On this date... (hide)
- Theory of the Big Bang and the period until the formation of the solar system.
- In a Galaxy Far Far Away
- Hadean Eon
- Creation Myths (incomplete)
§Theory of the Big Bang and the period until the formation of the solar system.
The theory of the Big Bang is the most widely accepted purely scientific theory for the beginning of the universe.
Approximately 13.75 billion years ago - Energy from a source smaller than an atom expands into a vast area in a small fraction of a second. This is what we know today as our universe.
Approximately 380,000 years after the Big Bang the first atoms appeared due to the cooling of the temperature of the universe. This cooling caused atomic nuclei to combine with electrons to create neutral atoms. These were hydrogen atoms which are the fundamental type of atom which forms all other elements when subjected to different conditions. Hydrogen atoms were distributed within the universe randomly, with some areas of the universe experiencing more dense populations of hydrogen atoms than others.
Approximately 300 million years after the Big Bang - Hydrogen atoms in more concentrated populations began to interact due to the laws of gravity and increased temperature as high as 18 million degrees Fahrenheit. Hydrogen atoms would combine as a result of these conditions to form helium and lithium atoms and a huge by-product of energy. This mixture of atoms often crudely referred to as gas and dust were subject to gravitational laws which contracted these atoms firstly into clouds and then ultimately into a centralised plasmatic mass of atoms and energy which became the first of what we now call stars.
Stars served to further enhance the array of elements now formed within the universe, almost like the universe’s first chemical factories, creating many of what we regard today as the most basic and abundant elements of earth life such as carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. Ultimately, the most dense element of a star's life will be formed. That element is iron.
Star deaths are the next phase in element creation. Stars are a constant core of burning hydrogen, but at some point the hydrogen will run out. This can spark a chain reaction of elements that results in an insecure iron core which will explode and create a supernova. This incredibly catastrophic and dramatic event within the universe can throw out a number of new complex elements which are recognised in today’s Periodic Table such as copper, gold and uranium.
Ejected debris from exhausted stars can go on to be involved in the birth of new stars creating an ongoing process of stellar births and deaths.
§In a Galaxy Far Far Away
In 2014, the oldest known galaxy is a distant galaxy cluster known as IRC 0218. It is 180 billion times more massive than our sun, and at 9.6 light-years away, it breaks the previous record-holder for most distant lensing galaxy by 200 million years, according to NASA.
The previously known oldest galaxy is Abell2744 Y1, which was spotted by the Hubble Space Telescope and appears to lie more than 13 billion light-years away, meaning its light has taken 13 billion years to reach us. This object appears to have formed when the universe was only about 650 million years old.
April 29, 2009 the gamma radiation from GRB 090423, which took 13 billion years to reach earth, was detected by a NASA satellite called Swift. The infrared radiation was detected by the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii. This dying star is the oldest known object in the universe. Detecting GRB 090423 allowed scientists to focus their knowledge about the early universe. The event occurred roughly 630 million years after the Big Bang, confirming that massive stellar births (and deaths) did indeed occur in the very early universe.
The formation of the Earth and the simultaneous formation of the Sun and other bodies of the solar system resulted from the contraction of a solar nebula. The Earth was a hot glowing ball of white hot gases with a temperature that was millions of degrees Fahrenheit. This was caused by particles of gases being drawn together and compressed, giving off a lot of heat.
The Solar System (including the Earth) formed from a large, rotating cloud of interstellar dust and gas called the solar nebula. It was composed of hydrogen and helium produced in the Big Bang, as well as heavier elements ejected by supernovas. About 4.6 billion years ago, the solar nebula began to contract, possibly due to the shock wave of a nearby supernova. Such a shock wave would have caused the nebula to gain angular momentum. As the cloud began to accelerate its rotation, gravity and inertia flattened it into a protoplanetary disk oriented perpendicularly to its axis of rotation. Most of the mass concentrated in the middle and began to heat up, but small perturbations due to collisions and the angular momentum of other large debris created the means by which protoplanets up to several kilometres in size began to form.
