"In the beginning"

How does one deal with the phrase in Genesis 1 “In the beginning”? Theologically this has been used as the beginning of living things on this earth. How does a Christian scientist deal with this, especially in light of the position of genealogical Adam?

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In the beginning of what?

I see these as being all much the same:

  • In the beginning

  • Once upon a time

  • A long time ago

I see it as a mistake to logically analyze the words too finely. It’s just a broad reference to the distant past.


What Hebrew words are used there?


Yes, BERESHIT (“In the beginning”) introduces the story of the Children of Israel, the Pentateuch (the five books of the Law.) Because BERESHIT is the first word of the Genesis scroll, it serves as the title of that scroll. Genesis 1 is a kind of “preface” to the entire story of “God’s chosen people”, a long saga which includes God’s special calling of Abraham and the promise that his descendants would become like “the sands of the sea” in terms of vast numbers.

Yes, BERESHIT is a suitable way for a five-volume book series to begin.


@Cleaner1 (and @nwrickert )

How about in the beginning “of the story of Man’s relatinship with God…” ?

Considering all the other wild things in the Old Testament, “In the Beginning” seems pretty tame!

What about the talking donkey?
Samson’s magical hair?
The ridiculous story of a bowl of red pottage?


Nice to meet you and great question @Cleaner1. We always have to ask “which beginning?” There are many beginnings. For any given statement like this, which beginning is it referring to? Once that becomes clear, their really isn’t any contradiction.

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Science says that there was no time before big bang, so the beginning would be the beginning of time.

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That is just one beginning @Edgar_Tamarian. There are other beginnings too. When Jesus says that “in the beginning” he created them male and female, he isn’t talking about the big bang, he isn’t talking about Genesis 1:1, he isn’t talking about the first day of creation week. He is talking about a beginning that is not the ultimate beginning. “in the beginning” makes us ask the question: “which beginning?”


‘‘In the beginning’’ is used in John 1;1 and it refers to Genesis 1:1, where else, there is “in the beginning”

I’d agree with that, but that isn’t the only beginning.

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Science is SILENT on what was before the big bang.

Here is a timeline of events AFTER the big bang:



You refer to more than one “beginning” and I must assume you are talking about beginnings not mentioned in the first chapter of Genesis. Could you list or talk about those beginnings. thank you

@Cleaner1, there are many many beginnings. You’d have to clarify which passages you are asking about. Taking this example:

What he is probably talking about is the beginning of humanity, either Genesis 1:26 and/or Genesis 2. He is probably not talking a bout Genesis 1:1.

There are beginnings all the time. For example, your beginning here on the forum started just now. You have just begun your story here with this thread. When ever we tell a story, there is a beginning.

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Hey, they’re only 5 days apart. 4,000 years later, the difference probably wasn’t worth mentioning.

Just linguistically speaking “Beginning” is a relative terms. I just means the beginning of a particular context. There are many beginnings.

Even Genesis 1:1, THE beginning, doesn’t preclude thee creation of other universes “before” ours (what ever that means." This first beginning just means the beginning of our universe, some might even dispute this.

Sure. Though of course “universe” is as inappropriate to Genesis as thinking that “world” means “planet”.


As I said:

Thanks for proving my point. I’d add, if you go this way, they can’t be talking about the planet either. They were likely just talking about the local area.

No, that isn’t the point. They’re talking about what they think of as everything, which is contained in a fairly small box surrounded by water. You can’t call that a universe, you can’t call it a planet. You could call it a world, or the earth, or something.


‘Before’ is a time-based word in linear time. If if time began at the big bang, does the concept of ‘before’ really apply?

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correct. Talking about “before time” before time began doesn’t make much sense.

btw what is “linear time”?

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