The Breath of Life

May 11, 2011

I’ve been thinking recently about the creation of humanity (Genesis 1 and 2) with a couple questions stirring in my mind:

  • Is our being created from dust similar or analogous to the waters swarming with swarms (Genesis 1:20) teeming with life?
  • Twice God says, “Let the land produce…” (Genesis 1:11, 24)–are these to form the backdrop against which the “Let us make” by which humanity enters the narrative (Genesis 1:26)?  Are they set as contrasting or synonymous pairs?
  • Is there significance to the fact that we have been formed from another part of creation?  Does Eve’s creation from within Adam also bear significance?
  • The animals also appear to have the breath of life in them (Genesis 1:30; 7:22)–is it really accurate for us to say that humanity is specially  for humanity to be filled

Aside from sorting out a few questions related to the telling of humanity’s creation and the avenues we typically see as expressions of our uniqueness (i.e. formed from the dust, having life breathed into us), one thought in particular has stuck in my mind as something I’ve wanted to pass by you.  Here it goes:

Is it possible that man is filled with the breath of life (rather than being spoken in to existence) as another expression of many’s function as God’s vice regent-stewards?  In other words, does God refrain from creating man by a word so that man, newly enlivened by the breath of life, might expel that breath in words of our own as we multiply and fill the earth with God’s image and glory?

What do you think?


The Genesis Parallel

July 3, 2008

I also noticed something else in Genesis, the first chapter, but I must say that most of this idea comes from Rob Bell and his DVD “Everything is Spiritual,” though I hesitate to say that since I may now be branded a heretic and spit upon. It is in the poem that begins the whole book. I will only summarize it here. In chapter 1, verse 3 God creates light. And then in verse 6 God creates an expanse to separate the sky from water; verse 9 God creates land. Then we go back again to the light, and God, in verse 14, fills the sky with lights; verse 20 He fills the water with living creatures; and verse 24 he fills the land with creatures. So we have (I stole this mostly from Rob Bell):

Light/Dark created

Water/Sky created

Land Sea created

Lights to fill the sky

Animals to fill the sky and sea

Animals to fill the land

Now Rob Bell and I shall depart here as Rob Bell considered that man was part of the creatures that filled the land. While true, I can’t help but think that Genesis has it as God creating animals to fill the land, and then comes the story of the creation of man. So I was thinking, if man is this separate thing that ends the creation story, what is the parallel that he has, and it came to me so suddenly; “In the beginning God” and “Let us make man in our own image.” Here was have God in the beginning, and then at the end, to parallel the existence of God is man, made in the very likeness of God. And so you have this beginning and ending of the creation story where God, what began it all, finishes by creating man, the very thing in his own image. This is such an interesting parallelism that the author seems to be creating, an amazing poem that is set up in the story of creation.

What genius!

Or as Rob Bell put it, it seems the author might have had help.

A New Creation in the Flood

May 27, 2008

Making my way through Genesis, I could not help but notice the similarity between Creation account in Genesis 1-2 and the proceedings surrounding the Flood in chapters 7-8.

  • The animals in Genesis 7:15 come to Noah to be brought in to the ark, similary to their coming to Adam to be named in Genesis 2:20.
  • Genesis 7:23 tells of the destruction of “people, animals, creatures that creep along the ground, and birds of the sky”–reversing the order given in the earlier creation account of Genesis 1.
  • In Genesis 7:24 water again covers the earth as in Genesis 1:2.
  • Genesis 8:1 says that “God caused a wind to blow over the earth” causing the waters to recede, just as in Genesis 1:2 “the Spirit of God [or “wind from/breath of God” cf. NRSV] was moving over the surgace of the water”
  • Genesis 8:17 recapitulates the blessing to “be fruitful and multiply on the earth!” originally given in Genesis 1:28.