IDOLATRY-5/ELoKiM/Is Genesis a Bronze Age Myth?


© 2017 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner

IDOLATRY-5: Is Genesis a Myth?

Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference

1: Questioning the validity of Genesis

ELoKIM is truthful
We are walking in the path that Moses has set up for us in the Ten Commandments for the understanding IDOLATRY. Moses mentions two holy Names: ELKM and YHVH, assuming that the reader is already familiar with them from the Book of Genesis.  All Mankind is expected to be familiar with these Holy Names and know their meaning.   This should not be left for the expert and the theologians.  This is incumbent on everyone of us, Jews and non Jews the same. (Moreover, you can’t understand the Bible properly without comprehending these Names.)
We’ve begun with the concept of ELKM.   Genesis Chapter One presents Him as a CREATOR and a JUDGE who builds a Six Floor Building- our Universe.  The Chapter also presents ELKM’s Ways of Judgment, following the absolute Justice.  The creatures he creates eat and are eaten, inflict pains  only so suffer pains.  If He finds a Day ‘not good,’  he would terminate it.  if the Day is good, he would allow it to endure and enter the next Day, or support another Day on top.

Now let’s ask: Since ELKM stands for the Absolute Truth and “His Signature  is Truth,” is the story of Genesis that follows in the Chapter truthful? if not, why did Moses write it at the beginning of his books? The question is important, since invalidating the truthfulness of the story of CREATION would have severe consequences that would be tantamount of IDOLATRY.

The stakes are high.
So if the story of Genesis Chapter One is untrue, a myth, than the rest of the Torah is also a myth!
On the other hand, if  we’ve found the story of Genesis truthful, then wow! Who told Moses this story? How could he know the true history of CREATION, 3500 years ago? if that is true,  Chapter One should be seen as the most miraculous one in the Bible!

What do the scholars say?
Most modern scientists, archeologists, astronomy experts and anthropologists, see Moses’ account of CREATION as a mere BRONZE-AGE MYTH.Karen Armstrong, the author of ‘History of G-d’, places Moses’ Genesis among other ancient myths, told by the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks and Canaanites, as well as other cultures around the world. Moses’ story, she says, is not different from those other myths of his time. Certianly they all share the same one featrure:  they DO NOT CONCUR WITH WAHT SCIENCE TELLS US ABOUT CREATION!

Fundamentalists take this literally
Biblical Fundamentalists, on the other hand, seet the story as literally true. The Universe exists only about 5779 human years, they say, and it was created in one regular week. The scientific evidences to the contra such a fosiles and radioactive measurments are unreliable. so they say.

Most believers say:
We, modern people, have a problem.  On one hand we  trust science.  We have I Ohones and computors and we consult our doctors.  On the other hand we tend to beleive in the Bible.How can we reconcile both?

So peoole have developed different approaches to the dilema. My high school teachers, for instance, advised us  “to leave the question to great rabbis,” as if those great rabbis  know the answer. Well, I have learned some Torah in my life and have read quite a bit about it, yet I still have to meet a  rabbi who even adddresses the problem.
Other teachers evaded the dilema by telling us  that the Torah is not a history book but rather a moral messages. “Just do what G-d is telling you what to do,” they said. 

When the question is ignored
The result of these approaches evading the issue is that most beleivers simply ignore it.  When confronted, they shy away from an answer. But that is wrong, since if the first chapter of the Bible is doubtful, what would you say about the rest of it?  Once you’ve tasted ta soup and found it rotten, you know that the rest of it is rotten too! .

More questions

And if Moses is a truthful prophet, why did he begin his five books with such a controversial chapter? He  should have known better! He should have known that one day a generation would come and with their sicnece would find out the truth about CREATION!

And another question: the Name ELKM stands for a stamp of truthfulness.  Each time His Name appears in the text it is as if Moses put a kosher stamp on it.  Since ELKM Name apears 32 times in the chapter (more densely than in any other chapter of the Bible) it is tantamount of stamping the text 32 times with a “truthfulness.”  So if you doubt the validity of Chapter One,. you have doubted also the validity of ELKM!

But on the other hand, if we find Moses’ account  of Genesis truthful, then wow! Who told him the story? We’d also comprehend why he have chosen to place this chapter at the front of his books.  Moses. a true prophet, predicted that a a generation would rise one day and doubt his entire revelation. He therefore placed the story of Genesis at the front so that once that generation would verify its truthfulness, his entire message would be validated.  .
The stakes, indeed, are so high!

So we need to answer now two questions:

Is Moses’ story of CREATION another ancient myht?

Is Moses’s  stoy of CREATION compatible with the Scientific narative about it?


2: Is Genesis another myth?


How can we compare Mose’s story to the ancient myths of his time?

To our luck, Ms. Karen Armstrong herself tells us about the ancient myths in her book.

