Monthly Archives: July 2012

Part 5: Knowing the Origins of the World

This is an article in a series written to create an unambiguous, complete understanding of Genesis 1:1-1:19, and continues from Part 4: Reconciling the Analyzed Literal Translation,

This part goes from understanding the account to understanding what it states about the origins of the world.

Standing on the shoulders of many researchers, I have perhaps been able to make the account of Genesis universally comprehensive. If you have persevered with me through this series, you have seen that after a barrage of attacks and reconciliations, what I have ended up with is very nearly identical to the modern, widely accepted account.

The original text has stood up well against the attacks, and the reconciliations have become understandable, elucidating, and specific, rather than poetic, vague, or smoothed over. All through the analysis and etymology, the big picture of what God has created has remained the same as what is believed generally.

It would seem that the only ones who manage to deviate from this common meaning of Genesis to make the word of God serve their own purposes are desperate Creationism and Young-Earth advocates. Even the most vicious Atheists gets the same meaning from this text as do the vast majority of believers.

I think this points to the stability of the ideas in the text. The few uncertain terms we’ve found haven’t shaken the big picture.

Examining the text is one thing, but how does it stand up when we examine the actual knowledge about the world that the account passes to Man? Can we make an attack of sorts and write down the creation account simply and tersely to convey the precise knowledge? (That is to say, the where, when, and why of the creation of these things.) Perhaps when we write down the creation account simply and tersely, we will find some weak points, not in the meaning of the words but in the knowledge the words convey.

I made two attempts and found that weak points do exist, and that I therefore can attack the knowledge. This means that I must prematurely specify some things in the text, something I would have liked to save for the next article. But it must be concluded that if you want to understand unambiguously exactly what is created, you must point out a thing in our world that God created (only worldly things are created up to day 4), and be able to produce a concise and concrete version of its creation in Genesis, or admit Genesis is simply a vague poem that praises rather than explains our origins. That is not very reconciliatory, in fact it removes the foundation of belief from Abrahamic religions. Allowing this to happen is to shrug and not think your religion is important for knowledge.

This, then, is my Terse Comprehensive Creation Account:

