The Creation of Man

April 3, 2010

It is a little difficult for me to begin this post because the Bible is already eluding me. Three pages in and I’m already confused. Who thought Genesis could be that confusing? Not this guy.

Let me set the stage…

When we left off last, God had just created Earth and everything on it. He opens a whole can of creeping worms when he goes about describing His, what I assume to be, best creation.

“’Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;’” (Gen 1:26)

I have always had the impression that Catholicism, its branches, and even Judaism and Islam, are monotheistic religions with only a sole, head honcho. This excerpt challenges my previous notions when it depicts God talking to some other conscious being or object up in the heavens. I can only think of two explanations for who God is talking to in this passage. First is that God is up in the heavenly realm chilling with some other godly fellows. Whether or not the others that compose the “us” have powers similar to the God is unclear, but it only seems reasonable to think if there are other figures pre-dating mankind then they would have some kind of divine power as well, even if not on the same scale as God. Oxford seems to agree when suggesting in the footnotes the “us” and “our” are in reference to a “heavenly court” of God’s which resembles a sort of “royal theology” of ancient religions. My second guess is that God has developed some serious multiple personalities. Think about it. The guy has been just hanging around for eternity. I would have started talking to myself after about a millennia.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:27)

If we take this passage with the previous excerpt then we can see that not only do humans bear a resemblance to God, but a resemblance to the other(s) around God as well.

Chapter 2

After God creates man, he rests, and very appropriately enough. I imagine it is like the peaceful time right before a couple is about to have a baby. They get the most sleep and quiet time they can because there won’t be much of it for at least the next 15 years. Except for God it’s more like…well, I’ll get back to you on that one.

This is where things get fishy for me. Let’s walk through my thought process as I read these next few lines…

“These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.” (Gen 2:4)

Me: Yes, I got that, this is like the seventh time you’ve mentioned that.

“In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,” (Gen 2:4)

Okay, let’s see…that’s day two. Alright, now that we’re on the same page…

“when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up – for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground-“ (Gen 2:5)

Yes. I get it. There’s just the heavens and the earth, you literally just said that. I swear. You’d have to lack the slightest mental capacity to miss anything here.

“then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground,” (Gen 2:7)

Wait…what?

“So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air,” (Gen 2:19)

“the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman” (Gen 2:22)

Okay, okay. I take it back. I’m confused.

Even after reading through the passage several times it seems this is another account of the creation of man and Earth. In the second chapter God creates the Earth itself, then he creates man, then animals, and finally woman. This is in disconnect with the first chapter. Oxford offers no insights to clarify this for me and I have only one possible explanation:

Due to the Bible’s length and age it has been suggested to me by others that the whole text itself is a collection of not just separate books but of separate writings from different authors over a period of years. If I accept this understanding, then the beginning of Chapter 2 of Genesis makes more sense. However, how can I account for the resolution of God’s first week in the beginning of Chapter 2? If Chapter 2 is indeed written by another author, how could this author know to sum up the end of Chapter 1 before offering his own account? I surmise that he couldn’t, and therefore suggest this alternate account is somewhat of an error. As I discovered in the many prefaces to the holy text, the Bible is very much edited over time. Either I am missing an obvious explanation or this section has yet to be addressed by those with the power to fix things.

It is frustrating to come upon a portion of the text that I cannot reason out through wit or perversion. I didn’t think the Bible would be as difficult as the lady in the bookstore suggested to me, at least not this early on. I cannot disregard this quandary when determining my judgment (if you will permit me the word) of the Bible, but for the sake of moving on I will let it be for now. Regardless of how they came to be, or in what order, mankind finds its way onto Earth, and two of the most famous characters from the Bible emerge: Adam and Eve.

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