BIBLICAL  CREATION  ACCOUNTS

 

 

          Contrary to popular belief the Bible does not have just one Creation Account.  In fact, there are several independent creation narratives or references to cosmic origins.  Some are told as if the author was unaware of the other accounts, and some are elaborations on others.  Twelve different Creation Accounts are given below in chronological sequence:

 

 

Psalm 104 taken from Akhnaton’s “Hymn to the Sun” (after 1350 B.C.)

 

Genesis 2 Manual Creation by an anonymous “Yahwist” author

          (950 B.C., under King Solomon).

 

Genesis 1 Manual Creation verses by an anonymous “Elohist” author

          (900 B.C., under King Asa).

 

Genesis 1 Fiat Creation verses by an anonymous “Priestly” author

          (750 B.C., under King Uzziah).

 

Jeremiah 5:22-24, 27:5, 31:35-37 (before 586 B.C. fall of Jerusalem)

 

Isaiah 40:22, 44:24, 45:7, 12, 18, 50:3, 51:6, 9, 12-16 by “Second Isaiah” (during the Captivity period, 530 B.C.)

 

Proverbs 8:22-30 by an anonymous Jewish sage

          (after 430 B.C., walls of Jerusalem rebuilt)

 

Job 37-41 by an anonymous Jewish sage (after 430 B.C., walls rebuilt).

 

Psalm 119:89 by an anonymous priest (after Ezra’s return in 398 B.C.)

 

Colossians 1:15-17 by the Apostle Paul (60 A.D.)

 

Hebrews 11:3 by an anonymous Hebrew Christian (80-90 A.D.)

 

John 1 by a hellenic Christian philosopher (100 A.D.)

 

 

          These passages are analyzed and compared in the following pages.

 


COMPARISON OF

THE TWO CREATION ACCOUNTS IN GENESIS

 

 

   THE ELOHIST VERSION                       THE YAHWIST VERSION

     Genesis 1:1 to 2:4a                           Genesis 2:4b to 2:25

                750 B.C.                                            950 B.C.

     Northern (Ephraim) source, “E”                                     Southern (Judah) source, “J”

 

Name of Deity is Elohim                    Name of Deity is Yahweh

   (“God” in KJV and RSV)                            (“LORD” in KJV and RSV)

 

Creation is mostly by Decree.                       Creation is mostly by Hand.

    (Transcendent Deity)                                 (Anthropomorphic Deity)

 

Creation Period is Six Days.                         Creation Period is One Day

                                                                      with Eight Events.

 

 

          SEQUENCE                                                SEQUENCE

 

1.  Light, Day, Night                                     a.  Earth

2.  Waters Divided                              b.  Heaven

3.  Solid Earth, Plants                                   c.  Mist

4.  Heavenly Bodies                                     d.  Man

5.  Fish, Birds                                              e.  Plants (Eden)

6.  Animals                                                  f.  Cosmic Rivers

          Man: Male & Female                          g.  Animals

                                                                   h.  Woman (out of Man)

 

 

Notes:

 

1.  The “Elohist” author used the name Elohim for Deity, and the “Yahwist” author used either Yahweh or Yahweh Elohim.

 

2.  The use of chapters and verses in the Bible is a recent innovation, and sometimes these artificial divisions were not well placed.  This is the case with the first two chapters of Genesis.  Chapter 1 should have extended through verse 4a of what is now Chapter 2.  The correct arrangement is indicated by the paragraphing format in the RSV Bible.

 

3.  The Yahwist Creation encompassed only one Day.  This passage begins: “In the Day that Yahweh Elohim made the earth and the heavens...” (Gen. 2:4b).

 

CREATION  BELIEFS  OF  THE  CAPTIVITY  PERIOD

 

 

JEREMIAH

 

          Do you not fear Me? says Yahweh;

                   Do you not tremble before Me?

          I placed the sand as the bound for the sea,

                   A perpetual barrier which it cannot pass.

          Though the waves toss, they cannot prevail.

