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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Early Genesis, Continued

Why does the story of the creation of humanity happen twice? Well, I mentioned that one of the purposes in these early chapters is to distinguish God from His creation. The language of chapter 1 has been called, "elevated prose." It's not poetry, but it isn't historical narrative, either. Moses uses "elohim" as the word for God early on, a singular object with a plural ending. To add to the intrigue, 1:26 says, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness..." You can bet the Church fathers didn't miss that one! They said it was our first hints of the Blessed Trinity. After we read about the creation of Adam and Eve in chapter 2, the word for God changes, from "elohim" to "YHWH". We'll just call this "the Name." When Moses asks God what His name is, God says the Name. Why the change? I think one excellent reason is that "elohim" emphasizes God as the Lord of all creation, while "YHWH" emphasizes Him as the God who keeps His promises. The Lord of all creation is also He who protects one family that will become a people.

Some scholars believe that different schools of scribes copied and collected the Scriptures, leading to some interesting debates when particular words or phrases are unclear. For our purposes, though, we concentrate on the Scriptures as we have them, trusting that the teaching office of the Church is able to handle any real problems. (CCC, 100)

To this day, Jewish people do not say the Name; they substitute "adoni" (lord) for it. It was believed that to speak the name of a god is to call forth its power.

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