Observations on the creation stories

Ahanu

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After reading P's creation story, which was written later than J's, I noticed that God appears to be distant. Once P’s creation story was written “after Israel was conquered by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. and at a time when the Hebrews were faced with exile in Babylon,” I think that whoever wrote the story was strongly impacted by these events, so we find that God is more distant than the portrait of God that we get in J’s creation story. For example, in J’s creation story it is written that “the man [Adam] and his wife [Eve] heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Gen 3:8). This verse makes me wonder if P ever thought that God literally walked in the garden at all; for in P’s creation story God does not walk with mankind.


So while God does appear to me to be distant in P’s story, P’s creation story makes God seem more powerful to its readers and listeners. The now conquered people, the Hebrews, could read and listen to P’s creation story to find “encouragement and affirmation” in their new crisis. Starting with Genesis 1:3, we find God’s first words which begin to speak everything from chaos and nothingness into existence. Now that is what I call powerful! However, when we look at the first words spoken in J’s creation story saying, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die,” we notice God’s words are not bringing anything into existence (Gen 2:16-17). In fact this is apparent throughout J’s entire creation story.


It is interesting that this powerful God who can speak things into existence finds that the creation of human beings on the final day was “very good” (Gen 1:31). Perhaps it is “very good” because humans are now in it? This is an extremely different ending than J’s creation story which ends saying God banished mankind from the Garden of Eden, where the ground was not cursed. After being banished from the garden, man must now “work by the sweat" of their brow in order to produce food from the ground (Gen 3:19). “Genesis 2 is a farmer’s myth; Genesis 1 is not.” P even saw the earth in a different way than J. P’s earth did not need man to cultivate a fertile earth because God created it so that it did not need man’s help; however, in J’s creation story humanity must create a fertile earth. These are some differences that are highly significant! Think about the stories which later happen in the book of Genesis. . .(
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Sources:
http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/CS/CSElohim.html
http://www.gly.uga.edu/railsback/CS/CSYahweh.html
http://www.myjewishlearning.com/daily_life/environment/TO_Environ_Trad_Teachings/Permission_to_Despoil.htm

Any other differences in P and J's creation stories?
 
Ahanu said:
After reading P's creation story, which was written later than J's, I noticed that God appears to be distant. Once P’s creation story was written “after Israel was conquered by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. and at a time when the Hebrews were faced with exile in Babylon,” I think that whoever wrote the story was strongly impacted by these events, so we find that God is more distant than the portrait of God that we get in J’s creation story.
where do i start? i mean, there are so many assumptions here i hardly know where to begin. suffice it to say that there are traditional explanations of this stuff which are far more sophisticated than this absurd critical narrative.

look, the basics, traditionally speaking, are like this: G!D Has many different Names, which describe Divine attributes or characteristics, not G!DSelf. *we* call G!D by these different Names depending on *our* interaction and perspective, not G!D's. in the same way my mum is called different names by her children, her husband, her grandchildren, her friends, people she does business with and so on. she's still just one person.

For example, in J’s creation story it is written that “the man [Adam] and his wife [Eve] heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Gen 3:8). This verse makes me wonder if P ever thought that God literally walked in the garden at all; for in P’s creation story God does not walk with mankind.
you're using a very poor translation. the original hebrew only mentions that the Voice *itself* was "going" in the garden "le-ruah", which is a word which implies "wind" - so perhaps a better way of expressing it might be "and they heard the Voice of G!D Blowing through the garden at the height of the day"; there is no necessity in the hebrew for G!D to "walk". in fact, when it says in most translations "and so-and-so walked with G!D" that doesn't necessarily imply actual walking, but more movement and travel; so G!D Says to abram "go forth to yourself", using the same words, but this is never translated as "walk yourself".

However, when we look at the first words spoken in J’s creation story saying, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die,” we notice God’s words are not bringing anything into existence (Gen 2:16-17). In fact this is apparent throughout J’s entire creation story.
of course, this assumes that these are two different stories, which i don't accept; as far as i am concerned, the first thing G!D Says to all the Created species was "be fruitful and multiply". this entire exercise is completely artificial. in fact, in the account you link to, it doesn't appear to mention G!D Creating anything at all - and the fact of G!D Creating everything is axiomatic to judaism as anyone understands it.

