Summary: The Christian faith is different from any other religion in the world. This was true in the ancient near east and it is as true today as it was then. Being unique doesn't necessarily make something right. What is it that makes Yahweh the one true God and different from the rest?
Yahweh – The Unique God
Please stand as we read our newest memory Scripture together …
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
And our memory refresher verse(s) for today is(are) …
“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.”
Please open your Bibles to Genesis 2:4-17
Why are there two creation accounts? Have you ever wondered?
Genesis 1:1 – 2:3 tells us:
- Who is in charge here – God is
- Who God is – the Creator
- How does God relate to humanity
o God is the Giver of Gifts to sustain humanity (food)
o God is the provider of food for the animal kingdom as well
- How is humanity to relate to the created order
o Fill the earth and subdue it
o To rule over all non-human living creatures
So, what about Genesis 2:4-17? Why is there a second creation account?
Let’s see … Genesis 2:4-17
(Prayer for help)
In Genesis 2:4-17 we see God doing some things that we would normally see humans doing. We see God planting a garden, we see Him building. In this case He is building a human, which of course we could not do.
But what is really going on here? Are there really two different and perhaps conflicting accounts or is something else going on?
Is the first account a literal, chronological telling of the creation account?
And, is the second account a figurative account with a distinct purpose?
The Lord chose to place Israel in the ancient near east. Now that area of the world had been populated for literally hundreds of years by the time Moses wrote the Genesis account. And that area had been inhabited by people who worshipped idols and these people had created rituals intended to make these idols “alive”.
In ancient Babylonia and Assyria they believed that they could animate their idols using a specific religious ritual. The main ritual used in that area at that time was called Mis Pi (miss pee).
In a brief overview this is how it would go.
A highly skilled craftsman would make the idol from wood, stone or iron and then decorate the idol with silver, gold and precious gem stones. These works of art were used to represent their unseen deity in the realm we inhabit; the realm of space and time.
The pagan priest(s) would then take the idol to a special garden before sunset and leave the idol there overnight. In the morning the priest(s) would return to the garden and say, “Behold, the gods have given us a deity, they have given us an image of themselves.”
The ritual fiction, which they all knew to be untrue, was that the god had been birthed in that garden overnight.
Then, employing the Mis Pi ritual, they would “animate” the statue by washing out its eyes and its mouth. This of course is very similar to how a delivery nurse would remove any mucous from a newborn’s eyes, nose and mouth after birth.
Once the statue was “animated” it would be taken and installed in the temple where it would be worshipped.
Then the craftsman who created the statue would ceremonially “cut off” their hands and gather up the tools that were used to make the statue. These would then be placed inside the carcass of a sacrificed sheep and thrown into the sacred river. All of this was done to metaphorically “erase” the memory that this statue had ever been created by a human being.
Why did they do this final step? Because even the ancients knew that humans should not be making gods, gods should be making humans.
So, take that ancient process and compare it to the creation account found in Genesis 2.
Humans plant a sacred garden
Humans craft an image (god)
Humans “animate” the image (using the Mis Pi ritual of washing)
Humans install the statue in the temple to be worshipped by men
Humans dispose of the evidence that they created the statue
Humans offer sacrifices to the statue and worship it
Genesis 2 (compare each point with its counterpoint in the Mis Pi list)
God plants a garden
God crafts a human in His own image
God animates the human (He breathes the breath of life into him)