Part 2: Genesis 1:1-3: Creation or Re-Creation? -- By: Mark F. Rooker

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 149:596 (Oct 1992)
Article: Part 2: Genesis 1:1-3: Creation or Re-Creation?
Author: Mark F. Rooker


Part 2:
Genesis 1:1-3: Creation or Re-Creation?

Mark F. Rooker

Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew
Criswell College, Dallas, Texas

In the preceding article in this series,1 two options regarding the interpretation of Genesis 1:1–3—the restitution theory and the initial chaos theory—were examined. The present article examines the precreation chaos theory, which has been extensively argued and advocated by Waltke in his work, Creation and Chaos.2 The four major theses of the precreation chaos view are these: (1) Genesis 1:1 constitutes a summary statement, (2) the Hebrew verb בָּרָא in Genesis 1:1 should not be understood as creation out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo), (3) Genesis 1:2 describes something that is not good, (4) the Israelite view of creation is distinct among the other cosmogonies of the ancient Near East.

Precreation Chaos Theory

The first feature of the precreation chaos view concerns the grammatical understanding of Genesis 1:1–3. The opening statement, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” is viewed as an independent clause3 that functions as a summary statement for

the narrative that ends in Genesis 2:3.4 The first line of evidence Waltke puts forth for this rendering is the parallel structure in the subsequent Genesis narrative, Genesis 2:4–7.5 Waltke argues that the narrative account of Genesis 2:4–7 is parallel to the construction of Genesis 1:1–3 in the following way: (1) Introductory summary statement (Gen 1:1 = 2:4). (2) Circumstantial clause (1:2 = 2:5–6). (3) Main clause (1:3 = 2:7).6 In addition, a similar structure is employed in the introduction to Enuma Elish, an important cosm...

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