Genesis 1:1
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New International Version
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

King James Bible
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Darby Bible Translation
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

World English Bible
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Young's Literal Translation
In the beginning of God's preparing the heavens and the earth --

Genesis 1:1 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth - בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ Bereshith bara Elohim eth hashshamayim veeth haarets; God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth.

Many attempts have been made to define the term God: as to the word itself, it is pure Anglo-Saxon, and among our ancestors signified, not only the Divine Being, now commonly designated by the word, but also good; as in their apprehensions it appeared that God and good were correlative terms; and when they thought or spoke of him, they were doubtless led from the word itself to consider him as The Good Being, a fountain of infinite benevolence and beneficence towards his creatures.

A general definition of this great First Cause, as far as human words dare attempt one, may be thus given: The eternal, independent, and self-existent Being: the Being whose purposes and actions spring from himself, without foreign motive or influence: he who is absolute in dominion; the most pure, the most simple, and most spiritual of all essences; infinitely benevolent, beneficent, true, and holy: the cause of all being, the upholder of all things; infinitely happy, because infinitely perfect; and eternally self-sufficient, needing nothing that he has made: illimitable in his immensity, inconceivable in his mode of existence, and indescribable in his essence; known fully only to himself, because an infinite mind can be fully apprehended only by itself. In a word, a Being who, from his infinite wisdom, cannot err or be deceived; and who, from his infinite goodness, can do nothing but what is eternally just, right, and kind. Reader, such is the God of the Bible; but how widely different from the God of most human creeds and apprehensions!

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. Nor are the Christians singular in receiving this doctrine, and in deriving it from the first words of Divine revelation. An eminent Jewish rabbi, Simeon ben Joachi, in his comment on the sixth section of Leviticus, has these remarkable words: "Come and see the mystery of the word Elohim; there are three degrees, and each degree by itself alone, and yet notwithstanding they are all one, and joined together in one, and are not divided from each other." See Ainsworth. He must be strangely prejudiced indeed who cannot see that the doctrine of a Trinity, and of a Trinity in unity, is expressed in the above words. The verb ברא bara, he created, being joined in the singular number with this plural noun, has been considered as pointing out, and not obscurely, the unity of the Divine Persons in this work of creation. In the ever-blessed Trinity, from the infinite and indivisible unity of the persons, there can be but one will, one purpose, and one infinite and uncontrollable energy.

"Let those who have any doubt whether אלהים Elohim, when meaning the true God, Jehovah, be plural or not, consult the following passages, where they will find it joined with adjectives, verbs, and pronouns plural.

"Gen 1:26 Genesis 3:22 Genesis 11:7 Genesis 20:13 Genesis 31:7, Genesis 31:53 Genesis 35:7. "Deu 4:7 Deuteronomy 5:23; Joshua 24:19 1 Samuel 4:8; 2 Samuel 7:23; "Psa 58:6; Isaiah 6:8; Jeremiah 10:10, Jeremiah 23:36. "See also Proverbs 9:10, Proverbs 30:3; Psalm 149:2; Ecclesiastes 5:7, Ecclesiastes 12:1; Job 5:1; Isaiah 6:3, Isaiah 54:5, Isaiah 62:5; Hosea 11:12, or Hosea 12:1; Malachi 1:6; Daniel 5:18, Daniel 5:20, and Daniel 7:18, Daniel 7:22." - Parkhurst.

As the word Elohim is the term by which the Divine Being is most generally expressed in the Old Testament, it may be necessary to consider it here more at large. It is a maxim that admits of no controversy, that every noun in the Hebrew language is derived from a verb, which is usually termed the radix or root, from which, not only the noun, but all the different flections of the verb, spring. This radix is the third person singular of the preterite or past tense. The ideal meaning of this root expresses some essential property of the thing which it designates, or of which it is an appellative. The root in Hebrew, and in its sister language, the Arabic, generally consists of three letters, and every word must be traced to its root in order to ascertain its genuine meaning, for there alone is this meaning to be found. In Hebrew and Arabic this is essentially necessary, and no man can safely criticise on any word in either of these languages who does not carefully attend to this point.

I mention the Arabic with the Hebrew for two reasons.

1. Because the two languages evidently spring from the same source, and have very nearly the same mode of construction.

2. Because the deficient roots in the Hebrew Bible are to be sought for in the Arabic language. The reason of this must be obvious, when it is considered that the whole of the Hebrew language is lost except what is in the Bible, and even a part of this book is written in Chaldee.

