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Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:2 Now the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

When did God speak these waters into being?

Colossians 1:16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.

Isaiah 45:7 I form the light and create darkness.

Psalm 33:6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.

Like angels, these heavenly waters were created in Day 0, i.e., before Day 1, before time was created. The heavenly beginning begins at Day 0. Let there be heavens. Genesis 1:1 is a summary of the creation of the angelic spiritual dimension.

Light and therefore physical time as we know it was created in Day 1. The notation "Day 0" is an event marker, not a 24-hour indicator.

There are two human understandings of the beginning of God in terms of physical time:

Revelation 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Hebrews 7:3 Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

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    +1 for highlighting the fact that 'waters' - the deep - are in the heavens before they appear on earth. Genesis 1 is deeply, deeply spiritual and not - at all - a technical manual of creation. – Nigel J May 17 at 8:02
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    I've found Dr. Mike Heiser and Dr. John Walton to be especially helpful for understanding the creation account(s). Heiser taught a seminar on this topic a few years ago (youtube.com/watch?v=6nqSPFuVxP8). Walton's understanding and explanation is equally phenomenal, he specializes in this. You can buy his book "The Lost World of Genesis One" for around $12 on Amazon. – el_maiz May 17 at 8:32
  • @NigelJ on what do you rest your view that Genesis 1 is “deeply, deeply spiritual” (which seems to imply not physical or descriptive of actual physical events)? Also where does the OP highlight that the “‘water’ - the deep - are in the heavens before they appear on earth”? And therefore, where in Scripture does the deep transfer to the earth (implying no longer present in the heavens)? Thank you – Nihil Sine Deo May 17 at 11:45
  • To me sir Nigel's exactly on the mark when he writes that it's profoundly spiritual. I base that on both my experience, and also Paul and John's application such as 2 Cor 4: Because the God who said, Out of darkness light shall shine, is the One who shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. And Jn 1:1; 1 Jn 1:9. Also the Lord Jesus in Jn 5:39-40 and Paul in 2 Tim 3:16 concerning the function and nature of all Scripture. None of which is to say that it's not also literal, physical, accurate. Just that a "tech manual" is not the focus – Walter S May 17 at 16:38
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    @NihilSineDeo I am Sorry I'm late getting back to your request. I had a very busy last few days and just was aware of your request earlier today. Please let me finish up a couple things and then I'll set an addendum to my answer to this question to prove by scripture that the deep was a single body of mayim contained in a single spherically shaped deep space. – Bill Porter Jul 3 at 20:45
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”When did God speak these waters into being?”

The answer is given in the Hebrew text

בראשׁית ברא אלהים את השׁמים ואת הארץ

The fact is that God ברא (created) the השׁמים (heavens - plural) in (the) בראשׁית and so that’s when the waters were made when the heavens were made.

In Biblical cosmology the heavens were made of water hence המים (waters - also plural) is incorporated in the word השׁמים (heavens)

As such the waters belonged in the heavens because the heavens contained waters and the Spirit of God was over the waters or over the heavens and over the earth for that matter. These were all created בראשׁית (in beginning). And if this is not the beginning then it can’t be called the beginning.

In Conclusion

The waters were created in v1 in the beginning. Because they were part of the heavens which were created in v1 in the beginning at the same time that the earth was created. There was nothing preexistent for if there were (other than God who created them) that would not have been the beginning of creation or the beginning. This therefore means all things in the heavens and the earth are created after this beginning point.

Biblical cosmology

Biblical cosmology does not look like the gnostic Big Bang empty vast expanding vacuum space hypothesis. If this is what you have in mind then you cannot visualize what is being said in v1. The heavens contained the waters therefore the waters could not be a separate uncreated, preexisting entity on their own. Rather when the heavens were created the waters by necessity were created as the heavens contained waters.

Creation And Revelation (apocalypse)

“And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters (think heavens) and let it separate the waters from the waters (think heavens shemayim).” And God made the expanse (sky or first heaven) and separated the waters that were under the expanse (sky, under the firmament holding the waters above in the above two heavens) from the waters that were above the expanse (the waters above the firmament). And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven (singular and the first heaven). And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens (under all the heavens plural, meaning the water on earth is underneath all the heavens) be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:6-9‬

The waters above the expanse/firmament/raquia existed after the world wide flood of Noah

“Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭148:4‬ ‭

This implies there are waters above the heavens, and to have heavens you only need two heavens, so the waters in the third heaven are to praise God

But the waters separating the earth from the third heaven will not be reproduced in the new creation. And it will be removed earlier than we would normally imagine

The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭6:14‬ ‭

The sky separating earth dweller from those above will vanish and it will not be reproduced in the new RE-creation

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭21:1‬

Which sea? The sea dividing and separating the earth from the (3rd) heaven above the sea (in the (1st heaven) sky. The sea being the 2nd heaven today.

