logo-small

Genesis 1:2

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Read Chapter 1

Ambrose of Milan

AD 397
The good architect lays the foundation first and afterward, when the foundation has been laid, plots the various parts of the building, one after the other, and then adds to it the ornamentation…. Scripture points out that things were first created and afterward put in order lest it be supposed that they were not actually created and that they had no beginning, just as if the nature of things had been, as it were, generated from the beginning and did not appear to be something added afterward. ...
< 1 min1/22

Ambrose of Milan

AD 397
The Spirit fittingly moved over the earth, destined to bear fruit because by the aid of the Spirit it held the seeds of new birth which were to germinate according to the words of the prophet: “Send forth thy Spirit and they shall be created and thou shalt renew the face of the earth.”
< 1 min2/22

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
One who diligently considers what darkness is really finds only the absence of light. Thus it said, “darkness was over the abyss,” as if to say, “There was no light over the abyss.” Hence, this matter that is ordered and distinguished by the next work of God is called the invisible and unformed earth and the deep that is lacking light. This is what was above called heaven and earth, like the seed of heaven and earth. ...
< 1 min3/22

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
The earth was invisible and unorganized, and darkness was over the abyss. Formlessness is suggested by these words, so that we might grasp the meaning by degrees, for we are unable to think cognitively about an absolute privation of form that still does not go as far as nothing. From this, another visible and organized heaven and earth were to be made. ...
< 1 min4/22

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
The matter is first called by the name of the universe, that is, of heaven and earth, for the sake of which it was made from absolutely nothing. Second, its formlessness is conveyed by the mention of the unformed earth and the abyss, because among all the elements earth is more formless and less bright than the rest. Third, by the name water, there is signified matter that is subject to the work of the Maker, for water can be moved more easily than earth. And thus on account of the easiness by which it can be worked and moved, the matter subject to the Maker should be called water rather than earth. ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
“And darkness was over the abyss.” The Manichaeans find fault with this and say, “Was God then in darkness, before he made the light?” They themselves are truly in the darkness of ignorance, and for that reason they do not understand the light in which God was before he made this light. For they know only the light they see with the eyes of the flesh. And therefore they worship this sun that every creature sees. But let us understand that there is a different light in which God dwells. . ...
< 1 min6/22

Basil the Great

AD 379
6. And the Spirit of God was borne upon the face of the waters. Does this spirit mean the diffusion of air? The sacred writer wishes to enumerate to you the elements of the world, to tell you that God created the heavens, the earth, water, and air and that the last was now diffused and in motion; or rather, that which is truer and confirmed by the authority of the ancients, by the Spirit of God, he means the Holy Spirit. It is, as has been remarked, the special name, the name above all others that Scripture delights to give to the Holy Spirit, and always by the spirit of God the Holy Spirit is meant, the Spirit which completes the divine and blessed Trinity. You will find it better therefore to take it in this sense. How then did the Spirit of God move upon the waters? The explanation that I am about to give you is not an original one, but that of a Syrian, who was as ignorant in the wisdom of this world as he was versed in the knowledge of the Truth. He said, then, that the Syriac wor...

Basil the Great

AD 379
5. Do not then go beyond yourself to seek for evil, and imagine that there is an original nature of wickedness. Each of us, let us acknowledge it, is the first author of his own vice. Among the ordinary events of life, some come naturally, like old age and sickness, others by chance like unforeseen occurrences, of which the origin is beyond ourselves, often sad, sometimes fortunate, as for instance the discovery of a treasure when digging a well, or the meeting of a mad dog when going to the market place. Others depend upon ourselves, such as ruling one's passions, or not putting a bridle on one's pleasures, to be master of our anger, or to raise the hand against him who irritates us, to tell the truth, or to lie, to have a sweet and well-regulated disposition, or to be fierce and swollen and exalted with pride. Here you are the master of your actions. Do not look for the guiding cause beyond yourself, but recognise that evil, rightly so called, has no other origin than our voluntary f...

Basil the Great

AD 379
Surely the perfect condition of the earth consists in its state of abundance: the budding of all sorts of plants, the putting forth of the lofty trees both fruitful and barren, the freshness and fragrance of flowers, and whatever things appeared on earth a little later by the command of God to adorn their mother. Since as yet there was nothing of this, the Scripture reasonably spoke of it as incomplete. We might say the same also about the heavens; that they were not yet brought to perfection themselves, nor had they received their proper adornment, since they were not yet lighted around by the moon nor the sun, nor crowned by the choirs of the stars. For these things had not yet been made. Therefore you will not err from the truth if you say that the heavens also were incomplete. ...

