What is the meaning of “Earth” in Genesis 1:1?

Scientists who are Christians are trying to figure out what this word might possibly mean. Someone has said:

’Erets means simultaneously Earth, Land, and sometimes a country. Clearly, land has complex structure: mountains, valleys, etc.

Why do we make it so complicated? There is no need to be in a quandary about all of the possible meanings. There is most certainly a particular thing that it does mean in each and every place where it appears. It is not up for grabs where we can pick something on a whim from a “Strong's List” of possible definitions.

It means what it means. It means exactly what it meant to a ten-year old child living in Shiloh in the 11th century BC. It means exactly what it meant to a five-year old boy living 1563 anno mundi.

The "Earth" in Genesis 1:1-2 means exactly the same thing that it means in the rest of the Bible. Through simple principles of grammar and vocabulary it is clear that in verse one and two it refers to the planet – in a preliminary stage described as “unformed and unfilled.”

It is generally very clear when the meaning is the planet. For example, when the Scripture speaks of “all nations/people/kingdoms of the earth,” this means the planet (Gen. 26:4; 1 Kings 8:43, 53; 2 Kings 19:15). Or, when the text speaks of the “land” (’adamah) upon the “Earth” (’erets), then Earth means the planet (Deut. 11:21).

But the most consistent usage that clearly intends the sense of the planet is when the phrase “Heavens and Earth” or “Heaven and Earth” appears.

In dozens of passages - when "heaven" and "earth" appear in tandem - earth refers to the entire realm of man that is under the heavens of God above.

Old Testament

  • Gen. 1:1 – because of context the same sense applies to v. 2
  • Gen. 11:4
  • Gen. 14:19, 22
  • Gen. 24:3
  • Gen. 28:12
  • Exo. 31:17
  • Deut. 3:24; 4:26, 32, 36, 39; 10:14; 11:21; 30:19; 31:28
  • Josh. 2:11
  • 2 Sam. 22:7-10
  • 1 Kings 8:22-30, 43
  • 2 Kings 19:15
  • 1 Chron. 21:16; 29:10-15
  • 2 Chron. 2:12; 6:12-18 cf. v. 25 (’Adamah); 36:23
  • Ezra 1:2; 5:11
  • Job 28:24; 37:3;
  • Psa. 73:35; 76:8-12; 85:11; 102:15-19; 103:11-12, 19; 113:1-6; 115:3, 15-16; 121:12; 124:8; 134:3; 148:1, 4 with v. 7f, 11,
  • Eccl. 5:2
  •  Isa. 37:16; 66:1
  • Jer. 23:24; 31:37; 32:17; 33:25; 51:15, 48
  • Ezek. 8:3
  • Dan. 4:23, 35

The New Testament continues this pattern

  • Matt. 5:18; 6:10; 11:25; 16:19; 18:18-19; 23:9; 24:30, 35; 28:18
  • Mark 13:31
  • Luke 10:21; 11:2; 16:17; 21:26, 33
  • John 3:31
  • Acts 7:49; 17:24;
  • 1 Cor. 15:57;
  • Eph. 1:10; 3:15
  • Phil. 2:10
  • Col. 1:16, 20
  • Heb. 12:25-26
  • Jam. 5:12;
  • 2 Pet. 3:7-13
  • 1 John 5:7-8;
  • Rev. 8:13; 9:1; 12:4; 14:6; 18:1; 20:9, 11; 21:1

 

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Jim this is an interesting work you have put up, a lot of work!  My thoughts about tis:The

"Earth" in Genesis 1:1-2 means exactly the same thing that it means in the rest of the Bible. Through simple principles of grammar and vocabulary it is clear that in verse one and two it refers to the planet – in a preliminary stage described as “unformed and unfilled.”

For instance when there was a famine throughout the earth referring to Egypt and surrounding areas it did not infer the whole world?  when Sodom and Gomorrah, it did not infer the whole world.  There are many many different places where earth means earth or surrounding local, city, country, location but not the "whole earth"? 

So context is very important wouldn't we both agree?

As I understand this...


