Because It Had Rained: A Study Of Gen 2:5-7 With Implications For Gen 2:4-25 And Gen 1:1-2:3 -- By: Mark D. Futato
WTJ 60:1 (Spring 1998) p. 1
Because It Had Rained:
A Study Of Gen 2:5-7
With Implications For Gen 2:4-25 And Gen 1:1-2:3
* Mark D. Futato is associate professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological in California.
In 1958 the Westminster Theological Journal published “Because It Had Not Rained,” an exegetical study of Gen 2:5 by Meredith G. Kline.1 The article demonstrated that according to Gen 2:5 ordinary providence was God’s mode of operation during the days of creation. Since God’s mode of operation was ordinary providence, and since, for example, light (Day 1) without luminaries (Day 4) is not ordinary providence, the arrangement of the six days of creation in Genesis 1 must be topical not chronological. The current article is complementary to Kline’s.2
Why does Gen 2:5 bother to tell us that certain kinds of vegetation were absent “for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth?” This question has intrigued and perplexed me for some time. Is the absence of rain mere geographical decoration or quasi-irrelevant data that sets the stage for the really important material that follows? Or is this information that is founda tional to the narrative and its theology? The answer to this question has played a major role in my interpretation of Gen 1:1–2:25.
In this article, I intend to examine the logic, structure, and semantics of Gen 2:5–7, and to draw out several integrated conclusions: 1) It rained at the time of creation according to Gen 2:5–7. So we should discard the idea that the Bible teaches that it did not rain until the flood of Noah’s day. 2) The structure of Gen 2:5–7 provides the key to understanding the structure of the whole of Gen 2:4–25, which turns out to be topical not chronological. 3) The structure and topical arrangement of Gen 2:4–25 in turn supports the argument that the arrangement of Gen 1:1–2:3 is also topical not chronological.3
WTJ 60:1 (Spring 1998) p. 2
4) These structural considerations lead to new insights into the polemical theology of You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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