It is interesting that this powerful God who can speak things into existence finds that the creation of human beings on the final day was “very good” (Gen 1:31). Perhaps it is “very good” because humans are now in it?
nope. in our tradition we understand the "very good" to be the creation of the "evil inclination", which is said, paradoxically, to be "very good" - this is because without it, nobody would bother building a house, having children or going into business.

After being banished from the garden, man must now “work by the sweat" of their brow in order to produce food from the ground (Gen 3:19). “Genesis 2 is a farmer’s myth; Genesis 1 is not.” P even saw the earth in a different way than J. P’s earth did not need man to cultivate a fertile earth because God created it so that it did not need man’s help; however, in J’s creation story humanity must create a fertile earth.
the difference is between the edenic state and the post-edenic state. in the garden, we just existed, we didn't need to support ourselves in any way differently from the animals. however, now we have chosen to have free-will, we must accept the consequences of our actions, which means we must be responsible for ourselves, including supporting ourselves. we have become fundamentally alienated from the natural world - except, of course, on the Sabbath, when we once more co-exist in harmony with it.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
hello bananabrain or dauer,
sorry if i am off the thread topic just a bit. just curious about your thoughts about how the jewish interpret Genesis 1:1-31 and Genesis 2:1-3. i am of the mind that Genesis 1:1-31 and Genesis 2:1-3 is like a summary of all of God's creation (days 1 thru 7). i also see it as a prophecy because the sixth day is still in effect. i understand it as anything after Genesis 2:1-3 is an account of what happens during the sixth day. i'm not sure if i am coming across clearly . dauer a few months back on another thread mentioned that there weren't any chapter breaks in the earlier versions of the TORAH. this makes so much sense to me and wanted to see if this could be further clarified. thanks and hope to hear from you soon.
 
where do i start? i mean, there are so many assumptions here i hardly know where to begin. suffice it to say that there are traditional explanations of this stuff which are far more sophisticated than this absurd critical narrative.

Again, thanks for the critic on the beginner. By the way, this is for my world religions class. Well, those are the observations that I posted. I'm not afraid to be wrong!

G!D Has many different Names, which describe Divine attributes or characteristics, not G!DSelf. *we* call G!D by these different Names depending on *our* interaction and perspective, not G!D's. in the same way my mum is called different names by her children, her husband, her grandchildren, her friends, people she does business with and so on. she's still just one person.

So this is the case with Elohim (P) and Yahweh (J)?

you're using a very poor translation. the original hebrew only mentions that the Voice *itself* was "going" in the garden "le-ruah", which is a word which implies "wind" - so perhaps a better way of expressing it might be "and they heard the Voice of G!D Blowing through the garden at the height of the day"; there is no necessity in the hebrew for G!D to "walk". in fact, when it says in most translations "and so-and-so walked with G!D" that doesn't necessarily imply actual walking, but more movement and travel; so G!D Says to abram "go forth to yourself", using the same words, but this is never translated as "walk yourself".

OK. This makes more sense to me.

of course, this assumes that these are two different stories, which i don't accept; as far as i am concerned, the first thing G!D Says to all the Created species was "be fruitful and multiply". this entire exercise is completely artificial. in fact, in the account you link to, it doesn't appear to mention G!D Creating anything at all - and the fact of G!D Creating everything is axiomatic to judaism as anyone understands it.

Why not?! My information tells me that P's creation story was written 6th century B.C. under totally different circumstances than J's creation story which was written in 10th century B.C.

Here is our prompt. . .

THE PROMPT

Consider the following as you read through the creation stories linked below:
  • The nature of God
  • The nature of humans
  • Relationship of humans to nature
  • Responsibility of humans to nature
  • Relationship of humans to God
  1. What are the differences in the two stories?
Are these differences significant? In what way?