Thus, the Egyptian myth of CREATION is especially  important since Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s home. He must have known all the myths about CREATION told in his time.  According to Karen Armstrong, the Egyptians in Moses time  believed that the world was created when a’ male god’ named Rah (like in Ra-amssess) impregnated a goddess named Nun (‘water’ or ‘darkness.’) Fearing that her embryo would one day rebel against him, the father-god Rah slashed Nuns’ belly, killed his son and threw his testicles into the Mediterranean Sea near the city of Acco.

The lamenting mother goddess Nun then dived into the Sea, retrieved her sons’ testicles and resurrected him .  From that event the world was somehow created .

We can imagine how emotional the story was in the Egyptian’s eyes. Their priests paraded in the streets chanting the story, and celebrated the resurrection with passion. Their philosophers and poets must have written hymns and philosophical works in its honor. We may even sympathize with the Egyptians and clap our hands, but  we can’t do one thing|: Say that their story matches our scientific knowledge of CREATION.  No way. Their story is mythical, whereas our scientific narrative is factual.

The Greek too held similar myths about CREATION. According to Ms. Karen Armstrong, the Greek believed that a ‘male god’ named Uranus impregnated the goddess of Earth, Gaia.  Fearing that her numerous embryos, the Titans. would exit and rebel against him, Uranus pushed the Titans back into their mother Gaia’s womb, causing her much agony.  Whenever the Earth is shaking under your feet, it is Gaia twisting in labor pains.
But the youngest Titans, the brazen Cronus, stood up against his father-god and cut his sexual organ when he penetrated Gaia.  Cronus then three his father’s sex organ into the Sea, from where the world was created.  This is what  the Greek said about CREATION in Moses’ time.

Again, we may sympathize with the Titans and even play football for their glory, yet we can’t say that the Greek’s story matches our Science. No way!

Other ancient myths
The same analysis can be made with any of the ancient myths about CREATION of Moses’ time. The Japanese, Chinese, Indians and Africans told similar stories about CREATION; stories that were full of jealousy, rivalry and ugly sexual perversions.
Now can Moses’ account of CREATION be counted among these  Bronze Age myth?


3: Moses’ Genesis Compared to Ancient Myths

Moses story is clean
As we look at Moses story from above, we readily notice how CLEAN it is.  There is no mention of any family rivalry, violence, Jealousy, sexual perversion or power struggle.  Moses’ account is dry and factual.  You can’t parade with it in the streets. You can’t hug your neighbor’s wives while spreading the good news. You can’t even chant hymns for the story’s glory. Moses’ story lacks any emotion.  It is a factual account of CREATION Day by Day, as dry as it can be.

Moses sees an order in CREATION
Moreover, unlike the ancient myths of his time, Moses recognizes an ORDER in CREATION. The world, he says, was created in Six Days or stages. Some elements of Nature were made first while others followed in a particular, calculated fashion!
This alone set Moses’ Genesis apart from all the myths of his time .  No one else in Moses’ time had any clue about an ORDER in CREATION. For Pharaoh, the animals roamed around for his pleasure and hunting games. This holds true with all the other ancient myths of CREATION.
So how can any serious scholar count Moses’ Genesis as another bronze-age myth?

Now let’s ask: can we match Moses’ Genesis with our Scientific Knowledge of CREATION?

Select the best answer
(1) The Egyptians believed that (a) the world was resurrected from the testicles of god’s son who was resurrected after being killed by his father (b) the world was created by one god (c) god could not have a wife and a son (d) in pure oneness

(2) The Titans were (a) Egyptian deities (b) Fatherly gods (c) embryos in Gaiah’s womb (d) Attributes of the One CREATOR

(3) Moses story is (a) studded by jealousy (b) full of ugly sexual perversions (c) typical bronze age myth (d) a dry account of events

(4) Moses grew up in (a) Babylon (b) Greek (c) Japan (d) Pharaoh’s house

(5) The Fundamentalists hold that (a) only science counts (b) the world was created about 10,000 human years ago (c) the radioactive carbon measurement of fossils is invalid d) the world appeared by accident

(6) Most scholars today believe that Genesis is (a) a myth (b) a true story (c) a scientifically sound story (d) all the above

(7) Moses saw Nature as (a) wildly chaotic (b) something to take advantage of, like hunting (c) an orderly place, where some creatures were born fist, some later (d) existing with no beginning and no end

(8) The ancient myths were (a) factual and dry (b) passionate accounts (c) compatible with our science (d) reflections of the believer’s own lives

(9) Moses concurs with (a) the Egyptian myth (b) the Babylonian myth (c) the Chinese myth (d) with no one’s myth

(10) Moses learned the story of Genesis (a) from Pharaoh’s wise men (b) from the Greek’s philosophers (c) From a great Pharaoh called Ra-amses (d) From scrolls related to Adam, or from Sini’s revelation



Read also: “Genesis Vs. Science, Can They Match?” By Zvi Aviner, at