Things that are not in the Bible: ‘In the creation account, God creates Adam and Eve, the world and everything in it in six days.’

Dan Gilgoff, religion reporter for CNN, unfortunately has reason yet again to be reporting on “creationism.”

As part of this report, Gilgoff recites a common bit of boilerplate about what creationists believe. It’s a helpful summary of those beliefs, but it also includes one common, but still indefensible, error that would be easily corrected by anyone actually bothering to read the first two chapters of the book of Genesis.

This is a pet peeve of mine, and it may seem like a minor point,* but it actually turns out to be rather important, contributing to all sorts of other mistakes based on this one.

Here’s Gilgoff. I’ve put the false sentence in bold:

Most creationists believe in the account of the origins of the world as told in the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

In the creation account, God creates Adam and Eve, the world and everything in it in six days.

For Christians who read the Genesis account literally, or authoritatively as they would say, the six days in the account are literal 24-hour periods and leave no room for evolution. Young Earth creationists use this construct and biblical genealogies to determine the age of the Earth and typically come up with 6,000 to 10,000 years.

No. Adam and Eve are not part of the story of God creating “the world and everything in it in six days.” The book of Genesis does not say that “Adam and Eve” were created on the sixth day.

The first chapter of Genesis tells a six-day creation story and Adam and Eve do not appear in it. The second chapter of Genesis tells a one-day creation story and Adam and Eve are characters in that second, separate story.

This is not complicated. Bibles are not hard to find, and Genesis is not hard to find in those Bibles. And yet, over and over, we hear this same assertion repeated — that God created “Adam and Eve” on “the sixth day.”

Wrong story. Different story. Genesis simply does not say that. It doesn’t matter if you claim to read Genesis “literally” or historically, or allegorically, or mythically, or theologically — it does not say that.

Here is what the first story in the first chapter of Genesis says happened on the sixth day of the six-day creation it describes:

This is not a scene from Genesis 1.

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.”

And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude.

Aaand scene. End of story. No Adam. No Eve. In the first story and the first chapter in Genesis, God creates “humankind” on the sixth day of creation. Humankind was created “male and female” and is spoken of as plural throughout this story, but the story never says that only two humans were created on the sixth day. (Two doesn’t seem like much of a multitude.)

That same word for humankind — adam — reappears in the second story that begins in the second chapter, but there it appears as a proper noun, as the name of an individual character, Adam. In our English translations of Genesis, that Hebrew word adam is always translated into English in the first story — “humankind,” or “mankind,” or “man” — because there it is plural and clearly not an individual’s name or a proper noun. In the second story, however, the word is presented differently. It is capitalized and left untranslated to indicate that here — unlike in the first story — it is being used as the name of a single individual.

The same word is translated differently because it has a different meaning. It has a different meaning because it is being used differently in a different story.

Now, the creationists whom Gilgoff otherwise describes accurately go to great lengths to argue that the second creation story in Genesis is not a different story, but merely the same story told — inexplicably — a second time in different words. They twist themselves in knots to harmonize the two stories, blurring the stark differences in time and sequence. The question they never seem able to answer is, if these two stories were meant to be harmonized, then why didn’t the writer(s) of Genesis harmonize them? Or, at least, why didn’t the writer(s) make the two stories harmonize-able?

Why does Genesis give us two stories instead of one? For creationists, the answer seems to be that it’s for the same reason that God hid all those fossils in the Burgess Shale — to test our faith.

I don’t think that’s right. We have been given two stories. One tells us about God’s creation of humankind, spoken into being on the sixth day as the capstone of the creation of this world. The other tells us about God’s creation of Mr. Humankind, hand-shaped out of the dust on the first day as the cornerstone of the creation of this world. Two different stories with two different agendas — two different lessons. Pretending otherwise is likely to lead to getting both of those lessons wrong.

I don’t think this is splitting hairs. I think this matters in all the ways that Mr. Humankind — Adam — has come to matter for Christians thinking about everything from redemption to human rights.

In the documentary Hellbound, Ken Miller has a frustrating but revealing discussion with a couple of folks from the infamously hateful Westboro Baptist Church. Miller says something about humans being made “in the image of God” and Westboro Guy cuts him off. Westboro Guy says no, only Adam was created in the image of God. Everyone else, he says, is created in the image of Adam. And thus, WG explains, it’s perfectly cool to hate everyone else.

Westboro’s perverse theology has far, far more wrong with it than just that it fails to distinguish between the stories in Genesis 1 and in Genesis 2. But that confusion plays a role in their larger confusion.

I think it plays a role in a lot of larger confusions.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

* Especially since Gilgoff’s report is about a U.S. Congressman, Rep. Paul Broun, Republican of Georgia, who sits on the House committee for science and technology. This man — a public official who oversees science policy for a nation of more than 300 million people, said this:

All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior. You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.

Paul Broun believes in a global conspiracy of smart people determined to keep people like him from Jesus. Or something. All he’s really sure of is that the earth is younger than Jericho and that scientists are evil people.

