Cosmology Essay

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In this brief essay, I examine the ancient cosmology of Genesis 1, the best known, but by no means the only, creation account in the Bible (see Brown, 2010).While the six-day schema exhibits a well-calibrated correspondence, the symmetry is not perfect.Within its literary patterning, Genesis 1 features a number of "nonpredictable variations" (Middleton, 2005, p. Vegetation, for example, occurs on the third day, concluding the left column, even though plants, like the animals, populate the land.In the course of the Genesis narration, both the domains and the "members" of these domains reveal an overarching symmetry as the following table illustrates. Their chronological ordering gives rise to a thematic symmetry.According to their thematic correspondences, the first six days of creation line up to form two parallel columns (see Mc Bride, 2000, pp. Days 1-3 establish the cosmic domains, which are subsequently populated by various entities or agencies (Days 4-6).Compared to the rough-and-tumble drama of the Babylonian myth of creation, the Enūma Elish (late 2nd millennium BCE), Genesis 1 reads like a dispassionate treatise.Through the near-monotonous repetition of literary motifs and structural devices, the Bibles first account of creation resembles more a report than a story, more an itemized list than a flowing narrative.The end result is a cosmos replete with variety and structure, a fully differentiated universe. The cosmos began in "chaotic" unity and proceeded to be structured in the course of creation.To achieve this, God goes about "separating out" creation: light from darkness (1:4), waters above from waters below (vv. Through separation, discrete domains are established during the first three "days": light, water, sky, and land, each accommodating various entities, living and otherwise.The account begins not with God creating ex nihilo, as is commonly assumed, but with the deity working with undifferentiated matter, a cosmic mishmash.Primordial light, the first act of creation, is distinguished temporally from the light transmitted by the sun and stars.


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