8. God named day, night, sky, land, sea and stars but not others – why?

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One response to “8. God named day, night, sky, land, sea and stars but not others – why?”

  1. The ANE pagan stories tend to present their deities as obsessively favoring power and will, even violently. Those stories tend to justify the vindictiveness and tyranny of their deities and political leaders. Genesis 1 is radically unlike this. It affirms the Creator purely in terms of life-benevolent values and sensibilities of the Natural Order. Specifically, it affirms humans’ everyday values for life and the ecological Earth. Genesis 1 presupposes God’s unique transcendence. And it implies that the main way in which God shows to us that He exists, and that He loves us, is by His having designed all natural things such that those things meet our natural needs for things outside ourselves. That design is what often is called ‘Divine’ Design. But the term ‘divine’, in this case, is not simply the idea of something which is ‘from God’. It specifically is of something which, by its design, affirms our creaturely needs for things ‘outside’ ourselves. Each atom of our bodies have natural need of things outside themselves. And, everything together which we physically are is a being which has natural need of things outside that being. All that boils down to our having a natural need centrally for the ecological Earth, specifically for a planet which, to begin with, has a water cycle (Proverbs 12:10).

    Genesis 1 reports that God gives five names to as many things (vv. 5, 8, 10). I think the things God names here were understood by the account’s original readers to be the three most basic physical, Earthly factors of Earth’s water cycle, that is, excluding the energy input from the Sun:

    Factor 1: binary cyclically distributed thermal regulation ( ‘day’ and ‘night’, v. 4-5 );

    Factor 2: radiologically mediative atmosphere ( ‘shamayim’, (NOT ha-shamayim) vs. 6-8 );

    Factor 3: binary thermal surface distribution system ( ‘land’ and ‘seas’, vs. 9-10 )

    I liken this proposed affirmation of the water cycle to a list of the basic parts of a woman, as such. Specifically, of such a list as does NOT spell out what it is of which it is a list. So, if only one knows what a woman, as such, is, one ought to recognize that the list’s author is, thereby, intending to be describing a woman.

    It commonly is assumed that, of the six days of the Creation Workweek, it is to the actual work of Day Two that there is no Divine esteem of ‘good’. But, we must ask, What is it of which that work merely is a part? Answer: The water cycle.

    So, the land and sea of the first half of Day Three easily is not alone that which God calls ‘good’ at that point of Day Three. For, the land and the sea are mere subsystems of the Earth’s water cycle, and so is the atmosphere (Day Two).

    It is only upon the establishment of land and sea that the account’s possible concern for the physical factors of the water cycle is completed. The reason the ‘light’ of v. 3 is called ‘good’ may be because the ‘light’ is not part of the physical Earth. There is no such report associated directly from ‘day’ and ‘night’ of vs. 4-5, nor for the work of Day Two. The next time the account reports that God calls something good, this is in the first part of Day Three, when, regardless of the reading, the physical water cycle would have been completed by the establishment of the binary thermal surface exchange.

    So, that which God calls ‘good’ on the first half of Day Three seems to be a combination of the five factors mentioned above. After all, Genesis 1 is mainly about an actual process, miraculous as it was, of creating and assembling the actual ecology of the actual Earth.

    In short, the narrative is NOT to be seen as a mere list of ‘items’. For, if it really is about only distinct items, then the work of Day Two is not in any way even part of the ‘good’ of any of the work of any of the other days. In fact, to effectively reduce the account to a mere list of ‘items’ would mean it could just as well be about a process of assembling a cardboard diorama.

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