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Monday, September 1, 2008

K-D: Genesis Commentary Part 6

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
The Sixth Day. - Sea and air are filled with living creatures; and the word of God now goes forth to the earth, to produce living beings after their kind. These are divided into three classes. bªheemaah (OT:929), cattle, from bhm (OT:871 a), mutum, brutum esse, generally denotes the larger domesticated quadrupeds (e.g., Ge 47:18; Ex 13:12, etc.), but occasionally the larger land animals as a whole. remes (OT:7431) (the creeping) embraces the smaller land animals, which move either without feet, or with feet that are scarcely perceptible, viz., reptiles, insects, and worms. In v. 25 they are distinguished from the race of water reptiles by the term haa'adaamaah (OT:127) 'erets (OT:776) chayªtow (OT:2416) (the old form of the construct state, for haa'aarets (OT:776) chayat (OT:2416)), the beast of the earth, i.e., the freely roving wild animals.

"After its kind:" this refers to all three classes of living creatures, each of which had its peculiar species; consequently in v. 25, where the word of God is fulfilled, it is repeated with every class. This act of creation, too, like all that precede it, is shown by the divine word "good" to be in accordance with the will of God. But the blessing pronounced is omitted, the author hastening to the account of the creation of man, in which the work of creation culminated. The creation of man does not take place through a word addressed by God to the earth, but as the result of the divine decree, "We will make man in Our image, after our likeness," which proclaims at the very outset the distinction and pre-eminence of man above all the other creatures of the earth. The plural "We" was regarded by the fathers and earlier theologians almost unanimously as indicative of the Trinity: modern commentators, on the contrary, regard it either as pluralis majestatis; or as an address by God to Himself, the subject and object being identical; or as communicative, an address to the spirits or angels who stand around the Deity and constitute His council.

The last is Philo's explanation: diale'getai (NT:1256) ho (NT:3588) too'n (NT:3588) ho'loon (NT:3650) patee'r (NT:3962) tai's (NT:3588) heautou' (NT:1438) duna'mesin (NT:1411) duna'meis (NT:1411) = angels). But although such passages as 1 Ki 22:19 ff., Ps 89:8, and Da 10, show that God, as King and Judge of the world, is surrounded by heavenly hosts, who stand around His throne and execute His commands, the last interpretation founders upon this rock: either it assumes without sufficient scriptural authority, and in fact in opposition to such distinct passages as Ge 2:7,22; Isa 40:13 seq., Ge 44:24, that the spirits took part in the creation of man; or it reduces the plural to an empty phrase, inasmuch as God is made to summon the angels to cooperate in the creation of man, and then, instead of employing them, is represented as carrying out the work alone. Moreover, this view is irreconcilable with the words "in our image, after our likeness;" since man was created in the image of God alone (v. 27; Ge 5:1), and not in the image of either the angels, or God and the angels.

A likeness to the angels cannot be inferred from Heb 2:7, or from Lk 20:36. Just as little ground is there for regarding the plural here and in other passages (Ge 3:22; 11:7; Isa 6:8; 41:22) as reflective, an appeal to self; since the singular is employed in such cases as these, even where God Himself is preparing for any particular work (cf. Ge 2:18; Ps 12:5; Isa 33:10). No other explanation is left, therefore, than to regard it as pluralis majestatis, - an interpretation which comprehends in its deepest and most intensive form (God speaking of Himself and with Himself in the plural number, not reverentiae causa, but with reference to the fullness of the divine powers and essences which He possesses) the truth that lies at the foundation of the trinitarian view, viz., that the potencies concentrated in the absolute Divine Being are something more than powers and attributes of God; that they are hypostases, which in the further course of the revelation of God in His kingdom appeared with more and more distinctness as persons of the Divine Being.

On the words "in our image, after our likeness" modern commentators have correctly observed, that there is no foundation for the distinction drawn by the Greek, and after them by many of the Latin Fathers, between eikoo'n (NT:1504) (imago) and homoi'oosis (NT:3669) (similitudo), the former of which they supposed to represent the physical aspect of the likeness to God, the latter the ethical; but that, on the contrary, the older Lutheran theologians were correct in stating that the two words are synonymous, and are merely combined to add intensity to the thought: "an image which is like Us" (Luther); since it is no more possible to discover a sharp or well-defined distinction in the ordinary use of the words between tselem (OT:6754) and dªmuwt (OT:1823), than between bª and kª. tselem (OT:6754), from tseel (OT:6738), lit., a shadow, hence sketch, outline, differs no more from dªmuwt (OT:1823), likeness, portrait, copy, than the German words Umriss or Abriss (outline or sketch) from Bild or Abbild (likeness, copy). bª and kª are also equally interchangeable, as we may see from a comparison of this verse with Ge 5:1 and 3. (Compare also Lev 6:4 with Lev 27:12, and for the use of bª to denote a norm, or sample, Ex 25:40; 30:32,37, etc.)