The infall of material, increase in rotational speed and the crush of gravity created an enormous amount of kinetic heat at the center. Its inability to transfer that energy away through any other process at a rate capable of relieving the build-up resulted in the disk's center heating up. Ultimately, nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium began, and eventually, after contraction, a T Tauri star ignited to create the Sun. Meanwhile, as gravity caused matter to condense around the previously perturbed objects outside the gravitational grasp of the new sun, dust particles and the rest of the protoplanetary disk began separating into rings. Successively larger fragments collided with one another and became larger objects, ultimately becoming protoplanets. These included one collection approximately 150 million kilometers from the center: Earth. The planet formed about 4.54 billion years ago (within an uncertainty of 1%), and the planet was largely completed within 10–20 million years. The solar wind of the newly formed T Tauri star cleared out most of the material in the disk that had not already condensed into larger bodies.
This age was confirmed when scientists zapped single atoms of lead in a tiny zircon crystal from Australia, and confirmed the crystal is the oldest rock fragment ever found on Earth — 4.375 billion years old, plus or minus 6 million years.
Scientists in France studied quartz from Australia and South Africa that dates back about 3 billion years. The ratio of gases in the quartz compared to today's ratios suggest both the Earth and the moon were created about 40 million years after the formation of the solar system, rather than the previous estimate of 100 million years afterward. That's likely when a collision happened that left behind Earth and formed the moon.
It is also believed that an object the size of Mars smashed into the predecessor of our planet and that the collision created Earth's atmosphere, while the resulting debris formed the moon.
The team's measurements show that meteorites from Vesta have the same chemistry as the carbonaceous chondrites and rocks found on Earth. This means that carbonaceous chondrites are the most likely common source of water.
This study shows that Earth's water most likely accreted at the same time as the rock.
§Origin of the Earth's core and first atmosphere
The Proto-Earth grew by accretion, until the inner part of the protoplanet was hot enough to melt the heavy, siderophile metals. Due to their larger densities such (now liquid) metals began to sink to the Earth's center of mass. This so called iron catastrophe resulted in a separation of a primitive mantle and a (metallic) core only 10 million years after the Earth began to form. This produced the layered structure of Earth and also set up the formation of Earth's magnetic field.
During the accretion of material to the protoplanet, a cloud of gaseous silica must have surrounded the Earth, to condense afterwards as solid rocks on the surface. What was left surrounding the planet was an early atmosphere of light (atmophile) elements from the solar nebula, mainly hydrogen and helium, but the solar wind and Earth's heat would have driven off this atmosphere.
This changed when Earth was about 40% its present radius, and gravitational attraction retained an atmosphere which included water.
This is a relatively new division of time having to do with the time prior to 4.5 billion years ago that corresponds to the development of our solar system.
The end of Chaotian was marked by the hypothetical collision of the proto-Earth and a planet-sized body named Theia, leading to the formation of the Moon. This collision added material to Earth’s mass. It is theorized that debris from this collision coalesced to form Earth’s moon. It is also hypothesized that Theia’s iron core sank to the center of the still molten Earth, giving this planet’s core enough density to begin to cool. Lighter elements “floating” on the surface began to form a scum of crustal materials. This early crust was frequently turned and subsumed by the molten interior. There are few terrestrial rocks from Hadean time, just a few mineral fragments found in sandstone substrates in Australia. However, study of lunar formations shows that the Earth/moon system continued to be bombarded by frequent asteroid collisions throughout the Hadean.
The age of the moon was originally dated to be 4.47 billion-years-old. A team of planetary scientists believed it to have formed 95 million years after the birth of the solar system. More recent dating of the moon rocks collected in 1971 show the moon to be 4.51 billion years old, a bit older than previously suspected.
This geological era designation was proposed by NASA scientists at the Ames Research Center in 2010 to formalize terminology in the earliest stages of Earth's history.
