What is Unfortunate About Genesis 1?

How can such a wonderful description of God’s act in the creation of the entire universe end on such an unfortunate note? I am not referring to the Fall of Man, but something that occurs much sooner — the chapter break.

With the end of the sixth day, chapter one is brought to a close. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the men and women involved in the translation and organization of Scripture in breaking it up into segments comprised of chapters and verse references, but I am convinced that this chapter was concluded four verses too soon.

While a new chapter, Genesis 2:1-4 continues the account of the very first week. As a result of this poor division, some have speculated that these four verses begin a new section. The truth of the matter is, however, that Genesis 2:4 is concluding the first section by restating what had just happened. Scholars refer to this as an inclusio — a literary device by which an author places similar material at the beginning and end of a section (cf. Gen. 1:1; 2:4). A clear example of this is found in 1 Chronicles 1:28-31 in naming the sons of Ishmael:

28 The sons of Abraham: Isaac and Ishmael. 29 These are their genealogies: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebaioth, and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 30 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, 31 Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These are the sons of Ishmael.

As you can see, the division between the first two chapters is not a perfect slice. The words that are written are perfect because God is the Author, but we must always remember that the chapter and verse divisions are not necessarily inspired by God. These references were put in place by imperfect people attempting to assist others in quickly and easily locating specific passages so that they may better understand God’s Word.

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