TPM’s Benjy Sarlin first publicized this story: “Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA): Evolution, Big Bang ‘Lies Straight From The Pit Of Hell’.” Wonkette’s Doktor Zoom chimed in with commentary that gives Broun all the respect he deserves. And then various people who respect either religion or science (or both) piled on with condemnations of Broun’s ignorant disregard for truth, fact, God, the Bible, literacy, intelligence, the physical world, etc.

Here are some of my favorite responses:

 

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  • http://dumas1.livejournal.com/ Winter

    As a resident of Broun’s district (used to be, I think; I’m not in it on the new map), I’d like to apologize and also say I never voted for him. Some days I think Georgians elect Congresscritters on the basis of who we want out of town for a few  years. This is just plain embarrassing.

  • markedward

    Obviously the Westboro group doesn’t know a thing about ‘love’, but one must ask, Does the epistle of James not appear in their Bible? He says that all people are ‘made in the likeness of God’, which is a clear application of Genesis 1’s ‘image of God’ speech to all of humanity, and not just Adam. Maybe I’ve already answered my own question, though. If they can’t find ‘love’ in the Bible, they’re obviously not going to find that obscure verse in James.

  • AnonymousSam

    These same people argue that when the verse says we are all God’s children, the Bible actually means that God’s chosen are all God’s children. The rest? We belong to Satan.

  • Tricksterson

    Works for me.

  • CharityB

    I honestly don’t think that they read the Bible that often. I mean, I’m not trying to make a No True Christian argument here — I just don’t think that they would have time to familiarize themselves with every verse or even the general content of each chapter. 

  • The_L1985

     I honestly think it’s a case of “I was told a paraphrase of Gen. 1&2 as a child, and never bothered to look it up because clearly I already know what it says.”

    After all, while I knew about Rahab’s role in helping Joshua, I was an adult before I actually read the book of Joshua and found out that she was a prostitute.

  • Shirley Phelps-Roper

    PS. About that “Coming Out” shall we stick with the COME OUT from among them and be Ye separate and touch not the unclean thing and THEN God will be your Father and you his children. Plus that serious Rev 18:4 COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE that you be not partaker of her sins AND recompense. #DoTeRead #DoTheRoar Love you.

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    “separate and touch not the unclean thing”

    Oh, honey. You are way too late on this one.

  • guestPoster

    You know, assuming god exists (which is a huge assumption), and exists as a being that enjoys testing people without providing a syllabus or grading key (another huge assumption) I sometimes wonder if it isn’t the BIBLE that was left behind to test faith.  I mean, here you’ve got this diety, powerful enough to do anything and everything.  And then he created man with these crazy big brain things, smart enough to understand lots and lots.

    …and then he leaves behind this book of easily contradicted ‘facts’, many contradicted by the book itself.  And, we are told, he gives us an option: believe science, or believe the book.

    So why is it always the scientific discoveries that we are told were left behind to test us?  Why doesn’t anyone ever consider that the bible itself is the test?  That god is waiting for us to collectively realize, and admit, that parts are good, parts are bad, but it’s just a story like any other?  I mean, really…  he, in his infinite wisdom, was smart enough to let evolution do all the heavy lifting for him.  Do we really think he’d seed an entire cosmos with fake bones, fake rocks, fake gravitons and black holes and fake carbon radioisotopes, and that he’d have to fake each and every one himself, when instead he could just take a few milliseconds to write a fake account into a book and let us propagate it ourselves?

    Put another way: if suicide is one of the greatest of sins, because it throws in god’s face the gift of life we were granted, isn’t intentional anti-science the same, for throwing into god’s face the gift of intellect we were granted, and choosing to go through life believing that reality is a farce?

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     (spelling nitpick) It’s deity not diety. Please get it right (/spelling nitpick)

    Sorry that particular mispelling drives me up the wall.

  • Tricksterson

    Not if he was referring to the god of sensible eating.

  • wendy

    So why is it always the scientific discoveries that we are told were left behind to test us?  Why doesn’t anyone ever consider that the bible itself is the test?  That god is waiting for us to collectively realize, and admit, that parts are good, parts are bad, but it’s just a story like any other? 

    According to my Rabbi, the Torah is a reading comprehension test. “Metaphor is not a modern invention.”

    (Our Sunday school classroom had photos of Einstein and Moshe Dayan on the wall, right next to the drawings of Hillel, Akiva, Maimonedes and Spinoza and posters of the Chagall stained glass. Apparently equal in what they can teach us of  how to worship.)

  • Joshua

    But not equal in what they can teach us about hair care!

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    I love your last paragraph, but IIRC the reason suicide is a such a sin was actually a workaround for the fact that if they didn’t outright ban suicide, it became the logical response to their theology and they were losing too many people.

    (In general, most people’s lives were total and utter shit, and heaven sounded far more appealing. Plus, if you’ve lived a blameless life, better to off yourself before you screw it all up.)

  • http://snarkthebold.blogspot.com/ Edo

    I
    love your last paragraph, but IIRC the reason suicide is a such a sin
    was actually a workaround for the fact that if they didn’t outright ban
    suicide, it became the logical response to their theology and they were
    losing too many people.