The NASA proposal divides the Chaotian into the Eochaotian and Neochaotian eras, which are in turn proposed to be divided into the Nephelean and Erebrean, and Hyperitian and Titanomachean periods, respectively.
A rare characteristic of our planet is its large natural satellite, the Moon. During the Apollo program, rocks from the Moon's surface were brought back to Earth. Radiometric dating of these rocks has shown the Moon to be 4527 ± 10 million years old, about 30 to 55 million years younger than other bodies in the solar system. Another special feature is the relatively low density of the Moon, which must mean it does not have a large metallic core, like all other terrestrial bodies in the solar system. In fact, the Moon has a bulk composition closely resembling the Earth's mantle and crust together, without the Earth's core. This has led to the giant impact hypothesis, the idea that the Moon was formed during a giant impact of the proto-Earth with another protoplanet. The Moon formed by accretion of the material blown off the mantles of the proto-Earth and impactor.
The impactor, sometimes named Theia, is thought to have been a little smaller than the current planet Mars. It could have formed by accretion of matter about 150 million kilometres from both the Sun and Earth, at their fourth or fifth Lagrangian point. Its orbit may have been stable at first, but destabilized as Earth's mass increased due to accretion of more and more matter. Theia swung back and forth relative to Earth until it finally collided with Earth an estimated 4.533 billion years ago.
Models show that when an impactor this size struck the proto-Earth at a low angle, a lot of material from the mantles (and proto-crusts) of the proto-Earth and the impactor was ejected into space, where much of it stayed in orbit around the Earth. This material would eventually form the Moon. However, the metallic cores of the impactor would have sunk through the Earth's mantle to fuse with the Earth's core, depleting the Moon of metallic material. The giant impact hypothesis thus explains the Moon's abnormal composition. The ejecta in orbit around the Earth could have condensed into a single body within a couple of weeks. Under the influence of its own gravity, the ejected material became a more spherical body: the Moon.
The radiometric ages show the Earth existed already for at least 10 million years before the impact, enough time to allow for differentiation of the Earth's primitive mantle and core. Then, when the impact occurred, only material from the mantle was ejected, leaving the Earth's core of heavy siderophile elements untouched.
The impact had some important consequences for the young Earth. It released a gigantic amount of energy, causing both the Earth and Moon to be completely molten. Immediately after the impact, the Earth's mantle was vigorously convecting, the surface was a large magma ocean. Due to the enormous amount of energy released, the planet's first atmosphere must have been completely blown off. The impact is also thought to have changed Earth’s axis to produce the large 23.5° axial tilt that is responsible for Earth’s seasons (a simple, ideal model of the planets’ origins would have axial tilts of 0° with no recognizable seasons). It may also have sped up Earth’s rotation, or slowed it down based on later models. Matija Cuk, from the Seti Institute, and colleagues ran simulations in which the early Earth was rotating on its axis in just a few hours compared to the present 24 hours. In this scenario, debris material would be thrown into a Moon-forming disc around the Earth that had the right chemical make-up. In other words, it was substantial Earth material from its mantle that was ejected in the collision.
After the impact, the gravitational interaction between the Sun and the Moon could then have slowed the fast rotation of the Earth to the speed we now experience.
Their simulations involved larger impactors hitting an Earth of comparable size and at comparatively lower speeds. Again, the team was able to produce a Moon with the same chemical composition as the Earth.
§Origin of the oceans and atmosphere (traditional view)
Because the Earth lacked an atmosphere immediately after the giant impact, cooling must have been fast. Within 150 million years a solid crust with a basaltis composition must have formed. The felsic continental crust of today did not yet exist. Within the Earth, further differentiation could only begin when the mantle had at least partly solidified again. Nevertheless, during the early Archaean (about 3.0 billion years ago) the mantle was still much hotter than today, probably around 1600°C. This means its fraction that was partially molten was still much larger than today.
