19 March 2010

The Universe as Divine Temple

Filed under: Christianity, Culture, Genesis 1, Ktismata — ktismatics @ 12:49 pm

Before putting John Walton’s 2009 The Lost World of Genesis One on the shelf, I’ll summarize his interpretation of the Biblical creation story, because I found it interesting, distinctive, and not ridiculous. (I previously posted on Walton’s preliminary remarks about mythic and scientific accounts.)

Walton, an evangelical Old Testament scholar, begins by contending that the Hebrew scriptures should be read as artifacts produced by people who lived inside of a distinct historical culture rather than as timeless expressions of truth that transcend time and place. It should not surprise us then, says Walton, that God couched his Genesis 1 revelation in terms of an ancient cosmology — earth as the center of the universe, a “firmament” in the sky that keeps the heavenly floodwaters from pouring down onto the earth, and so on. That’s what the people of the time understood, and God didn’t see fit to enlighten them with more up-to-date information about. One wonders whether Walton might take the same stance about other aspects of the Biblical revelation that aren’t scientific but, say, ethical or political. E.g., did God reveal himself as jealous and punitive because that’s how the culture expected gods to act back then, and the people weren’t yet ready to understand the idea of a benign and forgiving deity? Did God present himself as championing a preferred nation that perpetrated genocide on its neighbors because national gods were a popular idea back then, and the people weren’t yet ready for a god of all nations, or a god for whom the concept of nation was irrelevant?

So, if Genesis 1 wasn’t intended as an accurate representation of cosmology or cosmogony, what was its purpose? Walton contends that the ancient Near Eastern culture subscribed not to a material ontology but to a functional ontology, in which objects and forces are characterized by their uses and purposes. A material object doesn’t exist in a functional ontology until its uses have been identified. So, e.g., unless that wooden thing across the room, consisting of a horizontal surface suspended 2 feet off the ground from four legs with a raised back, is recognized as something that can be used to sit on, it doesn’t exist as a chair.

Moving forward through the six days of the creation, Walton reiterates a set of distinctions that have long been recognized: days 1 through 3 establish functions, while days 4 through 6 identify functionaries. By setting light in oscillation with darkness, Day 1 establishes the beginning of time. I think this is an excellent interpretation, and it makes the literal passing of days an important part of the story. Day 2 marks the beginning of weather, separating the waters above (source of rain) from the waters below (sea). Day 3 is the beginning of food via plant life. The lights in the sky (day 4) are the functionaries for marking the passing of time (day 1). The sea creatures and birds and land creatures are the active agents of day 5. Man is the key functionary in the system on day 6. Again, all this is fine and has been proposed as a logical scheme by which functions are organized, rather than the temporal sequence of material ontogony.

Now we reach the heart of Walton’s interpretation. If Genesis 1 isn’t about God making the material universe or giving form to it, and if Gen. 1 is about assigning functions to the stuff of the universe, then what functional system is he assembling? Walton says that in Genesis 1 God is preparing the universe as his temple, as a place where he can live. In Genesis 1 God is assigning temple-related functions to various parts of the universe.

I think this is a fascinating position. Walton cites examples from elsewhere in Scripture that fit this reading; e.g., God lives in the heavens and uses the earth as his footstool. Walton identifies parallels in other ancient Near Eastern religions, whose gods likewise regarded the universe as their house, where they rested, accepted worship, and exercised kingship over their domains. Material temples built in honor of the gods often patterned themselves after the cosmos as a whole, with fountains of waters, pillars of earth, heavenly vaults, and so on. Genesis 1 should be read not as a history of the construction this cosmic temple but as its dedication ceremony. The material universe might have been billions of years in the making, but the dedication takes six days to accomplish. On the seventh God takes occupancy of the prepared temple — he “rests” in his prepared and dedicated home. Says Walton:

“In short, by naming the functions and installing the functionaries, and finally by deity entering his resting place, the temple comes into existence — it is created in the inauguration ceremony.” (p. 89)

After going through this part of Walton’s book I woke up in the middle of the night imagining Genesis 1 as a grand celebratory recital. Start the light show! Put in the flowers and greenery! Let everything be fruitful and multiply! Bring on the human assistants! Roll out the red carpet! Wonderful! I can picture the Genesis 1 text — as can Walton — being read ceremonially every year as a spectacular rededication of the universe to God.

In short, I quite like this interpretation. A few further points are worth considering:

Walton contends that the Bible “implies” that God created the material universe even if it’s never explicitly stated and even though Gen. 1 doesn’t speak to the topic. The few Scriptural verses he offers to justify this position aren’t convincing, inasmuch as they could be interpreted as referring to the creation of function rather than matter, just as Walton interprets Genesis 1. If Christian theology is driven by Biblical exegesis, and if exegesis makes no definitive assertion about whether God created the material universe, how might Christian theology be affected by that acknowledgment? Since the Bible doesn’t make a big deal about God as material creator ex nihilo, would it make sense to downplay or even to eliminate this divine attribute from theology? Isn’t it possible that the Hebrew Bible remains entirely silent about God’s status as material creator ex nihilo? Would it be acceptable for faithful Judeo-Christians to acknowledge agnosticism regarding whether their God might have had nothing to do with material creation?

It is possible to assign functions to objects that already exist. Someone can find a stone and use it as a hammer, or as part of a wall, or as a medium from which to chisel out a sculpture. Why then couldn’t God have simply arrived on the scene billions of years after the universe had taken shape and simply decided to “move in,” adapting it as his dwelling place? The objects and processes comprising the material universe may have a set of functions relative to God’s dwelling place, but this need not exhaust their function. E.g., the sun might be useful for distinguishing day from night in God’s temple, but it might also be useful for keeping the earth from spinning out into space and for keeping it warm enough to live on. I.e., the same material object can serve more than one function. There’s no need to claim that the universe took the material shape it did specifically and exclusively in order that it might eventually serve God’s purpose as a home. Walton contends that God no longer uses the universe as his temple (though I’m not sure why). Nonetheless, the universe and its contents persist, serving all sorts of other functions.

Walton says that God’s temple serves not just as his home, not just as his place to “rest,” but as his base of operations for running the universe. Part of God’s purported operations include keeping the material universe running, all the way down to holding individual molecules together. Again, I don’t see why that necessarily follows from the exegesis. If Genesis 1 makes no reference to material creation of the universe, why assume that God’s running of the material universe is implied? It’s certainly not stated. Why not assume that the universe runs itself, just as it had been running itself before God decided to make it his temple?



  1. The idea of temples itself seems to be somehow contextually out of place as a suitable background to the Genesis creation accounts. I get a strong agrarian-horticultural-gardening feeling. After the initial setup – which was avowedly done by god – the whole thing is managed by humanity and god occasionally drops in to have a chat. In effect god is an absentee landlord with mankind designed as the caretaker species.

    As a theory, Walton’s is interesting. As a theory to emerge from a conservative evangelical school, perhaps it’s even a bit shocking. I’m curious, does he still have his job?


    Comment by sam carr — 20 March 2010 @ 2:38 am

  2. Walton makes all the right noises to sustain his evangelical cred, so I suspect that his continued employment is not in jeopardy. He specifically rejects the deistic absentee landlord position, contending that the “temple” isn’t just a place to rest but an operations headquarters for keeping everything running. As I suggested in the post, I think this insistence on the “hands-on manager” comes more from theological tradition than from Scripture.


    Comment by john doyle — 20 March 2010 @ 6:43 pm

  3. Regarding the mismatch between the naturalistic feel of Genesis 1 and the temple interpretation… Walton observes that a “temple” is a dwelling-place for the gods rather than an architectural structure. He also notes that many ancient Near Eastern religious texts describe their gods taking up residency in the universe. Many man-made temples are built on or near powerful natural landscape features like hilltops or rivers, accentuating the sense that the human temple commemorates the natural temple that precedes and underlies it. Genesis 1 has a sort of engineering feel to it, with Elohim iteratively separating components from each other, naming them, then organizing them into a larger system.


    Comment by john doyle — 21 March 2010 @ 9:05 am

  4. “Elohim iteratively separating components from each other, naming them, then organizing them into a larger system” for which I much prefer your own theory!

    In India, present day Hindu temples do occupy both places of natural power, and great beauty and there is a theory that the ancient pre-Vedic Indians (the descendants of whom are now our remaining tribal peoples and those who do not find a place in the Hindu scheme of things – out-castes) had as their temples only places in nature such as clearings in the forests and perhaps just special stones placed at the edges of their fields. It’s also hard to generalize from the diversity that exists today and only vestiges of oral tradition survive to work with. Given the fortified nature of the hilltop temples and the fact that they also guard natural artesian springs, I do think defensability has as much to do with these locations as anything ‘natural.’


    Comment by sam carr — 21 March 2010 @ 9:39 am

  5. Defensibility and access to water: these useful features support Walton’s idea of the temple as a control room, from which the god wields power and runs his domain. The more low-profile pre-Vedic tradition you describe sounds intriguing. Lack of monumental construction and no written language: it must be difficult to learn much about their history.


    Comment by john doyle — 21 March 2010 @ 10:58 am

  6. I believe a huge scholarly battle is being waged on the origins of the tribal peoples as well as those who are now no longer considered ‘out-castes.’ There are also definite political overtones. The more traditional reading (leaning dialectical) is that the ancient Indus Valley civilization was run over by the pre-Vedic peoples (hailing from somewhere around the Steppes) and the surviving Harappans were effectively enslaved and were the ancestors of today’s ‘out-castes.’ This has been very hotly contested by a vast body of Hindu scholars who argue that there is very little evidence of any such migration/invasion and that the pre-Vedic peoples actually hail from India itself. They argue that anything from climate change to internal instability led to the end of the Indus Valley civilization and that it is wrong to blame the so called Aryans for its demise. Interestingly, the theory actually goes on to suggest that European civilization was founded by ‘Aryans’ who migrated from East to West and that that’s why there are convergences between Sanskrit and Greek as well as between ancient Hindu mythology and that of the most ancient Greeks.

    Sorry if that’s completely off topic!


    Comment by sam carr — 21 March 2010 @ 12:48 pm

  7. Fascinating to contemplate these really ancient civilizations, and that knowledge lost for millennia can be reconstructed at least in part. Regarding the pre-Vedic tendency to establish more subtle, non-architectural temples in nature, Walton contends that the Genesis 2-3 story is also a temple text, with Yahweh preparing the Garden as his home.

    Related to recapturing knowledge on ancient civilizations, relatively recent discoveries of more advanced ancient northern Eurasian civilizations suggest that they may have been the source of the flood myths, triggered by the melting of the glaciers at the end of last Ice Age around 12-15,000 years ago. These stories of legendary floods would then have traveled southward into civilizations that hadn’t experienced the big melt-off. The prehistoric cave paintings in France depict mammoths, which died out during the last big melt-off; whoever had the artistry to create those drawings surely could have crafted some exquisite flood stories.


    Comment by john doyle — 22 March 2010 @ 9:32 am

    • This wouldn’t surprise me as a parallel development, and it’s not my field so I’m just spouting, but I would think explanatory parsimony gets us straight to flood myths from the inhabitants of emerging civilizations on the shores of irregularly and catastrophically flooding rivers, e.g. the Tigris and Euphrates (but not the Nile, which flooded regularly and productively). Bingo Gilgamesh, bongo the Babylonian captivity and viola’, Genesis.


      Comment by Carl — 24 March 2010 @ 2:38 pm

    • The Biblical story specifies that rain caused the flood. That would work better with your theory, Carl, since river floods would be precipitated (so to speak) by heavy rains. Glacial melt wouldn’t need rain to cause catastrophic flooding. Of course the horrific part about the story is that God sends the flood in order to wipe out all the creatures on earth merely because he thinks that the humans are wicked. Conceivably they learned their wickedness from the genocidal Master Himself — image and likeness.


      Comment by john doyle — 24 March 2010 @ 8:35 pm

    • Agreed about that horror, although he’s God so I suppose He gets to say what right and wrong is. Job gives me the same kind of shivers – God fubars the guy and kills his family to settle a bet with Satan, yeesh – and of course all that sanctioned genocide as the Chosen People occupy the Holy Land. But I’m sure a man of Watson’s creative talents can find an interpretive path around all that.


      Comment by Carl — 24 March 2010 @ 11:53 pm

  8. “a temple text, with Yahweh preparing the Garden as his home” Yes except that the concept of temple would seem to be much later so it’s likely we that are reading that into these ancient texts. Places frequented by gods, places where one might expect to encounter gods… then comes the altar and the priests/shamans/elders who supposedly have the inside track on how to get the plea bargain going.

    The scope of the first creation account is so much broader (and fits well with your own reading), it’s the second one that seems to suddenly get local and loses the grand thread to get focus our attention onto one particular genetic heritage, and perhaps the one god linked up therein.


