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markedward
Jun 10th 2010, 10:18 PM
How many of you hold to the "historical" belief of Genesis, and how many to the "allegorical" belief, and how many to whatever a third (or more) option might be?

In the last several months I have been studying, and re-examining my beliefs on the opening chapters of Genesis, and coming out the other end of the tunnel with vastly different beliefs than I held before. Namely, I find myself moving toward the conclusion that the opening chapters of Genesis are depicting something more allegorical (i.e. non-literal), rather than actual history.

(For those who would try to pin it on me, my shift in beliefs has absolutely nothing to do with the evolution debate. Any chances in my beliefs have come strictly from examining the text at hand. As such, if you oppose the allegorical interpretation of Genesis' opening chapters, don't try to throw that down at me, because it's entirely irrelevant as far as I care.)

Hopefully, this thread can serve as a healthy, edifying discussion between the various interpretations. No wild accusations, no slandering, no hate.

Voting results are private.

HisLeast
Jun 10th 2010, 11:23 PM
OTHER: Apathetic.

The real impact to me in either case is negligible.

BrckBrln
Jun 10th 2010, 11:41 PM
I picked other since allegorical seems a little too all-encompassing. I believe the creation accounts in Genesis are ancient Israel's version of the creation accounts of other ANE cultures. I'm not completely sure on the story of Adam and Eve but I think they are archetype's rather than historical figures. I think the flood stories, like the creation accounts, are Israel's version of the flood stories of Ancient Near Eastern world. All in all, instead of simply saying I believe the early chapters are allegorical, I would just say I believe they are in step with what other societies produced at the same time.

markedward
Jun 11th 2010, 12:59 AM
The real impact to me in either case is negligible.Why is that?

-SEEKING-
Jun 11th 2010, 01:03 AM
I went with historical. Maybe it's not all encompassing as far as complete world history. But I don't think it's allegorical at all. To me anyways.

BroRog
Jun 11th 2010, 01:11 AM
How many of you hold to the "historical" belief of Genesis, and how many to the "allegorical" belief, and how many to whatever a third (or more) option might be?

In the last several months I have been studying, and re-examining my beliefs on the opening chapters of Genesis, and coming out the other end of the tunnel with vastly different beliefs than I held before. Namely, I find myself moving toward the conclusion that the opening chapters of Genesis are depicting something more allegorical (i.e. non-literal), rather than actual history.

(For those who would try to pin it on me, my shift in beliefs has absolutely nothing to do with the evolution debate. Any chances in my beliefs have come strictly from examining the text at hand. As such, if you oppose the allegorical interpretation of Genesis' opening chapters, don't try to throw that down at me, because it's entirely irrelevant as far as I care.)

Hopefully, this thread can serve as a healthy, edifying discussion between the various interpretations. No wild accusations, no slandering, no hate.

Voting results are private.I think Genesis is historical narrative from Genesis 2:4 forward. Genesis 1:1-Genesis 2:3 is a very abbreviated account of creation using a different genre (not sure how to label it), which the author chose in order to best convey certain ideas that would be difficult otherwise. I wouldn't label it allegory since it doesn't read like allegory. If I were forced to label it, I would call it an historical synopsis, or summary in some kind of metrical form, which isn't exactly poetry.

HisLeast
Jun 11th 2010, 01:38 AM
Why is that?

The way I live my life today is not predicated on Genesis being literal or allegorical. I ask myself which of my behaviours and approaches to problems would change in the case of either being true, and I can't think of any.

markedward
Jun 11th 2010, 01:44 AM
Good enough point.

What about on the level of "spiritual learning"? Some (such as myself) might say that a different reading of the text yields a different understanding of how Scripture works, and how God reveals his plans through Scripture?

HisLeast
Jun 11th 2010, 01:47 AM
Good enough point.

What about on the level of "spiritual learning"? Some (such as myself) might say that a different reading of the text yields a different understanding of how Scripture works, and how God reveals his plans through Scripture?

Could you give me an example of how you'd get different results if Genesis was literally true vs allegorically true?

markedward
Jun 11th 2010, 02:22 AM
In a more literalistic reading, God starts out as revealing himself universally to mankind, and allowing knowledge of him to diminish drastically, even though everyone was aware of his existence. Even the wicked knew he was there, they simply sinned against him because they were inclined to do so. In a more non-literal reading, God essentially started very locally in revealing himself and gradually moved outward over the course of history.

HisLeast
Jun 11th 2010, 02:58 AM
In a more literalistic reading, God starts out as revealing himself universally to mankind, and allowing knowledge of him to diminish drastically, even though everyone was aware of his existence. Even the wicked knew he was there, they simply sinned against him because they were inclined to do so. In a more non-literal reading, God essentially started very locally in revealing himself and gradually moved outward over the course of history.

