the seven days of Creation ... Where does the text that makes up the first part
of the Bible come from?
Is its text a mere introductory poem ... or is it a narrative?
What's behind its words?
Alberto Canen has found an alternative way to answer these and other questions in the Genesis. He has found a route no one had been to before, and invites the reader to discover it and make their findings with him.
The author has found that hidden in the bottom of the plot there is someone.
Someone who observes; someone who tells. Someone who tells what he observes. And a place, a location from which he observes.
The location of the observer.
The key to an exciting puzzle.
The Genesis has been a mystery for thousands of years. No one had been able to understand what the text spoke about, whether it was just an introductory poem to the Holy Scriptures, or it actually contained information about the Creation.
The text of Genesis divided the waters of creationists and scientistics long until today.
With this book I hope to dilute this separation between scientistics and creationists since I have discovered the key that unifies both worlds.
I think the key to the mystery of Genesis is to understand that it is narrated by someone. A narrator of Genesis. Someone who observes the vision God gives him and from there he tells what he observes and he observes it from his human and earthly location.
This earthly and accurate location is the key to understanding Genesis.
The account of creation in Genesis, is
it just an introduction to biblical scripture? What are its verses hiding? Myth,
invention or scientific truth? This book attempts to address an issue about
which both scientists and religious people feel uncomfortable.
Science flatly dismisses the story, first with a smirk and then with anger, and the Catholic Church has relegated it to a mere introduction to the Scriptures. "The tale of Creation is a religious text with religious teachings," they say. "There is no science in it", "we should not seek scientific explanations", of course.
I must admit that I have always been a harsh critic of the Genesis. I was always among those we tried to conceal a smile and changed the subject in order to avoid discussing it. Talking about Genesis and Creation in particular seemed unthinkable to meâ€¦, until a few months ago.
It is about a year since my youngest son asked me about God with great interest, more than he used to have.
At the time we chatted, I explained everything I could within my knowledge and we agreed to read the holy books of the major religions to expand concepts. So we began to read, first the Bible  , as the main book of Catholicism-Judaism-Islam, to then continue with the Bhagavad Gita  of Hinduism-Buddhism  .
When I read him the Bible, when we were moving forward with the book of Joseph, I had what we might call a revelation. I understood then the reason for the Bible, the reason for the creation of the Chosen People, the reason for the coming of the Messiah, The Creation, Eden, the policies of the Catholic Church, the momentous task of the Jewish people, polytheism, monotheism, and much more. This revelation caused me such a shock that I decided to write it down and I poured it in my book One God (Un Único Dios).
The explanation of the Creation story of Genesis was to be part of that book, but after analyzing it with my editor and literary adviser we decided it was better to leave it for a separate book as it warranted special treatment...
The observer: Genesis. The science behind the creation story [Paperback]
Mr Alberto Canen (Author), Mrs Maria Jose Lago (Translator)
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"In the beginning God created heaven and earth. Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep, with a divine wind sweeping over the waters. God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that light was good, and God divided light from darkness. God called light "day", and darkness he called "night". Evening came and morning came: the first day. "(Genesis 1:1-5).
Let's observe carefully what this
first paragraph tells us.
In this description, I clearly distinguish the original chaos nebula of cosmic dust that science mentions. A "sea" of dust, for someone who may be watching in in the darkness, and who does not have the slightest idea that what he is witnessing is not water but a nebula in which he (our possible observer) is "floating". This individual is in the place, in the exact place, in which hundreds of millions of years later the Earth in formation will be located. Moreover, as he is not yet on solid ground all he can discern or understand, according to its parameters, is the abyss, the abyss of space.
Then, this same individual (who continues his observation and narrates what he sees) perceives that the light shines for the first time and believes that God at that precise moment has created it -the light- as he still cannot see that it is the sun that originates the light. He sees the light, but not where it comes from. For him it is as if God had "switched on" the light.