Steam escaped from the crust, and more gases were released by volcanoes, completing the second atmosphere. Additional water was imported by bolide collisions, probably from asteroids ejected from the outer asteroid belt under the influence of Jupiter's gravity.
The large amount of water on Earth can never have been produced by volcanism and degassing alone. It was once assumed the water was derived from impacting comets that contained ice. Though most comets are today in orbits further away form the Sun than Neptune, computer simulations show they were originally far more common in the inner parts of the solar system. It was also thought that most of the water on Earth was probably derived from small impacting protoplanets, objects comparable with today's small icy moons of the outer planets. Impacts of these objects may have enriched the terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, the Earth and Mars) with water, carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia, nitrogen and other volatiles. If all water in the Earth's oceans was derived from comets alone, a million impacting comets are required to explain the oceans. Computer simulations show this is not an unreasonable number.
As the planet cooled, clouds formed. Rain gave rise to the oceans. Recent evidence suggests the oceans may have begun forming by 4.2 billion years ago. At the start of the Archaean eon, the Earth was already covered with oceans. The new atmosphere probably contained ammonia, methane, water vapor, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen, as well as smaller amounts of other gases. Any free oxygen would have been bound by hydrogen or minerals on the surface. Volcanic activity was intense and, without an ozone layer to hinder its entry, ultraviolet radiation flooded the surface.
§Origin of the Earth's oceans based on meteor research
It was once thought that the Earth formed dry, and that any moisture in the planet would have evaporated away due to intense heat. It was thought that comets crashing into the Earth supplied the planet's water. Later studies have shown that this may not have been the case, that the Earth formed with its water already here.
Scientists examined meteorites that are thought to have originated from the large asteroid Vesta, which formed in the same region as Earth, some 14 million years after the solar system's birth.
"These primitive meteorites resemble the bulk solar system composition," said Sune Nielsen of the WHOI, a study co-author. "They have quite a lot of water in them, and have been thought of before as candidates for the origin of Earth's water."
This new view based on meteor research is that the Earth formed wet, and did not require the impact of millions of comets as once thought. While comet impacts may have added to the Earth's water, it is now believed that most of the water was here when the Earth formed.
This eon extends in time from the formation of the planet to about 3.8 billion years ago. The name was derived from the state of the Earth at the time, what some considered to have been like Hades from the Greek meaning Hell. Because little geological evidence exists to teach us of this period it has not been further divided into eras or even further into periods.
The Hadean describes the period as the Earth formed. Largely in a molten state, denser materials such as iron sank toward the center of the planet, while the lighter silicaceous and basaltic materials "floated" toward the surface. The Earth's crust was therefore formed of the lightest of the solid elements. The early atmosphere was largely formed by volcanic action. Eruptions ejected water, methane, ammonia, hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide.
The Earth experienced large impacts, and some believe a Mars-sized object struck the Earth and ejected the moon. But during this period the bombardment began to subside. The crust began to cool, forming rocks that are now considered the oldest rocks on the planet. As cooling took place oceans began to form through atmospheric condensation.
There are two schools of thought regarding the young Earth. One school of thought says that Hadean Earth was quite similar to the Earth today. The other believes that, although it was less hostile than formerly believed, early Earth was nonetheless a foreign-seeming and formidable place, similar to the hottest, most extreme, geologic environments of today. A popular analogy is Iceland, where substantial amounts of crust are forming from basaltic magma that is much hotter than the magmas that built most of Earth’s current continental crust.
Researchers at the Australian National University developed a technique for examining zircon crystals to determine the temperature and possible environmental conditions of early Earth. The reason for using zircons is that they predate the world's oldest rocks by 400 million years, allowing investigations further back in geologic time than was before possible. The discovery of these zircon crystals (a mineral typically associated with granite) with ages exceeding four billion years old and preserved in younger sandstones changed the previously held view that the Earth was a sea of molten lava in its early years.
