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The following is my interpretation of Genesis 1:1-3 but I would appreciate feedback if it is a valid interpretation.

Gen 1:1 "...God created the heavens and the earth" meaning that before this very first act of creation there was no space, time or matter (the universe is not eternal), so God created the space ("the heavens") for the sun, moon and stars to be created and put in their proper place in the universe on Day 4.

Gen 1:2 is a description of what the newly created heavens and earth looked like:

(a) "The earth was without form and void" - the earth was a watery mass (ref. Gen 1:2b and Gen 1:6-10). It is interesting that water does not have a form of its own, but takes on the shape of whatever the container or object in which it rests. The earth was void (or empty) - no life, no land, nothing but a watery mass.

(Having already provided a description of the earth, it is only reasonable to now expect a description of the heavens - this is exactly what we have...)

(b) "...darkness was upon the face of the deep." - this is a description of what the "heavens" appeared "on the face of it" (namely, as it would appear for an observer on the earth) - darkness. Is Jeremiah 4:23 a reference to creation describing both the earth and heavens? To an observer on the earth, the heavens would have appeared to be utter darkness or deep darkness (interestingly, there are some verses referring to deep darkness which possibly could correctly refer to the universe).

Gen 1:3 "...'Let there be light...' " in physics, light is one of the few universal fundamental constants known to man. I think it is no accident that God commanded this fundamental constant, light, to appear on the very first day of creation, and has maintained it throughout the generations AND light will remain constant in the new heaven and the new earth - in fact Revelation 21:23 states that the Lamb (Jesus) is the light. Also, in John 8:12, Jesus declares that, "I am the light of the world." It is interesting that Hebrews 13:8 states, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." The light is indeed constant.

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  • You’re assuming modern cosmology onto the text. m.youtube.com/watch?v=AbPtym0NboU Watch this if you want to get a picture of ancient cosmology. You are making assumptions that you don’t seem to realize are assumptions. – Nihil Sine Deo Dec 6 '20 at 16:33
  • Welcome to BHSX. Thanks for your question. Please take the tour (link below) to better understand how this site works. – Dottard Dec 6 '20 at 20:15
  • I see nothing un-orthdox about your interpretation. One element seems to be missing, however. Since the earth is described as "formless and void," we need to ask "How did it get that way?" Was the earth not really the earth but only the raw materials from which God created the earth as we know it today? Another good question to ask it "Why would God create something formless and void? That doesn't see to be consistent with his modus operandi." One possible answer to that question is that God delights in redeeming something ugly by re-creating something beautiful. A Phoenix arises from ashes. – rhetorician Dec 6 '20 at 20:20
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    "this fundamental constant, light": light isn't actually a fundamental constant. There is a fundamental constant defined by the maximum possible speed of anything in the universe, but it is not defined by light. That ultimate speed will be the speed of any massless particle. It's just that photons (light) happen to be the only such particle that can be detected directly by humans. That's why we call the constant "the speed of light"; because it is the speed of light, but thinking of light itself as being significant is confusing cause and effect. – Ray Butterworth Dec 6 '20 at 22:35
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    @rhetorician "redeeming something ugly by re-creating something beautiful" - has a: nice feel to it, but I do not believe it fits well with other Scripture references concerning the "beginning". Matthew 19:4,8; Mark 10:6 & Hebrews 1:10 clearly indicate that the creation events of Genesis 1 were the beginning, not a re-creation of something that preceded this "beginning". This is important to recognize, if the earth was merely a re-creation of something turned "ugly", then it no longer was the beginning and Jesus and the writer to the Hebrews were both lying. – psmith4405 Dec 11 '20 at 12:08
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>RE: The following is my interpretation of Genesis 1:1-3 but I would appreciate feedback if it is a valid interpretation.

Gen 1:1 "...God created the heavens and the earth" meaning that before this very first act of creation there was no space, time or matter (the universe is not eternal), so God created the space ("the heavens") for the sun, moon and stars to be created and put in their proper place in the universe on Day 4.

Much of your question is explicitly spot on except:

  1. God created "the heaven and the earth"--a dual phrase consisting of both space and matter, not merely the space for the the plural heavens and the earth. If you read the KJV, Douay-Rheims, Webster, and other translations, , you will find that even though the word, shamayim, is as a plural used in Gen 2:1 KJV, those translators apparently did not feel that they could use the term in a plural sense in Gen 1:1, KJV.

