|<< Genesis 1 >>|
Verse 1. - In the beginning, Bereshith, is neither "from eternity," as in John 1:1; nor "in wisdom" (Chaldee paraphrase), as if parallel with Proverbs 3:19 and Psalm 104:24; nor "by Christ," who, in Colossians 1:18, is denominated ἀρχὴ; but "at the commencement of time." Without indicating when the beginning was, the expression intimates that the beginning was. Exodus 20:11 seems to imply that this was the initiation of the first day's work. The formula, "And God said," with which each day opens, rather points to ver. 3 as its proper terminus a quo, which the beginning absolute may have antedated by an indefinite period. God Elohim (either the highest Being to be feared, from alah, to fear, - Hengstenberg, Delitzsch, Keil, Oehler, &c., or, more probably, the strong and mighty One, from aul, to be strong - Gesenius, Lange, Tayler Lewis, Macdonald, Murphy, &c.) is the most frequent designation of the Supreme Being in the Old Testament, occurring upwards of 2000 times, and is exclusively employed in the present section. Its plural form is to be explained neither as a remnant of polytheism (Gesenius), nor as indicating a plurality of beings through whom the Deity reveals himself (Baumgarten, Lange), nor as a plural of majesty (Aben Ezra, Kalisch, Alford), like the royal "we" of earthly potentates, a usage which the best Hebraists affirm to have no existence in the Scriptures (Macdonald), nor as a cumulative plural, answering the same purpose as a repetition of the Divine name (Hengstenberg, Dreschler, and others); but either
(1) as a pluralis intensitatis, expressive of the fullness of the Divine nature, and the multiplicity of the Divine powers (Delitzsch, Murphy, Macdonald); or,
(2) notwithstanding Calvin s dread of Sabellianism, as a pluralis trinitatis, intended to foreshadow the threefold personality of the Godhead (Luther, Cocceius, Peter Lombard, Murphy, Candlish, &c.); or
(3) both. The suggestion of Tayler Lewis, that the term may be a contraction for El-Elohim, the God of all superhuman powers, is inconsistent with neither of the above interpretations That the Divine name should adjust itself without difficulty to all subsequent discoveries of the fullness of the Divine personality and nature is only what we should expect in a God-given revelation. Unless where it refers to the angels (Psalm 8:5), or to heathen deities (Genesis 31:32; Exodus 20:3; Jeremiah 16:20), or to earthly rulers (Exodus 22:8, 9), Elohim is conjoined with verbs and adjectives in the singular, an anomaly in language which has been explained as suggesting the unity of the Godhead. Created. Bara, one of three terms employed in this section, and in Scripture generally, to describe the Divine activity; the other two being yatzar, "formed," and asah, "made" - both signifying to construct out of pre-existing materials (cf. for yatzar, Genesis 2:7; Genesis 8:19; Psalm 33:15; Isaiah 44:9; for asah, Genesis 8:6; Exodus 5:16; Deuteronomy 4:16), and predicable equally of God and man. Barn is used exclusively of God. Though not necessarily involved in its significance, the idea of creation ex nihilo is acknowledged by the best expositors to be here intended. Its employment in vers. 21, 26, though seem ugly against, is really in favor of a distinctively creative act; in both of these instances something that did not previously exist, i.e. animal life and the human spirit, having been called into being. In the sense of producing what is new it frequently occurs in Scripture (cf. Psalm 51:12; Jeremiah 31:12; Isaiah 65:18). Thus, according to the teaching of this venerable document, the visible universe neither existed from eternity, nor was fashioned out of pre-existing materials, nor proceeded forth as an emanation from the Absolute, but was summoned into being by an express creative fiat. The New Testament boldly claims this as a doctrine peculiar to revelation (Hebrews 11:3). Modern science explicitly disavows it as a discovery of reason. The continuity of force admits of neither creation nor annihilation, but demands an unseen universe, out of which the visible has been produced "by an intelligent agency residing in the unseen," and into which it must eventually return ('The Unseen Universe,' pp. 167, 170). Whether the language of the writer to the Hebrews homologates the dogma of an "unseen universe" (μὴ φαινομένον), out of which τὸ βλεπόμενον γεγονέναι, the last result of science, as expressed by the authors of the above-named work, is practically an admission of the Biblical doctrine of creation. The heavens and the earth (i.e. mundus universus - Gesenius, Kalisch, &c. Cf. Genesis 2:1; Genesis 14:19, 22; Psalm 115:15; Jeremiah 23:24. The earth and the heavens always mean the terrestrial globe with its aerial firmament. Cf. Genesis 2:4; Psalm 148:13; Zechariah 5:9). The earth here alluded to is manifestly not the dry land (ver. 10), which was not separated from the waters till the third day, but the entire mass of which our planet is composed, including the superincumbent atmosphere, which was not uplifted from the chaotic deep until the second day. The heavens are the rest of the universe. The Hebrews were aware of other heavens than the "firmament" or gaseous expanse which over-arches the earth. "Tres regiones," says Poole, "ubi ayes, ubi nubes, ubi sidera." But, beyond these, the Shemitie mind conceived of the heaven where the angels dwell (1 Kings 22:19; Matthew 18:10), and where God specially resides (Deuteronomy 26:15; 1 Kings 8:30; Psalm 2:4), if, indeed, this latter was not distinguished as a more exalted region than that occupied by any creature - as "the heaven of heavens," the pre-eminently sacred abode of the Supreme (Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 105:16). The fundamental idea associated with the term was that of height (shamayim, literally, "the heights" - Gesenius, Furst). To the Greek mind heaven meant "the boundary" (οὑρανος, from ὁρος - Arist.), or, "the raised up" (from ὀρ - to be prominent - Liddell and Scott). The Latin spoke of "the con cavity" (coelum, allied to κοῖλος, hollow), or "the engraved" (from coelo, to engrave). The Saxon thought of "the heaved-up arch." The Hebrew imagined great spaces rising tier upon tier above the earth (which, m contradistinction, was named "the flats"), just as with regard to time he spoke of olamim (Gr. αἰῶνες). Though not anticipating modern astronomical discovery, he had yet enlarged conceptions of the dimensions of the stellar world (Genesis 15:5; Isaiah 40:26; Jeremiah 31:37; Amos 9:6); and, though unacquainted with our present geographical ideas of the earth's configuration, he was able to represent it as a globe, and as suspended upon nothing (Isaiah 40:11; Job 26:7-10; Proverbs 8:27). The connection of the present verse with those which follow has been much debated. The proposal of Aben Ezra, adopted by Calvin, to read, "In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was" is grammatically inadmissible. Equally objectionable on the ground of grammar is the suggestion of Bunsen and Ewald, to connect the first verse with the third, and make the second parenthetical; while it is opposed to that simplicity of construction which pervades the chapter. The device of Drs. Buckland and Chalmers, so favorably regarded by some harmonists of Scripture and geology, to read the first verse as a heading to the whole section, is exploded by the fact that no historical narration can begin with "and." To this Exodus 1. It is no exception, the second book of Moses being in reality a continuation of the first. Honest exegesis requires that ver. I shall be viewed as descriptive of the first of the series of Divine acts detailed in the chapter, and that ver. 2, while admitting of an interval, shall be held as coming in immediate succession - an interpretation, it may be said, which is fatal to the theory which discovers the geologic ages between the creative beginning and primeval chaos.
Verse 2. - And the earth. Clearly the earth referred to in the preceding verse, the present terrestrial globe with its atmospheric firmament, and not simply "the land" as opposed to "the skies" (Murphy); certainly not "the heavens" of ver. 1 as well as the earth (Delitzsch); and least of all "a section of the dry land in Central Asia" (Buckland, Pye Smith). It is a sound principle of exegesis that a word shall retain the meaning it at first possesses till either intimation is made by the writer of a change in its significance, or such change is imperatively demanded by the necessities of the context, neither of which is the case here. Was. Not "had become." Without form and void. Literally, wasteness and emptiness, tohu vabohu. The words are employed in Isaiah 34:11 and Jeremiah 4:23 to depict the desolation and desertion of a ruined and depopulated land, and by many have been pressed into service to support the idea of a preceding cosmos, of which the chaotic condition of our planet was the wreck (Murphy, Wordsworth, Bush, &c). Delitzsch argues, on the ground that tohu vabohu implies the ruin of a previous cosmos, that ver. 2 does not state specifically that God created the earth in this desolate and waste condition; and that death, which is inconceivable out of connection with sin, was in the world prior to the fall; that ver. 2 presupposes the fall of the angels, and adduces in support of his view Job 38:4-7 ('Bib. Psychology,' sect. 1, p. 76; Clark's 'For. Theol. Lib.') - a notion which Kalisch contemptuously classes among "the aberrations of profound minds," and "the endless reveries" of "far-sighted thinkers." Bush is confident that Isaiah 45:18, in which Jehovah declares that he created not the earth roan, is conclusive against a primeval chaos. The parallel clause, however, shows that not the original state, but the ultimate design of the globe, was contemplated in Jehovah's language: "He created it not tohu, he formed it to be inhabited;" i.e. the Creator did not intend the earth to be a desolate region, but an inhabited planet. There can scarcely be a doubt, then, that the expression portrays the condition in which the new-created earth was, not innumerable ages, but very shortly, after it was summoned into existence. It was formless and lifeless; a huge, shapeless, objectless, tenantless mass of matter, the gaseous and solid elements commingled, in which neither organized structure, nor animated form, nor even distinctly-traced outline of any kind appeared. And darkness (was) upon the face of the deep. The "deep," from a root signifying to disturb, is frequently applied to the sea (Psalm 42:8), and here probably intimates that the primordial matter of our globe existed in a fluid, or liquid, or molten form. Dawson distinguishes between "the deep" and the "waters," making the latter refer to the liquid condition of the globe, and the former apply to "the atmospheric waters," i.e. the vaporous or aeriform mass mantling the surface of our nascent planet, and containing the materials out of which the atmosphere was afterwards elaborated ('Origin of the World,' p. 105). As yet the whole was shrouded in the thick folds of Cimmerian gloom, giving not the slightest promise of that fair world of light, order, and life into which it was about to be transformed. Only one spark of hope might have been detected in the circumstance that the Spirit of God moved (literally, brooding) upon the face of the waters. That the Ruach Elohim, or breath of God, was not "a great wind," or "a wind of God," is determined by the non-existence of the air at this particular stage in the earth's development. In accordance with Biblical usage generally, it must be regarded as a designation not simply "of the Divine power, which, like the wind and the breath, cannot be perceived" (Gesenius), but of the Holy Spirit, who is uniformly represented as the source or formative cause of all life and order in the world, whether physical, intellectual, or spiritual (cf. Job 26:13; Job 27:3; Psalm 33:6; Psalm 104:29; Psalm 143:10; Isaiah 34:16; Isaiah 61:1; Isaiah 63:11). As it were, the mention of the Ruach Elohim is the first out-blossoming of the latent fullness of the Divine personality, the initial movement in that sublime revelation of the nature of the Godhead, which, advancing slowly, and at the best but indistinctly, throughout Old Testament times, culminated in the clear and ample disclosures of the gospel The special form of this Divine agent's activity is described as that of" brooding" (merachepheth, from raehaph, to be tremulous, as with love; hence, in Piel, to cherish young - Deuteronomy 32:11) or fluttering over the liquid elements of the shapeless and tenantless globe, communicating to them, doubtless, those formative powers of life and order which were to burst forth into operation in answer to the six words of the six ensuing days. As might have been anticipated, traces of this primeval chaos are to be detected in various heathen cosmogonies, as the following brief extracts will show: -
1. The Chaldean legend, deciphered from the creation tablet discovered in the palace of Assurbanipal, King of Assyria, 2. c. 885, depicts the desolate and void condition of the earth thus: -
"When above were not raised the heavens,
And below on the earth a plant had not grown up;
The abyss also had not broken up their boundaries; The chaos (or water) tiamat (the sea) was the producing-mother of the whole of them," &c. ('Chaldean Genesis,' p. 62.)
