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‘Above the Earth’
A Pre-Biblical Impression of the Bible #3: Genesis 1:20-23
Lines 1:20 through 1-31 are dedicated to the saying into existence the habitants of the earth: aquatic, avian and terrestrial. This categorization into swimming, walking and flying creatures would appeal greatly to people coming into possession of this story while they were yet in a Paleolithic state.
The Fifth Day
1:20 “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life…”
“God said,” suggests an omnipotent will to have a thing done by powers under his direction, whether conceptions of potential delivered into the world with a word, in other words summoned. This obvious pre-Christian interpretation will not appeal to the modern economic mind centered on divine mechanical creation and intervention after a craft-based and then industrial-planning and ultimately social-engineering view of life. However, from the high pagan view of Late Antiquity and particularly numerous first-contact animistic worldviews would tend to interpret God as presented in Genesis as the eternal magician, summoning and commanding powers to act. Whether these powers are brought into being, recalled from a dormant state or gathered from the reaches of the cosmos—for this creation does not reference extra-solar existence at all, other than as an afterthought concerning the stars which does not rate a full sentence.
Of great interest to the scald who re-composed Beowulf under Christian dominions would be:
1:21 “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged foul after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”
The waters act on God’s will and birth life according to his will, which is not specified as a plan, with God clearly observing the result more like a judge than a refining craftsman imagined by early modern deists of their “clock-maker” God.
After the waters have obeyed the command of God:
1:22 “And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.”
Some modern commentaries from New Age thinkers and neo-pagans have suggested Genesis as a rather ignorant account of creation by a people without a broader understanding of aquatic, avian and animal flora. However, the coming of the birds from the seas would certainly please Darwin. Moreover, their command to inhabit the earth would be understood by primitive people, barbarians and particularly Aryan heathens, the world over as grave expressions of divine will. Hunting, nomad and warrior people of all races generally regard birds as witnesses to great things, the harbingers of seasons, plenty, dearths and plagues, being messengers from the heavenly powers as well as pioneer species first to settle islands and colonize the furthest reaches of the earth.
1:23 “And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.”
The day is born in darkness in the view of nomad peoples under the open skies, such as the Arabs who call the predawn the Wolf’s Tale. The hunter’s stalk and the warrior’s raid begin before light, as prefigured in 1:1-2, “In the beginning…darkness was upon the face of the deep…”
Some of the dread fear concerning the forest, as a place of evil, experienced by all civilized peoples of the tilled field and tended garden and even of the nomad of the open steppe and desert, may stem from the fact that night comes first to the forest and leaves last and that its shadowed precincts defy, to some extent, the “two great lights” God made and set to rule over day and night.
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BryceFeb 15, 2021

Rt. Reverend LaFond is a better exegete than most ministers today.

The creation kingdoms are assigned creature kings: birds to rule the air, fish to rule the seas, etc. Man is made last as a vassal king under God. "Day" can mean a lot of different things in Scripture.
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