Basil the Great

AD 379
1. In the few words which have occupied us this morning we have found such a depth of thought that we despair of penetrating further. If such is the fore court of the sanctuary, if the portico of the temple is so grand and magnificent, if the splendour of its beauty thus dazzles the eyes of the soul, what will be the holy of holies? Who will dare to try to gain access to the innermost shrine? Who will look into its secrets? To gaze into it is indeed forbidden us, and language is powerless to express what the mind conceives. However, since there are rewards, and most desirable ones, reserved by the just Judge for the intention alone of doing good, do not let us hesitate to continue our researches. Although we may not attain to the truth, if, with the help of the Spirit, we do not fall away from the meaning of Holy Scripture we shall not deserve to be rejected, and, with the help of grace, we shall contribute to the edification of the Church of God. The earth, says Holy Scripture, was...
17 mins10/22

Basil the Great

AD 379
A new source for fables and most impious imaginations if one distorts the sense of these words at the will of one's fancies. By darkness these wicked men do not understand what is meant in reality— air not illumined, the shadow produced by the interposition of a body, or finally a place for some reason deprived of light. For them darkness is an evil power, or rather the personification of evil, having his origin in himself in opposition to, and in perpetual struggle with, the goodness of God. If God is light, they say, without any doubt the power which struggles against Him must be darkness, Darkness not owing its existence to a foreign origin, but an evil existing by itself. Darkness is the enemy of souls, the primary cause of death, the adversary of virtue. The words of the Prophet, they say in their error, show that it exists and that it does not proceed from God. From this what perverse and impious dogmas have been imagined! What grievous wolves, Acts 20:29 tearing the flock of the...
3 mins11/22

Basil the Great

AD 379
2. But the corrupters of the truth, who, incapable of submitting their reason to Holy Scripture, distort at will the meaning of the Holy Scriptures, pretend that these words mean matter. For it is matter, they say, which from its nature is without form and invisible—being by the conditions of its existence without quality and without form and figure. The Artificer submitting it to the working of His wisdom clothed it with a form, organized it, and thus gave being to the visible world. If matter is uncreated, it has a claim to the same honours as God, since it must be of equal rank with Him. Is this not the summit of wickedness, that an extreme deformity, without quality, without form, shape, ugliness without configuration, to use their own expression, should enjoy the same prerogatives with Him, Who is wisdom, power and beauty itself, the Creator and the Demiurge of the universe? This is not all. If matter is so great as to be capable of being acted on by the whole wisdom of God, it...
3 mins12/22

Basil the Great

AD 379
3. God created the heavens and the earth, but not only half—He created all the heavens and all the earth, creating the essence with the form. For He is not an inventor of figures, but the Creator even of the essence of beings. Further let them tell us how the efficient power of God could deal with the passive nature of matter, the latter furnishing the matter without form, the former possessing the science of the form without matter, both being in need of each other; the Creator in order to display His art, matter in order to cease to be without form and to receive a form. But let us stop here and return to our subject. The earth was invisible and unfinished. In saying In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, the sacred writer passed over many things in silence, water, air, fire and the results from them, which, all forming in reality the true complement of the world, were, without doubt, made at the same time as the universe. By this silence, history wishes to train ...
2 mins13/22

Basil the Great

AD 379
1. In the few words which have occupied us this morning we have found such a depth of thought that we despair of penetrating further. If such is the fore court of the sanctuary, if the portico of the temple is so grand and magnificent, if the splendour of its beauty thus dazzles the eyes of the soul, what will be the holy of holies? Who will dare to try to gain access to the innermost shrine? Who will look into its secrets? To gaze into it is indeed forbidden us, and language is powerless to express what the mind conceives. However, since there are rewards, and most desirable ones, reserved by the just Judge for the intention alone of doing good, do not let us hesitate to continue our researches. Although we may not attain to the truth, if, with the help of the Spirit, we do not fall away from the meaning of Holy Scripture we shall not deserve to be rejected, and, with the help of grace, we shall contribute to the edification of the Church of God. The earth, says Holy Scripture, was...
3 mins14/22

Ephrem The Syrian

AD 373
[The Holy Spirit] warmed the waters with a kind of vital warmth, even bringing them to a boil through intense heat in order to make them fertile. The action of a hen is similar. It sits on its eggs, making them fertile through the warmth of incubation. Here then, the Holy Spirit foreshadows the sacrament of holy baptism, prefiguring its arrival, so that the waters made fertile by the hovering of cthat same divine Spirit might give birth to the children of God. ...
< 1 min15/22