2. The Babylonian cosmogony, according to Berosus (B.C. 330-260), commences with a time "in which there existed nothing but darkness" and an abyss of waters, wherein resided most hideous beings, which were produced of a twofold principle... The person who presided over them was a woman named Omoroea, which in the Chaldean language is Thalatth, in Greek Thalassa, the sea, but which might equally be interpreted the moon" ('Chaldean Genesis,' pp. 40, 41).
3. The Egyptian account of the origin of the universe, as given by Diodorus Siculus, represents the heaven and earth as blended together, till afterwards the elements began to separate and the air to move. According to another idea, there was a vast abyss enveloped in boundless darkness, with a subtle spirit, intellectual in power, existing in the chaos (Macdonald, 'Creation and the Fall,' p. 49).
4. The Phoenician cosmogony says, "The first principle of the universe was a dark windy air and an eternal dark chaos. Through the love of the Spirit to its own principles a mixture arose, and a connection called desire, the beginning of all things. From this connection of the Spirit was begotten mot, which, according to some, signifies mud, according to others, a corruption of a watery mixture, but is probably a feminine form of too, water. From this were developed creatures in the shape of an egg, called zophasemin (Macdonald, p. 50).
5. The Indian mythology is very striking in its resemblance to the Mosaic narrative." The institutes of Menu affirm' that at first all was dark, the world still resting in the purpose of the Eternal, whose first thought created water, and in it the seed of life. This became an egg, from which issued Brahma, the creative power, who divided his own substance and became male and female. The waters were called nara, as being the production of Nara, or the Spirit of God, who, on account of these being his first ayana, or place of motion, is named Naray-na, or moving on the waters. A remarkable hymn from the Rig Veda, translated by Dr. Max Muller, also closely approximates to the Scriptural account: -
"Nor aught nor naught existed; yon bright sky
Was not, nor heaven's broad woof out-stretched above.
The only one breathed breathless by itself;
Other than it there nothing since hath been.
Darkness there was, and all at first was veiled
In gloom profound - an ocean without light."
(Vid. Macdonald's 'Creation,' &c., p. 51.)
6. The description of chaos given by Ovid is too appropriate to be overlooked: -
"Ante mare et tellus, et, quod tegit omnia, caelum,
Unus erat toto naturae vultus in orbe,
Quem dixere chaos; rudis indigestaque moles quia corpere in uno
Frigida pugnabant calidis, humentia siccis,
Mollia cum duris, sine Pendere habentia pondus"
(Metamor.,' lib, 1:1). Yet not more remarkable are these indirect confirmations of the truthfulness of the Biblical cosmogony than the direct corroborations it derives from the discoveries of modern science.
(1) The nebular hypothesis of Laplace, which, though only a hypothesis, must vet be admitted to possess a high degree of probability, strikingly attests its authenticity. That eminent astronomer demonstrated that a huge chaotic mass of nebulous matter, revolving in space on its own axis with a sufficient velocity, and gradually condensing from a high degree of heat, would eventually, by throwing off successive rings from the parent body, develop all the celestial orbs that presently compose our planetary system. Though for a long time regarded with suspicion by Biblical scholars, and at the first only tentatively thrown out by its author, Kant, yet so exactly does it account for the phenomena of our solar system as disclosed by the telescope, that it may now be said to have vindicated its claim to be accepted as the best solution science has to give of the formation of the universe; while further and more dispassionate reflection has convinced theologians generally, that so far from conflicting with the utterances of inspiration, it rather surprisingly endorses them.
(2) The researches of physical philosophy in connection with hydrodynamics have successfully established that the present form of our earth, that of (the solid of revolution called) an oblate spheroid, is such as it must necessarily have assumed had its original condition been that of a liquid mass revolving round its own axis.
(3) Geological science likewise contributes its quota to the constantly accumulating weight of evidence in support of the Mosaic narrative, by announcing, as the result of its investigations in connection with the earth's crust, that below a certain point, called "the stratum of invariable temperature," the heat of the interior mass becomes greater in proportion to the depth beneath the surface, thus leading not unnaturally to the inference that "the earth has assumed its present state by cooling down from an intensely heated, or gaseous, or fluid state" (Green's 'Geology,' p. 487.).
Verses 3-5. - The evolution of the cosmos was accomplished by a series of Divine formative works which extended over a period of six successive days. In the character of those cosmic labors a progression is distinctly visible, though not continuous throughout Unless, with Aristotle, the celestial luminaries are regarded as ζῶα λογικά, and so classed in the category of organized and living beings, it is impossible to find in their production an advance upon the preceding vegetation. Arbitrary transpositions of the days, as of the third and fourth, in order to make the first half of the creative week an inorganic, and the second half an organic, era, are inadmissible. The arrangement of the days that accords most exactly with the requirements of the case, and most successfully preserves the order and connection of the record, is that which divides them into two triads (Lange, Kalisch, Dana, &c.), as exhibited underneath: -
2. Air, Water.
3. Dry Land and Plants.
5. Fowl, Fish.
6. Animals and Man = - each triad Beginning with the Making of Light, and ending with a double creation, and the works performed On the Second having each a definite Relation to the labors executed On the First On the First creative Day the formative energy of the Divine Word, eliminates the light from the dark chaotic mass of earth, on the second uplifts the atmosphere above the waters, and on the third distinguishes the dry land from the sea - at a later period in this same day clothing the dry land with vegetation, as if to prophesy some correspondingly higher advance in the creation work at the close of the second series. At this stage, instead of pressing forward with its operations, the demiurgic potency of the invisible Artificer appears to pause, and, reverting to the point from which it started, enters on its second course of labors. On the fourth day the light developed on the first is concentrated and permanently fixed in the celestial luminaries; on the fifth the air and waters, which were separated on the second, are filled with fowl and fish, their respective inhabitants; and on the sixth the dry land of the third day is occupied by animals, the mute prediction of the third day's vegetation being fulfilled by the creation of man. Verse 3. - Day one. And God said. This phrase, which is ten times repeated in the narrative of the six days' work, is commonly regarded as an instance of anthropomorphism, a peculiarity of revelation, and of this chapter in particular, at which rationalism affects to be offended. But any other mode of representing the Deity would have failed to convey to finite minds an intelligent idea of his nature. "Touching the Almighty, who can find him out?" The most that God himself could do in communicating to his creature man a conception of his ineffable and unapproachable Godhead was to supply him with an anthropomorphic image of himself - "the Word made flesh." Deeper insight, however, into this sublime statement discerns that "anthropomorphism" does not exhaust its significance. God spoke; but to whom? "This was an omnipotent word," says Luther, "spoken in the Divine essence. No one heard this word uttered but God himself... The Father spoke within." It is observable too that every time the word goes forth from Elohim it is followed by instantaneous movement in the chaos, as if the word itself were inherently creative. Remembering, then, that the doctrine of a personal Logos was not unknown to the later theology of the Old Testament (cf. Psalm 33:6; Psalm 148:5), and is clearly revealed in the New (John 1:1; Hebrews 11:3), it is difficult to resist the inference that here we have its roots, and that a correct exegesis should find in the creative word of Elohim an adumbration of the Devar Jehovah of the Hebrew Psalter, the Logos of John's Gospel, and the Rema Theou of the writer to the Hebrews. Let there be light: and there was light. The sublimity of these words, which arrested the attention of the heathen Longinus ('De Sublimitate,' 9.), and which Milton ('Paradise Lost,' 7.) and Du Bartas, an elder poet (viz. Kitto in loco), have tried to reproduce, is in great measure lost in our English version. Γενηθήτω φῶς καὶ ἐγένετω φῶς (LXX.) and sit lux et fuit lux (Vulg.) are superior translations of יְהִי־אור וַיְהִי־אוד which might be rendered, "Light be, and light was."' With reference to their import, the least satisfactory explanation, notwithstanding the eminent names that have lent it their support (Bush, Kitto, Murphy, Wordsworth), is that which understands the sun to have been created a perfectly finished luminous body from the first, though hitherto its light had been intercepted by the earth's vapors, which were now dispersed by Divine command. But the language of Elohim is too exalted to be applied to so familiar a phenomenon as the dissipation of terrestrial mists, and, besides, expressly negatives the hypothesis in question by affirming that the light was summoned into being, and not simply into appearance. The historian, too, explicitly asserts that the light was, i.e. began to be, and not merely to be visible. A modification of this view, viz., that the sun and moon were now created, but did not become visible until the fourth day (Inglis), must likewise be rejected, as according neither with ver. 1, which says that the heavenly bodies were created in the beginning, nor with vers. 16, 17, which declare that not until the fourth day were they constituted sources of light for the earth. The exigencies of the text, as well as the ascertained facts of physical science, require the first day's work to be the original production of light throughout the universe, and in particular throughout our planetary system (Kalisch, Lange, Delitzsch, Dawson). Calvin, though much more deeply concerned about the refutation of Servetus, who maintained that the Word only began to be with the creation of light, was able to perceive that this light was independent of the sun and moon; in this agreeing with Augustine, who, however, conjectured it to be not material, but spiritual in its nature ('De Genesi ad Literam,' lib. 1, 100. 3). Nor does it in the slightest conflict with ver. 1 to suppose that light was now for the first time produced, light being a mode or condition of matter, and not a distinct element or substance, as was at one time believed. Luminosity is simply the result of incandescence, although what specific change is effected on the constitutions or adjustments of the molecules of a body by the process of heating which renders it luminous science is unable to explain. Any solid body can be rendered incandescent by being heated up to between 700° and 800° Fahrenheit. Any liquid that can absorb as great a quantity of heat likewise emits light. Gases do not appear to be capable of incandescence, though the phenomena attending their sudden condensation discover light-producing properties in their composition. As to how the light of incandescent bodies is transmitted to the eye, the Pythagorean and Newtonian theory of small, impalpable particles of luminous matter being constantly emitted from their surfaces towards the eye may be said to have been successfully displaced by that of Descartes, Huygens, and Euler, which accounts for the phenomena of vision by the existence throughout space, and in the interstitial spaces of bodies, of an infinitely attenuated ether, which is thrown into undulations by luminous bodies precisely as the atmosphere is made to vibrate by bodies which are sonorous. But whichever theory be adopted to solve the mystery of its transmission, that of emanation or of undulation, it is impossible to resist the conclusion that the creation of light, which formed the opus operatum of the first day, was in reality the evolution from the dark-robed, seething mass of our condensing planet (and probably from the other bodies in our solar system) of that luminous matter which supplies the light. It seems unnecessary to add that it could not have been either the subterranean fire which produced the igneous rocks of geology (Tayler) or caloric (Clarke); though, as aor is used in Scripture for heat (Isaiah 44:16), fire (Isaiah 31:9; Ezekiel 5:2), the sun (Job 31:26), lightning (Job 37:3), and there is every reason to believe that light, heat, and electricity are only modifications of the same force, we may be warranted in embracing all the three in its significance.
