Wissenschaft, Bibel und das gelobte Land

In 1. Mose 1-3 steckt ein Genie, das häufig durch moderne Interpretationen des Textes verborgen wird. Das Geniale dieser Kapitel ist die tiefe Bedeutung, die sie dem Ziel der Erlösten beim Herstellen einer Einheit zwischen dem Schöpfungswerk Gottes und dem Erlösungsplan beimessen. Leider verdunkeln viele moderne Interpretationen der Genesis dieses Genie, indem sie annehmen, dass es in den sechs Tagen von Genesis 1 um die Erschaffung des gesamten Universums geht. Darüber hinaus stellt diese Annahme Genesis in direkten Gegensatz zu den scheinbar soliden Erkenntnissen der modernen Wissenschaft über das Alter und die Erschaffung des Universums.

"Aufgrund dieses Irrtums", schreibt Dr. John Sailhamer in seinem provokanten Buch Genesis Unbound, "haben sich viele Christen zwischen einer Loyalität zur Bibel und der Anerkennung der Erkenntnisse der modernen Wissenschaft hin- und hergerissen gefühlt - ein Riss, der weder notwendig noch hilfreich ist "(John Sailhamer, Genesis Unbound [Schwestern, OR: Multnomah Books, 1996], S. 13). Der Zweck von Genesis Unbound ist es zu zeigen, dass dieser Riss nicht notwendig ist, weil "wenn Genesis 1 und 2 verstanden werden als ... Moses beabsichtigte, dass sie verstanden werden, fast alle Schwierigkeiten, die moderne Leser verwirren, sofort verschwinden" (13-14). .

Sailhamers überzeugende Analyse von Genesis löst nicht nur den offensichtlichen Konflikt zwischen Wissenschaft und Bibel, sondern eröffnet uns auch (und ich würde es noch wichtiger sagen) die Tiefen von Gottes Plan, sein Volk zu segnen. Genesis Unbound enthüllt das Genie von Genesis 1-3, das von vielen modernen Interpretationen so verdeckt wird, dass Sie die Wege Gottes in der Schöpfung und Erlösung bestaunen und die tiefe Einheit der Bibel besser verstehen.

Mein Zweck in dieser Analyse von Genesis Unbound ist es, das Verständnis von Genesis 1-3 darzulegen, für das Sailhamer plädiert (genannt "historischer Kreationismus"), warum ich glaube, dass sein Verständnis korrekt ist, und die erstaunlichen Implikationen seines Verständnisses vollständiger zu entwickeln Ansicht, dass er herausbringt. Aus diesem Grund handelt es sich nicht ausschließlich um eine Rezension des Buches, sondern vielmehr um eine "expansive" Analyse des Buches. Mein Motiv und mein Gebet in dieser Arbeit entsprechen dem Ziel von Sailhamer, Genesis Unbound zu schreiben: "Sie werden eine neue Wertschätzung und ein neues Verständnis für das Genie dieser ersten beiden Kapitel der Bibel entwickeln. Wir sollten ehrfürchtig und dankbar sein dass Gott uns diesen bemerkenswerten Einblick in seine mächtigen Werke im Morgengrauen der Zeit gewähren wollte! " (16).

Überblick

Genesis Unbound ist in vier Teile gegliedert. Der erste Teil erklärt, warum das Thema Wissenschaft und Bibel wichtig ist. Teil zwei zeigt die Beweise für den historischen Kreationismus und warum er den offensichtlichen Konflikt zwischen Wissenschaft und Bibel löst. Es ist also "das Herz des Buches" (15). Teil drei versucht, das Bild zu verdeutlichen, indem er den Leser durch eine kurze Darstellung von Genesis 1: 1-2: 4a führt. Als solches baut es "auf den zuvor im Buch gelegten Grundlagen" in Teil 2 (16) auf. Schließlich ist der vierte Teil geschrieben, um "einen besseren Einblick in die historischen, philosophischen und interpretativen Fragen zu bekommen, die uns dorthin gebracht haben, wo wir heute sind" (16). Es zeigt, dass die Sichtweise von Sailhamer nicht neu ist, sondern von vielen vor dem Aufstieg der modernen Wissenschaft vertreten wurde. Und es zeigt, woher die falschen Interpretationen der Genesis kamen.

In dieser Analyse werde ich das Format von Sailhamer nicht genau befolgen. Anstatt die Beweise zu sammeln und dann das Bild in zwei separaten Schritten zu klären, wie dies Sailhamer tut, werde ich versuchen, das Bild zu klären, während ich die Beweise sammle. Dann werde ich versuchen, die Herrlichkeit zu zeigen, die durch das Genie von Genesis 1-3 offenbart wird, indem ich zurücktrete, um das ganze Bild in Bezug auf den Rest der Bibel zu betrachten.

So setzen Sie Ihren Fall fort

Es gibt zwei Möglichkeiten, wie Sie Ihren Fall für etwas festlegen können. Der erste Weg besteht darin, Ihren Fall zu erstellen, während Sie die Argumente dafür durchgehen, und ihn dann am Ende in seiner Gesamtheit zu enthüllen. Bei dieser Methode funktionieren die Argumente fast wie Puzzleteile, die erst am Ende in ihrer vollen Einheit zusammenkommen. Der Vorteil dieser Methode besteht darin, dass sie das Geheimnis bewahrt und somit möglicherweise ein größeres "Aha" -Erlebnis bietet, wenn das gesamte Rätsel endlich enthüllt wird. Die Schwierigkeit besteht jedoch darin, dass es schwierig ist, dies auf eine kohärente Weise zu tun, die den Leser nicht "verliert", da es kein System gibt, in das die Argumente beim Lesen eingeordnet werden können.

Die zweite Möglichkeit, Ihren Fall zu argumentieren, besteht darin, zuerst Ihre Meinung zu äußern und dann dafür zu argumentieren. Dies gibt Ihrem Fall häufig mehr Kohärenz, wenn Sie Ihre Argumente aufbauen, da der Leser über einen allgemeinen Rahmen verfügt, in den er sie einordnen kann. Mit anderen Worten, er wird nicht verloren gehen, weil Sie ihm eine Karte gegeben haben, die ihm zeigt, wohin er unterwegs ist. Auf diese Weise kann der Leser direkter sehen, wie jedes aufeinanderfolgende Argument in das große Schema der Dinge passt, wie sie sich miteinander verbinden und wie sie sich schriftlich mit Ihrem Gesamtziel verbinden. Das Ergebnis ist, dass Ihr Fall im Allgemeinen leichter zu verfolgen ist und wahrscheinlich mehr Verbindungen zwischen Ihren Argumenten im Kopf des Lesers hervorruft.

Dies ist der Ansatz, den Sailhamer verfolgt. Er enthüllt zuerst seine Sichtweise in ihrer Gesamtheit und macht dann einen Rückzieher, um seine Argumente dafür zu entwickeln. Dies ist meiner Meinung nach eine große Stärke des Buches, da es dem Leser einen Rahmen gibt, in den die Argumente integriert werden können, und es somit einfacher macht, sie zu bewerten. Aber es zeigt sich natürlich, dass Sailhamer "weder ein Kartenhai noch ein erfolgreicher Romancier" ist, denn wie er selbst sagt, "möchte ich Ihnen gleich zu Beginn meine Hand zeigen und einige meiner besten Handlungsänderungen aufdecken" (13 ).

Historischer Kreationismus und das "Entbinden" der Genesis

Um die Einzigartigkeit von Genesis Unbound erkennen zu können, müssen wir erkennen, dass es drei Hauptpositionen zum offensichtlichen Konflikt zwischen Wissenschaft und Bibel gibt. Der Kreationismus lehrt zuallererst, dass Gott gemäß der Genesis das Universum in sechs Tagen zu vierundzwanzig Stunden erschaffen hat und daher die Erde sehr jung ist (da die Menschen, die am sechsten Tag erschaffen wurden, erst seit vielleicht zehn Jahren existieren) bis 20 Tausend Jahre). Diese Ansicht erklärt, dass die moderne Wissenschaft in ihrem Glauben, dass die Erde alt ist, falsch ist und im Allgemeinen versucht, ihre eigenen wissenschaftlichen Beweise zu liefern, um den Beweisen für eine alte Erde entgegenzuwirken.

Zweitens lehrt der progressive Kreationismus, dass die Tage der Genesis keine 24-Stunden-Perioden sind, sondern nicht spezifizierte Zeiträume (Zeitalter), in denen Gott das Universum geschaffen hat. Diese Ansicht stimmt im Gegensatz zum Kreationismus mit den wissenschaftlichen Beweisen für eine alte Erde überein, akzeptiert aber ebenso wie der Kreationismus keine Evolution. Andererseits lehrt die theistische Evolution, dass die Erde alt ist und dass Gott die Evolution benutzt hat, um das Universum zu erschaffen.

Sailhamers Sichtweise, die als historischer Kreationismus bezeichnet wird, bestätigt die Unrichtigkeit der Bibel, bestätigt die Geschichtlichkeit der Genesis und lehnt die Evolution ab - genau wie Kreationismus und progressiver Kreationismus. Wie Sailhamer schreibt, "erwartet der Autor von Genesis nicht, dass er als Verfasser von Mythologie oder Poesie verstanden wird. Sein Bericht ist nach seinem Verständnis ein historischer Bericht über die Schöpfung" (45) .1 Der Hauptunterschied besteht darin, dass der historische Kreationismus das leugnet drei zentrale annahmen liegen hinter den anderen drei ansichten. Diese drei Annahmen lauten zum einen: "In den Kapiteln geht es in erster Linie darum, zu beschreiben, wie Gott die Welt geschaffen hat. Eine andere ist, dass die Welt ursprünglich eine formlose Masse war, die Gott zu der Welt geformt hat, die wir heute kennen. Eine dritte ist" Land, das Gott in den sechs Tagen gemacht hat, ist die Erde in ihrer Gesamtheit, wie wir sie heute kennen. "(11)

Die frühen Kapitel der Genesis sind durch mehrere schlechte Übersetzungen in der englischen Bibel "gebunden", weil diese falschen Annahmen hinter den englischen Übersetzungen von Genesis 1 und 2 liegen, die wir heute verwenden. Genesis in der englischen Bibel ist "gebunden" "Durch diese Annahmen. Ein großer Teil meiner Aufgabe in diesem Buch ist es, diese Bindungen zu lösen und die Kapitel freizugeben, um für sich selbst zu sprechen. Daher der Titel" (11). Welche Bedeutung haben diese frühen Kapitel in der Genesis, die so oft an diese Annahmen gebunden waren? Zu dieser Frage werden wir uns nun wenden.