Original Word: 
אָ֫רֶץ
Part of Speech: Noun Feminine
Transliteration: erets
Phonetic Spelling: (eh'-rets)
Short Definition: land

NAS Exhaustive Concordance

Word Origin
a prim. root
Definition
earth, land
NASB Translation
common (1), countries (15), countries and their lands (1), country (44), countryside (1), distance* (3), dust (1), earth (655), earth the ground (1), earth's (1), fail* (1), floor (1), ground (119), land (1581), lands (57), lands have their land (2), open (1), other* (2), piece (1), plateau* (1), region (1), territories (1), wild (1), world (3).

So clearly the word erets in context has many meanings.  

For instance:

In Psalms104 a creation Psalm it says:
He set the earth on its foundations;
    it can never be moved.

THis "earth is the whole earth in context?  Is there any doubt?

another part of Psalms 104 says:

But at your rebuke the waters fled,
    at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
they flowed over the mountains,
    they went down into the valleys,
    to the place you assigned for them.
You set a boundary they cannot cross;
    never again will they cover the earth.

Again it is clear e speaking of the whole earth via the condition of the earth through his creative acts per the previous scripture.

According to Strong's there is no consistent pattern throughout the whole bible that each and every Erets in Hebrew has a specific contextual meaning. Yet there is a plethora of Erets's that mean land, country. local, etc.   

I went to Walt Kaiser and other Hebrew experts and essay's written by scholars on the subject, and one of the over whelming things that I found is that the ancient hebrews view of the earth was indeed one of a local and not the whole earth.  When Josephus and others quoting ancient writings from different cultures all used earth in local or regional sense.

So whee the erets means earth I am with you 100% Jim, and some of these references are surely that! However the context and the narrative also infers other views of "earth" which do not reflect the "whole earth"

So again here:(Cain)

 the LORD's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.


OK, so the point again is absolutely MISSED and derailed. THE ONLY meaning of "Earth" in Genesis 1:1-2 is very clear - it refers to the planetary body. All of us are aware that there are many usages for the word 'Erets in the Hebrew.

This thread IS ONLY ABOUT THE MEANING OF EARTH in those two verses. But as usual, those with an agenda to attack our doctrinal position here at CC will always turn it in to an argument against things that this forum stands for. They are trolls who only come here to find another opportunity to attack the fundamental things that we have identified as essential clear and obvious truths.

The agenda of the trolls is to cast uncertainty on the things that are very clear. They will try to appear like they are of us, when they are not. They will say they are in 100% agreement to load up their attack on our position. Here we go again. ANOTHER THREAD THAT I MUST CLOSE.

The point of this thread is not to discuss the various meanings of the word 'Erets, but to show that the certain and definite meaning of the word in the first two verses of the Bible  is very clearly THE PLANET. As you can see, our opponent is loading up for another barrage against the global flood - but Peter makes it very clear that it is the WHOLE WORLD that was destroyed by the Flood, and just as certainly the Fire will destroy and bring an end to this present world and God will create a new heavens and new earth in which righteousness dwells.

AND NO, this is not the view of "Strongs" - According to Strong's there is no consistent pattern throughout the whole bible that each and every Erets in Hebrew has a specific contextual meaning. Yet there is a plethora of Erets's that mean land, country. local, etc.
In fact THERE IS MOST CERTAINLY a patter, in which each and every 'Erets in the Hebrew has a specif contextual meaning - it is not at all inconsistent. There are clear contextual indicators that always expose with certainty the individual usages.

One example is "heavens and earth" - it means all of the universe.

One can think of any number of analogies to your question, 'What is the meaning of “Earth” in Genesis 1:1?'

What is the meaning of 'heavy' in the normal everyday statement that...

..."The weight bar was so overloaded with weights that it was too heavy even for the strongest dude in the gym to bench press it for even one rep. He tried, and he could not move it off the cradle. It took four of us other guys, two to an end, just to suspend it above him on the bench so he could directly test it for even one press. We were careful not to let it drop on him, as we let him take its full weight. But as soon as he took it, he said, 'No', and knew it was way too heavy even for his joints to keep holding it up without over-strain. It was that heavy, and he was a giant of a guy: 7-foot-4, 350 LBS, and all muscle."

