Point of View
The Point of View (also known as the Frame of Reference) is a key concept for interpreting Genesis 1 from the Big Bible viewpoint. We explore that concept here.
Point of View in Literature and Science
The Point of View (POV) is a key idea for understanding either literature or science. It is usually important to take the POV into account in order to have a good understanding of a story. We would expect this to be the case for a story of the creation.
From a literary viewpoint the POV of Genesis 1 is usually considered to be third person omniscient (You can also see some pop culture examples of literary POVs). In other words, it would be the viewpoint of the Creator telling the story.
The POV in scientific terms is usually called the “frame of reference”. The frame of reference can be described from a popular perspective or a more technical perspective. The scientific frame of reference for the creation “days” or periods of time in Genesis can be seen in Genesis 1:2b. In that verse, the frame of reference appears to be the viewpoint of the Spirit of God hovering over the earth, as it states in the ESV “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” Note that this viewpoint appears to remain consistent for all the verses that follow Genesis 1:2 up until some of the first verses of Genesis 2.
That the point of view of Genesis 1:2b can be seen as the point of view for the entire Genesis chapter 1 is a critical insight. With this insight, we can then avoid the common confusing approach of interpreting light to be created on day 1 or the sun, moon, and stars to be created on day 4. From the point of view given in Genesis 1:2b, the Spirit is witnessing the visibility or appearance of light coming through an initially dark atmosphere on day 1 and the visibility of the sun, moon, and stars through an atmosphere that is finally clear on day 4. This interpretation is in harmony with various Bible translations. Verse 14 that describes the beginning of day 4 begins with “Let there be” in ESV, KJV, NIV and with “Let lights appear” in GNT and NLT concerning the greater and lesser lights (sun, and moon) and the stars. So, when we understand that the descriptions in Genesis 1 can be seen from this point of view of the Spirit hovering over the earth then the the description of creation in the Scriptures and description of creation from science harmonize very well.
Genesis 1:2 in Various Translations
The Genesis 1:2 verse that shows this point of view of the Spirit hovering over the waters of the earth is shown in some other various translations below.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
the earth was a shapeless, chaotic mass, with the Spirit of God brooding over the dark vapors.
with the note: the earth was, or “the earth became.” a shapeless, chaotic mass, or “shapeless and void.”
over the dark vapors, or “over the cloud of darkness,” or “over the darkness and waters,” or “over the dark gaseous mass.” There is not one correct way to translate these words.
And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters
The earth was barren,
with no form of life;
it was under a roaring ocean
covered with darkness.
But the Spirit of God
was moving over the water.
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.
Or see multiple translations of Genesis 1:2
on one page.