A plural usage in 1:1 would mean that the numerous bodies of heavens would have already been made and /or formed--which they weren't on Day-One.

We know that on Day-One, waters (mayim) did exist, right along with the deep, even though there was no physical earth until Day-Three and there were no physical heavenly bodies until Day-Four. Very applicable to your question, is that these mayim are are not a plural. Rather, they are a Hebrew dual meaning a single pair, such as "eyes", ""feet", "hands", etc. This very special Hebrew dual is used in a singular sense. Both the depth and the waters each had a face. Their faces would have been aligned one upon the other because they probably filled that deep. Because of that explicitly used term, "deep", the creation was not something that the flat-earthers envisioned. Those poor folks had a lot of learning to do to catch up with the Word God's plain description of His creation.

  1. Taken from page 7 in my paper cited below under 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 (‘eth) is placed before the noun shamayim (heavens) and 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. (My added emphasis)

  1. Proverbs 8:24-29, KJV describes God setting a compass upon that face of the deep before Day-Three--before He made the earth, before the earth's plural depths of liquid water:

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. 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)

Note that word "deep" is used here to indicate a definite dimension of depth, not consistent with the foolish notion of a flat earth. this set up a very descriptive singling-out of that Day-Two "division of that single body of waters as being without form, and void. Therefore, the waters must have been an invisible gaseous-like body of waters which included both earthly waters not yet physically separated form the likewise invisible gaseous-like waters of heaven.

  1. On Day-Two, the single body of invisible gaseous-like waters was very uniquely described as being divided as follows in Gen 1:6:

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

So the result was two bodies of invisible gaseous-like waters, the one later called, Earth with its seas, in the midst of all the remaining gaseous-like waters, later called Heaven. The dividing firmament--originally a hammered-out-thin spherically shaped dividing plane which was placed in the midst of that spherically shaped "deep", therefore, would naturally be understood by the Hebrew people and early saints to be also spherically shaped.

Your question shows a great deal of trust in God's Word. I have covered this in great "depth" (no pun intended) in my paper, God's Day-One Creation, A Type of the Word of God.

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  • thank you so much for the link to your most interesting and informative paper (mentioned above). I definitely have a complete and unashamed trust and dependence upon God's Word - there is no other source of absolute truth available to human beings. – psmith4405 Dec 11 '20 at 10:56
  • @psmith4405 Thank you and I'm very confident that you will use Scripture to prove or disapprove anything I have written. – Bill Porter Dec 14 '20 at 3:58
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The question is based on an unbiblical assumption that "heaven and earth" means the entire cosmos or universe. This is simply untrue and is not supported by the meaning of the words. First, let us notice a few things about the passage of Gen 1:1 - Gen 2:3 -

  1. Each day follows the strict formula, “And God said, ‘Let…’ …And there was evening and morning – the nth day.” Thus, the first day of creation week begins in Gen 1:3, and the sixth day ends with Gen 1:31. That is, Gen 1:2 is not part of the first day of creation activity. This means that we have Gen 1:1, 2 as an introduction and Gen 2:1-3 as a conclusion forming a simple envelope of the 6 days of creation.
  2. In all but day 2 we also have the phrase, “And God saw that it was good (Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31) scattered through the text as well.
  3. The two halves of creation week follow the same pattern. The first half mostly concerns the act of separating (eg, waters above from waters below, light from darkness, land from sea, etc.), while the second half mostly concerns populating these separated habitats with living creatures or lights (the sun and moon are not explicitly mentioned).
  4. There are three phases of creation involving light, water, and dry ground. Each required two steps separated by three days. In the case of the land (the third phase of day 3 and day 6), two distinct creation acts are recorded each time, each terminated by the declaration that the result was good: on day 3 it is the separation of dry land from the water and then the creation of vegetation; on day 6 God made the land produce animals, and then the land (or soil Gen 2:7) was made to produce mankind.
  5. The creation of the sun and moon is not recorded in this passage. All that is stated is that God created lights in the expanse of the heaven (“sky” NIV, not outer space or the starry heaven), which according to Gen 1:6 is what separated the waters below (what became on day 3 rivers, lakes and seas) from the waters above (presumably the source of dew, rain and snow in the atmosphere).
  6. The passage contains several nomenclature or definition statements which are introduced by the phrase, “God called the…”. This occurs for “day” and “night” (1:4), the “sky” or “heaven” (1:8), and the “land” or “earth” and the “seas” (1:10). All these definition statements occur in the first three days only. The naming of the living creatures was (presumably) to be left to Adam (2:19).
  7. Further, there is no record (in Gen 1:1–2:3) of God creating planet Earth on any of the six days. Nor is there any record of creating the water covering the planet – this was apparently all done before the first day of creation week. Thus, at the beginning of the first day of creation week, the Earth consisted of a “formless”, planet covered in water and totally lifeless, over which the Spirit of God was moving (Gen 1:2).

