“The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”  Gen. 1:2

In the first two verses of the book of Genesis, we see the presence of God Himself, the spirit of God (or the breath of God, depending on the translation), and we see mention of “the waters”.

In the original Hebrew, each of the three entities mentioned carry their own weight and significance.  God Himself as subject (grammatically), and author of all things in creation.  The spirit, or breath of God, is referred to as ‘hovering’ over the waters.  Rashi notes that the breath of God hovered ‘like a dove hovers over the nest’.  The word used for spirit, ‘ruach‘, implies a sense of power. (Plaut).

Rashi notes that the water was pre-existent – it had existed before the earth and the heavens, due to the definite article “the” (waters).  Thus the water used during creation was water that existed before the creation of earth and heaven.  In the New Testament writings, parallels are drawn between Jesus and water – namely that He is the source of the living water.  (see John 4:14, 7:38)

What emerges, then, is a picture of what is commonly referred to as the Christian doctrine of the ‘Trinity’.  The presence of God the Father, Christ, the Messiah as the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit.

These first few verses in Genesis also strongly parallel the scene of Jesus’ baptism,  in which the same three elements are present (the voice of God from heaven, Jesus standing in the water, and the Holy Spirit descending ‘like a dove’ upon Him.  (see Matthew 3:16-17, Mark 1:10-11, Luke 3:22, and John 1:32)

Another New Testament passage which parallels the first few verses of Genesis, with an emphasis on Christ, is John 1:1-5:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overpower it.”

 

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