Die Bedeutung von Genesis 1 und 2

Sailhamer argumentiert, dass Genesis 1 und 2 "zwei große Taten Gottes" (14) erzählen. Der erste große Akt ist die Erschaffung des gesamten Universums - unseres Planeten, der Tiere, der Sonne, des Mondes, der Sterne usw. Dies wird in 1: 1 wiedergegeben, in dem es heißt: "Am Anfang schuf Gott Himmel und Erde. " Das hebräische Wort übersetzt "Anfang" bedeutet nicht einen Moment der Zeit, sondern eine "unbestimmte Zeitspanne". Seitdem Gott das gesamte Universum in einer unbestimmten Zeitspanne erschaffen hat, "können wir nicht genau sagen, wann Gott die Welt erschaffen hat oder wie lange er gebraucht hat, um sie zu erschaffen" (14). Aus diesem Grund widersprechen die wissenschaftlichen Beweise für ein altes Universum nicht Genesis eins. Dies ist auch dann der Fall, wenn wir die "Tage" als 24-Stunden-Perioden und nicht als Zeitalter interpretieren.

Der zweite große Akt Gottes wird in 1: 2-2: 24 erzählt und "befasst sich mit einem viel begrenzteren Umfang und Zeitraum. Ab 1. Mose 1: 2 berichtet die biblische Erzählung von Gottes Vorbereitung eines Landes für den Menschen und Frau, die er erschaffen sollte. Dieses „Land“ war dasselbe Land, das Abraham und seinen Nachkommen später versprochen wurde ... Nach 1. Mose bereitete Gott dieses Land innerhalb einer sechstägigen Arbeitswoche vor. Am sechsten Tag desselben Woche schuf Gott die Menschen. Gott ruhte sich dann am siebten Tag aus "(14). Eine der erstaunlichen Wahrheiten, die dies ans Licht bringt, lautet: "Als Israel ein Land versprochen wurde, in dem es Gottes Segen ausleben sollte (Gen 15: 8), war es nicht das erste Mal, dass Gott einen Ort für sie vorbereitet hatte. Gott hatte diesen Ort für sein auserwähltes Volk vorbereitet "(S. 92). Wenn wir das verstehen, sehen wir, dass das Land ein zentrales, einheitliches Thema für Gottes Schöpfungs- und Erlösungsakte ist.

Zusammenfassend argumentiert Sailhamer, dass sich 1. Mose 1: 1 auf die Erschaffung des gesamten Universums bezieht und dass Gott dies über einen unbestimmten Zeitraum getan hat, der ein Jahr oder fünfzehn Milliarden Jahre betragen könnte. Der Text sagt einfach nichts. Genesis 1: 2 und folgende, die die Taten Gottes während der sechs Tage wiedergeben, beziehen sich daher nicht auf die Erschaffung des Universums. Sie sprechen von einer Zeit nach der Erschaffung des Universums, als Gott für Adam und Eva, die er am sechsten Tag erschaffen sollte, ein Land vorbereitete (das gleiche Land, das später Israel versprochen wurde). Und der Grund, warum Gott den Garten für Adam und Eva vorbereiten musste, war unter anderem, dass "die Erde [das verheißene Land] formlos und leer war [eine verlassene Wildnis] und die Dunkelheit über der Oberfläche der Tiefe" (v 2).

Diese Ansicht ist für uns heutzutage sehr ungewöhnlich und es wird viel Verteidigung erfordern. Der Rest dieser Analyse wird daher hauptsächlich in der Entfaltung der Hauptargumente für den historischen Kreationismus bestehen. Mit anderen Worten, jetzt, da das "ganze Bild" des historischen Kreationismus enthüllt wurde, werde ich das ganze Bild unterstützen und argumentieren. Ich werde jedoch das Auspacken einiger der größten Implikationen von Sailhamers Ansicht bis zum Ende aufheben.

Ist der historische Kreationismus neu?

Bevor ich den historischen Kreationismus darlege und argumentiere, denke ich, dass einer der größten Stolpersteine ​​beseitigt werden muss - dass diese Ansicht neu zu sein scheint und daher wahrscheinlich nicht wahr ist. Denn wenn etwas wirklich in der Bibel steht, ist es schwer zu behaupten, dass die Kirche es 2000 Jahre lang völlig übersehen hat.

Sailhamers Wahl des Namens historischer Kreationismus ist teilweise durch seinen Wunsch motiviert, auf die Tatsache aufmerksam zu machen, dass seine Ansicht nicht neu ist. Vielmehr hielten viele Theologen der Vergangenheit an den zentralen Elementen von Sailhamers Ansicht fest. Er schreibt, dass "der Begriff" historisch "darauf hindeutet, dass diese Sichtweise auf den Bericht über die Schöpfung von Genesis auf eine Lesart von Genesis 1 und 2 zurückzuführen ist, die vor dem Aufstieg der Wissenschaft und ihrer Verwendung in der biblischen Interpretation florierte. Vor dem Fortschritt In der Navigation und im Transportwesen, die die globale Erforschung unserer Welt ermöglichten, lasen Bibelwissenschaftler und gewöhnliche Menschen Genesis 1 in einem eher begrenzten geografischen Rahmen. Meine Sichtweise findet sich daher oft in früheren Werken. "(45)

Ein Beweis dafür ist, dass viele jüdische Theologen des Mittelalters das 1: 2ff glaubten. ("ff." bedeutet "und die folgenden Verse") bezogen sich auf das verheißene Land, nicht auf den gesamten Planeten (214). Außerdem,

Diesen mittelalterlichen jüdischen Kommentatoren folgten einige bekannte christliche Gelehrte. Nach John Lightfoote, einem weithin gelesenen Exegeten, Theologen und christlichen Gelehrten von beträchtlichem Rang, beschreibt der Genesis-Bericht über die Schöpfung die Vorbereitung Gottes auf ein bestimmtes Gebiet, das er als Garten Eden identifizierte. Lightfoote behauptete, dass 1: 1 besagt, dass Gott das Universum erschaffen hat, aber von 1: 2 bis zum Ende des Kapitels konzentriert sich die Passage auf die Vorbereitung Gottes auf das Land, das der Garten Eden sein sollte. Die Sichtweise von Lightfoote wurde von späteren christlichen Gelehrten weiterentwickelt (216).

Viele andere frühere Gelehrte waren der Meinung, dass der Garten Eden innerhalb des verheißenen Landes lag. Johann Heidegger aus dem 17. Jahrhundert ist ein Beispiel. Ein anderes Beispiel sind die frühen jüdischen Rabbiner, die dachten, Adam sei aus dem Grund erschaffen worden, auf dem der Tempel gebaut wurde (220).

Die Erschaffung des gesamten Universums: Genesis 1: 1

Die Bedeutung von "Am Anfang ..."

Sailhamer argumentiert das

Das hebräische Wort " reshit", das in [Genesis 1: 1] für "Anfang" steht, hat in der Schrift einen ganz bestimmten Sinn. In der Bibel bezieht sich der Begriff immer auf eine verlängerte, aber unbestimmte Zeitdauer - nicht auf einen bestimmten Moment. Es ist ein Zeitblock, der einer längeren Reihe von Zeiträumen vorausgeht. Es ist eine "Zeit vor Zeit". Der Begriff bezieht sich nicht auf einen Zeitpunkt, sondern auf einen Zeitraum oder eine Zeitdauer, die vor einer Reihe von Ereignissen liegt (38).

Als Beweis bezieht er sich auf Hiob 8: 7, der das Wort verwendet, um sich nicht auf einen einzigen Moment in Hiobs Leben zu beziehen, sondern auf den "frühen Teil von Hiobs Leben, bevor ihn sein Unglück überholte" (38). Genesis 10:10 spricht zwar nicht zeitlich, verwendet aber das Wort reshit (Anfang), um sich "auf den frühen Teil von Nimrods Königreich" zu beziehen - nicht auf einen bestimmten Punkt im Königreich (38). Besonders gute Beweise kommen von der Art und Weise, wie Israel von der Herrschaft seiner Könige sprach. Er schreibt:

Im alten Israel war es üblich, die Regierungsjahre eines Königs vom ersten des Jahres an zu zählen - das heißt vom ersten Tag des Monats Nisan. Wenn der König vor diesem Tag sein Amt antrat, wie dies häufig der Fall war, wurde die Zeit vor dem Ersten des Jahres nicht als Teil seiner Regierungszeit gerechnet. Diese Zeit wurde "der Anfang" ( reshit ) genannt. In einigen biblischen Fällen betrug der „Beginn“ der Regierungszeit eines Königs mehrere Jahre. Nach Jeremia 28: 1 zum Beispiel umfasste der „Beginn“ der Regierungszeit von König Zedekiah Ereignisse, die vier Jahre nach seiner Thronbesteigung geschahen. In diesem Fall übersetzte die NIV das Wort "Anfang" einfach als "früh in der Regierungszeit von Zedekia" (39).

Schließlich "ist es wichtig zu erkennen, dass dem Autor andere hebräische Wörter zur Verfügung standen, um das zeitliche Konzept eines" Anfangs "zu vermitteln. Tatsächlich verwendet der Autor im gesamten Pentateuch andere hebräische Wörter, um einen solchen Begriff auszudrücken "(40).

So spricht "der Anfang" in Genesis 1: 1 von einer nicht näher festgelegten Zeitspanne, nicht von einem einzigen Zeitpunkt. Und was hat Gott an diesem "Anfang" getan? Der Text sagt, dass er "die Himmel und die Erde geschaffen hat". Bevor wir die Konsequenzen daraus am deutlichsten erkennen können, müssen wir verstehen, was Moses mit dem Ausdruck "Himmel und Erde" meinte. Und um die Bedeutung des Ausdrucks "Himmel und Erde" zu verstehen, müssen wir auch die Bedeutungen der Wörter "Erde" und "Himmel" verstehen. Dann kommen wir zurück und setzen die Teile zusammen.

Die Bedeutung von "Erde"

Wir müssen aufpassen, alte Wörter nicht mit modernen Bedeutungen zu füllen. Wenn wir in unserer wissenschaftlichen Zeit das Wort "Erde" hören, denken wir im Allgemeinen an das große Juwel, auf dem wir uns befinden und das die Sonne umkreist. Aber der Begriff deutete im Allgemeinen nicht auf eine solche Bedeutung für die Zeit vor der Raumfahrt hin, als Genesis geschrieben wurde, da sie die "globalen" Dimensionen des Planeten im Allgemeinen nicht kannten. Daher bezieht sich der Begriff "Erde" ( eretz auf Hebräisch) in der Genesis normalerweise nicht auf den gesamten Planeten, sondern auf einen bestimmten Landabschnitt . Manchmal bezieht sich eretz auf die ganze Welt (Genesis 18:25). Aber meistens nicht. Die meiste Zeit bezieht sich eretz ("Erde") auf ein lokalisiertes Segment des Planeten, wie das "Land Ägyptens" (Genesis 45: 8), den "trockenen Boden" (Genesis 1:10) oder das gelobte Land zu Abraham (Genesis 15:18). In diesen Fällen wird eretz am besten als "Land" übersetzt, nicht als "Erde", wie viele Übersetzungen widerspiegeln.

Die Bedeutung von "Himmel"

Das Wort "Himmel" ( shamayim ), wie das Wort für Erde ( eretz ) übersetzt, bezieht sich normalerweise auf ein lokalisiertes Gebiet. In Schriften vor dem Weltraumalter bedeutet es normalerweise nicht "Weltraum", wie wir es heute kennen, sondern bezieht sich normalerweise auf einen lokalisierten Abschnitt des Himmels - den Bereich über dem "Land". In 1. Mose 1:20 zum Beispiel ist es der Ort, an dem die Vögel fliegen. In solchen Fällen wird es am besten als "Himmel" und nicht als "Himmel" wiedergegeben.

Die Bedeutung von "Himmel und Erde"

Es ist wichtig, dieses allgemeine Verständnis der Verwendung der Begriffe "Himmel" und "Land" zu haben, um zu verstehen, ob "Erde" in Vers 1 dieselbe Bedeutung hat ("... Gott schuf die Himmel und die Erde "). wie in Vers zwei ("Und die Erde war formlos und leer"). Sailhamer argumentiert, dass dies nicht der Fall ist. In Vers zwei bezieht sich "Erde" auf einen lokalisierten Landabschnitt. Aber in Vers eins zeigt die Tatsache, dass es mit dem Wort "Himmel" verbunden ist, dass es anders verwendet wird. Dies liegt daran, dass "wenn diese beiden Begriffe [Himmel und Land] zusammen als Redewendung verwendet werden, sie eine eigene Bedeutung annehmen. Zusammen bedeuten sie weit mehr als die Summe der Bedeutungen der beiden einzelnen Wörter" ( 55). Viele Wortkombinationen sind so. Beispielsweise bedeutet das Wort "Tafel" mehr, als die Kombination der Wörter "Schwarz" und "Tafel" vermuten lässt. Tafel bedeutet nicht einfach eine Tafel, die schwarz ist. Es bedeutet eine Tafel, auf die man mit Kreide schreibt. Manchmal ist die Tafel grün oder weiß, aber normalerweise wird sie immer noch als "Tafel" bezeichnet, weil "die beiden Wörter zusammen etwas ganz anderes bedeuten als jedes für sich" (55).

Dasselbe gilt für den Ausdruck "Himmel und Erde" (dh "Himmel und Land"). Wenn sie zusammen verwendet werden, "bilden sie eine Redewendung, die als" Merismus "bezeichnet wird. Ein Merismus kombiniert zwei Wörter, um eine einzige Idee auszudrücken. Ein Merismus drückt "Totalität" aus, indem er zwei Kontraste oder zwei Extreme kombiniert "(56). Wir sehen dies zum Beispiel in Psalm 139: 2, wo David sagt, dass Gott weiß, dass er sich hinsetzt und aufsteht. David zeigt auf Gottes Wissen über diese beiden Extreme, indem er sich hinsetzt und aufsteht, um zu zeigen, dass Gott alles über ihn weiß. Da Gott weiß, dass David aufsteht und sich hinsetzt, muss Gott auch alles dazwischen wissen. So wird "das Konzept von" alles "ausgedrückt, indem die beiden Gegensätze" mein Sitzen "und" mein Aufstehen "kombiniert werden" (56).

Ebenso repräsentieren "Himmel" und "Land" zwei Extreme. Indem die hebräische Sprache "diese beiden Extreme zu einem einzigen Ausdruck -" Himmel und Erde "oder" Himmel und Erde "- verbindet, drückt sie die Gesamtheit aller existierenden Elemente aus. Im Gegensatz zu Englisch hat Hebräisch kein einziges Wort, um den Begriff auszudrücken Der Ausdruck "Himmel und Land" steht somit für die "Gesamtheit des Universums" (56).

Wir sehen "Himmel und Land", wie es zum Beispiel in Jesaja 44:24 verwendet wird: "Ich, der Herr, bin der Schöpfer aller Dinge, der den Himmel durch mich ausstreckt und die Erde ganz allein ausbreitet." Gott veranschaulicht die Tatsache, dass Er alle Dinge erschaffen hat, indem Er auf Seine Schöpfung der zwei Extreme des Himmels und des Landes hinweist.

Wie "Der Anfang" sich auf "Die Himmel und die Erde" bezieht

Wenn wir die Bedeutung der Phrasen "am Anfang" und "Himmel und Erde" zusammenfügen, sehen wir den Hauptschub von Sailhamers Sichtweise. Wenn Genesis 1: 1 sagt: "Am Anfang schuf Gott Himmel und Erde", heißt es, dass Gott das gesamte Universum in einer nicht festgelegten Zeitspanne erschaffen hat. Durch die Verwendung des Merismus "Himmel und Erde" besagt 1. Mose 1: 1, dass Gott alles erschaffen hat. Und wenn wir den Ausdruck "am Anfang" verwenden, heißt das, dass Gott dies nicht zu einem bestimmten Zeitpunkt tat, sondern in einem bestimmten Zeitraum. Daher besagt 1. Mose 1: 1, dass Gott alles erschaffen hat, was sich in einer Zeitspanne befindet, die nicht spezifiziert ist.

Das Verhältnis von Genesis 1: 1 zum Rest des Kapitels

Dies wirft die Frage auf, ob "der Anfang" die sieben Tage der folgenden Verse (1: 2-2: 4) umfasst oder ob sich "der Anfang" auf einen Zeitraum bezieht, der vor den in Genesis aufgezeichneten Tagen der Schöpfung verstrichen ist 1: 2-2: 4. Mit anderen Worten, ist Genesis 1: 1 ("am Anfang schuf Gott Himmel und Erde") ein Titel für das gesamte Kapitel, in dem der Inhalt der folgenden Verse zusammengefasst ist, oder ist Genesis 1: 1 eine bestimmte Handlung, die der Reihe nach erfolgt vor den Ereignissen der folgenden Verse?

Wenn Genesis 1: 1 ein Titel für das Kapitel ist, dann sagen die Verse 1 und 2 zusammen: "Am Anfang schuf Gott Himmel und Erde. Nun folgt im Rest des Kapitels der Bericht darüber, wie er es getan hat . " Aber wenn Genesis 1: 1 kein Titel für das Kapitel ist, dann sagen die Verse 1 und 2 zusammen: "Am Anfang schuf Gott Himmel und Erde. Nachdem er dies getan hatte, bemerkte er die Tatsache, dass das Land [wo er den Menschen unterbringen wollte, wie wir sehen werden] war verlassen und dunkel. Also begann Gott, diesen Teil des Landes für die menschliche Besiedlung vorzubereiten. Zuerst sagte er: ‚Lass es Licht geben ... '"

Sailhamer argumentiert erfolgreich für die zweite Alternative - dass "der Anfang" kein Titel des Kapitels ist, sondern ein besonderer Akt Gottes, der in einer Zeitspanne stattgefunden hat, die verstrichen ist, bevor die in 1: 2ff aufgezählten sechs Tage verstrichen sind.

Erstens, so argumentiert er, ist Genesis 1: 1 kein Titel, der den Rest des Kapitels zusammenfasst, da Titel auf Hebräisch aus einfachen Phrasen bestehen. Aber 1. Mose 1: 1 ist ein vollständiger Satz und gibt eine Erklärung ab. Auf diese Weise werden Titel nicht auf Hebräisch gebildet. Zum Beispiel lautet Genesis 5: 1, der als Titel für die folgenden Verse fungiert, wie folgt: "Dies ist das Buch der Generationen Adams."

Zweitens kann Genesis 1: 1 kein Titel für den Rest des Kapitels sein, da der nächste Vers mit der Konjunktion "und" beginnt. Aber wenn 1: 1 ein Titel auf Hebräisch wäre, "würde der Abschnitt, der unmittelbar darauf folgt, sicherlich nicht mit der Konjunktion 'und.' Beginnen" (103). Die Tatsache, dass Sailhamer als Experte für biblisches Hebräisch gilt, gibt einem die Zuversicht, dass er weiß, wovon er hier spricht.

Drittens und schließlich kann Genesis 1: 1 kein Titel für den Rest des Kapitels sein, da es am Ende der in Kapitel 1 begonnenen Gedankeneinheit einen zusammenfassenden Titel gibt (Genesis 2: 1). Dies würde einen Titel am Anfang überflüssig machen. Es ist sehr unwahrscheinlich, dass ein Konto zwei Titel enthält.

Aus diesen drei Gründen müssen wir folgern, dass "der Rest des Kapitels keine Ausarbeitung von Genesis 1: 1 ist, sondern eine Darstellung einer anderen und nachfolgenden Handlung Gottes" (103). Während Vers 1 besagt, dass Gott alles erschaffen hat, sind die sechs Tage, die in Vers 2 beginnen und bis zum Ende des Kapitels andauern, ein Bericht über etwas anderes als die Erschaffung des Universums .

Die Implikationen für die Wissenschaft und die Bibel

Wenn wir die Tatsache, dass der "Anfang", in dem Gott das Universum erschuf, vor den sechs Tagen von 1: 2-2: 4 stattfand, mit der Tatsache verbinden, dass das hebräische Wort, das "Anfang" in 1: 1 übersetzt wurde, eine nicht spezifizierte Zeitspanne bedeutet und kein einziger Moment der Zeit, wir sehen, dass Genesis uns nicht sagt, wie lange es her ist, dass Gott das Universum erschaffen hat oder wie lange er dafür gebraucht hat . Er hätte es also vor Milliarden von Jahren oder vor Tausenden von Jahren schaffen können. Vielleicht hat er eine Woche oder Äonen gebraucht. Der Text sagt nicht. Die Schrift sagt, dass Gott die Welt in einer Zeitspanne erschaffen hat, die "der Anfang" genannt wird, ohne jedoch zu sagen, wie lange diese Zeitspanne gedauert hat oder wann sie begonnen hat. Daher hat die Bibel keinen Streit mit den überwältigenden wissenschaftlichen Beweisen, dass die Erde Milliarden von Jahren alt ist.2 Ein Christ kann die Herrlichkeit Gottes in den Wahrheiten sehen, die die Wissenschaft über das Universum aufdeckt, ohne diese Tatsachen davor schützen zu müssen, a zu widersprechen gewisses Verständnis von Genesis.

Die Vorbereitung des gelobten Landes: Genesis 1: 2ff.

Wenn sich Genesis 1: 1 jedoch auf die Erschaffung des gesamten Universums in einer unbestimmten Zeit bezieht, stellen sich mehrere Fragen. Erstens, wenn Genesis 1: 2ff. geht es nicht um schöpfung, worum geht es dann? Zweitens hat Genesis 1: 2ff. Betrifft es das gesamte Universum wie Vers 1 oder zeichnet es Ereignisse auf, die in einem bestimmten Abschnitt des Planeten aufgetreten sind? Drittens, wenn es das spätere ist, wie ist die Identität dieses Abschnitts des Planeten? Diese drei Fragen lassen sich auf eine Frage zusammenfassen: Da die Erschaffung des Universums vor den sechs Tagen der Genesis abgeschlossen ist, beginnt man jemals. Was tut Gott dann für die sechs Tage im weiteren Verlauf des Kapitels?

Die Antwort, die Sailhamer gibt, ist das Herzstück des Buches: Gott bereitet das Gelobte Land für die Besiedlung der Menschheit vor, die er am sechsten Tag ins Leben rufen wird. Nachdem Mose in Vers 1 bestätigt hat, dass Gott der Schöpfer aller Dinge ist, fährt er in Vers 2 sofort fort, um das Werk Gottes zu betonen und einen besonderen Platz innerhalb dieser Schöpfung für seine Geschöpfe vorzubereiten. Es ist die Vorbereitung eines bestimmten Landes, nicht die Erschaffung des gesamten Universums, von der in den sechs Tagen von Genesis eins berichtet wird.

