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Bible Commentaries

Scofield's Reference Notes
Genesis 1



Verse 2

without form and void

Jeremiah 4:23-27; Isaiah 24:1; Isaiah 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 Ezekiel 28:12-15; Isaiah 14:9-14 which certainly go beyond the kings of Tyre and Babylon.

Verse 3

Let there be light

Neither here nor in Genesis 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.

Verse 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 Genesis 1:5; Genesis 1:14; John 9:4; John 11:9.

(2) such a day, set apart for some distinctive purpose, as, "day of atonement" (Leviticus 23:27); "day of judgment" Matthew 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.

Verse 6

firmament Lit. expanse (i.e. of waters beneath, of vapour above).

Verse 8

firmament i.e. the expanse above, the "heaven" of the clouds. Genesis 7:11; Genesis 8:2.

Verse 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.

Verse 16

greater light

The "greater light" is a type of Christ, the "Sun of righteousness" Malachi 4:2. He will take this character at His second advent. Morally the world is now in the state between; Genesis 1:3-16; Ephesians 6:12; Acts 26:18; 1 Peter 2:9. The sun is not seen, but there is light. Christ is that light John 1:4; John 1:5; John 1:9 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 Genesis 1:16 are individual believers who are "lights"; Philippians 2:15; Philippians 2:16; John 1:5.

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

(1) a person Romans 5:14

(2) an event 1 Corinthians 10:11

(3) a thing Hebrews 10:20

(4) an institution Hebrews 9:11

(5) a ceremonial 1 Corinthians 5:7

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

made The word does not imply a creative act; vs. Genesis 1:14-18 are declarative of function merely.

Verse 17


i.e. the "heaven" of the stars; e.g. Genesis 15:5; Luke 23:43.

Verse 21

every living creature

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

Verse 24

living creature

"Creature," Heb. nephesh, trans. soul in Genesis 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 verses; Genesis 1:26; Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:7; Genesis 2:21-23. (See Scofield "Genesis 1:26").

Verse 26

make man in our image

Man. Genesis 1:26; Genesis 1:27 gives the general, Genesis 2:7; Genesis 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 Matthew 19:14; Mark 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" 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

"Spirit" is that part of man which "knows" 1 Corinthians 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" Genesis 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 Psalms 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, e.g. Genesis 12:5. The body, separable from spirit and soul, and susceptible to death, is nevertheless an integral part of man, as the resurrection shows; John 5:28; John 5:29; 1 Corinthians 15:47-50; Revelation 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. Romans 7:23; Romans 7:24.

us, Genesis 11:7

Verse 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 "Genesis 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. 1 Timothy 2:14 God restored His sinning creatures, but the dispensation of innocency ended in the judgment of the Expulsion Genesis 3:24 See, for the other dispensations;

Conscience (See Scofield "Genesis 3:23")

Human Government (See Scofield "Genesis 8:21")

Promise (See Scofield "Genesis 12:1")

Law (See Scofield "Exodus 19:8")

Grace (See Scofield "John 1:17")

Kingdom (See Scofield "Ephesians 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:

ADAMIC (See Scofield "Genesis 3:14")

NOAHIC (See Scofield "Genesis 9:1")

ABRAHAMIC (See Scofield "Genesis 15:18")

MOSAIC (See Scofield "Exodus 19:25")

PALESTINIAN (See Scofield "Deuteronomy 30:3")

DAVIDIC (See Scofield "2 Samuel 7:16")

NEW (See Scofield "Hebrews 8:8")


Copyright Statement
These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography Information
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Genesis 1:4". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". 1917.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, December 15th, 2018
the Second Week of Advent
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