Good catch. I hadn't thought of that.

BrckBrln
Jun 11th 2010, 02:59 AM
In a more literalistic reading, God starts out as revealing himself universally to mankind, and allowing knowledge of him to diminish drastically, even though everyone was aware of his existence. Even the wicked knew he was there, they simply sinned against him because they were inclined to do so. In a more non-literal reading, God essentially started very locally in revealing himself and gradually moved outward over the course of history.

That's a very, very good point.

Sirus
Jun 11th 2010, 05:09 AM
What about on the level of "spiritual learning"? Some (such as myself) might say that a different reading of the text yields a different understanding of how Scripture works, and how God reveals his plans through Scripture?
In a more literalistic reading, God starts out as revealing himself universally to mankind, and allowing knowledge of him to diminish drastically, even though everyone was aware of his existence. Even the wicked knew he was there, they simply sinned against him because they were inclined to do so. In a more non-literal reading, God essentially started very locally in revealing himself and gradually moved outward over the course of history.Where'd you get your conclusion of the 'more literalistic reading'? Doesn't sound literal to me at all. In fact your non-literal reading I consider literal.

Jeffinator
Jun 11th 2010, 05:56 AM
Literal...but not in a textbook sense, rather God said "this is what happened" and the author does his best to explain it the way he saw it

AndrewBaptistFL
Jun 11th 2010, 11:02 AM
I voted historical. I view the entire Bible to mean exactly as it says. Just my view.

markedward
Jun 11th 2010, 05:28 PM
I view the entire Bible to mean exactly as it says.Not only is this incredibly subjective, but also I guarantee that you don't hold to this rule consistently.

Isaiah 19 describes God as riding on clouds to come to Egypt to destroy it. The very idols "tremble" at God's arrival. The hearts of the Egyptians melt in their chests. "Exactly as it says", God rode on a cloud to Egypt, the idols were alive (how else can they tremble in fear if they are not alive), and God melts the Egyptians' internal organs simply by showing up in their country. So, "exactly as it says", or not?

John146
Jun 11th 2010, 05:43 PM
How many of you hold to the "historical" belief of Genesis, and how many to the "allegorical" belief, and how many to whatever a third (or more) option might be?

In the last several months I have been studying, and re-examining my beliefs on the opening chapters of Genesis, and coming out the other end of the tunnel with vastly different beliefs than I held before. Namely, I find myself moving toward the conclusion that the opening chapters of Genesis are depicting something more allegorical (i.e. non-literal), rather than actual history.

(For those who would try to pin it on me, my shift in beliefs has absolutely nothing to do with the evolution debate. Any chances in my beliefs have come strictly from examining the text at hand. As such, if you oppose the allegorical interpretation of Genesis' opening chapters, don't try to throw that down at me, because it's entirely irrelevant as far as I care.)

Hopefully, this thread can serve as a healthy, edifying discussion between the various interpretations. No wild accusations, no slandering, no hate.

Voting results are private.When you refer to the opening chapters of Genesis as being allegorical does that mean you are saying you believe Adam and Eve were not real people or that you don't believe the flood of Noah's day actually occurred?

markedward
Jun 11th 2010, 05:47 PM
I am heavily leaning to the idea that Adam and Eve were not individuals as we commonly think of them, but more so ideas, concepts, symbols (or whatever term best fits) in a message that speaks louder through narrative than through plain speech.

For example, though I believe God created all things instantly, we really wouldn't learn much if Genesis 1 consisted entirely of "God created all things. Now, moving on..." Rather, though I take the six-day creation account to be non-literal, the message it conveys becomes much clearer for me by (a) reading it in the context of the world of the ancient Israelites, and (b) what it means about God to have created the world the way he did. The meaning I draw out of it is (a) one all-powerful God created all things alone without effort (directly contradicting the feeble polytheistic worldview surrounding Israel), and (b) God created things with order and structure and purpose (directly contradicting the rather arbitrary and directionless existence of creation in the views of the surrounding cultures, where the gods can't get along, let alone handle human existence properly).

I haven't moved on to studying the flood in-depth yet, but I have noticed interesting parallels between the people (not the events) of chapter 4 and chapter 5 that I think at least raises some questions to the historical reading.

Redeemed by Grace
Jun 11th 2010, 06:07 PM
I am heavily leaning to the idea that Adam and Eve were not individuals as we commonly think of them, but more so ideas, concepts, symbols (or whatever term best fits) in a message that speaks louder through narrative than through plain speech.

