Did you know that there are two creation stories in the book of Genesis? Genesis 1 tells the story of creation in a very orderly and almost poetic fashion. This is the one we hear at the Easter Vigil. This is the story that begins, “And God said,” then things are created and “God saw that it was good.” Then it ends with “and then there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”
One thing that is missing from this story are the names
“Adam” and “Eve”. Chapter 1 tells us that God said “Let us make mankind in our image, according to our likeness.” So where are Adam and Eve? They show up in the second story of creation in Genesis 2. This story shows God as interacting directly with His creation. He walks in the garden and talks with his created ones. He uses the ground to create Adam and then takes a rib from Adam to create Eve. Then of course, is the story of the fall.
So why would there be two creation stories in the Bible? Isn’t one enough? And here is the beauty of Scripture! In using forms of literature borrowed from the cultures around the Hebrews, the authors took elements from the pagan religions and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, included them in their writings but they put the theological spin on them to say that there is one God and God is good and everything God created is good! There is something called the 4 source theory about how the Bible was written, and without going into a huge amount of detail, each of these sources writes in a particular manner.
They are called the Yahwist, Priestly, Deutercanonical and the Eloist. The first story of creation was written by the Priestly source and is very orderly and almost list-like, which is very characteristic of this writer. We can see it especially in the book of Leviticus.
The second story was the Yahwist source and this source sees God as interacting on a very personal level with human beings. The writers were writing in a world that was very different from the world we currently live in, and we need to keep this in mind as we read Scripture. But the basic story in both accounts is that God brought form to the earth. He was creating a place for us to dwell. The creation story was not meant to convey scientific data, but it is written in a very poetic form to show us the
of creation! And this is the reason that two stories are included in Genesis, to tell us why we were created. The how of creation is nowhere near as important to the writers as the “why” of creation. It stems from the Trinity! God loves the Son and the Son loves the Father and gives Himself back to the Father through the Spirit! The Trinity is a family of love and God created us out of love and it was good. So read the first two chapters of Genesis and enjoy the beauty that is included there, particularly that “God saw that it was good”
Join me on Friday, December 12, 2014 for the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, “The Gift of Love: A Christmas Story”
See you soon! Karen