Ich werde jetzt zurückgehen und versuchen, dies in drei Schritten zu zeigen, die den drei oben aufgeworfenen Fragen entsprechen. Zuerst werde ich versuchen, das 1: 2ff zu zeigen. betrifft nicht das Universum oder den Planeten Erde als Ganzes, sondern einen lokalisierten Landabschnitt innerhalb der Erde. Zweitens werde ich versuchen zu zeigen, dass Gott in den sechs Tagen der Schöpfung dieses Land für den Menschen vorbereitet und nicht erschafft . Drittens werde ich versuchen zu demonstrieren, dass dieses Land das Gelobte Land ist.

Was ist mit "Erde" in Vers 2 gemeint?

Es gibt mehrere Gründe, die belegen, dass sich die sechs Tage der Genesis nicht auf das gesamte Universum oder sogar auf den gesamten Planeten beziehen, sondern auf ein lokalisiertes Stück Land auf der Erde.

1. Mose 1: 2 schränkt den Fokus auf "das Land" ein

Erstens dient Vers 2 dazu, den Fokus der Erzählung von "den Himmeln und der Erde" (dh dem gesamten Universum), der im Mittelpunkt von Vers 1 stand, lediglich auf "die Erde" zu verlagern. Dies wird schon beim Lesen der Passage deutlich: "Am Anfang schuf Gott Himmel und Erde. Und die Erde war formlos und leer ..." Wie wir weiter unten sehen werden, beinhaltet alles, was Gott in den sechs Tagen des ersten Kapitels tut, die Umwandlung das Land aus diesem Zustand des Seins "formlos und leer". Mit anderen Worten, der Fokus verschiebt sich in Vers 2 vom Universum auf "die Erde" und der Fokus bleibt für den Rest des Kapitels "die Erde". Das Kapitel bezieht sich also nicht auf etwas, das Gott im gesamten Universum tut, sondern auf etwas, das er auf der Erde tut.

Dass "die Erde" in Vers 2 ein lokalisierter Landabschnitt ist und nicht der gesamte Planet, geht aus dem hervor, was wir zuvor über die Bedeutung des Wortes "Erde" gesehen haben. Wie wir gesehen haben, deutete das Wort "Erde" in 1. Mose 1: 2 ( Eretz ) im Allgemeinen nicht auf den großen Ball hin, auf dem wir die Sonne umkreisen. Vielmehr bedeutet eretz normalerweise einen lokalisierten Teil der Erde, nicht den gesamten Planeten, und wird daher normalerweise am besten als Land übersetzt.

Der Kontext des Schöpfungsberichts selbst legt nahe, dass wir eretz in Vers 2 als "Land" und nicht als "ganzen Planeten" interpretieren sollen. In 1. Mose 1:10 wird "Land" [ eretz ] als der trockene Boden definiert, auf dem Adam und Eva im Gegensatz zu den Meeren wohnen sollten. Sailhamer weist darauf hin, dass "die Meere nicht das" Land "bedecken, wie es der Fall wäre, wenn der Begriff" Erde "bedeuten würde. Vielmehr liegen die "Meere" neben dem "Land" und in ihm "(49). Ferner wird "Land" durch seinen Kontrast zu den Meeren (Genesis 1:10) und zum Himmel (Genesis 1:20) definiert - nicht im Gegensatz zu den Sternen und Planeten, wie dies der Fall wäre, wenn "Land" ( eretz ) wäre verwendet, um "Planet Erde" zu bedeuten. Daher gibt es im Text einen guten Präzedenzfall, um Eretz in einem eingeschränkten Sinne in Vers 2 zu verstehen. Folglich bezieht sich Vers 2 auf ein bestimmtes Stück Land und nicht auf den gesamten Planeten, den Rest des Kapitels, der Gottes Werk darüber beschreibt Land, um es bewohnt zu machen, geht es nicht um den gesamten Planeten, sondern um einen Teil des Landes innerhalb des Planeten.

Genesis 2 zeigt, dass der Fokus von Genesis 1 "das Land" ist

Zweitens wird die Tatsache, dass der Ort der Aktivität Gottes in den sechs Tagen ein lokalisierter Landabschnitt ist, durch die enge Beziehung zwischen 1. Mose Kapitel 1 und 2. Mose Kapitel 2 gestützt. Es war eine gängige literarische Strategie der Hebräer, eine allgemeine Beschreibung eines Ereignisses zu geben, gefolgt von einer genaueren Darstellung desselben Ereignisses. Zum Beispiel enthält Genesis 10 eine allgemeine Beschreibung der verschiedenen Nationen nach ihren Sprachen und Ländern, und anschließend wird in Kapitel 11 der Ursprung der verschiedenen Sprachen und Länder erläutert. Genesis 1 gibt einen allgemeinen Überblick über Gottes Werk und Genesis 2 gibt einen genaueren Überblick über dasselbe Werk. Dies zeigt sich bereits beim schnellen Lesen der Kapitel.

Es scheint also, dass es sich bei beiden Kapiteln um dieselben Ereignisse handelt, die aus unterschiedlichen Perspektiven betrachtet werden . Da es sich in Kapitel 2 eindeutig um einen lokalisierten Landabschnitt und nicht um den gesamten Planeten handelt, beziehen sich die sechs Tage in Kapitel 1 auf einen lokalisierten Landabschnitt und nicht auf den gesamten Planeten oder das gesamte Universum.

Was Gott tut in 1: 2ff

Dies bringt uns zu der zweiten Frage: Was tut Gott in 1: 2ff mit diesem Land? wenn er es nicht schafft? Die Antwort ist, dass, obwohl das Land bereits "am Anfang" erschaffen wurde - seitdem Gott alles erschaffen hat ("die Himmel und die Erde") -, das Land noch kein geeigneter Wohnort für die Menschen war Gott sollte am sechsten Tag erschaffen. Es war "formlos und nichtig" (Vers 2). Die sechs Tage sind also der Bericht darüber, wie Gott das Land für die Besiedlung des Menschen vorbereitet hat. Dafür gibt es mehrere Gründe.

Der Gedankenfluss

Erstens zeigt dies der Gedankenfluss. Wie die Erzählung in Vers 2 beginnt, ist das Land nicht nicht existent, sondern unbewohnt, von Wasser bedeckt und in Dunkelheit gehüllt (Vers 2). Dann, in Vers 1: 3-2: 1, "bringt Gott Licht und trockenes Land und füllt es mit Obstbäumen und Tieren" - was das Land nicht aus dem Nichtvorhandensein, sondern aus dem schlechten Zustand von Vers 2 heraus nimmt. "Am sechsten Tag ist das Land ein geeigneter Ort, an dem der Mann und die Frau wohnen können" (30). Das Land geht von Unordnung zu Ordnung in 1: 2ff., Nicht Nichtexistenz zu Existenz. Dies wird weiter unten noch deutlicher.

Die Bedeutung von "formlos und nichtig"

The second reason to believe that 1:2ff is the account of God preparing the land is from the meaning of the Hebrew phrase tohu wabohu in verse two, which is translated in most versions as "formless and void." Sailhamer points out that the early English translators of the Bible were influenced to a great extent by the prevailing Greek view of creation in their day and therefore thought this phrase meant that "God did not originally create the world in the condition in which we now see it. Instead, He created the universe as a shapeless mass of material, only later forming the world we now know....In this way, the biblical account of creation could be shown to be 'true' because it conformed to the generally accepted Greek cosmologies" (62). Therefore, they translated tohu wabu as "formless and void."

Many Jewish-Greek translations of the middle ages disagreed with this translation. Likewise, Jewish interpreters around the era 300-200 BC rendered tohu wabohu not as "formless and void" but as "desolate without human beings or beasts and void of all cultivation of plants and trees" (64). This early view, Sailhamer argues, is essentially correct. Tohu wabohu conveys the idea of "uninhabitable wilderness" and not "formless and void chaos." Thus, Genesis 1:2, in saying that the land was " tohu wabohu, " is simply stating that it was a deserted wilderness-and thus not yet fit for mankind's inhabitation. This, of course, presupposes its existence and focuses the readers attention on what God will do to make the land fit for man.

"Uninhabitable wilderness" is the meaning of tohu wabohu throughout the Scriptures. For example, it is this phrase which describes the wilderness in which Israel wandered for forty years before entering the promised land (Deuteronomy 32:10). Ironically, later on Jeremiah 4:23-26 uses tohu wabohu to describe the promised land after Israel has been exiled from it because of disobedience. Verse 23 says, "I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void ( tohu wabohu ); and to the heavens, and they had no light (cf. Genesis 1:2)." The following verses in Jeremiah describe the land as a wilderness (v.26-"the fruitful land was a wilderness") that is void of humans and birds (v. 25-"there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled"). Thus, the land that is said to be "formless and void" is described as an uninhabited wilderness. Which means that the land is called "formless and void" because it is an uninhabited wilderness.

Consequently, "formless and void" in Jeremiah 4:23 means "uninhabited wilderness" and not "unformed mass." Just as the land in Genesis one was a wilderness before it was made fit for man, so also Israel wandered through a wilderness to get to the land God had promised them-a land which later became a wilderness as a consequence of Israel's disobedience. As we will see, this parallel points to the fact that the "land" in Genesis 1 is specifically the promised land. For it is hard to escape the conclusion that, in calling the promised land "formless and void" after the exile of Israel, Jeremiah is alluding to Genesis 1:2 to show that this judgment upon Israel returned the land to the state it was in before mankind had existed.

In summary, the correct translation of tohu wabohu is not "formless and void, " as if the earth was an unformed mass that God's work of creation brought to its present form, but "deserted wilderness"-a phrase which presupposes the land's existence and sets the stage for what God will do to make the land inhabitable. Therefore, the six days of Genesis one are the account of how God transformed the land into a fruitful habitation for man, not the account of how he shaped the world from an unformed mass.

From "deserted" to "good"

Third, there is an interesting word play in the Hebrew which further suggests that what God is doing in 1:2ff is not creating, but transforming the land from a wilderness to a fruitful dwelling for humans. Sailhamer writes, "Even a quick reading of the Hebrew text reveals an obvious wordplay between the terms tohu ('deserted') and tob ('good'). Before God began His work, the land was 'deserted' ( tohu ); then God made it 'good' ( tob )"-that is, the opposite of deserted and thus fit for man (64). The land, thus, went from deserted to inhabited, not uncreated to created .

Because of these and other reasons we have seen, I think it is right to conclude with Sailhamer that "God does not create 'the land' in Genesis 1:2-2:4a; He has already created the land and the rest of the universe 'in the beginning' in Genesis 1:1. In the remainder of the chapter, God is at work preparing the land for human habitation" (30). This truth is perhaps made more clear by briefly looking at the details of how God prepared the land. This will probably also answer many questions that this raises.

