Friday, March 20, 2015

Scholar John Skinner Commenting on the Opening Verses of Genesis

Skinner's Genesis commentary can be found in the ICC series. These are his remarks concerning Gen 1:1-11:

The central doctrine is that the world is
created,--that it originates in the will of God, a
personal Being transcending the universe and existing
independently of it. The pagan notion of a Theogony--a
generation of the gods from the elementary
world-matter--is entirely banished. It is, indeed,
doubtful if the representation goes so far as a
CREATIO EX NIHILO, or whether a preexistent chaotic
material is postulated (see on v. 1); it is certain at
least that the KOSMOS, the ordered world with which
alone man has to do, is wholly the product of divine
intelligence and volition (p. 7).
He continues:
It is obvious (from this chapter and many passages)
that the sense ['God created'] stops short of CREATIO
EX NIHILO,--an idea first explicitly occurring in 2
Mac. 7:28 (p. 15).


Duncan said...

What is his basis for claiming a chaotic origin?

Duncan said...

(27) But if the beginning spoken of by Moses is not to be looked upon as spoken of according to time, then it may be natural to suppose that it is the beginning according to number that is indicated; so that, "In the beginning he created," is equivalent to "first of all he created the heaven;" for it is natural in reality that that should have been the first object created, being both the best of all created things, and being also made of the purest substance, because it was destined to be the most holy abode of the visible Gods who are perceptible by the external senses;

Edgar Foster said...


I don't believe he asserts a chaotic origin for the universe. Isn't he merely noting what the account does not say?

The Philo quote also indicates that he does not limit the creative activity of Gen 1:1 to the earth or its immediate vicinity.