For example, though I believe God created all things instantly, we really wouldn't learn much if Genesis 1 consisted entirely of "God created all things. Now, moving on..." Rather, though I take the six-day creation account to be non-literal, the message it conveys becomes much clearer for me by (a) reading it in the context of the world of the ancient Israelites, and (b) what it means about God to have created the world the way he did. The meaning I draw out of it is (a) one all-powerful God created all things alone without effort (directly contradicting the feeble polytheistic worldview surrounding Israel), and (b) God created things with order and structure and purpose (directly contradicting the rather arbitrary and directionless existence of creation in the views of the surrounding cultures, where the gods can't get along, let alone handle human existence properly).

I haven't moved on to studying the flood in-depth yet, but I have noticed interesting parallels between the people (not the events) of chapter 4 and chapter 5 that I think at least raises some questions to the historical reading.

Please tell me that you are not a Pastor or a Sunday School teacher.

John146
Jun 11th 2010, 06:24 PM
I am heavily leaning to the idea that Adam and Eve were not individuals as we commonly think of them, but more so ideas, concepts, symbols (or whatever term best fits) in a message that speaks louder through narrative than through plain speech.If that was the case then how do you explain scripture like this:

Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

If Adam was not a real person and just a symbol than do you also think Moses was not a real person?

1 Cor 15
22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

Obviously, Christ is a real person. Why woudn't Adam be a real person? How would this passage make much sense if Adam was not a real person?

1 Cor 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

Was there not a real person named Adam who was made a living soul? If so then was their not a real person who Paul calls the last Adam (Jesus) who was made a quickening spirit?

Jude 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

If Adam was not a real person how could Enoch have descended from him? Was Enoch also not a real person?


I haven't moved on to studying the flood in-depth yet, but I have noticed interesting parallels between the people (not the events) of chapter 4 and chapter 5 that I think at least raises some questions to the historical reading.Here's something to keep in mind when you study the flood. The NT treats it as an actual event.

Luke 17
26And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

If Noah was not a real person and/or the flood did not occur then it seems that we would also have to conclude that Lot was not a real person and Sodom did not really exist. But archeologists have strong evidence that Sodom and Gomorrah did exist so I don't think there's much room for thinking that they didn't.

Then there's this:

2 Peter 3
5For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

There is no indication here at all that the mention of the "world that then was, being overflowed with water" and perishing did not really happen. If we concluded that then perhaps we could also conclude that "the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire" will also not really happen, but I wouldn't buy that for a second.

markedward
Jun 11th 2010, 07:14 PM
If Adam was not a real person and just a symbol than do you also think Moses was not a real person?For the purpose of Scripture, Adam is treated as the "original" man. That doesn't necessitate that he literally was, or even that the Israelites believed he literally was. I also believe Job is a non-literal individual, yet Ezekiel uses him as an example of patience. If Adam is representative of early humanity (whether a specific individual or many people), the passage isn't nonsensical. Death reigned from the beginning of humanity, when mankind first sinned, on till Moses.


Obviously, Christ is a real person. Why woudn't Adam be a real person? How would this passage make much sense if Adam was not a real person?Paul refers to being "in" Adam and being "in" Christ. If being "in" Adam means being descended from him, why doesn't being "in" Christ mean being descended from Christ. There's clearly a non-biological depiction of Adam being made here. Adam here isn't representing an individual, he's representing "humanity" as a whole. If you are "in Adam" (i.e. naturally sinful mankind), then you are lost. If you are "in Christ" (i.e. you have faith in Jesus, the Son of God), then you are saved. Being "in Adam" doesn't denote being a biological descendant of an individual named Adam anymore than "in Christ" denotes being a biological descendant of Jesus Christ.


Was there not a real person named Adam who was made a living soul? If so then was their not a real person who Paul calls the last Adam (Jesus) who was made a quickening spirit?Obviously, Jesus wasn't the literal "last man" or "last Adam", and demanding that he was makes little sense. Within the context of the discourse, Paul is summing up two alternatives: being lost "in Adam" and being saved "in Christ". Adam is representing fallen humanity, and Christ representing the salvation humanity needs.


If Adam was not a real person how could Enoch have descended from him? Was Enoch also not a real person?He's numbering him according to where Genesis 5 and 1 Chronicles 1 place him. And Enoch very well could have been a historical individual. Like I said before, I lean toward the idea of the non-literal reading. That doesn't mean I see it as having an entirely ahistorical basis.


