Genesis 1:3

Hebrew Bible

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was without shape and empty, and darkness was over the surface of the watery deep, but the Spirit of God was hovering11 over the surface of the water. 3 God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light! 4 God saw that the light was good, so God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.” There was evening, and there was morning, marking the first day.

Psalm 33:9

Hebrew Bible

7 He piles up the water of the sea; he puts the oceans in storehouses. 8 Let the whole earth fear the Lord. Let all who live in the world stand in awe of him. 9 For he spoke, and it came into existence. He issued the decree, and it stood firm. 10 The Lord frustrates the decisions of the nations; he nullifies the plans of the peoples. 11 The Lord’s decisions stand forever; his plans abide throughout the ages.

 Notes and References

"... The first word of the Torah is “In the beginning” – in Hebrew just one word, beresit. It is a beginning in an absolute sense. As the psalmist says: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2). Before the “beginning” there was nothing but God. The second word in Genesis is also of particular relevance: “To create” is one of the very few verbs in the Hebrew Bible that is only used with God as subject. Nothing happens at this beginning except God’s creative actions. But the next verse seems to contradict the absoluteness of this beginning: The earth did already exist. Yet it was still “formless and void,” a chaos dominated by waters and darkness. This shows that the author of the creation story in Genesis was not the first one to think and to speak about the beginning of the world. There existed many traditions in other countries and cultures of the ancient world about the origins of the world, some of whom were obviously known in Israel. In particular the Babylonian tradition tells us about an original chaos that had to be beaten by a creator god in order to establish the habitable world. The Hebrew word for the chaotic waters, tehom, echoes the name of Tiamat, the chaotic monster in the Babylonian mythology. Yet the relationship between these two traditions shows at the same time their fundamental difference. The Babylonian creator god, Marduk, had to go through a hard and dangerous fight against the chaotic monster. But the god of Genesis does not fight. He just speaks. It is one of the basic wordings in the biblical creation story: God spoke and it happened. To quote again a psalmist: “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Psalm 33:9). Yet the Hebrew Bible contains also certain echoes of the mythological tradition of a primeval fight of the creator god against chaotic powers ..."

Rendtorff, Rolf "Creation and Redemption in the Torah" in Perdue, Leo G. (ed.) The Blackwell Companion to the Hebrew Bible (pp. 311-320) Wiley-Blackwell, 2001

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