GENESIS Ch 1-11
Fr Jude 29/6/08
The Problematic use of myth.
The Bible gives us faith stories written by faith filled people.
How were the Genesis stories Ch 1-11 formed
They are primeval history, pre history, a historical
It is not to be read as we read regular truths, we need to find religious truths or theological messages à exegesis.
Find out what the author wanted to write.
The style used in Ch 1-11 is MYTH,
Myth is a literary way of writing, it is very imaginative, vivid, colourful.
Myth is a technical religious truth
Stele = what ever the king wrote 0 ( Sirach is the only bk in the OT that is written by the author)
These stories are written to answer basic human Qs.
Qs are essential, Qs deal with life & thro the myth he gives us deeper truth.
Other countries also had truths.
In a simplistic way we might say that a myth consists a taking a great Qs we ask ourselves & projecting it in a form of a story of the real world Ba al = male
Astarte = female
A myth is a symbolic form of expression it seeks to impose intelligible form upon the relation that transcends realities.
The narrative is non historical.
The myth remains the most apt form for the expression of the transcendental realities too large & too profound for scientific observations & philosophical analysis.
We observe that the OT reflects all elements which are out of character with the God that they knew.
There is only one God, & he is a personal God. This insight into the divine reality was attributed to revelation a personal encounter with the God who spoke to them, who was their saviour & their judge to present this insight no other form of thought & speech were available to them accept those that were common in the ancient near east.
Genesis – Fr Jude 6th July 2008.
1. CREATION: Ist. story 2 - 4a.
It is a ‘P’ story written by the Priestly circles.
This is a highly structured account. It emphasis the power of God, The power of the Word.
It is totally different from the 2nd. Story
1:1 The world was a formless mass, there was only a watery chaos, there was also darkness
God had total control over the darkness. Darkness was not created by god. Deep = abyss ‘tehom’
Primordial ocean, Spirit of God = wind, mighty wind,
God will bring order from the chaos in the next 6 days.
5 Steps :
1. First there is an announcement ‘ & God said’
2. There is a command ‘ Let there be”
3. Response / Report – “ & so it was’
4. Evaluation “ & God said it was good”
5. Temporal (Time) Frame work……. & there was evening----- Ist., 2nd. 3rd. ----
What is God really doing in the act of creation, there is an act of separation, & an act of ornamentation ( Separation / Decoration)
Day 1: Light & Darkness
Day 2: Upper water from lower waters.
Day 3: Dry land from waters (earth)---- earth & planets.
Day 4: Lights in Heaven, to give light & to give seasons.---------
What (?) Great light & Smaller light Because the Egyptians believed in the Sun & the Moon
who were gods There fore greater & smaller light.
Day 5: In the water fish, & in the air birds
Day 6: (a) Animals that were to be domesticated & the wild animals
(b) Man & Women-------------they are a crown of Gods creation.
Day 7: The Lord rested. Rest = Sabbath. If God rested every body rests on the 7th. Day.
The first thing that God created was Light. The Church uses these light & Darkness differences.
The story closest to this myth is an ancient epic by Enuma Elish. They are 2 sexual principals.
Sweet water = Apsu ---- when on high, Babylonian text. Genesis in the beginning. Bible says man was made from earth & Blood.
Salt water = Tiamat (P). Every one took their origin from this epic. God of Marduk – Tiamat is angry & is going to kill. Marduk kills Tiamat, he splits her like dry fish, mixes her blood with clay to make humans.
Ancient near east text – Anet edited by Pritchard, what are the similarities.
(P) authors light was the element. Earth was flat. God is seated above the water. Earth was supported by 3 pillars
ANCIENT COSMOLOGY à
God put fertility within the plants / seeds.
Power of regeneration between man & women.
Vegetation Vs 23.
After blood spilt on the ground.
In the Bible all blood belonged to God.
Let us make man in our image. --------------------- Spirit of Ruah = Spirit of Life
Concept of the Trinity is not there in Genesis. Us is a editorial plural (superlative), it denotes the plural of majesty. Ancient Hebrew always called God plural.
Editorial plurals = waters, heavens. El is singular; Elohim is plural; Elohim + verb (singular)
Greatness of the monotheist God.
2. In our image (not =) No concept of the soul. Where the Kings representative image was put.
To represent the king. Thus to be certified in the image of God, is to be Gods representative on earth. As God is the ruler of the heavenly realm, so humanity as Gods representative is ruler of earthly realm Ps 8. ‘dignity of man’
Conclusion: What does the (P) author want to teach.
1. God has made all things.
2. The Sabbath is a divine institution, like the creator man completes his work in 6 days then takes rest on the 7th day.
3. (P) also wishes to show the transcendence & the power of God. God creates through his words & from a distance. God thus orders the creation order.
Increase & multiply & subdue the earth. That man will have to till the earth. Force is necessary to make the untamed land tame. Respect the environment. We are called to treat life with respect.
The 2nd account of creation: (J) it is homely type of story. God created the world by the work of his hands. Gen 2:4b – 25. The second story of Genesis focuses on the man & the women, related to each other & the world.
