No sky. No land. It’s incomprehensible to our finite thinking—the barren nothingness that existed before Genesis 1:1. Then suddenly, through the work of the Almighty, God supplanted nothingness with “the heavens and the earth.” The divine hand reached through the void and produced a place, a world, a universe. Through the magnificent convergence of the workings of the Godhead—with the Son enacting the will of the Father as the Agent of creation, and the Holy Spirit as the hovering Presence—nothing became something. History began its long march toward today. The first verse of Genesis provides us with sufficient concepts to contemplate for a lifetime. That introductory statement speaks of enough glory, enough majesty, enough awe to leave us speechless before God. Just as today we would have no life, no breath, no existence without His sustaining action, neither would we have the cosmos without His mighty act at the moment of creation. In awe we wonder what went on before “the beginning.” With breathless praise we marvel at the words “God created the heavens and the earth.” We read—and we stand in adoration. “Nothing” has never been so fascinating!”
Genesis 1 is the first mention of Elohim. Most authorities agree that “Elohim” is derived from “El” meaning “mighty (one), strong (strength).” The Hebrew ending “-im” added to “El” indicates plurality. The use of the plural “Elohim” with the third person singular masculine form of the verb created suggests plurality in the Godhead.
Pastor Adam Clarke writes: “The original word אלהים Elohim, God, is certainly the plural form of אל El, or אלה Eloah, and has long been supposed, by the most eminently learned and pious men, to imply a plurality of Persons in the Divine nature. As this plurality appears in so many parts of the sacred writings to be confined to three Persons, hence the doctrine of the Trinity, which has formed a part of the creed of all those who have been deemed sound in the faith, from the earliest ages of Christianity.
In the beginning – Before the creative acts mentioned in this chapter all was Eternity. Time signifies duration measured by the revolutions of the heavenly bodies: but prior to the creation of these bodies there could be no measurement of duration, and consequently no time; therefore in the beginning must necessarily mean the commencement of time which followed, or rather was produced by, God’s creative acts, as an effect follows or is produced by a cause.
Created – Caused existence where previously to this moment there was no being. The rabbis, who are legitimate judges in a case of verbal criticism on their own language, are unanimous in asserting that the word ברא bara expresses the commencement of the existence of a thing, or egression from nonentity to entity.
The heavens and the earth – As the word שמים shamayim is plural, we may rest assured that it means more than the atmosphere, to express which some have endeavored to restrict its meaning. As the design of the inspired penman was to relate what especially belonged to our world and its inhabitants, therefore he passes by the rest of the planetary system, leaving it simply included in the plural word heavens.
And God saw that it was good – This is the judgment which God pronounced on his own works. They were beautiful and perfect in their kind, for such is the import of the word טוב tob. They were in weight and measure perfect and entire, lacking nothing.”
Spend time contemplating the awesome majesty and splendor of our Creator and sustainer of the universe, Who has spared nothing to reveal His Father’s heart. Recommit yourself to Him and to living according to His ways. Ask for the empowering of his Spirit to delight in doing what God commands. In prayer, lift your voice in extravagant worship of our Lord Jesus Christ, singing praises to His name. Worship Him because He is the perfect, holy, almighty Creator and king of the universe and yet calls you into intimate relationship with Him. Jesus has opened the way for us to experience communion and harmony with our Creator. This is what we were made for! The majesty and brilliance of our God fills the earth. The glory of God is higher than the heavens. Even children and infants give him praise. He set the sky, the moon and the stars, and all the galaxies in place. He is truly an awesome God! From the time we were conceived and born into this world to the very end of our lives, our Creator, who knitted us together in our mother’s womb, the same eternal, unchanging One who created the heavens and the earth, is the One who has been caring for us all along, through the hands of parents and others who have loved, nurtured, and taught us. And it is He who will sustain us—throughout our childhood and youth, in our active years of working or parenting, and into the elder years when our hair is white with age and we can no longer care for ourselves but are dependent on the care of others. Our Creator, our Heavenly Father is our God of everlasting care.
Lord Jesus, help me to realize that You are everlastingly my Father, intimately acquainted with me and with every moment of my entire lifetime. Help me to rely on You through every season of my life and to rest in the knowledge that even when I am old, You will still be caring for me. Grant me the grace to enter into true praise and to experience Your delight in me. I want to be lost in wonder, love, and praise. I want to sing songs that lift Your name high. Give me fresh revelation today, Lord, of who you are. Inspire me so that I will sing of your greatness and glory forever! You are the king over all the earth. I love you, Lord. We praise You for who You are. Your glory is higher than the heavens. Your majesty fills the earth. We worship and adore You. Help us to walk as Your children, giving honor and glory to you and never losing sight of Your power or Your love. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Look Up—meditate on Genesis 1:1… pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.
Look In—as you meditate on Genesis 1:1… pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: “Because God is_________, I will_____________.”
Look Out—as you meditate on Genesis 1:1…pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.
* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