From Tehom to Sheol

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. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

(Genesis 7:11-12) KJV

This post is part of the WHY? daily devotional for March

  • IF God saw the wickedness of man,
    • AND decided to take action,
  • THEN the fountains of the great deep were established either:
    1. as a hedge against this outcome or,
    2. they existed for an unrelated reason.

The existence of hell isn’t an example of God being mean. Hell is the default outcome for all matter and souls, however there is a freely available alternative: faith and life in Jesus Christ.

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Tehom

Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:

(Deuteronomy 5:8) KJV

The deep, of Genesis 1:2 became the great deep, the deeps and the depths of the created world. They’re all translated from the same Hebrew word, tehom. The deep became creation. The word became flesh.

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Deep Depths

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

(Proverbs 8:24) KJV

The great deep is a feature of the internal structure of the earth, located in the mantle, which is why we are picking our way through this today in March. However, our featured passage speaks of a time when there were no depths. There was a time before the deep existed.

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 rather than based on nuance of translation. The phrase the deep is used to describe the body of water which was present in the beginning, when God said let there be light. The phrase the great deep, for instance, contextually is this water starting at the end of the 3rd 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.

“When there were no depths,” can only refer to Genesis 1:1, because the first mention of the deep, “tehom,” is Genesis 1:2. The Bible uses “tehom,” to refer to the body of water from which the universe was made.

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Thought for the Day

If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

(2 Chronicles 7:13-14) KJV