Then we face the first major dilemma typical of Genesis: how light can be created before the stars? (This obviously rhetorical question is usually accompanied by some skeptical gesture, knowing boastful look and intent to end the conversation). Yes, it is true, it cannot be, but -there is always a but- what if we placed the viewer in the exact location where the primordial swirl was, the one which will lead to our planet? It is obvious that our observer could have seen the light, but would have been unable to know where that light had come from, because -as noted earlier- the "dust storm" would have prevented it. Also, as he would be "standing" on the swirling, he would perceive the passage of day-night, light-darkness, due to its rotation. This person -because he'd be standing, situated, on the swirling- would turn with him, and therefore, a moment he would be facing the light, and the next, he would have his back to it.
Here, we can already realize that it is essential, fundamental, the existence of an observer and -even more-its location, in order to understand the Genesis...
THE BIBLE, THE GENESIS,
Who has not wondered: seven days? Yes, who would not? -as we look at each other askance, with a mean grin.
It is a fact that fewer and fewer people believe that God created the heavens and the earth in seven days.
What about the dinosaurs? Well, by the time this question arises (a purely rhetorical one, of course) we are already engaged in a discussion that might embarrass even the toughest hooligans.
Usually, speaking of Genesis leads us, inevitably, to an irreconcilable division between science and religion. Apparently, one overrides the other. If Genesis says seven days, and science has proved there were six billion years, it all indicates that something is wrong, obviously... in The Bible.
It is difficult for us to say that the analysis of science is wrong, apart maybe from a hundred million years up or down. So, following this logic, we will base this analysis on what science claims that were the early days of the solar system and of our planet, the Earth, based on the current findings....
The observer of Genesis. The science behind the creation story - Large print b&w [Paperback]
Mr Alberto Canen (Author), Mrs Maria Jose Lago (Translator)
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First, let´s reflect on the "never well weighted" seven days.
Of course, the seven biblical days should have some sort of explanation, I thought, and I devoted myself to find it.
The first thing that occurred to me was that if God was infinite, a God's day might last a billion years, so seven days of God may well be six billion years. You may say, why six billion years? Well, because it is currently estimated that from the original nebula to the present six billion years have passed, and four billion six hundred million years since the consolidation of the Earth.
Although Occident has not handled major figures -and when I say major figures I mean figures as large as billions of years- in their mythologies, it may be interesting to note that in India, at the time of writing the Genesis they were already used to thinking of numbers of that magnitude.
For example: according to the Vedic scriptures , the four yugas (ages) form a cycle of 4,320,000 years (MajÃ¡-yuga, or 'great age'), which is repeated again and again. The first is the Satya-yuga or 'age of truth' of 1,728,000 years in which the average life span of a person was 100,000 years. It is the Golden Age, according to another classification.
Then comes the Duapara-yuga or 'second age' which covers 1,296,000 years with an average life span of 10,000 years; it is also called the Silver Age.
The 'third age', Treta-yuga, lasted about 864,000 years, with an average life span of 1,000 years; it is also known as the Bronze Age (although it is not meant to match the Bronze Age in India).
Finally, Kali Yuga or "age of quarrel" lasted 432,000 years where the average life span of a human being was 100 years (at the beginning of it, 5100 years ago). It was called Iron Age (it is not meant to match the Iron Age in India either)...
AND IN THIS CORNER... LIVE!
We saw earlier that life as we know it on our planet, began with and in the water. Water has a key role in our kind of existence. Consider that we humans are composed of seventy percent of that element; we could almost say that we are sea animals adapted to the surface.
Well, we must place ourselves there and think that, the planet is cooling, the water remains liquid longer, and it is accumulating in the lowest places by simple gravity simultaneously.
This initial ocean, it seems, was just one and so were the lands -as continents.
Science calls today that super-continent Vaalbara-Pangaea  .
Pangaea does not remain as the only continent but gets fractured and its segments drift, sail so to speak on the molten lava beneath the crust and lead to the continents we know today.
Let's tell now tell a racconto and put all these facts in perspective.
Note that life, to evolve, develops first in the sea and then migrates to the land, while the supercontinent Pangaea-Vaalbara breaks and moves across the globe to fill the places we find familiar today.
At sea, where life generated animals, plants were also created, which moved inland and became land -dwelling vegetation, trees, grass, etc. ..
