Skip to comments.WHICH CREATION STORY?
Posted on 01/22/2006 8:12:41 AM PST by Luis Gonzalez
Creationists call us to believe the Biblical creation story as a literal account of historical events. However, Genesis contains two distinctly different creation accounts. Which creation story are they calling us to "literally" believe?
For generations, serious students of Scripture have noted stark divisions and variations in the age of the Hebrew, its style and language within Genesis. As we have it now, Genesis is actually a composite of three written primary sources, each with its own character, favorite words and distinctly different names for God. Such differences all but evaporate when translated into English, but they are clear in the ancient Hebrew text.
The first creation account, Genesis. 1:1 to Genesis. 2:4a, was written during or after the Jews' Babylonian captivity. This fully developed story explains creation in terms of the ancient near eastern world view of its time. A watery chaos is divided by the dome (firmament) of the sky. The waters under the dome are gathered and land appears. Lights are affixed in the dome. All living things are created. The story pictures God building the cosmos as a supporting ecosystem for humanity. Finally, humanity, both male and female, is created, and God rests.
The second Creation story, Genesis 2:4b to 2:25, found its written form several centuries before the Genesis. 1:1 story. This text is a less developed and much older story. It was probably passed down for generations around the camp fires of desert dwellers before being written. It begins by describing a desert landscape, no plants or herbs, no rain; only a mist arises out of the earth. Then the Lord God forms man of the dust of the ground, creates an oasis-like Garden of Eden to support the "man whom he had formed." In this story, God creates animal life while trying to provide the man "a helper fit for him." None being found, God takes a rib from the man's side and creates the first woman. These two creation stories clearly arise out of different histories and reflect different concerns with different sequences of events. Can they either or both be literal history? Obviously not.
Many serious students of Scripture consider the first eleven chapters of Genesis as non-literal, pre-history type literature, with Abram in Genesis. 12:1 being the first literal historical figure in the Bible. This understanding of Genesis causes an uproar in some quarters. In most church communities, little of this textual study has filtered down to the pew. But, in their professional training, vast numbers of clergy have been exposed to this type of literary scriptural analysis.
In my over 28 years as a pastor, I have encountered many people who are unnecessarily conflicted because they have been made to believe that, to be faithfully religious, one must take a literal view of the Genesis creation accounts. Faced with their scientific understandings going one direction and their spiritual search another, many have felt compelled to give up their spiritual search altogether. This all too common reaction is an unnecessary shame!
So, the next time someone asks you if you believe the Biblical story of creation, just remember the correct reply: "To which Biblical creation story do you refer?"
So what is he advocating as the story of creation?
There was the Priestly version and the J or Y version.
You can clearly tell who wrote which.
What difference does it make?
...He's also an idiot
From a paper a wrote on this,
The differences between the versions of the Biblical creation story lay with the people who wrote them. The everyday Israelite (Judean if youre going to be technical) composed the J or Yawist version while priests were responsible for the P version.
One of the duties of priests was to act as scribes and keep lists. Their version of genesis is not unlike a list, first God made this, then God made that. They were educated, technical, solemn, (and in my opinion boring). They placed emphasis on events, dates, and genealogy. Their version is hymn-like and stresses sacrifice and blessings. Things undoubtedly done at religious ceremonies that a Priest would be presiding over.
In contrast, the Js version focused on message and meaning of it all. On the special relationship God had with man.
Because of certain people who take the bible literally.
OK, now YOUR explanation I understand.
"...He's also an idiot"
No, actually he is not an idiot. The different creation stories are well-known and much discussed among theologians.
Probably a majority of Christians believe that the creation story is non-literal. Other Christians believe it is a literal account.
Both groups, however, accept Jesus as their savior. That's why they're Christians. The question of whether the first couple of chapters of Genesis are literal or story-telling makes no difference, really.
I believe he's advocating the figurative interpretation.
The United Church of Christ seminaries have RARELY had any profs that believe in the Bible, and it shows in the pastors that they produce. The UCC is one of the most liberal denominations in the country and it shows in their teachings and politics. This JEDP theory (nad "higher criticism" in general) was started 100-150 years ago, and has since been thoroughly discredited. I have zero respect for this guy's teaching.
No he's advocating you disregard it altogether.
This is the 19th Century's "JEPD Theory," or the "Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis." It has never been shown to be consistent with satisfactory documentation, nor the material it attempts to judge.
If belief in Creation is just belief, what difference does it make, in reality, what your belief is? The sun is still going come up tomorrow morning, isn't it? Isn't it?
Would you believe I created the entire universe in six days, six days, would you believe it?
I find that hard to believe.
Would you believe five days?
I don't think so.
How about creating it by a pseudo random series of accidents played out over uncounted millenia?
A "title" or calling your self one doesn't make you one
"Both groups, however, accept Jesus as their savior. That's why they're Christians. The question of whether the first couple of chapters of Genesis are literal or story-telling makes no difference, really."
You're right, but how come there's so much disdain on FR for Jehovah's Winesses and mormons (among others)?
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