The Geneva Bible Translation Notes, , at sacred-texts.com
gen 1:1In the (a) beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
The Argument - Moses in effect declares three things, which are in this book chiefly to be considered: First, that the world and all things in it were created by God, and to praise his Name for the infinite graces, with which he had endued him, fell willingly from God through disobedience, who yet for his own mercies sake restored him to life, and confirmed him in the same by his promise of Christ to come, by whom he should overcome Satan, death and hell. Secondly, that the wicked, unmindful of God's most excellent benefits, remained still in their wickedness, and so falling most horribly from sin to sin, provoked God (who by his preachers called them continually to repentance) at length to destroy the whole world. Thirdly, he assures us by the examples of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the rest of the patriarchs, that his mercies never fail those whom he chooses to be his Church, and to profess his Name in earth, but in all their afflictions and persecutions he assists them, sends comfort, and delivers them, so that the beginning, increase, preservation and success of it might be attributed to God only. Moses shows by the examples of Cain, Ishmael, Esau and others, who were noble in man's judgment, that this Church depends not on the estimation and nobility of the world: and also by the fewness of those, who have at all times worshipped him purely according to his word that it stands not in the multitude, but in the poor and despised, in the small flock and little number, that man in his wisdom might be confounded, and the name of God praised forever.
(a) First of all, and before any creature was, God made heaven and earth out of nothing.
gen 1:2And the earth was (b) without form, and void; and (c) darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God (d) moved upon the face of the waters.
(b) As an unformed lump and without any creature in it: for the waters covered everything.
(c) Darkness covered the deep waters, for the waters covered everything.
(d) He maintained this disordered mass by his secret power.
gen 1:3And God said, Let there be light: and there was (e) light.
(e) The light was made before either Sun or Moon was created: therefore we must not attribute that to the creatures that are God's instruments, which only belong to God.
gen 1:7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which [were] (f) under the firmament from the waters which [were] above the firmament: and it was so.
(f) As the sea and rivers, from those waters that are in the clouds, which are upheld by God's power, least they should overwhelm the world.
gen 1:8And God called the firmament (g) Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
(g) That is, the region of the air, and all that is above us.
gen 1:11And God said, (h) Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, [and] the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed [is] in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
(h) So that we see it is the only the power of God's word that makes the earth fruitful, which naturally is barren.
gen 1:12And the earth brought forth grass, [and] herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed [was] in itself, after his kind: and God (i) saw that [it was] good.
(i) This sentence is often repeated, to signify that God made all his creatures to serve for his glory and for the profit of man: but because of sin they were cursed, yet the elect, by Christ are restored, and serve to their wealth.
gen 1:14And God said, Let there be (k) lights in the firmament of the heaven to (l) divide the day from the night; and let them be for (m) signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
(k) By the lights be means the sun, the moon, and the stars.
(l) Which is the artificial day, from the sun rising, to the going down.
(m) Of things belonging to natural and political orders and seasons.
gen 1:16And God made two great (n) lights; the greater light to (o) rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: [he made] the stars also.
(n) That is, the sun and the moon, and here he speaks as man judges by his eye: for else the moon is less than the planet Saturn.
(o) To give it sufficient light, as instruments appointed for the same, to serve man's purposes.
gen 1:20And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the (p) moving creature that hath life, and fowl [that] may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
(p) As fish and worms which slide, swim or creep.
gen 1:21And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the (q) waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
(q) The fish and fowls had both one beginning, in which we see that nature gives place to God's will, in that the one sort is made to fly about in the air, and the other to swim beneath in the water.
gen 1:22And God (r) blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
(r) That is, by the virtue of his word he gave power to his creatures to reproduce.
gen 1:26And God said, (s) Let us make man in our (t) 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.
(s) God commanded the water and the earth to bring forth other creatures: but of man he says, "Let us make..." signifying that God takes counsel with his wisdom and virtue purposing to make an excellent work above all the rest of his creation.
(t) This image and likeness of God in man is expounded in (Eph 4:24) where it is written that man was created after God in righteousness and true holiness meaning by these two words, all perfection, as wisdom, truth, innocency, power, etc.
gen 1:28And God (u) 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 moveth upon the earth.
(u) The propagation.
gen 1:29And God said, Behold, I have given you (x) every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
(x) God's great.