Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Land of Blessing

We have made the point in earlier entries that there are two focus points in Genesis 1. First, that God created everything (1.1). Second, that within his creation God prepared a special place where he made and put human beings (1.2-31).

English versions obscure this by translating the Hebrew word eretz as "earth" rather than "land," which is its more common meaning. For modern readers, the word "earth" conjures up pictures of the globe that we know as Earth, the planet in its entirety as it exists in outer space among the other heavenly bodies. However, this is not nor could it be the viewpoint of the author of Genesis. We've already noted that verse 1 would be more accurately translated, "In the beginning, God created the skies and the land." In Genesis 1.1, the author's perspective is that of one standing on the ground, looking out across a landscape and thinking about God's creation of all things from that point of view.

Within this comprehensive creation, God prepared a place (a land) where he put the first humans. Beginning at Genesis 1.2, the focus narrows considerably to "the land," and in particular, to the land where he brought forth living creatures and humankind (1.24-31). What land is this?

While it is possible that Moses is describing all the lands on planet Earth and making a general statement about God preparing various land masses for his creatures, I think it more likely that he has a particular land in mind.

  • The fundamental argument for seeing a specific land here comes from accepting that Genesis 1-2 contain complementary, parallel accounts of the same events. Genesis 1 says that God formed the land and then created humans as male and female in that land. Genesis 2 identifies the Garden in Eden as the place where God made the man and woman and brought them together. If chapters 1-2 are telling the same story from different perspectives, we must respect the parallels between them and recognize that "the land" where God created humans in ch. 1 correlates with "Eden" and the "Garden" in ch. 2.
  • According to the description of the rivers that form the boundaries of the Garden in ch. 2, we can deduce that Moses is identifying Eden with the Promised Land. That is where Adam and Eve received God's blessing. This is the land that God later promised Abraham and his descendants when he entered into a covenant with the patriarch (Genesis 15.18-21).
  • This is the same land into which Joshua would lead the Israelites who received the Torah from Moses (Deut 1.7-8; 7.1). Though Israel dwelt in this land for many years, the only time Israel ruled over all of this land was during the reign of Solomon (2Kings 4.21; 2Chron 9.26; 8.7-8).

Other First Testament passages reinforce that it is the Promised Land in view in Genesis 1:

  • Jeremiah 4.19-31 is Jeremiah's lament over the fall of Jerusalem. In this passage the prophet pictures the land going back to its pre-preparation state, using language directly from Genesis 1—"I looked on the earth [land], and behold, it was formless and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light" (v.23). This text is specifically about the "whole land" of Israel (v.20) and not the earth as a planet. In judgment, God returns the land to its Gen. 1.2 condition.
  • Jeremiah 27.5 is part of another passage which predicts judgment on the Promised Land. This verse looks back on what God did in Genesis 1 and links it specifically with that particular place—"I have made the earth [land], the men and the beasts which are on the face of the earth [land] by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and I will give it to the one who is pleasing in My sight." The passage is clearly about God's right to give the Promised Land to whomever he chooses, and in that light he hearkens back to the fact that in Gen. 1 he formed and filled that land with creatures by his divine strength.
  • Some believe that Exodus 20.11 contradicts this view: "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy." This verse seems to summarize all of Genesis 1, including 1.1, thus saying that the entire universe and not just the Promised Land, is the subject of the six creation days. However, Moses does not use the merism, "the heavens and the earth" in Exodus 20.11 but rather a list of four separate things: (1) the skies, (2) the land, (3) the seas, and (4) all that is in them. This is a summary of what God did in Genesis 1.2-31. During the six days, he did not create the universe; rather, he prepared the skies, the seas and the land for life and then filled them with lights, living creatures and human beings. The ultimate focus is on the Promised Land.
In fact, the focus, not only of Gen. 1-2, but also most of Genesis 1-11 is on what happened in this part of the world—in and around the Promised Land. We might call this section, "The Early History of the Promised Land."

Specific geographical references are nearly absent in Gen. 1-11 until you get to chapter 10. At that point, the author records how the various nations became "separated into their lands" (10.5, 20, 31-32), and then tells the story of how that occurred at Babel (11.1-9). Except for Genesis 1.1, there is NO worldwide focus in Genesis until we begin to read about the nations (ch. 10), the tower of Babel (ch. 11), and the promise of blessing to Abraham (ch. 12).

Instead, what we see in Gen. 1-11 is a series of ever-widening geographic circles.

  • We start in "the land," (ch. 1), which correlates with Eden and the Garden (ch. 2-3). The boundaries described are those of the Promised Land.
  • Next, Adam and Eve are exiled to the east, out of the Garden, but apparently still in Eden (3. 24).
  • Cain kills Abel and is subsequently exiled farther east, to the land of Nod, east of Eden (4.16).
  • There are no geographical references in the genealogy of ch. 5, but ch. 6 concludes the account with several references to "the land" in 6.1-8. The land is where the sons of God took the daughters of men for wives, where the Nephilim lived, where the wickedness of humans grew, where God was sorry that he had made man, and where he determined to blot out humans.
  • The emphasis on the land continues throughout the story of Noah. At this point in Genesis, all humankind is still dwelling in the vicinity of the land, and therefore it is this land that suffers God's judgment when humans fill it with evil. The flood was a disaster that befell the region of the Promised Land, not the entire earth. It is not until Noah's sons emerge and begin to multiply that humanity begins to spread beyond this locale.
  • Genesis 11.1-9 tells the story of how that migration began. Note how the story begins: "Now the whole earth [land]...journeyed east...found a plain in Shinar and settled there" (11.1-2). Noah's descendants stayed in the land until they all decided to move even farther east. The land of "Shinar" is the region of the city of Babylon, which they founded. From there, God scattered them into their own lands around the world.

Thus, the geographical movement in Genesis 1-11 is from the "land" where humans were first created, moving eastward ultimately to "Babylon" and finally, to being scattered "over the face of the whole earth" (11.9). It is in this context that God leads Abram and then later his descendants back to the original land and promises to use them to restore his blessing to all the families spread throughout the earth.

All this reinforces the interpretation that Genesis 1.2-31 is not about the creation of the universe (that is the point of 1.1). Rather, the six days of Gen. 1 describe how God prepared a specific place within his universe where he created humankind and blessed them.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Understanding the creation days...

  • The record of the seven days of creation in Genesis 1 poses many challenges to the reader and interpreter of Scripture.
  • We must first ask: what is the genre of this material and what is its primary intent? Since God revealed his Word through specific human authors to people in real historical and cultural settings using human words and literary conventions, the type of literature and what it was designed to communicate to the original audience matters.
  1. Are these words straightforward reporting, written as though a journalist were watching and recording God's acts over seven 24-hour days?
  2. Does Genesis 1 teach creation in a way that correlates with modern science, with the "days" representing long ages of time that allow for evolutionary development?
  3. Is this narrative a strictly chronological account of things that took place (whatever the time factors involved), or are these historical events presented within a literary framework that is intended to portray God and his work in a certain light?
  4. Is Genesis 1 myth, an a-historical artistic representation of cosmology, like the mythological accounts of the Ancient Near Eastern nations around them?
  5. Is this text poetry, designed originally for use in worship liturgies?
  6. Is the Genesis account primarily a polemic narrative, designed to present theological truths—setting forth a picture of God the Creator using the language and perspectives of the Ancient Near Eastern world in order to counter the myths of Israel's polytheistic neighbors?
  • To start with, it is clear that Genesis 1 is not poetry. Nor does it contain the fantastic elements that characterize Ancient Near Eastern myths such as tales of the gods and warfare with great creatures representing the forces of chaos. It is prose, a simple and elegant narrative description of things that actually took place. However, it is also apparent that Genesis 1 is a highly structured narrative. The story of the days of creation has been written with great literary skill.
  1. There is a clear parallelism between the first three days and days four through six. On Days 1-3, God separates light from darkness, waters above from waters below, and land where edible plants begin grow to from the waters of the seas, forming the environment where his creatures will live. On Days 4-6, God fills this environment by setting lights in the sky, forming air and sea creatures, and then creating land animals and human beings. (1/4) Light/lights, (2/5) Sky and sea/birds and fish, (3/6) Land and plants/animals and humans. Perfect parallelism, even down to the fact that day three and day six contain multiple acts of creation while the other days have only one. On the first three days God forms, the latter three he fills his creation. Only Day 7 stands apart from this parallel scheme.
  2. Each creation day follows a specific, highly ordered pattern. (1) Each begins with the divine word, "And God said..." (2) Each day contains a statement affirming God's work, "And it was so..." (3) Each day (except day 2) portrays God evaluating his work: "And God saw that it was good..." (4) Each day ends with a summation: "And there was evening and morning, a ___ day."
  3. The narrative is also structured using the number seven in various ways. The following are pointed out by Cassuto in his commentary:
    1. Genesis 1.1 has seven words.
    2. Genesis 1.2 has fourteen words (7x2).
    3. The seven-day week is described in seven highly patterned paragraphs.
    4. Each of the three main nouns in verse 1 are repeated a number of times that is a multiple of seven—God (35), heavens (21), land (21).
    5. Seven times God utters the creative word, "Let there be..." or a similar command.
    6. "Light" and "day" are found seven times in the first paragraph.
    7. There are seven references to "light" in the fourth paragraph.
    8. "Water" is mentioned seven times in paragraphs two and three.
    9. The "living creatures" are mentioned seven times in paragraphs five and six.
    10. The seventh paragraph about the Sabbath (the seventh day) has 35 words, and also contains three sentences of seven words each. In the very middle of the verse is the phrase, "the seventh day."
  • It is obvious, is it not, that we are dealing with a text that has been carefully written and arranged. Such structuring must be taken into account when interpreting Genesis 1. This is no journalistic prose!
  • So what kind of literature is Genesis 1, and how should we approach it in order to grasp its teachings? For my own conclusion I will quote C. John Collins here from his book, Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary:
All of this leads us to conclude that the genre of this pericope is what we might call exalted prose narrative. This name for the genre will serve us in several ways. First, it acknowledges that we are dealing with prose narrative, and thus its purposes will be related to other uses of prose narrative—which will include the making of truth claims about the world in which we live. Second, by calling it exalted, we are recognizing that when we come to examine the author's truth claims, we must not impose a 'literalistic' hermeneutic on the text. Further, to call it exalted points us away from ordinary narration and leads us to suppose that its proper function extends well beyond its information to the attitudes that it fosters....

...We may conclude from this high level of patterning that the order of events and even lengths of time are not part of the author's focus; this is at the basis of what is often called the literary framework scheme of interpretation. In this understanding, the six workdays are a literary device to display the creation week as a careful and artful effort.

  • In addition to this general statement about literary type, the reader will also note that the author describes God's creative acts in ways that would have stood contrary to the mythological assertions of their polytheistic neighbors. Though it is subtle, there is a great deal of polemic against false gods and other worldviews here.
  • Also, though the text is not poetry, its symmetry makes it poetic and therefore useful in instructional and liturgical settings. As Bruggemann says in his Genesis commentary, Genesis 1 is not an abstract musing on origins, but rather a theological and pastoral document addressed to real people in actual historical settings with genuine faith questions and concerns. This text was designed to form the faith of God's people and equip them to worship the true and living God.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Prelude to preparing the land—Genesis 1.2

"Now the land was an uninhabitable wasteland, covered with water and thick darkness. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." (Gen 1.2)

After making the bold declaration that it was God and God alone who brought this world we know, the earth surrounded by skies, into existence, the author of Genesis tells how the God of creation provided a good land where his creatures might live in his blessing.

The author's focus changes at Gen 1.2. Verse 1, in clear and concise terms, proclaims that God created the entire universe, terrestrial and ethereal. Now, in verse 2, his attention turns to a specific land, the land that God prepared for his people. English versions obscure this by translating the Hebrew word as "earth." However, the focus here is on something much more specific.

It is the Promised Land that is in view beginning at 1.2. As we will see in further studies, the "land" of 1.2 is described in Genesis 2 as the garden God formed in Eden.

The uninhabitable land. As an introduction to the seven-day scheme of Gen 1, the author describes what the land was like before God prepared it for humankind. It was, as we have translated, "an uninhabitable wasteland." This phrase translates two Hebrew words often rendered, "waste and void."

Throughout the history of Biblical interpretation, the understanding of these words has mirrored the scientific concepts believed in the interpreter's day. When Greek cosmology held sway, this phrase was interpreted to refer to a formless mass of chaos, which was then organized into cosmos by the creative acts of God. Today, scientifically savvy readers might picture the Earth in its primordial condition—with an evolving atmosphere of swirling gases over a surface of molten magma.

