March 23

Deep Depths

When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.

(Proverbs 8:24) KJV

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

(Genesis 7:11) KJV

Depths, is a translation of the Hebrew word tehom. The same word is translated elsewhere as the deep, the deeps, depths and the great deep. It occurs, for instance, in the account of Noah’s flood.

The great deep” is a feature of the internal structure of the Earth which is why we’re picking our way through this in March. However, the passage above from Proverbs speaks of a time when there were no depths. There was a time before the deep existed.

Firstly, there’s a difference in usage between the English phrases the deep, (Genesis 1:2) and the depths (Proverbs 8:24) vs. the great deep (Genesis 7:11) which is contextual not based on nuance of translation.

  • The deep is the body of water which was present in the beginning,
    • when God said let there be light.
  • the great deep is this water but later,
    • at the end of the third day when it’s drained through the mantle into the great gulf as the Earth was spread out over the waters.
To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever. To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever. (Psalms 136:6) KJV

Secondly, there’s a lot of overlap in usage of the phrases the deep, the deeps, depths and the great deep which is how we know that they’re all referring to the same body of water, plus they’re all translations of tehom. The word tehom is used continuously throughout the narrative to ensure continuity.

The Earth that we live on isn’t any different, in terms of atoms and molecules, from the waters of the deep which preexisted it. However it’s clear that there’s a contextual line between the deep before the first day vs. after creation started. The waters of the deep exist on both sides of this line. However, it came into existence when God the Son was begotten, because they’re the same person.

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