And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters. Genesis 1:2
Here are a few of my thoughts and findings about Genesis 1:1-5. I will not place the verses here… but if you would like to compare, which I recommend, simply open your Bible. I understand if you’re too lazy to get up and find it, so the other option to click on this link to view Genesis 1 on New Advent. I prefer to use the Douay Rheims Translation, so if I stick a verse in, it may differ a bit from what you see on the site or in your Bible. Also, while I am Catholic, I’m just a simple guy and may make errors.
The very first verse is simple. “God created heaven, and earth” tells us that God is the creator of every single thing. He created heaven and earth. It does not specify which heaven and which earth, because He created both the past, the present, and the future. He created the physical and the spiritual. It also tells us that God was there before every thing, since He is the one who created those very things. Saint Thomas Aquinas describes God as the unmoved mover, the first cause.
When I read the first part of the second verse “And the earth was void and empty“, I am able to really picture an empty and lifeless earth. The words that follow say “and darkness was upon the face of the deep“. Someone with a scientific mind will clue in very fast. The deepest parts of the sea are not empty and dark, they are filled with bioluminescent creatures. This passage evokes a sea empty of all creatures and life. The rest of the sentence says “the spirit of God moved over the waters“. This could serve as a foreshadowing of baptism. It could also signify that life comes with baptism. Once the earth is baptized, so to speak, she is filled with fruit, and bears life. Also, we are revealed the Second Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.
Now the above may bring another meaning to light. Water usually symbolises grace, and who personifies grace? Well, it is Mary. So this verse in a way could also symbolise or prophecy our fallen humanity, an earth who “was void and empty” because no one was able to go to heaven. . “Darkness was upon the face” of this earth, everyone had fallen away from the light. Then the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, and he “moved over the waters“, and then Jesus, the light of the world, was made incarnate.
The third verse has a very symbolic meaning. The author writes that in the first day “Be light made“. However the sun and the stars are only created on the fourth day! So what is that newly created light? Well, we commonly call knowledge light. When we understanding or when knowledge seeps into our mind and soul, we say we are enlightened. Angels are spirits, and Saint Thomas Aquinas says that what makes them different from one another is the amount of knowledge they possess. I won’t go in the details here, but if you want to read about it, in a simple and straightforward way, this FREE Thomas Aquinas in 50 pages book by Dr. Taylor Marshall is an amazing resource on that subject that is very easy to read.
In the fourth verse, “God saw the light that it was good“. Notice how only the light is good, for “He divided the light from the darkness“. Charity, goodness, love, faith, and other virtues, those are the elements of the light. The darkness is a symbol of evil. Also, darkness is the absence of light, as evil is the absence of goodness. So some of those angels accepted God and radiate his light, while others are without Him and cast only shadows.
Verse five simply says that He “called the light Day, and the darkness Night“. It tells us that there are two places, one is heaven, and the other is hell. It also tells us that the angels are free creatures, with a will, just like us. The difference between us and the angels is that we have our entire lives to root our decision to follow God, while angels only have one chance. That is because they know everything they need to know, and that at the moment they are created. They do not learn more throughout life like we do. Angels can choose to love and accept God, and be lights to the world, or they can turn on themselves and reject God, thus becoming darkness. “And there was evening and morning one day.”
And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:4
Solar Eclipse on October 22, 2014 ©Mathieu N. J. Langlois