Genesis i. 2.

June 24, 2010

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.

2a. Corporeal creation.  The initial state of Earth: the darkness and the abyss of waters.

St. Thomas: “After the consideration of spiritual creation, corporeal creation is to be considered.  In the bringing forth of corporeal creatures Scripture mentions three works: namely the work of creation, when it is said, In the beginning God created heaven and earth, etc.; the work of distinction, when it is said, He divided the light from the darkness, and the waters that were under the firmament, from those that were above the firmament; and the work of adornment, when it is said, Let there be lights made in the firmament, etc.  Therefore we shall treat first of the work of creation; second, of the work of distinction; third, of the work of adornment” (ST. Ia q. xlv. pr.).

“God created all things together,[1] in the sense of a somehow unformed substance of all things.  But in the sense of the giving of form through distinction and ornation, this was not done together.  Whence the word created is used significantly” (ibid., q. lxxiv. a. ii. ad 2.).

St. Basil: “What does the deep [‘abyss’] signify?  Vast quantities of water, whose depths are scarcely able to be reached” (Homiliæ in Hexæmeron, ii., 4.).

St. Chrysostom: “For these things covered the face of the earth: I speak of the darkness and of the deep, the abyss of waters.  From this we learn that everything that was seen was an abyss of waters veiled in darkness, and held a task for the wise Creator, who was able to give shape to this formlessness, and introduce some furnishing into all things” (Homiliæ in Genesin, iii., 1.).

2b. The Holy Ghost.

St. Jerome: “For that which is written in our books, ferebatur [moved, lit. was being carried], the Hebrew has merefeth, which we may translate brooding over, or tending to and cherishing, in likeness of a bird, giving life through warmth to her eggs.  From which we understand that this is not said of the spirit of the world, as some think, but of the Holy Ghost, who Himself is also said to be the life-giver of all things from the beginning … For it says, Thou shalt send forth thy spirit, and they shall be created[2] (LHQG).

St. Basil: “Evidently the Spirit of God moved over the waters means, He was preparing the nature of the water for the fertility of creation” (Homiliæ in Hexæmeron, ii., 6.).

St. Augustine: “Behold, the Trinity appears to me in an enigma,[3] which you are, my God: for you, Father, in the beginning of our wisdom – which is your Wisdom born from you, equal to you and co-eternal, that is in your Son – you made heaven and earth … And I already held the Father to be in the name of God, who made these things, and the Son in the word beginning; and believing my God to be the Trinity, just as I believed, I searched in His holy utterances, and behold, your spirit moved over the waters.  Behold, the Trinity, my God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, Creator of all creation” (Conf. xiii. v. 6.).


[1] Eccli. xviii. 1.

[2] Ps. ciii. 30.

[3] I Cor. xiii. 12.

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