Commentaries on the Creation Story in the Bible
Genesis 1 Creation Examined, part 4
4 CommentariesOne recurring problem with extant interpretations of the Bible texts is that most of them tend to take for granted that the texts were written as meticulously as if their writers were aware of their future importance. Of course, that cannot be taken for granted. The choice of words, the order of events, and so forth, might not have been pondered more than any storyteller would.
When the text shifts between bara, create, and asah, make, the intention may have been simply to avoid repeating one and the same word too much, and not at all a way of distinguishing between different methods of creation. Instead of assuming that the texts were written with some precognition of their future importance, we should at first examine them at "face value", with the words stripped bare of the symbolic loads they received through the many centuries of their use in religious contexts.
This tendency is also found with modern interpretations and commentaries.
Another problem is the mere volume of it. Through the many centuries of European Christianity, innumerable texts have been produced about the Bible and how to understand it. A complete survey just is not possible. For the purpose of my treatment of Genesis, I have settled with the thoughts of two persons - chosen for their significance in Christian history: Augustine and Martin Luther. Both have treated the subject at depth, and their writing is intact.
I am not curious about how they integrate their views on Genesis with their religious beliefs, although this angle is unavoidable for the simple reason that it is tied into their interpretations. Instead, I search to extract how they explained and understood the acts of creation as they are presented in Genesis.
Genesis 1 CreationThe first creation of the Bible
This article was originally written for a seminar at the Department of History of Ideas and Learning, Lund University, as a part of my dissertation in progress on creation myths and their patterns of thought. Transforming the text to webpages, I have excluded footnotes, or edited them into the text.
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About meI'm a Swedish author and historian of ideas, researching the thought patterns in creation myths. I've also written books about Taoism, the Tarot, and life force concepts around the world. Click the image to get to my personal website.