    Comment by sam carr — 22 March 2010 @ 2:23 pm

  9. Good thoughts, John. I agree with your various criticisms of Walton’s position, while I can also appreciate Walton for the same reasons you cited. I think that his conservative evangelical commitments probably lead him to go beyond exegesis and affirm the “orthodox” (so-called) position that God still in fact did create the material universe…..hence the answer to Sam’s question about how he can maintain his job, while still doing good exegesis.

    You said:

    “If Christian theology is driven by Biblical exegesis, and if exegesis makes no definitive assertion about whether God created the material universe, how might Christian theology be affected by that acknowledgment? Since the Bible doesn’t make a big deal about God as material creator ex nihilo, would it make sense to downplay or even to eliminate this divine attribute from theology? Isn’t it possible that the Hebrew Bible remains entirely silent about God’s status as material creator ex nihilo? Would it be acceptable for faithful Judeo-Christians to acknowledge agnosticism regarding whether their God might have had nothing to do with material creation?”

    As far as I can tell, the implications for theology are minimal. I certainly can’t think of any core theological positions that are truly in danger if God is no longer the creator of the material universe. I think an obsession with cause and effect as well as with origins.

    Mostly though, I think that Creationism just kind of has a weird fundamentalist momentum that doesn’t really have an origin or a cause. The obsession with God-created-the-material-stuff-in-seven-literal-days is more of a hysteria of psychological curiosity than a substantive academic or intellectual discussion.


    Comment by Erdman — 1 April 2010 @ 3:12 pm

    • It’s a controversial perspective from old-school Judeo-Christianity to remove Creator from God’s list of attributes. The first tenet of the historical Christian creeds affirms belief that God created heavens and earth, all things visible and invisible. More contemporary spirituality is prepared to regard God as a force, perhaps even a “weak force” per Caputo, when it comes to engagement in the physical world. Even Caputo’s reading of Gen. 1 positions God as the creative force of evolution.

      I did a little study of Biblical texts that invoke the God-as-creator theme to see where it becomes important. And there is a pattern: what might be an arbitrary, even an oppressive, social order is purported to be part of the material order of the universe from the beginning. So, in the Garden of Eden story, we see depicted a hierarchical social order in which men are in charge of women and the landowners are in charge of the laborers. Why? Because woman was created after and for man, because the (land)Lord preceded the tenant farmers in the cosmic scheme of things. This seems like a convenient myth to promulgate by those who benefit from such a social order.

      What’s your personal sense of God’s involvement with the material world, Erdman? Creator? Creative force? Spiritual rather than material? An evolved being in his own right?


      Comment by john doyle — 1 April 2010 @ 4:28 pm

      • John,

        Thank you for that comment. I did not realize that the trend of referencing the creation was to subjugate peoples/things. That is something that should be considered very carefully. Perhaps it is also why I have never been too theologically concerned with referencing God as creator. My interest is usually just the opposite: to overturn the so-called “created order” when it begins to be used to establish hierarchies or oppress people groups.

        Perhaps there is something here that explains why the Apostle Paul says that the cross is “a stumbling block to the Jews.” Perhaps it is a stumbling block to any form of Judaism that associates God as a power upon which we can build our own power and advance a hierarchy of control and oppression. For example, to advance the heterosexual norm and suppress the expression and freedoms of homosexuals. The cross of Christ is nothing less than the death of one who “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.” Rather, Christ emptied himself and took the form of a servant. Here again, in Phil 2, is Paul taking a view of God that turns a dominating Creator on his head.


        Comment by Erdman — 2 April 2010 @ 7:50 am

      • Paul seemed to talk a good game in generalities, but on specifics he reinforces the old order. In I Cor 11:9 Timothy 2:13 he’s very explicit about why men should be in authority over women: woman was created for man’s sake, man was created before women. He’s using the materially created order to justify a hierarchical social order. And of course he’s none to happy with homosexuals either.

        In the scattered texts on “the new creation” Paul gestures toward an overturning of the old hierarchies. In Genesis 1 the creatorly praxis consists largely of establishing distinct categories of things and naming them. Genesis 2-3 separates men and women, lords and servants. Later Israel is separated from the other nations and given a unique name. The Mosaic Law consists mostly of rigid distinctions between clean and unclean things. In the new creation these dividing walls are supposedly torn down: neither male nor female, Jew nor Gentile, master nor servant, clean nor unclean. One has to worry that he’s deploying very attractive egalitarian rhetoric in theory while in practice he’s reinforcing the old dividing walls. Or maybe he just couldn’t live up to his own standards consistently.


