You see seven panels, irregular and exploding from the dark primordial void, a state expressed at the bottom of the first day with the Hebrew words tohu wa bohu which translate to “formless and void.”
You see a lot of gold, and will see a lot of gold throughout the Saint John’s Bible. In the SJB, gold is symbolic of God’s intervention or presence in the world. Note that in the Creation, the presence of gold increases with each day, for example in day one you see one thin ribbon of gold.
Day 3 (“let the dry land appear”) is represented by satellite photos of the Ganges Delta. Images in the Saint John’s Bible are noteworthy for their use of contemporary technology, tying the Bible’s message to modern-day society.
Elements in one SJB illumination will appear in other illuminations. For example, the fish stamp used in Day 5 (“Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind”) was also used in the Loves and Fishes illumination for Mark 6:30-44 and 8:1-10. Woven into Day 6 (“Let us make humankind in our image”) is a fragment of Chris Tomlin’s coral snake, which will appear several more times.
Smudged into the surface is an image of a black bird, connecting heavens and earth. creature of all realms. The raven and other birds are messengers in the Bible, says Jackson. Birds brought messages to Noah, and a raven brought God’s message to St. Benedict.