An Exposition of Genesis 1:2-1:31

The need for the land to be prepared

To understand the structure of what God does to prepare the land for man in the six days of Genesis one, we must understand the reason the land was not originally suitable for man's inhabitation. As we saw above, verse two gives the answer: "And the earth was a deserted wilderness [not 'formless and void, ' as we have seen], and darkness was over the surface of the deep." That is, the land was (1) a wilderness and (2) uninhabited. It had no life in it (was uninhabited) because it was not fit for life (it was a wilderness)-which is probably because it was dark and covered with water.

God's method of meeting this need

The following six days explain how God transformed the land from this state into a state that was suitable for man's inhabitation. These six days may be divided into two parts. On the first set of three days God brought forth light, prepared the sky with clouds, gathered the seas together, made the ground dry, and brought forth vegetation-all so that the land would no longer be a disorderly wilderness . On the second series of three days God declared his purpose for the lights in the sky, filled the sky with birds and waters with fish, and filled the dry ground with animals-all so that the land would not be uninhabited .3

It is significant to recognize that on the first three days, when God brings the land out of its wilderness state, He focuses first on the sky (the first and second day), then on the seas (the second day), and then on the ground (the second and third day). Likewise, in the second set of three days, when God fills the land, He focuses first on the sky (the fourth and fifth days), then on the seas (the fifth day), and then on the ground (the sixth day).

The first three day period: transforming the wilderness

Day one . God's command on the first day, "let there be light, " was the decree for the sun to rise. Sailhamer writes that, "The phrase 'let there be light' doesn't have to mean 'let the light come into existence.' Elsewhere in the Bible, this same phrase is used to describe the sunrise (see Exodus 10:23; Nehemiah 8:3; Genesis 44:3)" (113). That God's command on day one did not concern the creation of light is evident from the fact that the creation of light, sun, moon, and stars would all have been included in the creation of "the heavens and the earth" in verse one. For, as we saw earlier, the phrase "heavens and earth" refers to all that exists. It is a confirmation of this understanding that, in many places in the Old Testament, the phrase "heavens and earth" is expressly shown, it seems, to include the sun, moon, and stars (see Joel 3:15-16).

While God, of course, brings about all sunrises by His decree, this sunrise is emphasized to make the point that a new work of God is commencing. On the first day, God called forth the sunlight, as He does each day, in order to "reveal His work" (113). In bringing out the implications of this, Sailhamer shows just how well this understanding of the first day fits with God's purposes in creation (Genesis 1 and 2) and redemption (Genesis 3-Revelation 22).

The description of the land in Genesis 1:2 fits well with the prophetic vision of the future. After God created the universe, the land lay empty, dark, and barren. It awaited God's call to light and life. Just as the light of the sun broke in upon the primeval darkness, hearlding the dawn of God's fist blessing (1:3), so also the prophets and the apostles mark the beginning of the new kingdom age of salvation with the light that breaks through the darkness (Isaiah 8:22-9:2; Matthew 4:13-17; John 1:5, 8-9). In that age, God's people will again enjoy the blessings of living in the promised land (Deuteronomy 30:1-5). Later biblical texts make it clear that such a vision was already at work in the composition of the first chapter of Genesis. The future messianic salvation would be marked by a flowering of the 'desert' wilderness (Isaiah 35:1-2). In the same way, in Genesis 1 God turned the 'wilderness' into the garden of Eden. God's final acts of salvation are thus foreshadowed in His initial acts of creation. The wilderness awaits its restoration. Henceforth the call to prepare for the coming day of salvation while waiting in the wilderness would become the hallmark of the prophets' vision of the future (Isaiah 40:3; Mark 1:4ff; Revelation 12:6, 14f) (110).

Day two . On the second day, God "prepared the sky with clouds to provide rain for the land. The rain would prepare the land for producing vegetation on the next day" (122). By forming clouds from the dense fog over the land, God made a wide open space between the waters below and the clouds above. This is what God decreed to happen when he said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters" (1:6). God caused clouds to form out of the deep waters that covered the land, and between the clouds above and the waters below there resulted an open space to keep them distinct-the sky.

Day three . This prepared the way for God's act on the third day of causing dry land to come forth. He did this by saying, "let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear" (1:9). Having removed the obstacle the water made to man's inhabitation of the land, God commanded the land to be filled with plants and fruit trees. As a result of God's decree, "the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit..." (1:12). This was not when God originally created vegetation. It had already been created "in the beginning" (v. 1). Rather, on this day God caused the land, which had previously been empty of vegetation, to bring forth vegetation so that it would no longer be a wilderness. After this day was over, the land was no longer a wilderness.

The second three day period: Filling the previously uninhabited land

Day four. On day four, God did not create the sun, moon, and stars (they had been created in the beginning, as we have seen), but declared the purpose for which He had created them . This is made most evident from comparing verse 6, which speaks of God bringing into existence an expanse that had not been there before, and verse 14, which speaks of God's command concerning the heavenly bodies that had been there from the beginning. While the text in verse six clearly says that God brought about an expanse that had not been there before, in verse 14 the syntax is different-which suggests that God is doing something other than bringing about what had not been there before.

Sailhamer writes that the "Hebrew verbal construction in verse 14 is significantly different from verse 6" even though

our English translations don't always reflect that difference. In the Hebrew text of verse 14, God does not say, 'Let there be lights in the expanse to separate the day and night...' as if there were no lights before His command and afterward they came into being [which is the way it was with the expanse in verse 6]. Rather according to the Hebrew text, God said, 'Let the lights in the expanse be for separating the day and night...' God's command, in other words, assumes that the lights already exist in the expanse. To be sure, there has been no mention of these 'lights' earlier in Genesis 1, but their existence is assumed in the expression 'heavens and earth' in Gen 1:1. (131-132).

Thus, on the fourth day God was not creating the sun and stars, but stating the purpose for which he had already created them "in the beginning"-to provide light on the land for man and to be measurements for keeping time. It is amazing that God had His purpose for man in mind eons earlier when He created these heavenly bodies!

But weren't the heavenly bodies already providing light before the fourth day and already capable of marking time before then? If so, isn't it kind of superfluous for God to declare His purpose for them on day four? Sailhamer explains

certainly it is true that the sun, moon, and stars were already marking the day and night. Potentially, at least, they were fit to mark the seasons, days, and years. But just as the significance of the rainbow was given long after it had been created (Genesis 9:13), so also God announced His purpose for creating the sun, moon, and stars, on the fourth day-long after they had been created.... The fact that God announced the purpose for the lights on the fourth day does not mean they had not already been performing that purpose since 'the beginning.' The point of the narrative is to show that God waited until the fourth day to explain His purpose for creating the sun, moon, and stars in 'the beginning' (134, 135).

But why, Sailhamer asks, did God wait until the fourth day to declare His purpose in making the celestial bodies? Dafür gibt es zwei Gründe. First, Moses "is intent on showing that the whole world depends on the word of God. The world owes not merely its existence to the word of God, but also its order and purpose" (134). The second reason "lies in the overall structure of the creation account" (135). As we saw above, there is a "parallel relationship between the events of the first three days and the last three days" (135). On the first set of three days, God focuses on the sky (days one and two), then the seas (day three), and then the dry ground (days three and four). On the second set of three days, God again focuses on the sky (days four and five), then the seas (day five), and then the dry ground (day six). Thus, Sailhamer writes that

Having prepared, in consecutive order, the skies, the seas, and the land on the first three days, God, on the last three days, proclaimed the purpose for those things which were to fill the skies, the seas, and the land. God waited, therefore, until the fourth day to make known His plan for the signs that were to fill the skies (135).

After declaring his purpose for the celestial bodies in verse 14-15, Moses goes on to say "And God made the two great lights...He made the stars also" (v. 16). Sailhamer writes that this verse "looks back to God's creating 'the universe' in Genesis 1:1. Verse 16 could be translated, 'So God (and not anyone else) made the lights and put them in the sky.' This does not say when God created 'the lights, ' but given the overall meaning of Genesis 1:1, it is naturally assumed that they were created 'in the beginning'" (134).

Day five . On the fifth day God populated the sky and seas that he had prepared on day two with birds and sea creatures. As with the celestial bodies, these creatures had already been created "in the beginning." But since the land had been a deserted wilderness up until this point, God had to bring forth these creatures to populate the land. The Hebrew expression translated "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures" in Genesis 1:20 is also found in Exodus 8:3 to describe the filling of the Nile with frogs when Moses stretched forth his staff. Clearly this expression in Exodus 8:3 does not mean that God created frogs for the first time at that point. Rather, it means that He populated the Nile with them. Likewise, the expression in Genesis 1:20 need not mean that God created the sea creatures for the first time on day five. In light of Genesis 1:1, we must understand it to mean that God was populating "the promised land with the various creatures that were created 'in the beginning'" (141).

Day six . Finally, on the sixth day God populated the ground he had made dry on the third day with living creatures. And it is important to remember that the purpose of God's commands for the living creatures to fill the sky, ground, and sea "is not the creation of various animals over all the earth, but the specific task of populating the land He is preparing for mankind" (139).

But this raises a problem when it comes to the creation of human beings. Since Genesis 1:1 teaches that God created the universe and all it contains (such as the species of animals which populate the land on day six) "in the beginning, " it would seem that humans also were created at this time and thus existed before God created Adam and Eve on the sixth day. Sailhamer, however, rightly points out that Genesis makes clear that humans are excepted from what God created "in the beginning." This is because, among other reasons, no genealogies in Genesis go back before Adam, but instead presuppose that he was the first man. Also, Eve is referred to as "the mother of all the living, " which suggests that all humans are ultimately descendants of her.

How long were the days?

At this point one may wonder whether Sailhamer believes the days of Genesis 1 to be twenty-four hour periods, or "ages." While he does not deal with this question in great detail, he does believe the six days to be twenty-four hour periods. There is good evidence for this understanding, especially since the days are marked off by evening and morning.

However, there are also good reasons to believe that the six days are intended by Moses to be understood as ages of unspecified duration. On this view, the "evening and morning" is understood metaphorically. In my article, "Does the Bible Teach a Young Earth, " I set forth the evidence for this view. While this evidence is persuasive to my mind at this point in time, I am nonetheless open to the understanding that the days are intended to be twenty-four hour periods.

It should be pointed out, however, that the position one adopts as to the length of the days has no bearing on whether Sailhamer's view is correct. If the days are twenty-four hour periods, then God prepared the Promised Land in six solar days. If the days are actually ages, then there would be no problem in affirming that God prepared the Promised Land over a period of six ages of unspecified length. Either view of the days works with historical creationism.

The Land of Genesis 1-2 Is the Promised Land

Now that we have seen that Genesis 1:2ff. is about the preparation of a particular land for man's inhabitation and not the creation of the entire universe or planet, we are in a position to ask, "What is the identity of this land?"

As we saw above, Genesis 2 is an account of the same events as Genesis 1 from a more specific perspective.4 Thus, since Genesis 2 concerns the land which contained the Garden of Eden, it follows that the land of Genesis 1 is the land inwhich God placed the Garden of Eden. But the answer goes even deeper than this. Sailhamer makes a solid case that the land in Genesis 1 is specifically the Promised Land. The Garden of Eden was located in the same land that God promised to give to the descendants of Abraham, and it is the preparation of this land that we are told about in Genesis 1. To establish this, I will set forth many of the arguments Sailhamer gives together with some of my own that I have discovered in my examination of the Scriptures.