Therefore, a simple reading of Gen 1:1–2:3 suggests that a formless, worthless, lifeless, watery planet already existed at (ie, before) the beginning of creation week. This suggests that God had previously created it – a suggestion supported by Job 38:4-7, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? … Who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Thus, other life forms existed elsewhere in the universe (apart from God) who witnessed the creation of the Earth during the planet’s very foundation.

“Heaven” and “Earth”

Some of the controversy surrounding the Genesis creation account can be cleared up by examining the usage and meaning of these two words, “heaven” and “earth” in this passage.

HEAVENS is translated from the Hebrew "Shamayim" which occurs Gen 1:1, 8, 9, 14, 15, 17, 20, 2:1 (See also Gen 2;19, 20, 6:7, 17, 7:3, 11). It is explicitly defined in Gen 1:8 as that which separates the waters below (rivers lakes, etc) from the waters above (clouds where rain come from), that is, “sky”.

EARTH is translated from "Erets" which occurs in Gen 1:1, 2, 10, 11, 12, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 2:1. It is explicitly defined in Gen 1:10 as earth or dry land, that arable land.

Therefore, a more consistent translation of Gen 1:1 might read, “In the beginning God created the atmosphere and the land.” That is, Gen 1:1 is a summary statement of what follows: the “Heavens” were created on day 2 (Gen 1:8), and the “Land” was created on day 3 (Gen 1:10).

That is, the Genesis creation account simply records the creation of this world and not the creation of the entire universe. [It is from other Scripture that we are told that God created all else, eg, Ps 33:6, 9, John 1:1-3, Col 1:16, etc.] While God created the entire universe, this is not recorded in, and not the subject of the Genesis creation account.

The creation recorded in Gen 1:1 – 2:3 begins with an incomplete planet which is made complete or “perfect”. Thus, Genesis depicts God re-creating our world on an incomplete planet Earth. That is, the creation in Genesis is based on the salvation theme – a worthless world is re-created into something that is “very good”. Hence, the salvation, and God’s saving acts are built into the very fabric of the earliest Scripture.

MERISM?

Some people object to the above conclusion that, “Heaven and Earth” in Gen 1:1 and 2:1 refers to only our world of “atmosphere and dry land” based on the assertion that “heaven and earth” is always a “merism” (which see) that must necessarily refer to the entire cosmos. There are at least three reasons why this assertion is untrue:

  • The assertion that “heaven and earth” is a merism and always refers to the entire cosmos is just that, an assertion. I object to doing Biblical theology on the basis of pre-existing assumptions. Such thinking amounts to Platonism which is foreign to the Bible.
  • There is no evidence that this assertion is true.
  • There are numerous examples where “heaven and earth” does not and could not refer to the entire cosmos. The most conspicuous example is in the 4th commandment where we have, “in six day, the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them…” (Ex 20:11)
    Note that here, “heaven and earth” does not include the sea and all that is in them. The same is true of Ps 146:6 and Hag 2:6. The list below contains more examples. Other examples of where “heaven and earth” cannot be a merism (or hendiadys) for the entire Cosmos:
  • Gen 1:1 and 2:1 for reasons explained in the main part of the article above
  • Ex 20:11, Ps 146:6 & Hag 2:6 as explained above. There is a similar situation in the New Testament in Rev 10:6 & 14:7.
  • Deut 10:14, Neh 9:6, “Heaven, even the highest heaven and earth and/or the sea”, this is clear evidence that “heaven and earth” does not necessarily include the highest heaven (presumably God’s throne) because the writer felt it necessary to include it.
  • Isa 65:17, 66:22, 2 Peter 3:13, Rev 21:1. “I will create a new heavens and a new earth”. It is very unlikely that this will refer to the entire cosmos/universe because the other creatures would not have a place to exist during this process. Thus, these texts suggest that, at least in this instance, “heaven and earth” refer to terrestrial materials.
  • Matt 5:18, 24:35, Mark 3:13, Luke 6:17, 21:33. A similar situation exists here as above. These texts refer to the end of the world not the universe.
  • Hag 1:10, “The heavens have withheld their dew and the earth its crops”. This can only refer to the terrestrial weather systems.
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A very interesting question that deserves a Biblical (and logical) answer.