Verse 4. - And God saw the light, that it was good. The anthropomorphism of this verse is suggestive, as teaching that from the first the absolute and all-sufficient Elohim was an intelligent Spectator of the operation of his own laws and forces, and was profoundly interested in the results which they achieved - an amount and degree of interference with the vast machine of nature which would satisfy any rational theist of today. God saw, i.e. examined and judged the newly-finished product, investigated its nature and its properties, contemplated its uses, admired its excellences, noted its correspondence with his own Divine idea; and in all these respects he pronounced it good. Afterwards it is the particular arrangement effected, or condition induced, by the creative word that evokes the Divine commendation; here it is the creature itself - "perhaps as the one object in nature which forms the fittest representation of the Creator himself, who is Light, and in whom is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5), and of the true Light, which lighteth every man (John 1:9)" (Macdonald). And God divided between the light and the darkness. The celestial, bodies not having been constituted light-holders for the earth until the fourth day forbids the supposition that the luminous matter, on being eliminated from the chaotic mass, was forthwith transported towards and concentrated in the sun. The sun itself, it is now well known, is "a solid mass of highly igneous matter engirt by a bed of dense clouds, on the top of which there lies, encircling all, a floating phosphorescent or luminous atmosphere, the lower part of it splendid, but the upper of luster altogether dazzling, from which streams the flood of light that enlivens all surrounding spheres" (Nichol's 'Cyclopedia,' art. Sun). "If, therefore, with Laplace, we may assume that the physical history of the sun was the archetype of that of the various planetary bodies that compose our system, we must think of them also, in the process of condensation, developing luminous atmospheres, which would continue encircling them, and in fact making them suns, until, through their further condensation, those phosphorescent bands were broken up, and, becoming disengaged from their parent globes, were attracted towards, and subsequently centralized in, the photosphere of the sun. So far as our earth is concerned, that happened on the fourth day. On the first day the light would either ensphere it in a radiant cloud, or exist apart from it, like a sun, though always in the plane of its orbit" (Delitzsch). If the former, then manifestly, though revolving on its axis, the earth would not experience the vicissitude of day and night, which some conjecture was not at this time established; if the latter, then the same succession of light and darkness would be begun as was afterwards rendered permanent by the fourth day's work. The chief reasons for the latter alternative are the supposed necessity of understanding the term day as a period of twenty-four hours, and the apparent impossibility of explaining how the light could be divided from the darkness otherwise than by the diurnal revolution of the earth. The Hiphil of בָּדַל, however, means to disjoin what was previously mixed, and may simply refer to the separation of the luminous particles from the opaque mass. By that very act the light was divided from the darkness. It was henceforth to be no more commingled. "The light denotes all that is simply illuminating in its efficacy, all the luminous element; the darkness denotes all that is untransparent, dark, shadow-casting; both together denote the polarity of the created world as it exists between the light-formations and the night-formations - the constitution of the day and night" (Lange).
Verse 5. - And God called (literally, called to) the light Day, and (literally, to) the darkness he called Night. "None but superficial thinkers," says Delitzsch, "can take offence at the idea of created things receiving names from God. The name of a thing is the expression of its nature. If the name be given by man, it fixes in a word the impression which it makes upon the human mind; but, when given by God, it expresses the reality, what the thing is in God's creation, and the place assigned it there by the side of other things." The things named were the light and the darkness; not the durations, but the phenomena. The names called were day, yore, and night, layela, which, again, were not time-measures, but character-descriptions. Ainsworth suggests that yore was intended to express "the tumult, stir, and business of the day," in all probability connecting it with yam, which depicts the foaming or the boiling of the sea; and that layela, in which he seems to detect the Latin ululare, is indicative of "the yelling or the howling of wild beasts at night." Gesenius derives the former from the unused root yore, which signifies to glow with heat, while the latter he associates with lul, also unused, to roll up, the idea being that the night wraps all things in obscurity. Macdonald sees in the naming of the creatures an expression of sovereignty and lordship, as when Adam named the beasts of the field. And the evening and the morning were the first day. Literally, And evening was and morning was, day one. Considerable diversity of sentiment prevails with regard to the exact interpretation of these words. On the one hand, it is assumed that the first creative period is here described as an ordinary astronomical or sidereal day of twenty-four hours' duration, its constituent parts being characterized in the usual way, as an evening and a morning. In the judgment of Kalisch and others the peculiar phrase, "Evening was, and morning was," is simply equivalent to the later Hebrew compound "evening-morning" (Daniel 8:14), and the Greek νηχθήμερον (2 Corinthians 11:25), both of which denote a natural or civil day, though this is challenged, in the case of the Hebrew compound, by Macdonald. The language of the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:11) is also appealed to as removing, it beyond the sphere of doubt that the evening and the morning referred to are-the component sections of an earthly day. As to the proper terminus a quo of this initial day, however, the advocates of this interpretation are at variance among themselves; Delitzsch taking the terms ereb (literally, "the setting," from arab,
(1) to mix;
(2) to set, to depart, like the sun)
and boker (literally, "the breaking forth," from bakar, to cleave, to open) in an active sense, and applying the former to the first fading of the light, and the latter to the breaking of the dawn after the first interval of darkness has passed, thus reckoning the creative days from daybreak to daybreak; while Murphy and Kalisch, who agree with him in regarding the days as ordinary solar days, declare they must be reckoned, Hebraico more, from sunset to sunset. But if the first day commenced with an evening or obscure period (Has ereb no connection with arab, to mix? May it not describe the condition of things when light and darkness were commingled?), that can be discovered only in the chaotic darkness out of which the light sprang. Hence, on the other hand, as it seems improbable that this was of no more than twelve hours' duration, and as the presumption is that the light-period would be commensurate in length, it has been argued that day one was not a sun-measured day, but a period of indefinite extent. Of course the length of day one practically determines the length of all the six. If it was a solar day, then they must be considered such. But as the present sidereal arrangements for the measurement of time were not then established, it is clearly gratuitous to proceed on the assumption that it was Hence, neither is it to be accepted without-demonstration that they were not likewise periods of prolonged duration. It is obvious they were if it was; and that it was appears to be suggested by the terms in which it is described. This conclusion, that the creation days were long periods, and not simply solar days, is confirmed by a variety of considerations.
1. In the creation record itself (Genesis 2:4) the term is employed with an obvious latitude of meaning; standing for light as opposed to darkness (ver. 5); day as distinguished from night; and for a period of twenty-four hours, as in the phrase "for days and years" (ver. 14); and again for the whole creation period of six days, or, as is more probable, for the second and third days (Genesis 2:4).
2. General Scripture usage sanctions this interpretation of the word day as a period of indefinite duration; g. g. Zechariah 14:6, 7, which speaks of the time of our Lord s coming, and-indeed of the entire gospel dispensation, as יום אֶחָד unus dies, i.e. a day together unique, the only day of its kind (Delitzsch); and characterizes it as one of God's days, "known to the Lord," as if to distinguish it from one of man's ordinary civil days (cf. Deuteronomy 9:1; Psalm 90:4; Psalm 95:8; Isaiah 49:8; John 9:4; Hebrews 13:8; 2 Peter 3:8).
