The early Israelite creation myths, with all their color and drama, must have been particularly attractive to the masses. But none became the regnant version. It was the austere account set forth in the first chapter of Genesis that won unrivaled authority. At first it could only have been the intellectual elite in ancient Israel, most likely the priestly and scholarly circles, who could have been capable of realizing and appreciating the compact forms of symbolization found in Genesis. It is they who would have cherished and nurtured this version until its symbols finally exerted a decisive impact upon the religious consciousness of the entire people of Israel.
The mystery of divine creativity is, of course, ultimately unknowable. The Genesis narrative does not seek to make intelligible what is beyond human ken. To draw upon human language to explain that which is outside any model of human experience is inevitably to confront the inescapable limitations of any attempt to give verbal expression to this subject. For this reason alone, the narrative in its external form must reflect the time and place of its composition. Thus it directs us to take account of the
modes of literary expression current in ancient Israel. It forces us to realize that a literalistic approach to the text must inevitably confuse idiom with idea, symbol with reality. The result would be to obscure the enduring meaning of that text.
The biblical Creation narrative is a document of faith. It is a quest for meaning and a statement of a religious position. It enunciates the fundamental postulates of the religion of Israel, the central ideas and concepts that animate the whole of biblical literature. Its quintessential teaching is that the [Gen., p. 4] universe is wholly the purposeful product of divine intelligence, that is, of the one self-sufficient, self-existing God, Who is a transcendent Being outside of nature and who is sovereign over space and time.
This credo finds reiterated expression in the narrative in a number of ways, the first of which is the literary framework. The opening and closing lines epitomize the central idea:
Then there is the literary structure, which presents the creative process with bilateral symmetry. The systematic progression from chaos to cosmos unfolds in an orderly and harmonious manner through a series of six successive and equal units of time. The series is divided into two parallel groups, each of which comprises four creative acts performed in three days (phases). The third day (or unit of time) in each group is distinguished by two productions. In each group the movement is from heaven to terrestrial water to dry land. Moreover, the arrangement is such that each creation in the first group furnishes the resource that is to be utilized by the corresponding creature in the second group.
JPS Torah commentary
- An openingschapter explaining why things are like they are and why we may have hope for better things
- Genesis Among the Creation Myths
- Other stories about the beginning of times
- Creation of the earth and man #1 Planet for living beings in a pre-Adamic world
- Looking for a primary cause and a goal that can not offer philosophers existing beliefs
- Different principle about the origin and beginning of everything
- Possible problems with two Accounts of the beginning of human race
- Coming to the creation of human beings in the image of God
- A multifold of elements in creation and a bad choice made
- Necessity of a revelation of creation 5 Getting understanding by Word of God 3
- Bible truth or scientists truth
- Biblical Historical Context: Intro to Israelite Origins
- Sermon of September 2, 2018 — “Just Like Starting Over”
- What Believers Need: God Awareness
- Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning
- Was Genesis 1 Written for a Poetry Slam? | Feedback Friday!
- Essay: Light in the Darkness
- Genesis 1-2:3 and the Dome
- Genesis 1-2:3 and fish and birds
- Picturing Genesis 1-2:3
- Sun and moon and Genesis 1-2:3
- Genesis 1-2:4 and order
- Created In God’s Image
- Notes – Genesis 1 14-25
- 70 Years of Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls