Genesis 1 & 2 (Peter)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Fri Dec 3 23:40:32 EST 1999

>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? 

Yes, I am, despite the following:

>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). 

You'll note at the same time that God doesn't "create" anything mentioned
in Gen.1 according to your logic either (except, still using your logic,
the generic heavens and earth, and light and the heavenly bodies).
Everything else came out of something else.

>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.

All you are doing here is playing with the significance of creation, Peter.
You are not dealing with what the text says. You assume creatio ex nihilo,
and can't read the text because of that. There was no human being before
God "formed" him. There were no animals till God "formed" them. This is
pure linguistic sophistry on your part.

>>>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.

First you need to show when the texts we are analysing were written, before
saying what you have above. You can't.

The writer is closer to the tradition and culture at the time of writing
than you can ever be, steeped in two millenia of Christianising the OT/HB.
We are not asking him for historical information other than what his
perception of the creation was at that time. He clearly says that God
"created out of formless matter". The theological move to creatio ex nihilo
is something manifested in historical space, in the time of the fathers.
Please provide someone writing in the Hebrew tradition who clearly uses the
notion of creatio ex nihilo before the writing of Wisdom. If you can't,
then you can't ignore the implication of Wisdom on the creative act.

>JEPD is long dead. So is Wellhausen.
>PK: Glad to see you say so...

Doesn't help the fundy nor the crypto-fundy  (-:

Psychology started with the wrongheaded ideas of Freud. Because Freud was
often wrong, this doesn't mean psychology is dead. It has developed into
something more scientific and useful, as have the analyses of the
literature of the OT/HB. Read some of the literature of the last twenty
years and see how source analysis has moved on.

Wellhausen had a good idea but was laden with too much baggage and not
enough good input to get further than he did. We now have an alphabet soup
for the texts rather than a simplistic JEPD. (I remember one ancient Hindu
text that incudes a reference to Queen Victoria -- prophecy naturally.)

>>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. 

Wellhausen is in the position of Freud. You wanna go back to before Freud.
Read modern psychologists.

>So let their ideas rest in peace with them.

Stop being hopeful.  (-:

>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"!

There were no plants (2:5), hence "cause to grow" must contain the notion
"create". As the fellow wants the account in Gen.2 not to be a general
creation account, but a specific one, what's your problem with "specially
create a second time"?

>"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."
>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...". 

Peter, you and how many scholars have been pretending to know what the
Hebrew verb morphology is all about? Much of the debate on this list has
said this for a long time. Why would you insinuate a past perfect form into
the English translation? I've seen you make this sort of guess numerous
times on the list. 

Please tell me why v2 starts with the noun if the writer saw fit to include
a verb in the clause. And why is the verb "moved" [mrxpt] in that form? Is
not v2 telling the state of affairs at the time of the creation (not after

Are you positing that God create chaos? And then decided to fix it up? This
is implied by your analysis.

Gen1:1 is functionally equivalent to Gen2:4b

  b ywm '$wt yhwh 'lhym      'rc w$mym

  br'$yt br'      'lhym  't h$mym w't h'rc

(I guess you'd conclude that this translation was wrong as well: "in the
day that God made the earth and the heavens". Where did that "that" come
from? The making took place in the day.)

They are rather similar and appear in exactly the same relationship to the
texts that follow them. The major differences are 1) the writer of Gen1
didn't use yhwh 'lhym because he is working with the full knowledge that
God revealed his name to Moses; and 2) he preferred br' for theological

>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.

You haven't established anything other than a confused God, which I don't
accept. "Let's create chaos and then do something with it." This is the
creatio-ex-nihilist's approach, someone with the a priori conviction that
we are dealing with creatio ex nihilo.

Could you outline the events of the first day for me, so I can understand
how you perceive that it fits into the literary formation of the full
creation account of Gen.1? Given the fact that each day starts with God
using divine fiat (y'mr 'lhym  and, for three of the first four days, yhy
translated in Latin as "fiat"), are you proposing that the first day breaks
that mould used for all the other days?

I have so far only seen excruciatingly painful knots from the
creatio-ex-nihilo squad over Gen1:1-2. Without the baggage the text is
relatively easy to understand. The starting conditions of the creation
were: waste and void, darkness and the divine wind moving on the waters
(all found in the Enuma Elish -- though the chaos and the waters were the
same thing).



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