Genesis 1:1-2 – The Doctrine of God in Creation

In this episode we discuss the first two verses of Genesis 1. The episode focuses on the centrality of God in creation. We begin by discussing some interpretive assumptions involved in reading this passage. We also consider: the distinctiveness of the God of the Bible over against the pagan myths, God’s sovereignty and freedom in creation, creation ex nihilo, the creation of the invisible heavens and the visible earth, the initial formlessness of creation, and the work of God’s Spirit, and many other things.


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Proclaiming Christ is an audio program focused upon biblical preaching. In each episode we will discuss the process, method, and goals of preaching biblical texts from a uniquely Reformed perspective. Browse more episodes from this program and learn how to subscribe.

3 Responses

  1. Mark G

    Great discussion. I especially like the focus on the theology of Genesis. Too often discussions of Genesis 1 get hijacked by contemporary debates at the expense of the profound theology found there. I was also intrigued by this upper story / lower story idea since I think it connects with other events in the Bible. Moses ascending Sinai meets with God and among other things receives a plan for the tabernacle (containing garden imagery) that is a mini model of the creation where God dwells among his people. Then Jesus enters human history becoming the ultimate temple which reappears in Revelation in the New Heavens and New Earth containing the tree of life and rivers of living water. Interesting stuff to think on.

  2. Cris Dickason

    Question and comment (way after the fact, I know). I listened to the first couple of these Genesis casts while working in the yard, may not have remembered the exact place for this question… Someone pointed to a special lexical relationship or connection in the opening Hebrew words (b_r_Ashyt b_r_A – Alef represented by uppercase A, underscore for the main vowels; phonetically: beraysheet bara).

    So, after pointing out the verb (bara) is used only with reference to God’s activity, the point was made that you can see/hear a special relationship in the the phrase beraysheet bara. Obviously referring to the three common consonants – Bet-Rosh-Alef. Did I catch correctly this is attributed to, or supported by E.J. Young? Can you provide the reference and flesh this out?

    There is no tri-consonantal root connection in these two words. The tr-consonantal root of the prepositional phrase “in the beginning” is Rosh-Alef-Shin (rosh), the bet is the preposition, so there’s no genetic or historic connection, no deriving either word from some common root. Rosh = head and is related to words “former, first, chief” (rAiyshon), etc.

    This is all pretty basic stuff. Can we check the E.J. Young reference and see if the point is one of poetic composition, of some phonetic artistry, crafting the opening words of Genesis is such a majestically memorable fashion: In the beginning God created (to use English word order)?

    Please don’t take this as a lecture, don’t think I’m playing some Hebrew expert thing. It’s not that I’m old enough to have learned Hebrew in the days of the judges (just barely younger than that). I did linguistics prior to Seminary, and I used to play Hebrew Scrabble in the backroom of the WTS Campus Bookstore, and I’ve kept at it a little since those days even though I wound up as a software professional.

    Would love to know the E.J. Young reference. Enjoying the series very much.

    Please forgive the butchered transliterations (font restrictions, eh?)
    Ruling Elder, TOPC, Hatboro, PA

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