In the beginning, God created the sky and the earth
On the first day, when the Earth lay in darkness and was covered with water, the spirit of God moved above it, and God created light.
On the second day, he created the sky to split the water-cover into seawater and clouds.
On the third day, he gathered the seawater that covered the land into seas, and in the earth that appeared, he created plants that reproduced.
On the fourth day, he created the Sun and the Moon and put them in the sky under the clouds, to shine on the earth and to be able to tell signs, festivals, days and years — the Sun to rule the day and the Moon to rule the night and the stars.
Summarizing it like this, in clear language, reveals a few hurdles to overcome:
Rule‘ is vague
Firstly, an attack on what is meant by ‘ruling’ the day, or the night. Reading this again and again, a notion arises of this being as a way of associating the Sun with the daylight, and the Moon with the light of the night, and to explain what they’re for, as a sort of strengthening of the knowledge of origins.
While certainly the Sun “rules the day” (that indeed the Sun’s daylight is the only source of light and defines what we mean by day) the Moon is often up at night, but sometimes not, and sometimes up during the day.
It would be all too easy to jump ahead of ourselves and grab the scribes’ intended meaning: the day is the Sun’s domain, and the night belongs to the Moon and the stars. This describes roughly what we see in our world. But this is the word of God. He would not pass a roughly correct account to Man. What we’re after is what relationships he is describing “through” the scribes.
Now, if we were to assume that 6th Century BC Man didn’t know that the Moon is sometimes up during the day, that would weaken the account; it would then not be the word of God, but a vague attempt at explanation by someone who reveals the lack of knowledge in those times.
I don’t like that, because that would indeed mean that the account is vague and poetic. Surely God would know that the Moon sometimes isn’t in the sky at night. God would surely not resort to a vague word to describe the where, when and why of his creations! We must face this contradiction bravely and conclude that using the vague word goes against the word of God.
Upon revisiting the original translations, there is an AI of rule: regulate. This more specific words suddenly makes the meaning less vague and charged, and gets support by the surrounding verses in that the Sun and the Moon are part of a clockwork, regulating the passage of time. Certainly, this is how the celestial bodies have been used by Man throughout the ages and still are; as clocks and calendars.
This different translation inevitably creates an attack on my previous translation: the perplexing appendix “the stars” in 1:16. This verse now ends with “…and the small light to regulate the night and the stars.” Ruling the stars with relative light intensity is one thing, but now that we have found that this point must be relinquished, we face a world where the Moon regulates all the stars, surely an absurd world in the light of all we’ve learned of the world to this day.
Again revisiting the original translations, there are alternative glue words for and: with, together with. Using with ends 1:16 with “…and the small light to regulate the night with the stars.”
While we are now rid of the vague wording, we are faced with something of a dim proposition: “The day belongs to the Sun, and the night belongs to the Moon and the stars.”
I’m trying my hardest to not see this as an error on the part of the scribes. But I cannot find any explanation for not recognizing that the Moon is sometimes up in the day and sometimes not up in the night, without accusing them of inserting a mistaken world view of 6th century BC Man in a divine account.
What can we do to stave off attacks on religion and keep the word as written as the word of God? The answer is not pleasant. To stave off attacks on the correctness of the word of God, we must deny errors on the part of the scribes, or else face questions of the type, “what else did they get wrong?’. And to do this, we must go back to the vague word, ‘rule’. To stave off scientific attacks on the word of God, we must then choose the most reconciliatory meaning of rule, the vague ‘relative brightness’ meaning.
This, in turn, forces us to admit that some passages are vague and not to be understood fully by Man. This is the recourse that we are left with, until someone proposes a new original meaning of the verse or the word ‘rule’.
I had hopes that analysis might clarify the verse, but it has not. While this means the attack was fruitless, and that the Comprehensive Translation stands, we’re not really better off. It’s the most wretchedly disheartening conclusion I’ve found in this analysis.
Clouds‘ is not what it says in scripture!

That is true, but at the same time, saying so is nonsense. It is what is meant by ‘water above the sky’, and translators have known it to mean ‘rainwater’ for as long as the text has existed. Below the sky is the sea, and above it, rainwater. Certainly I see this account as the explanation of how water could fall from the sky. If we would look at it from a planet-dweller’s perspective, it’s certainly wondrous that something could fall from the sky, when difference we see is just some gray clouds where there used to be clear sky. They would perhaps wonder, “The gray isn’t falling, and what is falling is vital to our plants and our own survival, so what could cause it; how does it work?”

‘Light’ is not light itself

We can’t know the above from the way it is written, but an omnipotent God can certainly create light itself, as he would create the matter for the water-earth. In this account, he certainly creates light and sees that it is good. This, to me, is not related to any previous creation of conditions for electromagnetic radiation in the visible spectrum being emitted by the processes in the stars. We are already told that he created the Sun; anyone who can create a body that emits light can surely create light itself. The important thing that the account conveys is that God created light in 1:3 to shine on the earth until the Sun was created and put in the sky, or else no vegetation could sprout on the third day.

In summary, then, it can be concluded that while settling on the ‘rule as in relative light intensity’ leaves us wanting for the reasons stated above, the Terse Comprehensive Creation Account, too, stands scrutiny.

What about the even bigger picture?

Arguments over the purpose of the account (such as imagining it was expressed through concept that 6th Century BC Man could understand, and we must only see it as an “approximate” creation account) is wholly unrelated to the understanding of the knowledge it can be said to convey,, for this reason:

Certainly, if you believe in God, you must believe that the Genesis account is knowledge of creation passed to Man from God, and not merely a poem scribes composed to praise God’s glory. If we’re told how God created the world and Man, and the account cites God and describes his acts of creation, what room is there for merely accepting it as a hymn; a Psalm? Poems and songs choose rhyme over reason every time, so no believer would want Genesis to be one such mere composition.

No, if you believe in God, you believe in him as the answer to “Why are we here?” — as an originator of the world, Man, and religious ideology — and Genesis is the answer to that first question. If someone else made the world, he’s the God you would believe in, and any omnipotent later God would be an impostor in your opinion.

Certainly, you wouldn’t consider a religion an alternative to science if it didn’t answer this very human and basic question, “Why are we here?”

Thus far, science gives answers that attempt to answer this question a very long way, but currently falls short of the very final one; how could the Universe come about?

As we have seen, this part of the Genesis account certainly doesn’t answer this, or indeed the Atheist’s favorite cheap shot question: “Well, who created God then?”

Genesis 1:1-1:19 tells us of the creation of light, the sky, plants, the Sun, and the Moon, and their purpose — but not where matter and light itself, or the stars, or the Earth came from. Is it important? I certainly would think it intriguing and awe-inspiring to know the answer, even though it can be argued we might not have a worldly or spiritual use for a ‘final answer’ to get along in this world. Ask yourself: must you know?

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In this part, we have summarized the acts of creation in Genesis 1:1-1:19 and seen that the summary holds up under scrutiny and agrees with what is believed to be the origins of the world of Man by the vast majority of believers.

The attempt to put it in terse, clear language did not cause any changes to the Comprehensive Translation.

In the next part, we put the summary in the background, as the big picture, while investigating whether the Comprehensive Translation accurately describes the world we live in. In other words, we are going from understanding what the account states about the origins of the world to determining whether those statements are accurate about the world.

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Part 4: Reconciling the Analyzed Literal Translation

This is a continuation of Part 3: Attacking our own creation (Day 2-4)

(Here, too, the term AI is an abbreviation of Alternative Interpretation.)

We saw the advantages of literal translations made to be neutral. Without extraneous words, inferred meaning or externally predetermined assumptions (religious, common-sense, made to support new or existing theories, or otherwise), we really could read and understand the true meaning of the verses as written, with only minor changes to three verses.

Now that we have a precise wording free of contradictions, we have a solid foundation to build from. We will leave arguing about the meaning of words and individual verses behind, and talk about their implications on a macro level.

To do this, we must first remove any “glue” words that might influence the text, the big picture, or ourselves, and later, rebuild them into sentences that make sense. We will group the verses together into sentences that are the acts of God, and remove all the “glue” words, to form a “terse overview”:

Day 1
In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. The earth was unformed and empty, and darkness on the face of the deep. The movement of God-spirit above the face of the waters.
God said, “Be, Light”, and light! God saw the light, that good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day”, and the darkness called “night”.
The evening existed and the morning existed, one day.

Day 2
God said, “Expanse, the severance of the waters – and separate the waters from the waters!” God made the expanse, and separated the waters under the expanse from the waters above the expanse. God called the expanse “heaven”.

The evening existed and the morning existed, second day.

Day 3
God said, “The waters under the heaven, gather at one place, and dry show.” God called dry “earth”, and the gathering of the waters “seas”, and God saw good.

God said, “earth, yield grass/herb, sow seed, and fruit-tree making fruit of kind which seeds earth.” Earth brought forth grass/herb, sowing seed of kind, and the tree making fruit, seeds of kind, and God saw good.

The evening existed and the morning existed, third day.

Day 4
God said, “Lights the expanse the heaven, separate the day from the night and signs and seasons/appointed, and days and years. Lights the expanse of heaven, light earth.” God made two big lights, the big light to rule the day, and the small light to rule the night, the stars. God gave the expanse of the heaven to light the earth. To rule the day and the night and separate the light from the darkness, and God saw good.

And the evening existed and the morning existed, on four day.

This is a regress to ancient Hebrew, in a way. From this more exact but in places hard-to-read account, can we now write it out correctly in plain, unambiguous English in the light of the last analysis? That is, make it read well in English and still retain the meaning of the verses and the bigger picture from previous translations? Let’s try it:

Day 1
In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. The earth was unformed and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep. The spirit of God moved above the face of the waters.
God said, “Light, exist!”, and light existed. God saw the light, and that it was good, and separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day”, and called the darkness “night”.
There was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Day 2
God said, “Expanse, exist! And be the severance of the waters, separate the waters from the waters!” God made the expanse, and separated the waters under the expanse from the waters above the expanse. God called the expanse “heaven”.

There was evening and there was morning, the second day.

Day 3
God said, “The waters under the heaven, gather at one place, and let dry land appear.” God called the dry land “earth”, and the gathering of the waters “seas”, and God saw that it was good.

God said, “Earth, produce grasses/herbs that sow seeds, and fruit-trees making fruits of their separate kinds that seed the earth.” Earth brought forth grasses/herbs sowing seed of its kinds, and the trees making fruit with seeds of its kind, and God saw that it was good.

There was evening and there was morning, the third day.

Day 4
God said, “Lights in the expanse of the heaven, be for separating the day from the night, and for telling signs and seasons/festivals, and days and years. Lights in the expanse of the heaven, light earth.” God made two big lights, the big light to rule the day, and the small light to rule the night and the stars. God put them in the expanse of the heaven to light the earth; to rule the day and the night and separate the light from the darkness, and God saw that it was good.

There was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

Now, we shall need to make this even more concrete, but we’ll take it in small steps and save that for later. This, again, was just a language adaptation. It was quite trouble-free, but, nevertheless, we must now analyze this.

On Day 1, there is of course this mysterious word, “deep”. But it works in a sentence, so I’ve kept it. We’ll have a look at this later.

On Day 4, I reflected on the insistence of the definite article of heaven. This points to “the heaven” not meaning “Heaven” where God reigns. I hadn’t dared decide this before, but it became apparent to me as I wrote it, and does lend point to the many original Hebrew translations using “the sky” instead. I now feel confident I can specify this word’s meaning as “the sky” in future versions and will do so.

Here also, the perplexing mere appendix (and ambiguously appended at that!), “the stars”, made me stop and think. After considering the alternatives, I became convinced that no, since the stars were never mentioned before, and are here mentioned without the “incantation-appearance-baptism” pattern as for the others, it must be decided they were not created in 1:16. Certainly, creation of the stars (and the planet Earth) is surely not beyond the powers of an omnipotent God, but it isn’t mentioned in or before the account of the forming of the dry land or creation of the sky in Genesis. (And also, while not within the scope of this article series, according to scholars Job tells us that God created, or at least placed, and also named every single star before the creation of planet Earth.)

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Now, can an argument be made that this filtering and sentence-forming corrupts the meaning of my previous translations? I’ve gone through it again and have found none, but if you spot something along the lines of, “This sentence can be said to not imply what your previous translations do”, please share your thoughts.

Speaking clearly

The acts of creation can be read well enough and their meaning perhaps gleaned fairly well, but they’re a bit too poetic and vague, or at least not concrete enough to make sure one knows exactly what is being created. It seems to me that an account passed by God to Man would not have been muddled and inexact.

In other words, we must presume absolutely that what the scribes wrote made perfect sense to themselves. Now, if perhaps the language lacked certain terms at the time of its writing, we might discover them. Nevertheless, the scribes would certainly have been able to explain what they meant by “the deep”, “the sky”, etc – in other words point to the things God created in the world of Man.

We are after a text that speaks clearly to us of God’s acts. And therefore, we must reconcile the text, yet again,  to the world of Man before continuing.

