Several of us in the office…

Question
In Genesis 1 when God created everything he made a statement right after. Most of the time he said “And it was good” (i.e., creating night and day), but when he created/separated the sky from the sea he said “it was so”. Why did he go from “it was good” to “it was so”? What is the significance in the change in phrase? Several of us in the office are awaiting your response.

Answer
There is a rhythm to the story of Genesis 1.1-2.4a. It is not strictly a narrative; it is a series of commands: The pattern is as follows:

  • Announcement: “God said” Gen. 1.3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26
  • A Creative Command: “let there be” 1.3, 9, 11, 14f. 20, 24, 25
  • Accomplishment” and it was so” 1.3, 7, 9, 11, 15, 24, 30
  • A Blessing: “God called” or “God blessed” 1,5, 8, 10, 22, 28-30
  • Approval: “God saw that it was good” 1.4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31
  • A Temporal Framework: “morning/evening…day…” 1.5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31

More than likely this is in a pattern because it was easier to memorize (remember, the ancient Hebrews who received this in the desert at Mt. Sinai were not a writing literate culture but an oral literate culture). You might note that the pattern of “it was so” occurs as often as “it was good.” This all leads me to believe that there is no significance in the change of phrase because the phrases are used at different points in the pattern on a regular basis.

I trust this answer will help in your ongoing discovery process (in your office).

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