Valerie's interpretation of Genesis 1

Let me get this straight. Because God created some of the things in Genesis 1 out of other things, he must have created everything out of the primordial waters. (Never mind that Genesis doesn’t say this explicitly, and that the mention of the Spirit of God over the surface of the waters can very plausibly be interpreted as evoking an ocean in the usual sense - with earth beneath the waters and the expanse of the heavens, i.e. an atmosphere above it.) Since, by this reading of yours, everything was made from the waters, the waters can’t be H2O.

I’m curious what you think was in the jars in the wedding at Cana before it was wine.

No, the waters really can’t be H20 because light was created later. Otherwise yes, I’d agree that your interpretation would have merit.

Water. :rofl:

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So, Genesis 1 doesn’t say that God made the light out of the water, but somehow you infer that he did. And God can make wine out of water, but somehow you infer that he can’t make light out of water, so that water can’t actually be water.

I don’t understand how this makes sense to you.

I’m saying that, in my view of cosmology now, all of the universe was made out of the “waters” mentioned in Genesis 1:2 and out of the “light” that is mentioned in Genesis 1:3. Waters were created first. Then light separately. On Day 2, God also added mass.

So on the standard model, waters was made up of fermions and some bosons. Light was made up of leptons and some bosons. God added mass (what we call as Higgs) when he divided the waters and stretched the heavens. To had more specificity, I need to become more familiar with these particles. For now, that’s where I’m at.

My concern here is that there simply isn’t any reason to think that Genesis 1 means something other than water when it says “water”. What you are doing is concordism in the extreme - trying to read what we know about physics into Scripture as if it’s been waiting there all along. I don’t think it is really plausible to suggest that the real meaning of the text (i.e. that “water” really means “quark-gluon plasma” or “dark matter”) is something that would have been totally alien the original audience.

A quark-gluon plasma isn’t water, and I don’t think it is unfair to say it is even stretching to put it into our categories of liquid or fluid as we understand them. At best, the primeval waters could represent a quark-gluon plasma in a very metaphorical way, without regard to literal composition. But then why not think the whole creation week metaphorically represents God’s creation of the universe, without regard to literal timing or order of events?


By the way, as I’ve said before, it’s great that you are interested in learning more about physics. I’ll toss this link your way to a site I’ve found helpful:

I’m not sure what your actually critique here is. The original audience would understand that water is water. And that light as created would not have a source, therefore it’s different that the light radiated from stars.

We know now that water is created from molecules of hydrogen and oxygen, but that’s a modern interpretation because of science.

We know that “waters” must be in the heaven Biblical Cosmography -> Primordial Waters = Fluid Dark Matter? so the only reasonable conclusion I see to make is that God didn’t make those waters as H20 on Day 1, but later on Day 3, those waters that were on the earth were formed to create water molecules as we know them. The waters separated on Day 2 into the heavens do not have to be H20.

Otherwise I must assume all the Bible passages I discuss in the link above are metaphor only. If science supports reading them in a plain way, I’m happy that science confirms the Bible.

This is no different than what Maury did with currents. Paths of the Seas | The Institute for Creation Research

I think Psalm 148 is the clearest evidence that “waters” in the heavens are literal. The first part of the Psalm focuses on the heavens and all its different aspects. for Hebrew: Psalm 148 Interlinear Bible

Praise[a] the Lord!

Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
2 Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
6 He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away.

The second part moves on to the earth:

Praise the Lord from the earth,
You great sea creatures and all the depths;
8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
9 Mountains and all hills;
Fruitful trees and all cedars;
10 Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and flying fowl;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and maidens;
Old men and children.

I tried as best I could to understand your reasoning about “waters”<>H2O but was not successful.

Very extreme. Yes.

@thoughtful, is it possible that Genesis 1 is based on a very old oral tradition—familiar to peoples throughout the Ancient Near East of Moses’ day----and he adapted it to emphasize YHWH Elohim (and not a pantheon of gods and goddesses) as the one and only Creator?

There is no ex nihilo creation described here. The vast-and-void formless is simply there, though we can certainly assume that that prior state was part of the Creator’s plan, as summarized in Genesis 1:1.

Genesis 1 is entirely “ERETZ focused” as human perspective would favor. It starts with a summary statement, “In the beginning created the sky and the land.” (This is the Hebrew idiom for all that humans commonly behold. Everything above and everything below.) Genesis 1:2 is very much in harmony with ANE (Ancient Near East) cosmology: God brought order out of a pre-existing chaos, a formlessness, the mysterious TOHU VAVOHU. (My Hebrew professor, a famous rabbinical scholar who was also a senior editor of the Journal of Biblical Literature, said that an English expression like “topsy-turvy” helps capture the wordplay.)

I have wondered if Genesis 1 is like a preface page found on many a book, where the author draws uses a familiar poem or song lyrics to set the tone of what follows. That doesn’t make it less important or any less truthful. It simply requires that the reader recognizes the genre

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I was actually wondering why others’ views aren’t extreme concordism.

No. That explanation is a low view of inspiration at best and a deceptive God at worst.

Yes, there is. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Isn’t an oral tradition practically mandated, since the Hebrew didn’t have there own written language? I’m willing to be wrong about this, but it seems to follow that the oldest stories must have been oral tradition.

Of course, but @AllenWitmerMiller is suggesting Moses adapted a pagan tradition. I find the suggestion highly offensive. Instead God would have given his people the truth from the beginning.

It is NOT my intent to offend you.

I’m not sure how to continue the discussion politely.

Sorry if I wasn’t clear at all. You didn’t say anything to offend me. I agree with what you wrote completely. I was trying to distinguish between what you were saying and what @AllenWitmerMiller did. The difference is whether an oral tradition had already developed organically among the Jews or whether the focus instead was on rebutting pagan tradition only. I don’t like the assumptions of that. I believe the Jews would have a positive story to pass on.

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If you think that’s offensive, consider the general consensus that Moses didn’t write the Pentateuch. It should be obvious from internal evidence that it’s a collection of stories written by different people at different times.

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That would make sense, as I’m explaining Genesis should be considered to be oral and written history of many centuries gathered at one time into one book. God didn’t reveal the stories of Abraham to the writer of Genesis out of the air. That’s not how inspiration works.

Yes, I just had a class on this…jewish boys were required to memorize the pentanteuch before 6 (I think), if they could, they would move on in the tradition, if not they would go into the family business, then there are other age checkpoints vs scripture requirements, if you can you move on…until eventually you become a disciple of another priest, follow him and become a priest down the way…anyone that failed would go into the family business, whatever that was. I am not a Jewish scholar, but the oral tradition is part of Jewish culture to preserve scripture. @deuteroKJ?


So you’re agreeing the Moses didn’t write it?

Prepare to be offended? This is, quite arguably, something the Bible does from time to time. Here’s another example, where we can find in Psalm 24 and 29 some pretty clear allusions to Canaanite mythology (which are turned against the original source material to glorify Yahweh instead of Baal, similar to what @AllenWitmerMiller suggested Genesis 1 could be doing).

I didn’t real the whole specifics of this conversation, but yes, generally oral tradition was necessary. Even when they did write things down, the oral transmission was considered more important (see Walton and Sandy’s The Lost World of Scripture). However, we should not assume that every particular stories–like the ones in Gen 1-11–were passed down “innocently.” They could’ve been reshaped along the way to emphasize things relevant for later generations. Also, some could’ve been composed much later. (For instance, I think Gen 1 was the last thing to be added to the Pentateuch. I’m not sure of its prior history, oral or written.)