                   Though they roar, they cannot pass over it.                    5:22-24

 

          It is I who by My great power and my outstretched arm

                   Have made the earth with the men

                             and animals that are on the earth,

          And I give it to whomever it seems right to Me.                            27:5

 

          Thus says Yahweh,

          Who gives the sun for light by day

                   And the fixed order of the moon

                   And the stars for light by night,

          Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar.

          Yahweh Sabaoth is His Name.

          If this fixed order departs from before Me, says Yahweh,

          Then shall the descendants of Israel cease from being a nation

                   before Me forever.

          Thus says Yahweh:

          If the heavens above can be measured,

                   And the foundations of the earth below can be explored,

          Then I will cast off the descendants of Israel

                   for all that they have done, says Yahweh.                     31:35-37

 

SECOND  ISAIAH

 

          It is He who sits above the circle of the earth,

                   And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;

          Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,

                   And spreads them like a tent to dwell in.

          Who brings princes to nought,

                   And makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.      40:22-23

 

 

 

          Thus says Yahweh, your Redeemer,

                   Who formed you from the womb:

          I am Yahweh, who made all things,

                   Who stretched out the heavens alone,

          Who spread out the earth - Who was with Me?                          44:24

 

          I form light and create darkness;

                   I make weal and create woe;

          I am Yahweh, who do all these things.                                45:7

 

          I made the earth,

                   And created man upon it;

          It was My hands that stretched out the heavens,

                   And I commanded all their host.                                      45:12

 

          For thus says Yahweh,

          Who created the heavens

                   (He is God),

          Who formed the earth and made it

                   (He established it;

                   He did not create it a chaos;

                   He formed it to be inhabited.)                                          45:18

 

          I clothe the heavens with blackness,

                   And make sackcloth their covering.                                    50:3

 

          Lift up your eyes to the heavens,

                   And look at the earth beneath;

          For the heavens will vanish like smoke;

                   The earth will wear out like a garment,

                   And they who dwell in it will die like gnats;

          But My salvation will be for ever,

                   And My deliverance will never be ended.                            51:6

 

          Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of Yahweh;

          Awake, as in days of old,

                   The generations of long ago.

          Was it not You who did cut Rahab in pieces,

                   Who did pierce the Dragon?

          Was it not You who did dry up Yam (the sea),

                   The waters of the great Tehom (the deep),

                   Who did make the depths of the sea a way

                             for the redeemed to pass over?                 51: 9-10

          I, I am He who comforts you;

          Who are you that you are afraid of man who dies,

                   Of the son of man who is made like grass,

          And have forgotten Yahweh, your Maker,

                   Who stretched out the heavens

                   And laid the foundations of the earth.               51:12-13a

 

          For I am Yahweh your God,

                   Who stirs up the sea sothat its waves roar.

          Yahweh Sabaoth is His Name.

          And I have put My words in your mouth,

                   And hid you in the shadow of My hand,

          Stretching out the heavens,

                   And laying the foundations of the earth,

          And saying to Zion, “You are my people.”                            51:15-16

 

POST-CAPTIVITY PSALM

 

          For ever, O Yahweh,

                   Your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.

          Your faithfulness endures to all generations;

                   You have established the earth, and it stands fast.

          By your appointment they stand this day,

                   For all things are Your servants.                       119:89-91

 

PROVERBS

 

            Yahweh created me (Wisdom) at the beginning of His work,

                        The first of His acts of old.

            Ages ago I was established,

                        At the first, before the beginning of the Earth.

            When there were no depths I was brought forth,

                        When there were no springs abounding with water.

            Before the mountains had been shaped,

                        Before the hills, I was brought forth.

            Before He had made the Earth with its fields,

                        Or the first of the dust of the world.

            When He established the Heavens, I was there.

                        When He drew a circle on the face of the Deep.

            When He made firm the skies above,

                        When He established the fountains of the Deep.

            When He assigned the Sea its limit,

                        So that the waters might not transgress His command.

            When He marked out the foundations of the Earth,

                        Then I was beside Him like a master Workman.                       8:22-30