Would there be a logical reason as to why God would inspire Moses to write Genesis so late and not have the creation account available earlier. I have heard this question and people have said that some hindu and egyptian religious texts can be dated to an earlier period and hence this is an objection to the Christian faith which I don't believe it is at all. And so I was wondering if there would be any logical reasoning behind the fact(?) that the written creation account(and Genesis as a whole) came at the time it did?

  • 1
    Are you talking about Gen 1?
    – Dottard
    Sep 18 '20 at 23:45
  • I guess that would be the main focus. @Dottard
    – kangistaja
    Sep 19 '20 at 1:36
  • 1
    Would this more or less address your question ?
    – Lucian
    Sep 19 '20 at 8:36
  • Neither Noah, nor Abraham, either possessed or wrote a 'bible'. My own view is that Job is actually the first written documentation, concurrent with Abraham's grandfather. And the first written revelation is not about creation, it is about a single man and his personal experience of falling short of the true knowledge of God (until God, himself, intervenes and gives that knowledge). My own supposition is that Moses translated the book of Job from a more rudimentary language than Hebrew. (Perhaps cuneiform.)
    – Nigel J
    Sep 20 '20 at 9:26
  • @NigelJ We don't/can't know whether there were earlier written accounts (by Noah, Abraham, or others entirely) that simply got lost. Right?
    – kutschkem
    Sep 24 '20 at 6:49

Almost all commentators now structure the literary form of the book of Genesis around the “Toledoths” – a Hebrew word that is variously translated as, “the generations of”, “the history of”, “the account of”, “the record of”, etc. The debate in Genesis concerns the function of these Toledoths – do they form a heading (for what follows) or a colophon (footnote and “signature” of what has preceded)? Wiseman suggested, after studying Akkadian documents, that these Toledoths were colophons containing the identity of the author, and created an elaborate Tablet theory about Genesis. What are the facts? The 11 Toledoths in Genesis are:

  1. Gen 2:4 toledoth of Heavens and Earth
  2. Gen 5:1 toledoth of Adam
  3. Gen 6:9 toledoth of Noah
  4. Gen 10:1 toledoth of Shem Ham and Japheth
  5. Gen 11:10 toledoth of Shem
  6. Gen 11:27 toledoth of Terah
  7. Gen 25:12 toledoth of Ishmael
  8. Gen 25:19 toledoth of Isaac
  9. Gen 36:1 toledoth of Esau
  10. Gen 36:9 toledoth of Esau in Hill Country
  11. Gen 37:2 toledoth of Jacob

If the Toledoths are intended as a Colophon (footnote containing the author’s “signature”) to each section, then:

  • The last third of Genesis has no author
  • Some sections were written by people who did not witness the events or were antagonistic to the events and people, eg, most of the last 5 except Gen 36:9.
  • The first section was written by the heavens and the earth (!?!)

By contrast, if each Toledoth is a section heading:

  • Each section is about what the heading states without exception
  • Gen 1:1 – 2:3 is clearly written separately and in a very different style, verging on poetic.

This leads to a simple idea about the possible origin of the book of Genesis. It is probable (in agreement with Wiseman) that each Toledoth was written by a different person (NOT the person in the Toledoth), and later, Moses collated them, edited and arranged them, with an added introduction about creation, to create the book of Genesis, essentially as we now have it.

That is, the Genesis account of creation, at least in Gen 2 & 3 very likely existed well before Moses collected and edited the various accounts extant at his time.

  • Thank you for these insights, very interesting!
    – kangistaja
    Sep 19 '20 at 1:37

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