Some of the marine animals that had "come out" to land, while evolving, returned to the sea where they continued their evolution-e.g. cetaceans (whales, dolphins, etc.).
Other primeval animals became used to living on the surface and resulted in the famous dinosaurs, who reigned on the planet for about one hundred and sixty million years.
I do not want to overwhelm or drown you with the history of our world -many of you are certainly aware of it- but it is important we refresh what we know and try to notice certain "details" that are essential clues for understanding the topic at hand...
I also thought that this observer we speak about, must have been immersed in a cultural context, obviously influenced by the myths, legends and gods of his culture and of course, exposed to other creation narratives.
If the location we propose is correct, he must have had great influences of Babylon. Knowing then what the Babylonians said in his texts on this event can be very interesting.
I transcribe below the Babylonian poem of creation called Enuma Elish (for its first two words) which begins:
When the sky above had no name,
And the very earth beneath was not yet named,
(Then) the waters of the primordial abyss (APSU: freshwater)
and of the tumultuous Tiamat (salt water) were mingled together.
This poem Enuma Elish, found in the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh (669 BC - 627 BC), records the birth of Marduk, his heroic deeds and how he became the lord of the gods after killing his grandmother, Tiamat, from whom he snatched the Tablets of Destiny.
"When high above heaven had not been named it had not been called with a name the mainland below; and there was just the primordial Apsu, their father, (and) Mummu-Tiamat, she who bore them all, mingled their waters as one body.
And no field was formed, no marsh was to be seen, when none of the gods existed, and none bore a name, and no destinies were ordained; then Lahmu and Lahamu were called into being. During eternities they increased in age and height. Anshar and Kishar were formed, surpassing the others. Days passed, years accumulated. Anu was his son, a rival of his own parents, yes, Anu, Anshar´s firstborn, was his equal. Anu begat Nudimmud in her own image. Nudimmud became their parents' owner, unparalleled wise, insightful, strong and powerful, much stronger than his grandfather Anshar.
He had no rival among the gods his brothers. Together the divine brothers came and went altering Tiamat when they shook from side to side; yeah, they altered Tiamat with their hilarity in their heavenly abode...
To understand it better, I would like to refer to how the Catholic Church deals with the idea of the sacred writer, the writer who captures what he understands to be the word of God.
When we say that the texts are words of God, one could imagine that God has dictated the phrases that he wanted to reach readers in the author´s ear; that´s how represented the authors of the sacred books are usually represented in many of the paintings seen in the churches. However, the phenomenon is much more complex. This phenomenon is called inspiration. But this inspiration should not be understood in the same way that a musician is inspired to create a work, but as the discrete action of God deep inside the sacred writer. This inspiration respects, as it were, the humanity of the author, his culture, his inclinations, his tastes, his writing, as Luis Heriberto Rivas explains in his book "The books and the history of the Bible. Introduction to Holy Scripture." .
That is why it can be noted that the various books of the Bible have distinctly different styles.
This is precisely because the hagiographer (such is the name given to the sacred author) is fully involved in what God commanded him to write.
"Thus, when one asks about the author of the Bible, one must take into account this double dimension: in the one hand, the author is God who inspires, on the other, it is the hagiographer who does as best as he can godly task"(Sic. Luis Heriberto Rivas. Editorial San Benito. 2008) .
I think this paragraph can elucidate the mechanism -some might say-, by which God´s information reaches first the writer and then the reader of the sacred text. But anyway, it is still hard to imagine.
So I've written this fictional account with the mere intention of allowing the reader stand, if only for a moment, in the place of our famous observer.
It is important to clarify that the following story is pure fiction and that nowhere in the Bible is it specified that it happened this way.
10 - Rivas, Luis Heriberto, Los libros y la historia de la Biblia. Introducción a las Sagradas Escrituras. Editorial San Benito. 2008.
11 - Idem.
Fictional account that can help you understand the way some people have received God´s visions and revelations.
He was slowly regaining control, his control, control of himself, while he became aware of what had happened.
His legs trembled; his mind was a chaos of questions that demanded answers.
What did I see? What happened to me? Did I have a hallucination? Where am I? The sheep?! How long..? He thought, desperate and greatly confused.