    (In general, most people’s lives back then were total and utter shit,
    and heaven sounded far more appealing. Plus, if you’ve lived a
    blameless life, better to off yourself before you screw it all up.)

    This is so wrong I don’t know where to begin.

    First off, we’re talking about Christianity, which celebrates its martyrs (and, for the first 1500 years at least, universally celebrated its ascetics, no matter how outré.) We’re talking about “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” Christianity. Secondly, “heaven” wasn’t the draw of the Christian afterlife for quite some time (which is why the historic creeds specifically have those bits about, you know, the Resurrection of the Dead and the World to Come.)

    Thirdly, and most importantly, even Christians didn’t pretend they lived blameless lives unless they’d just been baptized (which was a once-only affair.) If you were worried about the state of your soul, the logical response was to stay a lifelong catechumen, and never get baptized until you were on your deathbed.

  • christopher_young

    Isn’t intentional anti-science the same, for throwing into god’s face the gift of intellect we were granted, and choosing to go through life believing that reality is a farce?

    As Christians have understood for 1600 years or more. Saint Augustine:

    It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.

    The Blessed African Doctor  came back to this point a few times, but that quote can be lifted from Wikipedia, and I’m feeling lazy

  • ReverendRef

    We have been given two stories. One tells us about God’s creation of
    humankind, spoken into being on the sixth day as the capstone of the
    creation of this world. The other tells us about God’s creation of Mr.
    Humankind, hand-shaped out of the dust on the first day as the
    cornerstone of the creation of this world.

    I generally don’t disagree with Fred, but I need to here:  creation of Mr.
    Humankind

    God created adam . . . earth creature . . . human.  I’m not so sure you can call that first human Mr. Humankind.  In order to define ON, we need OFF.  In order to define IN, we need OUT.  In order to define HOT, we need COLD.  In order to define MR, or MALE, we need MRS or FEMALE.  If we understand it was a HUMAN that was created, and that male and female came later, then we will better understand that males and females really are equal.  That old argument that MAN was created before WOMAN needs to go.

    And those two creation stories?  It helps to understand their point of view (which, of course, goes against the creationists blind harmonization).  That first story, Gen. 1:1 – 2:4 is a story of the exile.  The world seemed to be crashing down around them, everything was in chaos.  This creation story brings order to chaos and shows that God is in charge.

    The second story, Gen. 2:4b – 25 is a story of the monarchy.  The people need to trust the king, and they must not disobey the king.  Since God is the ultimate king, we need to trust God and not disobey.  Because when we disobey, look what happens.

    And now I’m off to a football game where I get to tell the kids, “Don’t disobey the man in the white hat.”

  • Joshua

    Seeing as Adam was created before the domesticated animals in Gen 2, but humanity was created after in Gen 1, clearly Adam was a neanderthal.

    As proof, we have apparently still got some Neanderthal genes floating around, clearly showing one of our initial ancestors was Homo neanderthalensis, and the other Homo sapiens!

    And they rode around on velociraptors. One for each foot.

  • http://jdm314.livejournal.com/ Mad Latinist

    > And they rode around on velociraptors. One for each foot.

    “Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon a dinonychus, and a velociraptor the sister of Dinonychys.”

  • The_L1985

     There are not enough likes in the world.

  • Tricksterson

    Maybe the mankind in the first creation were Neanderthals?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     When I was very small and trying to piece together the biblical account of creation with what I’d learned about dinosaurs and the FLintstones and evolution, my mom helpfully explained to me that cavemen evolved from apes, then God created adam and eve, and their sons interbred with the cavemen, which is how the only two humans at the beginning of the story could have three children, all of them sons, and there still end up being a human race.

    What’s weird now is the realization that she’d basically (rot13) nagvpvcngrq gur frevrf svanyr bs Onggyrfgne Tnynpgvpn ol nobhg 27 lrnef

  • Lee B.

    What?  That was jokingly presented as a “modern synthesis” of creationism and evolution in the comedy book Science Made Stupid, but I never thought anybody actually believed it.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     

    my mom helpfully explained to me that cavemen evolved from apes, then
    God created adam and eve, and their sons interbred with the cavemen,
    which is how the only two humans at the beginning of the story could
    have three children, all of them sons, and there still end up being a
    human race.

    That’s also the ‘explanation’ in a book I had as a kid named Science Made Stupid.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     

    my mom helpfully explained to me that cavemen evolved from apes, then
    God created adam and eve, and their sons interbred with the cavemen,
    which is how the only two humans at the beginning of the story could
    have three children, all of them sons, and there still end up being a
    human race.

    That’s also the ‘explanation’ in a book I had as a kid named Science Made Stupid.

  • Paul A Norman

    “apparently still got some Neanderthal genes floating around” – check out the science on that – the sample collection and processing in all cases so far is an unbelievable mess – no real “Neanderthal genes” showable at all.

