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Thread: Genesis 1:16 - Explicitly stated metaphor?

  1. #16
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    1. What do you mean the bible is "black and white?"
    Simply, I take it for true as it is written
    2. What do you mean you "take it as written?"
    Simply, I believe what I read
    3. What do you mean God is not a God of confusion (before answering do a search for the thread on this scripture)?
    Simply, God wants "His children" to understand His word
    4. What do you mean by your last sentence?
    Simply, that a person in that time would not have known what we know now about the solar system.

    You basically said nothing in your post because you were not clear in defining your terms. I have no idea how to respond to them.

    Sorry, Now I think I know how Jesus felt when he was asked "what did you mean" when he told a parable. I honestly thought you would get my points even if you did not agree. I will try to remember to deliver milk from now on. Sorry I did it again. I mean, I will try to speak simpler.

  2. #17
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    Looks like a good place to remind everyone to discuss the topic, not each other...............

    (Not pointing any fingers, by the way, speaking to all of you...)

  3. #18
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    Your right sorry about that

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fightingfalcon View Post
    This is a argument used by evolutionists to prove the bible is not inspired and there is no God... you can claim otherwise but that is in fact were it originated, actually an atheistic doubt.
    To clarify, this is just my own musings on the text, I'm not picking up on someone else's theory or argument at all. No more evolution talk, please guys. That's not even nearly what this is about

    Quote Originally Posted by TEITZY View Post
    I find this whole idea extremely tenuous. Your metaphor idea breaks down completely because we know the sun is an actual light and it is included with the moon as one of the "great lights". So to be consistent in your case, the sun must also be a metaphor..
    Sorry, my thread title was confusing - I use the term "metaphor" merely to mean the figure of speech in which the moon, a non-luminous rock, is referred to as a light. It is not literally such, but of course metaphorically speaking it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by fightingfalcon View Post
    About the lights... even educated people of this day and age use the word "light" to refer to what is in fact reflected light and which in and of itself does not produce light...
    Would an educated person see a light reflected in a puddle and say "look! two lights!!!" Would, then a being beyond education, a being of perfect, absolute knowledge? I'm inclined to say that were He talking literally, He would not, but I'm not as concrete as you in an assumption either way.

    Quote Originally Posted by coldfire136 View Post
    You have brought this up in an interesting way. I would rather argue that a good reading of the text forces us to see the words in light of the ancient near eastern context. We have to understand how the Jews would have read this. If you read the text, the purpose of the light seems to be to delineate seasons. This would have been very important to an agricultural society and would have been very important because God stands over this creation as God of the sun, the moon, and the seasons. They needed to know that God would be with them.
    Very true. I had completely overlooked how it would have been understood by those who originally read it, schoolboy error But in stating a simplified truth for the sake of their understanding, which knowing what we do today we can recognise as such, there's certainly still the possibility that God has planted more in the verse for today's faithful.

    Quote Originally Posted by daughter View Post
    maw-ore', meh-o-raw'

    The word from which our term "meteor" derives. That is to say, not "light" as in radiance, but light as an instrument which gives light - a lamp, a candle, for example. Objects which reflect light, like the moon, are also "light bearers", instruments of light, and not light itself.
    Love your post, thanks for the contribution It sounds like you really know what you're talking about, so you'll have to bear with me because when it comes to etymology my knowledge starts and ends with my concordance
    I appreciate what you're saying, but it's tricky to really ascertain whether the meaning of the word would encompass a reflected light, being that there's no parallel for us to compare with. In the case of a lamp or candle the light itself is sourced within the object which could be referred to as a 'light'. I can see myself saying to someone "Can you bring that light?" Referring to a torch or whatever, so it makes sense to me that the word could operate in this sense. I guess it's a judgement call, so we'll assume the term does encompass reflected light; does it strike you as odd that He would refer to sunlight and reflected sunlight as two distinct lights, if He were talking literally? God made two great lights. Only He didn't
    Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3
    You put the stars in the sky and you know them by name, You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same, You are amazing, God.
    I do not 'hope' I am saved and I do not 'think' I am saved, I know it with an absolute conviction. I know that I am saved just as I know that I think and I know that I feel. I am purchased and sealed, His possession.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImmenseDisciple View Post
    does it strike you as odd that He would refer to sunlight and reflected sunlight as two distinct lights, if He were talking literally? God made two great lights. Only He didn't
    The only "odd" thing I see in this whole issue is the great lengths people go to to try and complicate the simple plain reading of Genesis. However Jesus actually believed in a literal Genesis and he concurs with Moses regarding moonlight in Matt 24:29:

    “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

    Obviously Jesus is aware that the moon only reflects the light of the sun but He still considers it appropriate to refer to the moon as having "its light" and here He also makes a distinction between the two "great lights" so I really don't see what is so "odd" about the Genesis account.