However, the original author of Genesis could not have had such concepts or images in mind. Furthermore, interpretations that reflect these scientific viewpoints take the perspective that the author is talking about Planet Earth in these verses. But he had no such global concept. Instead, he is now looking at the Land, the terrestrial space that God gave to his people where they might live.

Therefore, the phrase tohu wabohu in Gen 1.2 refers to a land that is unprepared for human life, uninhabitable, not "formless and empty." In other Biblical passages this phrase is used in context with the wilderness or desert, the place that did not welcome human settlement and cultivation.

Of course, this would have resonated with the original readers, who had just spent forty years wandering in the wilderness of Sinai and were about to enter a Promised Land prepared for them by God. The original condition of the land described in Gen 1.2 was like the wilderness, but God transformed it into the "good" land. In fact, the word "good" forms a continual refrain through Gen 1. It is interesting to note that, in Hebrew, this is the word "tob," which sounds very much like the word for "waste"—"tohu." Gen 1 is about how God turned the wasteland into the good land, from "tohu" to "tob."

In the text, we read why the land was uninhabitable—it was covered with water and darkness. In order for God to make this land "good," the waters would have to be removed, and the light would need to break through the darkness. Once again, these words would have spoken meaningfully to those who had seen God part the Red Sea and lead them by a pillar of fire. God leads his people to the Promised Land by overcoming the waters and the darkness.

The Spirit of God. The first part of Gen 1.2 paints a bleak picture of an uninhabitable land. However, hope appears with the presence of God's Spirit—"And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." "The Spirit" pictures the Divine Presence at the ready to act upon the wasteland in transformational power.

This phrase can also be understood as "a wind from God," or "a mighty wind." Though the idea of "wind" might be appropriate, bringing to the Israelites' minds the mighty wind that divided the Red Sea, "Spirit of God" is a better translation here. The word "hovering" does not reflect the activity of wind; it is used in the Torah to describe birds hovering or brooding over their young. Here, it likewise portrays the active presence of a personal Being.

In his commentary, John Sailhamer points out that God's Spirit is present at the beginning of God's building project just as he was present upon Bezalel when he began the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 31.1-5). In both texts, the Spirit prepares the place where God will meet with man and bestow his blessing.

To summarize: at some point after "the beginning," God prepared to form a land where he could provide a home for human beings. That land was at first in uninhabitable condition, covered with water and thick darkness. But God was there. His Spirit was watching over the land and preparing to act. Soon God would speak his powerful word, break through the darkness, part the waters, and change the wilderness into a good land of blessing for his people.

As the introduction to Israel's Torah, nothing could be more appropriate. The God of the whole world is also the God who was preparing to lead them out of the uninhabitable wilderness into the good Land of Promise.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Flow of Gen 1.1-2.3

Let's review the flow of the argument in Genesis 1.1-2.3...

GEN 1.1:
God creates all things

GEN 1.2-2.3: God prepares a land where humans can live in his blessing.
  • 1.2. Prelude—The Uninhabitable Land: The condition of the land before God prepares it for human habitation.
  • 1.3-5. Day One: God separates light from darkness and establishes day and night
  • 1.6-8. A Second Day: God separates the sky from the waters.
  • 1.9-13. A Third Day: God separates the land from the waters and calls the earth to bring forth plants.
  • 1.14-19. A Fourth Day: God sets lights in the sky and assigns their purposes.
  • 1.20-23. A Fifth Day: God makes creatures to fill the waters and skies.
  • 1.24-31. A Sixth Day: God makes creatures to fill the land, and creates humans in his image, blessing and providing for them.
  • 2.1-3. Postlude—The Seventh Day: God had completed his work, so he rested and sanctified the seventh day.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

THE Most Basic Truth: Genesis 1.1

"In the beginning, God created the skies and the land."

Contrary to translations like the NRSV and JPS, I believe this important text is best understood as an independent sentence. These versions see it as a dependent clause introducing a longer sentence with a different main clause. For example: "In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth..." (NRSV)

In his fine book on Genesis 1-4, John Collins points out that the grammar of this verse does not support such a translation. The verb "created" is in the perfect tense, and the normal use of an opening sentence like this in Hebrew is to make a statement about events that took place before the narrative storyline that follows.