Aptly, the questioner (psmith4405) argue that “[…] ‘...darkness was upon the face of the deep’ - this is a description of what the ‘heavens’ appeared ‘on the face of it’ (namely, as it would appear for an observer on the earth).” This is an illuminating detail. I have found a similar concept in the book ‘Life—How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or by Creation?’: “When examining the Genesis account, it is helpful to keep in mind that it approaches matters from the standpoint of people on earth. So it describes events as they would have been seen by human observers had they been present. This can be noted from its treatment of events on the fourth Genesis ‘day’. There the sun and moon are described as great luminaries in comparison to the stars. Yet many stars are far greater than our sun, and the moon is insignificant in comparison to them. But not to an earthly observer. So, as seen from the earth, the sun appears to be a ‘greater light that rules the day’ and the moon a ‘lesser light that dominates the night’.—Genesis 1:14-18.” (p. 25, § 2)

Returning to the core of the argument, I would present what Bible (and Logic) explains us about the very first stage of Creation.

The wording of Gen 1:1 compared to that of the subsequent verses makes clear that Gen 1:1 speaks about a time period previous the ‘6-days creation account’.

“A plural usage in [Gen] 1:1 would mean that the numerous bodies of heavens would have already been made and/or formed--which they weren’t on Day-One.”, is a correct conclusion of Bill Porter (bold is mine).

Also Dottard reaches – in the first instance – to a similar conclusion (bold is mine): “That is, Gen 1:2 is not part of the first day of creation activity. This means that we have Gen 1:1, 2 as an introduction and Gen 2:1-3 as a conclusion forming a simple envelope of the 6 days of creation. […] Further, there is no record (in Gen 1:1–2:3) of God creating planet Earth on any of the six days. Nor is there any record of creating the water covering the planet – this was apparently all done before the first day of creation week. […] Therefore, a simple reading of Gen 1:1–2:3 suggests that a formless, worthless, lifeless, watery planet already existed at (ie, before) the beginning of creation week. This suggests that God had previously created it.”

So, since Gen 1:1 is a description of a ‘Heavens and Earth’’s creation previous the ‘6-days creation account’, it is clear that the ‘heavens’ (שׁמים) described in Gen 1:8 (inside the Second ‘Day’ of Creation), must be a different ‘object’ as regards the ‘heavens’ in Gen 1:1 (שׁמים)! In fact, the ‘heavens’ (שׁמים) described in Gen 1:8 must be a local (in astronomical sense) expansion of space, all around the planet Earth.


But, what about the odd plural of this term (שׁמים)? If we become acquainted with the Bible Hebrew texts we get to know that in a number of instances the Hebrew text implements a plural form (to the nouns) without a logical sense (beware, this is not a criticism about the inspiration-related holy spirit’s actions – that I firmly believe – but about the badly treatment of the texts of some – not ‘all’! – scribes of ancient times).

For some examples, we found in MT: the ‘lives’ (חיים) of the core-tree of the Garden (Gen 1:9); the ‘bloods’ (דמי) of Abel (Gen 4:10); the ‘wisdoms’ (חכמות) described in Pro 1:20. In this latter instance, even an ultra-orthodox Hebrew scholar like Gesenius turned up his nose at this odd plural: “[…] wisdom (Pr I20, &c.) can hardly be a plural […] but is a singular […]) [Gesenius Hebrew Grammar, #124e]; see also Gen 3:8; 6:3; 7:4, 6, 12, 17, and many other instances.

So, we cannot invoke always the presence of a grammatical plural termination to conclude definitely something about the number of some nouns at issue.

Granted, in the vast majority of instances, the plural endings implemented on the nouns indicate exactly the grammatical number of these nouns (singular or plural). But, in a number of instances what seems a singular noun is – instead – a plural one, and the other way round.

Then, in these cases, we are compelled – often – to reckon on the Bible context and on Logic to settle these dilemmas.

We may ask – now - In this case, do we have enough elements (drawn by Bible context and Logic) to settle this dilemma? I think so.

First of all, regarding the expression ‘the heavens and the earth’ (Gen 1:1), we can say that though there is not present a merism, this expression - in all likelihood - is a semantic equivalent to the (relatively) modern noun ‘Universe’.

Here are some commentators statements, as well as Bible notes (all 'bolds' are mine):

Albert Barnes: “[This verse] asserts the creation of the heavens and the earth; that is, of the universe of mind and matter. […] This sentence [of] Gen 1:1 assumes the being of God, and asserts the beginning of things. Hence, it intimates that the existence of God is more immediately patent to the reason of man than the creation of the universe.” (Notes on the Bible, on Gen 1:1)

John Nelson Darby: “The fact is stated that God created all things, all man sees, all the material universe. ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’” [Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, on Gen 1:1].

ESV Bible [Gen 1:1 (ft.)]: “Heavens and the earth […] The text indicates that God created everything in the universe. […] God […] is the Creator of all things that exist.”

Matthew Henry: “[…] the heaven and the earth, that is, the world, including the whole frame and furniture of the universe, the world and all things therein, Act 17:24.” [Commentary on the Whole Bible, on Gen 1:1].

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown: “the heaven and the earth – the universe.” [Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, on Gen 1:1]

Keil&Delitzsch: “’In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.’ […] This sentence, which stands at the head of the records of revelation, is not a mere heading, nor a summary of the history of the creation, but a declaration of the primeval act of God, by which the universe was called into being.” [Commentary on the Old Testament, on Gen 1:1].

NJB Bible [Gen 1:1 (ft.)]: “‘Heavens and earth’ are the ordered universe, the result of creation.”

A little detail: at the level of concept, we may mention that the Sumerian people, too – in his own language – called the Universe AN.KI, literally “heaven [plus] earth”.


Though the traditional translation of the Hebrew expression הארץ ואת השׁמים is “the heavens and the earth”, we may reassert that the comparison between the same noun (שׁמים) appearing in Gen 1:1, as well as in 1:8, forces us to conclude otherwise.

According the Bible account, only when – through the separation of the waters – was created (in a broad sense) the sufficient space to obtain an expanse, it did appear ‘the heaven’, not before (see also Job 9:8; Isa 40:22; 42:5; Zec 12:1).

I am convinced that the best treatment in this verse is to translate it at ‘level of expression’, instead of ‘at level of (single) terms’. This method clears up the dilemma of a שׁמים existing before the ‘6-days creation account’ (Gen 1:1) versus an existing שׁמים only inside the Creation’s Day 2 (Gen 1:8).

As Alberto Canen expresses this idea (bold is mine): “[…] by integrating ‘heavens and earth’ [the Bible writer] attempts to cover everything, all that exist [made of matter]. […] It is also possible that […] because in the Hebrew language there is no word that corresponds exactly to that idea [that is, the Greek kosmos], he [the Bible writer] uses this redundancy of ‘heavens and earth.’” [The Observer of Genesis, the Science Behind the Creation Story, p. 47 (of PDF file)]

Personally, I am convinced that the expression at issue (on Gen 1:1) well synthesizes the concept of ‘Universe’, because it did could be considered – from a very ancient man viewpoint - an ensemble of expansions of space (= heavens), as well as planets (= earths).


Another point. According the official paradigm, since the term translated ‘heaven/heavens’ seems to appear constantly (in MT) on the plural, we are forced to conclude that this noun had never a singular form. This conclusion is questionable. Why?