3. The works ascribed to the different days can with difficulty be compressed within the limits of a solar day. Taking the third day, e.g., if the events assigned to it belong exclusively to the region of the supernatural, nothing need prevent the belief that twenty-four hours were sufficient for their accomplishment; but if the Divine modus operandi during the first half of the creative week was through "existing causes" (even vastly accelerated), as geology affirms that it was during the second half, and as we know that it has been ever since its termination, then a considerably larger space of time than twice twelve hours must have been consumed in their execution. And the same conclusion forces itself upon the judgment from a consideration of the works allotted to the sixth day, in which not only were the animals produced and Adam made, but the former, being collected in Eden, were passed in review before the latter to be named, after which he was cast into a sleep by Jehovah Elohim, a rib extracted from his side and fashioned into a woman, and the woman presented to him as a partner.
4. The duration of the seventh day of necessity determines the length of the other six. Without anticipating the exposition of Genesis 2:1-4 (q.v.), it may be said that God's sabbatic rest is understood by the best interpreters of Scripture to have continued from creation's close until the present hour; so that consistency demands the previous six days to be considered as not of short, but of indefinite, duration.
5. The language of the fourth commandment, when interpreted in accordance with the present theory, confirms the probability of its truth, If the six days in Exodus 20:11 are simply natural days, then the seventh day, in which God is represented as having rested from his creative labors, must likewise be a natural or solar day; and if so, it is proper to observe what follows. It follows
(1) that the events recorded in the first five verses of Genesis must be compressed into a single day of twenty-four hours, so that no gap will remain into which the short-day advocates may thrust the geologic ages, which is for them an imperative necessity;
(2) that the world is only 144 hours older than man, which is contrary to both science and revelation;
(3) that the statement is incorrect that God finished all his work at the close of the sixth day; and
(4) that the fossiliferous remains which have been discovered in the earth's crust have either been deposited there since man's creation, or were created there at the first, both of which suppositions are untenable. But now, if, on the contrary, the language signifies that God labored in the fashioning of his cosmos through six successive periods of indefinite duration (olamim, aeons), and entered on the seventh day into a correspondingly long period of sabbatic rest, we can hold the opposite of every one of these conclusions, and find a convincing argument besides for the observance of the sabbath in the beautiful analogy which subsists between God s great week of olamim and man's little week of sun-measured days,
6. Geology declares that the earth must have been brought to its present condition through a series of labors extending over indefinitely long epochs; and, notwithstanding the confident assertion of Kalisch and others that it is hopeless to harmonize science and revelation, the correspondence between the contents of these geologic ages and those of the Mosaic days is so surprising as to induce the belief that the latter were, like the former, extended periods. First, according to geology, traveling backward, comes the Cainozoic era, with the remains of animals, but not of man next is the Mezozoic era, with the remains of fish and fowl, but not of animals; and underneath that is the Palaeozoic era, with its carboniferous formations, but still with traces of aquatic life at its beginning and its end. Now, whether the vegetation of the third day is to be sought for in the carboniferous formations of the Palaeozoic age (Hugh Miller), or, as is more probable, in the age which saw the formation of the metamorphic rocks (Dawson), the order disclosed is precisely that which the Mosaic narrative affirms was observed first plants, then fish and fowl, and finally animals and man; so that if the testimony of the rocks be admissible at all upon the subject, it is unmistakably in favor of the long-period day.
7. The opinion of neither Jewish nor Christian antiquity was entirely on the side of the natural-day theory. Josephus and Philo lent their sanction to the other view. Origen perceived the difficulty of having a firs. t, second, and third day, each with an evening and a morning, without the sun, moon, and stars, and resolved it by saying that these celestial luminaries were appointed "οὔκετι εἴς ἄρχας τῆς ἠμέρας καὶ τὴς νυκτὸς ἀλλ εἴς τὴν ἄρχην τῆς ἡμέρας καὶ τῆς νυκτός ('Com. in Genesin,' 1:16). Augustine similarly writes, "Qui dies cujusmodi sint, ant perdifficile nobis, ant etiam impossibile est cogitare, quanto magis dicere Illorum autem priores tres sine sole peracti sunt, qui quarto die factus refertur" ('De Civitate Dei,' lib. 11:6, 7). Bode likewise remarks, "Fortassis hic diet nomen totius temporis nomen est, et omnia volumina seculorum hoc vocabulo includit."
8. Heathen cosmogonies may also be appealed to as an indirect confirmation of the preceding evidence. Egyptian, Persian, Indian, and Etruscan legends represent the elaboration of the world as having been accomplished in a series of ages of prolonged duration. "God created in the first thousand years heaven and earth; in the second the vault of heaven; in the third the sea and the other waters of the earth; in the fourth the sun, moon, and stars; in the fifth the inhabitants of the air, of the water, and of the land; and in the sixth man," is the creation story of Etruria; and although in itself it has no validity, yet, as a traditional reflection of the Mosaic narrative it is not entirely destitute of weight.
Verse 6. - Day two. The work of this day consisted in the formation of that immense gaseous ocean, called the atmosphere, by which the earth is encircled. And God said, Let there be a firmament (rakiya, an expand, from rakah, to beat out; LXX., στερέωμα; Vulgate, firmamentum) in the midst of the waters. To affirm with Knobel, Gesenius, and others that the Hebrews supposed the atmospheric heavens to be a metallic substance (Exodus 24:10), a vault fixed on the water-flood which surrounds the earth (Proverbs 8:27), firm as a molten looking-glass (Job 37:18), borne by the highest mountains, which are therefore called the pillars and foundations of heaven (2 Samuel 22:8), and having doors and windows (Genesis 7:11; Genesis 28:17; Psalm 78:23), is to confound poetical metaphor with literal prose, optical and phenomenal language with strict scientific statement. The Vulgate and English translations of rakiya may convey the idea of solidity, though it is doubtful if στερέωμα (LXX.) does not signify that which makes firm as well as that which is made firm (McCaul, Wordsworth, W. Lewis), thus referring to the well-known scientific fact that the atmosphere by its weight upon the waters of the sea keeps them down, and by its pressure against our bodies keeps them up; but it is certain that not solidity, but expansiveness, is the idea represented by rakiya (cf. Scottish, tax, to stretch; Job 37:18; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 40:22).
"The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure,
Transparent, elemental air, diffused
In circuit to the uttermost convex Of this great round."
(Milton, 'Par. Lost,' Bk. 7.) And let it divide the waters from the waters. What these waters were, which were designed to be parted by the atmospheric firmament, is explained in the verse which follows.
Verse 7. - And God made the firmament. How the present atmosphere was evolved from the chaotic mass of waters the Mosaic narrative does not reveal. The primary intention of that record being not to teach science, but to discover religious truth, the thing of paramount importance to be communicated was that the firmament was of God's construction. This, of course, does not prevent us from believing that the elimination of those gases (twenty-one parts of oxygen and seventy-nine of nitrogen, with a small proportion of carbonic acid gas and aqueous vapor) which compose our atmosphere was not effected by natural means; and how far it may have been assisted by the action of the light upon the condensing mass of the globe is a problem in the solution of which science may legitimately take an interest. And divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. The upper waters are not the material of the stars (Delitzsch, Wordsworth), although Jupiter is of the same density as water, and Saturn only half its density; but the waters floating about in the higher spaces of the air. The under waters are not the lower atmospheric vapors, but the oceanic and terrestrial waters. How the waters are collected in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, Scripture, no less than science, explains to be by means of evaporation (Genesis 2:6; Job 36:27; Job 37:16). These latter passages suggest that the clouds are balanced, suspended, upheld by the buoyancy of the air in exact accordance with scientific principles. And it was so. Six times these words occur in the creation record. Sublimely suggestive of the resistless energy of the Divine word, which speaks, and it is done, commands, and it standeth fast, they likewise remind us of the sweet submissiveness of the creature to the all-wise Creator's will, and, perhaps, are designed as well to intimate the fixed and permanent character of those arrangements to which they are attached.
Verse 8 - And God called the firmament heaven. Literally, the heights, shamayim, as in ver. 1. "This," says Principal Dawson, "may be regarded as an intimation that no definite barrier separates our film of atmosphere from the boundless abyss of heaven without;" and how appropriate the designation "heights" is, as applied to the atmosphere, we are reminded by science, which informs us that, after rising to the height of forty-five miles above the earth, it becomes imperceptible, and loses itself in the universal ether with which it is surrounded. And the evening and the morning were the second day. For the literal rendering of this clause see on ver. 5, It is observable that in connection with the second day's work the usual formula, "And God saw that it was good," is omitted. The "καὶ εἰδεν ὁ θεος ὅτι καλόν of the Septuagint is unsupported by any ancient version. The conceit of the Rabbis, that an expression of the Divine approbation was omitted because on this day the angels fell, requires no refutation. Aben Ezra accounts for its omission by making the second day's work terminate with ver. 10. Lange asks, "Had the prophetic author some anticipation that the blue vault was merely an appearance, whilst the sarans of the Septuagint had no such anticipation, and therefore proceeded to doctor the passage?" The explanation of Calvin, Delitzsch, Macdonald, and Alford, though declared by Kalisch to be of no weight, is probably the correct one, that the work begun on the second day was not properly terminated till the middle of the third, at which place, accordingly, the expression of Divine approbation is introduced (see ver. 10).
