Old Testament: Genesis 1:1-2:4a (Trinity Sunday: Series A)

Reading Time: 3 mins

Before the Fall the waters were one dimensional—they gave life. After the Fall, another dimension is added. The waters kill/drown and they give life. This becomes the New Testament language of Baptism.

The Old Testament Lesson for Trinity Sunday is written in the first book of the Torah, Genesis. The text is Genesis 1:1-2:4a and comprises the entire first “toldoth” (תוֹלְדוֹת) plus the beginning of the second of these Genesis narratives. A “toldoth” is most likely a patriarchal record or story. These are traditions handed down, either orally or in written form. Moses, inspired by God took these “toldoth” (אֵלֶּה תוֹלְדוֹת “these are the generations”) and put them together for the first book of the Torah. 2:4a is actually the first verse of the second toldoth of Scripture. This is important to understand so we do not fall into the trap of thinking of two distinct and different creations. There are two accounts of the same creation each told from a different focus. The first account 1:1-2:3 is a chronological account while the second 2:4-4:26 centers around the crown of God’s creation, man.

Another aspect to note is the bringing of life out of the waters. Before the Fall the waters were one dimensional—they gave life. After the Fall, another dimension is added. The waters kill/drown and they give life. See the Flood account, the crossing of the Red Sea, etc. This becomes the New Testament language of Baptism. The Old Adam is drowned in the waters and a New Adam rises to life—death and life in the waters.

Since this is Holy Trinity Sunday we also note the Trinitarian aspects of this pericope. In verses 1-3 God created in verse one. Verse two the Spirit of God hovered. Verse three God said; the Word of God (the Son) spoke the world into existence. In verse 26 we read, “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness.” The use of the plural has long been considered evidence of the “Three in One” nature of God.

Image and likeness (vs 26-27) have caused a lot of discussion over the course of time. Considering Hebrew verse structure this appears to be an example of Step/Dynamic parallelism as oppose to Static parallelism. Static would mean image and likeness are equivalents, but Step/Dynamic would suggest they are similar but having specific nuances and meaning unique to themselves. Step/Dynamic parallelism is much more common in the OT Scriptures. Unfortunately, there is not enough time and space to go into what each means. I am hopeful John Kleinig will deal with this in his new book soon to be published by Lexham Press.

1:1 בְּרֵאשִׁית. (be-re-Shit) “In the beginning” This is the official/Hebrew title of the Book.

בָּרָא (ba-Ra) Qal: “to create; to make something out of nothing” Only God can create.

1:2 תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ (tohu va-Vohu) “formless and void” Used elsewhere only in Jeremiah.

מְרַחֶפֶת (me-ra-Che-fet) root: רחף (raw-khaf) Piel, participle: “to hover; to brood”

1:4 וַיַּבְדֵּל (vai-yav-Del) root: בדל (baw-dal) Hiphil: “to separate; to divide from”

1:6 רָקִיעַ (ra-Ki-a) “firmament; expanse”

1:9 יִקָּווּI (yik-ka-Vu) root: קוה (kaw-vaw) Niphal: “to be collected; to be assembled; to be gathered”

הַיַּבָּשָׁה; (hai-yab-ba-Shah) “dry land; mainland”

1:10 וּלְמִקְוֵה (u-le-mik-Veh) “collected mass; collecting place; gathering place”

1:11 תַּדְשֵׁא; (tad-She) root: דשׁא (daw-shaw) Hiphil: “to cause to sprout; to shoot forth”

דֶּשֶׁא (De-she) “grass; vegetation”

עֵשֶׂבe (E-sev) “herbage; weed; plants”

מַזְרִיעַ; (maz-Ri-a) root: זרע (zaw-rah) Hiphil: “to produce; to yield”

לְמִינוֹ. (le-mi-No) from: מין (meen) “type; species; kind”

1:14 מְאֹרֹת (me-o-Rot) “light; luminary”

לְאֹתֹת. (le-o-Tot) “sign; omen; token”

1:15 לְהָאִיר. (le-ha-Ir) root: אור (ore) Hiphil: “to give light; to shine”

1:16 לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת. (le-mem-She-let) “dominion; rule”

הַקָּטֹן; (hak-ka-Ton) “small; lesser”

הַכּוֹכָבִים; (hak-ko-cha-Vim) from: כּוֹכב (ko-kawb) “star” “and the stars”

1:18 וְלִמְשֹׁל (ve-lim-Shol) root: משׁל (maw-shal) Qal: “to rule; to have dominion over”

1:19 רְבִיעִי> (re-vi-I) “fourth”

1:20 יִשְׁרְצוּ (yish-re-Tzu) root: שׁרץ (shaw-rats) Qal: “to creep; to move; to teem; to swarm”

וְעוֹף (ve-Of) “birds; flying creatures”

יְעוֹפֵף> (ye-o-Fef) root: עוף (oof) Polel: “to fly; to fly about; to flutter”

1:21 וַיִּבְרָא: (vai-yiv-Ra) Qal: “to create”

הַתַּנִּינִם (hat-tan-ni-Nim) “sea monsters; sea creatures”

הָרֹמֶשֶׂת (ha-ro-Me-set) root: רמשׂ (raw-mas) Qal: “to arise; to be aroused; to glide about”

1:22 פְּרוּ (pe-Ru) root: פרה (paw-raw) Qal: “to be fruitful”

1:23 חֲמִישִׁי (cha-mi-Shi) “fifth”

1:24 וָרֶמֶשׂ (va-Re-mes) “creeping things”

וְחַיְתוֹ (ve-chay-tov) “wild animals; beasts”

1:26 בְּצַלְמֵנוּ. (be-tzal-Me-nu) “image” “in our image”

כִּדְמוּתֵנוּ (kid-mu-Te-nu) “likeness; shape” “according to our likeness”

וְיִרְדּוּ> (ve-yir-Du) root: רדה (raw-daw) Qal: “to rule; to have dominion”

בִדְגַת (vid-Gat) “fish” “over the fish”

1:27 זָכָר (za-Char) “male”

וּנְקֵבָה (u-ne-ke-Vah) “female”

1:28 וְכִבְשֻׁהָ> (ve-chiv-Shu-ha) root: כבשׁ (kaw-bash) Qal: “to subdue; to dominate; to have dominion over”

הָרֹמֶשֶׂת (ha-ro-Me-set) root: רמשׂ (raw-mas) Qal: “to arise; to be aroused; to move about”

1:29 זֹרֵעַ (zo-Re-a) Qal: “to yield; to produce”

לְאָכְלָה (le-och-Lah) “food; nourishment”

1:30 יֶרֶק< (Ye-rek) “greenery; green”

1:31 הַשִּׁשִּׁי (hash-shish-Shi) “sixth”

2:2 הַשְּׁבִיעִי; (hash-she-vi-I) “seventh”

וַיִּשְׁבֹּת: (vai-yish-Bot) root: שׁבת (shaw-bath) Qal: “to rest; to cease; to stop” Thus, the seventh day is called the “Sabbath”, a day of rest—also the number of completion and creation.

2:4a אֵלֶּה תוֹלְדוֹת (El-leh tol-Dot) “these are the generations; these are the accounts”

בְּהִבָּרְאָם. (be-hib-ba-re) root: ברא (baw-raw) Niphal: “to be created”


Additional Resources:

Concordia Theology-Various helps from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO to assist you in preaching Genesis 1:1-2:4a.

Text Week-A treasury of resources from various traditions to help you preach Genesis 1:1-2:4a.