Y'know, I'm not sure the thread title was such a great idea. Y'all are no doubt expecting a much more sophisticated analysis than I'm actually capable of.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin.
The edition I have opens each book with a short summary and a helpful table of contents. This is handy for the purposes of liveblogging, because it means that the longer books are divided up into smaller headed sections, longer than the traditional chapters. We therefore begin The Old Testament
with "The Story of Creation", which is an extremely familiar passage to me, and one of the more famous parts of the Bible.
The book of Genesis begins with God's creation of the universe. At this point, the Earth exists, but is empty and without form, submerged in water and absolutely devoid of light. The Spirit of God (a footnote informs me that this could equally be "the power of God", "a wind from God" or "an awesome wind") moves over the water, and God commands:
Let there be light.
And light is. God, pleased with this, proceeds to create Day and Night by separating the light from the darkness. Evening arrives, and so endeth the first day.
God then creates a dome, dividing the water above the dome from the water beneath it, and calls it Sky. I think this provides an interesting insight into the ancient Jewish perception of the universe. It sounds almost reminiscent of an acrylic tunnel◊
, like you get in some large aquariums, with the sky as water trapped behind an immense cosmic firmament. With that done, the second day ends.
I wonder - does this mean that Heaven exists in the waters above the Sky, or perhaps beyond them?
On the third day, God commands that the waters below the sky pool together, revealing dry land. He names the land Earth and the water Sea. Again, He is pleased with His creation.
Presumably this didn't take as long as making the cosmic dome, because God then commands that the Earth produce plants, which it does. This also pleases Him, and the third day ends.
Next, God commands that lights appear in the sky to distinguish night from day. Didn't He already create light and separate those?
Perhaps light is a physical mass which the lights in the sky merely release, rather than generate? Of course, this would actually sorta be in keeping with modern scientific theory, given that energy is not created, merely converted from one form to another.
So God creates the sun, the moon and the stars and places them in the sky to illuminate the world. They also serve the purpose of time-keeping devices, indicating the start of days, years and religious festivals (or seasons, a footnote suggests). God is pleased with what He sees, and the fourth day ends.
On the fifth day, God commands that the water be filled with living creatures, and that the air be filled with birds. He creates great sea monsters, as well as all the other kinds of aquatic animals, and the birds. Pleased with His creations, He tells them to reproduce. Fifth day end.
On the sixth day, God makes the animals, domestic and wild, large and small. He is pleased with them, of course.
Now, this is interesting. God says:
And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domesticated and wild, large and small.
Referring to Himself in the plural, but that might just be the Royal We, I guess. What's interesting is that He creates both male and female human beings in His own image, and tells them to have many children, so that their descendants will control the world. He places them in charge of the other creatures, and provides them with grain and fruit to eat. For the animals, He provides leaves and grass.
Then God surveys His entire creation, and this time He is very
pleased. The sixth day ends, and the chapter with it.
edited 25th Dec '09 6:18:11 PM by BobbyG