Before God created man there is dry land = desert. The earth is barren there is no water + no person to ti;; ( Israelites were agriculturalists)
God makes mist to water. Then God made the man from dust of the land
In Hebrew human & ground are same sounding words
Ground = ad amah
Man = Adam.
We depend on the ground, We came from the ground & we will go back to the ground.
Sheol = place of the dead
God created man from the ground & put his breath of life.
Next thing for God is to make a plan for man
Place to dwell------àEden----à in the east
---- à steppe----à terrace.
It is a sort of a garden. They cultivated garden for the kings to relax—Babylon, Mesopotamia
Gen 3:8 description of the garden. Garden was very beautiful.
The authors had heard the existence of the gardens of the east
Vs 10 à Pishon (not= Nile); Gihon can be Ganges; Tibris; Euphrates.
Man had to till the land & keep it. The story came from former backgrounds.
Tree of life is a symbol of immortality this tree was banned
Man could eat from this tree of knowledge of good & evil (only God knows what is good & evil)
Epic of Gilgamesh à proud man + irritates the Gods . One God took human form.
Enki du à died à dream. Search the plantà under water, well. Serpent took the plant.
Man wants to be autonomous of God.
Mankind is limited, finite. Tree of life is forbidden.
Ch 2:18. Creation of the women.
In the Bible to give a name to someone or something, is to have power over it.
Deep sleepà God is going to do something wonderful, unwitnessed / unnoticed by the person.
Rib à In the Sumarian language. Rib & Lifetime is the same word
In Arabic semen & water is life.
Rib is closest to the heart
Man + women in Hebrew is close
Ish + ishsiah---------------à Eve = Life in Hebrew.
This denotes a special relationship between man & women,
they complete & compliment each other.
Helper = In the OT one who gives support & strength to each other
= one who helps man to fulfill his destiny
= God himself is called a helper-----------à Ph 33:20; Deu 33:7.
CONCLUSION: What does (J) account teach us.
i. Women is the only suitable helper for man, since she is formed from his flesh
ii. The attraction of the sexes & the institution of marriage are described as the natural destiny of man & women flowing from the way they were created Gen 2:24.
iii. Yahweh is not distant but directly involved in the act of creation & concerned about all creatures
iv. Man & women are called to communion at 4 levels. With the self, with others, nature & GOD. The technical term for self = psychological.
Others = sociological
Nature = ecological
With God = theological dimension
Ch 3= The Fall
i. Why serpent = a symbol of cunningness, deceit, craftiness Wis2:24.
The serpent is contrasted with the naive women
ii. In Cannan the serpent was associated with fertility & cult.
iii. It is demonic figure in many religions & mythologies.
iv. It is also a comic figure identified with monsters of chaos. In the patriarchal home the women was a weakling.
There are no talking snakes. The snake starts a conversation Did God say you shall not eat of a fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden.
The serpent says you will not die, he does not say that you will die physically but spiritually. You will be cut away from God.
The serpent gives the women only half the truth. He asks her to look at the tree. She looks intently. She realizes that it looks good to eat, desirable. à all leading to sin. Eve also dragged Adam in to eating this fruit. Their eyes were opened with knowledge of nakedness & shame.
They sewed leaves & guilt of fear as a result of sin.
This is a (J) story of God walking in the garden.
God had told them not to eat the fruit. There was a blaming game
Serpentà womenà man
Manß womenß serpent à CURSES ---------------- thus the serpent crawled
Wemen will have labour pains
Manà ground cursed à since now he will have to till the ground.
Gen 3:15à I will put enmity, between you (evil) & the women (mankind). & between your
offspring & hers.
He will strike your head & you will strike his heel à First Good Newsà Proto-evangelium
One who can conquer evilà one sinlessà JC / Mary…à Mary / Jesus were conceived sinless.
& he will crush the evil once & for all
cursed be the ground, formally only man worked à return to the groundà death.
Selfà Gen 3:7-13 Man & women found themselves naked.
Othersà3:12 Adam blames eve.
Natureà 3:16-24.Land is cursedà Adam will have to bear the consequence.
Godà 3:8 Hide from Godà God expels them from the Garden.
Vs 21: God is so loving God stitches clothes for them. Cerebrum = Big Angel
Ch 4: Cain + Abel (J) 4:1-16.
Adam knew Eve = Adam had intercourse with Eve
Farmer Cain = I have produced.
Shepherd Abel = Hebel = Water Vapour, that does not last long, passing, transcient,
Gods rule is to bring the first fruit.---------
Why Cain offer was not accepted ? – how did he know this. Author wants to show that Cain action was in defiance – ended with murder.—if you do well , be careful of Anger, complete With Jealousy / envy. In the context of Cains worship we realize he was angry.
Where is your Brother – sin of defiance.---by shedding Abels blood Cain takes Gods role, death penalty, war, self defense.
