Were the events of Genesis 1 revealed to humans via a dream?

Is it possible that Genesis, or the revelation that God created everything, was revealed to man via visions while he dreamt? As man was not there with God as it was happening, the only way for man to know what God did in the creation process would be to be shown by God Himself.

And what if the method used to elucidate man was a vision or a dream? And the man God revealed the process to was shown it through several dreams over several nights, say Seven nights?

Humans sleep from Evening to Morning after all. And this is what makes up the “days” of Genesis in the narrative. (Why Evening and Morning, and not Morning to Evening or Morning to Morning?)

Is it possible that God is showing man the process in dreams over Seven nights? With each night focusing on a different aspect of creation?

Wouldn’t this eliminate the whole need for the actual process of creation to take 7 literal 24 hour days, or remove the confusion when one is told the “days” were actually long periods of time (without explaining why then Evening and Morning are mentioned?

What if the days have nothing to do with the actual creation process and are simply the nights taken to reveal the story to mankind?

A lot of the narrative seems to take the view of someone standing on the surface of the Earth, like a man, and watching God do His thing. This would also be why the Sun and stars were not mentioned until day four, as from the surface of the Earth, the position the man in the vision is standing, the Sun and stars cannot be seen through the thick, primordial atmosphere until it clears.

So what if we imagine the Genesis narrative is being shown to man like a fast-forward movie, in the form of a vision, playing out over Seven nights and focusing on the important things, making sure it is understood that it was God that did them?

Do your best to tear this apart as I’m going to go with it if it works.

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Guess it depends on if you are trying to say the days were in the correct order or not. Sea creatures were around before any woody trees evolved and well before flowering plants evolved. Butterflies and moths were potentially around before flowers.

There is nothing to prove or disprove that God did not give ancient men dreams and those dreams were spread orally and became a faith which was later wrote down and then even later collected and seamed together and so on.

The issue with genesis is not so much how the story came into being. Who knows how the Holy Spirit helped inspire it after all. The issue is when we try to make genesis ( 1-11 ) a historical and biographical narrative filled with real science.

So if you say trees ( fruiting trees ) evolved before fish then you’re not considering the scientific data. If you’re saying man was created just 10k years ago then you’re not following scientific data. If you say at some point in time someone had a dream by the Holy Spirit and in that dream they say these non literal events take place over a week, that’s a presumption, but it’s not one that makes us ignore science in my opinion.

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Well, it isn’t inherently stated that all kinds appeared as God said it. Only that the process was begun. Let the Earth produce this… In it’s own time or instantly? God does not say. It is open to taking time. The only vegetation to appear for Ten thousand years could have been one species of fungi or moss. But the process began when God spoke. God is all about process, if you haven’t noticed. Very few times does He cause anything to occur instantly. Process seems to largely be an unavoidable part of dealing with the physical world. If it were not so, I suppose the Bible would be only a few pages long. Or His ultimate goal would have already come to pass.

I imagine all the things begun on earlier days were still continuing their processes as new days brought new events to the creation. To this day, the world has not stopped producing what it was told to. And it is the Earth that brings these things forth, God merely commands it to do so.

If I were to show a primitive people that I was the one responsible for creation, for all they have, I would show them things they recognize. Certainly not the coral that grows in the depths of lava tubes. I might even show more advanced species being brought forth before their true time, for the sake of my audience.

The fact is, the Genesis account of creation is quite accurate in the way it describes the formation of the primordial Earth. It certainly surprises me.

I don’t have to accept that the creations of one day definitely preceded another, only that each new day, each new vision of creation, brought a new description of what was definitely done. The seas could have begun swarming with life on day Three, but the narrative is still focused on the dry ground.

Didn’t algae and moss form before single-celled creatures? If so then the Biblical order is correct so far. Once we get to birds of the air, I read somewhere that the Hebrew does not limit the meaning to be feathered fowl, but simply flying things in the air. There were a lot of flying insects at the time. The air would have been choked with them as most everything would have been swampy and wet.

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I don’t think so. I think the evidence points to this being the product of one or more oral traditions with many variations in adjacent cultures. This was long before modern notions dividing human activities into such specializations such as history, law, science, philosophy, religion, and entertainment. So it served all of these purposes told in fireside tales to a widely mixed audience.

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The story still had to come from somewhere. Men were not around to see the creation as it happened. They still needed to be shown. How is it the account can come so close to how science views the order of events? The Universe. The Earth. Water covering the Earth. Then dry land. Life coming from the sea… That is a huge coincidence.

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I would recommend reading Walton’s Lost World of Scripture. It really helped me see how scripture came about, although there are still a lot of unknowns. I suspect that Genesis is largely a collection of campfire stories that passed down from generation to generation. Their origin probably stems from the longing of people to know how they got here and to explain the world around them. Eventually, they were edited and put together in a collection to make a coherent story, most likely during the exile period. Inspiration from God came along the way, perhaps in dreams, but more likely in imagination and thought, preserving those aspects revealing what he wanted us to learn from it through the generations.

It seems that God does communicate through dreams and vision, but it seems that when he does that in the Bible, it is usually pointed out. More often, I suspect he inspires through people looking at a blank page with a pen in their hand. Or a clay tablet and stylus, or quill and parchment…

Another odd book to consider is Job, with its opening of an observer to a conversation of God and Satan in heaven.


Ohhhh… Genesis chapter 1! Well yeah I don’t think that is based on any kind of historical account whatsoever… and nothing in science agrees with any of it. In fact much of it is nonsensical if you insist on taking it as any kind of science text or “creation for dummies” book. (what you see as surprisingly accurate looks a little forced to me) The most meaning I have ever seen taken from that portion of the Bible is simply the theological message that all these things (sun, moon, stars, plants, and animals) are not gods, but rather things created by God. At most I would suppose this could have been one of the things communicated to Adam and Eve as God “walked in the garden with them.” But again I think the point was never more than understanding that God created these things and not that this was any kind of accurate account of how God created anything.