In this sense is the text to be understood from a Biblical cosmological view

“waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” ‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭3:12-13‬ ‭

I’ve attempted to illustrate that heavens and waters are indispensable and inseparable throughout the whole Bible. These waters the OP asked about are not separate to the heavens created in v1 of Gen 1

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    I am upgrading this answer because of the general reasonableness of the waters not being separate to the heavens. I only disagree as to the extent of their oneness. They were not only a part of the original creation of "the heaven and the earth", they were the single entire substance of matter, all lying within a single dimension of depth--"the deep." See: Kee, Min Suc, "A study on the dual form of mayim, water.", Jewish Bible Quarterly, at thefreelibrary.com/… – Bill Porter May 21 at 2:11
  • “I only disagree as to the extent of their oneness” I’m going to assume you meant that in general @BillPorter because I don’t agree they are one and the same either. – Nihil Sine Deo May 21 at 2:25
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    What I mean by waters being the entire substance created and named as the heaven and the earth is that if the waters were not all one and the same in substance or in their state of matter throughout the creation, then they would have necessarily already been divided by those difference(s), and there would have been no need for that infamous division of the waters on Day-Two. Additionally, They ALL must NECESSARILY have been invisible--unseen--gaseous-like waters TO BE the substance of which all the visible things hoped for--the worlds-- were made according to Heb. 11:1-3. – Bill Porter May 21 at 2:41
  • @BillPorter that’s assuming that which is seen are all made of the unseen waters. Lest of course the waters themselves were visible and they were made of some thing unseen and invisible, namely the Word. “For by him ALL things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things (including water) were created through him and for him.” ‭‭Col‬ ‭1:16‬ which aligns with the Hebrew idea of mimra, that suggests if the mimra ceased to exist for only one fraction of a second, all that exists would vanish instantly forever – Nihil Sine Deo May 21 at 4:34
  • That assumption is validated by scripture. Is not the earth itself now become visible by reason of the gathering together of the waters under the "hammered out thin" dividing firmament? Before, while the waters were not yet divided, that earthly portion which would become placed under that firmament, were "without form, and void"--like invisible air--unseen--just like the rest of the waters. Gen 1:10 defines: "... the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: ... ." The earth was founded upon the Seas--"the gathering together of the waters" (Genesis 1:10 together with Psalm 24:1-2). – Bill Porter May 21 at 15:59
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As far as a direct read of the text goes, the creation of the waters is not described. It's also interesting to note that the "earth, which was formless and void" as well as the darkness (which will be separated from the light) also seem to pre-exist.

While Isaiah 45:7 (a challenging verse) says that God creates light and darkness. It also says that God creates peace (shalom) and evil (ra).

I form light and create darkness, I make shalom and create evil; I the Lord do all these things.

Isaiah 45:7 comes from the exilic portion of Isaiah (chapter 40-55) which is believed to have been written at about the same time as the Genesis 1 story. It should be noted that major Jewish translators take Genesis 1:1 and translate it as "When God began creating" versus "in the beginning when God created." For example, the wonderful JPS Torah Commentary on Genesis begins with this "When God began" translation.

All that is said to point out that Genesis 1 was likely written as subversive poetry where the deities of the Babylonians as described in their creation myth, the Enuma Elish, were replaced by names of things like "day/night" and "waters/heavens" etc in order to reject the gods of their oppressors. The structure of Genesis 1 is very similar to that of the Babylonian story.

Genesis 1 was not written when there was a doctrine of creation ex nihilo (from nothing). So the translation preferred by modern Jewish scholars "when God began," supports the idea of pre-existing stuff (e.g. the deep, to your question). The waters certainly pre-existed in the Egyptian myths (which clearly predate the Hebrew conceptions of creation). For the ancient Egyptians, Atum-Ra bursts forth FROM the waters of the deep (they pre-existed and birthed the primary God). There was a similar model in the Babylonian creation myth where Marduk slays Tiamat (a pre-existing companion deity) and creates the world from her corpse (heavens above and earth below), stretching it out like a tent.

As with the Isaiah 45:7 verse, we normally don't think of God as "creating evil," (because we have a doctrine of God as Good) but that's exactly what this verse says. God creates evil. The word in hebrew is "ra," the same word used in the "Tree of the knowledge of good and evil (ra)" in Eden in Genesis 2/3. I think it is likely that the Hebrew authors of Genesis 1 in exile assumed that the chaos of the waters of the deep existed along with God when God began creating. They did not have a doctrine of creation from nothing.

But of course, that interpretation has problems for omnipotent monotheism. If there was something God didn't create, then where did it come from? Seems to imply a limit on God's power if that stuff stands on equal footing to God.

To me, the big take-away is that there was a birth of the world from water and spirit. This is the same motif repeated Genesis 2 (man born from water, breath/spirit, and dirt). It's also the same motif we receive in christianity.

Edit: Proverbs 8:22-24

The Lord acquired me [Wisdom/Chokmah/Sophia] at the beginning of his path, the first of his acts of long ago. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.

Here's an additional take. Wisdom was setup before the "depths." This may indicate that the depths were "created," but at the same time, the language here might merely mean that the depths were assembled or "made from pre-existing stuff."

There is a fascinating take here. This proverb is talking about "the beginning of God's path/way." Does this then imply that God had a beginning to his existence? What is "his path?" Guess that is a separate conversation.

