Ishinan ishinan at comcast.net
Wed Sep 5 16:45:04 EDT 2012

Dear Jerry,

I am surprised that you find that the creation account begins with chaos. The word "chaos" itself is often used as a mythological catchword, so the word has a negative load in itself.

In Genesis 1:1, the account starts with God's creation of the heavens and the earth—no chaos here. How do these words fit modern science?  (I would like to stress that I do not view the creation account as a scientific paper, but in contrast to most others I would see if the account fit a scientific setting.) The creator is in the Tanakh described as without beginning. This accords with the  first law of thermodynamics about energy conservation: Energy can be transformed into matter, and matter into energy, but we cannot destroy either of them. This accords with the view that something is or can be without beginning. The statement about the creation of the universe accords with the second law of thermodynamics: The entropy (disorder) of a closed system will always increase. The decomposition of radioactive isotopes shows that the universe had a beginning. The same is true with its way towards its heath death, where no thermodynamic free energy will exist.  So, the first verse of Genesis has no mythological traits, but it accords fully with modern science. The creation of the heavens and the earth is undated, and the accound do not contradict the age of the universe given by scientists.

But what about the first creation account in Enuma Elish? Is it mythical, or does it accord with modern science:

I quote from http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Dr-Fi/Enuma-Elish.html#b

"Enuma Elish tells how the Babylonian deities were born from a primeval goddess named Tiamat, a vast ocean of formless chaos, sometimes described as a dragon. Marduk, the patron god of the city of Babylon, defeated Tiamat and her army of monsters. He then divided her corpse into two parts, one of which became heaven and one earth. He also killed Tiamat's ally, Kingu, and created human beings from Kingu's blood to serve the gods. Marduk's victory brought order to the universe."

Does this accord with mordern science, or are the descriptions purely mythical?

As already mentioned, the Genesis creation account begins with the creation of the universe. In 1:2 we do not see everything's beginning in chaos, But as JPS render it: "the earth being unformed and void." The earth was covered with a great amount of water (THWM), and it was dark.God could now start its creation process with earthly things. Let me again stress: 1:2 is not the beginning, but a stage in the process of creation! An interestingly, that the earth a long time ago was covered with water is not contradicted by the view of modern science. Those believing in organic avolution starts with a primeval ocean.

I will not proceed further in the discussion of the creation account.  But to all those interested, please do a detailed comparision of  the creation accounts of Enuma Elish and Genesis 1 and 2, and see for yourself.

Best regards,

Rolf Furuli

Onsdag 5. September 2012 01:32 CEST skrev Jerry Shepherd <jshepherd53 at gmail.com>:

  Hi All,

  Contributing to this discussion again, I'd like to reiterate that a lot of
  the opposition to George, Yigal, Nir, and myself has focused on what are
  considered by some to be merely isolated mythological elements within a
  literal account. But I think it is important to note that we are not
  talking about individual pieces of the account, but rather, its whole
  orientation. The entire account is of a piece with the cosmological
  orientation of the ANE. Just like other ANE accounts, the Genesis 1
  narrative begins with chaos, without feeling the need to explain where that
  chaos came from. The first three days of creation, then, describe the
  process by which God brought order out of that chaos, turning disorder into
  order: separating between day and night, separating between waters above
  the sky (vault, dome) and waters below the sky, and separating between
  waters below and the dry land. In the flood narrative, then, this ordered
  creation, returns to the chaotic conditions of 1:2, the rejoining of the
  waters above the sky (the floodgates of the heavens opening up) to the
  waters below the sky (the springs of the great deep), the water covering
  the dry land, and the inevitable confusion of day and night which these
  conditions would cause. As the waters finally recede, things return to
  their created state at the end of Genesis 1, thus yielding the pattern of
  creation, de-creation, re-creation

  To be sure, the ancients were keen observers of the sun, moon, stars, and
  planets (travelers). But these astronomical observations were still made
  within an orientation that was both flat-earth (though aware that there was
  some curvature), and earth-centered (geocentric). They were not
  Copernicans before Copernicus. And this goes for the entire Old Testament.

  For those who have theological concerns, this is, of course, not a
  theological forum. But I would add that, at least within my theological
  tradition, this understanding of Gen 1 does nothing to detract from my own
  confession of God as creator. Rather, it accords nicely with my
  understanding that God has revealed himself both progressively and
  accommodatively, and that the Scriptures are both a divine and human text.


  Jerry Shepherd
  Taylor Seminary
  Edmonton, Alberta

  Jerry Shepherd
  jshepherd53 at gmail.com

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