“I [Wisdom] was there . . . when [God] gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command.”
Historically Moses, directed by God, is understood to be the writer of the first five books of the Bible. Growing up as part of the royal family in Egypt, Moses (a Hebrew child adopted by the king’s daughter—Exodus 2) would have been taught many myths about the origin of the world. An old Mesopotamian myth, for example, held that Marduk, a warrior god, fought against Tiamat, a monster ruling the chaotic sea. Marduk defeated Tiamat and brought order out of chaos.
Now, let’s look at Genesis 1 again. We see powerful waters, but they are not described as a god or a monster; they are simply a part of the world God is creating. God tells the waters where they can go and where they cannot go. (See also Proverbs 8:12-31.) Moses shows that the true God is in control of all things.
In myths about creation there is always uncertainty about whether a people’s gods can hold back the forces of chaos. The ancient Egyptians, for example, believed that their sun god Ra had to descend into the underworld every night to defeat the great serpent Apophis, or else the ordered world would be destroyed.
But in the Genesis story, God creates and makes peace not through battle but with a word. No other force or would-be god is there; creation has only one true Lord.
Lord and God, we praise you that no force in heaven or on earth has power over you, and that you hold all things in your hands. Amen.
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