Michelangelo - God the Father, The Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, The Vatican, 1509.

The following three passages in Hebrew are from the Book of Genesis and describe God's creation of man and woman. The first passage is Genesis 1:26-27, which relates that God created man in our image and likeness. The idea of human dignity, that we are created in the image of God (1:27), supports the theological basis for human equality and the fundamental principle of liberty in Western Christian civilization, as found in the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America.

The expression "our image" has led to great speculation as to its meaning. Is the expression the "royal plural," or is God the Father as King of Heaven addressing his heavenly court? Some Fathers of the Church believed it raised the possibility of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Trinity was revealed by Jesus Christ, the divine Son of the eternal Father, in the New Testament of the Bible.

Note that the word
בָּרָא, the Hebrew word for create, is written three times in 1:27, the first time in the waw-consecutive form וַיִּבְרָא, and he created. God blessed man and commissioned man to be fruitful and multiply, to fill and rule the earth.

The second passage is Genesis 2:7, which records that God fashioned man from the dust of the earth, and gave him the breath of life to make him a living being. The Hebrew word
יָצַר means to form or fashion, and in the waw-consecutive וַיִִּיצֶר and he formed.

God gave us the breath of life.
Our dominion over the earth implies responsibility.
It is for us to treasure life and the earth.

The third passage is Genesis 2:18-25, where God noted that "it is not good for the man to be alone." God gave the man the authority to name everything, a sign of dominion over the world. Whereas it took God only one line to form man, God spent several lines to create woman! The word in line 22 is וַיִּבֶן, and he built, the waw consecutive of בָּנָה, to build.

A unique feature of Biblical Hebrew is the use of the waw-conversant or the waw-consecutive form of a verb in a narrative, as in these passages from Genesis. The waw-conversant is formed by the Qal imperfect of a verb with the waw prefix. While the imperfect generally conveys the future, the addition of the waw converts the sentence to the past. Likewise, the addition of the waw to the Qal perfect, which normally conveys the past, converts the sentence from the past to the future.

Another feature of Biblical Hebrew is the construct relationship of two nouns joined together to express the genitive case, as there is no preposition in Biblical Hebrew to express the word of. For example in the expression,
נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים (the breath of life), the first word נִשְׁמַת is in the construct state, and the second word חַיִּים is in the absolute state. Please note that the construct form of a noun is often different from its absolute state (see Key).

For the first passage, an interlinear translation is provided for the beginner. Remember Hebrew is read from right to left, so the English translation follows the same pattern. As it is best to make an effort to read the pure Hebrew to really learn the language, the next two passages are in Hebrew only. The text includes all the vowels and the three major accents - atnah, silluq, and munah (See Genesis 1:1-5 for discussion). You can find the English translation from the Book of Genesis, and you can receive help from the text and references on the Alphabet of Biblical Hebrew.


Genesis 1:26-28, God created man in his image and likeness.


Genesis 2:7, God formed man from dust and gave him the breath of life, in Hebrew.


to form יָצַר
and he formed (waw-consecutive) וַיִּיצֶר
the man הָאָדָם
dust עָפָר
from the ground מִן־הָאֲדָמָה
to breathe, to blow נָפַח
and he breathed (waw-consecutive) וַיִּפַּח
in his nostrils בְּאַפָּיו
breath נְשָׁמָה
the breath of (construct form) נִשְׁמַת
life חַיִּים
soul, life, being נֶפֶשׁ


Genesis 2:18-25, And God created woman, in Hebrew.

The Book of Genesis
Genesis 1:1-5 - The First Day
Genesis 3:15 - The First Gospel
The Alphabet of Biblical Hebrew