  • LL

    The thing about the magical, mystical creation stories of pretty much every religion is that they’re boring. Real creation (abetted by evolution) is a more interesting story than the ones created by every religion put together. Supposedly, humanity came within a few thousand individuals of becoming extinct. THAT would be an interesting story, how we kept from dying out entirely, but unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure how that went down. 

  • Herman Cummings

    The are no “Creation account” in Genesis.  The first chapter is about the history of Earth, conveyed by six visions of six days, each in a different week, and each week in a different time period.  To understand, you must see the PowerPoint presentation named the “Observations of Moses”.

    Herman Cummings
    ephraim7@aol.com

  • Mark Z.

    Moses had PowerPoint?

  • Carstonio

    I thought creationists were claiming that the two stories were merely the first and second part of whole story of creation. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the first volume of Arthur Maxwell’s Bible Story series for kids, but I remember Maxwell presenting creation that way.

  • Matri

    I thought creationists were claiming that the two stories were merely the first and second part of whole story of creation.

    Which makes completely zero sense if you look at it that way.

    Part 1: Build a house from scratch in Lot 124 by drilling foundation then pouring cement.

    Part 2: With the house completed in Lot 124, build a house from scratch in Lot 124 by pouring cement then drilling foundation.

    Not a typo, that’s exactly what the creationists mean by that.

  • stly92

     This is interesting because I was having a conversation about this with my brother last month.

    You know how fred, in his left behind posts, says that in order to get the timeline of the end of the world that lahaye and jenkins does, you have to skip around and cobble together different Bible verses into a context they were never meant to have? Well, in order to get what most conservative Christians consider “the creation account,” you have to do the same thing, in smaller scale, with the first two chapters of Genesis.

    I worked it out. It goes like this:

    first, you read Genesis 1:1-23. 
    Then you skip to Genesis 2:7-25 (Note, be careful with verse 19, where it says that God made the birds with the animals of the field. That happened on the 5th day, this is the sixth day, so ignore that part.)
    Then you skip back to Genesis 1:29-31,  and continue through Genesis 2:1-3,
    Then Skip to Genesis Chapter 3.

    Yeah, not exactly the most intuitive way to read the first two chapters. And also notice some verses from Chapters 1 and 2 were left out entirely in that reading. Those verses, particularly 2:4-6, make it impossible to read this as “one harmonious story.”

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    As Ronald Reagan said, the eight most terrifying words in the English language are, “To understand, you must see the PowerPoint presentation”.

    “The question they never seem able to answer is, if these two stories were meant to be harmonized, then why didn’t the writer(s) of Genesis harmonize them? Or, at least, why didn’t the writer(s) make the two stories harmonize-able? Why does Genesis give us two stories instead of one?”

    While we’re stating the obvious, the documentary hypothesis of the Torah has a perfectly sensible explanation for these same questions: There are two stories because *these are two different stories*, coming out of two different traditions within the same religion. At some point whoever first set the Pentateuch to writing– knowing some tribes used one version of the story and some tribes used the other– rather than attempting to rewrite the thing to “harmonize” it simply included both one after the other, similar to how the Council of Trent, given several gospel stories, simply included all four one after the other. This possibility of course won’t seem like a very satisfying explanation to someone deadset on treating the bible as being a recording of literally true events, but it does mean an interpretation that would be very satisfying to biologists: The book of Genesis was not designed, but rather evolved.

  • Mrs Grimble

     

    As Ronald Reagan said, the eight most terrifying words in the English
    language are, “To understand, you must see the PowerPoint presentation”.

    Nowadays it’s “You MUST watch this Youtube video!”

  • JustoneK

    Okay where is this one velociraptor per foot thing coming from?  I feel I’m missing a funny reference.

  • Joshua

    Not that funny maybe. Actual velociraptors were a hell of a lot smaller than portrayed in Jurassic Park, so people wouldn’t actually be able to ride on one’s back.

    A little after the movie, a new species related to velociraptor was discovered called utahraptor, that is more-or-less like what was portrayed in the movie.

  • The_L1985

     I could handle feathers, but this really disappoints me.

  • Herman Cummings

    The two chapters are not linked.  They are two different time periods.  The first chapter is actually six different time periods.  Chapter two begins the origin of modern mankind.

    Accept the fact that you can’t understand 4 billion years of history, without someone to explain it to you.  Otherwise, you are 1) speaking from ignorance, and 2) asking ill-advised questions.

    Herman

  • P J Evans

    Accept the fact that you can’t understand 4 billion years of history,
    without someone to explain it to you.  Otherwise, you are 1) speaking
    from ignorance, and 2) asking ill-advised questions.

    The third possibility is that you’re posting nonsense.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Why? Because you say so? Or because you assume that, since you can’t understand it and must cling to the bible, nobody can? 

    It’s really egotistical and assholic to claim that people are stupid simply because they don’t fit your chosen narrative. If you wish to be taken seriously and respected, you should try and not do that. 

  • The_L1985

     That doesn’t make sense either.  Chapter 1 has YHWH creating the universe, and planet Earth, and all the people, plants and animals.

