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.

-~-

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.

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About maximilion

I seek truths and try to make you see them. View all posts by maximilion

One response to “Part 3: Attacking our own Creation (Day 2-4)

  • Part 2: Attacking our own Creation « Perpetuum Immobile

    […] About maximilion I seek truths and try to make you see them. View all posts by maximilion This entry was posted on Saturday, July 14th, 2012 at 12:03 am and tagged with Abrahamic Religions, Bible, Comprehension, Creation, Creationism, Genesis, god, Hebrew, Islam, Judaism, Religion, Young-Earth and posted in Philosophy, Religion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. « Part 1: Most Open Translation of Genesis 1:1-1:19 Part 3: Attacking our own Creation (Day 2-4) » […]

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