I have noted my "absurd critical narrative." lol

the difference is between the edenic state and the post-edenic state. in the garden, we just existed, we didn't need to support ourselves in any way differently from the animals. however, now we have chosen to have free-will, we must accept the consequences of our actions, which means we must be responsible for ourselves, including supporting ourselves. we have become fundamentally alienated from the natural world - except, of course, on the Sabbath, when we once more co-exist in harmony with it.

Alright.
 
ahanu said:
So this is the case with (P) and (J)?
that's certainly the way i'd see it.

My information tells me that P's creation story was written 6th century B.C. under totally different circumstances than J's creation story which was written in 10th century B.C.
that information is based upon certain assumptions which i believe to be mistaken. one of the basic things about biblical criticism is that it rules out, a priori, traditional answers such as "Divine Revelation". personally, i think this is a mistake. one of these assumptions is that because two passages use different styles, they must be by different people writing at different times - to which i would answer thusly: if I hade wroten unto thee in this Waye, and stille maintained that I were that scurvy cox-combe Banana-Braine, the same poor forkéd creature I would stille remaine. I might even say, d'ye see, that this passage be a lubberly screed, look'ee, an' sack Tortuga wi'a curse, by the powers! Arrrrrr. Be I still that scourge of the Spanish Main, Captain Bananabrain, damme for a handspike else? Or might I propose that we synergise our paradigms and leverage our key competencies to maintain a delivery focus?

do you see what i mean? lord macaulay wrote not only the famous "lays", but also the penal code of india under tha raj. are we to conclude from the fact that these two documents are written in different way for different audiences, that there were two lord macaulays?

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
the creation story is built upon metaphors...

i.e... women was said to come from the rib of man

which we all know is incorrect but to any of further knowledge recognizes that all cells divide, so for life to continue a cell must give up a portion of itself to further continue

such as the apple story

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die,”

this shares the day of choice was born (consciousness) as without choice; mankind would still be instinctive; living in the garden pure with God (nature)....

but to see the errors of religious interpretations, each can almost consider God to fib and the serpant told the truth

gen 3

1And the serpent hath been subtile above every beast of the field which Jehovah God hath made, and he saith unto the woman, `Is it true that God hath said, Ye do not eat of every tree of the garden?'


2And the woman saith unto the serpent, `Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we do eat,

3and of the fruit of the tree which [is] in the midst of the garden God hath said, Ye do not eat of it, nor touch it, lest ye die.'

4And the serpent saith unto the woman, `Dying, ye do not die,
5for God doth know that in the day of your eating of it -- your eyes have been opened, and ye have been as God, knowing good and evil.

and then confirmed in

gen 3

22And Jehovah God saith, `Lo, the man was as one of Us, as to the knowledge of good and evil; and now, lest he send forth his hand, and have taken also of the tree of life, and eaten, and lived to the age,' --

so which is it?

did the people of the literature make a mistake or is the serpant the one who tells the truth?
 
bishadi

so which is it?

did the people of the literature make a mistake or is the serpant the one who tells the truth?
IMO, the serpent was not lying at all. it told the truth. because we know good and evil, we are in the process to becoming like God. we die right now, but in time we will not die. God knew that we would choose to be like Him. He gave us the option but at a price. i am still trying to figure out why Eve chose first instead of Adam. i have my personal thoughts on the matter, but who wants to know that, right? anyhow, thanks for reading.
 
bishadi


IMO, the serpent was not lying at all. it told the truth. because we know good and evil, we are in the process to becoming like God. we die right now, but in time we will not die. God knew that we would choose to be like Him. He gave us the option but at a price. i am still trying to figure out why Eve chose first instead of Adam. i have my personal thoughts on the matter, but who wants to know that, right? anyhow, thanks for reading.
How about this? Adam spent time with God during the early days of creation. They worked together, naming animals, plants, rocks, stars, the whole of the universe. Yet all the while Adam was learning about God as God was enjoying Adam's increase in knowledge. But there came a point, when Adam discovered something...he was unique. There was no counter part for him. He looked at God and said nothing, but God understood the question in Adam's heart. Why am I different? What is my purpose? Who am I? How do I belong? How will others become of me, like these creatures on the earth?