The temperature data gathered from the zircons supports the existence of a wet Earth within 200 million years of the solar system’s formation allowing it to support life far earlier than was before believed.
Research data support recent theories that Earth began a pattern of crust formation, erosion, and sediment recycling as early in its evolution as 4.35 billion years ago (4350 Ma).
In a paper in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, a team of scientists led by UW-Madison geologists Takayuki Ushikubo, Valley and Noriko Kita show that rocky continents and liquid water existed at least 4.3 billion years ago and were subjected to heavy weathering by an acrid climate.
Up until around the early 1980's geologists generally agreed that conditions during the Hadean period were utterly hostile to life. A failure to find rock formations from the period prompted the belief that the early Earth was hellishly hot, either entirely molten or subject to such intense asteroid bombardment that any rocks that formed were rapidly remelted. Early Earth was imagined as being covered by a giant “magma ocean”.
Radiometric dating techniques revealed the ages of these ancient zircons before geologists used other techniques to extract information about the environment in which the crystals formed, including the temperature and whether water was present.
These studies provided evidence that the the early Earth had a solid crust and liquid water - at least at some of the time. Hadean Earth possessed an established crust cool enough so that surface water could form, possibly even on the scale of oceans. This perspective is these days generally accepted but geologists continue to debate the particulars, as a statement by Vanderbilt University explains.
§Creation Myths (incomplete)
The Egyptian Creation Myth tells us that, at first, there was only Ocean. This ocean was breadth-less and depth-less and silent until, upon its surface, there rose a hill of earth (known as the ben-ben, the primordial mound, which, it is thought, the pyramids symbolize) and the great god Ra (the sun) stood upon the ben-ben and spoke, giving birth to the god Shu (of the air) the goddess Tefnut (of moisture) the god Geb (of earth) and the goddess Nut (of sky). Ra had intended Nut as his bride but she fell in love with Geb. Angry with the lovers, Ra separated them by stretching Nut across the sky high away from Geb on the earth. Although the lovers were separated during the day, they came together at night and Nut bore three sons, Osiris, Set and Horus, and two daughters, Isis and Nephthys. Osiris, as eldest, was announced as 'Lord of all the Earth’ when he was born and was given his sister Isis as a wife. Set, consumed by jealousy, hated his brother and killed him to assume the throne. Isis then embalmed her husband's body and, with powerful charms, resurrected Osiris who returned from the dead to bring life to the people of Egypt. Osiris later served as the Supreme Judge of the souls of the dead in the Hall of Truth and, by weighing the heart of the soul in the balances, decided who was granted eternal life.
§Enuma Elish (Enûma Eliš)
Babylonian creation myth. The Enûma Eliš has about a thousand lines and is recorded in Old Babylonian on seven clay tablets, each holding between 115 and 170 lines of Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform script. Most of Tablet V has never been recovered but, aside from this lacuna, the text is almost complete. A duplicate copy of Tablet V has been found in Sultantepe, ancient Huzirina, near the modern town of Şanlıurfa in Turkey.
This epic is one of the most important sources for understanding the Babylonian worldview, centered on the supremacy of Marduk and the creation of humankind for the service of the gods. Its primary original purpose, however, is not an exposition of theology or theogony but the elevation of Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, above other Mesopotamian gods.
The Enûma Eliš exists in various copies from Babylon and Assyria. The version from Ashurbanipal's library dates to the 7th century BCE. The composition of the text probably dates to the Bronze Age, to the time of Hammurabi or perhaps the early Kassite era (roughly 18th to 16th centuries BCE), although some scholars favor a later date of c. 1100 BCE.
The title, meaning "when on high", is the incipit. The first tablet begins:
§Japanese Creation Myth
"Of Old, Heaven and Earth were not yet separated, and the In and Yo were not yet divided. They formed a chaotic mass like an egg which was of obscurely defined limits and contained germs.
The purer and clearer part was thinly drawn out, and formed Heaven, while the heavier and grosser element settled down and became Earth.
