Genesis 1 & 2 (Peter)

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Sun Dec 5 17:33:11 EST 1999

I suppose I need to make some more comments here, though I doubt if we 
are getting anywhere. "There are more things in heaven and earth than 
in your philosophy", as Shakespeare wrote (roughly). Maybe than in 
mine too.

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re[9]: Genesis 1 & 2 (Peter)
Author:  <mc2499 at> at Internet
Date:    05/12/1999 02:07


.. Also of course Genesis 1:1 LXX implies creation ex nihilo. See >also 
Isaiah 42:5, 44:24, 45:12,18, which don't leave much room for 
>preexisting matter.

That which we now call the Septuagint does not equal that which 
Pseudo-Aristeas referred to <snip> One cannot help but think that when texts 
were translated into Greek, it was done by people who were steeped in Greek 
ideas as well.

PK: I know, yawn. So when was LXX Genesis (i.e. the text printed by 
Rahlfs etc) produced? Before, contemporary with or after the Wisdom of 
Solomon in the same volume? We don't know, I think. But it is unlikely 
to have been long after. So LXX Genesis is the pre-patristic support 
for creation ex nihilo which you asked me for, as is Hebrews.


>PK: I would tentatively suggest that God first created formless 
>matter, raw material if you like, and then gave form to it.

Chaos, Peter. God created chaos. Why not just create the things and not 
waste time? This is the problem invented by the creatio-ex-nihilo crew. God 
creates chaos then creates everything from it.

PK: Potters make clay and then form pots out of them. Are they wasting 
their time with the clay, should they not make pots straight away? See 
also Isaiah 45:9.

>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 
>PK: No it isn't. You have confused the issue by ignoring the pointing.

I use an unpointed text. My basic point was the similarity of structure not 
the similarity of verb form.

when, do what, who, what

The "when" is comparable; the "do what" synonyms; the "who" is the same; 
and the "what" is the same.

PK: ????? Consider the sentences "You are boring." and "You are 
bored." Both have the same structure and end with different forms of 
the same root. But are they synonymous? No, though they may both be 

>In 1:1 BFRF) is a QATAL finite verb form (not a Masoretic invention, 
>as LXX translates this as a finite verb, in the aorist).

Which was done first, the pointing or the "LXX" translation of Genesis?

PK: Do you really not know? The Rahlfs LXX text is based mainly on 
three 4th-5th century CE manuscripts, two in the British Museum and 
one in the Vatican. The pointing of the Hebrew Bible is generally 
considered to be much later than this - or do you want to dispute 

>PK: I see 1:1-2 as outside and before the framework of the seven days, 
>as indicated by the Hebrew verb forms, and indicating the background.

I agree with the background notion -- the state of affairs at the time of 
the action, but you have shown no reason to order the talk of creation in 
v1 with the fact that the earth was thw wbhw in v2. Both clauses contain a 
qatal, so how do you relate them to each other? Aren't they simultaneous?

>However, to me verse 1 makes it clear that God did create ex nihilo

Yet the verb form is qatal. Are you giving it narrative force then with 
respect to the other qatals, ie that the creation mentioned in v1 came 
before the situation in v2? Or are all the clauses in v1 & 2 on the same 
par. If the x-qatal provides the background information for the wayyiqtol, 
then we should take in consideration both examples of x-qatal in vv1&2. 
Perhaps it's just my lack of knowledge in Hebrew (eminently possible), but 
have you got any examples of x-qatal in narrative sequence?

PK: Now you are having some sensible ideas! Yes, indeed we have to 
consider the possibility that verse 2 is a flashback to before verse 
1, and so read: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the 
earth. The earth had been formless and void, with the spirit/wind 
hovering over the waters...". But x-qatal can start a sequence, as in 
1 Kings 1:1 where David grew old before they tried to keep him warm.


>If this is different from Enuma Elish,

Red herring.

PK: You brought this into the picture, by trying to make Genesis say 
the same as Enuma Elish.


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