Origins: Greek versus Hebrew

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There are many theories for the origin of the universe – where did it come from, and was it chance or was there a true purpose behind it all? Was it unordered chaos, or the will of a supreme being?

Both the Hebrew and Greek outlook on the origin story was that all creation began with one supreme being. However their stories are as different as night and day. Using as source documents the ancient poem “Theogony” by the Greek poet Hesiod, and the first chapters of the book of Genesis, part of the Bible and essential to the study of Hebrew creation, in this post I will compare the different methods of creation.  The study of comparing ethics and theology will come into play as well.

The Hebrew story of Creation, beginning in Genesis 1, tells how Yahweh created the heavens and the earth. Then, simply by speaking things into existence, He created all the rest of the world – vegetation, ocean and other waters, and all the animals. On the sixth day of creation, He created mankind, one male, who named all the animals yet found no partner. So then Yahweh made a woman out of Adam’s rib, and Adam called her Woman, because she was created out of man. (He later named her Eve.) And the humans were in the image of God.

Then, on the seventh day of creation, Yahweh rested from his creating, and everything he had created was good.

I would rest in this beautiful story but now I must compare this with the Greek story of Creation.

The Greeks believed that creation came about through one deity, called Chaos. They believed that Chaos created Heaven and Earth, then Heaven and Earth gave birth to gods and gods gave birth to gods with names like Ocean and Strife, Time, Age, and Friendship. Therefore nature and all the forms were created by the procreation of the gods, namely, sexual union.

To summarize the Genesis account …

  • There is one creator God, and no other.
  • The physical is simply creation from Yah’s mouth. Yah spoke, and it came into being. There’s no deific sexual union, no creation as a cause of strife, no immortality but that which comes from the One True God.
  • Man was created in the image of God, and woman was created from man to be his helper.
  • Sin of the world comes to humans because of the choices of humankind.

To summarize the account found in Theogony …

  • The story began with one god, but soon many gods entered the picture and also began ‘creating and procreating’.
  • The method of creation is sexual union.
  • First the gods lay with gods to produce nature (and more gods), then the gods lay with humans to produce demigods.
  • Zeus was called the “father of men”, but woman was created to punish and plague men.
  • Sin of the world comes to humans because of the union of the gods.

How can humans possibly achieve ethical coherence, or find out what sin is? There is no concept of ethical standards in this story! There is no rule about getting married first: There is no right and wrong! The gods got revenge on whomever they felt had wronged them.

The stories are integrally different.

For example, their views of fear. All Greece lived in fear of the changeable gods and their hot tempers, but the fear with which we regard Yahweh is not anguish, but reverence. Fear of the unknown or unexperienced cannot come between us and God.

“For we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of sound mind.”

1 Timothy 1:7

This is important to keep in mind during this coronavirus phase our entire world is going through. We cannot be so scared of the virus that it blinds us from what God would have us do during this time. He created us for His worship and for authority over creation. We must remember to continue to worship Him during this time, instead of being scared of a virus (potentially a man-made virus). The fear with which we should regard Yah is a respectful and healthy fear and obedience.

We were made in Yah’s image, yet brought our hardships upon ourselves. Who will rise up? Who will say, “I am a child of Yah!”

I will. Will you?



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