  1. All the countable nouns – for Logic – must provide either for the singular, as well as the plural form.

  2. That conclusion (the idea that שׁמים possesses only the plural form, and never the singular one) goes against an Hebrew particular syntactical structure, included in the Bible text.


Let we expand this last concept. The Biblical Hebrew language, to express some superlative forms utilizes – sometimes – an alternative structure of terms.

Some examples:

עבדים עבד (‘servant of servants’) - in Gen 9:25 – namely, ‘the most humble of the servants’;

קדשׁים קדשׁ (‘Holy of Holies’) - in Exo 26:33 et al. - namely ‘the most holy of all’;

שׁירים(-ה) שׁיר (‘song of songs’) - in Son 1:1 - namely, ‘the superlative song’;

מלכים מלך (‘king of kings’). We found this expression not only in Hebrew (Eze 26:7), but also in Aramaic [מלכיא מלך - Ezr 7:12 e Dan 2:37], as well as in Greek [βασιλευς βασιλεων - Rev 17:14].

In all these instances (of this kind) each noun is mentioned twice, the first time on the singular form (‘servant’, ‘Holy’, ‘song’, ‘king’), and the second time on the plural form (‘servants’, ‘Holies’, ‘songs’, ‘kings’). This happens always. It cannot be otherwise, if we not want to lose the goal of this syntactical structure, namely, to highlight a single term (noun) over an ensemble of homologous nouns.

After this clarification, open the Bible – please – in 1 Kin 8:27.

Here we found the expression שׁמים(-ה) שׁמי, that includes the term we are discussing. Though the first noun (שׁמי) is – according the orthodox paradigm – a plural form, it is evident – by logic – that it must be considered a singular noun! In fact, many Bible translations set no store by this supposed plural form.

Moreover, as the Bible says, the term שׁמים is a kind of synonym of רקיע (‘expansion’), as we can see in Gen 1:8. Then, since רקיע is – indisputably - a singular-form term, also the matching term, namely שׁמים, it must be inflected on the singular form.


On the basis of all what is said we may conclude that also the term שׁמים had the corresponding form of singular of it, as – besides – all the concrete nouns have it. This conclusion was endorsed also by eminent scholars.

In fact, the Hebrew Dictionary of James Strong, commenting the term שׁמה, it states (bold is mine) that it is “a form being dual of an unused singular […].” Even the Gesenius-Kautzsch’s Hebrew Grammar admits that in primeval epochs existed singular (absolute) form of this term. According this text, this term at issue did could be שׁמי [§§88d, 96].

All this converging clues make me convinced that in Gen 1:1 the two term at issue (שׁמים and ארץ, according MT) were – originally - both on the plural form.

So, the Gen 1:1’s שׁמים would refer – as a real plural (numerical) form – to the countless ‘expansions/expanses’ of space that are scattered in all the huge universe. Differently, the term שׁמים (according MT; maybe, שׁמי in originally) in Gen 1:8 must be refer to the ‘local’ (in astronomical sense) expansion/expanse (רקיע) of space, which separates ‘the waters below (= seas)’ from ‘the waters above’ (clouds’ system)’.

Along the lines of these remarks, we may hypothesize that the (Gen 1:1) term ארץ originally was inflected on plural form, since the universe included - besides the space ‘expansions’ = ‘heavens’ - also countless heavenly bodies (‘earths’).

SUMMARY

  1. Gen 1:1 speaks about a time period previous the ‘6-days creation account’.

  2. Since Gen 1:1 is a description of a creation (of ‘Heavens and Earth’) previous the ‘6-days creation account’, it is clear that the ‘heavens’ (שׁמים) described in Gen 1:8 (inside the Second ‘Day’ of Creation), must be a different ‘object’ of the ‘heavens’ in Gen 1:1 (שׁמים)!

  3. Regarding the expression ‘the heavens and the earth’ (Gen 1:1), we can say that though there is not present a merism, that expression - in all likelihood - is semantic equivalent to the (relatively) modern noun ‘Universe’.

  4. Also the term שׁמים had the corresponding form of singular of it, as – besides – all the concrete nouns have it.

  5. In Gen 1:1 the two term at issue (שׁמים and ארץ) were – originally - both on the plural form.

I hope these information will be useful for all the believers in the Master of the Universe, the Lord יהוה, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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