There are at least eleven different interpretations of Genesis chapter one. At least ten of them are wrong.
Why are there so many interpretations? One reason is that this chapter describes initial conditions that no human has ever seen.
God used words we understand to describe conditions we have never seen.
This translation follows four principles to make its meaning clearer to modern, English-speaking people.
God Was the Author of the Creation Account
Most translations assume that Moses was the author of Genesis. Moses was not a scientist and had no knowledge of modern science. Thus, the creation account was translated with a theological viewpoint but not scientifically. However, Moses was not the author of the creation account; he was the transcriber. He was not there to see what happened in the beginning, God was. Moses cites God as the source of the information in the creation account in Genesis 2:4. He says, "This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens."
It seems that Moses is saying that this account was written by God at the time of creation. Adam may have had a copy of this account. This translation assumes that God is the source of the information in the creation account. God is the ultimate scientist. He is the only one who has created a universe. The account should be translated scientifically as well as theologically.
Furthermore, God is the ultimate author. He created language. He said exactly what He meant.
God Defined Five Words in the Account
Words have more than one meaning. That is how God could describe conditions we have never seen. He used words we understand. The meaning of these words in this context was similar to, but not identical to, the common meaning. We must be careful to find the correct word meaning in the context.
To make the word meanings clear, God defined five words in the creation account. This issue has been ignored by most translations, yet it is on the meaning of these words that nearly all interpretations have diverged. In each definition, God provided the common meaning of the word. Why did He give the common meaning?
Two words were defined before they were used in the creation account. These words have the common meaning from the very beginning. "God called the light, day" could be translated as, "God defined 'day' as a period of light." Similarly, God defined 'night' as a period of dark. The terms 'day' and 'night' refer to normal periods of light and dark. These definitions directly oppose many interpretations that try to make the day and night into long ages of time.
Three words were used in the creation account before they were defined. After God defined them, it was clear that from then on, those words had the common meaning. However, the context is clear that earlier uses of those words did not have the common meaning. The words 'heavens', 'earth' and 'waters' are all defined later in the account with their normal definitions. Before those definitions, these words have slightly different meanings.
Isaiah Understood the Creation Account
Isaiah, the Psalms, and other Old Testament books often refer back to the creation account. They understood the language and context much better than modern readers. They used different words to describe the same events. This translation uses their record to validate what the creation account is saying.
Modern Terminology Is Easier to Understand
Hebrew words do not have the same range of meanings as related English words. For example, 'shamayim' is usually translated as 'heavens'. However, 'shamayim' never means stars in the Bible, but 'heavens' could refer to stars. Similarly, 'erets' is usually translated as 'earth'. However, 'erets' typically means land while the most common meaning of earth today is Planet Earth. Thus, the opening verse of the Bible, "In the beginning God created the heavens ('shamayim') and the earth ('erets')" could easily be misunderstood.
To improve the clarity of the text, this translation uses more specific, modern terms. Most translations follow closely to John Wycliffe's initial English translation. Translations that stray from that just do not sound like the Bible. However, words have changed meaning since the time of Wycliffe. For example, Wycliffe planted seeds in the 'earth' and did not immediately think of 'earth' as Planet Earth. This new translation does not "sound like the Bible." However, the translation has been made as literal as possible using more specific, modern terms.