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Critically analyse Genesis 1:26-27 and 2:7 Are complimentary or contradictory - Essay Example

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Institution Tutor Genesis 1:26-27 and 2:7 Course/Number Date Department Introduction As a library of books, the Holy Bible is written by different authors, from a different point in time and perspective. In some instances, a single book may have a single author who may write from seemingly varying standpoint…
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Genesis 26-27 and 2:7 Number Department Introduction As a library of books, the Holy Bible is writtenby different authors, from a different point in time and perspective. In some instances, a single book may have a single author who may write from seemingly varying standpoint. This fact has many times confused some to misconstrue an aspect of contradiction, while the main intention of the author may have been to underscore a certain message, standpoint or fact. Such is the case with the Book of Genesis which is largely attributed to Moses. One such instance is the two accounts in Genesis 1:26-27 and Genesis 2:27. Interestingly, the casual glance of the texts has made some readers to see not only an aspect of textual incongruence, but also that of multiple authorship, so that there is the formation of the EPJ (Elehositic, Priestly and Jehovistic) writings. Nevertheless, the intended meaning of the texts proves otherwise. Summary of the Supposed Incongruence between Genesis 1:26-27 and Genesis 2:27 The problem at hand emanates from the fact that Genesis 1:26-27 (also known as the first account) mentions the resolution of Divine Council (to make man in God’s image and to give man dominion) and a summary of the creation of man and woman; while the second account, Genesis 2:27 only gives a more elaborate rendering of the actual act of man’s creation: God forms man from the dust of the ground, breathes into his nostrils and man becomes a living soul (Crutchfield, 2005, 127). However, a clear study of the Bible reveals that sometimes, an author may diverge to compound a theme he is tackling in his account. The Bible is heavily littered with Jewish literary styles which are very different from those of the western world. While the western world uses rhymes, Hebrew literature may use contrast (as can be seen in instances such as Proverbs 15:1 and 10:1) or reiteration (as can be seen in Proverbs 1:10-15), or insertion (as can be seen in Gen 38 and Revelation 10-14) to underscore a given point. While many have no problem with reiteration, many wrongfully perceive a contradiction when insertion is used in a corpus larger than a verse, or when an entire pericope is an insertion. The main purpose of insertion is to underscore a theme. A narration on Judah’s life in Genesis 38 is sandwiched between Genesis 37 and 39 which give an account of Joseph’s life. Herein, Judah’s sexual or moral failures are presented against Joseph’s impeccable sexual and moral integrity. Just as placing diamond against a dark background underscores the brilliance of a diamond, Joseph’s integrity is emphasized against Judah’s, yet, the Messiah is still to come from Judah’s lineage (Genesis 49:10). Thus, the purpose of this insertion may underscore God’s grace and sovereignty since the Abrahamic blessing passes through Judah by grace: if it were by works, Joseph could have attained it. Therefore, likewise, between the two accounts, Genesis 1:26-27 and 2:27 is the author’s attempt to underscore certain themes. Genesis 1:26-27 presents man as emanating from the dust of the earth and as the crowning act of God’s creation: he is made in God’s image and likeness and given dominion. Genesis 2:27 treats God as the focal point, and not man. Particularly, God becomes very personal for the first time, now that man is being mentioned: for the first time, His personal name, the Tetragrammaton, YHWH is mentioned, though appearing in its translated form as LORD; and He creates by touching. Heretofore, God had only presented Himself to creation as Elohim, the Eternal Creator (Genesis 1:1). Yahweh or Yehovah means the Becoming One, and here, God reveals or presents Himself to man as the One who becomes the object of man’s needs. For instance, to the sick, He would present Himself as Yehovah Rophe, meaning God who is Healing (Exodus 15:22-26), and to Abraham who was too senile to sire or anyone in an impossible situation, He is Yehovah El-Shadday, God the Almighty (Genesis 17:1). Genesis 2:27 further underscores the closeness and personal predisposition that God has towards mankind by portraying God as creating man by His hands, according to Greenstein (2001, 18, 19). Thus, one readily agrees with Anders (2008, 213) and Sawyer (2000, 804) who posit that to get a complete rendering of anthropology, Genesis 1:26-27 and 2:27 ought to be read as being complementary to each other: this will portray man as a created being, superior to creation, endowed with exceedingly great potential (being in God’s likeness and image) and above all, object of God’s love and attention. Again, to get a more comprehensive grasp on theology or God’s nature, treating Genesis 1:26-27 and 2:27 as complementary pieces will be expedient. Throwing away Genesis 2:27 as a revisionist piece will portray God as being only transcendent. Conversely, without 1:26-27, God will appear only as immanent. The true God as is revealed in Biblical Scripture is both transcendent such that Jesus Christ had to reveal Him, and immanent through the person of His Son who has declared Him. It is tragic that some want to see Genesis 1:26-27 and 2:27 as conflicting, yet in combining them, man finds a complete message of God’s love, absoluteness and man’s position in creation and the foundation of his relation with God. Conclusion The foregoing clearly shows the beauty of language tools and literary skills which grace the pages of the Bible, not only in Genesis, but also there-from, right to the Revelation of St. John the Divine. This is confirmed by the use of different literary skills such as compounding (reiteration) and contrasting and the input of over 40 authors to underscore a common message, without sustaining any inherent contradiction. The fact that different standpoints complementarily fit and confirm one another underscores not only the common theme of God’s love and divine purpose for mankind, but also of divine inspiration. References Anders, L. J. (2008). “Genesis 1-3 as a Source for the Anthropology of Origen.” Vigiliae Christianae, 62 (3), 213. Crutchfield, J. C. (2005). “Genesis.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 48 (1), 127. Greenstein, E. L. (2001). “Presenting Genesis 1 Constructively and Deconstructively.” Prooftexts, 21 (1), 1-22. Sawyer, D. F. (2000). “Genesis.” Journal of Theological Studies, 51 (2), 804. Read More
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