He looked around.
The sheep! There they are!
Thank God, thank God they have not escaped!
Is it still dawn or dusk?
The day was ending and there was little light, he saw that the sun was setting but he was still confused.
His legs did not supported him He fell to his knees, leaned his hands on the floor.
I must come back home, I must come back home and tell everyone what happened to me.
The images he had seen returned to his mind as fast memories. Have I dreamed? He tried to focus on what was important at the time. I must go home, back to my family, safe and with the flock.
He had noticed it was getting dark. He took his crook and the fur that kept him warm. I'm starving, my stomach hurts from hunger–he had not eaten since leaving home that morning, and the day was over. Water, water, I need to drink.
He ran to the creek that was a few meters away, and squatted. He took great gulps as if they were the last and felt better. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve as he stood. He was exhausted as if he'd run a race.
He was slowly beginning to relax.
Everything seemed in order. He gathered the sheep and drove them to the hut where he lived.
He arrived an hour later, hurrying under the moonlight.
He locked them in the pen.
Elam had a wife, Misur, and two children, a boy of eight and a girl of six.
Upon hearing the sheep enter the pen the children ran to greet their father. In the dark, they hugged him and Elam lifted Samud, the girl, and grabbed the oldest, Urkis´, hand.
- Mom was worried because you did not show up-Urkis said...
Well, I hope this little story I have retold serves to better understand what
that vision, that revelation might have been.
We now have a clearer idea about what could have happened, what he had actually narrated and about one more thing: the reason for the days.
When I thought about writing the story of what the observer saw, I immediately considered the dilemma of the seven days. I thought: what if the seven days were not God´s days but the observer´s? Or both? Again-what if ...?.
And yes, it would make sense. It is a lot of information to receive in one day and also if it was given to the observer in seven sessions, we could consider that the narrative was told in seven days. Maybe that was the case because God probably desired to generate the need to divide the narrative by days, because there is a reason for the seven days -from a religious point of view- which we will discuss below.
Let´s see the religious side of the story.
The first thing the sacred author says is: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"; in this phrase he gives us the key that we must use to understand the text, and in turn, he tries to express the synthesis of everything that he is going to describe in detail. We have seen that by integrating heavens and earth he attempts to cover everything, all that exist; and that by mentioning heavens and earth again at the end, he draws our attention to the purely human and earthly perspective of the narrator.
It is also possible that, due to the fact the word kosmos is of Greek origin; and because in the Hebrew language there is no word that corresponds exactly to that idea, he uses this redundancy of heavens and earth. For me, it is clear that by bundling everything he is including the intangible, as the world of ideas and the laws governing the systems..
The doctrinal content of the story, the lessons that persist after we finish reading it, the theological lessons we might call fundamental could include:
In these key ideas-that the sacred author gives us so accurately and in as
few lines-there is a true revelation of antiquity which no other ancient
civilization gave us. No other people dwelling the earth at the time came to an
explanation as close to scientific truth as the Hebrew, the chosen people.
It is clear to me that the hagiographer in these first lines of Genesis attempts to explain the origin of the world but not from a scientific perspective but from the point of view of the relationship between creation and God. Everything is God's work, both the world and space, the stars, the forces, ideas and whatever is there and we cannot yet see. Heaven and earth...
Human nature in a controlled environment.
It was not me, it was you.
Of course, Eden, I almost forgot.
After Genesis, and its seven days, we found a new description of creation but made on a completely different way. So much so that, in general, biblical scholars say it has a different origin, another author, and it was probably written at another time.
In this new description there is a different line of facts.
Why not read the paragraph and analyze it?
"At the time when Yahweh
God made earth and heaven there was as yet no wild bush on the earth nor had any
wild plant yet sprung up, for Yahweh God had not sent rain on the earth, nor was
there any man to till the soil. Instead, water flowed out of the ground and
watered all the surface of the soil. Yahweh God shaped man from the soil of the
ground and blew the breath of life into his nostrils, and man became a living
"Yahweh God planted a garden in Eden, which is in the east, and there He put the man He had fashioned.