If Noah was not a real person and/or the flood did not occur then it seems that we would also have to conclude that Lot was not a real person and Sodom did not really exist.One doesn't necessitate the other. Ezekiel refers to Noah, Job, and Daniel in a single sentence. Daniel I take to be a real, historical individual, but Job I do not. I don't see it as problematic, because regardless of historicity, the three (Noah, Job, Daniel) each convey the message of patience. Does Job display patience less if he is not historical? No, we're left with the same message. In the same way, whether the flood was worldwide, local to the middle-east, or an allegory, it still contains the same driving message, and hence Jesus' comparison of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD to both the flood and the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah does not necessitate that the flood must be historical.

markedward
Jun 11th 2010, 07:16 PM
Please tell me that you are not a Pastor or a Sunday School teacher.Read the OP again:


Hopefully, this thread can serve as a healthy, edifying discussion between the various interpretations.Your post here does nothing to lend to edifying discussion. All it presents is an unwillingness to converse openly on a subject. If you have nothing of value to contribute to the discussion, especially if what you have to say is merely derogatory, please do not post. Unlike some, I'm not afraid to discuss any and every topic brought before me, regardless of how well "established" one interpretation may be.

John146
Jun 11th 2010, 07:29 PM
For the purpose of Scripture, Adam is treated as the "original" man. That doesn't necessitate that he literally was, or even that the Israelites believed he literally was. I also believe Job is a non-literal individual, yet Ezekiel uses him as an example of patience. If Adam is representative of early humanity (whether a specific individual or many people), the passage isn't nonsensical. Death reigned from the beginning of humanity, when mankind first sinned, on till Moses.I don't buy this. Either both Adam and Moses were real people or they both weren't. That's the only way "from Adam to Moses" can make any sense.


Paul refers to being "in" Adam and being "in" Christ. If being "in" Adam means being descended from him, why doesn't being "in" Christ mean being descended from Christ. There's clearly a non-biological depiction of Adam being made here. Adam here isn't representing an individual, he's representing "humanity" as a whole. If you are "in Adam" (i.e. naturally sinful mankind), then you are lost. If you are "in Christ" (i.e. you have faith in Jesus, the Son of God), then you are saved. Being "in Adam" doesn't denote being a biological descendant of an individual named Adam anymore than "in Christ" denotes being a biological descendant of Jesus Christ.I'm not buying this, either. Just as Christ is a real person so was Adam. Paul was not comparing a fictional person to a real person.


Obviously, Jesus wasn't the literal "last man" or "last Adam", and demanding that he was makes little sense. Within the context of the discourse, Paul is summing up two alternatives: being lost "in Adam" and being saved "in Christ". Adam is representing fallen humanity, and Christ representing the salvation humanity needs.Since Christ is obviously a real person I see no basis for not also seeing Adam as a real person.


He's numbering him according to where Genesis 5 and 1 Chronicles 1 place him.What does that mean, though? The text shows Enoch to have descended from Adam. So, either they were both real people or both were fictional.


And Enoch very well could have been a historical individual.If he was then Adam had to be as well because real people don't descend from fictional people.


One doesn't necessitate the other. Ezekiel refers to Noah, Job, and Daniel in a single sentence. Daniel I take to be a real, historical individual, but Job I do not. I don't see it as problematic, because regardless of historicity, the three (Noah, Job, Daniel) each convey the message of patience. Does Job display patience less if he is not historical? No, we're left with the same message. In the same way, whether the flood was worldwide, local to the middle-east, or an allegory, it still contains the same driving message, and hence Jesus' comparison of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD to both the flood and the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah does not necessitate that the flood must be historical.For one thing He didn't compare the destruction of 70 AD to the flood. Notice He said the flood "destroyed them all". Was everyone in Jerusalem destroyed in 70 AD? No. Many were, but some were led away captive (and alive) to other nations (Luke 21:24). He was comparing the flood to the day He returns and is revealed in the future. Regardless of that, though, why would He have compared His coming to one real event and one fictional event? I don't believe that makes any sense.

As for your contention that how someone looks at this doesn't make a difference to the message, I don't look at it that way at all. As soon as we start allowing for Adam and Eve, Noah, Job, the flood and who knows what else to be fictional where does this end? Perhaps the entire Bible is fictional? Perhaps God did not really create the heavens and the earth? This is not the kind of thing that we want to present to unbelievers.

I have to be very honest with you here. I don't mean this to offend. This is reminding me of when you decided to believe in full preterism. That's just how I see it. I think as you study this you will find that this view cannot hold up to scrutiny just as you found that full preterism cannot hold up to scrutiny.

