Gen 1:1. Kermess

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Sat Sep 2 20:58:48 EDT 2000

At 12.58 02/09/00 -0400, Lee R. Martin wrote:
>Ian Hutchesson wrote:
>> Dear Lee,
>> You wrote:
>> >V. 1 is the "beginning" of creation and vv. 3ff are the
>> >continuation of creation,
>> I don't know how you come to the idea of "continuation of
>> creation". We have a "this is what is to be described" v1,
>> then a "these are the circumstances" v2, and finally the
>> acts described.
>I am still seeing the parallel with Jer.28:1 where God spoke to 
>Jeremiah at the "beginning" of  Zedekiah's reign (He had already 
>been reigning 4 years). Therefore the beginning of creation, may 
>mean that God had already created the heaven and earth in its 
>initial state, with more creative work to follow.  

Dear Lee,

I had misunderstood you: I thought you had indicated that you thought that
"Let there be light..." was the first creative act. Sorry.

>This reading 
>may not be correct (Gen. 1:1-2 may just be a heading, as you say, 
>with no grammatical connection to v.3) but I would at least like 
>to know if you understand what I am saying in making this
>comparison to Jeremiah.

I gather so, Lee. I had thought outlining my contrasting ideas on the
matter would have been sufficient. But looking at Jer28:1,

"In the same year, at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah of Judah, in
the fifth month of the fourth year..."

one needs to ask "in the same year as what?" and what the fourth year
refers to, before one can accept your understanding of the situation. There
is nothing in Jeremiah quite like the dating formula in 28:1.

>Back to the heading idea.  It seems to me that vv 1-2 are 
>connected grammatically to v3, because the preposition B 
>in BeReSHiT would be unnecessary in genuine heading (a
>non-sentence). E.g., Hosea 1:2 is a genuine heading.  I 
>certainly haven't checked every occurrence of  the prep. B, 
>but normally, when B (or any other prep) is used as a 
>temporal indicator, it suggests a dependent clause that it 
>then followed by a main clause with a finite verb.  

This of course is not the case in the headings of some of the psalms (eg
ps34, ps54 and ps63): there is no main clause. Consider ps57, "[To the
leader: Do not destroy. Of David. A miktam,] when he fled from the presence
of Saul, in the cave." bbrxw mpny $'wl bm`rh. The psalm proper starts
immediately after this heading.

I am however not necessarily arguing for 1:1 (& 2) being a heading --
although it makes sense to me. My argument has always been that the first
act of creation, signaled by the recurring structural indications of the
passage, is in v3. That's when the first day begins, just as the other days
begin with the divine fiat.



>In this case, the main clause with finite verb comes in v.
>3.  Thus, vv. 1-3 comprise one complete sentence.
>A few examples will suffice (I am just scanning through Genesis):
>Gen. 3:19; 7:11; 7:13; 8:14; 14:5; 17:26; 40:13

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