    Chapter 2 has YHWH creating the earth, putting Adam on it, then bringing the animals to Adam to see what he would name them.

    If you can’t understand that those are 2 different stories, you have a problem.  Why would anyone create the same earth twice?

  • SilverSurfer

    While I agree that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are two different stories, I have to disagree with the premise presented in this article (concerning when the book says “adam” and “eve” were created). The text was written in Hebrew, not English. We all know that. However, in the first chapter, the word is NOT for mankind/humankind. It is the word “adam”. This Hebrew word comes from the word “adamah”, meaning earth or red earth. Thus, “adam” was made from the “adamah”. In Genesis 1:27, for example, it says that “god” created “ha’adam” in his image. The “ha” beginning serves like our English “the”. “adam” is in the singular. This then is “the man”. Therefore, this cannot be referring to “mankind” or “human kind”, but to one, singular person, a man.

    Your premise is incorrect and partly because you seem to be basing it on an English translation instead of seeing what was said in the original language.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I can’t read Hebrew; is there anyone with an interlinear who can transliterate into the Latin alphabet what the actual phrases are?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    I can’t read Hebrew; is there anyone with an interlinear who can
    transliterate into the Latin alphabet what the actual phrases are?

    I don’t have an interlinear, but my grade-school Hebrew suffices for transliteration:

    Gen 1:27… “וַיִּבְרָא אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ, בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים בָּרָא אֹתוֹ:  זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה, בָּרָא אֹתָם”
    Transliterated into Latin alphabet: “vayibro elohim et-haodom bzalmo, bzelem elohim boro ato: zoHor oon’kibo, boro otom.” (I’m using “H” to represent the hard “h” that doesn’t really exist in English.)

    Gen 2:7… ” וַיִּיצֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם, עָפָר מִן-הָאֲדָמָה, וַיִּפַּח
    בְּאַפָּיו, נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים; וַיְהִי הָאָדָם, לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה”
    Transliterated into Latin alphabet: “vayitzer YHWH elohim et-haodom, ofor min-h’adomoh, vayipaH b’apoyv, nishmas Hayim; vayihi haodom, l’nefesh Hayoh” (I’m using YHWH to represent the Tetragrammaton, aka “Yahweh,” which is traditionally pronounced “adonoy,” though that pronunciation is in no way related to the written letters. If I were to transliterate the text with the diacritical marks given here, it would be “y’voh”)

    Caveat: I might be mish-mashing Sephardic and Ashkenazi dialects here (I was raised in the former and went to school in the latter and sometimes get them confused).

    It may or may not be worth pointing out that the diacritical marks, which convey the vowel sounds, do not appear in the original Scriptures. I have absolutely no idea how anyone claims to know what they initially were.
     

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Adding to this… the phrase “וַיִּיצֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם עָפָר מִן-הָאֲדָמָה” from Gen 2:7, translated as literally as I can manage it, is “andיְהוָה lords form the אָדָם, dust from the earth.”

    “אֱלֹהִים” is grammatically plural, hence “lords” here, but is conventionally treated (and translated) as singular, I assume for theological reasons related to monotheism. “אָדָם” is grammatically singular.

    “אָדָם” and “אֲדָמָה” (“earth,” here) share a root. “אָדָם” is one of several words traditionally translated as “man”. (“איש” is more common.)

    And as I’ve noted elsewhere, the convention of translating this stuff into the past tense in English is just convention; there’s no analogous tense in Hebrew.

    Perhaps more relevantly… 1:27 says of  “בָּרָא אֹתוֹ” (“creates him”)and “בָּרָא אֹתָם” (“creates them”) without any intervening text to suggest a different object (roughly “in God’s image [no-subject] creates him; male and female [no-subject] creates them.” By normal grammatical standards this is simply incoherent.

  • http://jdm314.livejournal.com/ Mad Latinist

    It is misleading to call אֱלֹהִים “grammatically plural,” because even though it is morphologically plural, it takes a singular verb—notice וַיִּבְרָא and בָּרָא, rather than ויבראו and בראו, which would be required if אֱלֹהִים were truly plural.

    > “אָדָם” is one of several words traditionally translated as “man”. (“איש” is more common.)

    אָדָם ˀadam means “man” in the now deprecated sense of “human; humankind.” אִיש ˀīš means “man” as opposed to “woman” or “boy.” גֶבֶר gɛbhɛr (which for our purposes you may pronounce géver) means “man” in the most positive sense (i.e. brave, strong, etc.) (Interestingly, the feminine form of that last word, גברת, is now used for “mrs.” in Modern Hebrew)  

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    I was wondering, about that grammatically/morpholigically plural form that seems to be “lords”, was that perhaps something like the royal “we”, or many languages’ formal second person forms that are like a plural in some way?  As a form of respect for the [Ll]ord(s) in question?

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    It
    is misleading to call אֱלֹהִים “grammatically plural,” because even
    though it is morphologically plural, it takes a singular verb—notice
    וַיִּבְרָא and בָּרָא, rather than ויבראו and בראו, which would be
    required if אֱלֹהִים were truly plural.