According to Strong’s Concordance regarding tehom, AIs of deep are abyss, sea. In this verse, God is above the face or surface of the waters; he of course cannot be “above the deep” language-wise, but above the surface certainly makes sense. Now: the deep is mentioned in the same verse, and at the very start of the verse, the water-earth is mentioned (and nothing else). Certainly, if earth was really an unformed, empty water-earth, it would make sense if that surface was that of the waters, and that the deep was the deep waters of the water-earth. Deep sea would be wrong, because seas have not yet been created, but it seems certain that deep can specify nothing but deep waters.

While I have no problem understanding face of the waters as the surface of the waters, is it correct? Again, we are succumbing to fitting in words where no others seem to fit. The Hebrew word certainly means face, both a human face and the face or outer bound of an object. Certainly, phrases like “something facing a certain way” (meaning an outer part of something turning towards something else), and “on the face” (meaning superficially) have survived through Greek and Latin to our modern languages to mean this. I would judge surface to be accurate — and with really no other contenders for this word.

In the light of the above, the earth in 1:2 should be specified, to tell the difference in meaning from the dry land which God will later form and name “earth”. Two options are: the water-earth (which seems confusing to many, I would think), and the Earth (which I think clearly establishes that this verse is instead about the unformed planet covered with water). Surely, the Earth reconciles the translation the most.

We have established that the big light is the Sun, and the small light is the Moon. But here, the specified terms for Sun and Moon are not used; they are written as the big and the small light to tell us about the two big lights in the sky. It mustn’t change, and it must be (and surely is) automatically understood by the reader.

Lastly, there are the two Hebrew words representing concepts that we have no collective word for today. While festivals has been used  in modern times for religious and pagan/traditional appointed times, it has ambiguous connotations. Replacing grasses/herbs with vegetation is surely to generic! I must leave them as is, or resort to the Hebrew terms and supply a footnote. If you can think of apt English words, please suggest them!

What remains to be reconciled? If we accept that God created light itself on the first day — nothing. It certainly seems very plausible that he did,  because it would be resorting to illusion to read verses 1:3-5 as anything other than, “God created light, lit the earth, saw that it was good, and called light “Light”.

Here, then, is my Comprehensive Translation:

Day 1
In the beginning, God created the sky and the earth. The Earth was unformed and empty, and darkness was on the surface of the deep waters. The spirit of God moved above the surface of the waters.
God said, “Light, exist!”, and light existed. God saw the light, and that it was good, and separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day”, and called the darkness “night”.
There was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Day 2
God said, “Expanse, exist! And be the severance of the waters, separate the waters from the waters!” God made the expanse, and separated the waters under the expanse from the waters above the expanse. God called the expanse “sky”.

There was evening and there was morning, the second day.

Day 3
God said, “The waters under the sky, gather at one place, and let dry land appear.” God called the dry land “earth”, and the gathering of the waters “seas”, and God saw that it was good.

God said, “Earth, produce grasses/herbs that sow seeds, and fruit-trees making fruits of their separate kinds that seed the earth.” Earth brought forth grasses/herbs sowing seed of its kinds, and the trees making fruit with seeds of its kind, and God saw that it was good.

There was evening and there was morning, the third day.

Day 4
God said, “Lights in the expanse of the sky, be for separating the day from the night, and for telling signs and seasons/festivals, and days and years. Lights in the expanse of the sky, light earth.” God made two big lights, the big light to rule the day, and the small light to rule the night and the stars. God put them in the expanse of the heaven to light the earth; to rule the day and the night and separate the light from the darkness, and God saw that it was good.

There was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

Can we go further to understand this better? I can see nothing that remains. I find this translation completely understandable. If you see an omission, please explain your findings.

In the next part, we will look at exactly what knowledge about our world’s origins can be said is passed from God to Man in this text.


