Today Day One begins at sundown Saturday & ends at sundown Sunday.
When elohiym began changing things that existed to make the Heavens and the Earth the Earth did not exists, darkness was over the surface of deep waters and the presence of elohiym hovered over the surface of the waters.
← ← ← Hebrew is read from right to left. ← ← ←
The Hebrew word above is transliterated into English “elohiym” (pronounced EL-OH-HEEM). Download our free Hebrew-English Transliterator by clicking here.
In English translations of Jewish and Christian Scriptures elohiym has been translated God, god, gods, goddess, goddesses, angels, rulers, and judges.1 But, a study of the choices translators make often reveals the influences of their religious beliefs on the decisions of which English words to choose as translations of Hebrew and Greek words. Our goal is to let the context in which words appear reveal their meanings – contextual definitions.
In this context, elohiym is an unnamed entity that will create the Heavens and the Earth. This makes elohiym a supernatural entity, but we know nothing else about It before the moment It begins creating. We call elohiym an “It” because the English pronouns “he” or “she” do not accurately reflect what we will learn about elohiym.
The Hebrew word translated "create" means "to create by changing the shape or form of things that exists." It does not mean “to create out of nothing.” This is the first thing we learn about elohiym -- It changes things that exist to create new things.
In the context of the first two verses we discover that four things existed before elohiym began creating:
3. deep waters
4. a space above the surface of the deep waters
And elohiym said: “/OR exist!” And /OR existed.
The basic meanings of “/OR” are “brightness” from a body (sun, lightning, fire) that is translated “light;” “live” (metaphorically “life”).2 Since the sun, lightning and fire do not exists, the body from which this brightness originated is elohiym. Below is our translation.
And elohiym said: “Brightness of life exists!”
And “brightness of life” existed.
This gives us a new insight on the meaning of “darkness.” It is a state without “the brightness of life” – a dark lifeless state.
And elohiym saw the “brightness of life,
that it was TOV.
After the creation of “the brightness of life” elohiym observed it and measured it by a standard – and it measured TOV.
TOV is traditionally translated “good,” but “good” is one of those English words with a wide range of meanings -- morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; well-behaved; fertile.3 I was visiting with an Israeli professor who taught Hebrew at a university and asked her about the meaning of TOV. She provided a number of valuable insights:
“TOV is something that is seen; it is something that is visible and concrete, not intangible abstractions. TOV is “beautiful and pleasant to elohiym’s eyes.”
This reveals something new about elohiym – elohiym examines the results of Its actions and measures what it sees with the TOV Standard.
And elohiym distinguished between the brightness of life and between the darkness.
Now we learn that elohiym makes distinctions between things that exist. This is the foundational principle of knowledge. By making distinctions elohiym introduces knowledge into the creation account.
It is important to recognize that the creation of “the brightness of life” did not end “darkness.” They both will continue to exist as parts of the creation.
It was not elohiym’s intention that there should be perpetual life and no lifelessness at all, but that life and lifelessness should operate consecutively for given periods and in an unchanging order.4
And elohiym named the brightness of life “Day,” and darkness It named “Night.”
And it was evening and it was morning, Day One.
According to the conception current in the ancient East, the name of a thing was to be identified with its essential nature and existence; hence to name a thing meant to bring it into being. “Day” and “night” are the first memes in story. The brightness of life and darkness exist in the objective reality of the story without names. “Naming” bestows meanings upon the things that exists and reveals the functions for which they were created to fulfill:
1. Night is to function as evening.
2. Day is to function as morning.
3. Each cycle of Night and Day in a sequence of seven cycles that will later be named “Week,” has the same name as the morning – Day One, Day Two, Day Three, etc.
This introduces time into the creation and begins a perpetual cycle of lifelessness and the brightness of life. Sunset and sunrise are perpetual reminders of the events that took place on the First Day of Creation.
First, let’s review what the context of the First Day revealed about elohiym.
1. It exists in the space above the surface of the deep waters.
2. It exists with darkness and deep waters.
3. It creates by changing things that exist.
4. It speaks.
5. It changed darkness by creating “the brightness of life.”
6. It makes distinctions between things that exist by observing them.
7. It measures the result of Its actions by a standard -- the TOV Standard.
7. It names things and bestows functions upon things that it observes.
Second, let’s review what we discovered about the contextual meaning of TOV:
1. “The brightness of life” is TOV
2. “Functioning according to the purpose elohiym created it” is TOV.
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1 A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament by William L. Holladay; William E. Eerdmans Publishing Company; Grand Rapids, Michigan; © 1971 E. J. Brill, Leiden, Netherlands; page 16b.
2 A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament; p. 16b.
4 A Commentary on the Book of Genesis: Part One From Adam to Noah by Umberto Cassuto; p. 26.
5 A Commentary on the Book of Genesis: Part One From Adam to Noah by Umberto Cassuto; p. 26.