    Cheers
    Leigh

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by TEITZY View Post
    The only "odd" thing I see in this whole issue is the great lengths people go to to try and complicate the simple plain reading of Genesis. However Jesus actually believed in a literal Genesis and he concurs with Moses regarding moonlight in Matt 24:29:

    “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

    Obviously Jesus is aware that the moon only reflects the light of the sun but He still considers it appropriate to refer to the moon as having "its light" and here He also makes a distinction between the two "great lights" so I really don't see what is so "odd" about the Genesis account.

    Cheers
    Leigh
    I am not going to great lengths to try and complicate The Book, I am going to great lengths to understand it as much as I can, and in the process trying to be sure that I evaluate any messages that I should see. I would never accuse you of grossly simplifying His work by taking it literally, please don't accuse me of doing harm in looking from a different perspective to yours. I know you mean nothing by it, but it is better left unsaid

    Incidentally, that's an interesting quote there. "The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light." Of course, were He saying that the moon would not give the light it produces, it would show a misunderstanding of the universe. The phrase, however, seems constructed perfectly so that it can be taken to mean not just that the moon will not give it's own light, but also that the moon will not give the sun's light.

    In NKJV this secondary meaning seems more overtly implied; "The sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine" I can't really see that to mean anything else, to be honest. The moon "will not cause" it's own light to shine? eh? The moon will not cause the sun's light to shine? Spot on... That guy sure knew what He was talking about, that's for sure

    Aside from that - if you've any verses that state the Christ held Genesis a literal account I'd love to know them. There's nothing surer to completely change my opinion in an instant
    Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3
    You put the stars in the sky and you know them by name, You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same, You are amazing, God.
    I do not 'hope' I am saved and I do not 'think' I am saved, I know it with an absolute conviction. I know that I am saved just as I know that I think and I know that I feel. I am purchased and sealed, His possession.

  7. #22
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    The passage is either the truth or we have believed a lie! Personally, God has never lied to me so it's the gospel truth.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImmenseDisciple View Post
    I am not going to great lengths to try and complicate The Book, I am going to great lengths to understand it as much as I can, and in the process trying to be sure that I evaluate any messages that I should see. I would never accuse you of grossly simplifying His work by taking it literally, please don't accuse me of doing harm in looking from a different perspective to yours. I know you mean nothing by it, but it is better left unsaid
    I apologize for any offense taken, but what is it exactly you are trying to achieve? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume you believe in evolution, long ages and possibly the Big Bang as well? I also assume you are trying to harmonize these beliefs with the Genesis account? By now you've also realized that a natural plain reading of the text completely contradicts the theory of evolution & long geologic ages. So what is the solution to your dilemma? Does superimposing your beliefs upon the text bring greater clarity than a simple straight forward reading of Genesis? IMHO it only complicates things.

    Incidentally, that's an interesting quote there. "The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light." Of course, were He saying that the moon would not give the light it produces, it would show a misunderstanding of the universe. The phrase, however, seems constructed perfectly so that it can be taken to mean not just that the moon will not give it's own light, but also that the moon will not give the sun's light.

    In NKJV this secondary meaning seems more overtly implied; "The sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine" I can't really see that to mean anything else, to be honest. The moon "will not cause" it's own light to shine? eh? The moon will not cause the sun's light to shine? Spot on... That guy sure knew what He was talking about, that's for sure
    Not sure what version of the NKJ that is but it is certainly not the way mine translates nor the majority of the other versions for that matter. Having said that I think what you suggest is possibly a valid interpretation as I considered it myself before posting the verse. Even so I don't really think it diminishes the meaning of the Gen 1 passage as being literal. Certainly there are other OT passages that speak of the moon giving light in association with the sun and I think this common linkage of the two only reinforces the historicity of the Genesis account.