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  • does that mean that the depths (abyss)are eternal? For if not made, they must be uncreated and thus, eternal like God. Would the abyss be part of what God is made of based on Ancient Near East concept, if that is even present in the Old Testament? We see heavenly beings made of flames of fire and wind (pneuma) which is also what God is – Radz Matthew C. Brown Jul 2 at 18:17
  • @RadzMatthewC.Brown , I'm not exactly sure. I do know there was a sense of pre-existing waters FROM WHICH the god Atum/Ra burst forth in the egyptian creation stories. His first creations thereafter is from his spit and they are his children, water (tefnut) and wind/spirit/breath (shu). Ra's creation was also a creation via words and begins with waters and spirit co-mingling and being separated. And we know that Both the babylonians and the Israelites were influenced by the ancient civilization of egypt. We should read doctrines such as ex nihilo out of the text, not into it. – Gus L. Jul 2 at 19:42
  • Many ancient creation myths describe a pre-existing cosmic ocean which the deity subdues. This is where you get sea beasts like Leviathan/Taninim/Rahab and Tiamat for the babylonians and Indra (Hindu) conquered the rain and brought it down to earth. – Gus L. Jul 2 at 19:45
  • i am aware that Genesis account does not teach creation ex nihilo. Now based on your comment, the god Atum/Ra burst forth from the pre-existing waters shows that the god came from those waters. However, the next comment shows that there is also a preexisting cosmic ocean where sea beasts are subdued by the god. Is that the same pre-existing waters from where the god and the beasts came from? – Radz Matthew C. Brown Jul 3 at 3:02
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I don't have dates. Apparently at Genesis 1:1 and Isaiah 45:18; 48:13 (by Moses and Isaiah, respectively, written near a millennium apart). When He created this planet, and all matter, ex nihilo (Rm 4:17; Jn 6:9-13--unlike in the vapid un-unique pagan stories which elevate inanimate stuff, such as folk constructed idols out of, to match... the ever-present life): not a waste, but to be inhabited.

Apparently long before Lucifer rebelled against Jehovah and became Satan, the Opponent; and was "cast down." Luke 10:18; Genesis 1:2a. Which was before Genesis 1:2b and the rest of Genesis 1. The motif repeated throughout the Old and New Testaments of God acting, allowing Satan to act, then God recovering.

For thus says Jehovah,

Who created the heavens

He is the God

Who formed the earth and made it;

He established it;

He did not create it waste,

But He formed it to be inhabited:

I am Jehovah and there is no one else...

Indeed, My hand laid the foundations of the earth,

And My right hand spread out the heavens;

When I call to them,

They stand together.

And He said to them, I was watching Satan fall like lightning out of heaven.

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    I think the OP askes about the creation of the waters - whether in that creation week or before! – Dottard May 16 at 21:39
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    The waters in Gen 1:6, 9-10, 20-22, 26, 28 all appear to be the same waters as 1:2. "Part" of the earth, part of the heavens and the earth in that they weren't merely on the earth, 1:6-8. They're "separated" and "gathered," but, just like the dry land itself, nowhere written of as being "spoken into being" in Genesis 1 (itself). So it's apparent to me that just as they figure into God's re-creation/restoration of the earth and heavens in 1:2b-31, so they were originally "spoken into being" with the earth and heavens, in 1:1; Isa 45:18. Thanks for the help – Walter S May 16 at 22:09
  • That is clearly true, but that is not the question above - the question asks, "when were they created" - presumably meaning before creation week or during creation week? – Dottard May 16 at 22:13
  • Thanks again. I'll emphasize that word in my Answer. – Walter S May 16 at 22:19
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    @Dottard the waters were in the heavens or put differently the heavens contained waters, created in the beginning that’s v1. You’re assuming heavens are empty voids of space but the Hebrew word for heaven incorporates waters into its name. Hence the waters/heavens were created in v1 at the beginning when the earth and heavens were created. Because heavens include, have, are made of waters. You’re not thinking Biblical cosmology you’re thinking Big Bang empty vast space hypothesis. But that’s not proper exegesis. Is the OP asking a trick question? The text is plain and simple in Hebrew – Nihil Sine Deo May 17 at 4:56
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When did God create the waters in Genesis 1:2?

Genesis 1:1-2 (NASB)

The Creation

1 "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. "

This means that the heavens, that is the sun and the billions of stars, galaxies, and planets including the earth which was completely covered by waters, were created billions of years before the six creative days on earth, and the Sabbath.