    (nods) You are entirely correct; I apologize for the misleading phrasing. Thanks for clarifying.

    I am, incidentally, delighted to find someone else picking up the Hebrew torch here; my grade-school Yeshiva education has serious limits!

  • The_L1985

    “It is misleading to call אֱלֹהִים “grammatically plural,” because even
    though it is morphologically plural, it takes a singular verb—notice
    וַיִּבְרָא and בָּרָא, rather than ויבראו and בראו, which would be
    required if אֱלֹהִים were truly plural.”

     I honestly think this is a case of the narrative evolving as the religion evolved.  Early Judaism, from what archeologists can tell, was probably henotheistic rather than pure monotheistic.  (Henotheism = “Other gods exist, but we only worship our god because he’s the best!”  Monotheism = “There is no god but our God.”)

  • http://jdm314.livejournal.com/ Mad Latinist

    Well, the shift from henotheism to monotheism isn’t even archaeological, it’s right there in the text if you’re looking for it (most commonly cited verse: “Thou shalt have no other gods *before* me.”)

    As for narrative evolution, that is certainly a valid way to look at it. It’s just that some people claim that the E Source as we have it is polytheistic, and I don’t think you can argue for that. That it shows signs of having evolved from a polytheistic source, sure, but by the time it reached the form we have it in it Elohim already refers to just one God.

  • P J Evans

    I’m using YHWH to represent the Tetragrammaton, aka “Yahweh,” which is
    traditionally pronounced “adonoy,” though that pronunciation is in no
    way related to the written letters. If I were to transliterate the text
    with the diacritical marks given here, it would be “y’voh”

    The explanation I met for this is that the vowel marks tell you whether you’re going to say ‘elohim’ or ‘adonai’ when you see the Tetragrammaton.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    The explanation I met for this is that the vowel marks tell you whether
    you’re going to say ‘elohim’ or ‘adonai’ when you see the Tetragrammaton

    That’s a new one on me; I’ve only ever heard ‘elohim’ pronounced when reading “אֱלֹהִים” (which sounds like that in an unproblematic way), and only ever heard “יְהוָה” pronounced as ‘adonoy’ (or ‘adoshem’ if in a nonliturgical context, but that is an intentional ‘mispronunciation’, akin to the tradition of ‘misspelling’ God as G-d).

    (I should perhaps note explicitly here that distinctions between “adonoi,” “adonai”, etc. are not at all meaningful, just matters of dialect and transliteration choices.)

  • http://ifindaudio.blogspot.com/2009/10/fractal.html Murfyn

    Alan Dundes’ “Holy Writ As Oral Lit” discusses the idea that many of the stories in the Bible are presented in several forms because the stories were originally of the oral tradition, and when they were written down, the main variants (so to speak) were all kept.  And why shouldn’t they be?
    for some comments on the book:http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/723884.Holy_Writ_as_Oral_Lit

  • http://jdm314.livejournal.com/ Mad Latinist

    @facebook-1792515490:disqus : This is how I take it, and I believe that is the traditional understanding.

    Compare also בהמות “behemoth,” with is at least etymologically the plural of בהמה “cattle.”

  • Shirley Phelps-Roper

    Westboro Guy – his name is Jonathan Phelps – reported this verse:  Ge 5:3  And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

    There are three words translated men in the Bible, Jonathan was discussing with the man ISH or God’s man. Seth is in the line of Christ, and he was a servant of God, like Abel. If you would like to know what Jonathan Phelps was discussing with the man, ASK HIM. On the other hand, you can do what you rebels love to do, toss up a straw man and then beat the crap out of that straw man. 

    At the end of the day, all your blather and hopes of catching us in error, won’t change Leviticus 18:22; Genesis 19; Judges 19-21; Romans 1; Romans 9-11; Jude 7; 2 Peter 2-3; Amos 4:11 and so much more on the subject that is bringing Doomed USA to her knees OR slow her gallop to her final destruction, because God hates fags and God will NOT HAVE fag marriage.  He made that clear when he destroyed the antediluvian world. Christ warned, when you do that again, you will know that the end is near.  So Westboro Guys and Gals all say with one voice, at the top of our lungs, GET ER DONE!!  Doomed american leads the global charge for same-sex marriage, GET ER DONE!! 

    Your friends at Westboro Baptist Church, by Shirley Phelps-Roper, thankful servant of God, in these last minutes of the last hours of the last days of all!!

  • JustoneK

    well, I’m convinced.

  • NoDoubtAboutIt

    Wow!  An actual anti-American terrorist posting here!  How thrilling!  Do be sure to wash “down there” more thoroughly next time, though.  The stench permeates the internet.   See you in hell!

  • Carstonio

     I have a very strong suspicion that for Fred Phelps, there’s only a small step from “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord” to believing that said lord would work that vengeance through him. I’m mildly surprised that he hasn’t tried to murder anyone he sees who he believes to be gay.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    I’m mildly surprised that he hasn’t tried to murder anyone he sees who he believes to be gay.