    Aside from that - if you've any verses that state the Christ held Genesis a literal account I'd love to know them. There's nothing surer to completely change my opinion in an instant
    Below is a link to an old thread where I discuss these issues and the importance of a literal Genesis to NT authority. Below is also a brief excerpt from one post.

    http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?t=49996

    Anyway, Jesus not only spoke about the Genesis flood (Matt 24:36-44) but also used Gen 1 as the basis for marriage (Matt 19:4-6). Peter also spoke of the flood as a literal event (2 Pet 2:5, 3:6) while Paul clearly taught a literal Adam and Eve and serpent (Rom 5:12-19; 1 Cor 11:8-9, 15:45-49; 2 Cor 11:3; 1 Tim 2:13-14). If ALL of Genesis (esp Ch. 1-11) is not literally true then this makes a nonsense of much of the NT teaching of Jesus and His Apostles.
    Cheers
    Leigh

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by TEITZY View Post
    I apologize for any offense taken, but what is it exactly you are trying to achieve? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume you believe in evolution, long ages and possibly the Big Bang as well? I also assume you are trying to harmonize these beliefs with the Genesis account? By now you've also realized that a natural plain reading of the text completely contradicts the theory of evolution & long geologic ages. So what is the solution to your dilemma? Does superimposing your beliefs upon the text bring greater clarity than a simple straight forward reading of Genesis? IMHO it only complicates things.
    A lot of assumption I find the attempts science makes to explain our origins a noble exploit, and an utter stab in the dark, an attempt at the staggeringly impossible, and their findings a deeply flawed 'conviction' for anyone to hold. I am new to faith, and have yet to study Genesis properly, but I saw the verse I referred to in a Christian video and it got me thinking. I am currently of the opinion that the creation account given in Genesis is probably massively simplified so that those who read it can make any sense out of it, and to simplify would inevitably mean speaking metaphorically. I admit that this view is going to mean I take the text very differently to someone who has already set their mind on a literal interpretation. I have no problem with viewing the Genesis creation as a literal account, but I'm just searching the word and trying to make sense of it for myself.

    Not sure what version of the NKJ that is but it is certainly not the way mine translates nor the majority of the other versions for that matter. Having said that I think what you suggest is possibly a valid interpretation as I considered it myself before posting the verse. Even so I don't really think it diminishes the meaning of the Gen 1 passage as being literal.
    I don't think it relates to the Genesis passage at all, tbh, I'm not familiar with the verse though, and was impressed at how clear an understanding it shows. I must have jumped to the verse's quoted passage instead, though, I quoted Isaiah 13:10. Oops
    Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3
    You put the stars in the sky and you know them by name, You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same, You are amazing, God.
    I do not 'hope' I am saved and I do not 'think' I am saved, I know it with an absolute conviction. I know that I am saved just as I know that I think and I know that I feel. I am purchased and sealed, His possession.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImmenseDisciple View Post
    A lot of assumption I find the attempts science makes to explain our origins a noble exploit, and an utter stab in the dark, an attempt at the staggeringly impossible, and their findings a deeply flawed 'conviction' for anyone to hold. I am new to faith, and have yet to study Genesis properly, but I saw the verse I referred to in a Christian video and it got me thinking.
    Ok fine When you say "origins" above, does this also include biological evolution?

    I am currently of the opinion that the creation account given in Genesis is probably massively simplified so that those who read it can make any sense out of it, and to simplify would inevitably mean speaking metaphorically. I admit that this view is going to mean I take the text very differently to someone who has already set their mind on a literal interpretation. I have no problem with viewing the Genesis creation as a literal account, but I'm just searching the word and trying to make sense of it for myself.
    Yes, from a scientific point of view it is a 'simplified' account, but the Bible is not a science text book either, though it is scientifically accurate. As we read through the Bible (progressive revelation) we don't find anything to undermine the Genesis account but rather its 'simple' truths are reinforced and upheld throughout the Scriptures.

    If you don't believe in evolutionary cosmology or biology but also reject a literal interpretation of Genesis, what does it all mean to you then?

