In the beginning, when Elohim created the heavens and the earth, there was vast emptiness within the world; the deep wore darkness like a shroud and Elohim breathed out onto the face of the waters.
“Light!”, and there was. It was good, and Elohim split the light from the darkness.
The light was Day, and the darkness Night.
So there was evening, and then morning. The first day.
“Dome”, and up from the waters it rose, and Elohim split the clouds from the seas.
The dome was Sky.
There was evening, and then morning. The second day.
“Land”, and the great waters rushed together, and Elohim split the land from the waters.
The land was Earth, and the waters Seas. It was good.
“Plants”, and the earth grew green with vegetation, and ripe with fruit.
The plants bore seeds. It was good.
There was evening, and then morning. The third day.
“Seasons”, and the dome was full of lights, and Elohim split the day from the night.
The greater light ruled the day, and the lesser light the night
There was evening, and then morning. The fourth day.
“Creatures of the sea; birds of the sky”, and the waters swarmed, and flocks filled the air.
Elohim made the great sea dragons, and every sea creature, and every winged bird. It was good.
“Multiply! Fill the waters and the earth.”
There was evening, and then morning. The fifth day.
“Creatures of the earth”, and Elohim made all the wild animals, and the cattle, and the creeping things. It was good.
“adam – the earth creatures”
“Made in our image, with rule over the fish, the birds, the cattle, all the wild animals and every creeping thing.”
So Elohim created adam in their image,
male and female they created them.
“Multiply! Fill the earth and tame it;
rule over the fish and the birds,
over every living thing.”
“Look around: we have given you every plant with seed,
and every tree with fruit;
these are your food.”
“And to every animal, bird and insect;
everything with breath,
we have given every green plant for food.”
And so it was. Elohim saw everything they had made, and it was very good.
There was evening, and then morning. The sixth day.
And so the heavens and the earth were finished, and everything in them.
On the seventh day Elohim rested from the work,
And so made the seventh day sacred.
That is how the heavens and the earth were born.
- Elohim is the Hebrew word that is generally translated ‘God’. However, it is a plural noun, better translated ‘Gods’. I considered using ‘Gods’ but it is difficult to write without including the definite article – i.e. ‘the Gods’ – which doesn’t capture the Hebrew either. I have chosen to simply use Elohim as a proper name, but to use any pronouns – i.e. he/she, his/hers – in the plural – i.e. they/theirs. Elohim is a word borrowed from Canaanite religion, to describe the pantheon of the gods. To me it adds much more historical character and intrigue to keep this name, as all that ancient polytheistic connotation is totally lost in modern uses of the word ‘God’.
- I’ve made an (not particularly strict) attempt to pare back the number of words from standard English translations, to reflect the (still way more) sparse nature of Hebrew poetry. Since this chapter is all about the ‘speech’ of Elohim, I tried to write this as something to be spoken.
- Instead of ‘humankind’, I have kept the Hebrew ‘adam’, and supplemented it with the designation ‘the earth creatures’. This is to retain some of the play on words in the Hebrew (where ‘adam’ means earth). I also prefer it as a form of language to better reflect the kind of primordial mythological nature of the chapter.