        Comment by john doyle — 2 April 2010 @ 1:17 pm

    • The other significant context for invoking God’s creatorliness in the New Testament is with respect to resurrection. The implication is this: if God can create the universe, he can also create resurrected bodies for dead people. A similar Old Testament argument is made about Israel (which is an oppressive social order in its own right vis-a-vis the Ancient Near East): if God can create the universe, surely he can bring Israel back even after its people have been scattered and the land has been captured by infidels.


      Comment by john doyle — 1 April 2010 @ 4:52 pm

  10. “Walton contends that God no longer uses the universe as his temple (though I’m not sure why). Nonetheless, the universe and its contents persist, serving all sorts of other functions.”

    Is this possibly because of the New Testament view that the church or the hearts of Christians has become the new dwelling place of God?


    Comment by Erdman — 1 April 2010 @ 3:13 pm

  11. Yes, that’s it: God’s temple is now in Christians’ hearts, as well as in the Church. So God no longer lives in the universe at large? Looking at Walton’s interpretation, it seems like an awful lot of work for God to have created the material universe over billions of years in order to prepare it as a temple for Himself, finally when all was ready to dedicate the temple and to take his rest there a few thousand years ago, only to abandon the place shortly thereafter. It would make more sense if God didn’t create the material universe but just rented the place for awhile until the hearts of Christians were ready for occupancy.


    Comment by john doyle — 1 April 2010 @ 4:33 pm

    • You know…..there is also a strong counter-motif in the Old Testament: “Yahweh does not dwell in temples made by men.” Also, God does not inhabit images made of wood or stone. This is the prophetic word that counters anyone who would tie God too closely with the material stuff of the world.

      Walton seems intent on finding the Old Testament references to the heavens/earth as God’s temple. Does he discuss the counter-motif?


      Comment by Erdman — 2 April 2010 @ 7:42 am

    • But in the OT God did inhabit temples made by men. He inhabited the Tabernacle during the Exodus and the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem. Paul is the one who says that it’s not so — see Acts 7:43-50. It’s a confusing speech. First he acknowledges that “our fathers” made the Tabernacle and the Temple according to God’s specifications. Then he says that God doesn’t live in temples made by men. Then he quotes Isaiah 66:1-2 — “Heaven is My throne, and earth is the footstool of my feet… was it not My hand that made these things?” What’s the implication here. That God never really lived in the Tabernacle and Temple? That, even if our fathers built these dwelling places, it was really God’s hand who did it? And in citing this passage isn’t Paul suggesting that God still dwells in the universe as his temple, and that he’s not abandoned it in order to live in the hearts of men?


      Comment by john doyle — 2 April 2010 @ 1:04 pm

      • Hhhhmmm…..I see what you were saying……when I made my comment, I was thinking specifically of Solomon’s dedication of the Temple.

        1 Kings 8
        11 The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple…..
        27 “But will God really live on earth? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! 28 Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you today. 29 May you watch over this Temple night and day, this place where you have said, ‘My name will be there.’ May you always hear the prayers I make toward this place. 30 May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.

        The 1 Chronicles account adds a bit about the “presence” (NIV) of the Lord filling the temple, after Solomon’s dedication.

        7:1 When Solomon finished praying, fire flashed down from heaven and burned up the burnt offerings and sacrifices, and the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple. 2 The priests could not enter the Temple of the Lord because the glorious presence of the Lord filled it. 3 When all the people of Israel saw the fire coming down and the glorious presence of the Lord filling the Temple, they fell face down on the ground and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying,
        “He is good! His faithful love endures forever!”


        Comment by Erdman — 3 April 2010 @ 8:22 am

  12. Now I’m seeing your point. The Temple is being dedicated as God’s dwelling-place even when the master of ceremonies acknowledges that God isn’t really going to live there. Apparently this is true also of the universe — not big enough to hold him. If the universe isn’t big enough, then surely human hearts aren’t either. Maybe if you’re too big to live anywhere then you live nowhere.

    Walton doesn’t address these issues. He’s mostly concerned with how the creation text functions as a dedication of the universe-as-temple. He talks about how the Jerusalem Temple itself is designed and decorated to look like the universe. The outer courtyard has water fountains and gardens and pillars intended to represent the seas and the earth. In the outer sanctum there is the menorah for the heavenly lights of day 4. The veil represents the firmament. The inner sanctum is heaven. So the verticality of the cosmos in Genesis 1 is represented horizontally in the Temple.


