This section introduces the whole Pentateuch. It shows how God brought an orderly universe out of primordial chaos.
The abyss: the primordial ocean according to the ancient Semitic cosmogony. After God's creative activity, part of this vast
body forms the salt‐water seas (vv 9f
); part of it is the fresh water under the earth (Ps 33, 7; Ez 31, 4
), which wells forth on the earth as springs and fountains (Gn 7, 11; 8, 2; Prv 3, 20
). Part of it, “the upper water” (Ps 148, 4; Dn 3, 60
), is held up by the dome of the sky (Gn 1, 6f
) from which rain descends on the earth (Gn 7, 11; 2 Kgs7, 2. 19; Ps 104, 13
). A mighty wind: literally, “a wind of God,” or “a spirit of God”; cf Gn 8, 1
In ancient Israel a day was considered to begin at sunset. According to the highly artificial literary structure of Gn 1, 1–2, 4a
, God's creative activity is divided into six days to teach the sacredness of the sabbath rest on the seventh day in the Israelite
religion (Gn 2, 2f
Man is here presented as the climax of God's creative activity; he resembles God primarily because of the dominion God gives
him over the rest of creation.
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