From verse 1:2 the Bible says that at one time the earth’s surface was “formless and void," and its surface was completely covered by waters. This means that there were no continents. But the next words highlight what scientists say is the most important requirement for a life-sustaining planet, an abundance of water. And that God’s spirit was "moving over the surface of the waters."​ (Genesis 1:2)

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  • Downvoter: Are you a tourist to the scriptures? The answer is so obvious in verse two, that the earth was void and covered by deep waters. – Ozzie Ozzie May 18 at 13:12
  • If the earth was without form, and void, how could it hold liquid waters? Make no sense whatsoever. I am NOT the downvoter, but this wild theory of yours claiming that a visible earth and visible waters existed before day-three "does not hold water." – Bill Porter May 20 at 16:13
  • תֹ֙הוּ֙ (tohu-formless) also used for "wasteland in DT. 32:10; Job 6:18, and וָבֹ֔הוּ (void) together with "formless" signifies a state of void of living things. The water was there before the v2. – Sam May 23 at 3:51
  • There was no wasteland--no ra'ah (visible) land whatsoever--no wilderness--only waters--on day-one. תֹ֙הוּ֙ (tohuw) primarily means formlessess--nothingness--empty space. וָבֹ֔הוּ bo'huw (void) is from an unused root meaning to be empty--a vacuity. The state of void that you claim is only the "superfcial" use of bo'huw. God's description combining the two words, to'huw and bo'huw proves His great understanding of the "matter" that He created. It was the single body of invisible, gaseous-like waters that He divided on day-two by a new hammered out thin surface for the earth and the heaven. – Bill Porter May 25 at 2:38
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This great question is central to ALL scripture because the answer to it reveals both the Godhead and the most intricate answers to God’s great work of creation by His WORD. In order to sort this out, you need to decipher between the four work “processes” God used during the first six days of history--created, made, formed, and established. All the wild speculation and conspiracies about eons of days of time lapses between day-one and other days of creation flop dramatically and hopelessly by the plain reading of the text of Genesis. I have written a 33 page paper entitled, “God’s Day-One Creation – a Type of the Word of God”, that is entirely dedicated to those very “waters” mentioned in Genesis 1:2. It is not a difficult paper to read, and it contains full scriptural proof of the contents of my abstract, which I will copy here: (NOTE: I am using the KJV throughout this answer)

Abstract Scriptural analysis reveals that in the beginning of time God initially created a single bounded body of invisible gaseous waters that filled a single spherically shaped area of deep space. Light was quickly made pursuant to a newly decreed Law of Energy and the timespan named Day was established by decree. On Day-Two God made and established a dividing firmament. That firmament initially was a firm decree made to divide the original single body of invisible gaseous waters into two distinct bodies of waters—face to face—one smaller spherically shaped body in the midst of and at the same time under and adjoining the remaining body. He then immediately named that dividing law, Heaven after only one of the two resulting bodies of invisible gaseous waters. On Day-Three God formed the Earth and made the earth’s Seas from the waters under the firmament to manifest this visible earthly world. On Day-Four God made the heavenly lights, worlds, and all matter between them from the heavenly waters above. These things were each suddenly accomplished by the Word of God and were all plainly and reasonably described by that same Word of God so as to reveal both His power and His Godhead in those things that He made. Keywords Waters; creation; created; made; formed; established; firmament; inspection; ‘eth; ve’et; earth; seas; hope; baptism

It is important to note that the waters existed on day one. In fact, the only matter that is shown to have existed on day one was the waters. Moreover all things seen—visible—were made from those invisible waters. Check it out for yourself by the plain reading of the text. The Jewish elders did not speculate about this matter. They UNDERSTOOD the truth by reading the plain text showing that waters was the only matter that God created on Day-One and that those waters were invisible gaseous-like in their “state” having no form whatsoever, and void, or full of void. Hebrews 11:3 does not mince words:

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (My emphasis)

Invisible gaseous-like waters were created on Day-One as a single dual body of matter and called "the heaven and the earth.' Visible liquid waters were later--on Day 3--“made”--not created--not formed. Nowhere in scripture will you find that the liquid waters were created or formed. Light, on the other hand, was not created, but rather formed as "energy." That energy was transformed from the invisible waters by the Spirit of God fluttering over the waters in accordance with God's established Law of Energy.

Isa 45:7: I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (My emphasis)

Both the visible liquid waters and the invisible gaseous-like waters were called “mayim”, a Hebrew dual—inherently two, but always used in the singular sense. Likewise, the noun phrase “the heaven and the earth” of verse one was a single body of matter that held a dual connotation, unlike the earth and the innumerable heavens that were made from those waters. I will quote from page 7 of my paper to show just how those elders UNDERSTOOD about the waters.

The Hebrew definite direct object flag The Biblical Hebrew particle ‘eth (or ‘et), has no direct translation to English, but its function was probably derived from the Hebrew ‘owth, which means a sign, mark, or token. ‘Eth, when placed before nouns in Biblical Hebrew, is used to flag or mark those nouns as being intended as definite direct objects of a certain verb. In Genesis 1:1 the Hebrew text shows that תאֵ (‘eth) is placed before the noun shamayim (heavens) and תוְאֵ (ve’et or, and ‘eth) is placed before the noun ‘erets (earth) to flag or mark shamayim and ‘erets as being ‘joint’ definite direct objects of the verb, bara (created). Those direct objects can be viewed in their joint definite context as that very one Creation which consists of all the matter necessary to make and form all the hoped for finished masterpieces of Genesis 2:1, each of which will always be categorized in Scripture as being either heavenly or earthly—one of the two. That One Creation’s name—the heaven and the earth—provides the token identity of its twosome: (1) the heaven and (2) the earth, from which all of the Genesis 2:1 things were later made and formed—including the physical bodies of the fifth and sixth day creations of living fish, fowl, and man.

