I want to talk about the Bible, and I wonder if I should divide it into parts. I don’t know which is best, so I will start with the first five books.

I’d like to know why Genesis 1:1 sometimes says, depending on the version, … heaven and earth or … heavens and earth.




Identifying examples of each in the Bible would be a place to start. Here’s a good online tool:

More resources can be found here:


The Hebrew text uses heaven in plural.

Their view of the cosmos was that there was 3 heavens (or layers, might be a better word):

1st - the air, clouds, and space as far as the stars (which were fixed in place)
2nd - the starry heavens containing all the stars, planets and their moons
3rd - the empyrean (highest heaven) where God resided

St. Paul references this “third heaven” in 2 Corinthians 12:2:

I know someone in Christ who, fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows), was caught up to the third heaven.

Its more of a cultural artifact than a theological statement, and doesn’t seem to pose much of a dilemma for biblical scholars or Church theologians. T he use of “heaven” or “heavens” can be seen in Gen 1:1 in different biblical translations.


Thank you.


Well, I would not have thought of that. Thank you.


When I studied … or more like I catechismed. At least I sat in the chair and listened, … late in the process, I learned that Genesis 1:28 is the biblical basis for the sacrament of matrimony. Since then, I have read all of Genesis, and I know its trashy, soap opera nature, and how it tells the story of a family, which must be the reason for matrimony. I lived my first few years without a family. I very much prefer having a family even though some members fight and bicker. For example, my father’s sister has become my little sister because my uncle and his second wife were in jail. Having a little sister is fun even if she is my aunt.:slight_smile:


I read a lot of Jewish commentaries. In these, contradictions and conflicts are never ironed out, but the views of different scholars are simply documented for consideration.

So, for example, in contrast to the idea that there are three levels of heaven is the idea that there are seven levels.

Seven is an important number in the Bible. There are seven words in Hebrew that are or could be translated as heaven. Jewish scholars try to harmonize all this, so they hypothesize that there are seven levels of heaven, corresponding to the seven words for heaven.

Heaven(s) and earth is a Hebrew way of saying “everything.” God created the heavens and the earth – that is, everything. another Jewish point of view, really a different way of looking at this, is that God created a spiritual realm – the heavens – and a physical realm – the earth.

In Judaism, there are vastly different interpretations of the torah (“instruction”) depending on the branch of Judaism – orthodox, conservative, or reformed. the Jewish Study Bible (Oxford Univ Press) says that there is no official interpretation of any verses of the torah in Judaism. the various interpretations are referred to as “traditions” and the torah itself contains records of ancient traditions, side by side.

The traditional view of the Hebrew Scriptures, particularly the Torah, is God’s love letter to the Hebrews.


So as I catechized, I learned that Genesis 1:28 is the basis for Matrimony, and before that I learned that Genesis 2:2 is the basis for the third commandment.

That seems curious because Genesis 1:28 says nothing about marriage or family, and Genesis 2:2 says nothing about mass or communion, so I wonder how and when these verses became connected with their sacraments.

Does anyone know, or is the tradition so old that it is just a tradition?




That’s really kinda cool. :);):o


Genesis 2:2 says that God rested on the seventh day after creating for six days. The Jews took that as the basis of the Sabbath (= Saturday), when no work was done in honor of God’s rest. Now Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday - that is why for us Christians, our ‘Sabbath’ is no longer on a Saturday, but on a Sunday, because on that day we commemorate the Resurrection.


Oh, I’m such a ditz. I should have realized that regular meetings began before Christianity. My Buddhist relatives have a daily ritual, and they have meetings several times a year. Some of the girls on the cross country, softball or water polo teams have families from India or Africa, I don’t know if they have regular meetings. Maybe I should ask.



The idea that Genesis 1:28 predicts the coming of a messiah must have been a Jewish tradition before it became a Christian tradition.

I wonder about Genesis 2:7, which says that Adam was made of dust. I suppose that must be a metaphor because the chemicals that form organisms are more like gas than dust. Organisms begin as gases like carbon dioxide and nitrogen and liquid like water.