The finer element easily became a united body, but the consolidation of the heavy and gross element was accomplished with difficulty.
Heaven was therefore formed first, and Earth was established subsequently.
Thereafter Divine Beings were produced between them. The soil of which lands were composed floated about in a manner which might be compared to the floating of a fish sporting on the surface of the water.
At this time a certain thing was produced between Heaven and Earth. It was in form like a reed-shoot. Now this became transformed into a God, and was called Kuni-toko-tachi no Mikoto. Next there was Kuni no sa-tsuchi no Kimoto and next Toyo-kumu nu no Mikoto, in all three deities." - Nihongi
§Chinese Creation Myth
"According to the third-century BC Huainanzi: 'Before Heaven and Earth had taken form all was vague and amorphous. Therefore it was called The Great Beginning. The Great Beginning produced emptiness, and emptiness produced the universe. The universe produced qi [vital force or energy], which had limits. That which was clear and light drifted up to become Heaven while that which was heavy and turbid solidified to become earth ... The combined essences of Heaven and Earth became the yin and yang.'
"A more popular, though later, version of this genesis myth describes the primordial environment as not just amorphous but 'opaque, like the inside of an egg'; and it actually was an egg to the extent that, when broken, white and yolk separated. The clear white, or yang, ascended to become Heaven and the murky yolk, or yin, descended to become Earth. Interposed between the two was the egg's incubus, a spirit called Pan Gu. Pan Gu kept his feet firmly in the earth and his head in the heavens as the two drew apart. 'Heaven was exceedingly high, Earth exceedingly deep, and Pan Gu exceedingly tall,' says the Huainanzi. Though not the creator of the universe, Pan Gu evidently served as some kind of agent in the arrangement of it. ...
"Less relevant still in Chinese tradition is the origin of man. In another version of the Pan Gu story, it is not Pan Gu's lanky adolescence which suggests a degree of personal agency in the creative process but his posthumous putrescence. In what might be called a decomposition myth, as Pan Gu lay dying, it is said that:
" '[his] breath became the wind and the clouds; his voice became the thunder; his left eye became the sun, and his right the moon; his four limbs and five torsos became the four poles and the five mountains; his blood became the rivers; his sinews became geographic features; his muscles became the soils in the field; his hair and beard became stars and planets; his skin and its hairs became grasses and trees; his teeth and bones became bronzes and jades; his essence and marrow became pearls and gemstones; his sweat became rain and lakes; and the various worms in his body, touched by the wind, became the black-haired commoners."
The Nasadiya Sukta of the Rig Veda describes the origin of the universe. The Rig Veda's view of the cosmos also sees one true divine principle self-projecting as the divine word, Vaak, 'birthing' the cosmos that we know, from the monistic Hiranyagarbha or Golden Egg. The Universe is preserved by Vishnu (The God of Preservation) and destroyed by Shiva (The God of Destruction). These three constitute the holy trinity (Trimurti) of the Hindu religion. Once the Universe has been destroyed by Shiva, Brahma starts the creation once again. This creation-destruction cycle repeats itself almost endlessly as described in the section above on Brahma, Manu and the Yugas.
The later Puranic view asserts that the Universe is created, destroyed, and re-created in an eternally repetitive series of cycles. In Hindu cosmology, a universe endures for about 4,320,000,000 years—one day/Kalpa of Brahma, the creator, and is then destroyed by fire or water elements. At this point, Brahma rests for one night, just as long as the day. This process, named Pralaya (Cataclysm), repeats for 100 Brahma years (311 trillion, 40 billion human years) that represents Brahma's lifespan. Brahma is the creator but not necessarily regarded as God in Hinduism because there are said to be many creations. Instead, he is regarded as a creation of the Supreme God or Para Brahman.