Verse 9. - Day three. The distribution of land and water and the production of vegetation on this day engaged the formative energy of the word of Elohim. And God said, Let the waters under heaven be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear. To explain the second part of this phenomenon as a consequence of the first, the disclosure of the solid ground by the retirement of the waters from its surface, and not rather vice versa, is to reverse the ordinary processes of nature. Modern analogy suggests that the breaking up of the hitherto universal ocean into seas, lakes, and rivers was effected by the upheaval of the land through the action of subterranean fires, or the subsidence of the earth's crust in consequence of the cooling and shrinking of the interior mass. Psalm 104:7 hints at electric agency in connection with the elevation of the mountains and the sinking of the ocean beds. "At thy rebuke they (the waters) fled: at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away (were scattered). The mountains rose, the valleys sank (ἀναβαίνουσιν ὄρη καὶ καταβαίνουσι πεδία ( LXX.; ascendunt montes, et descendunt campi - Jerome) to the place which thou hadst established for them" (Perowne). The gathering of the waters into one place implies no more than that they were, from this day forward, to be collected into one vast body, and restrained within bounds in a place by themselves, so as to admit of the exposure of the earth's soil. The "place founded for them" was, of course, the depths and hollows in the earth's crust, into which they were immediately withdrawn, not through direct supernatural agency, but by their own natural gravitation. The configuration of the dry land is not described; but there is reason to believe that the original distribution of land and water was the same, or nearly the same, as it is at present. Physical geographers have observed that the coast lines of the great continents and the mountain ranges generally run from north-east to south-west, and that these lines are in reality parts of great circles, tangent to the polar circle, and at right angles to a line drawn from the sun's center to the moon's, when these bodies are either in conjunction or in opposition. These circles, it has further been remarked, are "the lines on which the thin crust of a cooling globe would be most likely to be ruptured by its internal tidal wave." Hence, though considerably modified by the mighty revolutions through which at successive periods the earth has passed, "these, with certain subordinate lines of fracture, have determined the forms of continents from the beginning" (Dawson, 'O.W.,' p. 184; cf. 'Green's Geology,' p. 512). And it was so. Though the separation of the dry land from the waters and the distribution of both were effected by Divine agency, nothing in the Mosaic narrative obliges us to think that these works were instantaneously completed. "There is truly no difficulty in supposing that the formation of the hills kept on through the succeeding creative days" (Lange). "Generally the works of the single creative days consist only in laying foundations; the birth process that is introduced in each extends its efficacy be, yond it" (Delitzsch). "Not how long, but how many times, God created is the thing intended to be set forth" by the creative days (Hoffman). Scripture habitually represents the world in an aspect at once natural and supernatural, speaking of it as natura and creatura, φύσις and κτίσις (cf. Marten, sen's 'Dogmatics,' § 63); and although the latter is the view exhibited with greatest prominence, indeed exclusively, in the Mosaic cosmogony, vet the frowner is not thereby denied, Not immediateness, but certainty of execution, is implied in the "it was so" appended to the creative fiat.
Verse 10. - And God called the dry land Earth. In opposition to the firmament, which was named" the heights" (shamayim), the dry land was styled "the fiats," "Aretz" (cf. Sansc., dhara; Pehlev., arta; Latin, terra; Gothic, airtha; Scottish, yird; English, earth; rid. Gesenius). Originally applied to the dry ground as distinguished from the seas, as soon as it was understood that the solid earth was continuous beneath the water masses, by an easy extension of meaning it came to signify the whole surface of the globe. And the gathering together of the waters called he Seas. Yamim, from yom, to boil or foam, is applied in Scripture to any large collection of water (cf. Genesis 14:3; Numbers 34:11; Deuteronomy 4:49; Joel 2:20). "The plural form seas shows that the one place consists of several basins" (Murphy). And God saw that it was good. The waters having been permanently withdrawn to the place founded for them by the upheaval of the great mountain ranges, and the elevation of the continental areas, the work thus accomplished is sealed by the Divine approval. The separation of the land and water was good, as a decided advance towards the completion of the cosmos, as the proper termination of the work commenced upon the previous day, as the production of two elements in themselves beautiful, and in separation useful as abodes of life, with which they were in due course to be replenished. "To our view," says Dawson, "that primeval dry land would scarcely have seemed good. It was a world of bare, rocky peaks and verdureless valleys - here active volcanoes, with their heaps of scoriae, and scarcely cooled lava currents - there vast mud-fiats, recently upheaved from the bottom of the waters - nowhere even a blade of grass or a clinging lichen. Yet it was good in the view of its Maker, who could see it in relation to the uses for which he had made it, and as a fit preparatory step to the new wonders he was soon to introduce. "Besides," the first dry land may have presented crags, and peaks, and ravines, and volcanic cones in a more marvelous and perfect manner than any succeeding continents, even as the dry and barren moon now, in this respect, far surpasses the earth" ('O.W.,' p. 181).
Verse 11. - And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. Three terms are employed to describe the vegetation here summoned into existence. Kalisch regards the first as a generic term, including the second and the third; but they are better understood as distinct classes: -
(1) grass, deshe, first sprouts of the earth, tender herb, in which the seed is not noticed, as not being obvious to the eye; "tenera herha sine semine saltem conspicuo" (Rosenmüller); probably the various kinds of grasses that supply food for the lower animals (cf. Psalm 23:2);
(2) "the herb (eseb) yielding seed," the more mature herbage, in which the seed is the most striking characteristic; the larger description of plants and vegetables (cf. Genesis 9:3); and
(3) "the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon (or above) the earth." The first clause describes its specific nature - "fruit-bearing;" the second, its peculiar characteristic - enclosing the seed in its fruit; the third, its external appearance - rising above the ground. "This division is simple and natural. It proceeds upon two concurrent marks, the structure and the seed. In the first the green blade is prominent; in the second, the stalk; in the third, the woody texture. In the first the seed is not conspicuous; in the second it is conspicuous; in the third it is enclosed in a fruit which is conspicuous" (Murphy). The phrase "after his kind, appended to the second and third, seems to indicate that the different species of plants were already fixed. The modern dogma of the origin of species by development would thus be declared to be un-biblical, as it has not yet been proved to be scientific. The utmost that can be claimed as established is that "species," qua species, have the power of variation along the line of certain characteristics belonging to themselves, but not that any absolutely new species has ever been developed with power indefinitely to multiply its kind.
Verse 12. - And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind. It is noticeable that the vegetation of the third day sprang from the soil in the same natural manner in which all subsequent vegetation has done, viz., by growth, which seems to resolve the well-known problem of whether the tree was before the seed, or the seed before the tree, in favor of the latter alternative, although in the order of nature the parent is always before the offspring. In all probability the seed forms were in the soil from the first, only waiting to be vitalized by the Ruach Elohim - The Spirit of God; or they may have been then created. Certainly they were not evolved from the dead matter of the dry land. Scripture, no more than science, is acquainted with Abiogenesis. Believing that "if it were given to her to- look beyond the abyss of geologically recorded time, she might "witness the evolution of living protoplasm from not living matter," science yet honestly affirms "that she sees no reason for believing that the feat (of vitalizing dead matter) has been performed yet" (Huxley's 'Brit. Association Address, 1871); and Scripture is emphatic that, if it is protoplasm which makes organized beings, the power which manufactures protoplasm is the Ruach Elohim, acting in obedience to the Divine Logos. The time when the earth put forth its verdure, viz., towards the close of the third day, after light, air, earth, and water had been prepared and so adjusted as to minister to the life of plants, was a signal proof of the wisdom of the Creator and of the naturalness of his working.
Verse 13. - And the evening and the morning were the third day. For exposition vid. ver. 5. Has modern geological research any trace of this third day s vegetation? The late Hugh Miller identified the long-continued epoch of profuse vegetation, since then unparalleled in rapidity and luxuriance, which deposited the coal-measures of the carboniferous system, with the latter half of this Mosaic day. Dana, Dawson, and others, rejecting this conclusion of the eminent geologist on the ground that the underlying Devonian, Silurian, and Cambrian systems yield abundant fossiliferous remains of aquatic life, infer that the third day's vegetation is to be sought for among the "unresolved schists" of the Azoic period. The metamorphic rocks, it is true, have not as yet yielded any absolutely certain traces of vegetable life; and. indeed, it is an open question, among geologists whether any of the earliest formed metamorphic rocks now remain (cf. Green's 'Geology,' p. 308); but still it is susceptible of almost perfect demonstration that plants preceded animals upon the earth.
1. Among the hypozoic strata of this early period limestone rocks and graphite have been discovered, both of these being of organic origin.
2. In the process of cooling the earth must have been fitted for vegetable life a long time before animals could have existed.
3. As the luxuriant vegetation of the coal period prepared the way for the subsequent introduction of animal life by ridding the atmosphere of carbonic acid, so by the presence of plants must the ocean have been fitted to be the abode of aquatic life.
4. Vegetation, being directly, or mediately, the food of animals, must have had a previous existence. On these grounds Professor Dana concludes that the latter part of the Azoic age of geology corresponds with the latter half of the third creative day. In the Creation Series of Chaldean tablets are two fragments, which George Smith conjectures have a reference to the first part of the third day's work. The one is -
1. When the foundation of the ground of rock (thou didst make)
2. The foundation of the ground thou didst call...
3. Thou didst beautify the heaven...
4. To the face of the heaven...
5. Thou didst give... The other, which is much more mutilated and obscure, describes the god Sat (or Assur) as saying -
7. Above the sea which is the sea of...
8. In front of the esara (firmament) which I have made.
9. Below the place I strengthen it
10. Let there be made also e-lu (earth?) for the dwelling of [man?] ('Chaldean Genesis,' p. 68. )
Verses 14, 15. - Day four. With this day begins the second half of the creative week, whose works have a striking correspondence with the labors of the first. Having perfected the main structural arrangements of the globe by the elimination from primeval chaos of the four fundamental elements of light, air, water, and land, the formative energy of the Divine word reverts to its initial point of departure, and, in a second series of operations, carries each of these forward to completion - the light by permanently settling it in the sun, the air and water by filling therewith fowl and fish, and the land by making animals and man. The first of these engaged the Divine Artificer's attention on the fourth creative day. And God said, Let there be lights (literally, places where light is, light-holders, Psalm 64:16; φωστῆρες, LXX.; luminaria, Vulgate; spoken of lamps and candlesticks, Exodus 25:6: Numbers 4:9, 16) in the firmament (literally the expanse) of the heaven. יִהִי in the singular with מְאֹרֹת in the plural is explained by Gesenius on the ground that the predicate precedes the subject (vid. 'Gram.,' §147). The scientific accuracy of the language here used to describe the celestial luminaries relieves the Mosaic cosmogony of at least one supposed irreconcilable contradiction, that of representing light as having an existence independent of the sun. Equally does it dispense exegesis from the necessity of accounting for what appears a threefold creation of the heavenly bodies - in the beginning (ver. 1), on the first day (ver. 3), and again on the fourth (ver. 14). The reference in the last of these verses is not to the original creation of the matter of the supra mundane spheres (Gerlach), which was performed in the beginning, nor to the first production of light, which was the specific work of day one; but to the permanent appointment of the former to be the place, or center of radiation, for the latter. The purpose for which this arrangement was designed, so far, at least, as the earth was concerned, was threefold: -
1. To divide the day from the night. Literally, between the day and the night; or, as in ver. 18, to divide the light from the darkness to continue and render permanent the separation and distinction which was effected on the first day.