    I’m not.  I’m inclined to agree with the theory that the Phelpses are a bunch of grifters whose entire business plan is to be so odious that every so often someone will take a swing at them, or throw garbage, or do something to them that they can sue over.  Not for nothing are all of them lawyers.

  • Jenora Feuer

     

    Doomed american leads the global charge for same-sex marriage…

    Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden would all like to have a word with you about ‘leading the global charge’.

  • christopher_young

    in these last minutes of the last hours of the last days of all!!

    If you really believe that, if you really think it’s remotely likely, why are you spending your time commenting on blogs?

  • Jenny Islander

    I suppose that if you believe that Christianity means shouting hateful things at people all the time, doing drive-bys on blogs would be like shouting at as many people as possible simultaneously, and thus a fit activity for “the last minutes.”   But how can Shirley Phelps-Roper be sure that she is grinding salt into the wounds of the bereaved, as decreed by Fred–I mean, the Bible?  Shirley, shouldn’t you be ranting on some blog somewhere whose owner just posted notice of a death in the family?

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    Hi Shirley. Welcome to Slacktivist, and happy National Coming Out Day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    …Leviticus 18:22; Genesis 19; Judges 19-21; Romans 1; Romans 9-11; Jude 7; 2 Peter 2-3; Amos 4:11 and so much more….

    The slavery of clobber verses, indeed.

  • Lunch Meat

    God hates fags and God will NOT HAVE fag marriage.  He made that clear when he destroyed the antediluvian world. Christ warned, when you do that again, you will know that the end is near.

    What an interesting and valuable contribution to the conversation. Hey, let’s make a deal! In 17 years, when the first same-sex couples married in Massachusetts are celebrating their 25-year anniversary, if Jesus has indeed returned to destroy America, I’ll pay you $1,000. If he hasn’t, and in fact Massachusetts is a wonderful example of peace, happiness and harmony in the world, then we get to point and laugh at you like the liars and false prophets you are.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     That’s horribly unfair, Lunch Meat.  Why should we have to wait 17 years to point and laugh at the Phelpses when we can do it right now?

  • P J Evans

     Could use editing to improve its readability and coherence.
    Also, the gays I know are generally nice people and better Christians than you seem to be.

  • The_L1985

    “At the end of the day, all your blather and hopes of catching us in
    error, won’t change Leviticus 18:22; Genesis 19; Judges 19-21; Romans 1;
    Romans 9-11; Jude 7; 2 Peter 2-3; Amos 4:11 and so much more”

    It also doesn’t change Luke 6: 27-42, Matthew 25:31-46, or any of the other 3,000 verses that boil down to “Don’t be a dick.”

    Also, I’m pretty sure you’re not the real Shirley.  Please stop trolling the thread.

  • zzxjoanw

     Shirley,

    I’m so sorry you’re afraid. Remember, God is Love.

  • Carstonio

    Excellent point about fear. I strongly suspect that people who abuse their children are motivated at least party by fear of their own parents, and that may be at work with Fred Phelps.

    TW: description of abuse

    When we were younger it was a barber strap. That thing got so shredded
    at the ends that it would wrap around the sides of our legs and tear the
    skin. It was kind of like a cat o’ nine tails. When I was about 8 or 9
    he introduced us to a Mattock handle, which is a farming instrument or
    tool that you use to pull up roots, and it’s got an axe head on one end
    and a hoe head on the other end. It’s big. You know, take a baseball
    bat, add maybe 30 percent to that…
    …He would beat us anywhere from the lower part of our back down
    to behind our knees and he swung it hard, he swung it like a baseball
    bat. And oftentimes what would happen is there would be eight or 10
    strokes and then he would go into a 10- or 15-minute screaming session
    with what we were doing wrong and how it was defying God and that we
    were evil. You know all of these religious-based threats and insults to
    the children and then he’d go back to the beating and by then the skin
    has stretched tight from the damage. So the next blows would just split
    the skin and so you’d get blood.

  • Vermic

    TW: description of abuse

    Fred Phelps is basically a trigger warning given human form.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    The best analogy to this is…well, comic books!  Origin stories being retold over & over (with minor or major tweaks) is how those myth grow & evolve.  Same thing here.

  • Jenny Islander

    So I checked up on the verses Shirley Phelps-Roper dropped into her post to see whether it really was her and not somebody making a subtle joke.  As expected, they’re all about Sodom and Gomorrah, or not being a slave to one’s physical appetites, or words that the KJV translates in ways that sound naughty nowadays, or foreign customs that Jews are not to pursue, or Paul talking about human agency vs. divine agency and the nature of the covenant with Abraham, or that one time a rape and murder touched off a civil war that almost destroyed the tribe of Benjamin . . . so, in the mind of Fred Phelps, they are all about PENISES. 

    So I think it’s really her.

    Were we even talking about the Phelpses before she showed up?  What’s all the straw-man and catching-in-error stuff about?

  • Barack Obama

    Great post, Fred. I’m a huge fan of your blog, but being President of the United States of America means that I usually don’t have time to comment. 