We are currently believed to be in the 51st year of the present Brahma's life and so about 158.7 trillion years have elapsed since the birth of Brahma. After Brahma's "death", it is necessary that another 100 Brahma years pass until he is reborn and the whole creation begins anew. This process is repeated again and again, forever.
The Yazid state that the world created by God was at first a pearl. It remained in this very small and enclosed state for some time (often a magic number such as forty or forty thousand years) before being remade in its current state. During this period the Heptad were called into existence, God made a covenant with them and entrusted the world to them. Besides Tawûsê Melek, members of the Heptad (the Seven), who were called into existence by God at the beginning of all things, include Sheikh ‘Adī ibn Musāfir al-Umawī (Şêx Adî), his companion Şêx Hasan and a group known as the Four Mysteries: Shamsadin, Fakhradin, Sajadin and Naserdin.
A Sumerian myth known as Gilgamesh and the Netherworld opens with a mythological prologue. It assumes that the gods and the universe already exist and that once a long time ago the heavens and earth were united, only later to be split apart. Later, humankind was created and the great gods divided up the job of managing and keeping control over heavens, earth, and the Netherworld.
The Genesis creation narrative is the creation myth of both Judaism and Christianity. It is made up of two parts, roughly equivalent to the first two chapters of the Book of Genesis. It is thought to have originated with the Enuma Elish (see above) In the first part, Genesis 1:1 through Genesis 2:3, Elohim, the generic Hebrew word for God, creates the world in six days, then rests on, blesses and sanctifies the seventh day. God creates by spoken command ("Let there be..."), suggesting a comparison with a king, who has only to speak for things to happen, and names the elements of the cosmos as he creates them, in keeping with the common ancient concept that things did not really exist until they had been named.
In the second, Genesis 2:4–24 God, referred to by the personal name "Yahweh", shapes the first man from dust, places him in the Garden of Eden, and breathes his own breath into the man who thus becomes נֶפֶש nephesh, a living being; man shares nephesh with all creatures, but only of man is this life-giving act of God described. The man names the animals, signifying his authority within God's creation, and God forms the first woman, whom the man names "Eve", from the man's body by taking one of the man's ribs.
A common hypothesis among biblical scholars is that the first major comprehensive draft of the Pentateuch (the series of five books which begins with Genesis and ends with Deuteronomy) was composed in the late 7th or the 6th century BC (the Yahwist source) and that this was later expanded by other authors (the Priestly source) into a work very like the one we have today. (In the creation narrative the two sources appear in reverse order: Genesis 1:1–2:3 is Priestly and Genesis 2:4–24 is Yahwistic). Borrowing themes from Mesopotamian mythology, but adapting them to Israel's belief in one God, the combined narrative is a critique of the Mesopotamian theology of creation: Genesis affirms monotheism and denies polytheism. Robert Alter described the combined narrative as "compelling in its archetypal character, its adaptation of myth to monotheistic ends"
According to Michael Tellinger, Miceal Ledwith claims that all ancient Hebrew texts begin with the letter alef. Genesis does not begin with an alef, but by replacing it a new translation of the opening of Genesis is revealed. "THE FATHER OF THE BEGINNINGS CREATED THE ELOHIM, THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH." The biblical Elohim, which is mostly misinterpreted as being a singular god, is actually a plural "gods" according to this new interpretation.
§Young Earth creationism (YEC)
YEC is the religious belief that the Universe, Earth and all life on Earth were created by direct acts of the Abrahamic God during a relatively short period, between 5,700 and 10,000 years ago. Its primary adherents are those Christians and Jews who, using a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative as a basis, believe that God created the Earth in six 24-hour days. Young Earth creationists differ from other creationists in that they believe in a strict-literal interpretation of the Bible regarding the age of the Earth. This contrasts with Old Earth Creationists who believe that the Book of Genesis may be interpreted metaphorically, and who accept the scientifically derived age of Earth and the universe.
- Science, May 6, 2005
- John Keay, China, Basic Books, 2009 pp. 25-27.
- National Geographic