Also, verse 2 begins with the disjunctive phrase,
"Now the land was...," which is a common way for the author of Genesis to begin a new subject. (See Cassuto's commentary for this argument.) Genesis 1.1 is about God creating the universe. Genesis 1.2-2.3 is about God's subsequent work of preparing the land for life.

What did God create in the beginning? A translation like "the skies and the land" accurately represents what the author would have been saying as a pre-scientific observer of the world around him. Don't picture a globe in outer space amidst all the other heavenly spheres. That is not the perspective of the observer. Rather, our author is standing with the reader and looking out on a landscape, motioning with his hands across the whole sweep of the view and saying, "God created all of this."

The phrase is a merism, a figure of speech that uses two contrasting concepts to present a single idea. For example, in Psalm 139, David says, "You know when I sit down and when I rise up." In other words, God knows every movement of his day. "The skies and the land" is likewise a way of saying, "Everything that is." Genesis 1.1 thus affirms that there is one true and living God who created the universe, all that exists.

When did God do this? "In the beginning." Beyond these words, the author does not specify when this occurred. He simply thinks back as far as possibly can be imagined, to a time when there was no sky, no land, no world as we know it. At that time God created the world and the heavens that surround it.

Please note that Genesis 1.1 stands outside the seven days described in 1.3-2.3. That leaves us with two basic options with regard to its meaning.

First, many see Genesis 1.1 as a "title" for the chapter, and then say that the rest of the verses describe how God created the universe in seven days.

If this is true, one must recognize that the seven days that follow start with the earth already in existence (1.2). That would mean that Genesis 1 nowhere gives information about the creation of the universe. Bruce Waltke takes this position in his commentary, saying that the seven days of "creation" describe a relative creation, not the absolute origins of the cosmos. Likewise John Walton, who sees Genesis 1 not in terms of God bringing matter into existence, but of God organizing and assigning function to elements already in existence.

Second, we can take Genesis 1.1 as the initial creative act of God.

By this interpretation, Gen 1.1 says that out of nothing, God brought the universe into existence. It presents God as the Creator of everything. And the entire cosmos was in place before the seven days described in the rest of the chapter. That means that 1.2 describes the condition of the land, already created in 1.1, before God made it ready for his creatures, and 1.3-2.3 describe his subsequent acts of preparation within a six-day framework.

I believe the second option should be preferred. Genesis 1.1 tells how this earth, surrounded by the skies, came to be. With the universe thus in place, the rest of Genesis 1 describes God's subsequent preparation of the land for life, climaxing with the creation of human beings on day six and God's Sabbath rest on day seven.

So then, Genesis 1.1 looks back to the absolute beginning and asserts that the Source of the entire material universe is the one true and living God, who existed before all things and made all things.

This would have served several purposes as an introduction to Israel's Torah:
  1. It would have affirmed to them that God and God alone is the true and living Creator, in contrast with the lifeless and impotent idols of the nations.
  2. It would have reminded them that God is Lord of all the earth and nations. Though Israel was chosen as God's unique people, the whole world belongs to him. This is therefore the foundation of their calling to be the priestly nation through whom God's blessing would be restored to all the peoples of the earth.
  3. 3. The phrase "in the beginning" would have affirmed to them that God is the Author of history. These words reflect a teleological understanding of history—that which has a beginning is moving toward an ending, and the events that make up the course of history have purpose and meaning. God initiated a plan for his creation to be consummated in the end of days.
Following this fundamental declaration, the rest of the chapter describes God preparing a place within his creation where humankind might live, blessed by his good favor. The God of the universe (Gen 1.1) becomes the God of covenant and blessing (Gen 1.2-2.3).

Thursday, November 8, 2007

How Gen 1.1-2.3 fits together...

As we will see, understanding how the author organized this text is a key to grasping its meaning. As we did with our previous study, let's start with the end of the passage and work our way back to the beginning. There is a basic style that the author follows with regard to each day, except for the seventh day. Though each day has its own variations, the overall pattern is the same:
  1. Initiation: "And God said..."
  2. Confirmation: "And it was so."
  3. Evaluation: "And God saw that it was good."
  4. Summation: "And there was evening and there was morning, the _______ day."
Here are the seven days...

