The Bible in Its Traditions

Genesis 1:1–31

M G V Sam
S

IN THE beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

GOD created the heavens and the earth in the very beginning.

M S Sam
G
V

Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.

But the earth was unsightly and unfurnished, and darkness was over the deep, and the Spirit of God moved over the water.

But the earth was empty and unoccupied, and darknesses were over the face of the abyss; and so the Spirit of God was brought over the waters.

M G V S Sam

And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light.

And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.

And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

M S Sam
G
V

And God said: 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.'

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the water, and let it be a division between water and water, and it was so.

God also said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide waters from waters.”

M G V S Sam

And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.

And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

M S Sam
G
V

And God said: 'Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear.' And it was so.

And God said, Let the water which is under the heaven be collected into one place, and let the dry land appear, and it was so. And the water which was under the heaven was collected into its places, and the dry land appeared.

Truly God said: “Let the waters that are under heaven be gathered together into one place; and let the dry land appear.” And so it became.

M G V S Sam

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.

M Sam
G S
V

11  And God said: 'Let the earth put forth grass, herb yielding seed, and fruit-tree bearing fruit after its kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth.' And it was so.

11  And God said, Let the earth bring forth the herb of grass bearing seed according to its kind and according to its likeness, and the fruit-tree bearing fruit whose seed is in it, according to its kind on the earth, and it was so.

11  And he said, “Let the land spring forth green plants, both those producing seed, and fruit-bearing trees, producing fruit according to their kind, whose seed is within itself, over all the earth.” And so it became.

M S Sam
G
V

12  And the earth brought forth grass, herb yielding seed after its kind, and tree bearing fruit, wherein is the seed thereof, after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

12  And the earth brought forth the herb of grass bearing seed according to its kind and according to its likeness, and the fruit tree bearing fruit whose seed is in it, according to its kind on the earth, and God saw that it was good.

12  And the land brought forth green plants, both those producing seed, according to their kind, and trees producing fruit, with each having its own way of sowing, according to its species. And God saw that it was good.

M G V S Sam

13  And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.

M G Sam
V S

14  And God said: 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years;

14  Then God said: “Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven. And let them divide day from night, and let them become signs, both of the seasons, and of the days and years.

M G S Sam
V

15  and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.' And it was so.

15  Let them shine in the firmament of heaven and illuminate the earth.” And so it became.

M G V S Sam

16  And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; and the stars.

M G S Sam
V

17  And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

17  And he set them in the firmament of heaven, to give light over all the earth,

M G V S Sam

18  and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.

M G S Sam
V

19  And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

19  And it became evening and morning, the fourth day.

M S
G Sam
V

20  And God said: 'Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let fowl fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.'

20  And God said, Let the waters bring forth reptiles having life, and winged creatures flying above the earth in the firmament of heaven, and it was so.

20  And then God said, “Let the waters produce animals with a living soul, and flying creatures above the earth, under the firmament of heaven.”

M S Sam
G
V

21  And God created the great sea-monsters, and every living creature that creepeth, wherewith the waters swarmed, after its kind, and every winged fowl after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

21  And God made great whales, and every living reptile, which the waters brought forth according to their kinds, and every creature that flies with wings according to its kind, and God saw that they were good.

21  And God created the great sea creatures, and everything with a living soul and the ability to move that the waters produced, according to their species, and all the flying creatures, according to their kind. And God saw that it was good.

M G V S Sam

22  And God blessed them, saying: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.'

M G S Sam
V

23  And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

23  And it became evening and morning, the fifth day.

M Sam G
V

24  And God said: 'Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after its kind.' And it was so.

24  God also said, “Let the land produce living souls in their kind: cattle, and animals, and wild beasts of the earth, according to their species.” And so it became.

M G S Sam
V

25  And God made the beast of the earth after its kind, and the cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

25  And God made the wild beasts of the earth according to their species, and the cattle, and every animal on the land, according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26  And God said: 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.'

26  And he said: “Let us make Man to our image and likeness. And let him rule over the fish of the sea, and the flying creatures of the air, and the wild beasts, and the entire earth, and every animal that moves on the earth.”

M V S Sam
G

27  And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.

27  And God made man, according to the image of God he made him, male and female he made them.

28  And God blessed them; and God said unto them: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.'

28  And God blessed them, saying, Increase and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the seas and flying creatures of heaven, and all the cattle and all the earth, and all the reptiles that creep on the earth.

M G V S Sam

29  And God said: 'Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed--to you it shall be for food;

M S Sam
G
V

30  and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is a living soul, I have given every green herb for food.' And it was so.

30  And to all the wild beasts of the earth, and to all the flying creatures of heaven, and to every reptile creeping on the earth, which has in itself the breath of life, even every green plant for food; and it was so.

30  and for all the animals of the land, and for all the flying things of the air, and for everything that moves upon the earth and in which there is a living soul, so that they may have these on which to feed.” And so it became.

M G V S Sam

31  And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Reception

Music

1f,2:4 The Creation (Die Schöpfung) Composed between 1796 and 1798, with a public premiere in 1799, this oratorio is doubtless Haydn's masterpiece. Evocative of Haydn's profound religious faith, The Creation is a paean to the beauty and joy of existence as God intended it. Notably, the Fall is absent from the oratorio: it ends with Adam and Eve's first meeting. On the one hand, one could argue that this omission reflects the 18th century's optimism that generally rejected the concept of Original Sin, as seen in the thought of Voltaire and Rousseau. One the other hand, Haydn suffered bouts of melancholy and lived a harsh life before he found stable employment: perhaps for him, the fact of Original Sin is obvious, for its effects are visible everywhere; the goodness of creation as revealed in Gn 1-2, however, is not obvious and must be proclaimed as loudly as possible. Perhaps this is reflected in remarks Haydn made regarding the oratorio in an 1802 letter:

  • "Often, when I was struggling with all kinds of obstacles…a secret voice whispered to me: 'There are so few happy and contented people in this world; sorrow and grief follow them everywhere; perhaps your labour will become a source from which the careworn…will for a while derive peace and refreshment'" (Source→).

The Creation begins with a Prelude that depicts Chaos by withholding musical cadences from ends of phrases and gradually becomes more systematic to finally culminate in the orchestra and the choir coming together in a luminous chord for "let there be Light". Three soloists represent three angles who narrate and comment upon the six days of creation: Gabriel (soprano), Uriel (tenor), and Raphael (bass). The final act features Adam (bass) and Eve (soprano). Their lovely duet Holde Gattin may have been inspired by the duet between Papageno and Papageno in the Magic Flute.

Haydn's last public appearance was at an 1808 performance of The Creation. Biographer J. Cuthbert Hadden thus describes the scene:

  • "Naumann, writing of it, says that 'such an apotheosis of the master was witnessed as has but few parallels,' and this is no exaggeration. The performance, which was under the direction of Salieri, had been arranged in honour of his approaching seventy-sixth birthday. All the great artists of Vienna were present, among them Beethoven and Hummel. Prince Esterhazy had sent his carriage to bring the veteran to the hall, and, as he was being conveyed in an arm-chair to a place among the princes and nobles, the whole audience rose to their feet in testimony of their regard....When that magnificent passage was reached, 'And there was light,' they burst into loud applause, and Haydn, overcome with excitement, exclaimed, 'Not I, but a Power from above created that.' The performance went on, but it proved too much for the old man, and friends arranged to take him home at the end of the first part. As he was being carried out, some of the highest of the land crowded round to take what was felt to be a last farewell; and Beethoven, forgetting incidents of early days, bent down and fervently kissed his hand and forehead. Having reached the door, Haydn asked his bearers to pause and turn him towards the orchestra. Then, lifting his hand, as if in the act of blessing, he was borne out into the night" (Source→).

 Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), Gottfried van Swieten (livret), Die Schöpfung, (Hob. XXI:2), 1796-1798

William Cutter (dir.), The MIT Concert Choir→, © Licence YouTube standard

This performance→ employs the original German libretto, which is far superior to the English.