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The Seven Pillars of CreationThe Bible, Science, and the Ecology of Wonder$
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William P. Brown

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730797

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730797.001.0001

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The Ground of Being

The Ground of Being

The Drama of Dirt in Genesis 2:4b–3:24

(p.79) 4 The Ground of Being
The Seven Pillars of Creation

William P. Brown (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The topic is the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:4b-3:24, the Yahwist account of creation. In contrast to the God of Genesis 1, the God of the Garden is a down-to-earth deity who improvises and sometimes fails in the act of creating. This “low” view of God is matched by humankind’s portrayal as a “groundling,” a product of God’s work with dirt, in contrast to the “image of God” portrayal in Genesis 1. Written in view of ancient Israel’s mixed experience with monarchy, the Garden narrative focuses on the human family and its rise to power. As such, it invites dialogue with the anthropological account of human evolution, the human tree of life. Both accounts affirm the common ground of biological life and the challenging transitions that have shaped humanity’s development and ascendancy in creation. Evolutionary science reinterprets the account of the “Fall” of humanity in powerfully ecological ways.

Keywords:   Yahwist, evolution, Fall, garden, Eden, Adam, God, ground, dirt, ecology, tree of life

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