Reflections for 9/1: Creation

1. In order to select a Bible to read one would have to have a set of standards which determine which canon is authoritative. For the everyday Christian (or Jew), we can probably presume that the standard is consistency with the traditions of their own denomination.  A Catholic would, because she understands the Catholic Church’s authority to be supreme over that of other denominations, adopt the canon of the Roman Church.  In this sense the obvious answer to who decides the canon is the officials of each denomination and tradition, and it matters insofar as it reflects participation in one of the traditions. 

Furthermore, this means that the reading community forms the Bible in its act of endorsing certain books and following the endorsements of the leaders of that community.  However, the endorsements themselves also provide a distinction between different communities that forms the community through contrast to others.  For example, part of the difference between Catholics and Protestants is their respective Bibles. 

3. In order for something to constitute a creation account it has to explain why certain things are the way that they are. The Reading Guide makes its clear that ancient historians did not intend to accurately depict history but rather to give an account of history that was more explanatory (94).  The primary question should be why there is something rather than nothing, but there are also sub-categories of this question like “where do animals come from.”  If a creation account is to be understood as an explanation for why there is something rather than nothing then it seems as though the three accounts which at first appear different are in fact only different only in the details. They all provide the same explanation, that God created the world out of a sort of primordial chaos or bareness.

 Genesis 1 is more like a hymn or poem because it has a rhythmic structure and repetition of the phrase “the nth day” to mark the end of each section.  Additionally, as is pointed out in the Reading Guide (104), there is a certain parallel structure between two sets of three days in Genesis 1.

 The differences in the accounts of creation, following my point about creation stories being explanatory, would seem to arise from differences for what authors intend to explain. Genesis 2, for example, seems to emphasize that God created humans in a more personal way than the account within Genesis 1.  Genesis 1, in contrast emphasizes the goodness of Creation.  The footnote makes not of this as well when it points out that the Priestly source contributed to Genesis 1 and within the Reading Guide it is made clear that the Yawehist and Priestly sources intended to emphasize the goodness of creation (104). 

 Psalm 104 emphasizes the goodness of creation in the same way Genesis 1 does with the repetition of God acknowledging creation’s goodness.  Both also share language of explanation.  For example, God created the moon “to mark the seasons” according to Psalm 104:19 and “to govern the night “ according to Genesis 1:17. 

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3 thoughts on “Reflections for 9/1: Creation

  1. Great thoughts on the distinctions created within communities by different readings of the Bible. The Catholic-Protestant split works well as an example. Good explanation on the similarities and differences between the creation accounts as well.

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  2. I really like how you characterize a creation story. The idea that it is the making of something rather than nothing is very insightful. I also think it really shows the depth of God. God was able to take Nothing, for which there is not sense or shape, and make it into Something, which can be well defined. According to these creation stories, that Something would be the sky, waters, stars, plant, animals and humans. I also like the end, when you tie in the aspect of goodness. I also found this very important in the reading. “God saw how good it was.” This shows me that the world in which we live is inherently God, because God made it that way. Overall, great post. I real like your ideas in here.

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  3. Excellent response! I really liked the way you explained the essence of a creation story. Especially in a time when we are so used to constantly looking for the facts, understanding that the ancient writers weren’t about the “what” so much as the “why” can be incredibly helpful. I also really liked how you brought literary genre into your characterization of Genesis.

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