1. In the Beginning: Two Stories of Creation
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide 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 lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.
11 The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;
12 And the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
13 And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia.
14 And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates.
15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
Dr. Lynn Margulis
thinks humans are,
colony of closely associated bacteria.
she first proposed her theory in The
Origin of Eukaryotic Cells in 1970, the ideas
controversial that they “could not even be discussed
however, the theory
that most scientists rejected out of hand has
earned, in the words of
Richard Dawkins, “triumphant near-universal
The human story, as
Margulis first saw
about 3.2 billion years ago when the only
inhabitants on earth were
bacteria. About that
time, two primitive
species of bacteria, a “mother” bacteria
(Bdellavibrio) and a “father”
(Thermoplasma acidophillium) started “exchanging
energy” in a stable
dependable way that led to the formation of all
subsequent life forms. This
happened when the free-living bacteria
took up residence in large “eukaryotic” cells. Confined
within the large cells, the bacteria transformed
elliptical membrane-filled bodies called
mitochondria. With the
formation of mitochondria began the
flow of a
According to Margulis,
each one of the
trillion cells in the human body is an enclosed
garden of specially
always multiplying bacteria. Not
every man not an island, in the vision of Margulis,
he is in essence a
community of communities.
mitochondria perform essential functions, such as
occur that are critical to breathing and digestion. As Richard Dawkins notes,
mitochondria, we’d die in a second.”
their own simple
DNA that is not
affected by sexual mixing, come from our mothers
only. Your mitochondria
came exclusively from your
mother’s mother’s mother--and so on, back generation
beginning of our species. The
mitochondria in the female egg seeds a newborn’s
body, while whatever
mitochondria might be in the sperm are lost with the
tail at the time
transmission of mitochondria, coupled with its slow
rate of genetic
make its DNA ideal for tracing and dating maternal
Researchers in the
computers to analyze
samples of DNA drawn from 135 diverse women from all
African tribeswomen, Australian Aborigines, Native
Americans, Europeans. The
researchers discovered that the family
trees of these women all led back to
human population that
Philo and Origen
the high renaissance of Greek culture, in the
mid-third century B.C.,
II summoned seventy-two Jewish scholars to
Impetus for the
translation project came from the large Jewish
What happened after
Preserved with care it
was. The translation
scholars produced the Septuagint, during a period of
religion in the first century B.C., a brilliant and
Philo’s masterwork, On Allegory, explores the deeper messages buried in the Biblical text and transforms Moses from a political and religious leader into a philosopher. Philo, in On Allegory, rejected simple and literalistic interpretations of the Bible, including the creation story as told in Genesis 1. “It is quite foolish,” Philo wrote, “to think that the world was created in the space of six days or in a space of time at all.” Six, as he saw it, represented to Moses (Philo assumed Moses to be the author of Genesis) not a number of days, but “a perfect number” signifying the perfection of God’s creation. No one, not even Moses, “could ever give expression in an adequate manner to the beauty of [God’s] ideas respecting the creation of the world.” So the author of Genesis did the best that he could. Although “it is in the nature of God to create all things simultaneously,” the number six is “the most suitable for creation,” Philo contened. The reasons for adopting a six-day creation story rather than, say, a five-day or nine-day creation, might seem more compelling to a mathematician than the average Christian today. Philo pointed out that the number six is unique among numbers in that it is equal both to the product of its factors (1x2x3) and to the sum of its factors (1+2+3). He also attached sexual significance to the choice of six, arguing that it is the product of an even (female, he believed) number and an odd (male) number. Seeing a symbolism likely to escape the notice of most, Philo wrote that because creation required “birth from couplings it was necessary that it should be shaped to correspond to the first mixed (odd-even) number which has the characteristics of the male who sows the seed and the female who receives it.” One can say what one will about Philo’s theory of numbers; the key point is that the Biblical text, as Philo saw it, was just a departure point for exploration of God’s purposes. (Most Biblical scholars today believe that the author of Genesis chose a six-day creation because it fit best with the sabbatarian beliefs that had developed in the Jewish community by the time of the Books writing in the sixth-century B.C.)
When God created the
argued, he also
created time: “Before the
had no existence.” So
when Moses wrote
“In the beginning” he meant, in Philo’s view, in the
time. God existed before
the idea that the universe represents.
In the early
religion of Christianity still lacked a system of
theology that could
basis for orthodoxy. Persons
be Christians remained scattered into dozens of
sects, each believing
it to be
the true torchbearer of the faith.
debated intensely which writings should be
canonically scriptural within the Church.
In the midst of this
years after the time of Philo, in the same city of
the debate over
the meaning of Genesis, Origen—like
Philo before him—challenged the prevailing belief
among early Christian
that the days of Genesis were literal days. Each of
the days of
asserted, might in fact have been a period of time. Taking a decidedly
non-literal reading of
Biblical text, he questioned how anyone could read
either the six-day
story or the Adam and Eve story as an actual
description of a real
event in the
who that has
understanding will suppose that the first day, and
second and third
the evening and the morning existed without a sun,
and moon, and stars?
that the first day was, as it were, also without a
sky? . . . .And if
said to walk in paradise in the evening, and Adam is
to hide himself
tree, I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these
indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken
theorized that before
God created the universe, he created—before the start of
rational beings which he called logika,
but which might be thought of today as “souls.” These
rational beings, Origen suggested, had God-like
qualities. With eternity on
time endlessly contemplating divine mysteries. Finally,
however, these beings or souls tired of their
started drifting away from God. Time
began. Souls began to have
separate and apart from God. The
soul who escaped this fate, Origen argues, was “the soul
of Christ” who
returned to point the path back to the true function of
all souls, all
beings: contemplation of divine mysteries.
Origen was by any
measure a gifted and
allegorizing led him to
challenge, in addition to literal notions of
Creation, a variety of
concepts ranging form Hell to salvation. Though
unknown to most Christians today, Origen ranks
among the greatest
of all Christian theologians—and to some
Fundamentalists, the first of
line of troublesome Christian heretics.
For all his
Origen could not
imagine a world much older than man.
very idea of Earth sitting around waiting for man,
the species for whom
sun, and stars were so obviously created, likely
never occurred to
most of his Christian contemporaries.
despite his belief that the days of Genesis were
periods of time,
expressed the view that the earth was “very much
under” 10,000 years of