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The Scofield Bible Commentary, by Cyrus Ingerson Scofield, [1917], at

Genesis Chapter 1

Genesis 1:1

gen 1:1

Note: For Index to Scofield Materials

(See Scofield) - (Hos 4:9); (Hos 5:14).


"Elohim" (sometimes "El" or "Elah"), English form "God," the first of the three primary names of Deity, is a uni-plural noun formed from "El", means "strength", or "the strong one", and "Alah", "to swear", "to bind oneself by an oath", so implying "faithfulness". This uni-plurality implied in the name is directly asserted in (Gen 1:26) (plurality), (Gen 1:27) (unity); see also (Gen 3:22). The Trinity is latent in Elohim. As meaning primarily the Strong One it is fitly used in the first chapter of Genesis. Used in the Old Testament about 2500 times.

(See Scofield) - (Gen 2:4).

(See Scofield) - (Gen 2:7).

(See Scofield) - (Gen 14:18).

(See Scofield) - (Gen 15:2).

(See Scofield) - (Gen 17:1).

(See Scofield) - (Gen 21:33).

(See Scofield) - (Sa1 1:3).


But three creative acts of God are recorded in this chapter:

1. heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1)

2. animal life (Gen 1:21)

3. human life (Gen 1:27)

The first creative act refers to the dateless past, and gives scope for all the geologic ages.

Genesis 1:2

gen 1:2

without form and void;

(Jer 4:23-27); (Isa 24:1); (Isa 45:18) clearly indicate that the earth had undergone a cataclysmic change as the result of divine judgment. The face of the earth bears everywhere the marks of such a catastrophe. There are not wanting imitations which connect it with a previous testing and fall of angels.

See (Eze 28:12-15); (Isa 14:9-14) which certainly go beyond the kings of Tyre and Babylon.

Genesis 1:3

gen 1:3

Let there be light

Neither here nor in (Gen 1:14-18) is an original creative act implied. A different word is used. The sense is, made to appear; made visible. The sun and moon were created "in the beginning." The "light" of course came from the sun, but the vapour diffused the light. Later the sun appeared in an unclouded sky.

Genesis 1:5

gen 1:5


The word "day" is used in Scripture in three ways:

(1) that part of the solar day of twenty-four hours which is light (Gen 1:5); (Gen 1:14); (Joh 9:4); (Joh 11:9).

(2) such a day, set apart for some distinctive purpose, as, "day of atonement" (Lev 23:27); "day of judgment" (Mat 10:15).

(3) a period of time, long or short, during which certain revealed purposes of God are to be accomplished, as "day of the Lord."


The use of "evening" and "morning" may be held to limit "day" to the solar day; but the frequent parabolic use of natural phenomena may warrant the conclusion that each creative "day" was a period of time marked off by a beginning and ending.

Genesis 1:6

gen 1:6


Literally, expanse (that is, of waters beneath, of vapour above).

Genesis 1:8

gen 1:8


That is, the expanse above, the "heaven" of the clouds. (Gen 7:11); (Gen 8:2).

Genesis 1:11

gen 1:11

bring forth grass

It is by no means necessary to suppose that the life-germ of seeds perished in the catastrophic judgment which overthrew the primitive order. With the restoration of dry land and light the earth would "bring forth" as described. It was "animal" life which perished, the traces of which remain as fossils. Relegate fossils to the primitive creation, and no conflict of science with the Genesis cosmogony remains.

Genesis 1:16

gen 1:16

greater light

The "greater light" is a type of Christ, the "Sun of righteousness" (Mal 4:2). He will take this character at His second advent. Morally the world is now in the state between; (Gen 1:3-16); (Eph 6:12); (Act 26:18); (Pe1 2:9). The sun is not seen, but there is light. Christ is that light (Joh 1:4); (Joh 1:5-9) but "shineth in darkness," comprehended only by faith. As "Son of righteousness" He will dispel all darkness. Dispensationally the Church is in place as the "lesser light," the moon, reflecting the light of the unseen sun. The stars (Gen 1:16) are individual believers who are "lights"; (Phi 2:15-16); (Joh 1:5).

A type is a divinely purposed illustration of some truth. It may be:

(1) a person (Rom 5:14)

(2) an event (Co1 10:11)

(3) a thing (Heb 10:20)

(4) an institution (Heb 9:11)

(5) a ceremonial (Co1 5:7).

