Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ibn Ezra on creation

"In my opinion, this paragraph [3rd day of creation] is connected [i.e. overlaps in time] with the previous paragraph [2nd day]. For the rakia [“firmament”/sky] was not made until the earth became dry... behold, on one day they [sky+earth] were created." -Ibn Ezra, Breishit 1:9

By implying here that what was listed on one day of creation was NOT all created on one physical day, Ibn Ezra can be added to the list of commentators who believe the first chapter of Breishit may be interpreted non-literally. This, of course, is important as it allows for compatibility with modern science.

Ibn Ezra's view on this issue is much more significant than that of Rambam or modern commentators, because their conclusions were heavily influenced by knowledge of contemporary scientific theories, while Ibn Ezra's opinion seems to derive solely from textual factors.

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