Old Testament


Creation – Discussion Questions

Interpretation Questions:

  1. How do the many similarities with Babylonian creation stories affect our understanding of Genesis 1?
  2. How much of Genesis 1 should we use to determine our current worldview?
  3. Why do we tell creation stories? What larger cultural purpose do they serve?

Application Questions:

  1. Dr. Baden mentioned “the impact of translation” in this week’s video. As you reflect on this problem, how do the word choices in your translation impact the way you envision the creation narrative?
  2. What do you think is the relationship between the science of creation and the story as recorded in Genesis? What problems, if any, does this present for your theological understanding of creation?
  3. The “Image of God” is a common phrase in many communities.  How has your own imagined image of God changed throughout your life? Do you agree with Dr. Collins that humanity represents God on Earth?
  4. Does Genesis 1 inform the way you view gender equality in modern life?

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Take notes on this lesson

5 Notes

  1. roscoe

    As Robert Fitzgerald writes, “If you want to read Homer, learn ancient Greek.” I am now reading Alter and it is the best I have read so far, but I cling to the KJ for its poetry. Any translation is the back side of a tapestry.
    Oh, I don’t go down the rabbit trail of the actual creation. Began something and it evolved. Still is.
    We are an image–that’s it. No more, but no less. A hedge fund if you will.
    Gender in Genesis is not ever something I think is possible to study.

  2. roscoe

    The Bible is a book of 66 chapters written in the Middle East, so all of that area is part of its writing. Can’t separate the parts entirely.
    We can use as much of Genesis as we want to have a world view, but that would present serious problems.
    It is a good book explaining things. But we have warped it, too. For example, how has such a good man as Esau be given such a horrible reputation. He tells his conniving brother, “I have enough.” A good man, the red one.

  3. Sherry Liebisch

    3. people would like to know how things are made or creation on earth.
    they don’t it’s the same no matter what.

  4. Sherry Liebisch

    4. not in my apinion , to me god was just making people and a mate for adam.

  5. Ethan Tyler

    The similarities between Genisis 1 and Mesopotamian stories speak to the wider social and cultural milieu of the ancient Levant. They mention a difference between two creation stories within the Genesis, the first dealing with a sort of watery creation and the second detailing creation around the Garden and explaining man’s role in tilling the soil of the Earth. Both of these stories seem to have relations to other traditions. Within the watery abyss as they say, we have similarities of the Enuma Elish and Marduk’s fight with Tiamat to calm the watery formless chaos. Also, as they brought up, the creation of humanity as tillers for the garden also seems to parallel the creation of man to replace the Igigi gods as tillers of the soil in Sumerian/Akkadian myths. Nothing seems 1-to-1, but there are very general themes or ideas that connect the practitioners of ancient Mesopotamian and Canaanite religions. After all, Abraham is supposedly from Ur, plus the conquest of Palestine by the Neo-Assyrians, and not to mention the exilic periods in Babylon itself. Surely streams mix and narratives will share some similarities.
    In Genisis 1 also we get a “terse” creation, as Dr. Collins calls it. Which seems apt. There isn’t a stoooory really, especially when compared to the Garden narrative. Rather, Genesis 1 is a check-marked portrayal of events. Perhaps it was simply a memory guide, or a “de-mythologized” account of creation to juxtapose to a possible other ancient hypothetical account with more action or agency, but I do find this almost bare-bones portrayal of events to be very interesting in its terseness.

    I will admit, I enjoy the KJV for its flair, and its vast effect on the English language. Are there “better” translations out there? Yes, probably, but I do tend to enjoy this one haha.
    Also I view that any translation, may it be “more” or “less” accurate, is still an act of artistry and creation and I don’t view it as an inherently flawed or vastly inferior product. But, that being said, there will of course be differences in how wording is approached. Like the example they give, with “In the beginning”/”In the beginning when”, that will change how one envisions (or really attempts to envision) creation as process. And how to translate, or even understand, the “tohu wa bohu” phrasing of the murky primeval depths: without form and void, formless and empty, chaos and waste. All of these translations carry a sort of emotional or contextual difference (at least to me).