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Two Accounts of Creation
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Two Accounts of Creation

YHVH and the Breath of Life...

The following entry discusses the nature of repentance. It's my hope that this will encourage you to "return to the LORD and listen to His Voice" (Deut. 30:2).

While the Torah gives two different accounts of creation, it is important to understand that these are not contradictory narratives but are intended to overlap one another. The first account of creation (Gen. 1:1-2:3) is general and cosmological, describing the  "six days of creation" (and a seventh day of rest), whereas the second account (Gen. 2:4-25) elaborates upon the general statement given earlier that man was made b'tzelem Elohim, "in the image of God," on the sixth day (Gen. 1:26-27). In other words, Genesis 1 describes the general structure of the six days of creation, whereas Genesis 2 provides clarifying details regarding the creation of man on the sixth day.


The first account of creation begins with the opening verse of the Bible itself:

בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלהִים אֵת
הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ

be·re·shit  ba·ra  E·lo·him  et
ha·sha·ma·yim  ve·et  ha·a·retz


"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
(Gen. 1:1)

Hebrew Study Card

The second account, on the other hand, immediately follows the description of the six days of creation, just after we read that God blessed and sanctified the seventh day because on it He rested from all his work that he had done:

אֵלֶּה תוֹלְדוֹת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ בְּהִבָּרְאָם
 בְּיוֹם עֲשׂוֹת יְהוָה אֱלהִים אֶרֶץ וְשָׁמָיִם

e·leh  tol·dot  ha·sha·ma·yim  ve·ha·a·retz  be·hi·bar·am
be·yom  a·sot  Adonai  E·lo·him  e·retz  ve·sha·ma·yim


"These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created,
in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens."
(Gen. 2:4)


Notice that the word "toldot" (תוֹלְדוֹת) used in Gen. 2:4 (usually translated as "generations" or "history") is spelled with an additional letter Vav (ו), the only occurrence of this spelling in the Torah, which therefore signals something unusual about this passage. Furthermore, the word translated "when they were created" (בְּהִבָּרְאָם) is written with a smaller letter Hey (ה), suggesting that God created the world as easily as breathing out an "h" sound. Note that this word can also be rearranged to spell the name "in Abraham" (בְּאִבְרָהָם), which has led some of the early commentators to remark that the universe was created for the sake of Abraham and his descendants (Rom. 4:13).

In Genesis 2:4, the phrase, "on the day that the LORD God made the earth and heavens" includes the very first reference to the name YHVH (יהוה) in the Bible (before this, only the name Elohim (אלהים) is found). Note that the Name YHVH connotes ideas about everlasting life (i.e., I AM that I AM; ehyeh asher ehyeh: אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה, Exod. 3:14) and God's thirteen attributes of Mercy (Exod. 34:6-7). Note further that while Gen. 1:1 says, "in the beginning God (Elohim) created the heavens and the earth," heaven is mentioned before earth, but in Gen. 2:4 the order is reversed, with earth mentioned before heaven. This not simply a matter of style but rather is meant to reveal something to us. The Name YHVH connotes God's compassionate closeness to man (as indicated by the additional Vav found in the word toldot), the One who breathes into mankind the breath of life (Gen. 2:7). YHVH is another Name for God our Savior, which is therefore a name that foreshadows Yeshua.

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