2. And let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. The celestial lights were to serve -
(1) For signs. Othoth, from oth, anything engraved, hence a mark (Genesis 4:15; 2 Kings 20:8), is employed to designate a portent, or sign of wanting or instruction (Psalm 61:8; Isaiah 8:18; Isaiah 20. g; LXX., σημεῖον; cf. Luke 21:25; Acts if. 19), and here probably refers to the subsequent employment of the heavenly bodies "as marks or signs of important changes and occurrences in the kingdom of Providence" (Macdonald). "That they may have been designed also to subserve important purposes in the -various economy of human life, as in affording signs to the mariner and husbandman, is not improbable, though this is not so strictly the import of the original" (Bush). Still less, of course, does the word refer to mediaeval astrology or to modern meteorology.
(2) For seasons. Moradhim, set times, from ya'ad, to indicate, define, fix, is used of yearly returning periods (Genesis 17:21; Genesis 18:14) - the time of the migration of birds (Jeremiah 8:7), the time of festivals (Psalm 104:19; Zechariah 8:19).
(3) For days and years, i.e. for the calculation of time. Luther, Calvin, Mercer, Piscator, Delitzsch, Murphy, Macdonald, et alii regard the three phrases as co-ordinate; Rosenmüller, Gesenius, Do Wette, Baumgarten take the first two as a hendiadys for "signs of the seasons;" Kalisch considers the second to be in opposition to the first; Tuch translates, "for signs, as well for the times as also for the days and years." The first, which accords with the English version, is the simplest, and, most probably, the correct interpretation.
3. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth. Not to introduce light for the first time to this lower world, but to serve as a new and permanent arrangement for the distribution of the light already called into existence. And it was so. Like every other command which Elohim issued, this was in due time followed by complete realization.
Verse 16. - And God made two great lights. Perhaps no part of the material universe more irresistibly demands a supreme Intelligence as its only proper origin and cause. "Elegantissima haecce solis, planetarum et cometarum compages non nisi consilio et domino entis intelligentis et potentis oriri potuit" (Newton, 'Principia,' lib. 3. sub fin. Ed. of Le Seur and Jacquier, vol. 2. p. 199). The greater light to rule (literally, to make like; hence to judge; then to rule. Mashal; cf. βασιλεύω ( Γεσενινσ<ΒΤΤ·Ξομμενταρψ Ωορδ>) the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. The greater light is obviously the sun, which is sometimes denominated chammah, "the warm" (Psalm 19:7; Isaiah 30:26); sometimes there, "the glistering" (Job 9:7); but usually shemesh, "the minister (Deuteronomy 4:19; Deuteronomy 33:14). Here it is described by its bulk or magnitude, which is larger than that of the moon, the second of the two luminaries, which is also spoken of as great relatively to the stars, which, though in reality immensely exceeding it in size, yet appear like little bails of light (kokhavim) bestudding the blue canopy of night, and are so depicted - the Biblical narrative being geocentric and phenomenal, not heliocentric or scientific. How the work of this day was effected does not fall within the writer's scope to declare, the precise object of revelation being to teach not astronomy, or any other merely human gnosis, but religion. Accepting, however, the guidance of physical astronomy, we may imagine that the cosmical light of day one, which had up to this point continued either encompassing our globe like a luminous atmosphere, or existing at a distance from it, but in the plane of the earth's orbit, was now, if in the first of these positions, gradually broken up, doubtless through the shrinking of the earth's mass and the consequent lessening of its power Of attraction, and slowly drawn off towards, and finally concentrated, as a photosphere round the sun, which was thereby constituted chief luminary or "light-holder" the system, the moon and planets becoming, as a necessary consequence, "light-holders" in the secondary sense of "light-reflectors." It is interesting to note that some such explanation as this appears to have suggested itself to Willet, who wrote before the birth of Newton, and at a time when solar physics and spectrum analysis were things of the remote future. It m not unlike, says he, "but that this light (of the first day), after the creation of the celestial bodies, might be drawn upward and have his reflection upon the beame of the sunne and of other starres" And again, "Whereas the light created the first day is called or, but the starres (meaning the heavenly bodies) are called meoroth, as of the light, hence it may appear that these lightsome (i.e. luminous) bodies were made the receptacles of that light thou created, which was now increased and united to these lights" ('Hexapla,' vers. 3, 14, London, 1632); an explanation which, though certainly hypothetical, must be regarded as much more in accordance with the requirements of the sacred text than that which discovers in the making of the lights only a further dissipation of terrestrial mists so as to admit not the light-bringing beams of the celestial bodies alone, but the forms of those shining orbs themselves ('Speaker's Commentary'). He made the stars also. Though the stars are introduced solely because of their relation to the earth as dispensers of light, and no account is taken of their constitution as suns and planets, it is admissible to entertain the opinion that, in their case, as in that of the chief luminary of our tellurian heavens, the process of "sun" making reached its culmination on the fourth day. Perhaps the chief reason for their parenthetical introduction in this place was to guard against the notion that there were any luminaries which were not the work of Elohim, and in particular to prevent the Hebrews, for whom the work was written, from yielding to the heathen practices of star-gazing and star-worship. "The superstition of reading the destiny of man in the stars never took root among the Israelites; astrology is excluded by the first principle of Mosaism - the belief in one all-ruling God, who is subject to no necessity, no fate, no other will. Jeremiah warns the Hebrews not to be afraid of the 'signs of heaven,' before which the heathen tremble in vain terror (Jeremiah 10:2); and Isaiah speaks with taunting irony against the astrologers, star-gazers, and monthly prognosticators, in whose counsel it is folly and wickedness to rely (Isaiah 47:13). But the Israelites had not moral strength enough to resist the example of star-worship in general; they could not keep aloof from an aberration which formed the very focus of the principal Eastern religions; they yielded to that tempting influence, and ignominious incense rose profusely in honor of the sun and the hosts of heaven - Jeremiah 19:13; Ezekiel 8:16; Zephaniah 1:5; Wisd. 13:2" (Kalisch).
Verses 17, 18. - And God set (literally, gave) them (i.e. sun, moon, and stars) in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and ever the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. An intimation that on this day the astronomical arrangements for the illumination of the globe and the measurement of time were permanently settled. And God saw that it was good. Laplace was inclined to question the Divine verdict with regard at least to the moon, which he thought might have been so placed as to be always full, whereas, at its present distance from the earth, we are sometimes deprived of both its light and the sun's together. But not to dwell upon the fact that to remove the moon four times its present distance from the earth, which it would require to be in order to be always full, would necessitate important changes in the other members of the solar system which might not be for the earth's advantage, the immediate effect of such a disposition of the lunar orb would be to give us a moon of only one sixteenth the size of that which now dispenses its silver beams upon our darkened globe (Job 11:12).
Verse 19. - And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. The Scripture references to this day's work are both numerous and instructive (cf. Job 9:9; 37:31; Psalm 8; Psalm 19; Psalm 104; Psalm 147.). The Hebrew writers supply no information as to the astronomical theories which were prevalent in their time; yet "from other sources we have facts leading to the belief that even in the time of Moses there was not a little practical astronomy in the East, and some good theory. The Chaldeans at a very early period had ascertained the principal circles of the sphere, the position of the poles, and the nature of the apparent motions of the heavens as the results of revolution on an inclined axis. The Egyptian astronomers, whom we know through Thales, , taught the true nature of the moon's light, the sphericity of the earth, and the position of its five zones. Pythagoras, , knew, in addition, the obliquity of the ecliptic, the identity of the evening and morning star, and the earth's revolution round the sun" (Dawson, 'O.W.,' p. 207). Modern astronomy, though possessed of highly probable theories as to the formation of the universe, is still unable to speak with absolute precision with regard to this fourth day's work. Yet them are not wanting indirect corroborations of the truth of the Mosaic narrative from both it and geology. According to the sacred writer, the presently existing atmosphere, the distribution of land and water, the succession of day and night, and the regular alternation of the seasons, were established prior to the introduction of animal life upon the earth; and Sir Charles Lyell has demonstrated nothing more successfully than the dominion of "existing causes" from the Eozoic era downwards, and the sufficiency of these causes to account for all the changes which have taken place in the earth's crust. Again, geology attests the prevalence on our globe in prehistoric times of a much more uniform and high temperature than it now possesses, so late as the Miocene era a genial tropical climate having extended up beyond the Arctic circle, and in the earliest eras of the history of the globe, in all probability, the entire sphere bring so favored with excessive heat. Different causes have been suggested for this phenomenon; as, e.g., the greater heat of the cooling globe (the earliest geologists), a different distribution of land and water (Lyell), variations in the eccentricity of the earth's orbit (Herschell and. Croll), changes in the earth's axis (Evans, Drayson, Bell), and the greater intensity of the sun's heat; Sir W Thomson, 'Trans. Geolog. Soc.,' Glasgow, 1877). The Biblical narrative, by distinctly teaching that the sun was perfected on the fourth day, renders it intelligible that his influence on the surface of the earth was then at its greatest, causing tropical climates to prevail and tropical vegetation to abound, both of which have gradually disappeared from the polar regions in consequence of the sun's diminished heat. It remains only to note that the Chaldean Genesis preserves a striking reminiscence of this day's work; the obverse of the fifth creation tablet reading -
1. It was delightful, all that was fixed by the great gods,
2. Stars, their appearance (in figures) of animals he arranged.
3. To fix the year through the observation of their constellations.
4. Twelve months (or signs) of stars in three rows he arranged.
5. From the day when the year commences unto the close.
6. He marked the positions of the wandering stars (planets) to shine in their courses.
12. The god Uru (the moon) he caused to rise out, the night he overshadowed,
13. To fix it also for the light of the night, until the shining of the day.
19. When the god Shamas (the sun) in the horizon of heaven in the east.
20. formed beautifully and . .
