Rels 211 / Huma 211


The Basic Myth of Genesis


Note: “Myth” is a term used by biblical scholars and social scientists to denote any story about the relationship of human beings and God(s). It does not imply a false story as in popular terminology.


B(unyan) D(avie) Napier has developed the following account of the great “Genesis myth.”


It is repeated four times, each time with increasing intensity.


The pattern is:


1. Harmony with God and among human beings.


2. Disobedience (Sin)


3. Punishment


4. Act of Mercy (Remnant)


5. Repentance (Atonement >At-one-ment)


6. Restoration


1. Harmony


The myths ( stories) are:


I. The Garden of Eden (J document) Gen. 2:4b - 3:24


II. Cain and Abel (the First Murder) ( J document) Gen: 4:1 - 16


III. The Flood ( P & J documents) Gen. 6:5-8:12)


IV. The Tower of Babel (J document) Gen. 11:1-9


Not all of these five basic stories have all parts of the pattern. Which parts are missing? Are they assumed? For each of the stories note which parts of the pattern appears? Do you agree with Napier that the disobedience and the punishment becomes greater with each occasion? Discuss