A student, Andrew Bittner, takes re’shiyt (beginning) in Genesis 1:1 as “firstfruits,” suggesting a translation along the lines of “As the firstfruits God created the heavens and earth.”

The translation is philologically plausible, since the Hebrew word refers to whatever is “first,” whether from a father (Genesis 49:3) or, often, from the earth (Exodus 23:19; 34:26; Leviticus 2:12).

The translation is theologically problematic in a way that may be fruitful. Perhaps: Creation, made by the Son according to the pattern of the Logos, is the “first of God’s strength.” Perhaps: Creation is a radical offering, a firstfruits gift that creates the recipient in the very giving of the gift; the first of God’s gifts is the gift of existence, the gift that is the creative act itself.

Perhaps too: Creation is the firstfruits gift of the Father through the Spirit and through the Word to the Word, who will return that gift, glorified, to His Father.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart