The Elements of Creation
The construction of the world used up the whole of each of these four elements.
For the creator constructed it of all the fire, and water and air and earth available.
Genesis 1:2 reflects an ancient belief that all things are composed of some combination of earth, fire, air and water. The four cosmic elements were not seen as mere building blocks, they were believed to control the very nature of man and matter. The four elements laid the base for alchemy and medicine until the 17th century.
To return to Gen. 1:2, from the elemental point of view, it is saying that before creation, there was no earth and no fire; there was only air and water.
Air was thought of as the primary non-material creative element. It is an animating element, the spirit of the gods and the soul of humans. That it could be felt and not seen made it seem all the more mysterious.
Air is not mentioned explicitly; "Spirit" was translated from the Hebrew rauch, meaning wind or breath. "Soul", by the way, is translated from nepesh, meaning breathing creature. In the Greek New Testament, soul comes from psuche, meaning breathe. Ghost or Spirit derives from Pneuma, meaning a current of air or breath.
Soul always refers to humans. Spirit (capital S) refers to God and spirit (small s) is synonymous with soul. In what is technically known as dualism, until the 17th century it was believed that soul and body were two different entities.
7(Gen. 2.7 KJV)
18. (Gen. 34:18)
Ancients were correct in seeing that breathing was necessary for life, but they had the sequence backwards. Breathing sustains life; it does not cause life. By their way of thinking, life is like a balloon: we live when air enters us and we die when air leaves us. To think that spirits animate gods and humans is like saying power makes motors move.
Fire was the secondary non-material creative element. It was the force of Spirit, a property of the gods that gave heat and light. We could surmise that because fire's heat is too hot to touch and because it could make living things disappear into ashes as if they were devoured by the gods.
There is no fire until God's Spirit creates it on the first day when he creates light. That the sun was created on the fourth day shows that they didn't know that our life giving source of light and heat comes from the sun.
3 "Let there be light"; and there was light. (Gen. 1:3)
Examples: Moses Israelites sacrificed their animals with fire. In Genesis 15:17, there was fire when Abraham made his covenant with God. In Genesis 19:24, fire rained on Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis 3:2, Moses was met by a burning bush, which represented a Unitarian God. Revelation 20:9 predicted fire would come down from heaven and consume the evil ones.
Water was the primary material creative element, probably from an association with amniotic fluid and childbirth, the blue sky and the seas. On the second day, God divided the waters.
6 "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." (1 Gen. 1:6)
Water signifies something new is about to begin. To name a few: Noah's flood began a new civilization. Moses' name means drawn out of the water. The Red Sea crossing signaled the birth of Israel. The Israelites had to cross the Jordan River to get to the Promised Land. Jesus' baptism in the Jordan began his ministry.
According to Jesus, one must be born of water and air to enter the kingdom of God.
5"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)
Earth was the secondary material creative element. On the third day, God created earth from water. In biblespeak, water gives life to earth like a mother to a baby.
9 "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. (Gen. 1:9)
Once earth is created, plant life erupted from earth on the same third day.
11"Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it." And it was so. (Gen. 1:11)
Ancient astrologists thought of space as a cosmic element called ether. It was believed to be the substance that filled all space and the single element from which the other four elements came from. This might be where the idea of a self created god came from.
In the history of science, ether was believed to be a substance through which light traveled. In 1887, the famous Michelson-Morley experiment devised a test which led to the demise of the ether theory. If there was ether, a beam of light would split so it traveled in different directions at different speeds like a boat on a river. The experiment proved that light moves at the same speed in all directions.
Besides symbolizing space, "deep" masks the name of a sea monster that kept God company since eternity. In the passages below, we see expressions like "," or " ," or, " , or " ," or, " ." This clearly does not imply "deep water." Deep has a face; it is a sea monster personifying evil.
How can this be? Deep, a sea monster? In biblespeak, the direction of evil is always down. The English translation of Deep masks the presence of evil/chaos lurking in the primeval ocean.
From Hebrew, deep, translates to, Tehom, which means deep, sea or abyss, a surging mass of water. This is as close as the Hebrew language can get to watery chaos.
Not coincidentally, the spelling of Tehom looks similar to Tiamet, the name of the primeval ocean, personified as a sea monster. In the Babylonian creation epic, Enuma Elish, Marduk defeated the monster and split it in two halves with one half becoming the sky.
1920 (Proverbs 3:19-20)
There other passages with names equivalent to deep. They tell us that before God could begin his creation, he had to battle and slay a monster representing the forces of chaos. This dragon monster went by the names of Leviathan and Rahab. This explains what is meant by the phrase, "[evil] ," in Genesis 1:2.
1213 14 15 16 17 (Psalms 74:12-17)
67 (Psalms 33:6-7)
910 11 12 (Psalms 89:9-12)
910 (Isaiah 51:9-10)
56 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 (Job 26:5-13)
In the New Testament, we find "deep" used in its equivalent Greek form, abussos, meaning abyss or bottomless pit, to symbolize a place of evil.
6But the righteousness based
on faith says, Do not say in your heart, "Who
will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring
7or "Who will descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). (Romans 10:6-7)
30Jesus then asked him,
"What is your name?"
And he said,
"Legion"; for many demons had entered
31And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. (Luke 8:30-31)
11They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon (Rev. 9:11)
7And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends from the bottomless pit will make war upon them and conquer them and kill them, (Rev. 11:7)
8The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to perdition; and the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will marvel to behold the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. (Rev. 17:8)
2And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, (Rev 21:2)
This next passage in the book of Revelation, predicts a new creation starting out the same way the first one did.
I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key
of the bottomless pit and a great chain.
2And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
3and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years were ended. After that he must be loosed for a little while. (Rev 20:1-3)
To sum up, whenever the Bible refers to someplace down-deep, abyss, bottomless pit-it is symbolizing a place of evil, as in "the depths of hell". The inhabitants go by names like Deep, Leviathan, Rahab and Abaddon. They are usually personified as beasts, dragons or serpents. Thus evil existed before creation and still waits for God to come and take it away. In other words, God's moral accomplishments have amounted to nothing.