Sunday, February 18, 2007

Genesis 1-2: Creation

So last night I read Genesis 1-3. Normally after reading something I'd like to say something that hopefully comes off as profound or at least insightful, but this time around the only thing I really got from my reading was questions.

I never really noticed it before, but Genesis 2 really does seem to show a different perspective of the creation story from Genesis 1. For me, since I take a more literary view of Genesis 1, this isn't a problem, but it is something that piques my curiosity.

We all know how chapter 1 goes, but chapter 2 is a little less familiar, so I'll start with that. The first thing that pops up in chapter 2 is this:

"4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- 5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground [. . .] 7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

At first I thought, "Wait a minute, it sounds like now God's making people before plants, when chapter one says He made plants first." But actually I think it's talking about cultivated vegetation, meaning farms and stuff. Nobody was around yet to work the ground, so all the plants and stuff were just growing naturally.

But the second one is a little harder for me to understand. The next thing that happens is God says it's not good for man to be alone, so it says he forms all the animals and then brings them to Adam to name them. Now, the NIV says, "the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air," meaning it has already happened, which is consitent with Genesis 1. But that only works if the Hebrew actually uses the past participle, right? NASB says "Out of the ground the LORD God formed," which sounds like he did it right then. Does anybody have access to a Hebrew text who can tell me what the tense of the verb is? Strong's isn't all that helpful for stuff like this.

The only other thing is that it seems that Adam named all the animals, fell asleep, and met Eve all in less than a day. Not really sure how that happened. Anybody have any ideas?

Once again, I don't see this as a problem because my view of Genesis 1 is more of a literary/poetic thing, but I'd like to know at least what Moses or whoever was thinking when he put this book together.

Another thing I'd like to say is that I like how both chapters 1 and 2 refer to the animals coming out of the ground. It reminds me of Narnia. ^_^

And finally, Genesis 2 gives us a beautiful image of the Almighty God who just made an entire universe simply by saying "Let it be," stooping down to the earth to form a man with His hands. That, in a sense, is the history of God's interaction with man all boiled down to one image: the God who stoops, who gets His hands dirty, who gets down low for the sake of His beloved.

1 comment:

Jeremiah said...

augwyNot only does it say that God created both man and animal out of the ground, but that He breathed the breath of life into man and animals (at least the higher ones). In both cases, the same Hebrew word for "breath" was used. Incidentally, the Greek Septuigint translated that word into the same word Paul uses to call the scriptures "God-breathed."

Here's a little humanist spin on animals coming out of the ground: Both Siberian and Native American cultures has beasts that rose out of the ground alive. The myth came from exposed fossils. I don't think that's what happened here, but I wanted to point that out.