Accordingly, those waters provide us with a mere type, or a mere shadow of the WORD of God, not the very WORD Himself. The visible body of that WORD would come later—at a point in time—this day have I begotten thee—Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, the Son of man, the eternal WORD of God.

Per request of @NihilSineDeo An ADDENDUM to my answer show that the Genesis 1:2 Deep was (at least generally) “spherically” shaped

As mentioned above, Gen. 1:1 sets up the entire creation as existed on Day-one.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

That one creation consisted entirely of “mayim” (waters) a Hebrew “duality but ALWAYS used in a “singular” sense.” On Day-One, there was no dry-land earth and were no liquid-water seas. Moreover, there were no (plural) “heavens” such as our sun, moon, stars, etc.—ONLY WATERS. Those waters would later be used to MAKE (NOT FORM) the numerous liquid seas, TO FORM (NOT CREATE) the dry land areas of the earth, and TO FORM (in some cases) and TO MAKE (in other cases) all the heavenly bodies we now see in the heaven, together with all the atmospheres associated with each heavenly body. Accordingly, some early, careful, and attentive transcribers of Hebrew to English text chose to NOT use the term, “heavens” (plural) in verse 1. The Hebrew duality of the word, mayim, that is always used in a singular sense, simply does not allow a plural heavens to make sense.

If you fail to adhere to the WORD of God’s perfect word usage of the terms, “created”, “made”, “formed”, and “established”, you will never, arrive at the truth as to God’s creative acts. He both did it, and He said it the way it actually happened. Yet careless application of the word “create” in the place of God’s select usage of “formed”, or the careless application of the word “create” erroneously used instead of God’s select usage of “made”, will only confuse your understanding of the ONE TRUE God’s perfect description of His creative masterpieces, and how they relate to His own “power and Godhead”, as we see in Romans 1:18-20:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (My emphasis)

Such disregard for God’s express word usage of the word, “made”, yields the untenable claim that God either created or formed the seas, which, of course, were not “created” as such, and do not have any “form” whatsoever. Also, God never claimed ANYWHERE that “liquid water” seas or liquid water bodies were “created”. This is not an attempt to push modern science through scripture. Much of our so-called science only continually amounts to kicking and screaming against the perfect precepts and words of Scripture. For example, there is a huge difference between “creating” man’s spirit, and “forming” man’s physical body. Yet many casual slackers continue to say, or infer that God “created” man out of the dust of the ground. Even in the answers to this OP’s question there are many instances of rampant disregard for God’s express terms of created, made, formed, and established.

So, were the waters created on Day-One? Well, Genesis 1:1 does not explicitly say that they were. Of course, Scripture does not explicitly say that Melchizedek was created or born either. Yet Hebrews 5:1-4 demands that Melchizedek had to have been a “man” in order to be the “priest of the most high God,” as is claimed in Gen 14:18:

And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.

However, Melchizedek king of Salem was never said to be like Jesus--without sin. He was never said to have been God, or the Son of God. Moreover, Melchizedek was never shown to actually be an “eternal” high priest who offered up his own blood for the sins of the people. He serves ONLY as a type of Christ—continually abiding as priest and king, but not Christ Himself. His beginning of days and end of years was purposely withheld from any record of mankind for the specific purpose of setting the type of the “order” only of Christ’s eternal priesthood, as shown in Psalm 110:4:

The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. (My emphasis)

Nowhere does he ever show up again to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. Every “type” that has been established upon its unique grounds to set that type will be shown to be flawed so as to preclude mistaking the type for the real thing. This was also the case with the flawed King David as a type of the real King of kings. His kingdom passed on to others. Therefore, the waters likewise were created and shall pass away, along with the entire creation of the heaven and the earth, as we see in Mat. 24:35; Mark 13:31; and Luke 16:17, but His words remain UNFLAWED:

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

… together with Acts 14:15:

And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: (My emphasis)

… and also Rev. 21:1:

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (My emphasis)

Notice that the singular usage term, heaven and the singular usage term, earth, are used here in both of the above scriptures just as in Genesis 1:1-2. The sea, and all things therein are included with the heaven and the earth just so that no one gets confused into thinking that “waters” are eternal—that they were not created as being “without form and void” and then “made” liquid waters under the dividing firmament.

Therefore, even though mayim is a beautiful Hebrew dual word that is always used in the singular sense to typify the both the invisible WORD of God that is spirit and life, and the visible WORD of God in the flesh as the Son of God/Son of man, it is finally shown to be just that—a mere type—not the actual thing—not the Eternal Living Waters that we know as Jesus, the Christ.

Everything that God “made” was made from the waters.

