Creationism to Be Renamed Separatism After New Interpretation Released of Genesis

300px-god2-sistine_chapelProfessor Ellen van Wolde, a world acclaimed Old Testament scholar, may have introduced a considerable problem for creationists. What if the Bible never actually said God “created the Heaven and the Earth”? Van Wolde has issued an intriguing paper suggesting that a mistranslation is responsible for an error in the first sentence of Genesis and that in reality the Bible says that God merely rearranged things on the pre-existing Earth. Much of this turns on the Hebrew verb “bara”, which she says did not mean “to create” but to “spatially separate.” That would require Creationists to rename themselves as “separatists.” “Baristas” may cause trademark issues with Starbucks.

Professor van Wolde looked at the first line of Genesis that reads “in the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth” and found that the Hebrew text had been translated incorrectly. The proper translation, she argues, is that the Earth was already there when God created humans and animals.

The use of bara she argues was “meant to say that God did create humans and animals, but not the Earth itself.”

She concludes “[t]he traditional view of God the Creator is untenable now.”

For the full story, click here.

25 thoughts on “Creationism to Be Renamed Separatism After New Interpretation Released of Genesis”

  1. Byron:

    To your question why do some Christians say the creation is 6,000 years old.

    This was done by calculating how many generations are mentioned in the entire bible from Adam up to today. Also used (in regard to the Old Testament) was some historical events from secular history. I think James Ussher was the first to do this.

    Here is a link about him.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Ussher

    What I know for sure about that calculation, and its meaning to me as a Christian, is that it timed human history and some fundamentalists use 10k years not 6k. About geological history, we are not given that much information from the bible.

    An interesting perspective on the lack of geological information in the bible is provided by J. Vernon McGee (the late pastor of the Church of the Open Door in Los Angeles). He uses the condition of our solar system (the moon is covered with craters, etc.) to suggest that there was a catastrophe of some kind.

    He speculates that after that, then humans were established on the earth. Perhaps this is what the scholar suddenly discovered, but McGee’s opinion of the matter predates her by about 30 years years or more because the book I’m referring to was published then, but McGee held this opinion before that.

    He wrote:

    “I believe that the entire universe came under this great catastrophe. What was the catastrophe? We can only suggest that there was some pre-Adamic creature that was on this earth. And it seems that all of this is connected to the fall of Lucifer, son of the morning [that morning is the first day of creation], who became Satan, the devil, as we know him today. I think all of this is involved here, but God has not given us details…He created it [earth] not tohu va bohu, but the earth became tohu va bohu.”

    He is saying here (and he uses Isaiah 45:18 to bolster his position) that the earth was originally habitable, then there was a catastrophe (as evidenced by the craters), then God moved upon the face of the deep (water) making the earth habitable again as explained briefly in Genesis 1:2.

    This, I suspect, might be what the scholar refers to as her new discovery which isn’t so new, obviously.

    McGee then goes on to speculate using Exodus 20:11 as evidence

    “It reads ‘For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is…’ There is nothing in that verse about creating. It says ‘made’; God is taking that which is already formed and in these six days He is not ‘creating’ but He is recreating. He is working with matter which already exists, out of the matter which He had called into existence probably billions of years before.”

    McGee was well versed in Hebrew and Greek.

    McGee quotes were take from “Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee” Volume 1 Genesis-Deuteronomy, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1988.

  2. mespo,

    I too agree with you. How do we convince nonbelievers in this stance? The Divine Order is in Order only to frustrate the weak minded….

  3. It’s a good thing Tootie and Frustrated have this sorted out because two thousand years of parsing this delusion have left most rational people throughly confused about how someone could separate something that has not yet been created, and then create something only for the purpose of then separating it later in what can only be described as a colossal waste of time. Intelligent design perhaps, but one that eludes my mere mortal capacities, but, then again, we were not meant to understand the Almighty. None of us that is except the fundies like Tootie and Fraustrated.

  4. Tootie,
    God bless you! Thanks for being one of the only intelligent responses on this whole ridiculous article!

  5. Tootie:

    Why do Christian fundamentalists believe the earth is 6,000 years old? I often wonder why they think this.

  6. I may provide a more complete response, but off the top of my head:

    In the passages which follow Genesis 1:1 (the passage in question) the word “divide” is used 5 times by my counting in:

    Genesis chapter 1 verses 4,6, 7, 14, 18.(King James Version) In verse 10 God “separates” and “gathers”.

    The entire context of Genesis chapter one is about dividing, separating, and gathering. Then along comes this “scholar” breathlessly informing us that she discovered that God “spatially separate[d]” things on earth!

    Whoop-dee-do! Welcome to the club.

    In other words this has always been the understanding of things. To leap to the conclusion from her sudden discovery of what others have understood for several millennium and then imply that means God took the earth by some kind of galactic adverse possession is nonsense and not indicated by the text or other verses elsewhere in scripture (which give us the context of “create”).

    The idea of God creating the “heavens” INCLUDES that he created the earth (a part of the heavens). It’s like saying Mary planted a vegetable garden AND garlic (just to reassure the Italians that is was a good garden).