Cain was cursed to be a wonderer. Ill be hunted. God puts a mark on cain—
Group of Kenites ( could be worshipers of Yahweh)= smiths; forehead tattooed
There were other tribes there.-à was Cain the founder of this tribe---à 4:17-26
Different strands, documents show that there are other people in the world. The focus is on Cains sin from pride to murder.
4:15 God looks after us---------------------à nods = wonderers.
4:19-24. Story of Lemech.
How sin is getting worse & worse--- He has 2 wives (Adah / Zilab) àinstead of practicing monogamy ---à open defiance, LAMECH EXACTS REVENGE ACCORDING TO HIS OWN MIGHT
The Lord says Vengeance is mine
Vs 20. Different trades
Vs 23. Revenge-----à Revenge / vengeance always belongs to God
Can 7 timesà Lamech 77 times-à unlimited times
Madness of revenge will be replaced by madness of love by Jesus.
Ch 5: Why is the genealogy put there ?
Before the flood the age of living was 800-1000 yrs.
After the flood it was 600-200yrs.
In Isralite times it was 200 – 100 yrs.
During the Psalms it was about 70 yrs
AS SIN INCREASED LIFE DECREASED.
Enoch lived a perfect 365 yrs aperfect solar year, ie good life. God took him.
6:1-4. Strange Story.
It is the interlude to the flood story.
There were lesser Gods, People were depressed, there was 8inter marriage between the Gods & human beings . The nephelim = the fallen ones, race of giants, inhabitant of Cannan
#s 13:33; Deu 2:10-11; 20-21; Joshua 12:4; 17:15 Children of the unholy unions.
The sins of Isreal were the sins of inter marriage with Cannanite pagans.
6:9-29. Story of the Flood. There are 2 stories:
Here (J) stories are mixed with (P) stories of the flood.
Author was aware there was a flood.
----the flood in India was à Manu, there were also floods in Australia
1. God observed the sinful nature of humanity (J) 6:5; 6:12 (P)
2. God decided to destroy humanity ---------------------------------6:7 6:13.
3. God announced the flood----------------------------------------------7:4 --------- 6:17
4. Noah is ordered to enter the arch --------------------------------- 7:1-3 6:18-20.
5. Noah obeys ---------------------------------------------------- 7:5 ----------6:22
6. Noah enters the arc ----------------------------------------------- 7:7 ---------- 7:13-16
7. All living creations on earth die ------------------------------------ 7:22 --------- 7:21
8. The water recedes ------------------------------------------------- 8:1 --- 8:3a.
9. God promises never to destroy again by a flood 8:21 9:11.
Inconsistencies: Number of Animals taken in to the Arc 7:2 6:19-20.
What was the cause of the flood 7:4, 12; 8:2b; 7:11.
How long did the flood last 7:24; 7:17 -- 8:3b.
How did the water subside --------------------------------------8:1b; b:3a.
Where did the arc stop ------------------------------- Ararat; Urartu NW Iraq
How big was the Arc-----300 cubit (L)*50 cubit(B)*30 cubit(H) -----In Feet 450*75*45
In (J) it states that the Water remained for 6 days. Where as in (P) it was there for 1year 10 days.
God makes a covenant. Covenant is a solemn agreement between two parties sworn before God who over sees oaths 9:8-17. A covenant was way of regulating the relationship between the individual & a group in a society.
The rainbow was the sign of the covenant, they said there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The Rainbow is the sign to humanity of his pledge, of Gods faithfulness & mercy
The 2nd sign of the covenant is the circumcision ; 3rd 10 commandments to Moses; 4th. JC himself
9:20 Son of Ham à Cannan 28th Oct 2008 Live-in
Intoxicating effect of wine
Respect of father
Noah was the first tiller of wine.
Vs 23 à Lev 20: 17-21
He uncovers the necked ness, has sexual relation with. Could be his son, made fun of Noah.
The Bible condemns the abuse of alcohol & wine
Cannan was more famous then his father Ham.
Ch 10: Shem, Ham, Japheth, tables of nations, who went where
It presupposes the existence of other civilizations.
Japhet. Madai, Javan, Kittim. They went north west of Palistine
Itan – medes—madai
Rhodes, Cyprus – Kittim
2. Vs 6. Ham—NE Africa Cannan Red sea
3 Shem – fertile crescent – in Arabian Penninsula
Elam-Mesopotamia ; Assyria; Aram.
Theological significance of the text,
It shows the fulfillment of Gods command to increase & multiply 1:28; 9:1
Also that it is one among many nations.
Tower of Babel 11:1-9
Vs 1 They were reversing what God wanted
Shinar = Babylon
Tower a big project all without God
1. To avoid being scattered abroad
2. To make a name for them selves à to make a name was a sin of pride.
Vs 4. Instantly mentally on ethnic mentality
Vs 6 To be = to God.
Vs 7 Let us à plural.
God attacked their languages, confusion in their project.
Babal means the gate of God
Balal = confusion
Iraq Ziggurat à 270 feet
Pourpose of the story: To explain how just from one language in the beginning many languages were spokenby human beings
11:10 Genealogy of Shem U r ----+----------Cannan