Old Testament Summary Lesson 3: “The Creation”
- Texts Before the Bible was Written: Before the Bible as we know it was written there were written correspondences between peoples in the Middle East. The oldest known writing may be the Ebla Tablets found in today’s Syria. Approximately eighteen thousand ceramic plates were found. They even contained a language that had never been known before. Even more astounding was a set of plates that contained a sort of dictionary that translated the ‘unknown’ language into one that scholars had already learned to decipher.
- Older Creation Accounts: Included in the Ebla Tablets were names of people and places that are mentioned in the Bible. They also contain the earliest written account of the creation. What Latter-day Saints would find interesting is that there are ‘two’ creations listed. As previously mentioned, this information was written on clay plates before the Bible was written.
- Dead Sea Scrolls Creation Account: In the discovery of The Dead Sea Scrolls, a so-called ‘Genesis Apocryphon’ scroll was revealed. It dates back twenty or more centuries and also contains reference to the creation. The text style is similar to the revelatory testimonies of Moses and Abraham.
- Jewish Legends–“The Gnat and Adam:” Jewish legends and traditions from a collection called “the Agaddah” gives the following ideas that relate man and his relationship to the creation surrounding him. “In their search for lessons on man’s place in God’s universe, the rabbis discussed at great length the biblical account of the creation of Adam, which is outlined above. Thus, for example, the Midrash observes that each newly created form of life ruled over what preceded it in the order of creation. Adam and Eve were thus created last in order that they should rule over all creation, and in order that they should be able to enter a banqueting hall that was waiting ready for them. In the words of the Midrash, “The matter may be likened to an emperor’s building a palace, consecrating it, preparing the feast, and only then inviting the guests.” On the other hand, the rabbis taught that Adam was created last, so that if he should become conceited, he could be told: “The gnat was created before you.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)