So, woman came along, but she did not have the experiences that Adam had with God, before her arrival.

Had Adam been tempted, he would have laughed in the face of the serpent, because he walked with God for enough time to understand the purpose of the fallen one. But Eve did not have that experience. She was an easy target, and a vulnerable part to Adam...

Unlike the angels who split apart (those for God, those against God), woman made a mistake, which jeopardized her existence. She was bone, blood and flesh of Adam, who recognized this. He (Adam), deliberately chose to give up what he had with God, in order to protect the one given to him to love.

This in my opinion is why man still has favor in God's eyes. Greater love hath no man, than he who would deliberately lay his life down for another. Or give up what he has, for the life of another.

my two cents

Q
 
how about this?


" behold! thy Lord said to the angels:" I will create a vicegerent on earth," they said:" wilt thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? whilst we do celebrate thy praises and glorify thy holy (name)? He said: " I know what ye know not." (the holy Quran. 2:30)

1. so, God's purpose behind creating man is to be His vicegerent on earth

2. even angels ask what the use of creating man who will make mischief in this earth...the question we all ask, seeing all these sufferings and damage around the world...

3. God said that He know what angels dont know....angels look at man from just one side, which is the evil side in everyone....While God knows that man can be good if he/she follows His teaching, and hence be His vicegerent on earth

why God hasnt created us as angels, and hence preventing all thsese suffering around the world? the answer is simple: than virtue would have no meaning as it isnt our choice...there would be no reward for it...

(to be continued)
 
NOW, we come to a very important question:" what was the use of putting Adam and Eve in the heaven from the beginning since they are created to be God's vicegerent on earht??????

The answer is: because that living in the heaven was just a training and preparation to Adam and Eve for how to hold God's message, and be His vicegerent on earth.

look deeply and thoroughly at the following verses:

" We said :" O Adam! dwell thou and thy wife in the Garden; and eat of the bountiful things therein as (where and when)ye will; but approach not this tree, or ye run into harm and transgression" 36 then did Satan make them slip from the (Garden), and get them out of the state(of felicity) in which they had been. We said:" Get you down, all (ye people), with enmity between between yourselves. On earth will be your dwelling-place and your means of livelihood-for a time 37 then learnt Adam from his Lord Words of inspiration, and his Lord turned towards him, for He is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. 38 We said:" Get ye down all from here; and if, as is sure, there comes to you guidance from Me, whosoever follows My guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall the grieve .38. " but those who reject the Faith and belie Our Signs, they shall be Companions of the Fire; they shall sbide therein."(2: 35-39)

1. God said to Adam and his wife: you are now in heaven...enjoy everything therein

2. but there was a small test for them. they had the whole Garden except ONE tree..they were not allowed to get near it....THAT WAS THE PREPARATION AND THE TRAINING......In life, we have so many pleasures that are allowed by God, AND THERE IS A TEST TOO....WE HAVE OTHERS PLEASURES THAT ARENT ALLOWED BY HIM..

3. in this verse, we get an idea about our enemy, which is Satan....thats our enemy, which we should be aware from

4. NOW, the period of training was finished..Adam as`a symbol of all man had an idea about what to enjoy, and what not. Also, he got an idea about his enemy...

5. here God showed to Adam (man) that God repent the sins of those who sin, so that they wont be hopeless in beginning a new life, and not keep sinning

6. God sent His guidance to us, so that we wouldnt slip from His way, and realize His purpose in this earth: to be His vicegerent.


To come to a conclusion, Adam's and Eve's period in heaven was just a period of training and preparation for man to establish a relation of lasting love with God through following His guidance, be His vicegerent on earth by spreading love, peace, and justice around the world, be aware of his enemy (satan), and the complete reward of all these will be in the day we meet HIM...
 
choice means moral consequences. animals cannot be held responsible for their choices, but humans can. in choosing to be held to this standard by selecting the fruit (nobody says it was an apple, btw, this is a mediaeval artistic assumption) adam accepted a system of morality which was incompatible with the edenic state of the garden; how could one accept moral responsibility and yet never expect to die? that is what this is about.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
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