    Cheers
    Leigh

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by TEITZY View Post
    Ok fine When you say "origins" above, does this also include biological evolution?
    Absolutely, although I think that progressive adaptation on a macro scale is certainly present. Suggesting the entire scope of life on the planet evolved from one single cell source, on the other hand, is really, really, massively ludicrous. Short of God's direct hand throughout the process, it seems to me to be very clearly impossible.

    Yes, from a scientific point of view it is a 'simplified' account, but the Bible is not a science text book either, though it is scientifically accurate. As we read through the Bible (progressive revelation) we don't find anything to undermine the Genesis account but rather its 'simple' truths are reinforced and upheld throughout the Scriptures.

    If you don't believe in evolutionary cosmology or biology but also reject a literal interpretation of Genesis, what does it all mean to you then?

    Cheers
    Leigh
    I don't mean simply that in scientific terms we are told a less than complete story, although that goes without saying. More, I doubt that God "speaks" things into existance, rather He puts it in such terms so that we can relate. I also don't think He stopped at the end of each day's work to look over His creation and observe that it was coming along nicely, this strikes me as another humanisation of His actions. Further, I don't see that we should assume a literal single rotation of the earth is the time period referred to when He says "day". Following this, when He creates the creatures of the sea and sky, I see no call to assume it is an immediate transition from "nothing" to "every moving and living thing", there is every possibility that their creation could be a longer process. As far as I'm concerned, at the very least there's plenty of room for metaphor in just about every aspect of the creation story. I don't see that recognising this detracts from the credibility and importance of the account, far from it. That said - I totally accept and totally recognise that God could have created the universe in the precise manner laid out in Genesis specifically so that He would later be able to describe it to us in terms we could understand!
    As to what it all means to me, then, I suppose it's just another thing too great to be understood. I've accepted that in this life, unless the Spirit gives me a conviction that the Genesis creation is a literal account, I can never know how the universe came about. That's fine by me
    Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3
    You put the stars in the sky and you know them by name, You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same, You are amazing, God.
    I do not 'hope' I am saved and I do not 'think' I am saved, I know it with an absolute conviction. I know that I am saved just as I know that I think and I know that I feel. I am purchased and sealed, His possession.

  12. #27
    Are believers not a light, though only a reflection of the greater light.

    terrell

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgallison View Post
    Are believers not a light, though only a reflection of the greater light.
    Amen to that! That said - if I was stood next to God, I wouldn't suggest we were two great lights!
    Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3
    You put the stars in the sky and you know them by name, You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same, You are amazing, God.
    I do not 'hope' I am saved and I do not 'think' I am saved, I know it with an absolute conviction. I know that I am saved just as I know that I think and I know that I feel. I am purchased and sealed, His possession.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImmenseDisciple View Post
    In stating here that the Sun and the Moon are "two great lights" is God explicitly saying to us that His account of creation is to be taken as metaphorical? It goes without saying that He knew full well we would learn for ourselves that the moon is not "a light", it's apparent glow merely a reflection of the sun, so is this His pointer to us that we aren't to take Genesis literally?
    Plenty of discussion please
    Good question. One thing we do know is that Christ referred to this text (Genesis 1) in a manner not so metaphorical, so we need to be careful. But IMO it may be referring to allowing those "great lights" to becoming visible to the earth's surface (inhabitants).

    The focus of this text is not science, but salvation - mankind's fall and need for a plan of salvation.

    BD
    3 John 4 - "No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my [spiritual] children walk in the truth.

    BadDog!

  15. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmenseDisciple View Post
    In stating here that the Sun and the Moon are "two great lights" is God explicitly saying to us that His account of creation is to be taken as metaphorical? It goes without saying that He knew full well we would learn for ourselves that the moon is not "a light", it's apparent glow merely a reflection of the sun, so is this His pointer to us that we aren't to take Genesis literally?
    Plenty of discussion please
    No more metaphorical than when God made the sun "stand still" when the Hebrews prayed for it. We commonly accept that the "standing still" part was no more literal than saying something like "sunrise" or "sunset." We know that the sun itself is not setting, we simply use terms that come from our perspective. So when Genesis says God created to "great lights," it is being spoken of in our perspective that the moon gives off its own light. Getting caught up in terminology and whether the Bible speaks scientifically correct is only going to cause confusion to ourselves. The intended meaning is that God created two objects in space that give off light, whether by internal or external sources, but it's not going to spell out everything to us in a scientist's language.

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