The second day of creation

Question 179, from Ben, United Kingdom

In Genesis chapter 1, the second day of creation doesn’t have “God saw that it was good”. It is the only day that misses this phrase out. Is there a particular reason for that?

The creation story in Genesis chapter 1 follows a fairly clear pattern of events, and contains eight different acts of divine creation spread over six ‘days’. Seven of the creative acts are declared good by God, with the exception of the division of the waters of the heavens and the earth on the second day.

This has been noticed by a number of commentators, over the centuries. Louis Ginzberg, noted some Rabbinical explanations in his book ‘Legends of the Jews’ published in 1909. According to ancient Jewish lore, “On the second day God brought forth four creations, the firmament, hell, fire, and the angels.” (more…)

The Essenes and Jesus

Question 178 from Ben J

Lately in my bible studies, I’ve come across a historical Jewish Sect called the Essenes. Further research has shown a variety of details about this Sect, that aren’t always in agreement. Some claim that John the Baptist was raised by this group, others say that Jesus’ healing miracles have origins with this Sect and that his mother Mary might have even been raised as one. Some of the alleged beliefs would be suitable explanations for some passages of scripture (for instance the secrecy of Jesus when he performed healings), whereas others seem opposed to scripture. Because the details are so conflicting, could you provide me with some reliable information about this Sect? And also, if they are significant, then do you think they should have more mention within the Church?

The Essenes are a Jewish sect mentioned in three main historical sources of First Century Palestine – Josephus, Philo and Pliny the Elder. Josephus and Philo were Jewish, although did not belong to the sect, while Pliny was a Roman historian. However, the sect remained fairly obscure until the discovery of large quantity of Essene documents in caves near Qumran by the Dead Sea – commonly called the Dead Sea Scrolls. (more…)

The salty fate of Lot’s wife (Genesis chapter 19)

Question 177, from Andrea

Why did Lot’s wife turn into a Pillar of Salt?

The story in Genesis chapter 19 of the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah includes the escape by Abraham’s nephew Lot, who is warned of the imminent destruction by angels and told to flee. After much prevarication, he does so with his household. However, his wife turns to look back as they flee and is caught up in the carnage of the two cities’ destruction, with the writer of Genesis describing her being ‘turned into a pillar of salt’ (verse 26). (more…)