Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Even the chaos monsters? Yep!

If it is correct to consider bara’ the act of giving a role and function in an ordered system, then this verse [Gen 1:21] is making a remarkable claim. The creatures of the sea were in a liminal zone in the ancient Near East. After all, the sea was the very embodiment of non—order. Therefore, there would be questions about the functions of the sea creatures (and whether they even had any). Liminal creatures (whether sea dwellers or desert dwellers) were sometimes considered to be representatives of non—order (sometimes referred to as chaos creatures, referred to in Greek as daimon; many were later classified as demons). The tannin referred to here (NIV: "great creatures of the sea") are counted among the chaos creatures in the Old Testament (see Job 7:12; Ps 74:13; Is 27:1; 51:9; Ezek 32:2; cf. the Ugaritic chaos creature tunnanu). It is remarkable that these creatures are included in the ordered world in Genesis 1, and this is made explicit by virtue of the use of the verb bara’. The creation events of this day again focus on order and not on the production of material objects.—The Lost World of Adam and Eve, p. 40

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