The word “Genesis” means “origin” and the Book of Genesis starts with Creation and concludes with the death of Joseph (Jacob’s son) in Egypt. The Book is an amalgam of religious traditions, some of which are dated to about 950 BCE and some of which were developed as late as 450 BCE.
Today’s reading is the First Creation Story. (The Second Creation Story begins at 2.4 and tells of YHWH’s forming the earthling – adam – out of the fertile earth – adamah – and breathing life into the earthling.) Even the name of God is different in the Second Creation Story.
The First Creation Story is structured as seven days in which God — Elohim (literally, “the gods”) in the Hebrew – brings order (Shalom) to all reality by separating its component parts. It is noteworthy that creation is not presented as a creation out of nothing but rather an ordering of the earth, the waters, light and time. (The already-existing earth is described as formless and darkness covers the already-existing waters in verse 2.)
This Story is very similar in structure to the seven-day Babylonian Creation Story which the Jewish People encountered during the Babylonian Captivity (587-539 BCE). For this reason and because of the emphasis on the Sabbath on the seventh day, scholars agree that this First Creation Story was composed by the “Priestly” authors in the period from 550 to 450 BCE.
This reading is selected for Trinity Sunday because (among other things) the name of God in Hebrew in this account (Elohim) is a plural word (Hebrew words ending in “im” are plural) and because Verse 1:26 says “Let us make humankind in our image.” Christian interpreters have sometimes also seen “the wind from God” (v.2) as the Spirit of the Trinity.
2 Corinthians 13:5-14
Corinth, a large port city in Greece, was among the early Jesus Follower communities that Paul founded. Its culture was Hellenistic and emphasized reason, secular wisdom and a hierarchical structure in society. Paul’s relationship with the community was often strained.
Most scholars believe that the letter is a composite of several letters because Paul’s tone shifts so significantly within the letter. It moves from conciliatory (Chapter 2) to argumentative (3 to 5), to reconciling (6 and 7), to appealing for funds (8 and 9), to attacking “super-apostles” (11), to defensive regarding accusations he has enriched himself from the collections (12). Today’s reading is the concluding part of this Second Letter and is a mix of scolding and exhortation. For example, 13:2 and 13:10 are scolding and 13.11-12 are an appeal for good behavior on the part of the Corinthians.