The borders are the same

First, the boundaries of the land prepared for Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:10-14) are the same as the boundaries of the promised land (Genesis 15:18). This means that the promised land is the land that had been originally prepared for Adam and Eve. Sailhamer summarizes this well:

The garden of Eden extended from the 'river that flows through all the land of Cush [the Gihon] ' to the 'River Euphrates.' Since in Genesis the land of Cush is linked to Egypt (Genesis 10:6), the second river, the Gihon (Genesis 2:13), was apparently understood by the author as 'the river of Egypt'.... When we move to Genesis 15, we find that the land promised to Abraham-the promised land-is marked off by these same two rivers, the Euphrates and the River of Egypt (Genesis 15:18)....When the general boundaries are compared, it becomes clear that the writer of the Pentateuch intends us to identify the two locations with each other. God's promise of the land to the patriarchs is thus textually linked to His original 'blessing' of all humanity in the garden of Eden (72).

What is even more astounding is that, since the land originally prepared for Adam and Eve was the land later promised to Abraham, "the events of [Genesis 1-3] foreshadow the events of the remainder of the Pentateuch" and Old Testament (15). In Genesis 1-3, God prepared a land for His people, Adam and Eve, and gave it to them on condition that they would obey him. They disobey and are thus expelled from the Garden. Later, God promises to Abraham's descendants a land, and gives it to them upon condition that they obey him. But, as the Pentateuch predicts, they eventually disobey and, like Adam and Eve, are banished. Not until God brings forth the New Covenant will God's people finally be restored to the land, remain faithful to God, and therefore remain safe in the land forever.

The locations with respect to "the east" are the same

The fact that judgment is represented by going east from both the Garden of Eden and the promised land indicates that they are the same land. In the author's mind, the Garden and Promised Land seem to represent the blessing of a homeland because they are prepared as places where His people would dwell in blessing and peace. Likewise, east of the Garden and Promised Land seems to represent the judgment of exile from a homeland because it is to the east that God exiled both Adam and Israel for disobedience (Genesis 3:24; Jeremiah 52:12-16). Thus, it would seem that the parallel the author of the Pentateuch is drawing is intended to show that the Garden and Promised Land are the same land because they were both prepared as homelands for God's people, and exile from both takes one to the east.

This can be made even more evident. The city of Babylon, which is to the east of the promised land and is where Israel was exiled to, has a reputation in the Bible for wickedness and judgment. It gained this reputation in Genesis 11 because it was built out of humanity's prideful desire to make a name for themselves (Genesis 11:4). It retained this reputation until the end (Revelation 17). Likewise, the Promised Land has a reputation in the Bible for purity and blessing. It has this reputation because it is where God desires to plant His faithful people and make them prosper if they obey and keep themselves pure (Deuteronomy 30:16). The contrasting reputations of Babylon and the Promised Land help us see why God blesses His people by keeping them in the land when they keep themselves pure through obedience, and judges His people by removing them from the land when they make themselves impure through disobedience.

What is significant here is that, like the Promised Land, the land God prepared for Adam and Eve was a land for their blessing if they remained pure. And just as Babylon is the specific city which is to the east of the Promised Land, so also Babylon was built when humanity moved east from the land that is the focus of Genesis 1-11. In Genesis 11:1 we read "the whole earth used the same language and the same words." "Whole earth" here doesn't mean the entire planet, but "whole land" because verse two speaks of them journeying east. It would indeed be odd for this verse to read "And it came about as they [the whole planet] journeyed east, that they [the whole planet] found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there." Thus, it seems that "whole earth" in 11:1 is best understood as "whole land."

But what land is the author speaking of? It seems it is the land that had been prepared for man in Genesis 1 and 2 because it appears Genesis 11 is intended as a parallel to the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden. Just as they sinned and were cast out eastward, so also the people of the land traveled eastward to manifest their sin by making a name for themselves. Thus, it seems that the author here understands Babylon to be east of the land God had originally prepared for Adam and Eve. Since Babylon is also the city which is east of the Promised Land, it seems that the Promised Land is the land that had originally been prepared for Adam and Eve.

The entrances to both the Garden and the Promised Land were guarded by an angel

Next, it is signficant that the entrance to both the Garden of Eden and the Promised Land is guarded by an angel. When Adam and Eve were cast out, God stationed at the east of Eden a "cherubim....to guard the way to the tree of life" (3:24). Likewise, when Jacob returned to the promised land from the east he was met by angels of God (Genesis 32:1-2), and finally had to wrestle with an angel in order to reenter the land (32:22-32). Finally, Joshua also encountered angels as he entered the promised land (Joshua 5:13-15). It is hard to escape the notion that the author marked the exit of the Garden of Eden and the entrance of the Promised land with an angel to show that to enter the Promised Land is to "return to Eden." Thus, God's giving of the Promised Land to Israel aims at restoring humanity to His original purposes for us.

Jeremiah 4:23-26 sees the promised land in Genesis 1

Jeremiah 4:23-26 refers to the state of the promised land after God's judgment on Israel for their sins, which invovled destroying the land and casting Israel away from the land into exile. That this verse is about the promised land is evident from the context, which concerns the destruction that God is bringing upon the land where Israel dwells--not the whole planet. Thus, due to the context, "earth" in this passage must mean "promised land."

What is astounding here is that the description of the promised land in Jeremiah 4:23-26 after it had been destroyed on account of man parallels the description of "the land" in Genesis 1:2 before it had been prepared for man:

"I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void ; and to the heavens, and they had no light " (Jeremiah 4:23). "And the earth was formless and void, and darknes was over the surface of the deep...Then God said, 'Let there be ligh t'; and there was light" (Genesis 1:2-3).

The phrase translated as "formless and void" in Jeremiah 4:23 is the same phrase translated as "formless and void" in Genesis 1:2. This is a striking parallel, especially when we recognize that in both passages the phrase is used to describe "the earth." Further, like the promised land in Jeremiah 4:23, the land in Genesis 1:2 is also said to be dark. The difference is that when God prepared the land for Adam and Eve it went from dark to light, but when He exiled Israel from"the land" it went from light to dark. The exile of Israel from the land was a reversal of the preparation of the land for Adam and Eve.

Further, Jeremiah 4:25 announces that after God's judgment on Israel the promised land was deserted: "I looked, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled." Likewise, before the land of Genesis 1:2 had been prepared for man, it was deserted. When God seeks to bless man in the land, the land is made fruitful (cf. Isaiah 35:1-10;51:3; Ezekiel 36:35; Genesis 1:2-2:1). But when man sins and brings down God's curse, he is exiled from the land and the land is made into a wilderness like it was before it had been prepared for man: "I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a wilderness " (v 26; cf. Genesis 3:17-19, 24).

Thus, since the land in Jeremiah 4:23-26 is the promised land, it is likely that, due to the parallels with Genesis 1:2, the land in Genesis 1:2 is also the promised land. It seems that, by alluding to Genesis 1:2, Jeremiah is trying to highlight the tragedy of Israel's sin by pointing out that the judgment of God on Israel for their sins puts the promised land back into the state it was before it had even been prepared for man. Israel's sin is a great tragedy because it resulted in their homeland being made as if there were no humans to bless--just as there were no humans to bless yet in Genesis 1:2. The expulsion of Israel from the Promised Land is a reversal of the preparation of the land for Adam and Eve.

It is also significant to note that just as before Adam and Eve inhabited the Garden it was a "wilderness" (Genesis 1:2), Israel's time of waiting to enter the promised land is depicted as a wandering in the "wilderness" (Deuteronomy 32:10). As Sailhamer draws out, "God's people must go through the wilderness to reach the promised land . Likewise, when Israel disobeyed and was expelled from the land, it once again became 'uninhabitable' ( tohu ) (Jeremiah 4:23-26)" (65).

Jeremiah 27:5 sees the Promised Land in Genesis 1

Jeremiah 27:5 also understands Genesis 1 as an account of the preparation of the promised land. In this verse, which scholars generally recognize as a reference to the account of Genesis 1, God says, "I have made the earth, the men and the beasts which are on the face of the earth by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and I will give it to the one who is pleasing in My sight."

First, it is evident from the statement "I have made the earth" that this verse is a reference to the events of Genesis 1 and 2, for that is the account where God makes the earth. Second, we know that this passage "refers to Gen 1:2-2:4a and not Genesis 1:1" because "Jeremiah used the Hebrew term "to make" ( asah ) and not the term "to create" ( bara )" (54). Thus, this passage is not a reference to the creation ( bara ) of the heavens and earth (Genesis 1:1), but to the preparation ( asah ) of "the earth" (Genesis 1:2ff).

Third, "the earth" here is not a reference to the whole planet, but to the promised land. This is evident from the context. In verses 3-4, God tells Jeremiah to have a message sent to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon. The content of this message, which begins in verse 5 and continues through verse 14, is basically that their lands will be given to Nebuchadnezzar and that they must submit to him. Because of the false prophets who are saying that they will not have to serve the king of Babylon (vv. 9-10), God establishes at the beginning of the message the reason He has the authority to give their lands over to Nebuchadnezzar (v. 5). The reason He gives is that He "made the land" and therefore "will give it to the one who is pleasing in My sight." Thus, it seems that since verse five establishes the reason God has the authority to give the land of the kings mentioned in verse three to Nebuchadnezzar, the "land" mentioned in verse three is the land where the kings listed in verse three reside. And a brief glance at a Bible map reveals that that land is the promised land.

This case is strengthened by verse six where God identifies the land that he spoke of in verse five with the land that He was going to give to Nebuchadnezzar. Whereas verse five established the right God has to give "the land" to whoever He wants, verse six says that God actually is going to give "the land" to Nebuchadnezzar. Thus, the land spoken of in verse six appears to be the same land which God said He "made" in verse five. And the land spoken of in verse six, which he was about to give to Nebuchadnezzar, was the "lands" of Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon. All of these "lands, " as we mentioned above, are actually "lands" within the promised land. Thus, the land of verse six that God is going to give to Nebuchadnezzar (and therefore the land of verse five, which is the land God prepared in Genesis 1) is the land of Ammon, Tyre, Sidon, Edom, and Moab, which is the promised land. Further, we know from later biblical history (such as Jeremiah 52:12-16) that the land which God gave to Nebuchadnezzer was specifically the Promised Land, for he was the rod of God's judgment used to remove Israel from their land for disobdience. Thus, when Jeremiah 27:5 looks back on the events of Genesis one, it sees them as an account of the preparation of the promised land.

Exodus 20:11 sees the Promised Land in Genesis 1

It is becoming apparent that "later interbiblical interpretation clearly saw the promised land as the focus of the creation account" (53). Exodus 20:11 is yet another verse which understands the six days of Genesis 1 as a reference to the preparation of the promised land: "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day..."