21. to the orbit Shamas was perfected. "It appears that the Chaldean record contains the review and expression of satisfaction at the head of each tablet, while the Hebrew has it at the close of each act" ('Chaldean Genesis,' pp. 69-73).
Day five. The waters and the air, separated on the second day, are on this filled with their respective inhabitants. And God said. Nature never makes an onward movement, in the sense of an absolutely new departure, unless under the impulse of the word of Elohim. These words distinctly claim that the creatures of the sea and of the air, even if evolved from material elements, were produced in obedience to Divine command, and not spontaneously generated by the potentia vitae of either land, sea, or sky. Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature. Literally, swarm with swarmers, or crawl with crawlers. The fundamental signification of sharatz is to creep or swarm, and hence to multiply (Gesenius); or, vice versa, to multiply in masses, and hence to swarm or abound (Furst; cf. Genesis 8:17; Exodus 1:7; Exodus 8:3). The sheretzim, though including small aquatic creatures that have short or no legs, are obviously "all kinds of living creatures inhabiting either land or water which are oviparous and remarkable for fecundity" (Bush). We may, therefore, understand the creative fiat of the fifth day as summoning first into existence the insect creation (in Leviticus 11:20-23 defined as flying sheretzim), the fishes of the sea (sheretzim of the waters, Leviticus 11:9, 10), and the reptiles and saurians of sea and land (sheretzim of the land, Leviticus 11:41, 42). Dawson concludes that "the prolific animals of the fifth day's creation belonged to the three Cuvierian sub-kingdoms of the radiata articulata, mollusca, and to the classes of fish and reptiles among the vertebrata. That hath life. Nephesh chayyah; literally, a living breath. Here the creatures of the sea are distinguished from all previous creations, and in particular from vegetation, as being possessed of a vital principle. This does not, of course, contradict the well-known truth that plants are living organisms. Only the life principle of the animal creation is different from that of the vegetable kingdom. It may be impossible by the most acute microscopic analysis to differentiate the protoplasmic cell of vegetable matter from that of animal organisms, and plants may appear to be possessed of functions that resemble those of animals, yet the two are generically different - vegetable protoplasm never weaving animal texture, and plant fiber never issuing from the loom of animal protoplasm. That which constitutes an animal is the possession of respiratory organs, to which, doubtless. there is a reference in the term nephesh from naphash, to breathe. And fowl that may fly. Literally, let "winged creatures" fly. The fowls include all tribes covered with feathers that can raise themselves hate the air. The English version produces the impression that they were made from the waters, which is contrary to Genesis 2:19. The correct rendering disposes of the difficulty. Above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. Not above the firmament like the clouds (Von Bohlen, Baumgarten), but in the concave vault (Tuch, Delitzsch), or before the surface of the expanse (Kalisch).
Verse 21. - And God created (bara, is in ver. 1, to indicate the introduction of an absolutely new thing, viz., the principle of animal life) great whales. Tanninim, from tanan; Greek, τείνω; Latin, tendo; Sansc., tan, to stretch. These were the first of the two classes into which the sheretzim of the previous verse were divided. The word is used of serpents (Exodus 7:9; Deuteronomy 32:33; Psalm 91:13; Jeremiah 51:34), of the crocodile (Ezekiel 29:3; Ezekiel 32:2), and may therefore here describe "great sea monsters" in general: τὰ κ´τη τὰ μεγάλα (LXX.); "monstrous crawlers that wriggle through the water or scud along the banks (Murphy); whales, crocodiles, and other sea monsters (Delitzsch); gigantic aquatic and amphibious reptiles (Kalisch, Macdonald). And every living creature (nephesh chayyah) which moveth. Literally, the moving, from ramas, to move or creep. This is the second class of sheretzim. The term remes is specially descriptive. of creeping animals (Genesis 9:2), either on land (Genesis 7:14) or in water (Psalm 69:35), though here it clearly signifies aquatic tribes. Which the waters brought forth abundantly after their kind. The generic terms are thus seen to include many distinct orders and species, created each after its kind. And every winged fowl after his kind. Why fowls and fish were created on the same day is rot to be explained by any supposed similarity between the air and the water (Luther, Lyra, Calvin. etc. or any fancied resemblance between the bodily organisms of birds and fishes, but by the circumstance that the firmament and the waters were separated on the second day, to which it was designed that this day should have a correspondence. And God saw that it was good. As in every other instance, the productions of this day approve themselves to the Divine Creator's judgment; but on this day he marks his complacency by a step which he takes for the first time, viz., that of pronouncing a benediction on the newly-created tribes. Nothing could more evince the importance which, in the Creator's judgment, attached to this day's work.
Verse 22. - And God blessed them. To bless is to wish well to (Genesis 27:4; Numbers 6:23). In the case of God blessing inanimate things, it signifies to make them to prosper and be abundant (Exodus 23:25; Job 1:10; Psalm 65:11). The nature of the blessing pronounced upon the animal creation had reference to their propagation and increase. Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. The paronomastic combination, be fruitful and multiply, became a regular formula of blessing (cf. Genesis 24:60; Genesis 35:11; Genesis 48:4; Psalm 128:3, 4). The Divine benediction was not simply a wish; but, adds Calvin, "by the bare intimation of his purpose he effects what men seek by entreaty." Nor was it meaningless that the words of benediction were addressed to the creatures; it was designed to teach that the "force of the Divine word was not meant to be transient, but, being infused into their natures, to take root and constantly bear fruit" (Calvin).
Verse 23. - And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. If of the previous creative days geological science has only doubtful traces, of this it bears irrefragable witness. When the first animal life was Introduced upon our globe may be said to be as yet sub judice. Principal Dawson inclines to claim for the gigantic foraminifer, eozoon canadense, of the Laurentian rocks, the honor of being one of the first aquatic creatures that swarmed in terrestrial waters, though Professor Huxley believes that the earliest life is not represented by the oldest known fossils ('Critiques and Addresses,' 9:1873); but, whether then or at some point of time anterior introduced, geology can trace it upwards through the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras with the result that is here so exactly defined. Throughout the long ages that fill the interval between the Azoic period of our earth's history and that which witnessed the appearance of the higher animals she is able to detect an unbroken succession of aquatic life, rising gradually from lower to higher forms - from the trilobites and mollusks of the Cambrian and Silurian systems, up through the ganoid fishes of the Devonian and the amphibians of the Carboniferous to the saurian reptiles of the Permian periods. At this point certain ornithic tracks in the superincumbent Triassic strata reveal the introduction upon the scene of winged creatures, and with this accession to its strength and Volume the stream of life flows on till the higher animals appear. Thus geology confirms the Scripture record y attesting
(1) the priority of marine animals and birds to land animals;
(2) the existence of a period when the great sea monsters, with the smaller aquatic tribes and winged fowls of the air, were the sole living creatures on the globe; and
(3) that, precisely as Elohim designed life has continued in unbroken succession since the time of its first introduction. It may also be noted that the Palaeontological history of the earth s crust suggests a number of considerations that enable us to form a conception of the fifth day's work, which, though not contravened by the Mosaic narrative, is yet by it not explicitly disclosed. For example, whereas it might seem to be the teaching of the inspired writer that the tanninim, the tomes, and the birds were created simultaneously, and so were synchronous in their appearance, the testimony of the rocks rather points to a series of creative acts in which successive species of living creatures were summoned into being, as the necessary conditions of existence were prepared for their reception, and indeed with emphasis asserts that the order of creation was not, as in ver. 21, first the great sea monsters, and then the creepers, and then the birds; but first the smaller aquatic tribes, and then the monsters of the deep, and finally the winged creatures of the air. This, however, is not to contradict, but to elucidate, the word of God.
Verse 24. - Day six. Like day three, this is distinguished by a double creative act, the production of the higher or land animals and the creation of man, of the latter of which it is perhaps permissible to see a mute prediction in the vegetation which closed the first half of the creative week. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind. In these words the land animals are generically characterized as nephesh chayyah, or animated beings; in the terms which follow they are subdivided into three well-defined species or classes. Cattle. Behemah; literally, the dumb animal, i.e. the larger grass-eating quadrupeds. And creeping thing. Remes; the moving animal, i.e. the smaller animals that move either without feet or with feet that are scarcely perceptible, such as worms, insects, reptiles. Here it is land-creepers that are meant, the remes of the sea having been created on the previous day. And beast of the earth (chayyah of the earth) after his kind. i.e. wild, roving, carnivorous beasts of the forest. In these three comprehensive orders was the earth commanded to produce its occupants; which, however, no more implied that the animals were to be developed from the soil than were the finny tribes generated by the sea. Simply in obedience to the Divine call, and as the product of creative energy, they were to spring from the plastic dust as being essentially earth-born creatures. And it was so. Modern evolutionists believe they can conceive - they have never yet been able to demonstrate - the modus operandi of the supreme Artificer in the execution of this part of the sixth day's work. Revelation has not deemed it needful to do more than simply state that they were - not, by an evolutionary process carried on through inconceivably long periods of time, developed from the creatures of the fifth day, but - produced directly from the soil by the fiat of Elohim.
Verse 25. - And God made (asah, not beta, the principle of life being not now introduced for the first time, as in ver. 21) the beast of the earth (the chayyah) after his kind, and cattle (behemah) after their kind, and every thing that creepeth on the earth (literally, every reraes of the ground) after his kind. The order of creation (ver. 25) differs from that in which they were summoned into existence (ver. 24). The latter may be the order of time, the former the order of rank; or there may have been two divisions of the work, in the former of which the herbivora took the lead, and in the latter the carnivora. According to the witness of geology, "the quadrupeds did not all come forth together. Large and powerful herbivore first take the field, with only a few carnivora. These pass away. Other herbivora, with a larger proportion of carnivora, next appear. These also are exterminated, and so with others. Then the carnivora appear in vast numbers and power, and the herbivore also abound. Moreover, these races attain a magnitude and number far surpassing all that now exist. As the mammalian age draws to a close, the ancient carnivora and herbivora of that era all pass away, excepting, it is believed, a few that are useful to man. New creations of smaller size people the groves" (Dana. Quoted by Dawson, 'O.W.' p. 224). And God saw that it was good. As in the third day's work each branch is sealed by the Divine approbation, so in this. The creation of the higher animals completed the earth's preparation for the advent of man; to which, doubtless, the Creator's commendation of his finished work had a special reference. Everything was in readiness for the magnum opus which was to close his creative labor and crown his completed cosmos.