    I just wanted to say that I think it’s pretty astounding that your readers all completely trust that the person posting as Shirley Phelps-Roper isn’t a troll, considering that your comment system allows people to post under any name they want. I, however, am clearly not a demonstration of this, and am most certainly Barack Obama.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Oh, we know she’s a troll. It’s just that the family to which she claims to belong seems to sincerely hold the beliefs she claims to have, and those are abhorrent beliefs that have a great deal in common with beliefs that are less abhorrent but much more popular, and pointing out all the ways in which the beliefs she claims and the beliefs related thereto are abhorrent and wrong is therefore a worthwhile way to spend some time regardless of whether she is who she says or believes what she says.

    And you are not half as clever as you think this trick demonstrates you to be.

  • Barack Obama

    I don’t give a shit about the various benefits and worthwhile-ness of discussing these issues. You don’t feed a troll. That is rule number one of the internet. 

  • EllieMurasaki

    Strangely enough, countering trolls’ arguments, one, entertains me, two, proves to onlookers that this is not a place where the trolls’ arguments are taken as gospel truth without challenge, and three, keeps the trolls from taking over the place. This probably has something to do with why I’m still talking to you.

  • JustoneK

    well, I’m convinced.

  • Joshua

    But are you the same poster as Nicolae Carpathia? That would get the tea partiers fired up nicely.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Meh, I just flagged away (does that even do anything on Patheos?) Being from the land of the unfree I’m perfectly happy to mark hate speech for deletion.

  • Carstonio

    Wait – when did Reagan make that PowerPoint comment? That software didn’t come out until more than a year after he left office. 

  • Mrs Grimble

    Actually, I suspect that was the real Shirley P-R dropping her comment bomb here – the whole writing style, plus the Bible knowledge, is just too accurate for the average troll.  
    BTW, I have just noticed that her birthday is  October 31st.  Sometimes the jokes just wrote themselves don’t they?

  • Shirley Phelps-Roper

    One more thing – if you discern a mystery and you don’t have understanding, you will LOVE Deut 29:29 it generally says – The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and our children so that we can keep the commandments. Put like this – OBEY GOD and wait upon him for wisdom and understanding. – he giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not. ASK – seek, OBEY.

  • Jenny Islander

    “If you discern a mystery and you don’t have understanding” sounds like in-group jargon to me.  Can you rephrase that in plain English?  Is the point of “If you discern a mystery and you don’t have understanding” that we, not having grown up with Phelps’s particular set of buzzwords, won’t have the insider’s emotional response and therefore can be dismissed from thought as lesser beings?  That’s a rather common technique used in cults, by the way.

    Also, what is the point of extracting a single sentence from the midst of Moses’s long discourse about the two ways, the blessing and the curse?  Does it prove something?  To whom?

    And, once again, were we even talking about you in any way shape or form when you decided to accuse us of trying to prove you wrong?  Are you sure you’re at the right blog?

    (And how exactly is pointing out that “God created Adam and Eve on the sixth day” is not actually in the Bible a straw-man argument?  Against what?  Against poor reading comprehension?)

  • Artemis

    I fail to agree. Maybe it is the wording in the copy I am looking at, but the second story seems to simply detail out the first story a bit more. I mean – my copy says our image, and male and female he created them – and it’s the “our” that gets me. Them sounds like Adam and Eve – only the two. Our sounds like God and a few of his drinking buddies messing about creating the world. The second story then explains how all the plants were created, without rainfall, and how man was made from dust.  
    Are you saying there are two seperate events during which God & his buddies create all the worlds plant life? Truly – the “our” must be taken literally as the rest, yes?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Genesis 1: plants, then animals, then man and woman simultaneously.

    Genesis 2: man, then plants, then animals, then woman.

    This is one of the many reasons why we do not take Genesis literally. Though attempting to reconcile the two accounts produced one of my all-time favorite stories, in which the Genesis 1 woman is Lilith, the Genesis 2 woman is Eve, and the reason Adam prefers Eve to Lilith is Lilith insists on being treated as Adam’s equal and Eve is more submissive.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    As I pointed out during a recent discussion (maybe in this post?) when I learned/realized that the word for Lord, elohim, is actually plural in form, many languages use something roughly equivalent to the so-called “royal we” when speaking of their exalted beings.  So, no, there’s no reason to think that “our” must include someone besides God.

    ETA: Ah yes, it was indeed this post, towards the end of the first page, and confirmed early in the second.

  • Fcowan51235

    Lots of lost souls on this forum. I wished you would read the Bible and follow the one and only God, and his son Jesus Christ. There is a day of judgement coming, and if you don’t surrender yourself to God, on that Day, it will BE TOO LATE! Praying some on the forum sill see the Real Light, not some nonsense coming from a Prideful Person that thinks he/she is the only answer..Pride is just another Sin!

  • EllieMurasaki

    some nonsense coming from a Prideful Person that thinks he/she is the only answer

    Fcowan51235 has achieved enlightenment!


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