An Unbeliever Explains Creation (Part 12)
What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.
At the end of part 11, you had tracked the parallelism between the two versions of the creation story as far as the rivers, and the fifth day:
|Version 1||Version 2|
|Chaos:||Darkness/Emptiness and The Deep/Formlessness||Dryness and No Tiller of the Soil|
1: Chaos addressed
|Light and Time/(structure)||Water and Human|
|2: Space||The Sky (and beginning of the sea): A Space for Creation||The Garden, A Space for Life/Cultivation|
|3: Space completed||Dry Land and Vegetation, Completing the Space||Plants, Completing the Garden|
|4: Parallels and expands #1||The lights in the Sky multiply the original creation of light, and expand the theme of time (since they are used to mark the times and the seasons)||The Four Rivers multiply the original creation of water, and expand the theme of human cultivation (since the river valleys mark the great agricultural states)|
|5: The Space in #2 is populated||The birds and the fish are created to populate the sky and the the sea.||The human populates the garden.|
As you look forward to a final stage of creation that will parallel the sixth day in the original story, you wonder how the author is going to parallel the creation of land animals and humans, and the idea of creation in the image of gods.
Then Yahweh gods said, "It is not good for the human to be alone. I will provide a partner for him."
So Yahweh gods formed out of the ground
all the wild animals and
all the birds of the sky.
He brought them to the human, to see what he would call them,
and whatever the human called each living creature, that was its name.
Thus, the human gave names to all cattle, to the birds of heaven, and to every wild animal:
But for the human, no partner was found.
The parallels to day six are clear to you, and satisfying, so far.
In the first version, gods tells the earth to bring forth the animals, in this version Yahweh gods forms them from the earth.
In the first version we are told that humans are created in the image and likeness of gods, and given dominion (a god-like power) over all the animals, in this version the human names the beasts, thus completing their creation (exercising the god-like power of creation).
So Yahweh gods put human into a trance,
and while he slept he took one side of him, and closed the flesh over the place.
And Yahweh gods built up the side, which he had taken from the human, into a woman.
The first version tells us that humans were created male and female; this version completes the creation of humans begun at the outset, by dividing them into male and female.
The parallelism is complete. The two creation stories are actually a poetic unit—a single creation story told in the tension between two parallel versions.
In the next part, we'll begin to tease out what this elaborate parallel structure is saying.