Genesis 1:1-2

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BibleOld TestamentGenesis

1 In the beginning when God created[a] the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God[b] swept over the face of the waters.
[a] Or when God began to create or In the beginning God created
[b] Or while the spirit of God or while a mighty wind
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

JPS Tanakh

1 When God began to create the heaven and the earth—2 the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water— (JPS Tanakh)
1 Light divided from Darkness →

Translation of Genesis 1:1


Ways to interpret Genesis

Genesis can be read as:

  • historical narrative — it tells the story
  • polemic — it compares the Creator to false gods (NB In these verses there is no contest with other gods, as there are in many creation myths. Only the darkness, wind and watery chaos need to be subdued.)
  • theology — it reveals the One God

The First of the Bible's Creation Records

Genesis 1:1-2:3 is the beginning of the Bible and the first of the Bible's creation records. It sets the tone of Biblical appropriations of ancient polytheistic imagery in the service of the One God, Creator of all, by its relatively demeaning references to the sky, sea, sun, moon and especially the tanninim, the great sea monsters — all of which were worshipped by the contemporaries of Abraham and his descendants.

Continue a tour of the Bible's Creation Texts here →