New Defender's Study Bible Notes
1:1 God. This opening verse of the Bible is unique, the foundation of foundations, probably the first words, ever written down, either revealed to Adam, or even written directly by God Himself. One who really believes Genesis 1:1 will have no difficulty believing the rest of Scripture. God (Elohim) is eternal, existing before the universe, and is omnipotent, having created the universe. Therefore, nothing is impossible with God, and He alone gives meaning to everything. No attempt is made in this verse to prove God; it was recorded in the beginning when no one doubted God.
1:1 created. No other cosmogony, whether in ancient paganism or modern naturalism, even mentions the absolute origin of the universe. All begin with the space/time/matter universe, already existing in a primeval state of chaos, then attempt to speculate how it might have “evolved” into its present form. Modern evolutionism begins with elementary particles of matter evolving out of nothing in a “big bang” and then developing through natural forces into complex systems. Pagan pantheism also begins with elementary matter in various forms evolving into complex systems by the forces of nature personified as different gods and goddesses. But, very significantly, the concept of the special creation of the universe of space and time itself is found nowhere in all religion or philosophy, ancient or modern, except here in Genesis 1:1.
Appropriately, therefore, this verse records the creation of space (“the heaven”), of time (“in the beginning”), and of matter (“the earth”), the Tri-universe, the space/time/matter continuum which constitutes our physical cosmos. The Creator of this tri-universe is the triune God, Elohim, the uni-plural Old Testament name for the divine “Godhead,” a name which is plural in form (with its Hebrew “im” ending) but commonly singular in meaning.
The existence of a transcendent Creator and the necessity of a primeval special creation of the universe is confirmed by the most basic principles of nature discovered by scientists:
(1) The law of causality, that no effect can be greater than its cause, is basic in all scientific investigation and human experience. A universe comprising an array of intelligible and complex effects, including living systems and conscious personalities, is itself proof of an intelligent, complex, living, conscious Person as its Cause;
(2) The laws of thermodynamics are the most universal and best-proved generalizations of science, applicable to every process and system of any kind, the First Law stating that no matter/energy is now being created or destroyed, and the Second Law stating that all existing matter/energy is proceeding irreversibly toward ultimate equilibrium and cessation of all processes. Since this eventual death of the universe has not yet occurred and since it will occur in time, if these processes continue, the Second Law proves that time (and, therefore, the space/matter/time universe) had a beginning. The universe must have been created, but the First Law precludes the possibility of its self-creation. The only resolution of the dilemma posed by the First and Second Laws is that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The so-called big bang theory of the origin of the cosmos, postulating a primeval explosion of the space/mass/time continuum at the start, beginning with a state of nothingness and then rapidly expanding into the present complex universe, contradicts both these basic laws as well as Scripture.
1:2 the earth. In an attempt to accommodate the supposed evolutionary geological ages in Genesis, certain theologians postulated a long gap in time here between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, in which it was hoped these ages could be pigeon-holed and forgotten as far as Biblical exegesis was concerned. This gap theory, however, requires a worldwide cataclysm at the end of the geological ages, in order to account for the globally inundated and darkened earth described in Genesis 1:2. The cataclysm, in turn, is hypothetically connected with the fall of Lucifer in heaven (Isaiah 14:9-14) and his expulsion to the earth (Ezekiel 28:12-15), though such a cataclysm is nowhere mentioned in Scripture. However, in addition to its obvious contradictions with other important and clear Bible passages (e.g., Genesis 1:31; Exodus 20:11), the gap theory is self-defeating geologically. The geological age system (which is the necessary framework for modern evolutionism) is based entirely on the principle of uniformitarianism, a premise which precludes any such worldwide cataclysm, and requires the interpreting of earth history by the extrapolation of present geological processes into the remote past. The concept of geological ages is based entirely on a uniformitarian explanation of the fossil beds and sedimentary rocks of the earth’s crust, which would all have been destroyed by the postulated pre-Adamic cataclysm. Thus, any attempt to ignore or explain away the supposed great age of the earth by appeal to the gap theory makes an unnecessary and abortive compromise with evolutionism, and displays a lack of understanding of the geological structures and processes to which evolutionists appeal in postulating their long ages.
The real answer to the geological ages is not an imaginary pre-Adamic cataclysm, but the very real cataclysm of the Noahic Deluge (see comments on Genesis 6–9), which provides a much better explanation of the fossil beds and sedimentary rocks, eliminating all evidence of geological ages and confirming the Biblical doctrine of recent creation.
