Friday, January 20, 2017

According to their kind

In total, the phrase “according to its/their kind” is repeated 10 times in these 7 verses alone (Gen 1:11–12 and 1:21–25). Clearly, the author is emphasizing the creation and reproduction of each species according to its own distinctive type or class. Thus, the ancient audience may have been surprised when they heard or read the next two verses in which the creation of humans is described not as “according to his kind,” as they might have expected, but as “in the image of” and “according to the likeness of” Elohim. This juxtaposition of the oft-repeated “according to its/their kind” with “in the image and likeness of God” suggests that the author was drawing a sharp distinction between humans and the other created beings. However, it also implies that just as the plants and animals were created according to their own type, humans were made, at some level, according to Elohim’s kind, although not literally born of God. The author could have said that God made humans according to his (God’s) kind using lə + mîn, as he did with the plants and animals, but he did not. Rather, he expressed human similarity to the divine with ṣelem and dəmût. Thus, it seems that being created in the image and likeness of God is both comparable to being created “according to God’s kind,” but is distinct from it. In other words, humans are not divine, nor are they members of the heavenly host. They are their own category, type, or species, which is defined by being created in the image and likeness of God. However, at some level, humans belong to the divine class or species, that is, humanity’s kind or type is God.—The "Image of God" in the Garden of Eden, pages 132–33

<idle musing>
Pretty amazing thought, isn't it?
</idle musing>

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