Earth and Seas (Genesis chap. 1, verse 10)

“And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:10)

“At this point the world in its basic charateristics is roughly finished. Above the firmament are the the waters of the heavenly ocean whose blue color we see from below. From it fall rains upon the earth (cf., however, Gen. 7:11); under the firmament is the earth disk surrounded by oceans and miraculously held above waters (Ps. 24:2; 136:6; Ex 20:4).

It would be wrong, however, when speaking of the “waters” and the “ocean”, to think too rationalistically only about man’s physical and geographical world. The origin of the ocean from the dimension of the chaos is clear enough.

The cosmos, therefore, is surrounded entirely and thus threatened on all sides, above, and below, by cosmic spaces, which, to be sure, can no longer be called directly chaotic, but which still permanently preserve something hostile to God and creation. It is a miracle that God’s will for order has set for them a salutary bounder.

Poets and prophets deal with the same things differently. The waters fled before God and his reprimand; he set bounds for them which they may not transgress (Ps. 104:7-9: Jer. 5:22); the power of chaos is watched over by God (Job 7:12); indeed, it is bound … Should it want to arise, God would still it (Ps. 89:10; Job 26:12), etc.

Here again the naming! In distinguishing things according their nature, God therewith also distinguishes terms and names; the human name-giving is, as it were, only a distance echo of this divine naming …” (From G. von Rag, Genesis. A Commentary, 1972, p. 54)

Simone Venturini


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