You must trace the entire creation backward from its completion on Day-6, back to Day-One’s creation to find out that everything that God “made” was made from the Day-One-created waters, just as all things were made by the WORD. First there was one—and only one body--of waters. That is clearly described just as there is only ONE WORD of God, also clearly described. The waters were not yet divided on Day-One, exactly as the “spirit” WORD of God was not “made” flesh from the beginning. They were both “made” something new—at a later point in time—this day have I begotten thee—even as the seas were only “made” liquid at a later point in time—on Day-Three. Since there was no division of those waters yet on Day-One, THEY MUST HAVE BEEN BOTH ONE AND THE SAME STATE AND TYPE OF MAYIM THROUGHOUT THE DEEP—one body of identical waters.

Some contend that the single body of waters was a mixture of murky earthy matter and liquid water. That cannot be the case according to scripture because the waters would not have been void as God insisted that they were. Others contend that the earth existed on Day-One in a horrid state—uninhabitable and desolate—waste. That assumption is a day dream—a wild imagination--not supported by scripture. By any measure, you cannot establish proof by Scripture of a desolate earth on Day-One—two days before the earth even “made”—one day before the waters were even “divided”.

The deep and the waters were two distinctly different entities of God’s Day-One Creation.

That single Day-One body of waters had to take up space. That space had to be created just as the mayim filling that space was created. The word, “tehowm” is transliterated as “deep.” It was well understood that the tehowm is often associated with mayim, and Gen 1:2 is clearly that case:

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Some claim that the deep was merely “the plentiful body of liquid waters”. That idea must be rejected here in verse two because the deep and the mayim each had a distinctly different paniym (face). “The deep” is clearly used to describe the area of space that the waters filled. The face of the waters and the face of the deep must have been line upon line on Day-One because they properly revealed that there was no portion of the deep that did not have waters in them and that there was no part of the waters existing outside of the face of that deep filled with its waters. This description screams out that there was only ONE body of mayim having its duality of purpose contained within ONE area of deep space to be used as the very substance from which the WORD of God would later “make” all things that could be seen—heavenly things or earthly things—one of the two. This description of the tehowm and the mayim, each having its own unique face, respectively, clearly demands our attention and our acceptance of their individual identities. God not only created the waters, but He also created the space that the waters filled.

How are we to behold these two faces? – How does Scripture describe their shape?

Again, we have to trace backward from God’s Day-Two heaven-and-earth configuration to fully understand just how it was before He divided that ONE body of liquid waters within that ONE body of deep space into two bodies, each within its own designated space. Genesis 1:6-8 boldly and instructively declares:

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. (My Emphasis)

Only the great Author of Words—the WORD of God—could possibly state so much fact using so few words with such exacting impact as this portion of Scripture. Notice first of all that unlike any of God’s other five work days in which He “made” things, He did not inspect the raqiya`—the firmament—that He “made” on the second day. This demands attention and answers to these two questions:

  1. What is a raqiya`? and,
  2. Why didn’t God inspect and approve that raqiya` like he did for other things that He “made”?

On Day-One, God “made” the first “Day”. He did not create that first day. That day was not a physical thing. It was an edict—a law of God. He declared that edict in order to define the time span called, “Day.” His law firmly “established” (see kuwn – H3559) as preparation for all time the stable and consistent timespan He named, “Day”. It consisted of two parts. First, the evening which consisted of darkness, followed up by a morning consisting of a period of light lasting until the next period of would darkness begin.

The sovereign God NEVER inspects or approves His own plans, laws, or promises.

His inspections only occurred upon the COMPLETION of something physical that was “made” of the waters, or made of things that were themselves made of the waters. For example, He did not inspect or approve of “the heaven and the earth” on Day-One—the day that He created the heaven and the earth. Why not? The individual heaven and the individual earth were NOT completely “made” of the waters on Day-One. In fact, the waters were not yet even divided on Day-One. On that first day, God only inspected and approved the energy, “Light” that He “formed” of the waters and completed on Day-One. His inspection and approval of the Earth, together with its several Seas, had to wait until Day-Three—the day when the global earth was completed. Similarly, the inspection and approval for the heavenly bodies and their atmospheres that were also made of the waters—had to wait until they were completed on Day-Four.

Raqiya’ (H7549) was an extended SURFACE (a new “paniym’, or face) solidly supporting the heavenly portion of waters above the earth. Raqiya’ is from raqa` (H7554) which means, to beat, stamp, beat out, spread out, stretch—like a hammered-out-thin piece of metal such as gold leaf. It is stretched out extremely thin providing no more than a new very thin “surface” or “face” that was firmly established and made in the midst of the waters to divide the waters under that new surface from the waters above that new surface. This new face is truly remarkable in that it was established in the midst of the (then single) body of waters, but it divided the waters “below” the new face from the waters “above” the new face. Now that is a remarkable statement. The waters above the firmament were accordingly firmly and solidly positioned above all the waters that were placed and segregated in its midst. Everywhere in the waters below, or on the face of the waters below was under the waters above, even though they were in the midst of those waters above. Think about that for a few moments.

