From a beginning within a beginning. Exploring The Bridge given by its architect, God, revealing and connecting His Plan from Genesis 1 to the end and beyond. Yes, there really is a connection between Genesis 1 and the New Testament. And this two-part post shines a light on some first steps.
This series is related to a spiritual call (started in the early 90s) for me to walk a bridge—from the Judaic camp reaching out to the Messianic/Christian camp and then vice versa—crisscrossing it, realizing and later sharing who and what the real bridge is. Walk with me to discover God’s revelations and passionate plan for our souls.
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READING TIME: 4 MINUTES.
Like any good story, it’s best to start at the beginning. But with God’s story . . . it’s not always that simple.
In the Bible, God’s revelations are woven within the crevices of every word, every syllable, every stroke of every letter. It is history—God’s factual storytelling—but with deliberate omissions. In those gaps, the silence echoes volumes and kindles our souls. Its firefly moments proclaim what was, what is, and what will be.
Yet the exactness of time remains hidden. The Bible talks of times but defies time, existing outside of this physical dimension . . . yet all the while intersecting and embodying it.
As the pages of the Bible turn with the gentle winds of each generation, the King’s heart and desire come forth—awakening and encouraging us to walk with Him and see Him, the One who is not seen—and the One who was to come.
That’s what makes the Bible’s first three words—in the Hebrew—intriguing. Rashi, the famed biblical commentator from the Middle Ages, said that those first words screamed for explanation. (Okay, my word choice, but he did say it “calls aloud” for explanation.)
Those initial words open a doorway well beyond our comprehension, transporting us to when God hovered over the “astonishingly empty with darkness” . . .
When God moved over the chaotic, the tehom—Hebrew for depths, subterranean waters, and even suggesting a deep soul-to-soul groaning as in Psalm 42:7(8) where “deep calls unto deep at the roar of your waterfalls.”
That movement takes us to a pivotal point when God began creating time and space and order . . . and, believe it or not, to a point when His very words laid the groundwork for a New Testament connection.
Homiletically—per commentary notes in the Stone Edition of The Chumash (the first five books of the Bible)—the first word b’reshit can be stated as . . .
“The world was created for the sake of [for the things that are called] beginnings.”
i.e., for the sake of bringing forth Torah (the Law, which would reveal what is good in God’s eyes while subsequently exposing humanity’s sinful nature).
But in those initial words of Genesis 1, something else was being remarkably birthed.
Because God alone knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:8-10), in that beginning, He set in motion the answer to humanity’s impending dilemma . . .
The world was created for the sake of REDEMPTION—the Moshiach (Messiah)—hands down the foundational story from page 1 of the Bible forward.
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: TO THE UNEXPECTED
But first: two brief, need-to-know points.
#1. The Tanakh—”Old Testament”—is written in Hebrew, a consonantal language, read right to left. Meaning that it’s written without vowels. Spoken with vowels, yes, of course. And initially learned using a vowelized version.
But early biblical writings had no vowels—and no word or paragraph spacings. So it’s ironic that the spiritual clues to this universe’s beginnings in Genesis 1 lie in the vowel usage.
Here’s how Genesis 1:1 looks without vowels:
בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ
Here’s how Genesis 1:1 looks with vowels:
בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ
#2. The Masoretes—scribes and scholars in the 7th century CE/AD—created a vowel marking system and a grammatical guide (with word/paragraph spacing and punctuation) using an oral tradition from a millennium earlier.
Their work culminated in what’s known as the Masoretic Text, which preserved the Hebrew Bible and became the authoritative text for rabbinic Judaism.
EXPLORING THE TRANSLATION
Discussions—heated or otherwise—span the ages regarding the Genesis 1:1 wording, which is often translated “In the beginning, God created.”
But considering a point of Hebraic grammar, is that what it’s really saying?
Some scholars and/or grammarians say no. They make an argument for this translation: “In A Beginning.”
An intriguing view on a gazillion levels. A view that’s been discussed many times over the years at Torah study tables—and a view that always sets my mind spinning, in a thrilling, isn’t-God-amazing way.
Compounding that, Stephen Rayburn points out in his 2009 “D’var Torah: Bereshit” article, that Rashi regarded the word b’reshit as a statement not about “the absolute beginning of everything” but when “God turned His attention to our own world.”
But let’s take another step closer, looking at the vowel in question—a sh’va, two vertical dots under the first letter, which is a bet.
Simply put, that vowel gives us the word b’reishit in a grammatical construct state. In other words, a construction that’s lacking something: a noun.
There are four other biblical occurrences of this voweled wording (b’reishit) that are in the same construction as Genesis 1:1—and all are translated with a preposition:
Genesis 10:10.The beginning of his kingdom
Proverbs 8:22.The beginning of His way
Jeremiah 2:3.The beginning of His increase
Jeremiah 26:1. In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim
And this . . . Deuteronomy 18:4. In the first fruit/beginning of your corn
In other words, the translation “In the beginning of” or “In a beginning of”demands a noun to follow—but we only have a verb (created). “In the beginning, God created.”
Based on biblical consistency (shown in the four scriptures above), the construct in Genesis 1:1 would be translated with a preposition and a gerund (verb+ing, forming a noun) . . .
“In the beginning of God’s creating.”
Does it matter? Well . . . it just might create a stairway to some intriguing wonderings . . . and connections to your redemption.
BEGINNINGS: ANOTHER STEP
Back in October 2011, Reb Jeff—Rabbi Jeffrey W. Goldwasser—wrote in his blog post (“Bereshit: In the Beginning of What?”) a more illustrative translation based on the grammatical analysis and infusing spiritual innuendos of timelessness.
He says the “world never stopped being created” since it “has a beginning, but it is a beginning that has never ceased.”
“In the beginning of the beginning that is always beginning, G-d created the creation that is still [beginning and creating].”
Simply complex, right?
Think of it. God IS the beginning . . . the One who has NO beginning. And WITHIN HIM is the beginning—a beginning that continues to unfold, contract, reach down, extend out . . . and begin.
A beginning within a beginning within a beginning.
I mean, seriously, the further-most observable object in our universe is 46 billion light years away. We’re talking about the humanly incomprehensible power of our holy God.
The Creator. The One who ignites time—even though He is neither bound by or existing in time, yet time exists within Him—and carves dimension, order, life, the Law, redemption, and even the coming new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem. (Have you read Revelation 21?)
WALKING THE BRIDGE: AND HE SPOKE
So what was going on with these beginnings within beginnings . . . when there was absolutely no beginning because God has no beginning and no end?
God created this dimension—this beginning—within the beginning with a WORD. Per rabbinical teaching, the WORD God spoke in the creative process did the creation.
I couldn’t agree more. It’s the apex linking God’s beginnings within beginnings and the reveal of the redemptive gift to humanity: the Messiah.
So let’s take that immense, unfolding beginning and the WORD igniting it all, and walk this next part of the bridge in Part 2 . . . and stay tuned for more reveals in Genesis and beyond throughout this series.
Read this next: Beginnings within Beginnings, Part 2.
PHOTO CREDITS for this two-part post:
CREDITS: Steam Punk Minister w/Bible by Nathan Bingle on Unsplash.com
CREDITS: Steps with child by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash.com
CREDITS: Tennis shoes on asphalt photo by Maxwell Nelson on Unsplash.com