Now, as the English Bible does not contain the whole of the English language, so the Hebrew Bible does not contain the whole of the Hebrew. If a man meet with an English word which he cannot find in an ample concordance or dictionary to the Bible, he must of course seek for that word in a general English dictionary. In like manner, if a particular form of a Hebrew word occur that cannot be traced to a root in the Hebrew Bible, because the word does not occur in the third person singular of the past tense in the Bible, it is expedient, it is perfectly lawful, and often indispensably necessary, to seek the deficient root in the Arabic. For as the Arabic is still a living language, and perhaps the most copious in the universe, it may well be expected to furnish those terms which are deficient in the Hebrew Bible. And the reasonableness of this is founded on another maxim, viz., that either the Arabic was derived from the Hebrew, or the Hebrew from the Arabic. I shall not enter into this controversy; there are great names on both sides, and the decision of the question in either way will have the same effect on my argument. For if the Arabic were derived from the Hebrew, it must have been when the Hebrew was a living and complete language, because such is the Arabic now; and therefore all its essential roots we may reasonably expect to find there: but if, as Sir William Jones supposed, the Hebrew were derived from the Arabic, the same expectation is justified, the deficient roots in Hebrew may be sought for in the mother tongue. If, for example, we meet with a term in our ancient English language the meaning of which we find difficult to ascertain, common sense teaches us that we should seek for it in the Anglo-Saxon, from which our language springs; and, if necessary, go up to the Teutonic, from which the Anglo-Saxon was derived. No person disputes the legitimacy of this measure, and we find it in constant practice. I make these observations at the very threshold of my work, because the necessity of acting on this principle (seeking deficient Hebrew roots in the Arabic) may often occur, and I wish to speak once for all on the subject.

The first sentence in the Scripture shows the propriety of having recourse to this principle. We have seen that the word אלהים Elohim is plural; we have traced our term God to its source, and have seen its signification; and also a general definition of the thing or being included under this term, has been tremblingly attempted. We should now trace the original to its root, but this root does not appear in the Hebrew Bible. Were the Hebrew a complete language, a pious reason might be given for this omission, viz., "As God is without beginning and without cause, as his being is infinite and underived, the Hebrew language consults strict propriety in giving no root whence his name can be deduced." Mr. Parkhurst, to whose pious and learned labors in Hebrew literature most Biblical students are indebted, thinks he has found the root in אלה alah, he swore, bound himself by oath; and hence he calls the ever-blessed Trinity אלהים Elohim, as being bound by a conditional oath to redeem man, etc., etc. Most pious minds will revolt from such a definition, and will be glad with me to find both the noun and the root preserved in Arabic. Allah is the common name for God in the Arabic tongue, and often the emphatic is used. Now both these words are derived from the root alaha, he worshipped, adored, was struck with astonishment, fear, or terror; and hence, he adored with sacred horror and veneration, cum sacro horrore ac veneratione coluit, adoravit - Wilmet. Hence ilahon, fear, veneration, and also the object of religious fear, the Deity, the supreme God, the tremendous Being. This is not a new idea; God was considered in the same light among the ancient Hebrews; and hence Jacob swears by the fear of his father Isaac, Genesis 31:53. To complete the definition, Golius renders alaha, juvit, liberavit, et tutatus fuit, "he succoured, liberated, kept in safety, or defended." Thus from the ideal meaning of this most expressive root, we acquire the most correct notion of the Divine nature; for we learn that God is the sole object of adoration; that the perfections of his nature are such as must astonish all those who piously contemplate them, and fill with horror all who would dare to give his glory to another, or break his commandments; that consequently he should be worshipped with reverence and religious fear; and that every sincere worshipper may expect from him help in all his weaknesses, trials, difficulties, temptations, etc.,; freedom from the power, guilt, nature, and consequences of sin; and to be supported, defended, and saved to the uttermost, and to the end.

Here then is one proof, among multitudes which shall be adduced in the course of this work, of the importance, utility, and necessity of tracing up these sacred words to their sources; and a proof also, that subjects which are supposed to be out of the reach of the common people may, with a little difficulty, be brought on a level with the most ordinary capacity.

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.

continued...

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

beginning.

Proverbs 8:22-24 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old...

Proverbs 16:4 The LORD has made all things for himself: yes, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Mark 13:19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created to this time...

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...

Hebrews 1:10 And, You, Lord, in the beginning have laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of your hands:

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked on...

God.

Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day...

Exodus 31:18 And he gave to Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him on mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone...

1 Chronicles 16:26 For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.

Nehemiah 9:6 You, even you, are LORD alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth...

Job 26:13 By his spirit he has garnished the heavens; his hand has formed the crooked serpent.

Job 38:4 Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if you have understanding.

Psalm 8:3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;

Psalm 33:6,9 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth...