Part 3: Attacking our own Creation (Day 2-4)

This is part 3 in a series, continuing from Attacking our own Creation (Day 1)

Again, let’s not lose sight of what is told in Genesis 1:1-19 (simplified):

“At creation, God created the heaven and the earth and lit it. The next day, he created an expanse called “heaven” and with it split water-earth into sea and clouds. The third day, he made land appear and vegetation grow in it. The fourth day, he put the Sun and Moon in the expanse of heaven to light the earth from then on.”

What follows is thus a continuation of attack on the reconciled translation of Genesis 1 in the first part, even though I didn’t find very much to attack regarding alternative interpretations (termed AI below) of Day 1.

Day 2
And God said, “Expanse, (be) the severance of the waters” – and separate the waters from the waters!

AI of expanse: stretch, firmament. We know from etymology the mistake of the Hebrew raqa (“spread out”) to later take the meaning of the Syriac raqa (“make firm”). Certainly, it has since been loaded with arcane and obsolete connotations from pre-astronomical (philosophical) cosmologies. The knowledge of this mistake frees the original text from these unscientific connotations and shows that texts not writing raqia as firmament cannot be blamed for being unscientific in this respect. Therefore, I rule out firmament as an AI, texts containing it are simply mistranslated, and an attack on scientific basis in the Bible cannot be made through this word.

Someone who understands the world certainly reads this as a layer. The general reason for this layer being introduced is understood to be to explain from where the water falling from the sky comes. In other words, this tells of the creation of  the sky we see, between the water-earth and water in heaven (clouds, rainwater, moist air).

AI of the severance: in the midst of.

This verse is the command.

And God made the expanse, and separated the waters under the expanse from the waters above the expanse, and (it was so).

This is confirmation that what was commanded also occurred, as in 1:3. Certainly, things commanded by God come to pass throughout the Bible, and also 1:14-1:17 make distinctions between “made” and “gave”, showing that demoting God to circumstantial instigator rather than creator (as in “Let there be x”–>”x appeared”) meets a mountain of “divine coincidences”. It seems to me that relinquishing the burden of creator off the shoulders of God clashes with belief in the word of God, as well as with belief in his omnipotence.

And God called the expanse “heaven”. And the evening existed and the morning existed, second day.

The word heaven here is the same word as heaven in 1:1. We must therefore accept that 1:1 is a summarizing introduction of acts of creation in Day 1 (earth) and Day 2 (heaven) . Perhaps also of Day 3 and 4, but perhaps a case can’t be made for this. We shall see.

Day 3

And God said, “The waters under the heaven, gather at one place, and dry (land) show.” (And it was so.)

AI of gather: collect, bind. AI of at one place: place-Unit. AI of show: appear. Here, land (the dry matter that appears when water is removed) is not spelled out (but assumed land or ground). It is not yet called earth, which could be the reason. An alternative meaning is that “dryness” which is to water what darkness is to light.

Again, this reads well (even without the specification which follows); also, I have seen no diverting interpretation by scholars.

And God called dry (land) “earth”, and the gathering of the waters “seas”, and God saw (it was) good.

Note that nothing was created in the same sense as light and heaven in the last verse, however the “incantation of new –> appearance of new –> baptism of new” pattern remains. This is very interesting. I will follow up this intriguing clue in a later article.

And God said, “earth, yield {grass,herb}, sow(ing) seed, and fruit-tree making fruit of (its) kind which seeds earth.” (And it was so.)

Incantation of something new that was not possible when the earth was a water-earth, i.e. before the previous two verses.

And earth brought forth {grass,herb}, sowing seed of (its) kind, and the tree making fruit, seeds of (its) kind, and God saw (it was) good.

And the evening existed and the morning existed, third day.

This tells us that God started the reproduction of vegetation and trees, and that vegetation and trees indeed appeared, on the third day of creation.

Again, the appearance follows the incantation. Since trees couldn’t exist on earth before 1:9, this is a true act of creation (like the other appearances depending on things that didn’t exist before).

