In the beginning God. In spite of some modern translations putting this differently, this is an accurate translation of the Hebrew. It indicates the commencement of the work. As we saw earlier this is like the headline summary of the chapter (although we shall qualify this a little when we come to verse 2). What initially is striking is that it makes no attempt to explain who God is. If we accept that is a record of truth revealed to Moses and recorded so Israel had a permanent record which could be handed on from generation to generation, then it is reasonable not to have an explanation as to who God is. Israel had experienced the workings of God in their lives and they understood His revealed Plan for this earth. They were His called-out people.
Does this put non-Jews at a disadvantage? Not really – we have the advantage of the whole Word of God, and if we read carefully its pages we shall be just as enlightened as Israel was, for His details run like a water-mark throughout its pages; all that we need to know about God is found within the pages of His Word.
Created. The Hebrew bārā means “to shape, to fashion, to create, always of divine activity.” Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius [BDBG]. Man has to have the raw materials provided before he can make something; God only has the ability to create both living and inanimate things from spirit power.
The heaven(s) and the earth is the Hebrew way of expressing everything within those two extremes. All life on the earth and the heavens and all the physical things contained in them; the totality of creation. (e.g. Psa. 121:2; 2 Kgs. 19:15).