Creation: The First Try
At some point before time began, the gods decided to start making the heavens and the earth. The earth itself had no shape, and contained nothing except an endless, lifeless ocean. For some reason God’s spirit fluttered over the abyss as a wind.
After a time God said, “Let there be light”. Suddenly all the water and nothing was visible. He then separated light from the dark. The light, he called Day, and the darkness he called Night. This was when time began, and was the first day.
The next day God placed an expanse between the waters of the earth, and the waters of the sky. He called this expanse “heaven”.
On the third day God gathered all the water of the earth into one place, and dry land appeared where the waters receded. He called the waters “Seas” and the dry land “Earth”. He then commanded the earth to grow plants. It apparently did.
The fourth day consisted of God realizing he’d screwed up by not creating a source for the light, so he created the stars. This was not enough light, so he created the sun to light up the day, and the moon to light up the night.
On the fifth day God spoke birds, and fish into existence. More importantly he spoke sea monsters into existence, because the world was just boring without giant sea serpents to make sailing from place to place even more hazardous.
Lastly, on the sixth day God creates mammals and insects.
He then turned to his fellow gods and said, “Let’s make some beings that look like us and let them have dominion over the whole earth.” So they created humanity.
On the seventh day God was exhausted and rested.
Creation 2: The Makening
God gave himself a name, started over and briefly quit acknowledging that the other gods existed. Or possibly forgot he already did all this and tried again.
One day Yahweh created the whole of the heavens and earth, but there wasn’t anything growing on it because Yahweh had forgot to create rain. He also forgot that He’d already created dry land, and that the water already existed from his previous attempt. Luckily the Earth knew better what it was doing than God, and a mist came up from the earth and watered everything, which was just dry land.
Yahweh then scooped up some dust from the earth and breathed into it, creating a living being, a man. Then Yahweh planted a garden in Eden, a land to the east. Yahweh placed the man in the garden and caused all the vegetation He’d planted to grow. He also decides to place the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil right in the middle of the garden. This will be important later.
Four rivers that are never really mentioned again, and do little to help locate where Eden was, flow out of the garden and we’re going to spend an inordinate amount of time reading about them. The first is the Pishon, which probably doesn’t exist now. The next is the Gihon, which also likely doesn’t exist. Some people theorize these two rivers are either the Nile in Egypt and Ethiopia, or that the Pishon is the Ganges river in India. I say why not the Volga in Russia and the Amazon in Brazil? The other two are the Tigris and Euphrates, which do still exist. Either way, four whole verses are dedicated to these rivers. The speculation on them is endless. Probably two of them dried up after the second chapter of Genesis was written. Either way, if all four of these rivers still exist, they certainly don’t come from the same source.
Then Yahweh placed the man in the garden. He forgot he’d already done this previously, because of all the time He took with the rivers. Yahweh had a short attention span in those days. He then tells the man to not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil because it would kill him. He was allowed to eat literally anything else. This included the fruit from the Tree of Life, which is probably why the man is seemingly immortal.
Yahweh, forgetting all the people He made before, realizes he only made the one man, and that man will get lonely, so he talks to himself and says He’ll make a helper for him. This is when he decides to pull all the animals from the ground and put them in front of the man. The man would then name them. We can safely assume that this took two to three years to complete if there were half the number of animal species back then as there are now. And this is only if he came up with one name per minute with no breaks for sleep.
After the years pass, Yahweh remembers why he was making the animals in the first place. In the first recorded case of surgery on the first man, God puts the man to sleep and takes a rib from his side and closes the incision. The first woman was made from this rib. The man wakes up and sees a hot naked woman in front of him. This confuses him greatly. Instead of actually giving her a name, he just poetically calls her what she is, “woman”.
The poem he spoke goes like this:
“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She will be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Later he’d see how things are actually born and realize he sounded a bit stupid. Also the Man must have invented writing right then because we somehow know what he said. It’s more likely the the Woman told this story to their children so many times that writing was invented by one of them with the express purpose of mocking their father for all time.
This is why husbands call their wives “woman” to get their attention.
For no reason it’s pointed out they were naked and not ashamed, or aware. Probably because the man didn’t want to ruin a good thing and tell his wife she should probably put some clothes on.
My cynical take on the creation account uses the Revised Standard Version and Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible as sources. Occasionally I reference the Orthodox Jewish Bible for words in Hebrew. I’m not a scholar and all this comes from research, years of insight, and attempting to read what the Bible literally says.
There are two distinct creation accounts in Genesis. The first one is the more familiar seven day account and the second is a simpler account. They are hard to reconcile if one looks closer. The biggest problem I see is the order in which humanity in particular is created.
In the first account all of humanity is created at once and are the last part of creation. Nothing new is created after mankind. The second account tells us God created a single man right after the plants, then created animals, and finally the woman. Another issue is that in the first account there is nothing but God(s) and water. The second account basically contradicts this by implying there is no water, only a barren wasteland.
The second creation account is also the most monotheistic. In other parts of Genesis God talks to other entities. In Genesis 2, He’s clearly talking to Himself. One could change the words “God said” to “God thought” in Genesis 2:18 and it wouldn’t change the meaning. However, in the following chapters God is objectively talking to other powerful supernatural entities.
My opinion is that the best parts of the two accounts should have been merged into a third ‘unified’ account and all the weird nonsensical stuff be done away with. I believe that originally both accounts probably made a lot more linear sense, but as time went along stuff got added (interpolated) or changed slightly (redacted) by the people copying it. For instance, in the second account God clearly places the man in the garden twice. Once before the rivers are mentioned and once after. This seems like a basic copyist error.
I’d bet the four verses about the river were interpolated in from a marginal note in some ancient version of the text. I’m not the first person to think this either. No less than Granville Penn, one of William Penn’s great grandsons, had the same opinion in the eighteenth or nineteenth century.
My simplified account would go something like this:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was dry and barren. God caused a mist to rise up from the ground to water the whole of the earth and spring forth plants. He then created all the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, the beasts of the land and creeping things of the earth. When He surveyed his work, He saw that it was good. God then made mankind in his own image and commanded them to populate the whole of the Earth.”-Aaron
While this still isn’t at all scientific, it does eliminate many of the problems that arise when you take it all literally. God simply created everything, made mankind last, and told them what to do.
This may seem blasphemous to some, but many churches already do something like this in Sunday School. Often the two stories are merged in the teacher’s retelling, keeping the seven days of the first account, but having God create Adam by himself as in the second.
This particular merging causes some issues later in Genesis, namely it begs the question, “Who did Cain and Seth marry? Their sisters?”.
One also notes that “the man” is not named yet. In fact he isn’t named in the entire creation account, all the way to the man and woman leaving the Garden and beyond. This is because Adam means ‘the man’ or something like that in Hebrew. Genesis 5:2 in apparently uses the word “adam” as the name of all humanity. At some point along the way “Adam” became the name of the first man and that’s how the copyists wrote it. The four times the name “Adam” is used before Chapter 5 (Genesis 3:17,3:21,4:1, 4:25), it almost seems like a deliberate translation mistake as it uses ‘the man’ in following verses.