The Biblical Texts on Their Own Terms Versus the Bible on Its Terms: Genesis 1 and 2 as a Case Study

Biblical scholars often talk about the necessity of reading and acknowledging the texts of the Bible on their own terms. This gets repeatedly voiced by the scholarly community because in the large majority of cases the Bible’s texts are not read on their own terms, but on the terms of their readers—that is through the assumptions and beliefs that readers bring to this collection of ancient literature, even prior to readingRead 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

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

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

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 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 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

#1a. Does God create the heavens and the earth, then plants, then animals, and then both male and female in his image OR does Yahweh form man from the ground first, then plants, then animals, and then woman last from man’s rib? (Gen 1:1-2:3 [P] vs Gen 2:4b-23 [J])
#1b. Does God create the earth and the heavens on the same day OR not? (Gen 2:4b [J] vs Gen 1:6-9 [P])
#1c. Is both man and women created in the image of God OR is man formed from the ground and is a “living being” like other animals, and women formed from man? (Gen 1:27 [P] vs Gen 2:7, 2:21-23 [J]; 1 Cor 11:9; 1 Tim 2:13)
#1d. When is all the vegetation created: after the animals, man, and woman are created OR before the animals and woman are created? (Gen 1:29 [P] vs Gen 2:9 [J])
#1e. Does God declare all the vegetation and trees as food for the primordial pair OR does Yahweh command that one of the trees not be eaten from? (Gen 1:29 [P] vs Gen 2:17 [J])

Ancient and modern readers alike have long recognized the stark differences between the seven-day creation account of Genesis 1:1-2:3 and the latter garden of Eden account of Genesis 2:4b-3:24. Even on stylistic grounds noticeable in an English translation, the first creation account, penned by the Priestly writer,  is lofty, formulaic, structured, heaven-centered, and awe-inspiring with its image of an utterly transcendent and impersonal creator deity who brings creation and order intoRead More