    To put a point on the issue in Isaiah 48:15 we read:

    “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”

    The Christian text wraps it all up in similar grammatical fashion in the first verse (a parallel verse to Genesis 1:1) of Revelation:

    “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.”

    In other words, the garden AND the garlic were harvested.

  7. No need for creationists to worry about this Old Testament scholar’s view of the mistranslation in the first sentence of Genesis. Conservapedia has everything Biblically under control. It has already been hard at work re-translating the Bible to rid it of its “liberal bias.” It’s called the Conservative Bible Project.

  8. what intrigues me is that supposedly the first thing created at the big bang is light and then it proceeds from there. The bible is wrong on that account although maybe not.

  9. AY–

    I went to parochial school way back in the day. Those Sisters of Notre Dame didn’t teach us anything about things like seduction and sex. To those holy ladies–a woman who tempted a man with a fruit from the tree of knowledge was considered a bad enough temptress.

    FFLEO–

    I remember that tune well. Didn’t Dale Evans write and record that song?

  10. Elaine M.,

    You have forgotten Lilith. Shame for shame for shame. She was created out of the earth and dust at the same time man was and she did not like Adam for some reason. Then she was banished by Adam as she did not know the difference between good and evil.

    A female demon of the night who supposedly flies around searching for newborn children either to kidnap or strangle them. Also, she sleeps with men to seduce them into propagating demon sons. Legends told about Lilith are ancient. The rabbinical myths of Lilith being Adam’s first wife seem to relate to the Sumero-Babylonian Goddess Belit-ili, or Belili. To the Canaanites, Lilith was Baalat, the “Divine Lady.” On a tablet from Ur, ca. 2000 BCE, she was addressed as Lillake.

    Here is the link for more:

    http://www.pantheon.org/articles/l/lilith.html

    Question: the Author is Alan Hefner is that Hugh’s relative? Does he live at the Playboy bunny farm too?

  11. Elaine M.

    Humpht! How do *I* know? The bible tells *me* so!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_7bP8JjqmQ

    If I only had a plug nickle for all of the times I walked around singin’ this song as a 50s youngin’…

    Don Cornell Lyrics:

    (How does he know)
    Oh, how do I know
    (How does he know)
    Oh, how do I know
    (This is how he knows)

    Have faith, hope and charity
    That’s the way to live successfully
    How do I know, the Bible tells me so
    (The Bible tells him)

    Do good to your enemies
    And the Blessed Lord you’ll surely please
    How do I know, the Bible tells me so
    (The Bible tells him)

    Don’t worry ’bout tomorrow
    Just be real good today
    The Lord is right beside you
    He’ll guide you all the way

    Have faith, hope and charity
    That’s the way to live successfully
    How do I know, the bible tells me so
    (The Bible tells him)

    So, have faith, hope and charity
    That’s the way to live successfully
    How do I know, the bible tells me so
    (That’s how he knows it)

    Do good to your enemies
    And the Blessed Lord you’ll surely please
    How do I know, the Bible tells me so
    (That’s how he knows it)

    Don’t worry ’bout tomorrow
    Just be real good today
    The Lord is right beside you
    He’ll guide you all the way

    Oh, the Bible says have faith, hope and charity
    That’s the way to live successfully
    How do I know, (oh, how does he know)
    How do I know, (oh, how does he know)
    The Bible tells me so

  12. FFLEO–

    Remember now–women and men weren’t created at the same time. After all, God needed one of Adam’s ribs in order to fashion a second gender for the human species. Are you sure we gals were brought into existence during that bigger-than-life-six-day-creation-scenario…or maybe at some point later in pre-history?

    BTW, the loss of that danged rib is one reason why some men still harbor ill will toward women. It’s been a real bone of contention for millenia.

  13. To set the stage and ambiance, imagine glissandos of heavenly harps and the pristine voices of angles—er—angels emanating from the big, fluffy cumulus clouds overhead:

    “And on the sixth day God made human beings, women and men, and girls and boys, and said, “Please take care of all the things I have created.” And God said, “it is good”

    The foregoing Genesis passage was misinterpreted and wrongly transliterated from:

    Gawdnabbit, this is the sixth day in a row that I screwed up this cotton-pickin’ project and I wonder if I’ll ever get the dang thing right…well, I do have eternity to fiddle with it and if I fail, there is always *Rapture* to fall back on….

    And God said, “Gawd Dang it, this is bad!”

    Note: there is one glaring anachronism in the previous transliteration. God had forgotten that he hadn’t yet created *cotton* at that point in time; but ‘hay’, we all make mistakes…

  14. So you’re telling me that we may have mistranslated a several thousand year old oral tradition, that was written down in the Readers Digest edition, and then combined with separate oral traditions (also edited for RD), and probably wasn’t meant literally in the first place, and THAT may cause a problem for people willing to overlook mountains of physical evidence to the contrary of their beliefs?

    Since when has Reality been a problem for Christian Fundamentalists?

  15. “That would require Creationists to rename themselves a “separatists.”

    ***********

    Aren’t they really that anyway. Thank you for the morning irony.

  16. Where would we be if earth had not been created first? Lost in space, Will Robinson help us all.

Comments are closed.