#1. Was earth created from preexistent matter OR nothing? (Gen 1:1-10; Is 45:18 vs Heb 11:3)?

Hebrews 11:3 is often invoked as a proof text for the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo. While some may wish to debate this reading, since the verse can be read as an abstract statement about faith, literally, “not from that which is visible did the things that are seen come into being,” I shall nevertheless treat it as if it did proclaim this doctrine. For this allows us the occasion toRead 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 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

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 1:1-2 — 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’ 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

#3. Which god is the creator of the heavens and the earth: Yahweh OR El? (Gen 2:4b vs Gen 14:19)

Creation myths abound in just about every culture that has conceived of a national deity or deities. The ancient Near East is certainly no exception. A vast number of creation myths exist from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Canaan.1 And many of these creation accounts display cross-fertilization of ideas and influences. This is especially true concerning the influence that both Canaan and ancient Mesopotamia exerted on Israelite culture and the emergence of itsRead More

#2. Did God create the heavens and earth from the formless deep OR did Yahweh create them from the slaying of the primaeval sea monster Leviathan/Rahab? (Gen 1:1-8 vs Ps 74:13-17, 89:11-13; Job 26:12-13)

The two creation accounts that open the book of Genesis, the Priestly and Yahwist, are not the only creation stories found in the Bible. A much older mythic tale is preserved in passages from the Psalms, the book of Job, and the Prophets. In fact, there are remarkably few references in the Bible to the Priestly creation account (which perhaps attests to its late date of composition), while conversely, there areRead More