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Creation, Earth, Water


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Okay, so I'm reading Genesis and right off the bat it's saying the Earth was void and there's all this talk about water. Then God separates the water by dividing them and putting Heaven between them. Then the water below was given shape and he made dry land on it. I'm confused. Was this void universe just a lot of water? What happened to the water above? This is right away in Genesis and I have the King James version so that may be the reason for this. I gotta go google other versions now.

 

Anybody else notice this or is it just me?

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I think it means chaotic in this sense. The Hebrew story is just a reworking of the Sumerian/Babylonian stories. They both have the same flow creation wise. The other storys are larger though, due to the extra gods involved.

 

Hebrew story:

  • Initial state of the earth Void (chaos), covered in darkness.
  • Light is created.
  • Firmament is created - a dome over the earth separating the earth and heaven.
  • Dry land created.
  • Sun, moon, stars are created.
  • Creation of men and women.
  • Final development God rests on the Sabbath.

 

Sumerian/Babylonian stories:

  • Chaotic, enveloped in darkness.
  • Light is created.
  • Firmament is created; also described as a dome.
  • Dry land created.
  • Sun, moon, stars are created.
  • Creation of men and women.
  • Gods rest and celebrate.

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Guest Babylonian Dream

I think it means chaotic in this sense. The Hebrew story is just a reworking of the Sumerian/Babylonian stories. They both have the same flow creation wise. The other storys are larger though, due to the extra gods involved.

 

Hebrew story:

  • Initial state of the earth Void (chaos), covered in darkness.
  • Light is created.
  • Firmament is created - a dome over the earth separating the earth and heaven.
  • Dry land created.
  • Sun, moon, stars are created.
  • Creation of men and women.
  • Final development God rests on the Sabbath.

 

Sumerian/Babylonian stories:

  • Chaotic, enveloped in darkness.
  • Light is created.
  • Firmament is created; also described as a dome.
  • Dry land created.
  • Sun, moon, stars are created.
  • Creation of men and women.
  • Gods rest and celebrate.

It depends on which stories, there are so many of them.

 

In both the Babylonian and Hebrew stories, there is Sabbath after the creation of mankind. The difference is that the Babylonian one only deals with the creation of mankind, and not with the rest of creation. It's literally called Sabbath:

 

http://www.premiumwanadoo.com/cuneiform.languages/dictionary/dosearch.php?searchkey=2681&language=id

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Okay, so I'm reading Genesis and right off the bat it's saying the Earth was void and there's all this talk about water. Then God separates the water by dividing them and putting Heaven between them. Then the water below was given shape and he made dry land on it. I'm confused. Was this void universe just a lot of water? What happened to the water above? This is right away in Genesis and I have the King James version so that may be the reason for this. I gotta go google other versions now.

 

Anybody else notice this or is it just me?

The idea is to read the bible, not as a book of answers, but as a book of questions. With that in light, why the water separation? It explains why it rains. There must be waters above the sky somewhere. The gods must have separated it and left some of it on the planet, while keeping much of it above the sky. Creationists will later try to link this to an imaginary canopy which precipitated out during the great flood. Looks like some people still have that ancient bronze-age mentality/intelligence!

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Some of this may have been related to an ancient belief about a "firmamant," a dome above the earth separating it from the heavens. That could help explain where the water came from for the flood (when the windows of the firmamant opened), from a bronze age perspective.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The impression I now get is that the "firmament" was some sort of dome and that the "waters above the firmament" was a way to explain why the sky looked blue (and where the rain came from, as another has said). In other words, there was this big dome holding waters above, and in the daytime you could see that water.

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Creationists will later try to link this to an imaginary canopy which precipitated out during the great flood.

 

And this canopy theory is actually negated by the Bible itself.

 

First, the waters in question are said to be above the firmament (Genesis 1:7), but the sun, moon and stars are said to be in the firmament (Genesis 1:16-17). Therefore, if it was referring to a canopy, it would have to be beyond the stars, not simply around the earth.

 

Second, long after the flood is alleged to have happened, a psalm mentions the waters above the heavens as still being in place (Psalm 148:4, ref Genesis 1:8 calling the firmament heaven).

 

So, the creationists' "water vapor canopy theory" isn't even biblical (let alone scientific).

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As a side note, I was just looking at BibleGateway.com and noticed something. Their default translation is the new 2011 edition of the NIV, which has changed its terminology regarding the firmament. The original NIV translated it as "expanse," but the 2011 NIV translates it as "vault." That's surprising to me, since "vault" presents a bigger problem in reconciling it with science, but it's probably a more accurate translation.

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I did notice that, and it bugged me, too.

 

One of my favorite Genesis translations is Robert Alter's. He is a Hebrew scholar and a Biblical scholar and really tries to retain the poetry of the original Hebrew. He translates the first few lines of Genesis thus:

 

"When God began to create heaven and earth, and the earth then was welter and waste and darkness over the deep and God's breath hovering over the waters, God said, 'Let there be light.'"

 

Alter's footnote says of "welter and waste":

"The Hebrew tohu wabohu occurs only here and in two later biblical texts that are clearly alluding to this one. The second word of the pair looks like a nonce term coined to rhyme with the first and to reinforce it, an effect I have tried to approximate in English by alliteration. Tohu by itself means 'emptiness' or 'futility,' and in some contexts is associated with the trackless vacancy of the desert."

 

My sense is that God is taking something empty of Godly order and putting order to it.

 

When I was first looking into this, I looked for artistic renderings of these first few lines and many were of a watery earth; however, there was one video that showed a desert planet which God covered with water, and then separated it out to make continents and such. I reckon the desert interpretations come from the fact that the word Tohu is usually used in a desert context. That would have just been the language of those people...desert language. It doesn't mean that the earth was, in their view, originally desert.

 

Anyway.

 

That's what I think.

 

When I was exploring The first chapter of Genesis, I found an explanation of the theological significance of the creation days in an essay by Evangelical John Rankin in an essay called, "What are the Days of Creation? 24-Hours or Something Else?". He provides a different view from both the literal, 24-hour New Earth Christians and the yom/age/Old Earth Christians.

 

Despite my tremendous issues with many of Rankin's ideas, I thought this piece was spot-on.

 

Of course, the separating waters bit doesn't make any kind of sense theologically or scientifically, so, at this time, I reckon it's as other have said here: a sign of the authors' understanding of the rains and blue sky and such.

 

Phanta

 

Edited: Anyone else ever think they are replying to their post and accidentally hit "edit" instead and lose the whole freakin' thing? Ugh. This was a close one.

 

Just want to put in a disclaimer that I think Rankin's theological interpretation and the weight he gives it is the best explanation I have heard, specifically, but that I do not believe this actually describes the beginning of life on Earth.

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