Gen 1:1. Kermess

Lee R. Martin lmartin at
Fri Sep 1 08:53:12 EDT 2000

Ian Hutchesson wrote:

> This places v1-2 outside
> the creative sequence, which is consistent with the information we find in
> the Enuma Elish. When we look at that content we find both the deep (tehom)
> and the divine wind preent in  both accounts before the world-creative
> acts. I don't see this as straying in any way from the text.

Dear Ian,
1-In my paraphrase,  I placed vv 1-2 outside the six day sequence.  Vv 1-2 is
background to what follows. Vv 1-2 consists of four subordinate clauses which are
introductory to v. 3.  I do not believe that "ex nihilo" creation is really addressed
one way or the other in this text.  When verse 3 begins, the earth and heaven had
already been created. However, I am arguing against your "creative" use of Enuma
Elish.  In your parallelism you effectively misinterpreting both texts. Tiamat does in
fact become the "dome" of the sky despite your statement to the contrary. "He split
her like a shellfish in two parts: Half of her he set up and ceiled it as sky"
(4:137-138). She holds back the waters (4:140)  "In her belly he established the
zenith" (5:11)  She is the dome of heaven. In Enuma Elish, all things are created from
parts of the dead god Tiamat: half of her body becomes the dome of heaven, her breasts
become mountains; her eyes are poked out and rivers flow from the sockets, etc. Then
humanity is formed from the blood of Kingu, another conquered enemy.  In Genesis
however, as you stated, everything is created by divine fiat "let there be...."
(contra. ch. 2).

Again, in Jer. 28:1 BeReSHiT means "near the beginning."  So that, four years after
Zedekiah began to reign, the writer can still say "At the beginning of his reign."  I
am suggesting that in Gen. 1:1 "At the beginning of God's creating the heavens and the
earth" can mean "Soon after God began creating, .... he said, "Let there be light..."
This does not require "ex nihilo" creation, but it does allow for it.


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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