1:2 was without form, and void. The verb “was” in Genesis 1:2 is the regular Hebrew verb of being (hayetha) and does not denote a change of state unless the context so requires. It only rarely is translated “became,” as the gap theory postulates here. Neither does the phrase tohu waw bohu need to mean “ruined and desolated,” as the gap theory requires. The King James translation “without form and void” is the proper meaning.
1:2 was upon the face of the deep. The universe as first called into existence by Elohim was in elemental existence, still “unformed” and unenergized, not yet ready for habitation, “void” (see notes on Psalm 33:6-9; Proverbs 8:22-31; Isaiah 45:18; II Peter 3:5). It would not be perfect (i.e., finished) until the end of creation week, when God would pronounce it “very good” and “finished” (Genesis 1:31–2:3). The “earth” material was suspended in a matrix of water (the “deep”) completely static and therefore in “darkness.”
1:2 And the Spirit...moved. However, this condition prevailed only momentarily. Then, the “Spirit” (Hebrew ruach) of “God” (Elohim) proceeded to “move upon the face of the waters” (literally, “vibrate in the presence of the waters”). Waves of gravitational energy and waves of electro-magnetic energy began to pulse forth from the great “Breath” (another meaning of ruach) of God, the Prime Mover of the universe. The unformed “earth” material (Hebrew eretz), as well as the “waters” permeating it (Hebrew shamayim) quickly coalesced into spherical form under the new force of gravity, and the first material body (Planet Earth) had been formed at a point in space.
1:3 God said. As the “Spirit” of God “moved” (Genesis 1:2), so now the Word of God speaks in Genesis 1:3. The result is light, the energizing of the vast cosmos through the marvelous electro-magnetic force system which maintains all structures and processes in matter. These varied energies include not only visible light, but also all the short-wave radiations (ultra-violet, x-rays, etc.) and the long-wave radiations (infra-red, radio waves, etc.), as well as heat, sound, electricity, magnetism, molecular inter-actions, etc. “Light,” the most basic form of energy, is mentioned specifically, but its existence necessarily implies the activation of all forms of electro-magnetic energies. Light was not created, since God Himself dwells in light. On the other hand, He created darkness (Isaiah 45:7).
The existence of visible light prior to the establishment of the sun, moon and stars (Genesis 1:16) emphasizes the fact that light (energy) is more fundamental than light givers. God could just as easily (perhaps more easily) have created waves of light energy as He could construct material bodies in which processes function which generate light energy. The first is direct (since God is light!), the second indirect. For the creation of such light generators, see note on Genesis 1:14.
1:4 darkness. That these rays of light energy included the visible light spectrum is obvious by its separation from the newly created “darkness.” That most of this visible light emanated from one direction in space and, further, that the newly-sphericized earth began now to rotate on its axis, is shown by the establishment of a cyclical succession of “Day” and “Night,” which has continued ever since.
1:5 Day. The use of “day” (Hebrew yom) in Genesis 1:5 is its first occurrence in Scripture, and here it is specifically defined by God as “the light” in the cyclical succession of light and darkness which has, ever since, constituted a solar day. Since the same word is used in defining all later “yoms” as used for this “first” yom, it is incontrovertible that God intends us to know that the days of creation week were of the same duration as any natural solar day. The word yom in the Old Testament almost always is used in this natural way, and is never used to mean any other definite time period than a literal day. This becomes especially clear when it is combined with an ordinal (e.g., “first day”) or with definite bounds (e.g., “evening and morning”), neither of which usages in the Old Testament allow non-literal meanings. It is occasionally, though rarely, used symbolically or in the sense of indefinite time (e.g., “the day of the Lord”), but such usage (as in English or other languages) is always evident from the context itself. Thus the so-called day-age theory, by which the days of creation are assumed to correspond to the ages of geology, is precluded by this definitive use of the word in its first occurrence, God Himself defining it!
1:5 evening and morning. The use of “evening and morning” in that order is significant. As each day’s work was accomplished during the “light,” there was a cessation of God’s activity during the “darkness.” Consequently, there was nothing to report between evening and morning.” The beginning of the next day’s activity began with the next period of light, after the “morning,” or better, “dawning.” The literal sense of the formula after each day’s work is: “Then there was dusk, then dawn, ending the first day.”