Gen 1:1. Kermess

Lee R. Martin lmartin at
Thu Aug 31 21:44:15 EDT 2000

Ian Hutchesson wrote:

I haven't seen you ever deal with the structure of the text, Peter. Each

> day starts with a divine fiat. Besides your commitment to creatio ex
> nihilo, what makes you think that the author didn't see the raw material of
> creation as a chaotic sea? Remember that the Babylonian creation requires
> the separation of the watery chaos (tiamat) -- so watery chaos was there
> before the creation, noting the mention at this stage of the deep (tehom,
> the cognate of tiamat).

Dear Ian,
Now you are going too far. You are telling Peter to look at the text, but you are
straying yourself.  Everyone sees the similarities of Gen. 1 to Enuma Elish, but we
also see the differences.  Just because the Babylonian creation came from chaos, it
does not follow that the Genesis account must be the same.  The Babylonian version
tells us that the sky is roofed with half the dead body of Tiamat (a new meaning for
RAQIYA`?). Humans were formed from the blood of Kingu. etc.

So what does Gen. 1:1-3 say?  First, it talks about what comes first -- beginning.
The use of ReShiT in the OT  shows that it is somewhat relative.  That is, when God
speaks to Jeremiah at the beginning of Zedekiah's reign, it means "after Zedekiah
began to reign."  Thus, the "beginning of God created" could mean "Just after God
created."  Therefore, I would paraphrase Gen 1:1-3 as follows:
Just after God created the heavens and earth, and the earth was empty and uninhabited,
and darkness covered the deep, and the spirit of God was moving over the surface of
the waters; God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

I was trying to stay out of this fray, but I couldn't help myself.


Lee R. Martin
Pastor, Prospect Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee
Instructor in Hebrew and Old Testament
Church of God Theological Seminary

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