Verse 26. - The importance assigned in the Biblical record to the creation of man is indicated by the manner in which it is introduced. And God said, Let us make man. Having already explained the significance of the term Elohim, as suggesting the fullness of the Divine personality, and foreshadowing the doctrine of the Trinity (ver. 1), other interpretations, such as that God takes counsel with the angels (Philo, Aben Ezra, Delitzsch), or with the earth (Maimonides, M. Gerumlius), or with himself (Kalisch), must be set aside in favor of that which detects in the peculiar phraseology an allusion to a sublime concilium among the persons of the Godhead (Calvin, Macdonald, Murphy). The object which this concilium contemplated was the construction of a new creature to be named Adam; descriptive of either his color, from adam, to be red, (Josephus, Gesenius, Tuch, Hupfeld); or his appearance, from a root in Arabic which signifies "to shine," thus making Adam "the brilliant one;" or his compactness, both as an individual and as a race, from another Arabic root which means "to bring or hold together" (Meier, Furst); or his nature as God's image, from dam, likeness (Eichorn, Richers); or, and most probably, his origin, from adamah, the ground (Kimchi, Rosenmüller, Kalisch). In our image, after our likeness. The precise relationship in which the nature of the Adam about to be produced should stand to Elohim was to be that of a tselem (shadow - vid. Psalm 39:7; Greek, σκιά σκίασμα) and a damuth (likeness, from damah, to bring together, to compare - Isaiah 40:8). As nearly as possible the terms are synonymous. If any distinction does exist between them, perhaps tselem (image) denotes the shadow outline of a figure, and damuth (likeness) the correspondence or resemblance of that shadow to the figure. The early Fathers were of opinion that the words were expressive of separate ideas: image, of the body, which by reason of its beauty, intelligent aspect, and erect stature was an adumbration of God; likeness, of the soul, or the intellectual and moral nature. According to Augustine image had reference to the cognitio veritatis; likeness to amor virtutis. Irenaeus, Clement, and Origen saw in the first man nature as originally created, and in the second what that nature might become through personal ethical conflict, or through the influence of grace. Bellarmine thought "imaginem in natura, similitudinem in probitate et justitia sitam esse," and conceived that "Adamum peccando non imaginem Dei, sed similitudinero perdidisse." Havernick suggests that image is the concrete, and likeness the abstract designation of the idea. Modern expositors generally discover no distinction whatever between the words; in this respect following Luther, who renders an image that is like, and Calvin, who denies that any difference exists between the two. As to what in man constituted the imago Dei, the reformed theologians commonly held it to have consisted
(1) in the spirituality of his being, as an intelligent and free agent;
(2) in the moral integrity and holiness of his nature; and
(3) in his dominion over the creatures (cf. West. Conf., Genesis 4:2).
In this connection the profound thought of Maimonides, elaborated by Tayler Lewis (vial. Lunge, in loco), should not be overlooked, that tselem is the specific, as opposed to the architectural, form of a thing; that which inwardly makes a thing what it is, as opposed to that external configuration which it actually possesses. It corresponds to the rain, or kind, which determines species among animals. It is that which constitutes 'the genus homo. And let them have dominion. The relationship of man to the rest of creation is now defined to be one of rule and supremacy. The employment of the plural is the first indication that not simply an individual was about to be called into existence, but a race, comprising many individuals The range of man's authority is farther specified, and the sphere of his lordship traced by an enumeration in ascending order, from the lowest to the highest, of the subjects placed beneath his sway. His dominion should extend over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air (literally, the heavens), and over the cattle (the behemah), and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing (romeo) that creepeth upon the earth.
Verse 27. - So (or and) God created (bars, as in vers. 1, 21, q.v.) man (literally; the Adam referred to in ver. 26) in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. The threefold repetition of the term "created" should be observed as a significant negation of modern evolution theories as to the descent of man, and an emphatic proclamation of his Divine original. The threefold parallelism of the members of this verse is likewise suggestive, as Umbreit, Ewald, and Delitzsch remark, of the jubilation with which the writer contemplates the crowning work of Elohim's creative word. Murphy notices two stages in man's creation, the general fact being stated in the first clause of this triumphal song, and the two particulars - first his relation to his Maker, and second his sexual distinction - in its other members. In the third clause Luther sees an intimation "that the woman also was created by God, and made a partaker of the Divine image, and of dominion over all."
Verse 28. - And God blessed them. Not him, as LXX. As on the introduction of animal life the Divine Creator conferred on the creatures his blessing, so when the first pair of human beings are formed they are likewise enriched by their Creator's benediction. And God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply. As in the case of the lower creatures the Divine blessing had respect in the first instance to the propagation and perpetuation of the species, "which blessing," says Calvin, "may be regarded as the source from which the human race has flowed," a thought in full accord with Scripture teaching generally (cf. Psalm 127:3); yet by making one man and one woman an important distinction was drawn between men and beasts as regards the development of their races and the multiplication of their kind (Malachi 2:7). "Carte fraenum viris et mulieribus non laxavit, at in vagus libidines ruerent, absque delectu et pudore; seda sancto castoque conjugio incipiens, descendit ad generationem" (Calvin). And replenish the earth. The new-created race was intended to occupy the earth. How far during the first age of the world this Divine purpose was realized continues matter of debate (Genesis 10.). After the Flood the confusion of tongues effected a dispersion of the nations over the three great continents of the old world. At the present day man has wandered to the ends of the earth. Yet vast realms lie unexplored, waiting his arrival. This clause may be described as the colonist's charter. And subdue it. The commission thus received was to utilize for his necessities the vast resources of the earth, by agricultural and mining operations, by geographical research, scientific discovery, and mechanical invention. And have dominion over the fish of the sea, &c. i.e. over the inhabitants of all the elements. The Divine intention with regard to his creation was thus minutely fulfilled by his investiture with supremacy over all the other works of the Divine hand. Psalm 8. is the "lyric echo" of this original sovereignty bestowed on man.
Verse 29. - Provision for the sustenance of the newly-appointed monarch and his subjects is next made. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. Of the three classes into which the vegetable creation was divided, grass, herbs, and trees (ver. 12), the two last were assigned to man for food. Macdonald thinks that without this express conveyance man would have been warranted to partake of them for nourishment, warranted by the necessities of his nature. The same reasoning, however, would have entitled him to kill the lower animals if he judged them useful for his support. Murphy with more truth remarks, "Of two things proceeding from the same creative hand, neither has any original or inherent right to interfere in any way with the other. The absolute right to each lies in the Creator alone. The one, it is true, may need the other to support its life, as fruit is needful to man; and, therefore, the just Creator cannot make one creature dependent for subsistence on another without granting to it the use of that other. But this is a matter between Creator and creature, and not by any means between creature and creature." The primitive charter of man's common property in the earth, and all that it contains, is the present section of this ancient document. Among other reasons for the formal conveyance to man of the herbs and trees may be noted a desire to keep him mindful of his dependent condition. Though lord of the creation, he was yet to draw the means of his subsistence from the creature which he ruled. Whether man was a vegetarian prior to the fall is debated. On the one hand it is contended that the original grant does not formally exclude the animals, and, in fact, says nothing about man's relation to the animals (Macdonald); that we cannot positively affirm that man's dominion over the animals did not involve the use of them for food (Murphy); and that as men offered sacrifices from their flocks, it is probable they ate the flesh of the victims (Calvin), On the other hand it is argued that the Divine language cannot be held as importing morn than it really says, arid that Genesis 9:3 distinctly teaches that man's right to the animal creation dates from the time of Noah (Kalisch, Knobel, Alford, &c.). Almost all nations have traditions of a golden age of innocence, when men abstained from killing animals (cf. Ovid, 'Met.,' 1:103-106). Scripture alone anticipates a. time when such shall again be a characteristic of earth's inhabitants (Isaiah 11:7; Isaiah 65:25).
Verse 30. - And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat. The first of the three classes of plants, grass, was assigned to the animals for food. From this Delitzsch infers that prior to the introduction of sin the animals were not predaceous. The geological evidence of the existence of death in prehistoric times is, however, too powerful to be resisted; and the Biblical record itself enumerates among the pre-adamic animals the chayyah of the field, which clearly belonged to the carnivora. Perhaps the most that can be safely concluded from the language is "that it indicates merely the general fact that the support of the whole animal kingdom is based on vegetation" (Dawson).
Verse 31. - And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. Literally, lo! good very! Not simply good, but good exceedingly. It is not man alone that God surveys, but the completed cosmos, with man as its crown and glory, decu, set tutamen. "It is not merely a benediction which he utters, but an expression of admiration, as we may say without any fear of the anthropomorphism - Euge, bone proclare!" (T. Lewis). And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. It seems unnecessary to add that this clay corresponds to the Cainozoic or tertiary era of geology, the Palaeontological remains of which sufficiently attest the truth of the Divine record in asserting that animals were anterior to man in their appearance on the earth, and that man is of comparatively recent origin. The alleged evidence of prehistoric man is too fragmentary and hypothetical to be accepted as conclusive; and yet, so far as the cosmogony of the present chapter is concerned, there is nothing to prevent the belief that man is of a much more remote antiquity than 6000 years. As of the other days, so of this the Chaldean tablets preserve an interesting monument. The saventh in the creation series, of which a fragment was discovered in one of the trenches at Konyunjik, runs: -
1. When the gods in their assembly had created....
2. Were delightful the strong monsters...
3. They caused to be living creatures...
4. Cattle of the field, beasts of the field, and creeping things of the field ....
5. They fixed for the living creatures...
6. Cattle and creeping thing of the city they fixed....
And the god Nin-si-ku (the lord of noble face) caused to be two... in which it is not difficult to trace an account of the creation of the animal kingdom, and of the first pair of human beings.