Genesis Exegesis



Why 7 days?

Represents divine perfection


What is a day?

Original Hebrew can be translated as “time”, “year”, “the right time”, “appointed time”. Day is first used before daylight is created.

What is created and what is brought forth?

  • Created (bara used 47 times in OT, meaning God’s activity: matter (1), animals (21) and man (27)).
  • Genesis is example of Wisdom literature – as are the Psalms. As opposed to History such as Kings.
  • Read through Genesis 1 & 2 – note stylistic changes – Priestly source (5th C BC; Yahwistic sources (8th C BC).


Genesis 1: Structured in creedal statements possibly for use at ceremonies. Deals with creation.

Genesis 2:4 – 3:21: Mythical and textually dense. Deals with fall of man. God does not will evil – it is a result of man.


Comparing with other creation stories:


  1.   Ex nihilo not pre-existing matter. The concept of creation ex nihilo has two collararies:
  • There is an absolute distinction between God and Creation. To all eternity God will be distinct from creation.
  • All creation is dependent on God. The notion of creation ex nihilo expresses itself in dependence on God from moment to moment.


  1. Other creation stories are often the result of battles. Genesis is very peaceful.
  2. Sun and moon are gods in other cultures; for Genesis they are placed by God.
  3. Suggestion that God gave structure to what was “formless”. (2)


Function of Genesis 1 is maybe to separate it from other creation myths.

  • One God.
  • Not an accident.
  • The how was much less important than the why and the who.


Use of the plural probably indicates an understanding of a God that is complex.


1:2 – Hebrew can be read as like a bird hovering over its nest – poetic and protective.

Activity of seventh day is from the author’s point of view, not God’s.


Adam – adamah – ground – Adam is Hebrew for man.

God breathes life into man – distinguishes him from other animals.

In the Fall – the snake is not necessarily Satan – but in Luke’s gospel it is more explicit.

Adam and Eve are not killed by God but are expelled from the garden.

The verb “to know” in Hebrew refers not to an intellectual know but an experiential know. They would experience good and evil.


Gregory (4 AD): “what man of sense would believe that there could have been a first, and a second, and a third day of creation each with a morning and an evening, before the sun had been created?”






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