    Comment by john doyle — 4 April 2010 @ 2:48 pm

  13. Genesis 1

    The Creation

    1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was [a]formless and void, and darkness was over the [b]surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was [c]moving over the [d]surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
    6 Then God said, “Let there be [e]an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 God made the [f]expanse, and separated the waters which were below the [g]expanse from the waters which were above the [h]expanse; and it was so. 8 God called the [i]expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

    9 Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the earth sprout [j]vegetation, [k]plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after [l]their kind [m]with seed in them”; and it was so. 12 The earth brought forth [n]vegetation, [o]plants yielding seed after [p]their kind, and trees bearing fruit [q]with seed in them, after [r]their kind; and God saw that it was good. 13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

    14 Then God said, “Let there be [s]lights in the [t]expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; 15 and let them be for [u]lights in the [v]expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 God made the two [w]great lights, the greater [x]light [y]to govern the day, and the lesser [z]light [aa]to govern the night; He made the stars also. 17 God placed them in the [ab]expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and [ac]to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

    20 Then God said, “Let the waters [ad]teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth [ae]in the open [af]expanse of the heavens.” 21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.

    24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after [ag]their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after [ah]their kind”; and it was so. 25 God made the beasts of the earth after [ai]their kind, and the cattle after [aj]their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.

    26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the [ak]sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the [al]sky and over every living thing that [am]moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the [an]surface of all the earth, and every tree [ao]which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the [ap]sky and to every thing that [aq]moves on the earth [ar]which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

    Genesis 1:2 Or a waste and emptiness
    Genesis 1:2 Lit face of
    Genesis 1:2 Or hovering
    Genesis 1:2 Lit face of
    Genesis 1:6 Or a firmament
    Genesis 1:7 Or firmament
    Genesis 1:7 Or firmament
    Genesis 1:7 Or firmament
    Genesis 1:8 Or firmament
    Genesis 1:11 Or grass
    Genesis 1:11 Or herbs
    Genesis 1:11 Lit its
    Genesis 1:11 Lit in which is its seed
    Genesis 1:12 Or grass
    Genesis 1:12 Or herbs
    Genesis 1:12 Lit its
    Genesis 1:12 Lit in which is its seed
    Genesis 1:12 Lit its
    Genesis 1:14 Or luminaries, light-bearers
    Genesis 1:14 Or firmament
    Genesis 1:15 Or luminaries, light-bearers
    Genesis 1:15 Or firmament
    Genesis 1:16 Or luminaries, light-bearers
    Genesis 1:16 Or luminary, light-bearer
    Genesis 1:16 Lit for the dominion of
    Genesis 1:16 Or luminary, light-bearer
    Genesis 1:16 Lit for the dominion of
    Genesis 1:17 Or firmament
    Genesis 1:18 Lit for the dominion of
    Genesis 1:20 Or swarm
    Genesis 1:20 Lit on the face of
    Genesis 1:20 Or firmament
    Genesis 1:24 Lit its
    Genesis 1:24 Lit its
    Genesis 1:25 Lit its
    Genesis 1:25 Lit its
    Genesis 1:26 Lit heavens
    Genesis 1:28 Lit heavens
    Genesis 1:28 Or creeps
    Genesis 1:29 Lit face of
    Genesis 1:29 Lit in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed
    Genesis 1:30 Lit heavens
    Genesis 1:30 Or creeps
    Genesis 1:30 Lit in which is a living soul


    Comment by Leonardo — 26 September 2011 @ 5:36 am

  14. Your notations are too cryptic for me to see what you’re trying to show here, Leonardo. “Lit” and “Or”? If you’d care to elaborate, I am interested.


    Comment by ktismatics — 26 September 2011 @ 8:35 am

  15. First of all I would like to say superb blog! I had a quick question that I’d like
    to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find
    out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
    I have had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my ideas out.
    I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like
    the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just
    trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?


    Comment by zoysia grass cutting height — 2 October 2013 @ 8:41 pm

    • I bet you say and ask these things to all the bloggers, zoysia, but the question is a good one. To get clear on what you want to write in 10 to 15 minutes is pretty quick, and certainly not a waste. When I write fiction I have to sink down — into myself, into the world I’m writing about — before I can get anything down. Blog post writing feels more systematic and linear, or at least that how I remember it, since I’ve not written a post in awhile.


      Comment by ktismatics — 2 October 2013 @ 9:45 pm

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