Genesis 1
Scofield Reference Notes
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

(Old Scofield 1917 Edition)

A Panoramic View of the Bible (See also THE PENTATEUCH, Book Introduction, and Notes associated with Genesis 1:1)

The Bible, incomparably the most widely circulated of books, at once provokes and baffles study. Even the non-believer in its authority rightly feels that it is unintelligent to remain in almost total ignorance of the most famous and ancient of books. And yet most, even of sincere believers, soon retire from any serious effort to master the content of the sacred writings. The reason is not far to seek. It is found in the fact that no particular portion of Scripture is to be intelligently comprehended apart from some conception of its place in the whole. For the Bible story and message is like a picture wrought out in mosaics: each book, chapter, verse, and even word forms a necessary part, and has its own appointed place. It is, therefore, indispensable to any interesting and fruitful study of the Bible that a general knowledge of it be gained.

First. The Bible is one book. Seven great marks attest this unity.

(1) From Genesis the Bible bears witness to one God. Wherever he speaks or acts he is consistent with himself, and with the total revelation concerning him.

(2) The Bible forms one continuous story - the story of humanity in relation to God.

(3) The Bible hazards the most unlikely predictions concerning the future, and, when the centuries have brought round the appointed time, records their fulfilment.

(4) The Bible is a progressive unfolding of truth. Nothing is told all at once, and once for all. The law is, "first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn." Without the possibility of collusion, often with centuries between, one writer of Scripture takes up an earlier revelation, adds to it, lays down the pen, and in due time another man moved by the Holy Spirit, and another, and another, add new details till the whole is complete.

(5) From beginning to end the Bible testifies to one redemption.

(6) From beginning to end the Bible has one great theme -the person and work of the Christ.

(7) And, finally, these writers, some forty-four in number, writing through twenty centuries, have produced a perfect harmony of doctrine in progressive unfolding. This is, to every candid mind, the unanswerable proof of the divine inspiration of the Bible.

Second. The Bible is a book of books. Sixty-six books make up the one Book. Considered with reference to the unity of the one book the separate books may be regarded as chapters. But that is but one side of the truth, for each of the sixty-six books is complete in itself, and has its own theme and analysis. In the present edition of the Bible these are fully shown in the introductions and divisions. It is therefore of the utmost moment that the books be studied in the light of their distinctive themes. Genesis, for instance, is the book of beginnings--the seed-plot of the whole Bible. Matthew is the book of the King, & etc.

Third. The books of the Bible fall into groups. Speaking broadly there are five great divisions in the Scriptures, and these may be con- veniently fixed in the memory by five key-words, Christ being the one theme (Lk 24:25-27).


The OT


The Gospels


And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Earth made waste and empty by judgment (Jer 4:23-26)

[3] without form and void

Jer 4:23-27 Isa 24:1 45:18 clearly indicate that the earth had undergone a cataclysmic change as the result of divine judgment. The face of the earth bears everywhere the marks of such a catastrophe. There are not wanting indications which connect it with a previous testing and fall of angels.

See Ezek 28:12-15 Isa 14:9-14 which certainly go beyond the kings of Tyre and Babylon.

Margin the Spirit

Holy Spirit, Gen 6:3. (Gen 1:2; Mal 2:15)

Margin Spirit

Job 26:13. Ps 104:30.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
The new beginning - the first day: light diffused

[4] Let there be light

Neither here nor in verses 14-18 is an original creative act implied. A different word is used. The sense is, made to appear; made visible. The sun and moon were created "in the beginning." The "light" of course came from the sun, but the vapour diffused the light. Later the sun appeared in an unclouded sky.

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
[1] day

The word "day" is used in Scripture in three ways:

(1) that part of the solar day of twenty-four hours which is light Gen 1:5,14 Jn 9:4 11:9.

(2) such a day, set apart for some distinctive purpose, as, "day of atonement" (Lev 23.27); "day of judgment" Mt 10:15.

(3) a period of time, long or short, during which certain revealed purposes of God are to be accomplished, as "day of the Lord."

[2] evening

The use of "evening" and "morning" may be held to limit "day" to the solar day; but the frequent parabolic use of natural phenomena may warrant the conclusion that each creative "day" was a period of time marked off by a beginning and ending.

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
The second day: vapor above, water below

Margin firmament

Lit. expanse (i.e. of waters beneath, of vapour above).

And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
Margin firmament

i.e. the expanse above, the "heaven" of the clouds. Gen 7:11 8:2.

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
The third day: land and sea; plant life appears.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
[3] bring forth grass

It is by no means necessary to suppose that the life-germ of seeds perished in the catastrophic judgment which overthrew the primitive order. With the restoration of dry land and light the earth would "bring forth" as described. It was "animal" life which perished, the traces of which remain as fossils. Relegate fossils to the primitive creation, and no conflict of science with the Genesis cosmogony remains.