Ephrem The Syrian

AD 373
It was appropriate to reveal here that the Spirit hovered in order for us to learn that the work of creation was held in common by the Spirit with the Father and the Son. The Father spoke. The Son created. And so it was also right that the Spirit offer its work, clearly shown through its hovering, in order to demonstrate its unity with the other persons. Thus we learn that all was brought to perfection and accomplished by the Trinity. ...
< 1 min16/22

Ephrem The Syrian

AD 373
After this Moses spoke not of the firmament and things that were above [it], but rather of those things that were between the firmament and the earth which is within [ the firmament ]. Moses wrote about [ the things within the firmament ] for us, although he did not write about everything for us, for he did not record for us the day on which the spiritual things were created. Moses then goes on to write about the earth, "that it was tohu and bohu, " [ Gen1:2 ] that is, void and desolation. This is to show that even the void and desolation were prior to the elements. I am not saying that the void and desolation were something, but rather that that earth which was to become well-known did not exist, for only the [primitive] earth, without any other [adornment] existed. After Moses spoke about the creation of heaven and earth and showed that the waste and desolation preceded the elements that were created by the length of that moment that followed [their creation ], he turned to write a...
6 mins17/22

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Spirit of God, giving life, vigour, and motion to things, and preparing the waters for the sacred office of baptism, in which, by the institution of Jesus Christ, we must be born again; and, like spiritual fishes, swim amid the tempestuous billows of this world. (v. Tert.) (Worthington) (Haydock) This Spirit is what the Pagan philosophers styled the Soul of the World. (Calmet) If we compare their writings with the books of Moses and the prophets, we shall find that they agree in many points. See Grotius. (Haydock) ...
< 1 min18/22

Jerome

AD 420
In the beginning of Genesis, it is written: “And the Spirit was stirring above the waters.” You see, then, what it says in the beginning of Genesis. Now for its mystical meaning—“The Spirit was stirring above the waters”—already at that time baptism was being foreshadowed. It could not be true baptism, to be sure, without the Spirit. ...
< 1 min19/22

Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
For the depth and the darkness underlay the earth. Since the deep was under the earth, and the darkness was over the deep, undoubtedly both the darkness and the deep were under the earth. For since the waters were over the earth, which they covered, while the spirit was over the waters, both the spirit and the waters were alike over the earth. Of darkness, indeed, the Lord Himself by Isaiah says, "I formed the light, and I created darkness." Isaiah 45:7 Of the wind also Amos says, "He that strengthens the thunder, and creates the wind, and declares His Christ unto men;" Amos 4:13 thus showing that that wind was created which was reckoned with the formation of the earth, which was wafted over the waters, balancing and refreshing and animating all things: not (as some suppose) meaning God Himself by the spirit, on the ground that "God is a Spirit," John 4:24 because the waters would not be able to bear up their Lord; but He speaks of that spirit of which the winds consist, as He says by ...

Thomas Aquinas

AD 1274
In creation the Person of the Father is indicated by God the Creator, the Person of the Son by the beginning, in which He created, and the Person of the Holy Ghost by the Spirit that moved over the waters. But in the formation, the Person of the Father is indicated by God that speaks, and the Person of the Son by the Word in which He speaks, and the Person of the Holy Spirit by the satisfaction with which God saw that what was made was good. ...
< 1 min21/22

Thomas Aquinas

AD 1274
The earth was void: or "invisible," inasmuch as the waters covered and concealed it from view; and the formlessness of the earth. But other holy writers understand by earth the element of earth, in this sense, the earth was, according to them, without form. In other words, they hold that formlessness of matter preceded in time its formation. But St. Augustine believes that the formlessness of matter was not prior in time to its formation, but only in origin or the order of nature, Empty: or, according to another reading [Septuagint], "shapeless"--that is, unadorned by herbs and plants. darkness was upon the face of the deep: The formlessness of water, which holds the middle place, is called the "deep," because, as Augustine says (Contr. Faust. xxii, 11), this word signifies the mass of waters without order. Spirit of God: Rabbi Moses (Perplex. ii) understands by the "Spirit of the Lord," the air or the wind, as Plato also did, and says that it is so called according to the custom ...
2 mins22/22

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

App Store LogoPlay Store Logo