The {grass,herb} word pair is never seen apart in texts derived from the original. I can see no alternative interpretation but the kinds of vegetation the people of this time knew could be eaten by domesticated animals or themselves; crops reaped or grazed. I judge this as simply a reference to plants for grain and feed.

fruit is used broadly here; it seems the Hebrew word specifies fruit containing pits; falling fruit. I have not seen it specified beyond this, however (as in: a term used in this time period for a family of tree species, for example).

 

Day 4
And God said, “Luminaries (in) the expanse (of) the heaven, separate the day from the night and (be for) signs and appointed (times), and days and years.

AI of luminaries: lights (while as we will see later there is no doubt as to what is referenced — the Sun and the Moon — some translations have this slightly different glyph sequence as concrete emitters of light, rather than the abstract “light” created in 1:3).

But also seeing the similarities, we have a point of attack. Surely the words are akin. Luminaries should indeed be lights. I also see a difference when not used as an abstract term: there is distinction between singular and plural. In 1:3, therefore, God created light; here, he creates a light or lights.

Also, there is the similarity in wording of the “Let there be” of 1:3, and with at least two translations showing this in Hebrew, I will retract the previous cautious translation leaving out the specific creation statement, and thus 1:14 must start “Let there be lights…”. (If we immediately attack this perhaps hasty omission again, we might find that as much as it is supported by 1:3, it is refuted by 1:9 – which cannot be an act of creation. This is very confusing – a contradiction. We must either omit “Let there be” or replace it with a dull, meek “Make it come to pass that…”, which certainly goes against omnipotence and sounds more like a wish or a dream. I will trust all the scholars who omitted this, and do the same, for this verse. Even if that is argument by authority, it’s preferable to being dismissive. If nothing else, it would be counterproductive to consider God’s incantations wishes or Genesis mere poetry.)

AI for appointed (times): seasons. While it might have been believed the Sun “caused” seasons (and not the tilt of the Earth’s axis as it orbits the Sun), I will refrain from attacking this — because it would be an attack on the scientific correctness of  the word of God (which is not the topic here), and not an attack on the correctness of understanding of the word of God (which is the topic here).

With no attack on the word possible, we must reconcile. I glimpse here a divine reason for recognizing and celebrating festivities and important times (holidays and seasons) of the year for both celestial bodies established before the advent of Christ. While appointed (times) is not false, it is interchangeable with seasons in this context, and perhaps other contexts.

And luminaries (in) the expanse of heaven, light earth. (And it was so.)

This verse is an anomaly; it is phrased as if it’s part of God’s incantation, or a second incantation by God, and not an account of what happened. As interesting as this anomaly is, I won’t make this an error on the part of the ancient scribes. I hold that evidence for making such an accusation is lacking, even circumstantial such. I have found one translation of original texts that puts this verse with quotes across verses and prefixes an ‘and’. This makes me question when this invisible ‘and’ that is omnipresent is prefixed correctly and when it is not. If one agrees with this uncommon translation, then 1:15 is completely different from every other verse in Genesis 1 in that it has no punctuation before it.

And I will agree with it. I have to. Continuation of incantation is the only viable option, so I will change the translation to reflect it.

Here, light is used as a verb; AIs include make glow, lighten, give. Whatever you prefer, it reads the same. Just as they were made for signifying the passing of days and years, so they were made to shine light on the earth.

And God made two big luminaries, the big luminary to rule the day, and the small luminary to rule the night (and;together with) the stars.

If we needed to cement the notion that this is indeed the Sun and the Moon being created, here it is! There can be no question that it is these celestial bodies; they are what lights our earth.

AI for made: do. I reject had made as AI for made here (See the Part 1 update for the rejection argument – in short, you simply can’t gratuitously insert [had] here, and not also do it in all the other verses where the exact same phrase is used for acts of creation.) These last three verses follow the same direct “incantation–>appearance” as for the other days of creation. Therefore, the Sun and the Moon were created on the fourth day.

What about the stars?

