Thoughts on Genesis

October 24, 2009 — Leave a comment

[This post is part of the Genesis series]

Howard Hendricks, who is a much distinguished teacher of Christian Education here at Dallas Seminary has been quoted as saying that “In the midst of a generation screaming for answers, Christians are stuttering,”

Unfortunately, this is painfully true in more areas that just one. However, one area that is becoming increasingly embarrassing for Christians in the public square is the views of Genesis that we are staunchly defending.

While this may not seem to be the most significant area in which Christians are stuttering, it is at least one area where evangelical Christians are yelling non sequiturs to the questions that are being asked. And in doing so, we are not just losing the argument, but are failing to adequately defend the faith in the face of deep philosophical and ideological opposition.

And what is worse, we may be rabidly defending ideas and positions that the Bible is not even attempting to address, much less teaching in an unequivocal manner.

In defending the wrong things, we are failing at our charge to preach the word and are not suffering for our faith in Christ, but are suffering for our faith in our poor interpretations of the Biblical data.

I realize this is vague so far, but this is more or less an introduction to a series that will cover further explorations in Genesis, but will also start to move forward the Metaphysics series. It will unite the streams of Creator and creation and then move forward with creation, specifically in relation to Genesis 1-2.

In doing so, we will answer questions that bear on the creation vs. evolution debate, or at least as it is construed in evangelical dialogues. We will however, put forward the idea that maybe we are arguing the wrong points, and that those points may not even be taught in the Bible. We will evaluate the merits of arguing over the following:

  • The age of the earth
  • The structure of creation in Genesis 1-2
  • The necessity of all creation taking place only within the 7 literal days (and was something “created” in day 7?)
  • The sequence of creation (which is presented in other places than Genesis 1-2)
  • The scientific nature of the descriptions in Genesis 1-2 (and whether there is any)
  • The ancient near eastern background and its relation to Genesis

Hopefully in the end, we will have a view of Genesis that is more balanced in its treatment of the actual Hebrew text, as well as connecting it to its background context and removing the 21st century questions we are demanding that an ancient text answer satisfactorily.

I would suspect though, as a word of warning, almost everyone that reads the following posts will have some view of Genesis, cherished or not, overturned by the evidence either within the background, or within the text itself. Some may even be offended at the removal of some ideas from the text of Genesis as not having a legitimate basis.

It is important to distinguish though between removing an idea for the whole corpus of Scriptures, as opposed to just removing it from play in Genesis. I will try to be clear when I am saying that something is not taught in the Bible at all, or whether it is just not taught in Genesis like you may have been led to believe.

More so than usual, you the reader, should expect to encounter ideas here that you have not before and should welcome the opportunity to expand your understanding of a very important text of Scripture that has very significant ramifications in public dialogue today in our culture. If you feel you have all the answers already, then you have no need to read any further in this series. If however, you do not feel you have all the answers then please read on and hopefully you will find some answers to questions you didn’t even know you should be asking, and may also find that the key to the creation vs. evolution debate does not lie within science per se, but lies elsewhere as we will soon see.

So, be warned, the things I say about what Genesis does or does not teach may be offensive to you, but judge the content based on its merits within the evidence of the background literature and the text of Scripture itself, not against the emotional reaction such ideas may being to you. In doing so, you like I have, may grow in your understanding of Genesis and its role in both the dialogues in the public square and in the foundation of what we as Christians hold to be true.

Nate

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I'm an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let's connect!

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