Types occur most frequently in the Pentateuch, but are found, more sparingly, elsewhere. The antitype, or fulfillment of the type, is found, usually, in the New Testament .


The word does not imply a creative act; (Gen 1:14-18) are declarative of function merely.

Genesis 1:17

gen 1:17


That is, the "heaven" of the stars; for example (Gen 15:5); (Luk 23:43).

Genesis 1:21

gen 1:21

every living creature

The second clause, "every living creature," as distinguished from fishes merely, is taken up again in (Gen 1:24); showing that in the second creative act all animal life is included.

Genesis 1:24

gen 1:24

living creature

"Creature," Hebrew, Nephesh, translated Soul in (Gen 2:7) and usually. In itself nephesh, or soul, implies self-conscious life, as distinguished from plants, which have unconscious life. In the sense of self-conscious life animals also have "soul."

See (Gen 1:26-27); (Gen 2:7); (Gen 2:21-23).

(See Scofield) - (Gen 1:26).

Genesis 1:26

gen 1:26

make man in our image

Man. (Gen 1:26); (Gen 1:27); gives the general, (Gen 2:7); (Gen 2:21-23) the particular account of the creation of man. The revealed facts are:

(1) Man was created not evolved. This is

(a) expressly declared, and the declaration is confirmed by Christ (Mat 19:14); (Mar 10:6);

(b) "an enormous gulf, a divergence practically infinite" (Huxley) between the lowest man and the highest beast, confirms it;

(c) the highest beast has no trace of God-consciousness -- the religious nature;

(d) science and discovery have done nothing to bridge that "gulf."

(2) That man was made in the "image and likeness" of God. This image is found chiefly in man's tri-unity, and in his moral nature. Man is "spirit and soul and body" (Th1 5:23).

"Spirit" is that part of man which "knows" (Co1 2:11) and which allies him to the spiritual creation and gives him God-consciousness. "Soul" in itself implies self-consciousness life, as distinguished from plants, which have unconscious life. In that sense animals also have "soul" (Gen 1:24). But the "soul" of man has a vaster content than "soul" as applied to beast life. It is the seat of emotions, desires, affections (Psa 42:1-6). The "heart" is, in Scripture usage, nearly synonymous with "soul." Because the natural man is, characteristically, the soulual or physical man, "soul" is often used as synonymous with the individual, for example (Gen 12:5). The body, separable from spirit and soul, and susceptible to death, is nevertheless an integral part of man, as the resurrection shows; (Joh 5:28); (Joh 5:29); (Co1 15:47-50); (Rev 20:11-13). It is the seat of the senses (the means by which the spirit and soul have world-consciousness) and of the fallen Adamic nature. (Rom 7:23); (Rom 7:24).


(Gen 11:7).

Genesis 1:28

gen 1:28


A dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God. Seven such dispensations are distinguished in Scripture.

(See Scofield) - (Gen 1:28), note 5.

And God blessed them

The First Dispensation: Innocency. Man was created in innocency, placed in a perfect environment, subjected to an absolutely simple test, and warned of the consequence of disobedience. The woman fell through pride; the man deliberately. (Ti1 2:14) God restored His sinning creatures, but the dispensation of innocency ended in the judgment of the Expulsion (Gen 3:24) See, for the other dispensations;


(See Scofield) - (Gen 3:23).

Human Government

(See Scofield) - (Gen 8:21).


(See Scofield) - (Gen 12:1).


(See Scofield) - (Exo 19:8).


(See Scofield) - (Joh 1:17)


(See Scofield) - (Eph 1:10).

Be fruitful

The Edenic Covenant, the first of the eight great covenants of Scripture which condition life and salvation, and about which all Scripture crystallizes, has seven elements. The man and woman in Eden were responsible:

(1) To replenish the earth with a new order -- man;

(2) to subdue the earth to human uses;

(3) to have dominion over the animal creation;

(4) to eat herbs and fruits;

(5) to till and keep the garden;

(6) to abstain from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil;

(7) the penalty -- death. See, for the other seven covenants:


(See Scofield) - (Gen 3:14)


(See Scofield) - (Gen 9:1)


(See Scofield) - (Gen 15:18)


(See Scofield) - (Exo 19:25)


(See Scofield) - (Deu 30:3)


(See Scofield) - (Sa2 7:16)


(See Scofield) - (Heb 8:8)

Next: Genesis Chapter 2