It might first appear that the opposite is the case, for doesn't the term "heavens and earth, " as we saw earlier, refer to the entire universe? And doesn't this verse say that God created the "heavens and the earth" in six days, not an unspecified period of time? If this was the case, it would clearly mean that the six days of Genesis 1 are the account of God's creation of the entire universe and not preparation of the promised land as I maintain.

Exodus 20:11 does not teach that the entire universe is the scope of God's work in the six days of Genesis 1 . Sailhamer resolves the apparent difficulty raised by the reference to the "heavens and the earth" in Exodus 20:11 very well. Er schreibt:

...this passage in Exodus does not use the merism 'heavens and earth' to describe God's work of six days. Rather, it gives us a list of God's distinct works during the six days....That list refers to God's work in Genesis 1:2-2:4, not to His creation of the universe in Genesis 1:1. Exodus 20:11 does not say God created 'the heavens and earth' in six days; it says God made three things in six days-the sky, the land, and the seas-and then filled them during that same period (106).

Thus, Exodus 20:11 does not state that the six days concern the entire universe, but the "sky, the land, the sea, and all that is in them." It is interesting that the list of four things in Ex 20:11 corresponds exactly to what God made in Gen 1:2ff. First, he prepared the sky. Then He prepared the seas. And then He prepared the ground. This was the first three days. This corresponds to the statement that "in six days the Lord made [not the heavens and the earth, but] the heavens, the earth, the sea..." In the remaining three days, he filled these three things. This corresponds to the statement that after preparing the sky, the land, and the sea God made "all that is in them."

Exodus 20:11 does not see the six days of Genesis 1 as creation, but as prepration. So we see that Exodus 20:11 is not stating that God's creation of the entire universe occured over a six day period, but that his work on the sky, ground, and sea occurred over a six day period. That this is a reference to the preparation of the sky, land, and seas for man and not their creation is evident from their use of the word "made" and not "created." The word "created" is used in Genesis 1:1. But the word "made, " which is used here,

means the same as the English expression 'to make' a bed. Elsewhere in the Bible the same Hebrew word is used to describe cutting one's fingernails (deut 21:12), washing ones feet (2 Samuel 19:25), and trimming one's beard (2 Samuel 19:24)....The word means to put something in good order, to make it right. Thus, Ex 20 actually seems to support the view that Gen 1:2ff. refers to the preparation, not creation, of the land.

Exodus 20:11 sees the scope of God's work in the six days of Genesis 1 as the Promised Land. Having seen, then, that Exodus 20:11 does not see the six days of Genesis 1 as the creation of the universe but the preparation of the sky, sea, and ground, the question becomes whether the text specifically identifies the location of God's work during these six days as the Promised Land. That it does is evident by comparing it with Jeremiah 27:5 (which we will see also strengthens our case that Jeremiah 27:5 is a reference to the promised land).

After commanding Israel to keep the Sabbath in Exodus 20:8-10, God then gives the reason in verse 11: "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day..." The next commandment, given in verse 12, is to honor one's father and mother. And the reason for this commandment is "that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you." The "land which the Lord your God gives you" is by definition the promised land.

So we see that the command to keep the Sabbath is based on the fact that God is the one who made the sky, land, and ground. And we also see that the keeping of the command to honor one's father and mother is to be motivated by the fact that God is the one who gives the promised land to whom He wants. So what land is at the foundation of the command for a Sabbath rest? Most likely, the same land that lies at the foundation of the next command to honor one's father and mother-namely, "the land which the Lord your God gives you, " which is the promised land. In other words, the sky, seas, and ground of verse 11 are those of the promised land which is referred to in verse 12.

The correlation in Jeremiah 27:5 between God's preparing the land and God's giving the land is significant: "I have made the land...and I will give it to the one who is pleasing in My sight." This seems to be the same correlation we find in Exodus 20:11-12. God prepared the land (v. 11) and God gives the land (v. 12) Like Jeremiah 27:5, Exodus 20:11-12 stresses that God made the land, and God gives the land. Thus, if one of these passages is referring to the promised land, it seems that the other must be as well.

The Theme of the Petateuch reveals the land to be the focus in Genesis 1:2ff

The word translated "earth" in 1:2 ( eretz ) not only normally means "land" instead of the whole planet (as we have already seen), but "usually refers specifically to the land promised to Abraham (Genesis 15:18)" (50). It seems that a reader familiar with the theme of the Pentateuch would naturally understand "land" in this sense in Genesis 1:2 because "the central theme of the Pentateuch is the Sinai Covenant and God's gift of the land" (52).

And if the "land" in verse two is the promised land, then it follows that the six days of creation are the account of God's activity on this same land because, as we saw above, verse two "sets the stage for the account of God's actions in the remainder of the chapter. It turns the reader's attention away from the universe as a whole and onto the promised land, which is the central setting of the remainder of the Pentateuch" (109). "Unfortunately, " he writes elsewhere, "by not rendering eretz in Genesis 1:1-2 as 'land, ' our English translations have blurred the connection of these early verses of Genesis to the central theme of the land in the Pentateuch" (52).

To make this argument more firm, two things must be made more evident. First, we must show why, if the central theme of the Pentateuch is the giving of the land, it would lead one to conclude that it is this same land that is referred to in verse two. Second, we must establish that the giving of the land is indeed the central theme of the Pentateuch.

How the theme of the Pentateuch uncovers the meaning of Genesis 1:2. First, the reason a reader familiar with the central theme of the Pentateuch as the giving of the promised land would see the "land" mentioned in 1:2 as the promised land is because Genesis 1-3 "present a general description of the world in which the subsequent historical events will take place. They set the stage" for the events of the remainder of the Pentateuch (81).

These chapters set the stage for the remainder of the chapter because, at the end of the sixth day, Adam and Eve have been provided with a homeland. This is obvious whether or not one views chapters one and two as a reference to the promised land. But the concept of a homeland for God's people is at the center of both the Covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15:18) and the Covenant made at Sinai (Deut 5:32-33). So the concept of a "homeland" is a central concern of the three major events of the Pentateuch: Creation, the Abrahamic Covenant, and the Exodus and Sinai Covenant. Since the same homeland is in view in these later two events-the Abrahamic Covenant and Sinai Covenant-it would naturally follow that the same homeland is also in view in the creation account.

In other words, it would naturally follow that the creation account is setting the context in which to understand the other two major events that concern a "homeland"-especially since had man not lost his homeland to begin with he would not need to be provided with a homeland through the covenant with Abraham and the covenant at Sinai. Thus, Sailhamer draws out the relationship between the events of creation and the theme of the Sinai covenant as the giving of a land for God's people upon the condition that they obey:

Each of these central themes of the Sinai Covenant finds its initial statement in the opening chapters of Genesis. The Covenant is grounded in the events of creation. The author for Genesis 1 wants to show that the stretch of land which God promised to give Israel in the Sinai Covenant-the land where Abraham and his family sojourned, the land of Canaan-was the same land God had prepared for them at the time of creation. It was in that land that God first blessed mankind and called upon men and women to obey him. It was in that land that the Tree of Life once grew and God provided for man's good and kept him from evil. In the narrative of Genesis 1, we are thus given and account of God's original purposes with humanity" (83).

Second, a reader familiar with the theme of the Pentateuch would understand "the land" in verse two as the promised land because the same process that leads to this understanding of "the land" in verse two is intended to lead to the proper understanding of "God" in verse one.

Like "the land" in verse two, "God" in verse one is left largely undefined. We understand what the author means by God in verse one largely from our understanding of what we are told about God in the rest of the Bible. So just as the reader is to fill the word "God" in 1:1 with the meaning that is given this word throughout the Pentateuch, so also it seems that the author intends that we understand the "land" in verse in light of the central theme of the Pentateuch. The mention of God in verse one would prompt the question, "Who is that?" The answer is clearly, "The One who is the central focus of the rest of the book of Genesis and the rest of the Pentateuch." This would prompt the realization that God is not only God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but also God of all creation. Likewise, the mention of "the land" in verse two would prompt the question "Which land?" And the answer would likewise seem to be, "The one that is the central focus of the rest of the book of Genesis and the rest of the Pentateuch." This, then, would prompt the realization that when God promised a land to Abraham and his descendants, it was not the first time God had sought to bless mankind in a land. Rather, God was taking action to establish one of His original goals in creation.

The giving of the Promised Land is a central theme of the Pentateuch. From these two reasons it is evident why, if a central theme of the Pentateuch is the giving of the land, a reader familiar with this would, at the author's design, understand the "land" in Genesis 1:2ff as the Promised Land. That the Promised Land is a central theme of the Pentateuch is evident from the fact that the two main covenants with which the storyline of the Pentateuch focuses on-the Abrahamic and Sinai Covenants-have the giving of the Promised Land at their center. Thus, it seems that the author intends that a reader familiar with the theme of the Pentateuch see the "land" in Genesis 1:2 as the Promised Land.

The Glorious Unifying Function of the Land

For all of these reasons, it seems solid to conclude that historical creationism is correct. Genesis 1:1 declares that God created the entire universe in a period of time that is left unspecified. Genesis 1:2 shifts the focus from the universe as a whole to the Promised Land at some point after God had finished creating the universe. The six days of Genesis one, therefore, are the account of God preparing the Promised Land for mankind.

This reveals that one of the main aims of the author in Genesis one and two is to establish that the God of the covenant is the God of creation . The God who prepared the land promised in the covenant (1:2ff) is the same God who created the universe (1:1). Therefore, the members of the covenant have a mighty God who is above all other gods.

By making the connection--by means of the land--between creation and the covenants, Genesis one through two not only call attention to the greatness of God, but also set the stage for what the rest of the Bible has to say about the greatness ofGod. Because the land is not only a unifying theme among the covenants, but also what unifies the covenants with creation (because they all concern the same land), there is a deeper unity among God's purposes in creation and redemption. When we see this, a glorious tapestry of God's mighty works in the Bible unfolds before our eyes.

In an attempt to behold this glory, I will rehearse the main events God used to bring Israel to the Promised Land. Doing so will not only highlight the glorious implications the centrality of the land in both creation and redemption has, but will also serve to confirm our conclusion that the giving of the land is a central theme of the Pentateuch.

The Covenant with Abraham and the Land Promised in it is Central to the Story of the Pentateuch

This is evident from a general knowledge of salvation history. God calls Abraham out of his land of idolatry (Genesis 12:1) to bless him so that he will be a blessing (v. 2) and as a means to this promises to make him a great nation (Genesis 12:2). This promise is initially fulfilled in the creation of the earthly nation of Israel from Abraham's descendants, who serve as the main characters in the Pentateuch from Genesis 12 on. In addition to this, the promise of a land was a key element of the covenant (Genesis 12:1, 7)-which is evident from the fact that from Genesis 12 to Deuteronomy 32 the main story concerns how God brought Israel to this land.

The means God used to bring Israel into the land promised to them is an intricate story which reveals God's wisdom and what His ultimate goal in the Abrahamic covenant is. When God originally made the covenant with Abraham, he informed him that before his earthly descendants would be blessed of God in the promised land, they would first "be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years" (Genesis 15:13).