  • Gen 2.1-3The seventh day, on which God rests. God blesses this day and calls it holy.
  • Gen 1.24-31The sixth day, on which God commands the land to bring forth living creatures, and on which he makes human beings in his image and blesses them.
  • Gen 1.20-23The fifth day, on which God created the water creatures and creatures of the sky and blessed them.
  • Gen 1.14-19The fourth day, on which he appointed the lights in the sky to be for signs and seasons and to rule day and night.
  • Gen 1.9-13The third day, on which God separated the land from the waters and called the land to bring forth vegetation.
  • Gen 1.6-8The second day, on which God separated the waters above from the waters below and called the expanse "sky." Note: this is the only day about which the text does not say, "And God saw that it was good."
  • Gen 1.3-5Day one, on which God called called light out of darkness and named them "day" and "night." Note: in the Hebrew text, this is not called the "first" day, but "one day." This may indicate that it was not the absolute first day of creation but day one of the seven described in this passage.
The first two verses of the text stand outside the pattern of the seven days. Verse 3 marks the beginning of day one, as seen in its first words, "And God said," which is the way every other day commences (except day seven). That means that Genesis 1.1-2 are not part of the "seven days of creation."

  • Gen 1.2—This verse describes the condition of the land before the seven days. As we will see, it says the land was an uninhabitable wasteland because it was covered by darkness and deep water. However, it also says that God's Spirit was present, a hint that God is about to do something to change the condition of the land.
  • Gen 1.1—This verse describes what God did "in the beginning," before the seven days. He "created the skies and the land," which should be understood as a merism, a figure of speech that describes a single thing by referring to its most contrasting parts. "The skies and the land" means "everything you see," or "all the world before you." It is written from the perspective of the human eye, of one scanning the landscape and pointing out the whole wide world to the reader.
The fact that these two verses stand outside the seven-day scheme is significant for our understanding of Genesis 1. It means that God created what we call "the universe" before the seven days recorded in this passage. Verse 1 is about the original CREATION. Verses 2 and following are about the PREPARATION of a land where people might dwell and the creation of human beings to live there.

Here is how it all fits together...

  • God created all that is in the beginning. (Gen 1.1)
  • Before God prepared it, the land was not yet ready for human habitation. (Gen 1.2)
  • God prepared the land for humans, then created them and blessed them in the good land—in a period of six days. (Gen 1.3-31)
  • God rested from his works on the seventh day and blessed the seventh day (Gen 2.1-3)

Where does Genesis 1 end?...

Our first task in studying Genesis 1 is to observe and mark the extent of the text that the author has given us. On the front end there is no problem, since GENESIS 1.1 begins the Bible.

However, where the text ends is not so clear. In our Bibles with chapter and verse divisions, the true flow of an author's argument is not always evident, and Genesis 1 provides a good example of this. Most of us are aware that the story of beginnings is organized by a seven-day scheme. However, those who gave us chapters and verses separated the seventh day from the story and put it in chapter 2! Right away, we can see and agree that GENESIS 2.1-3 belongs with the material in chapter one.

What about GENESIS 2.4? Some have understood at least the first part of this verse as a summary of chapter 1, and have translated it something like this: "And so, this is the story of the heavens and the earth..." I am persuaded, however, that Genesis 2.4 begins a new section.

This conclusion grows out of observing the way the entire book of Genesis has been put together. In the book there are twelve statements that begin with words like this, "Now these are the generations of..." (2.4, 5:1, 6:9, 10:1, 32, 11:10, 11:27, 25:12, 19, 36:1, 9 and 37:2). Each of these statements then refers to a main character who has already been introduced. What follows each statement is either a listing of family names that trace his descendants, or a series of stories that tell us what became of this character and his family.

If you step back and look at the structure of the book in a bird's eye view, you see how these statements organize the material and move its stories along.

The heavens and the earth are introduced (1.1-2.3)
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth (2.4-ch. 4)

...in which Adam and his family are introduced
These are the generations of Adam (5.1-6.8)

...in which Noah is introduced by a genealogy from Adam to Noah
These are the generations of Noah (6.9-ch. 9)

And so on. We might translate this phrase (Hebrew: toledot) as: "This is what became of ____________." The material before this heading introduces the main character and the material after it describes what happened in subsequent history to that character and his family.

Therefore, Genesis 2.4 belongs to the next section, and the text we will be examining in this study goes from GENESIS 1.1-2.3.