Well, as you see by 1:17 below, to make the stars not be put in heaven, the trailing “and the stars” must be made a separate verse that certainly does not make sense. We can’t very well omit the “and” and go “The stars (and) God gave (them in) the expanse…”, because the “to light the earth” certainly confirms 1:15 for the Sun and the Moon.

But this is a sophistical attack. As successful as it may be, it’s premature and unproductive in that it doesn’t create a deeper understanding. Let’s instead leave this and look at the big picture with a clue from the next verse.

And God gave (them in) the expanse of the heaven to light the earth.

And rule the day and the night and separate the light from the darkness and God saw (it was) good.

AI of gave: placed, set. God placed something in heaven. What did he place? Well, we read 1:14-1:19 as a whole and the answer is clear. It is an act of creation–>placement and an explanation of their purpose. It would be a severe anomaly to leave the stars out of this placement of all manner of lights even if they strangely seem to be mentioned almost in passing!

What if the mention of the stars, just after “rule the night”, simply means that the stars rules the night together with the Moon? Certainly they do… the Sun isn’t up at night.

The “them” in 1:17 here doesn’t give the answer. It certainly could be argued either way (the details of such become apparent to those who try. I will not delve on them here).

There is, however, one asymmetry. The stars have not been mentioned until 1:16. Does this make the 1:16 creation verse the verse of the creation of the stars? Does this make the 1:17 collective placement statement the placement of the stars? If we are to read the words of God in Genesis, no argument can be made supporting the creation of the stars without mention before 1:16. Arguments may be conjured up or inferred from other parts of the Bible, but this shifts the burden to the other side of the argument. We must first argue that stars were created at first mention — like everything else in Genesis — and then create arguments convincing the opposite.

And so I must correct my reconciled translation to reflect this.

 

And the evening existed and the morning existed, on four day.

This confirms that the Sun, Moon, and stars were created and placed in heaven between the seas and the clouds on the fourth day, after earth had been made to sprout vegetation.

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The goal was to attack my Most Open Translation, and I have succeeded on a few details. Here, then, is my Analyzed Literal Translation:

Day 1
In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was unformed and empty, and darkness on the face of the deep. And the movement of God-spirit above the face of the waters.
And God said, “Be, Light”, and light! And God saw the light, that (it was) good, and God separated the light from the darkness.
And God called the light “day”, and the darkness called “night”. And the evening existed and the morning existed, one day.

Day 2
And God said, “Expanse, (be) the severance of the waters” – and separate the waters from the waters!

And God made the expanse, and separated the waters under the expanse from the waters above the expanse, and (it was so).

And God called the expanse “heaven”. And the evening existed and the morning existed, second day.

Day 3
And God said, “The waters under the heaven, gather at one place, and dry (land) show.” (And it was so.)

And God called dry (land) “earth”, and the gathering of the waters “seas”, and God saw (it was) good.

And God said, “earth, yield {grass,herb}, sow(ing) seed, and fruit-tree making fruit of (its) kind which seeds earth.” (And it was so.)

And earth brought forth {grass,herb}, sowing seed of (its) kind, and the tree making fruit, seeds of (its) kind, and God saw (it was) good.

And the evening existed and the morning existed, third day.

Day 4
And God said, “Lights (in) the expanse (of) the heaven, separate the day from the night and (be for) signs and seasons/appointed (times), and days and years. And lights (in) the expanse of heaven, light earth.” (And it was so.)

And God made two big lights, the big light to rule the day, and the small light to rule the night, (and) the stars.

And God gave (them in) the expanse of the heaven to light the earth.

And rule the day and the night and separate the light from the darkness and God saw (it was) good.

And the evening existed and the morning existed, on four day.

In the next part, we will leave the literal domain altogether. I will again reconcile this – with the world, and not with words, or even verses. In other words, which truths about the world the Genesis account conveys to us, and if I find apparent falsehoods, try to develop arguments for interpretation that reconciles these apparent falsehoods with the world.