Psalm 89:11,12 The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours: as for the world and the fullness thereof, you have founded them...

Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.

Psalm 102:25 Of old have you laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of your hands.

Psalm 104:24,30 O LORD, how manifold are your works! in wisdom have you made them all: the earth is full of your riches...

Psalm 115:15 You are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:2 My help comes from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

Psalm 124:8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 134:3 The LORD that made heaven and earth bless you out of Zion.

Psalm 136:5 To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endures for ever.

Psalm 146:6 Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keeps truth for ever:

Psalm 148:4,5 Praise him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters that be above the heavens...

Proverbs 3:19 The LORD by wisdom has founded the earth; by understanding has he established the heavens.

Proverbs 8:22-30 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old...

Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw near, when you shall say...

Isaiah 37:16 O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwell between the cherubim, you are the God, even you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth...

Isaiah 40:26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who has created these things, that brings out their host by number...

Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? have you not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not...

Isaiah 42:5 Thus said God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth...

Isaiah 44:24 Thus said the LORD, your redeemer, and he that formed you from the womb, I am the LORD that makes all things...

Isaiah 45:18 For thus said the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he has established it...

Isaiah 51:13,16 And forget the LORD your maker, that has stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth...

Isaiah 65:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

Jeremiah 10:12 He has made the earth by his power, he has established the world by his wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens by his discretion.

Jeremiah 32:17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, you have made the heaven and the earth by your great power and stretched out arm...

Jeremiah 51:15 He has made the earth by his power, he has established the world by his wisdom, and has stretched out the heaven by his understanding.

Zechariah 12:1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, said the LORD, which stretches forth the heavens, and lays the foundation of the earth...

Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth...

Acts 4:24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, you are God, which have made heaven...

Acts 14:15 And saying, Sirs, why do you these things? We also are men of like passions with you...

Acts 17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands;

Romans 1:19,20 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has showed it to them...

Romans 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things...

Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God...

Colossians 1:16,17 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones...

Hebrews 1:2 Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Hebrews 3:4 For every house is built by some man; but he that built all things is God.

Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God...

2 Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old...

Revelation 3:14 And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things said the Amen, the faithful and true witness...

Revelation 4:11 You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things...

Revelation 10:6 And swore by him that lives for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth...

Revelation 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven...

Revelation 21:6 And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end...

Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

Library
God's World
(Preached before the Prince of Wales, at Sandringham, 1866.) GENESIS i. 1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. It may seem hardly worth while to preach upon this text. Every one thinks that he believes it. Of course--they say--we know that God made the world. Teach us something we do not know, not something which we do. Why preach to us about a text which we fully understand, and believe already? Because, my friends, there are few texts in the Bible more difficult to believe
Charles Kingsley—Discipline and Other Sermons

The Purpose in the Coming of Jesus.
God Spelling Himself out in Jesus: change in the original language--bother in spelling Jesus out--sticklers for the old forms--Jesus' new spelling of old words. Jesus is God following us up: God heart-broken--man's native air--bad choice affected man's will--the wrong lane--God following us up. The Early Eden Picture, Genesis 1:26-31. 2:7-25: unfallen man--like God--the breath of God in man--a spirit, infinite, eternal--love--holy--wise--sovereign over creation, Psalm 8:5-8--in his own will--summary--God's
S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks about Jesus

Gordon -- Man in the Image of God
George Angier Gordon, Congregational divine, was born in Scotland, 1853. He was educated at Harvard, and has been minister of Old South Church, Boston, Massachusetts, since 1884. His pulpit style is conspicuous for its directness and forcefulness, and he is considered in a high sense the successor of Philip Brooks. He was lecturer in the Lowell Institute Course, 1900; Lyman Beecher Lecturer, Yale, 1901; university preacher to Harvard, 1886-1890; to Yale, 1888-1901; Harvard overseer. He is the author
Various—The World's Great Sermons, Volume 10

An Essay on the Mosaic Account of the Creation and Fall of Man
THERE are not a few difficulties in the account, which Moses has given of the creation of the world, and of the formation, and temptation, and fall of our first parents. Some by the six days of the creation have understood as many years. Whilst others have thought the creation of the world instantaneous: and that the number of days mentioned by Moses is only intended to assist our conception, who are best able to think of things in order of succession. No one part of this account is fuller of difficulties,
Nathaniel Lardner—An Essay on the Mosaic Account of the Creation and Fall of Man

Cross References
John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:2
He was with God in the beginning.

Acts 17:24
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.

Hebrews 1:10
He also says, "In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

Hebrews 11:3
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Revelation 4:11
"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."

Nehemiah 9:6
You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.

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