What is the purpose of closing your post? I responded to your post and you should respond back?  There is no argument here.  I pointed out that earth does not always mean the whole earth?  IS that ok or not?  Why are you acting all insulted here?  IS the scirptures and Strong's not reliable evidences of what God's narrative "is"?  

Jim I totally agreed with you Jim about the meaning of the earth in context to scirptures you posted about the beginning?  Whats the beef here? 
It wasn't intended to be an argument, is was intended to define "Erets" through out the biblical narrative that takes on different meanings.  I didn't challenge your view I only stated the obvious only? 

Jim Brenneman said:

OK, so the point again is absolutely MISSED and derailed. THE ONLY meaning of "Earth" in Genesis 1:1-2 is very clear - it refers to the planetary body. All of us are aware that there are many usages for the word 'Erets in the Hebrew.

This thread IS ONLY ABOUT THE MEANING OF EARTH in those two verses. But as usual, those with an agenda to attack our doctrinal position here at CC will always turn it in to an argument against things that this forum stands for. They are trolls who only come here to find another opportunity to attack the fundamental things that we have identified as essential clear and obvious truths.

The agenda of the trolls is to cast uncertainty on the things that are very clear. They will try to appear like they are of us, when they are not. They will say they are in 100% agreement to load up their attack on our position. Here we go again. ANOTHER THREAD THAT I MUST CLOSE.

The point of this thread is not to discuss the various meanings of the word 'Erets, but to show that the certain and definite meaning of the word in the first two verses of the Bible  is very clearly THE PLANET. As you can see, our opponent is loading up for another barrage against the global flood - but Peter makes it very clear that it is the WHOLE WORLD that was destroyed by the Flood, and just as certainly the Fire will destroy and bring an end to this present world and God will create a new heavens and new earth in which righteousness dwells.

AND NO, this is not the view of "Strongs" - According to Strong's there is no consistent pattern throughout the whole bible that each and every Erets in Hebrew has a specific contextual meaning. Yet there is a plethora of Erets's that mean land, country. local, etc.
In fact THERE IS MOST CERTAINLY a patter, in which each and every 'Erets in the Hebrew has a specif contextual meaning - it is not at all inconsistent. There are clear contextual indicators that always expose with certainty the individual usages.

One example is "heavens and earth" - it means all of the universe.

In fact THERE IS MOST CERTAINLY a patter, in which each and every 'Erets in the Hebrew has a specif contextual meaning - it is not at all inconsistent. There are clear contextual indicators that always expose with certainty the individual usages.

Jim this is exactly what I said.  I agree.  THe context and the moment in history depending where it is used determines its use.  So again I don't understand your response at all. We both agree!!!!

  

No, Lou, you post is not about the topic of this thread. THIS thread is about the CERTAINTY of the meaning of EARTH - 'ERETS.

You are making posts to derail this idea - and YOU SHOULD NOT BE DOING THAT HERE. You should be discussing that with me in private. BUT AGAIN YOU HAVE CUT YOURSELF OFF from receiving private communications.

Do you agree that the meaning of 'Erets is very clear and definite in verse 0ne and Two?

Do you agree that the meaning is clear when it is used in the phrase "Heavens and Earth" - YES?

SO WHAT COULD BE YOUR MOTIVATION to come into MY THREAD and inject the element of uncertainty about the meaning of the word 'Erets?

There was no interjections anything the but the fact of sciurpture and Hebrew?  It wasn't a challenge to your post at all.  In context.  Sorry you apparently took my whole post incorrectly. 

Jim I did not discount your verse 1 and 2.  THe context seems clear does it not.  It's a statement of fact in the first two verses that GOD created the Universe and all that is in it and the earth, our earth, our planet. It is part of His devine design! 

So Jim there is absolutely no uncertainty with respect to the Hebrew in context and Strong's points this out.  It had nothing to degrade your post whatsoever.  You can paint it how you wish.

Strong's supports your contention?  What's the "beef"?