That new hammered-out-thin face was not named “Heaven” until AFTER it was place in the midst of the waters. It was initially just a new “paniym”—a new face. God called that new face, “Heaven” after only ONE of the TWO newly resulting bodies of mayim—the TWO new parts of the originally created dual purposed waters. That dividing face was not named, “Earth”, but rather Heaven, showing God’s preference of Heaven over Earth. Heaven was clearly placed “above” the earth—its heavenly bodies RULED over the earth, and even RULED over the day and over the night.

God uses BOTH of His divisions—the division of Day and Night mentioned earlier, and the division of Heaven and Earth—to show His preference of Day over Night, and Heaven over Earth. Both of these NAMES arise out of God’s covenants and ordinances, not out of His creative acts. The first on Day-One being the “covenant” with Day and Night and the other on Day-Two being the “ordinances” of Heaven and Earth, as we see in God’s promise to Israel in Jeremiah 33:25-26:

Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them. (My emphasis)

Accordingly, the day dreamers and imaginers who claim that on Day-Two God created an imagined expanse for the birds fly in or for the clouds, sun, moon, and stars travel in, are caught completely off base because God says that He “made”—completed—only the firmament, and it still stands unchanged today as the infamous “ordinances of heaven and earth” that provide a new dividing face for both the Heaven above, and the Earth below. That raqiya` was “hammered-out thin then, and it is hammered-out-thin today, enabling the territorial abutment of the Heaven and the Earth. A bird flying one-sixteenth of an inch above the ground is flying in the “open firmament of heaven”.

The raqiya` was not a physical thing requiring an inspection and approval. It was simply a law, or ordinance, that was named after only one of the two resulting bodies of waters after the single body was DIVIDED, just like the timespan, Day, was named after only one of the two resulting light conditions when God DIVIDED the light from the darkness—LINE UPON LINE, LINE UPON LINE, HERE A LITTLE AND THERE A LITTLE. No third intervening body such as an atmosphere was expressly said to have been created or made, THEREFORE: NO INSPECTION AND APPROVAL WAS REQUIRED—AND NONE WAS GIVEN.

Given the Scripturally proven fact that God, by law, established the new face in the midst of the original waters for the Heaven and for the Earth, together with the Scripturally proven fact that the Day-One waters had all originally been contained within the “face of the deep”, The question remains, ”What was the general shape of the deep at the time of Genesis 1:2 and where is the Scriptural proof of its shape?”

The deep--the tehowm (H8415) means: deep, depths, deep places, abyss, the deep, sea. As stated earlier, the deep is often associated with water. It provides as connotation of having a great third dimension rather than just a flat length and width. For example, I could use a very large compass to draw a very large “circle” on a very large flat surface, but neither that circle, nor any of the surface area contained within that circle, has been, nor could be, deemed as being either “deep”, or “the depth”.

Sometimes, the deep is used as an alternate expression of a sea or other large body of water. In that case, that body of water is assumed to have a great depth, not just wide and/or long. A long wide shallow stream could not properly be called the “deep”. This would be just like a tall thin man may well be called “slim” as an alternate expression to his name, but if a police report were to contain the description of “a slim” being on the other side of the fence at a certain time, that would probably cause an officer to be upbraided in any policeman’s precinct. The word tehowm is always used with the dimension of deep, or depth in mind, often in relation with waters.

Just because tehowm is often used in relation with waters, does not mean that they are physical waters. Throughout scripture, waters and deep, or depth, are treated as distinctly separate things.

(Ex. 15:8): And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. (My emphasis)

(Deu. 8:7): For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; (My emphasis)

(Psa. 33:7): He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.

… and, of course, even showing that they have different faces for us to behold in Gen. 1:2:

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

The Gen. 1:2 deep, paniym is a plural (but always used in the singular) of an unused noun, panah, which means to turn; by implication, to face.

The Spherically shape “face of the deep”

Proverbs 8:22-23 reveals that The LORD possessed Wisdom before His works of old—before the works of creation even started:

The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

Verses 24-26 continue to speak about that time before His works of old pertaining to His works of making, forming and establishing the heavens and the earth with its seas, fountains, and dry land:

When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.

Wisdom then tells of continuing to be “by him", as one brought up "with” the LORD during those works of making, forming, and establishing, in verses 27-29:

When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: (My emphasis)

NOTICE: The first work accomplished by the LORD along with Wisdom was the preparation of the heavens by setting the outer limitation of the “depth” of the entire body of created waters—that ONE body of invisible gaseous-like waters by which “all things seen” were “made”. Verse 27 emphasizes that the LORD first dealt with the face of that very Gen. 1:2 depth of the created waters from which all things were made by giving them a rounded face setting a compass upon the face of the depth. At this point, there still were none of the things yet “made” that are listed in verses 24-26. This was the first step in preparation of the heavens. It would establish the limits of the outer boundaries of God’s soon to be completed entire creation because the heavens were to become its outer extents. The compass was not used upon a flat surface, but rather upon a three dimensional area of space.

