Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Hierarchy of Creation in Genesis 1

Whether one is a theistic evolutionist, a young earth creationist, or anything in between, one can still appreciate the manner in which the Genesis narrative describes God's act of creation.

God is said to have "rested" on the seventh day. As it is commonly known, the number seven represents perfection in Hebrew numerology. What is much easier to overlook is the symbolic [1] nature of the previous six days. Take days one and four, two and five, and three and six:

Day One: God creates light
Day Four: God creates the sun and moon

Day Two: God creates the separation between the sky and seas
Day Five: God creates birds and sea animals/fish

Day Three: God creates land and plants
Day Six: God creates animals, notably humankind

There is a parallel between the first three days and the last three. Each day there is a progression in the hierarchy of creation. The first three days describe the environment in which the latter three dwell. This is especially important for those of us who give Genesis 1:28 a "caretaker" interpretation. The earth has been created for humanity, not the other way around. [2] With each day what God creates is greater and greater, finally reaching its peak in humanity, having been created in God's image (Genesis 1:27). [3]

[1] For those who take a literal interpretation of the six days, I do not mean to imply "non-literal" by the use of "symbolic." Certainly something can be both literal in one sense, and symbolic in another.

[2] Of course, this doesn't give humanity a license to abuse the earth. Rather, we are to care for it in an analogous way to how God cares for us.

[3] The imago dei is a term descriptive of humankind's rationality and personhood.


  1. Some rabbis say that in resting on the seventh day, God created freedom and agency.

  2. Another "symbolic" way to understand the Creation story is as a description of God's work in building a temple to be a fit setting in which to house his image/idol.

  3. Great Post !

    "Story of Creation" has 474 words.

    474 seconds = 7:54
    --->Yehoshua HaMeshiach = 754 (hebrew)
    --->Shem Qashi = 754 (hebrew)
    ------>"My Holy Name"

    0.4744444 min 1708 sec
    ---->17:08 = 5:08 PM
    --->God's Number = 508 (jewish)

    B'hibaram (474th word) = "When they created"