So in genesis it mentions trees with fruits.

It’s possible, but scholars have a better theory as far as I am concerned by posting that the week format was a liturgical format that goes with a temple inauguration liturgy. So the whole narrative is set up as the inuguration of all creation as God temple, culminating with him taking up his rest/rule in creation on the seventh day.

The only people who have this need are biblical literalist. Most people here aren’t oriented that way. And the people who are resist any suggestion that reading the account as literal history is misguided and aren’t very open to other suggestions.

I have read that some scholars believe the sequence where God takes Eve from Adam’s side should be read as a vision (parallel to some other ANE creation accounts), not some kind of divinely induced anesthesia in which he performs a literal surgery.

The thing about Bible scholarship is that if you want a good theory, you have to ground it in more than just a personal hunch. The text was produced in a culural context with literary conventions, an existing worldview, competing religious beliefs in the surrounding context, and unique theology about God and humanity that the narrative was arguing for. So you would need to show that your “it was a seven day vision” theory fits with other texts of the time, identifiable features of the text itself, and the cultural expectations of the readers. It’s not good enough to simply posit something that can’t be shown to “not work.”


Genesis 1 begins its account of creation with fruit bearing plants which is definitely wrong. And then follows that with the creation of sun moon and stars which is absurd. Only then does it speak of creating life in the seas and couples this with creatures in the air which is also wrong.

If I remember my biology correctly algae can be unicellular or multicellular, and moss is multicellular. So moss would come after the unicellular algae.

Sad to say, doesn’t appear to be correct. Which doesn’t surprise me.

I have been recently discovering how much of the whole landscape of Biology has changed in just the last 40 years since I took AP Biology. Chemical studies of prokaryotes led to the classification of Archaea as a classification apart from Bacteria. We have so much more information available now with the decoding of the genome from which we can test things which were previously little more than impressions and speculations.

In any case, the earliest organisms (of those known) were prokaryotes and the strategies they employed for survival include a great many which don’t fit the classifications of multicellular eukaryotic organisms.


That makes everything other than the mention of 7 days duration pretty nonsensical. Why talk about waters covering the Earth and land masses appearing? John Walton’s view makes it sound like God just popped into this place at some point and staked a claim, rather than being the one who carefully designed and created everything.

It reads more like a Human Being is attempting to record these things being created, in a sped up visual experience, rather than their function being usurped for religious purposes.

If this is inspired, we should see vast difference between it and the other stories of the time. Not all the same notes being hit. There’s a reason we don’t believe all the rest of the nonsense out there, what then would make Genesis 1 special and different?

This is a great example, along with by stating that these things are simply tools to be used for signs and seasons etc. It blows the popular belief of the time out of the water. This is the sort of thing you would expect the account to be full of if it was truly given by God. But it loses it’s impressiveness if you consider that those who wrote it are of course going to come to that conclusion if they are monotheists. There’s no other conclusion to come to. No, there needs to be special revelation alien to all other works and beliefs at the time. Otherwise how can anyone believe that it was inspired? It’d just be another creative story made up around a fire because they didn’t have video games.

Science gets “carried away” nowadays. Classification has become a nightmare to the point a Triceratops with a slightly different skull than the last one dug up becomes a new species, because publish or perish. It couldn’t be that it was simply a younger animal or had a birth defect…

Maybe don’t call something people have done book-length research on “non-sensical” based on someone’s one sentence mention. You aren’t at all familiar with it. I’m making you aware of consensus Bible scholarship, if you want to evaluate it fairly, you’ll have to actually read the scholarship and become informed.

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I’m familiar with Walton’s views on Genesis. That was my take away. I’m about to see what William Lane Craig has to say on the matter. Sounds more promising.

God created the universe for a relationship. So He is a participant in everyday events. The inspiration from God is everywhere. This participation is only amplified in texts like the Bible where so many events and people have played a role in producing them. Explanations do not exclude the involvement or inspiration of God whether is the explanations of science (for things like mana and other miracles) or the explanations of other types of scholarship (for the text of the Bible).

I absolutely reject the necromancer notion of God which I frankly think is the invention of those using religion as a tool of power to threaten and manipulate people. That is precisely why it is so void of any rationality. So no, I don’t believe God created Adam and Eve as golems of dust and bone in a garden with magical fruit and talking animals, let alone that God created the world with some magical power of command. Nor do I think Jesus was a being of supernatural powers, and this frankly doesn’t agree with His own words in the gospels. And I certainly don’t believe God trashed the laws of nature He created just to impress ignorant savages who couldn’t possibly know the difference anyway.

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Those beliefs are kinda the basics though, right? Raising the dead, turning water to wine. Walking on water… If we can’t get Genesis to make sense, how are we supposed to believe THAT stuff?

I think the difference is in context and genre of the text. The miracles you noted are written about within a historical context, and are signs and wonders pointing towards God. In Genesis, creation itself points toward God, but it is not put forth as history (though some will argue with that).

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It doesn’t have to be magic in order to make sense. It doesn’t have to be a fantasy. Genesis 1 makes sense just fine when we take it to mean that all sun, moon, stars, water, plants and animals are not gods but things created by God. Genesis 2 and the rest of the Bible makes sense when it not about golems, magical fruit, and talking animals but about a relationship with God. And Jesus never claimed magical powers – quite the contrary, He said anyone could do what He did and more. It all makes plenty good sense when it is about life rather than magic.