The word, set, translated from the Hebrew, chaqaq, can mean: to decree, inscribe, trace, mark out, engrave, portray or govern. A sphere is a three dimensional shape having breadth, depth, and height, but only one face. Accordingly, the Word of God, using few select words compared to my frail attempt to explain, Tells us that he established the face of the deep as being (at least generally) spherically shaped using a compass, before he made, formed, and established the heavens (plural) and the earth. Looking back, were not all the worlds also spherically shaped, whether they be solid matter, or gaseous matter? Is not the face that turns also spherically shaped? Does it not now make sense that the spherically shaped earth in the midst of heaven—the remainder of the deep—demand that we at least consider the WORD of God, as is clearly spoken, concerning the tool He used to set or inscribe the shape of the depth?

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  • @ Downvoter Just what about my answer is not useful? Was it words that I have spoken, or words that God has spoken? – Bill Porter May 22 at 22:05
  • What do you think of the idea that before God created the physical realm, He created the angelic realm in the form of dark matter and dark energy? – Tony Chan Jul 6 at 19:52
  • As I suspected you are imputing into the text a modern gnostic cosmological interpretation. There is nothing to say it was spherical. – Nihil Sine Deo Jul 6 at 19:57
  • Wow @TonyChan, the creation of the angelic realm is beyond me. As dark matter? or as dark energy? I simply have no clue. Angels had to be created, but I'm at a loss there. – Bill Porter Jul 7 at 3:20
  • @NihilSineDeo, perhaps you could clue me in just how the LORD used that compass on the depth to make it something else. What shape do you actually think it was? Please describe both the shape and how The LORD fooled Wisdom into thinking He was using that compass as it has always normally been used. – Bill Porter Jul 7 at 3:29
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This is an excellent question!

Your question though is making the assumption that the beginning of Genesis is describing creation ex nihilo, that is God creating a universe out of nothing. This was indeed the predominantly Judeo-christian view for the past 2,000 years. However biblical scholars started challenging this view when they compared the Genesis creation account with other ANE cosmogonies, what they noticed is that creation ex nihilo simply does not appear in their narratives. In the pagan philosophy it was accepted that water and even matter itself was eternal; what was needed to explain was the order that we see in the universe, and that was attributed to the divine intervention of the gods. The bible, though it rejects the pagan belief of many gods, it does not reject the view that matter or the formless earth itself is eternal, (cf. Kohelet 1:4), it just replaces the many gods with one omnipotent god that formed the formless void and chaos into order and unity. The simplest reading of the beginning verses of Genesis is that God formed the world from a pre-existing primordial formless landmass into an habitable place for humans and animals. Read for example this author

Nearly every surviving creation account from Egypt, for example, presents an original preexisting state of darkness, watery chaos, and a yet unformed landmass prior to creation. This is especially so in the case of the Egyptian cosmogony from Hermopolis, whose primordial state prior to creation is near identical to that presented in Genesis 1:2. Personified as preexisting gods, this particular cosmogony speaks of a primeval darkness, a primordial formless earth mass or hill, and the primordial surging waters, through whose separation the earth and heavens were formed and named...

So to answer your question, when were the waters created, and why doesn't the bible tell us? The answer is simply that it is assumed by the biblical author/s that the waters have always existed, an explanation is not needed or warranted. The biblical author is just recounting how this formless tehom and chaotic sea that consumed the earth was tamed and formed into a habitable place for the humans and fish to live side by side in unity and harmony.

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  • That’s a bizarre assumption about the waters. Verse one says בראשׁית ברא both the heavens and the earth. It was at that בראשׁית that both these were ברא and therefore the waters that make up the heavens (hence the reference to waters in the name heavens השׁמים ) as per the Biblical cosmology and not modern day empty space hypothesis, these waters could not have existed prior to their creation. These waters (which are above even today) were part of the heavens that God created and God created them then as v1 says, typically and correctly understood to mean, in (the) beginning. Hence not eternal – Nihil Sine Deo May 17 at 4:47
  • Note that the shamayim (waters above) and mayim (waters below) where made via separating the waters over which the spirit of God moved. This separation was not the creation of something new as in the creation of light on day one. Interesting fact: day two does not end with a declaration of the goodness of the day’s work... as is present on each other day. – Gus L. May 17 at 5:38
  • I appreciate your comment @GusLott but you smuggled something into the chronology of the text. The Spirit was not hovering over separated waters but on the face(surface) of the waters(plural) prior to their separation on day TWO v6. Thus you cannot make the case that the heavens were above and the waters were below because they were one and the same at this point v2. The Spirit was above the heavens and therefore above the waters and therefore above the earth beneath the heavens made of waters. “...And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:2‬ – Nihil Sine Deo May 17 at 6:08
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    Genesis 1 may not teach creation ex nihilo, but it's ludicrous to say the rest of the Bible does not. – curiousdannii May 18 at 3:11
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    Genesis 1:8, the waters above are NAMED shammayim, and most major english translations make this a proper noun “Heavens.” In Gen 1:10, God NAMES the waters below yammim, again translated proper noun “Seas.” (after Earth has been separated and named). The story of genesis is an act of illumination (let there be light) and the separation and forming of pre-existing material. The heavens aren’t created, they are separated from the deep and then named. In the same way, man is not created from noting, but separated from the dirt, formed, and then breathed into. – Gus L. May 19 at 0:59

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