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Discuss The Creation Narratives: Gen. 1:1 - 2:3 And Gen 2:4 - 9

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The creation narratives are told as two separate stories written in Israel about 400 years apart from each other. They were inspired by visions that God sent to Moses about the creation process. The first story written was called the "J" story or the "Yahwist" story (Yahwist is Hebrew for God) and was written in 900 BCE (Genesis 2:4 to the end of chapter 3). The second story written was called the "P" story or the "Priestly" story and was written in 500 BCE (Genesis 1:1 - 2:3). The "J" story is apart of the Old Epic tradition, which preserves extremely ancient material and is therefore much older (400 years) then the "P" story.

Each story brings creation to the table in a different light. They both include a lot of the same content however the order of it and the way it is all written is very diverse. In the "P" story people and all living things are created on the last day of the creation period. In the "J" story one man (Adam) is created after the universe but before the plants, then one woman (Eve) comes later into the story. Each of the stories are almost completely opposite in this way, in the "P" story we see creation arranged by day and event; where as in the "J" story we see all the events happening with no recollection of what is day or night. The contrast of one human existence in the "J" story to all living existence in the "P" story is also a big opposite trait with one another. Along with the fact that human came before the plants in the "J" story where as in the "P" story humans came last after the plants and everything else. I found that each of the stories contradict each other in this way to a great amount.

Some other differences that I found with these stories was the fact that in the "P" story there was no talk of about the city of Jerusalem or the temple or priesthood. This may be because this story was written around the time of the exile when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylon's and were left with nothing but to rebuild their entire homeland. Therefore there would have been no talk about the city of Jerusalem, the temple or priesthood. Also, there was no talk of punishment, evil or sin in the "P" story, instead God speaks, makes, separates, sees and blesses, and there is no drama. In the "J" story there is the lies from the snake, the punishment from eating the forbidden tree, the pain in childbearing and banishment from paradise (Garden of Eden). In the "P" story on the seventh day of creation God rests, he blesses this day as the Sabbath. It is basically a day to concentrate on the importance of God and his creations. Where as in the "J" story there is no reflection day after its creation.

The "P" story it very well structured and reads like a doxology in the way that it is like a hymn or form of words containing an ascription of praise to God. It is also up to date with the contemporary cosmological knowledge. When the story was written it was how Israel saw the universe. Now we see the words as metaphors to real life human experience. For example on the second day of creation God states "Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters... and God called the dome the sky" , to us the sky actually looks like a dome and the water that is in the sky is referring to the fact that rain and snow fall from it. This is a very sophisticated understanding of the world and it is easy to comprehend with ones own experience. I found the "J" account to be very brief and unsatisfactory in comparison to the "P" account in the way that it does not explain how



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