The first chapter of Genesis famously tells us the story of how God created the world in seven days. God is a distant and remote creator, speaking the world into existence out of a formless void. The narrative is concerned with ritual, formula, and order. The elements that will make up creation are separated and named, each day bringing creation closer to fruition. On the seventh day, God rests, observing the Sabbath. Finally, everything in creation is good.
This story of creation has a completely different style from the story we find in chapter two, of God making Adam and Eve. This God is anthropomorphized, walking in the garden, getting angry, different from the distant God of the first account. The two stories feel so different because they come from two different sources. God’s creation of the world is drawn from the Priestly source (P), the Adam and Eve story drawn from the more folksy Yahwistic source (J). For a recent post on this, click here.
-Emily M D Scott
Blenkinsopp, Joseph. The Pentateuch: An Introduction to the First Five Books of the Bible. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Collins, John J. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004.