There is more difficulty in deciding in what the likeness to God consisted. Certainly not in the bodily form, the upright position, or commanding aspect of the man, since God has no bodily form, and the man's body was formed from the dust of the ground; nor in the dominion of man over nature, for this is unquestionably ascribed to man simply as the consequence or effluence of his likeness to God. Man is the image of God by virtue of his spiritual nature. of the breath of God by which the being, formed from the dust of the earth, became a living soul.

(Note: "The breath of God became the soul of man; the soul of man therefore is nothing but the breath of God. The rest of the world exists through the word of God; man through His own peculiar breath. This breath is the seal and pledge of our relation to God, of our godlike dignity; whereas the breath breathed into the animals is nothing but the common breath, the life-wind of nature, which is moving everywhere, and only appears in the animal fixed and bound into a certain independence and individuality, so that the animal soul is nothing but a nature-soul individualized into certain, though still material spirituality." - Ziegler.)

The image of God consists, therefore, in the spiritual personality of man, though not merely in unity of self-consciousness and self-determination, or in the fact that man was created a consciously free Ego; for personality is merely the basis and form of the divine likeness, not its real essence. This consists rather in the fact, that the man endowed with free self-conscious personality possesses, in his spiritual as well as corporeal nature, a creaturely copy of the holiness and blessedness of the divine life. This concrete essence of the divine likeness was shattered by sin; and it is only through Christ, the brightness of the glory of God and the expression of His essence (Heb 1:3), that our nature is transformed into the image of God again (Col 3:10; Eph 4:24).

"And they ('aadaam (OT:120), a generic term for men) shall have dominion over the fish," etc. There is something striking in the introduction of the expression "and over all the earth," after the different races of animals have been mentioned, especially as the list of races appears to be proceeded with afterwards. If this appearance were actually the fact, it would be impossible to escape the conclusion that the text is faulty, and that chayat (OT:2416) has fallen out; so that the reading should be, "and over all the wild beasts of the earth," as the Syriac has it. But as the identity of "every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (h'rts (OT:776)) with "every thing that creepeth upon the ground" (h'dmh) in v. 25 is not absolutely certain; on the contrary, the change in expression indicates a difference of meaning; and as the Masoretic text is supported by the oldest critical authorities (LXX, Sam., Onk.), the Syriac rendering must be dismissed as nothing more than a conjecture, and the Masoretic text be understood in the following manner.

The author passes on from the cattle to the entire earth, and embraces all the animal creation in the expression, "every moving thing (kl-hrms) that moveth upon the earth," just as in v. 28, "every living thing haaromeset (OT:7430) upon the earth." According to this, God determined to give to the man about to be created in His likeness the supremacy, not only over the animal world, but over the earth itself; and this agrees with the blessing in v. 28, where the newly created man is exhorted to replenish the earth and subdue it; whereas, according to the conjecture of the Syriac, the subjugation of the earth by man would be omitted from the divine decree. - V. 27. In the account of the accomplishment of the divine purpose the words swell into a jubilant song, so that we meet here for the first time with a parallelismus membrorum, the creation of man being celebrated in three parallel clauses.

The distinction drawn between 'otow (OT:853) (in the image of God created He him) and 'otaam (OT:853) (as man and woman created He them) must not be overlooked. The word 'otaam (OT:853), which indicates that God created the man and woman as two human beings, completely overthrows the idea that man was at first androgynous (cf. Ge 2:18 ff.). By the blessing in v. 28, God not only confers upon man the power to multiply and fill the earth, as upon the beasts in v. 22, but also gives him dominion over the earth and every beast. In conclusion, the food of both man and beast is pointed out in vv. 29, 30, exclusively from the vegetable kingdom. Man is to eat of "every seed-bearing herb on the face of all the earth, and every tree on which there are fruits containing seed," consequently of the productions of both field and tree, in other words, of corn and fruit; the animals are to eat of "every green herb," i.e., of vegetables or green plants, and grass.

From this it follows, that, according to the creative will of God, men were not to slaughter animals for food, nor were animals to prey upon one another; consequently, that the fact which now prevails universally in nature and the order of the world, the violent and often painful destruction of life, is not a primary law of nature, nor a divine institution founded in the creation itself, but entered the world along with death at the fall of man, and became a necessity of nature through the curse of sin. It was not till after the flood, that men received authority from God to employ the flesh of animals as well as the green herb as food (Ge 9:3); and the fact that, according to the biblical view, no carnivorous animals existed at the first, may be inferred from the prophetic announcements in Isa 11:6-8; 65:25, where the cessation of sin and the complete transformation of the world into the kingdom of God are described as being accompanied by the cessation of slaughter and the eating of flesh, even in the case of the animal kingdom.