The God(s) of Genesis 1-2

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rgprice
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The God(s) of Genesis 1-2

Post by rgprice »

In another thread (on a different topic) @neilgodfrey stated:
Genesis 1-2 further distinguishes between the god who created the cosmos and the god who created mankind, thus absolving the highest god of responsibility for the sinful nature of humans. Other authors of Pentateuchal books evidently disliked this polytheistic-tolerant concept and worked at conflating the two gods into one -- a "purer" form of monotheism, and a monotheism that expressed no tolerance for any thought of other deities hanging around.
This is an interesting an important point, not least of which because of its implications for the origins of Gnosticism.

But I'm struggle a bit with this claim.

In Gen 1 we see only "God" in the modern Old Testament text. I presume this was originally "Elohim"?

This account, however does not include any fall.

26 Then God said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the livestock and over all the earth, and over every crawling thing that crawls on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every animal of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

The wording of v26-27 is very strange. As Philo points out, it implies a separate maker who is unmentioned. Philo attributes the making of man here to the Word. Who is "Us"? Who is "He"? "in the image of God He created him" implies that someone else created him in the image of God. Again, Philo explains this inferred other being as '"the Word".

But importantly, in Gen 1, it is God to creates man(though there is the implication of another being) and, "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good."

Then we come to Gen 2, and in Gen 2 we are now presented with "the Lord God", which I presume is YHWH-Elohim.

But in this account YHWH-Elohim created both the heavens and the earth and humans.

So in Gen 1 Elohim creates everything, including people and in Gen 2 Yahweh creates everything, including earth and heaven and people. So I don't see a distinction here between, "the god who created the cosmos and the god who created mankind". It seems that one account attributes it all to Elohim and the other attributes it all to Yahweh, but we don't have an account that attributes the creation of the cosmos to Elohim and the creation of man to Yahweh.

Interestingly, in Gen 3, we are told, "8 Now they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden."

This does perhaps imply an original story in which it was Yahweh who was walking in the garden. I could envision a narrative in which it was originally stated that that Elohim created the cosmos and Yahweh created Adam and Eve, and that Yahweh was walking in the Garden. But that's not what Genesis actually says. And if we were it imply such a distinction and such a tale, it would imply a pre-existent Israelite story, not a Greek or Babylonian story, lying behind Genesis 2-3.

Further still, when we get to Genesis 4, we find only the Lord, YHWH.

Genesis 4:
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why is your face gloomy? 7 If you do well, will your face not be cheerful? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

This fits with the expectation that Yahweh was a son of God who often came to earth an interacted with people on behalf of his father. In original Canaanite/Israelite lore we could expect that there were stories in which Yahweh met with leaders and negotiated with them on behalf of his father El, Yahweh joined the Israelites in battle, Yahweh was sent to earth to mete out punishments and rewards, etc.

But what are we to make of all these changes through Gen 1 to Gen 4? Why were these distinctions between Elohim and Yahweh being made in this way? Does this not imply that some Canaanite/Israelite stories lie behind these accounts?

Did the writer of Gen 4 see Yahweh as distinct from the Elohim of Gen 1? What about the writer of Gen 2-3, who gives us Yahweh-Elohim? At no point do I see a clear distinction between a supreme God and a separate craftsman as Neil seems to have stated.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: The God(s) of Genesis 1-2

Post by neilgodfrey »

I missed this earlier. Catching up now....
rgprice wrote: Tue Aug 23, 2022 3:29 am In another thread (on a different topic) @neilgodfrey stated:
Genesis 1-2 further distinguishes between the god who created the cosmos and the god who created mankind, thus absolving the highest god of responsibility for the sinful nature of humans. Other authors of Pentateuchal books evidently disliked this polytheistic-tolerant concept and worked at conflating the two gods into one -- a "purer" form of monotheism, and a monotheism that expressed no tolerance for any thought of other deities hanging around.
This is an interesting an important point, not least of which because of its implications for the origins of Gnosticism.

But I'm struggle a bit with this claim.

In Gen 1 we see only "God" in the modern Old Testament text. I presume this was originally "Elohim"?.

. . . .


The wording of v26-27 is very strange. As Philo points out, it implies a separate maker who is unmentioned. Philo attributes the making of man here to the Word. Who is "Us"? Who is "He"? "in the image of God He created him" implies that someone else created him in the image of God. Again, Philo explains this inferred other being as '"the Word".

But importantly, in Gen 1, it is God to creates man(though there is the implication of another being) and, "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good."

Then we come to Gen 2, and in Gen 2 we are now presented with "the Lord God", which I presume is YHWH-Elohim.

But in this account YHWH-Elohim created both the heavens and the earth and humans.

So in Gen 1 Elohim creates everything, including people and in Gen 2 Yahweh creates everything, including earth and heaven and people. So I don't see a distinction here between, "the god who created the cosmos and the god who created mankind". It seems that one account attributes it all to Elohim and the other attributes it all to Yahweh, but we don't have an account that attributes the creation of the cosmos to Elohim and the creation of man to Yahweh.
Russell Gmirkin's argument is based on the Septuagint, not the MT. (As you know, RG sees the LXX translation as often indicative of the text of the earlier (not the later MT) Hebrew manuscript.) The MT does "confuse" the terms for god and treats them as one and the same. On page 163 he writes,
This initial authorial distinction between the Demiurge named Elohim in Genesis 1 and the terrestrial god Yahweh Elohim in Genesis 2-3 (later, simply Yahweh) was deliberately obscured by the authors of Exodus-Joshua (see Chapter 8 §7). As a result, the distinction was lost at an early date among the non-philosophical readers of the Hebrew Bible who identified Yahweh with the Creator Elohim of Genesis 1 in line with later portions of the Hexateuch. This conflation of the supreme eternal God with the local patron god Yahweh was arguably reflected in corruptions in the textual transmission of Genesis 2-3, in which the MT has Yahweh Elohim instead of Elohim in Gen 2:4 (whereas LXX has ό θεός). There are, indeed, several discrepancies between MT and LXX (and in Gen 3:1-5 internal discrepancies within the narrative itself) that indicate textual problems in one or both.

