Offer of Publication: Genesis 1 and the Creationism Debate

I am glad to officially announce to my readers that my Genesis 1 and the Creationism Debate: Being Honest to the Text, Its Author, and His Beliefs—Not Ours about Them has been accepted for publication by Wipf & Stock, a small academic/trade publisher. It should be available Fall/Winter 2015. I will certainly keep you updated here. The primary aim of this book is to present readers with an accurate, unbiased, andRead More

Brief Interview with Wipf & Stock about my Genesis 1 and the Creationism Debate

Modern readers often assume that Genesis 1 depicts the creation of the earth and sky as we know it. Yet in an appeal for textual honesty, Steven DiMattei shows that such beliefs are more representative of modern views about this ancient text than the actual claims and beliefs of its author. Through a culturally-contextualized and objective reading of the texts of Genesis 1 and 2, this study not only introduces readersRead More

Genesis 1 and the Creationism Debate

“DiMattei’s book is a refreshing call both for biblical literacy and for intellectual honesty in dealing with the Bible.” —John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School. “In an important contribution to the discussion between mainstream biblical studies and creation ‘science,’ DiMattei does a wonderful job of explicating the first two chapters of Genesis.  He shows convincingly that although Creationists claim to read this storyRead More

The Creation According to Genesis 1

As many of you know, my book Genesis 1 and the Creationism Debate: Being Honest to the Text, Its Author, and His Beliefs—Not Ours has been accepted for publication and should hopefully be out in the Winter. One of the goals of this project is to present an unbiased, objective, and culturally-contextualized reading of Genesis 1—being as honest as possible to the text and the beliefs and worldview expressed therein, andRead More

Genesis’ Two Creation Accounts

For a fully treatment of all the textual data revealing the fact that Genesis preserves two contradictory creation accounts, see Chapters 1 & 2 of my most recent book, Genesis 1 and the Creationism Debate: Being Honest to the Text, Its Author, and His Beliefs. What follows in this and subsequent posts is an early version of this material. My goals in the 13 posts that follow are threefold: To putRead More

Genesis 1:1-2 — Not a Creation ex nihilo!

Despite strong traditional and often authoritative interpretative claims that were formed centuries after this ancient text was written and devoid of knowledge about its historical and literary context, the opening of Genesis 1 does not depict a creatio ex nihilo, that is a creation out of nothing. The Hebrew text is clear on this point and recognized by all biblical scholars. Rather, what the text of Genesis 1:2 informs us isRead More

Genesis 1:3-5 — Day is Light

Modern readers often express their perplexity at the fact that Genesis 1:3 presents the creation of light before the creation of the luminary that produces light, the sun, whose creation does not happen until day 4 (1:16). How can light be created or exist, it is often asked, before the sun was created? The problem with this and similar questions is that they impose our knowledge about the cosmos, indeed anRead More

Genesis 1:6-8 — Life Inside a Water Bubble

When ancient man looked up at the sky, what he perceived was akin to what he observed when looking out over the seas—an expanse of crystal-clear blue water. This observation was confirmed of course by the very fact that it rained. For where else did rain come from if not from the waters above the sky? Similarly, when ancient Mediterranean peoples looked toward the horizon, what they saw was that theRead More

Genesis 1:9-10 — God Creates Dry Land not the Planet Earth!

When we read Genesis 1:1, “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” we picture the origin of the atmosphere, space, solar systems, and galaxies. We think of the creation of the planet in our solar system named “Earth,” whose shape is an oblate spheroid or a rotationally symmetric ellipsoid. This mental picture is natural, because the English term “Earth” is the name of the planet in this solarRead More

A Visual Illustration of the Creation as Depicted in Genesis 1:6-14

I apologize for my absence. It’s been some time since my last post. My manuscript for Genesis 1 and the Creationism Debate is now complete and has been submitted, so I hope to turn my attention back to this site. UPDATE: Book is now finished and on sale at publishers website. For those interested, my book attempts to present an unbiased and culturally-contextualized reading of Genesis 1—the primary aim being toRead More

Genesis 1:14-19 — Creation and Yahweh’s Festivals

And God said: “Let there be lights in the vault of the skies to divide between the day and the night and let them be for signs and for fixed times and for days and for years.” The domed vault or raqî‘a that was made in verses 6-8 to separate and hold back the waters above is now populated with the luminaries: sun, moon, and the stars. Unlike modern man, ancientRead More