No God=No Universe, No God=No earth?  

There is no problem with your point here - but the fact that you are coming into MY THREAD and chiding me, and saying things like "What's the 'beef'?" PUBLICLY - that is inappropriate. THIS CONVERSATION should be in private.

BUT YOU WILL NOT ALLOW PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS.

That is your decision.

Your entire agenda is to dispute the main points of our statement of faith. And you invaded this thread with a point that ARGUED AGAINST our position.

Here is YOUR FIRST SENTENCE:

For instance when there was a famine throughout the earth referring to Egypt and surrounding areas it did not infer the whole world?  when Sodom and Gomorrah, it did not infer the whole world.  There are many many different places where earth means earth or surrounding local, city, country, location but not the "whole earth"?

You are immediately disclosing your trolling ulterior motive - you are trying to point out that EARTH often DOES NOT MEAN the Planet. We ALL CAN SEE THAT. It is not something that I painted however I wished. It is exactly what you did.

You are relentless and you just cannot help yourself. Your entire structure of unbelief in Genesis stand on your uncertainty about the meaning of 'Erets in places where it can be known. You want to continually advocate for your unscriptural position of unbelief.

I would love to discuss this UNBELIEF with you in private, but you have chosen to make it public. SO HERE WE ARE - by your choice.

STILL you have NO EXPLANATION for Marine Fossils in every mountain of range of the world.

You have derailed this thread.

Hi Jim,

If I understand what you are saying is that in Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."  The Hebrew word  ׃ that is translated as earth means the planet earth.  Is that correct?

The transliteration of    is harts the first letter which is the definite article meaning the and the following letters would be transliterated arts meaning earth.

The same Hebrew word is used in Genesis 1:2 with the conjunction and placed in front of it.

That would mean the planet earth existed in Genesis 1:1 and it still existed in Genesis 1:2.

Is that correct?

God Bless

I think that is the sense. But I derive this understanding by usage of the word in the phrase "Heaven(s) and Earth" - as I have listed all the occurrences of this tandem usage.

That is the only point that I am endeavoring to demonstrate in this thread.

The usage of the Sign of the Direct object indicates that two distinct things were were brought into existence.

NOW AARON I know you and I also know that you will want to discuss the use of the perfect verb in verse one. Please do not do that. THE meaning of the verb is NOT THE TOPIC OF THIS THREAD. If you want to discuss that, please start your own thread.

THIS THREAD IS ONLY about the meaning of earth in v. 1 and 2 - showing that in these two verses, the sense of 'ERETS is the PLANET.

The same sense of "planet" appears to be the meaning of 'Erets again in verse two.

So, my dear brother Aaron I am thanking you in advance for not departing from the topic of this thread.

Hi Jim,

I just wanted to know your position.

"THIS THREAD IS ONLY about the meaning of earth in v. 1 and 2 - showing that in these two verses, the sense of 'ERETS is the PLANET.

The same sense of "planet" appears to be the meaning of 'Erets again in verse two."

In that statement you are stating the planet earth existed at the end of Genesis 1:1 and the earth existed at the beginning of verse 2.

But you don't believe that according to our many arguments in the past.  Have you changed your mind?

God Bless

Aaron


Jim Brenneman said:

I think that is the sense. But I derive this understanding by usage of the word in the phrase "Heaven(s) and Earth" - as I have listed all the occurrences of this tandem usage.

That is the only point that I am endeavoring to demonstrate in this thread.

The usage of the Sign of the Direct object indicates that two distinct things were were brought into existence.

NOW AARON I know you and I also know that you will want to discuss the use of the perfect verb in verse one. Please do not do that. THE meaning of the verb is NOT THE TOPIC OF THIS THREAD. If you want to discuss that, please start your own thread.

THIS THREAD IS ONLY about the meaning of earth in v. 1 and 2 - showing that in these two verses, the sense of 'ERETS is the PLANET.

The same sense of "planet" appears to be the meaning of 'Erets again in verse two.

So, my dear brother Aaron I am thanking you in advance for not departing from the topic of this thread.

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