In Genesis 2:7 God repeats that he created man, and he says that he made us from the dust of the earth.

At this point I see a trend. Our understanding of these more important verses must come from information later in the Bible. Genesis 1:27-28 does not mention marriage. Genesis 2:2 does not mention church. And humans are not made of dust. So the Bible uses figurative language tell its message.

IMO the lesson here says two things. First, humans have limited understanding. No matter how much we know, we will always find more to know. Saying dust is a first understanding, and man’s understanding like the world around us is a dynamic and changing thing. This part is my idea. It may not be standard Christianity.

Second, God made humans in his image. Humans have two parts, the dust, a part we can touch, and a soul, a part that we can’t touch. This idea grows as the Bible tells its tale.

In Genesis 2:16-17, God created obedience as more or less the second commandment. It is not the official Second Commandment, which he made later in the tale, but obedience to God’s rules must rank as an important rule.

God created the world, and he created the first man and woman. He made a garden for them in which they lived, but he gave them no clothes. That seems a bit strange. He created a world, but without clothes. Cowabunga Dude?

So as I sat in my Great Grandmother’s Sunday School, hearing the story of Adam and Eve, I decided that God had given the clothes to me. After all, before I came to the United States, I had a tee shirt, two short shorts, and a pair of flip flops, and I hoped that Eve did not cut herself on any sharp rocks in the garden as she walked around butt naked.

Besides creating obedience, God must have created choice. He said to Eve, “Lady, donna pincha dah fruit! Ifa you musta pincha dah fruit, donna pincha dah tomato! Pinnca dah coconut!”

6000 years later, I found this quotation written on the inside cover of a book written by Dale Carnegie.

Well, Eve not only pincha dah fruit, she and Adam ate the fruit, an act, which must have created sin, disobedience, and choice.


I think of it as meaning God made Adam from nothing. Dust isn’t a human or even the very beginnings of a human. So I personally think it shows that God created Adam up from nothing and didn’t need any prerequisites.

But of course that’s just how I think of it and there are probably tons of proper interpretations for it that I just don’t know of.


Well yes, God had only recently made everything from nothing. Why not make people from nothing? The Philosophy section has a thread devoted to how and why that works.

The teacher who tried to teach me about Genesis 2:7 did not intend to teach me about chemistry or biology. The dust somehow made humans so that we have a body and a soul.

Maybe the dust was angel dust or pixie dust like in Peter Pan. :confused::):wink:

The lesson also had something about knowledge, punishment, sin, understanding and the Virgin, but that does not come until later in the Bible.



I should have said in posting #13 that in Genesis 3:6, Adam and Eve decided to disobey God. In weighing the importance of events, the deciding to decide seems like the more important event. Knowing how to weigh alternatives must rank as a gift.

And also, the most cowabunga cool part, God invented fashion and red carpets with the perky and slinky dresses. I especially, like the dangly earrings and clinkly bracelets. And God must have invented running shoes. How would I get through the day without running shoes. And God must have invented fielders gloves. How could Andy Carey have saved Don Larson’s perfect game if he had not had a fielder’s glove.

Deciding to decide and practicing deciding, just think of the possibilities.


So With Geneis 3:15, 19-20, that completes completes the verses in Genesis, which support Catholic education.

I wonder why? Why does Catholic education not include the trashy soap operas about the families of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, and Jacob in the rest of Genesis?



Maybe the most interesting Soap, The Greatest Story Never Told, involves Leah, the unloved wife, Dinah her daughter, and Tamar, her son’s daughter in law.


My Protestant friends and my Jewish boyfriend insist that the names in the begats of Genesis 5 form the following Hebrew sentence.

Adam seth enosh kenan. Mahalal! El jared enoch methuselah lamech noah.

It makes no sense, but I sounds kinda cowabunga cool when spoken with a Yiddish accent.

There are various translations, but one is

Man made sorrow, Hallalujah! The Blessed One shall come down, teaching. His death shall bring the despairing comfort.

Now, when I learned the basics of Catholic doctrine, no one said anything about begats being Hebrew words, so I’d like to know if the above translation makes any sense.


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