The dominant tendency is for LXX to read ό θεός where κύριος ό θεός is expected based on the MT’s consistent use of Yahweh Elohim throughout Gen 2:5-3:24 (except in Gen 3:3, 5). In Gen 3:3, 5 both MT (Elohim) and LXX (ό θεός) appear faulty, based on MT’s Yahweh Elohim in Gen 3:1. When and how these inconsistencies in the divine name were introduced are the proper subject of textual criticism, but it seems reasonable to posit that the original text of Genesis 1-3 was consistent in its use of Elohim and Yahweh Elohim in the First and Second Creation Accounts respectively.

The Second Creation Account, in which the figure of Yahweh Elohim was introduced in MT (but arguably not in proto-LXX), begins as follows:
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(2:4 MT) ,These are the generations [ תולדות ] of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the Lord God [Yahweh Elohim] made the earth and the heavens.

(2:4 LXX) This [is] the book of origin of heaven and earth [βίβλος γενέσεως ούρανοΰ καί γης], when it originated in the day God [ό θεός] made the heaven and the earth.
rgprice wrote: Tue Aug 23, 2022 3:29 am
. . . .

Does this not imply that some Canaanite/Israelite stories lie behind these accounts?
Again supported by RG, p. 39:
As noted, several biblical passages alluded to a supreme god (either El Elyon or Yahweh) who presided over a divine council of his sons,29 showing that the biblical authors had inherited the old “Canaanite” tradition of El and his 70 sons with its implied theogony.

. . .

It is thus evident that the authors of the Hebrew Bible had inherited a body of older traditions that included all the usual tropes of mythical cosmogony. Yet it is striking that Gen 1:1-2:3 conforms to none of these tropes.
andrewcriddle
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Re: The God(s) of Genesis 1-2

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The Samaritan Pentateuch basically agrees with the MT against the LXX in Genesis 2 and 3
https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=SP ... ence=Gen.2
https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=SP ... ence=Gen.3

Andrew Criddle
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Re: The God(s) of Genesis 1-2

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Price

Compare the divine names ... in Philo ... who presumably used 'the real' LXX. It's different.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: The God(s) of Genesis 1-2

Post by neilgodfrey »

One can understand easily enough later translations conforming to strict monotheism but not so much the reverse.
rgprice
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Re: The God(s) of Genesis 1-2

Post by rgprice »

andrewcriddle wrote: Sun Sep 04, 2022 7:29 am The Samaritan Pentateuch basically agrees with the MT against the LXX in Genesis 2 and 3
https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=SP ... ence=Gen.2
https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=SP ... ence=Gen.3

Andrew Criddle
But v4 still says: "4These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made heavens and earth"

So still it does not seem that the wrier of G2 is saying that Elohim made the heavens, while Yahweh made man. YHWH-Elohim made havens and earth.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: The God(s) of Genesis 1-2

Post by neilgodfrey »

rgprice wrote: Mon Sep 05, 2022 10:45 am
andrewcriddle wrote: Sun Sep 04, 2022 7:29 am The Samaritan Pentateuch basically agrees with the MT against the LXX in Genesis 2 and 3
https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=SP ... ence=Gen.2
https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=SP ... ence=Gen.3

Andrew Criddle
But v4 still says: "4These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made heavens and earth"

So still it does not seem that the wrier of G2 is saying that Elohim made the heavens, while Yahweh made man. YHWH-Elohim made havens and earth.
It depends which Septuagint you read. See....

https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=AB ... NTERLEAVED

God, Elohim, is the creator of heaven and earth in Gen 2:4
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neilgodfrey
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Re: The God(s) of Genesis 1-2

Post by neilgodfrey »

For background to the different Septuagint texts you find online, this brief discussion is useful: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/ioscs/editions.html
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neilgodfrey
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Re: The God(s) of Genesis 1-2

Post by neilgodfrey »

From the above linked site:
It follows from the above that electronic tools aimed at facilitating research on the Septuagintal materials — whether the LXX/OG as produced and published (the original text) or the LXX/OG as transmitted and received (i.e. its later history) — ought to make use of the best available critical editions as base text rather than non-critical editions, a practice which would have a regressive effect on scholarship.

The above statement was adopted by the Executive Committee of the IOSCS on the fourth day of April, 2005.

Recommended Critical Editions:

I. Septuaginta. Vetus Testamentum Graecum Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis editum, Göttingen, 1931- , 20 vol.:
Genesis (1974, J. W. Wevers)
The Wevers Greek text for 2:4 is
Αὕτη ἡ βίβλος γενέσεως οὐρανοῦ καὶ γῆς, ὅτε ἐγένετο. ᾗ ἡμέρᾳ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν
John William Wevers, ed., Genesis, vol. I, Vetus Testamentum Graecum. Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis Editum (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1974), Ge 2:4.
rgprice
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Re: The God(s) of Genesis 1-2

Post by rgprice »

neilgodfrey wrote: Mon Sep 05, 2022 1:26 pm It depends which Septuagint you read. See....

https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=AB ... NTERLEAVED

God, Elohim, is the creator of heaven and earth in Gen 2:4
True, but as far as I know, there is no version that has God in v2:4, but Lord God everywhere else, which is essentially what Gmirkin needs.
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