This chapter ties together the Creation account, Levitical and sacrificial laws. Starts with a quote from “In the Beginning: Creation and Priestly History” by Coote and Ord: “The creation of the word is in fact the creation of a cult, the rites of the priesthood — and in every known instance, a state priesthood.”
I shall attempt to summarize briefly. The idea is that in the Creation account the Creator imposes order upon chaos and that is exactly what the Levitical and sacrificial laws also do. Order is good, disorder is bad.
But who is in charge of the Levitical and sacrificial laws? The priests, of course.
Examples of order: animals are to breed with their own kind; fields are to be sown with only one kind of seed; garments should only be of one material. You get the picture?
What made for clean and unclean animals? Again, what is order and disorder? God made birds to fly through the air so ducks and geese who have the nerve to spend time in the water, are disorderly and unclean.
Shedding of blood had to be orderly. Only the priests were allowed to shed blood in a very orderly process so animals who made their living shedding blood were unclean.
Since God made people in God’s image and God is perfect, flaws in people were disorderly and therefore impure. Leviticus 21:16ff lists it all. Of course we women, as important as our uncontrolled and disorderly shedding of blood is for the future of humanity, were unclean during those days. Homosexual activity would also have been dumped into this category, according to Gist, because that was a disorderly use of emissions meant to make babies.
There’s more, but I figure you get the point. The Creation story is told as it is because it supports the Levitical and sacrificial laws.
While that makes some sense to me, it overlooks something I see in the Creation accounts and indeed see every day with my own two eyes and the rest of my sense.
God created out of love and joy, exercising infinite creativity and a wonderful sense of humor. The dry interpretation Gist offers does not begin to explain the wonderful variety or the gorgeous iridescence on the plumage of a pigeon. How can one look at a giraffe or a zebra and fail to laugh? How can one fail to imagine God laughing?
Look at all the different sorts of flowers, all their scents, the colors, the foliage. Magnificient. Trees? So many. It’s as if God thought “flower” or “tree” and then developed all sorts of variations on the themes. Yes, I know evolution accounts for some of it but evolution had to have something to work with, surely?
I could go on and on and on. Just saying, those priests may have reworked the texts to suit their needs, but they didn’t edit out God’s love, joy and just plain fun that God had when God created.