Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Genesis: A thrice-told tale

«   Part 5 of the series, Genesis for the rest of us   »

Stained glass church window

Genesis is complex, but not irreducibly so. What the popular imagination regards as a single creation myth is actually three stories woven into one.

The first of Genesis' three creation narratives, Genesis 1:1 to 2:3, spans seven days from "the beginning" to the day of rest on which God "blesses" and "sanctifies" creation.

The second story, Genesis 2:4-3:24, traces "the generations of the heavens and of the earth," focusing on Adam and Eve and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

And then there were three. (Or so an altogether different Genesis would say.) The story of Noah's flood, spanning chapters 6 through 9 of Genesis, retells the Hebrew Bible's creation myth yet another way.

These three creation myths have all figured prominently, for good and for ill, in contemporary environmental policy. This series now examines each story.

Picture credit: St. Mary's Church, Woodford, England.


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