Genesis (Part 3)

Gen 1:3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Thus begins part three of our study of Genesis. I will remind anyone following along that I do not plan to go verse-by-verse through the entire book. But I am pulling from some prior reading experience in my belief that some portions of the book, later on, will make more sense, and thus benefit, from close scrutiny of the beginning of the beginning.

Masoretic text – 1:3  וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי אֹור וַֽיְהִי־אֹֽור׃
Septuagint – 1:3  καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεός γενηθήτω φῶς καὶ ἐγένετο φῶς

The Masoretic Text (MT or 𝕸) (נוסח המסורה) is the authoritative Hebrew and Aramaic text of the 24 books of Tanakh in Rabbinic Judaism. The Masoretic Text defines the Jewish canon and its precise letter-text, with its vocalization and accentuation known as the Masorah.

The Septuagint is a Greek version of the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament), including the Apocrypha, made for Greek-speaking Jews in Egypt in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC and adopted by the early Christian Churches.

“Then God said…” We see that in the text, God did not form the light with His hands, with tools, etc.. He spoke the light into existence. Thus begins the first day of the Hebrew account of creation.

“there was light.” From Blue Letter Bible by David Guzik: Genesis tells us that light, day, and night each existed before the sun and the moon were created on the fourth day (Genesis 1:14-19). This shows us that light is more than a physical substance; it also has a supernatural aspect. In the new heavens and the new earth, there won’t be any sun or moon.

So as with the previous verse about darkness over the deep, there is a mystery surrounding what is meant by “light” here.

The phrase “let there be light” as well as the following phrase, “and there was light” are both rooted in the same Hebrew word: אוֹר, or ‘owr.

In the Torah, the phrase in Genesis 1:3 which is typically translated in English as “let there be light” is in Hebrew ויְהִי אוֹר (yəhî ’ôr).

In the Koine Greek Septuagint the phrase is translated “καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Θεός γενηθήτω φῶς καὶ ἐγένετο φῶς” — kaì eîpen ho Theós genēthḗtō phôs kaì egéneto phôsΓενηθήτω is the imperative form of γίγνομαι, “to come into being”.


Even parsing the translation as much as I can, there are some definite mysteries in these early verses. God created light *after* he created the heavens and the earth in verse 1? But God did not create light in the expanse of the heavens, to separate day and night, until verses 14-18? What is the light in verse 3? Is it different?

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