Essay on The Holy Bible - Genesis, Chapter One

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Genesis - Chapter One as an Executive Summary

“In the beginning…” Genesis 1:1

Acknowledging a beginning in the first sentence of any text is in itself indicative of the nature of the text as a whole. It is an acknowledgement of a creation. It is an admission that what is has not always existed and that a higher power is at work. Genesis begins with this phrase as a reminder of the existence of God; it emphasizes the fact that man is not alone. Dually, the phrase also is indicative of the nature of the Book of Genesis, and as the first book of the Bible it sets the frame for the entire text. “In the beginning…” illustrates the importance of the themes introduced in Chapter One—they form the structural basis of Genesis and are consistently emphasized throughout the book. The Book of Genesis begins with the Creation account that offers a set of detailed instructions as to how humans are to live and view their lives. Genesis Chapter One is an introduction of every theme that is to be addressed in depth throughout the book and, although mythological in its narrative style, it constructs the main point of Genesis while the remaining forty-nine chapters supplement and elaborate upon the first account of the Creation.

The overall account of the Creation in Chapter One is notable for its order, especially its ordering according to spatial differentiation and different levels of detail. It begins with God organizing the universe by the separation of the heaven from the earth, the light from the dark, the sea from dry land. After all of the major divisions are completed, God begins to organize within the new spaces. He deals first with the earth and then with the sky. The whole earth is made to bring forth plants, then the heavenl...

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... of what will occur in the remainder of Genesis. Not only does it provide an account of a beginning through creation, but it also offers a summary of the beginning of humanity in the full maturation of its blessing. Human beings are separated from beasts through this blessing because humans are the only creation that plays an active role in their own creation. It is not until the blessing is delivered and realized that human beings are fully formed, and they themselves must play an active role in its actualization. An understanding of the blessing is an understanding of what it is to be a human. The first creation account is not only a summary of the rest of the book, but a summation of how humanity can be achieved.


1 The Holy Bible, Authorized (King James) Version.
2 I am indebted to Mr. Rob Geis for this point given in his lecture on 11 May 2004.

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