Genesis 1:24-27 — The Creation of Mankind, More Than An Animal

Man is unlike any other animal of the earth. This truth was acknowledged and reflected upon by nearly every ancient culture. The Greek philosopher Plato proposed that man was divided between a lower animal part and an upper divine part, the immortal soul. He reasoned that man’s intellect and divine soul set him apart from the rest of the animals. Ancient Egyptians also accorded man with an immortal soul, which originatedRead More

Genesis 2:2-3 — Sabbath and the Creation of Sacred Time

2And on the 7th day God finished his work which he had made; and he rested on the 7th day from all his work which he had made. 3And God blessed the 7th day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all his work which God created to be made. On the 7th and last day of this creation account, our author not only presents the deity restingRead More

What the Author of Genesis 1:1-2:3, and his God, Believed!

Since many Creationists, Fundamentalists, and I suppose Jews and Christians in general believe that they believe what the author of this 2,500 year old text believed (and by extension what the god of his text also believed!), I’ve decided to list his beliefs (and “God’s”) clearly and orderly. This follows from the textual analyses of Genesis 1:1-2:3 that were previously posted: Gen 1:1-2; Gen 1:3-5; Gen 1:6-8; Gen 1:9-10; Gen 1:14-19;Read More

Genesis 2:4b-25 in Its Historical and Literary Context

OK, now let’s start looking at Genesis 2. Here are my introductory remarks. From the opening verses of the second creation account, or if my reader prefers right at Genesis 2:4b, we notice stark differences in the text’s tone, style, vocabulary, message, presentation, and thematic and theological emphases and even beliefs. These will be brought out in the forthcoming textual analysis. These differences should not be ignored or disingenuously interpreted awayRead More

Genesis 2:4b — “In the day that god Yahweh made earth and skies”

There are several differences that are immediately noticeable in the opening verse (Gen 2:4b) of this second creation account. A literal translation would run: “In the day that god Yahweh made earth and skies…” We immediately notice that the creator deity is now specified by name, Yahweh. This feature is unique to both this creation account and the textual tradition to which it belongs, unceremoniously named the Yahwist. This source (J)Read More

Genesis 2:5 — Man and Rain: Prerequisites to the Creation of Plants

UPDATE: Get the full book! Now available The differences so far illustrated in just the opening verse of the second creation account (Gen 2:4b) become even more dramatic as we move through the narrative. Genesis 2:5-7, for example, evidence a dramatic shift in emphasis, thematic material, message, vocabulary, and style. By way of introduction it might be said that the perspective adopted in these opening verses and indeed throughout this entire creationRead More

Genesis 2:6-7 — Adam from Adamah: Yahweh Molds an Earthling!

In Genesis 2:5 we saw that the author of this creation story could not have Yahweh create the earth’s vegetation until the two initial conditions necessary for their existence and growth were first established—a water source and a man. Thus the dry, barren earth that we were presented with in verse 5—one that was unable to support produce and vegetation—is immediately transformed in the following verses with the appearance of aRead More

Genesis 2:18-20—Man/Animals from the Ground, Woman from Man

In radically contradictory fashion to the creation of man (and woman) in the first creation account (Gen 1:24-27), when all is said and done in the second creation account, the substance from which man is made and that which he essentially becomes are shockingly no different than what is said about every other animal in this creation narrative. And god Yahweh molded (yatsar) the man (ha ’adam), clay from the groundRead More

Defending the Biblical Texts: What It Entails and Why Secularists Ought to Care. Genesis 1 as a Test Case

I often find myself articulating that my aim is to defend the biblical texts, their authors, and their beliefs (Genesis 1 and the Creationism Debate, xii). Many of my readers will undeniably object to my use of the word “defend.” After all, why would a secularist, atheist, agnostic, or de-convert (the majority of my readers) wish to defend the Bible the biblical texts? And precisely, defend it how and from whatRead More

The Priestly writer’s reworking of the Yahwist material of Genesis 1-11

For nearly three centuries now, scholars and critical readers of the book of Genesis have acknowledged that Genesis is a composite text (See How the Torah was Discovered to be a Collection of Competing Traditions). That is in its present form the Hebrew text, both on linguistic and thematic grounds reveals that it was composed of different, and often competing, textual traditions. And for the most part these once separate textualRead More