And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
And the evening and the morning were the third day.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
The fourth day: the sun, moon and stars become visible

Margin Let there be lights

Ps 136:5-9

And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
[4] greater light

The "greater light" is a type of Christ, the "Sun of righteousness" Mal 4:2. He will take this character at His second advent. Morally the world is now in the state between Gen 1:3-16 Eph 6:12 Acts 26:18 1Pet 2:9. The sun is not seen, but there is light. Christ is that light Jn 1:4,5,9 but "shineth in darkness," comprehended only by faith. As "Son of righteousness" He will dispel all darkness. Dispensationally the Church is in place as the "lesser light," the moon, reflecting the light of the unseen sun. The stars Gen 1:16 are individual believers who are "lights" Phil 2:15,16 Jn 1:5.

A type is a divinely purposed illustration of some truth. It may be:

(1) a person Rom 5:14

(2) an event 1Cor 10:11

(3) a thing Heb 10:20

(4) an institution Heb 9:11

(5) a ceremonial 1Cor 5:7

Types occur most frequently in the Pentateuch, but are found, more sparingly, elsewhere. The antitype, or fulfilment of the type, is found, usually, in the New Testament.

Margin made

The word does not imply a creative act; vs. Gen 1:14-18 are declarative of function merely.

And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
Margin heaven

i.e. the "heaven" of the stars; e.g. Gen 15:5 Lk 23:43.

And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
The fifth day: the second creative act - animal life. (See Gen 2:19)]
And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
[1] every living creature

The second clause, "every living creature," as distinguished from fishes merely, is taken up again in verse 24, showing that in the second creative act all animal life is included.

And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
The sixth day: (1) the fecundity of the earth after the creative work of the fifth day.

[2] living creature

"Creature," Heb. nephesh, trans. soul in Gen 2.7 and usually. In itself nephesh, or soul, implies self-conscious life, as distinguished from plants, which have unconscious life. In the sense of self-conscious life animals also have "soul." See verses Gen 1:26,27 2:7,21-23. See Scofield Note: "Gen 1:26".

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
And God 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
The sixth day: (2) the creation of man (described Gen 2:7, 21-23)

[3] make man in our image

Man. Gen 1:26,27, gives the general, Gen 2:7,21-23 the particular account of the creation of man. The revealed facts are:

(1) Man was created not evolved. This is

(a) expressly declared, and the declaration is confirmed by Christ Mt 19:14 Mk 10:6,

(b) "an enormous gulf, a divergence practically infinite" (Huxley) between the lowest man and the highest beast, confirms it;

(c) the highest beast has no trace of God-consciousness--the religious nature;

(d) science and discovery have done nothing to bridge that "gulf."

(2) That man was made in the "image and likeness" of God. This image is found chiefly in man's tri-unity, and in his moral nature. Man is "spirit and soul and body" 1Th 5:23.

"Spirit" is that part of man which "knows" 1Cor 2:11 and which allies him to the spiritual creation and gives him God-consciousness. "Soul" in itself implies self-consciousness life, as distinguished from plants, which have unconscious life. In that sense animals also have "soul" Gen 1:24. But the "soul" of man has a vaster content than "soul" as applied to beast life. It is the seat of emotions, desires, affections Ps 42:1-6. The "heart" is, in Scripture usage, nearly synonymous with "soul." Because the natural man is, characteristically, the soulual or physical man, "soul" is often used as synonymous with the individual, e.g. Gen 12:5. The body, separable from spirit and soul, and susceptible to death, is nevertheless an integral part of man, as the resurrection shows Jn 5:28,29 1Cor 15:47-50 Rev 20:11-13. It is the seat of the senses (the means by which the spirit and soul have world-consciousness) and of the fallen Adamic nature. Rom 7:23,24.

Margin us

Gen 11:7

Margin dominion

Kingdom (O.T.). vs.Gen 1:26-28; Gen 9:6. (Gen 1:26; Zech 12:8)

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
The First Dispensation: Innocency (Gen 1:28 - 3:13). The First, or Edenic Covenant: conditioned the life of the unfallen man. Add Gen 2:8-17.)


A dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God. Seven such dispensations are distinguished in Scripture. See Scofield Note: "Gen 1:28", note [5].

[5] And God blessed them

The First Dispensation: Innocency. Man was created in innocency, placed in a perfect environment, subjected to an absolutely simple test, and warned of the consequence of disobedience. The woman fell through pride; the man deliberately. 1Tim 2:14 God restored His sinning creatures, but the dispensation of innocency ended in the judgment of the Expulsion Gen 3:24 See, for the other dispensations;

Conscience See Scofield Note: "Gen 3:23"

Human Government See Scofield Note: "Gen 8:21"

Promise See Scofield Note: "Gen 12:1"

Law See Scofield Note: "Ex 19:8"

Grace See Scofield Note: "Jn 1:17"

Kingdom See Scofield Note: "Eph 1:10"

[6] Be fruitful

The Edenic Covenant, the first of the eight great covenants of Scripture which condition life and salvation, and about which all Scripture crystallizes, has seven elements. The man and woman in Eden were responsible:

(1) To replenish the earth with a new order--man;

(2) to subdue the earth to human uses;

(3) to have dominion over the animal creation;

(4) to eat herbs and fruits;

(5) to till and keep the garden;

(6) to abstain from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil;

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Scofield Reference Notes by Cyrus Ingerson Scofield [1917]

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