In the Beginning

In the beginning the whole world was gloomy

Author (st. 1-6): Hanna Lam (1966); Author (st. 7): Stanley M. Wiersma (1982)
Published in 3 hymnals

Audio files: MIDI
Representative text cannot be shown for this hymn due to copyright.

Author (st. 1-6): Hanna Lam

(no biographical information available about Hanna Lam.) Go to person page >

Author (st. 7): Stanley M. Wiersma

Pseudonym: Sietze Buning ********** Stanley Marvin Wiersma (b. Orange City, IA, 1930; d. Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1986) was a poet and professor of English at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, from 1959 until his sudden death in 1986. He attended Calvin as an under­graduate and received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1959. His love for the Genevan psalms is reflected in the two books of poetry for which he is most widely known: Purpaleanie and Other Permutations (1978) and Style and Class (1982), both written under the pseudonym Sietze Buning. He also wrote More Than the Ear Discovers: God in the Plays of Christopher Fry and translated many Dutch poems and hymn texts into English, including the children's hymns publ… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: In the beginning the whole world was gloomy
Title: In the Beginning
Author (st. 7): Stanley M. Wiersma (1982)
Author (st. 1-6): Hanna Lam (1966)
Language: English
Copyright: © 1982 Paideia Press


Scripture References:
st. 1 = Gen. 1:1-5
st. 2 = Gen. 1:6-8
st. 3 = Gen. 1:9-13
st. 4 = Gen. 1:14-19
st. 5 = Gen. 1:20-25
st. 6 = Gen. 1:26-31
st. 7 = Gen. 2:1-3

Somewhat similar to Psalm 104, "In the Beginning" tells the creation story from Genesis 1 in verse form. The first six stanzas are devoted to the six days of creation. Stanza 7 focuses on the LORD's day of rest and turns this narrative song into a prayer for all of God's children. Stanzas 1-6 were originally written in Dutch by Hanna Lam and published in all four volumes of Alles wordt nieuw (1966-1978).

Johanna (Hanna) Lam (b. Utrecht, the Netherlands, 1928; d. Bunnik, the Netherlands, 1988) collaborated with composer Wim ter Burg in the writing of these popular collections of songs based on biblical teachings and stories. Lam received a degree in social education from the University of Amsterdam and was committed to preparing worship songs for children, particularly in congregations where her husband served as pastor in the Hervormde Kerk; their last parish was in the community of Bunnik. The songs were initially intended for children, but they have been widely accepted and sung by adults as well.

Stanley Wiersma (PHH 25), using the pen name Sietze Buning, translated the first volume into English in 1982 with the title All Will Be New. That same year, he also provided a new stanza 7 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use:
Creation-story focus; prayer services for crops and industry; harvest thanksgiving. The prayer in stanza 7 is appropriate for Labor Day and many other occasions in Christian worship.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook



Like many of the tunes by Dutch composer Willem (Wim) ter Burg (b. Utrecht, the Netherlands, 1914; d. Maarn, 1995), IN BET BEGIN is childlike, easy to sing by adults and children alike. This is one of the tunes he composed for the original Dutch text by Hanna Lam that began with those words (hence,…

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Instances (1 - 3 of 3)
Text InfoTune InfoAudio

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #151

Scripture Song Database #1799


With Heart and Voice #1

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