This prophecy was not merely a prediction of what would happen, but a declaration of what God would do. This is evident from the events that followed. When Abraham's grandson Jacob, through which the nation of Israel was to come, had descendants numbering about seventy, God brought about a severe famine in the land as the means of positioning Israel in Egypt. Having already sent Joseph to Egypt far ahead of time as the means of maintaining a great reserve of food so that many would be preserved alive (Genesis 50:20), God used the famine to bring the other descendants of Jacob to join Joseph in Egypt because Egypt is where the food was that God had provided to keep them alive. It is striking to realize that God did this, and even told them to go (Genesis 46:3), even though He had already said that they would eventually become slaves in the land (Genesis 15:13; Exodus 1:11). The implication is that Israel's slavery in Egypt was orchestrated by God to put Israel in a place to behold the mighty works of God on their behalf.

The Sinai Covenant Sought to Bring Israel into the Land Promised in the Abrahamic Covenant

Thus, God did not forget His promise to bring the nation of Israel to the Promised Land. He still remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob after four hundred years (Exodus 2:24) and raised up Moses to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt and bring them into the promised land (Exodus 3:8). After bringing Israel out of Egypt, he made a covenant with them which centered on the book of the law (Exodus 22:7-8) and in which, as Sailhamer writes, He "vowed to give them the 'land' He had promised to their forefathers. He promised to bless them in that land, to give them rest and peace, and ultimately to dwell with them in that land."

Thus, the giving of the land was a central promise of the Sinai (or Old) Covenant (Deuteronomy 1:5-8). That the land is central to the Sinai Covenant is also shown by the fact that Israel's obedience to the law given in that covenant was "the only condition God placed on their enjoyment of the land. If they disobeyed, Israel would be cast out of the land and go into exile (Deuteronomy 4:25-26)." But if they obeyed, they would live long in the land (Deuteronomy 30:16-20). The problem with the Old Covenant was that Israel did not have renewed hearts that wanted to obey God (Deuteronomy 29:4). Thus, eventually Israel was persistently disobedient and thus cast out of the land. This is the same reason that Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden (Genesis 3).

The New Covenant Established the Aim of the Abrahamic Covenant and Secures Us in the Land

So the Old Covenant was not enough to keep Israel in the land because it was not able to be fulfilled due to the hardness of the human heart. This did not, however, abort God's purpose to give the descendants of Abraham the land. Instead, it revealed what God's true purpose was all along in the Sinai Covenant-to show our sinfulness so that we would see the need for the New Covenant.

That the Sinai covenant was not the Covenant that God intended to use to bring the promise of blessing and a land for Abraham's descendants to ultimate fulfillment is evident from Galatians 3, which teaches that the blessing of Abraham is salvation through Christ, and that it is through the Abrahamic Covenant, not the Sinai Covenant, that this blessing comes to us (Galatians 3:8, 17-18). The Sinai covenant was a servant to the Abrahamic covenant because it was our "tutor" to show us our sinfulness and thus lead us to justification by faith in Christ, who was the seed of Abraham (3:24). As such, it was only ever intended to be temporary and a means to demonstrating the supremacy of the Abrahamic Covenant which had been made before it (3:15-19).

The Abrahamic Covenant, then, is not fulfilled by the Old Covenant. Rather, the Old Covenant was intended to point to another Covenant-a Covenant in which the Abrahamic Covenant would be fulfilled.

This New Covenant is not explicitly mentioned in the Pentateuch, but is foreshadowed in the fact that the Sinai covenant is predicted to fail at keeping Israel in the land (Deuteronomy 31:14-22). After this failure came to pass, the New Covenant was promised in the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Isaiah.

Looking back on the failure of the Old Covenant, which was made with ethnic Israel, and the success of the New Covenant, which was made not with ethnic Israel but those who believe in Christ and aims at fulfilling the promise made to Abraham, much light is shed on exactly what God was promising in the Abrahamic Covenant. First, we see that the true descendantsof Abraham are not those who are physically descended from him, but those who believe in Christ (Galatians 3:7). Thus, God's promise in the Abrahamic Covenant was not to give all physical descenants of Abraham the land, but to give the land to all of those who, like Abraham, believe in Christ. This is one reason why the failure of the Old Covenant to keep ethnic Israel in the land did not abort God's purpose in the Abrahamic Covenant.

Second, we see that the land which God aims to give to the spiritual descendents of Abraham is not merely an earthly dwelling, but a heavenly dwelling. The land promised to Abraham is not merely a section of land that is of this creation, it is a section of land that we will possess in the new creation-that is, once the heavens and the earth are renewed! The promised land is the land that God originally prepared for Adam and Eve. But it is that land as it will be once God renews this creation from the effects of the fall and joins heaven and earth together as one (Revelation 21-22).

To see this, notice the parallels between the elements of God's covenant to Abraham in Genesis 17, and the elements of the New Covenant stated in Jeremiah 32. The New Covenant contains the same promises as those of the Abrahamic covenant because it is the true fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. But by seeing how the promise to Abraham concerning the land is interpreted in the promises of the New Covenant, a flood of light is shed on the land God had actually promised in the Abrahamic Covenant.

The covenant with Abraham. "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants afer you. And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojourning, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession ; and I will be their God " (Genesis 17:7-8). The New Covenant. "And they shall be My people, and I will be their God ; and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good, and for the good of their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me. And I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul" (Jeremiah 32:40-41).

The first passage above concerns God's covenant with Abraham: "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants." The second passage concerns the New Covenant: "And I will make an everlasting covenant withthem." This is the covenant spoken about in Jeremiah 31:31-32 of which God says, "Behold, days are coming...when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand out of Egypt, My covenant which they broke." The New Covenant, then, replaces the Old Covenant (cf. Hebrews 8), but does not replace the Abrahamic Covenant because, like the New Covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant is said to be eternal. What this means is that the New Covenant is the fulfillment, or perhaps reaffirmation, of the Abrahamic Covenant. Therefore, we should expect that they include the same promises. This is exactly what we see in these texts.

In both Covenants, God promises that the descendants of Abraham (which we know from Galatians 3 to be Christians, not ethnic Jews) will be His people and that He will be their God . That the New Covenant is made with the descendants of Abraham is evident from Jeremiah 31, which says the New Covenant is made "with the house of Israel and the house of Judah." Notice also that these two covenants are not only both made with the descendants of Abraham, but both contain the promise of the land.

The New Covenant as it is expressed in Jeremiah 32 explains how it is that God will keep us faithful to His covenant so that we will never be expelled from the land, as happened to Israel under the Old Covenant. God will keep us faithful because He will put the fear of Himself in our hearts so that we will not turn away from Him. And He promises to never turn away from us. This is what the Old Covenant lacked-the power to follow God. But the power that the Old Covenant did not give is given by the New Covenant. Therefore, the Old Covenant did not keep ethnic Israel in the land, but the New Covenant will keep spiritual Israel in the land forever.

Finally, the expression of the New Covenant in Jeremiah sheds fuller light on the identity of the land God had promised to Abraham. Notice that it is the same land promised to Abraham that God promises once again to plant His spiritual descendants in. But from the revelation of the New Testament, we know that God is not merely going to give Christians the land of Israel. Rather, we know that He is going to renew the entire universe, the "heavens and the earth, " cleansing it from all wickedness and making all things new. Thus, the "land" that God promises to give us forever in Jeremiah 32 is the promised land as it will be in the New Heavens and New Earth . This is the dwelling God promises to give Christians. And since the New Covenant brings to fulfillment the Abrahamic Covenant, they both have the same land in view. Thus, the land promised to Abraham is the land from the Euphrates to River of Egypt as it will be in the Renewed Heavens and Earth! God's plan to restore His people in the renewed heavens and earth to the land they had lost at creation was already revealed way back in His promise to Abraham!

The Deep Unity of God's Plans

What does all this show? It shows that God's purposes remain the same from creation through redemption and into the new creation. God's purposes have never changed and will be established. And the foundation of this truth is laid in Genesis one. "By establishing a connection between the promised land and the garden of Eden, the Genesis narratives reveal something quite important about God and His purposes in creation. They tell us that God's purposes remain the same. What He has accomplished in creation He will do again in His covenant promises" (p. 73). The author of Genesis accomplishes this in showing "that the Sinai Covenant and God's call of Abraham have as their ultimate goal the establishment of God's original purposes in creation. God intended from the beginning that His people find blessing and peace in 'the land' He provided for them" (p. 84).

This ties together in greater unity the covenants of redemption with the original state of man and his consequent fall from that state. When mankind fell from fellowship with God, God took action to redeem man and restore Him to the land through His covenants. The covenants seek to redeem man from His fall by bringing God's redeemed people back into the land which he had lost in his fall in a renewed creation !

The first thing we read of in the Bible is God's creation of the entire universe. The next thing we read is that, after the universe was finished, the land God had destined for Adam and Eve was a deserted wilderness (Genesis 1:2). God then prepared this special land for mankind to dwell in, but they soon fell from a right relationship with God through disobedience and were exiled from the land.

Thousands of years later, in the Abrahamic Covenant, God promised to restore Abraham's spiritual descendants to this land. After letting Israel be enslaved in Egypt for hundreds of years, God began to fulfill this promise and led them to the land. And just as the land was a deserted wilderness before it had been prepared for Adam and Eve, so also Israel wandered through the wilderness before entering to conquer (prepare?) the land (Deuteronomy 32:10).

The Old Covenant thus brought God's people back to the land for a time, but soon resulted in a repetition of what happened to mankind the first time he had been given the land. Israel sinned persistently against God and was thus exiled from the land, to the east, in judgment-just as had happened to Adam and Eve. The fall of man in Genesis 3, thus, foreshadowed what would happen in the Old Covenant. Hence, we see that God's plan for the Old Covenant was to point the way to the New Covenant by showing that a mighty work of God on our hearts is necessary for our salvation.

In this New Covenant, then, which was purchased by Christ's death, God is bringing to infallible fulfillment the promise to Abraham that had not been successfully fulfilled by the Old Covenant. And that promise to Abraham was God's promise to restore Abraham's descendants to the land they had lost in the fall.

The unity God has established between creation and redemption, by means of the Promised Land, truly magnifies the riches of his wisdom and the inscrutability of his ways. And by understanding the rich history of the Promised Land not only in redemption, but creation as well, the land where we are heading as Christians and where we will worship Christ in the renewed heavens and earth (Isaiah 2:1-4; 66:18-24) takes on a much more profound and fascinating significance.


Anmerkungen

1 See his excellent defense of this affirmation in Appendix 1, pp. 227-245.

2 See my article "The Days of Creation" for a summary of the evidence for an old earth.

3 I recognize that these categories may be too rigid. But I think that they do, in general, demonstrate the structure of the passage.

4 Sailhamer writes that "It is likely that the author intended a connection to be drawn between God's furnishing the land with fruit trees in chapter 1 [verses 9-11] and His furnishing the garden with trees 'good for food' in chapter 2. This is yet another clue that the two accounts in Genesis 1 and 2 are indeed about the same work of creation and that the 'land' of chapter 1 should be understood as the 'garden' of chapter 2" (127).

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1977, by the Lockman Foundation.

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