Genesis 1 & 2 (trying again)

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Fri Dec 3 20:39:09 EST 1999

Please quit the public slanging match before I get tempted to compare 
primitive man favourably with you both!

But just a few points here (marked "PK:")

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re[5]: Genesis 1 & 2 (trying again)
Author:  <mc2499 at> at Internet
Date:    03/12/1999 06:19


Did God not create man in Gen2? Did God not create animals in Gen2? Did God 
not create the four major rivers (or at least three of them known) of that 
part of the world in Gen2? This sounds like creation to me...

PK: Are you expecting the answer "yes he did" to all these questions? 
If so, you are wrong. Read the text. In it, what did God create? 
Strictly, nothing, as the word BR) = create is not used (except in the 
odd passive of 2:4). In the initial summary (2:4) we read that YHWH 
made [(SH] the heavens and the earth. After that we read that he 
formed  [YCR] the man (2:7) and the animals (2:19), that he planted 
[N+(] the garden (2:8), that he caused to grow [CMX hiphil] the trees 
in the garden (2:9), and that he built [BNH] the rib into the woman 
(2:22). No sign of God creating the rivers, or of any unusual agency 
in causing the garden to grow. The rivers were already flowing out 
[YC) participle] of the place, Eden, where the garden was planted 
(2:10). Perhaps you are the one presupposing what the text should be 
without reading it.


>>As is the first account. Please note the ancient understanding in Wisdom 
>The first account can be understood as ex-nihilo

Did you at least look at what Wisdom said??? To understand what Jews at the 
turn of the millenium thought? Of course not. You don't need to: you 
believe in creatio ex nihilo.

PK: What is the relevance of what Hellenised Greek-speaking Jews 
thought at the turn of the millennium to what Jews or Babylonians 
thought at a much earlier era? Anyway, please note the LXX 
understanding of 1:1, which I quote below.


JEPD is long dead. So is Wellhausen.

PK: Glad to see you say so...


>I do not force it to be an
>account of the creation of the world,

Actually the process that you should consider is *how* the vast range of 
scholars who understand the text came to their opinion that it was another 
creation account. You show no desire to understand this so far.

PK: I think this has a lot to do with JEPD and Wellhausen. So let 
their ideas rest in peace with them.


It ain't in the text. This is just your expectation.

>The animals and plants are specially created a second time.

PK: Actually it's this which ain't in the text. "Plant" and "cause to 
grow" (of the trees) does not mean "specially create a second time"!


>says that we came from chaos. The first account is not Greek, however, as it 
>describes the creation of the chaos in verse 1:1.

This is not in the text. This is more of your expectation, based on old 
translations of the text, translations biased by the old Greek idea of 
creatio ex nihilo. But look at the New RSV, which translates Gen1:1-2 as

"In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was 
a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind 
from God swept over the face of the waters."

If you look at the translations into English done by Jewish scholars it 
reads in like manner.

PK: Unfortunately it is those newer translations rather than the older 
ones which are incorrect. We have B:R")$IYT BFRF) ):ELOHIYM... which 
is a clear example of a temporal phrase with B:- and a time noun 
followed by a finite QATAL verb, meaning "In the beginning God 
created.." or perhaps "In the beginning God had created...". There is 
nothing which can mean "when he created". The attempt to translate the 
finite verb BFRF) as if it were an infinitive is very weakly based 
(the main argument being that supposedly we should have had the 
definite BFR")$IYT for "In the beginning") and seems to me like an 
attempt to impose creation not ex nihilo on the text. Note that LXX 
has "en arch epoihsen ho qeos...", which means "In the beginning God 

We are dealing with the starting material of the creation. The first act of 
God was to use divine fiat: "Let there be light."

It might be better that you deal with what the text actually says and not 
what you expect it to say.

PK: First you need to decide what the text says. It is far from clear 
that it means what you want it to mean.


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