Formless, dark and deep were the three elements of chaos to the readers of the original text. You can say it was a good chaos, but it was still chaos.
Where does the text say that order would have to precede chaos?
The Hebrew word transliterated as “to-hu,” that you translate as “without shape,” is a possible translation, but not the only one. Isaiah 24:10 translates that word as “chaos” in the NASB, as “desolation” in Isaiah 34:11 in the NASB, and as “waste place” in Isaiah 45:18 and 45:19 in the NASB.
I am not sure how you are differentiating “without shape” as NOT being “chaos.” I am trying to understand where you see this in the Sacred Text.
Your contention that animal suffering and death was only introduced at Adam’s Fall is a good theological argument against Evolutionary Creationism. If this can be established, then theologically Evolutionary Creationism falls down. The only problem with it is how this can be clearly derived from the text. What evidence is found in the text itself, regardless of what evolutionary science says?
Even if evolutionary science is false, we still have to grapple with what God says in His Word, here in Genesis 1:2.
Genesis 1:2 does not necessarily require an evolutionary reading. But it does suggest that even though God surely created everything as “good,” and even “very good” by day six, it does not necessarily imply that God created everything as “perfect.”
God surely had perfection in mind, but perhaps that is where the creation of man comes into play, to help bring order out of chaos? True, Adam and Eve got sidetracked by the serpent, but God’s purposes were still in play, were they not?
It is the modern use of chaos that makes it chaotic. While “chaos” is a noun the modern sense turns it into a verb full of action with no direction. A room full of cats and dogs is considered chaotic. An empty room is void without activity. Yet it contains matter that God could form a whole universe with.
It doesn’t have to do with the modern use of chaos because “chaos” was a concept in ANE literature. It was pictured as a watery deep where monsters lived. See the entry for “Chaos and Death” in the Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings:
Water is how they imagined it. Genesis does not include monsters. A room full of water is not empty. The water would be empty. Water full of monsters is still a room full of cats and dogs.
There was not water because water is still a form of matter. Matter had no form at all according to Genesis. The face of the deep was the image neccessary for ANE understanding. But it was still empty and void. After light the first form was water. At what stage do we have heat or gas for that matter? How can we have a hot star with accretion of planets when the first form in the universe after light is water?
I don’t really follow what you are saying. I don’t think Genesis is describing the scientific beginnings of the universe. I think it is presenting Creation in the context of an ANE origin story, and the watery chaos was a conventional element.
Have a look at Jordan Peterson’s Biblical lectures on the story of Adam and Eve.
(And his other Biblical lectures for that matter)
Helped me to fit together some of this stuff.
Remember the Jews who recorded these stories did not take them all as literal history but rather symbolic meta myths containing much truth.
David, I’ve listened to a good handful of JBP’s podcast episodes dealing with the Genesis narratives. While he’s not a bible scholar, I do appreciate the perspective he brings to the table, as he has obviously spent a lot of time thinking about the meaning and significance.
Thank you for your kind words…
I believe death being what was at first the separation of Man from God, whom was given dominion over the earth, brought what we would call 2nd law of thermodynamics… the eventful destruction of matter, and organic substance. I believe it was deep, chemically. The “Breath of Life”.
Thank you for your reply.
“death existed long before Adam and Eve”. Here’s were we take separate cars. Just a quick pondering of your words brings to mind that Adam and Eve quickly sought something to cover themselves. They used leaves. I would also think they’d wonder about all the skin, fur laying around, unless it was only outside the Garden, and they saw nothing like that inside… Since they were given dominion, I would also think the act of violence and such would have been wrong to them, and since he "named’ the animals, he’d yell at Bob and Sam for fighting.
Interesting isn’t it… God clothed them with “skin”.
Thank you for your reply.
Interesting. First I’ve heard of “millions of years of evolution” AFTER the fall. Explain further please
I explained this timeline in my post in separate thread.
I can see conceptually what you are getting at, I think. This idea of the “fall” can encompass not only mankind, but also in the entire cosmos and its physical and chemical laws.
One point where I see a difficulty in your line of reasoning, if you are suggesting there was no organic death in the garden, how does the nutrition situation work for Adam and Eve? They were eating from the garden, which would normally mean physical death of a plant, and then the breakdown of its components in digestion for use in the body.
Not that digestion is an important theme in Genesis, but I hope you can appreciate the thought experiment as it relates to this idea of “death.”