Genesis 2: 4) … (5

The tale is over; another story rises. The space between verses 4 and 5 is both too small to take into account, justifying conflation, and too large to hold within a vaulted space marginally freed from chaos.

How we deal with this space between stories will come to be seen as a Babel moment separating hearer from hearer, reader from reader.

Honoring a host of resources can help as we select Note A from one commentator and Note B from another midrasher. Here I jump to Karen Armstrong and her book, In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis to reiterate a creator’s cessation and to pick up a next creation story as if it began the in the midst of the one just put down.

In the next story we will also come to the point of cessation at a critical moment for going ahead, anyway—without the benefit of an on-going conversation in the evening that grants a courage to sleep through a dark reminiscent of a great, never remote, dark always awaiting after a day and parted before any next day.

= = = = = = =

… We always enter the action in medias res and seldom see the whole shape and pattern of events: impressions and experiences jostle for our attention, and we rarely see incidents and their consequences in clear focus. Since religion is also concerned with the quest for meaning amid the chaos of mundane existence, fiction can be more useful to the spiritual life than a purely historical narrative.

By giving us two contradictory accounts of the creation, the bible editors were indicating that both J and P were writing fiction. They offered timeless truths that could not be rendered obsolete by new cosmological discoveries. If P wanted to show us how to regard the universe in relation to the divine, J was more interested in humanity. He turned the spotlight from God in his heaven to adam in the garden. Above all he was concerned with the distance that seemed to separate God from humanity. How could human beings, who were sustained by the divine breath, feel that God was so remote?

Karen Armstrong
In the Beginning, pp. 19–20

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