Genesis Through Joshua- Genesis: The Primeval History

The Primeval period is Genesis 1:1-11:9

Content of the Primeval Period
1) Overview of the Primeval History
1-2:3 Ideal cosmic order (creation story)
2:4-3:24 Corruption of the cosmic order (the fall)
4-6:8 Corruption of humanity and genealogies of Cain and Seth
6:9-9:17 Judgement of the flood
9:18-11:9 Stories after Noah (future/new order)

2) Ancient near-Eastern Background to the Primeval History
The book does not stand alone-other texts sound similar to Genesis.
Moses wrote things in Genesis which resembled other stories in the ancient eastern background

Other texts:
Anooma-elish: Babylonian creation myth
Gilgamish epic: flood legend
Anti-levian Kings: Primeval Kings roaming the earth before the flood

Optra-Housis text: One big story featuring information from the other texts.

(Don’t copy these spellings! I tried to write down the sounds I heard)

3) The Original Meaning of the Primeval History
People used the texts to guide current national policies.
The texts establish the authority of the present King.

Overall purpose: Moses is trying to convince the Israelites that leaving Egypt an going to the Promised Land is a creation ordinance.

The Ideal Cosmological Order

Critical View: Scholars don’t believe that Gen 1-3 is historical but mythological.

Other approaches:
1) Literal- 6 days of 24 hours.
These people believe in a 6-10 thousand year old earth.
God rests on the Sabbath
The text features the words ‘evening and morning' to define days

2) Epical approach- 6 days means 6 periods of time
These people tend to accept an old earth theory
‘Yom’ = day doesn’t always mean a 24 hour period in Genesis

Both of 1) and 2) can be varied by ‘The Gap Theory’
The Gap Theory states that there is a time gap between Genesis 1v1 and Genesis 1v2

3) Hymnic or poetic approach- claims that the creation account is not in chronological order.
Gen 2v4 is considered the beginning of the creation account.

The 6 Days of Order
In Genesis 1v2 we learn two things about the universe
Formlessness – no shape
Empty/Void –nothing to occupy the shape

Form is brought by days 1, 2 and 3
Occupation (to fill the void) is brought by days 4, 5 and 6

There is correlation between days 1 and 4, 2 and 5, 3 and 6. The creation of day 1 is filled by the creation of day 4 and so on.

The Message of the Primeval Period
The world was formless and the Spirit was hovering over the deep.
Deuteronomy 32:10-11 = poetry describing God’s bringing Israel out of Egypt
Same Hebrew words (for formlessness and hovering) are used in Gen 1:1 and Deut 32:10-11.

Egyptians say only Pharaoh is the image of God
Babylonians say only the emperors are in the image of God
Genesis says that all people are in the image of God!

Adam and Eve are supposed to subdue and fill the earth, same for Israel in Canaan.

God’s Sabbath rest in creation parallels with our rest commanded for the 7th day.

In the text life in Egypt parallels to the pre-created world. Life in Egypt for the Israelites was void and formless where Pharaoh was the only one in the image of God. The good created world is paralleled with the land of Canaan. Hence it encouraged the Israelites to travel through the wilderness to pursue the good land.

The Modern Meaning of the Story
Life in Christ is a return to the proper cosmological order form. The implications of John 1:1 prove that in Christ is a new world-the good created order!
The light that is shown through Christ is the same light shown in creation!

Praise God for an inspired book!


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