Roots of the Bible An ancient view for a new outlook

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Roots of the Bible An ancient view for a new outlook

Part One: The Universe of the Word

Counting to Four

The tale of creation in the Bible faces many people with a number of problems. To illustrate our approach to the subject I selected the first two chapters. And I shall for the present leave the standards of science and history out of consideration. Let us begin with merely noticing what it says in the Book and try to discover in it some sort of systematic order. Such order may well indicate the presence of a leading thought and give it structural support.

When reading the tale we are struck at once by opposites forming a duality. Thus at the very beginning there are the two extremes of heaven and earth. In each of the next six days in which creation is completed according to the biblical story we again meet with sets of opposites. The first day there is that between light and darkness. The second day the waters under the firmament are divided from the waters above the firmament. The third day we first see the waters as opposed to dry land and afterwards on the same day a division is made in primeval life, plantlife, between the herb yielding seed and the tree yielding fruit.

This principle is carried on in the fourth, fifth and sixth days. In the fourth day there is the great light for the day and the lesser light for thenight. The fifth day offers the contrast of the life of winged fowl flying above the earth in the open firmament of heaven and the moving creatures brought forth from the waters under the firmament. Finally on the sixth day there is first the contrast between the cattle and the wild beasts, after which another act of creation takes place, i.e. that of man, when duality is expressed in woman opposite to man.

Confining ourselves to the first chapter of Genesis even a casual perusal of the tale of creation establishes the impression that creation also means the formation of a polarity in each of its components. through the creation of this polarity another duality presents itself, at first rather indefinitely, but afterwards more distinctly, viz. that of the male and female sexes. With the plants it must have been present already, with the beasts on the fifth day it becomes more apparent in the words: ‘be fruitful and multiply’, and in the case of man duality is brought forward as a
definite principle. this principle of duality clearly extends still further and penetrates more deeply in the tale of creation. To discover this fact one has to arrange the material in a system which proceeds from the story itself.

The first day there is the light and the division of the light from the darkness. We observe the tale refers to light and darkness again on the fourth day as the lights of sun, moon and stars whose function it is to divide light from darkness. The second day mentions the division of waters above and waters under the firmament. This division is not referred to again until the fifth day when life is noticeable in the waters above the firmament and under the firmament. The third day in contrast with the previous days shows two creations mentioned emphatically and separately on the same day. The sixth day in its turn is likewise characterized by two different kinds of creation on that same day. To keep things as simple as possible we can take the events of the initial part of the
third day as the creation of conditions of life on earth in general, whereas in the second half of that day the first manifestations of life begin to take shape. The sixth day shows a parallelism in that the biological conditions for the existence of man on earth are created during the first part of the day, after which man makes his appearance as a live creature during the second part.

So there is an undeniable correspondence between the first and the fourth days, the second and the fifth, the third and the sixth. And the fourth, fifth and sixth days represent a certain  evelopment, a concretion and elaboration of the phenomena of the first, second and third days respectively.

Indeed there are two groups of three days corresponding as depicted above, the first triad and the second. For the sake of clarity let us arrange these correspondences systematically: . . . . .