"From the soil, Yahweh God caused to grow every kind of tree, enticing to look at and good to eat, with the tree of life in the middle of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
"A river flowed from Eden to water the garden, and from there it divided to make four streams. The first is named the Pishon, and this winds all through the land of Havilah where there is gold. The gold of this country is pure; bdellium and cornelian stone are found there. The second river is named the Gihon, and this winds all through the land of Cush. The third river is named the Tigris, and this flows to the east of Ashur. The fourth river is the Euphrates. Yahweh God took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and take care of it. Then Yahweh God gave the man this command, "You are free to eat of all the trees in the garden. But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you are not to eat; for, the day you eat of that, you are doomed to die".
"Yahweh God said, "It is not right that the man should be alone. I shall make him a helper". So from the soil Yahweh God fashioned all the wild animals and all the birds of heaven. These He brought to the man to see what he would call them; each one was to bear the name the man would give it...
Although the intention of this book was simply to compare Genesis with science, it has been inevitable to analyze Eden; and while analyzing Eden was also inevitable to analyze the origin of the Jewish people, the chosen people.
By becoming aware of the task given to the chosen people I have understood so many attitudes and policies that have upset me, both of the Jewish people and the Catholic Church.
Now I understand why the Jews did not want to mix; the reason that the Catholic Church has replaced the pagan celebrations by their own festivities; or why they have replaced the pagan gods for the God of the Hebrews, the God of Catholics, the God of the Hindus, the god of the Buddhists, ultimately, by the one God.
Perhaps it is time for humanity to understand that we are ready to take a new step, the next step in this spiritual path; and accept that if there is only one God that God should be the same for all religions.
Sometimes I think that religions are like fleas on a car.
The idea, the image I would like to convey is this: there are fleas scattered by a car. Some of them have the revelation of "seeing" beyond and try to share it with the others; then one says, "I have seen God and know how He is." Then those around it ask: "How is He? Tell us, how is God?" The one that had the revelation answers: "It's black, soft and jagged." Sure, that's its vision because it was on one of the wheels. Another, who also had a revelation, however says: "No, I saw God, and He is red, smooth and glossy" -of course, it describes Him this way because it was on the body. Another exclaims: "All of you are wrong, for I have seen God, and He is not like you say. God is gray and oily." -the latter was located in the engine.
In fact, all have seen God and all have part of the truth, and the only difference and where the problem of the alleged contradictions lies is, in my view, that they have accessed Him from different perspectives; they have witnessed many facets, visions of divinity, and, being unable to access the full view of God, as it were, there's no way they can possibly agree.
The question is: is there anyone who has had a full view? The answer is: No. God is immeasurable, infinite, and a human mind, finite, measurable, cannot understand by its own nature the immeasurable.
Lao Tse  said that, if one could describe God, they were actually talking about something else, because God could not be described. God -he said- is abstract, amorphous, intangible, inaudible and incomprehensible; as he argued that man has the need to name things, thus he referred to it with the word Tao .
And why can´t we see God completely?
Perhaps simply because we do not want, or perhaps because we do not want to give up the installments.
But there is no hurry. The spiritual path is a path that we all run at our own pace, and God is the place where we will all arrive, inexorably, sooner or later...
13 - Lao-tse, also called Lao Tzu, Lao Zi, Laozi or Laocio, pinyin: the (ozi (literally 'Old Master'.) is a figure whose historical existence is debated; he is one of the most important philosophers of Chinese civilization. Chinese tradition states that he lived in the sixth century BC., but many modern scholars argue that he may have lived in about the fourth century BC.
14 - Tao is a metaphysical concept originating from Taoism, but also widely used in Confucianism and Chan Buddhism (Zen in Japanese) and in the Chinese religion and philosophy. The word itself can be translated literally as the way, the path, or the route; or as the method or doctrine as well. In Taoism it refers to the primordial essence or fundamental aspect of the universe; it is the natural order of existence, which actually cannot be named, in contrast to the countless "nameable" things in which it manifests itself.
The observer of Genesis. The science behind the creation story - Large print
Mr Alberto Canen (Author), Mrs Maria Jose Lago (Translator)