Slug1
Jun 11th 2010, 07:43 PM
For the purpose of Scripture, Adam is treated as the "original" man. That doesn't necessitate that he literally was, or even that the Israelites believed he literally was. I also believe Job is a non-literal individual, yet Ezekiel uses him as an example of patience. If Adam is representative of early humanity (whether a specific individual or many people), the passage isn't nonsensical. Death reigned from the beginning of humanity, when mankind first sinned, on till Moses.So, if I read your post here correctly... you're saying what we read about these men was made up?

Then why do they minister on a spiritual level as God uses the scripture about Adam and Job to help people?

If I make up a testimony that is untrue, how is God gonna use my "tale" to help others?

Those two are real people, or all the "help" Christians receive from this scripture that is all about them, would only be on a level that is either emotional or logical. But it helps on a spiritual level. Can't be spiritual if it's "just" a story that was made up.

They are very real.

Why would the Holy Spirit inspire fake people to minister to Christians as they read about them?

Jeffinator
Jun 11th 2010, 07:45 PM
Not only is this incredibly subjective, but also I guarantee that you don't hold to this rule consistently.

Isaiah 19 describes God as riding on clouds to come to Egypt to destroy it. The very idols "tremble" at God's arrival. The hearts of the Egyptians melt in their chests. "Exactly as it says", God rode on a cloud to Egypt, the idols were alive (how else can they tremble in fear if they are not alive), and God melts the Egyptians' internal organs simply by showing up in their country. So, "exactly as it says", or not?


Those are figures of speech, you can not compare that to the entire first book of the Bible. If I tell the story the civil war but use phrases like "and most people had their heart in their throats because of the fear that ran through the nation and the very ground trembled on which the soldiers walked on", this does not mean that the civil war didnt occur because I used exagerations or figures of speech.

markedward
Jun 11th 2010, 07:52 PM
I don't buy this.Am I the only person who just really hates it when people use this phrase? I dunno, I just think people sound more rude when they use it; I'm not asking or telling you to "buy" anything. You asked me a question, and I politely answered. But then you pull out the "I don't buy it" phrase, as if trying to depict me as an overbearing profiteer trying to shove my way in through the front door to forcibly sell you something. But I digress.


Either both Adam and Moses were real people or they both weren't.Then, at least for the sake of consistency, do you take Job to be as historical as Noah and Daniel? I'm not saying you do or don't, I'm genuinely curious, because I know that many Christians believe Adam to be historical yet have no problem with believing Job to be ahistorical.


That's the only way "from Adam to Moses" can make any sense.People say the same thing about lots of passages of which there are many ways to interpret them. For example. The "only way" Matthew 24.29-31 "can make any sense" is if Jesus is referring to his Second Coming, when the universe falls apart and the world comes to an end. The "only way" Joshua 5.15 "can make any sense" is if the "man" is the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ.


Paul was not comparing a fictional person to a real person.At the least, let's make it clear that "fictional person" was your description of Adam... not mine. I described Adam as being the individual representative of early humanity as a whole. Nowhere did I call him "fictional", but rather, "symbolic" or "representative".


For one thing He didn't compare the destruction of 70 AD to the flood.And here's another example of what I said before. For you, there is only one interpretation that this passage "can make any sense"... yet I (and many others) interpret it very differently, and it still makes perfect sense to me.


Perhaps the entire Bible is fictional?I never said as much, so don't try to push this on me.


Perhaps God did not really create the heavens and the earth?And now you're simply trying to be antagonistic. I know you read this post (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php/211029-Opening-chapters-of-Genesis?p=2428614#post2428614), yet for the sake of argument you're intentionally ignoring it in order to justify your claim that I'm advocating (or at least allowing) the belief that "God did not really create the heavens and the earth".


This is not the kind of thing that we want to present to unbelievers.Where did I say it was? You are quickly leaping back from my request in the OP: "healthy, edifying discussion between the various interpretations". Rather than being respectful and edifying, you're putting words in my mouth (claiming I believe Adam was a "fictional person"), and heavily implying that I believe "the entire Bible is fictional" and that "God did not really create the heavens and the earth".

If you cannot remain respectful to my request in the OP, please don't take part in the discussion. Is that really so hard to remain edifying and polite and respectable, rather than accusative and demeaning?

markedward
Jun 11th 2010, 07:56 PM
Those are figures of speech, you can not compare that to the entire first book of the Bible.Although my post was directed at someone else, and I await his response, this merely lends to my point: The Bible doesn't always mean "exactly as it says". Different passages and even different verses or phrases can be and should be interpreted differently than other passages or verses. The individual I was responding to clearly said he interprets the Bible "exactly as it says", but this type of rule can only lead to problems, whether being inconsistent to the rule itself, or damaging to properly interpreting various parts of Scripture.

Slug1
Jun 11th 2010, 08:05 PM
Why would the Holy Spirit inspire fake people to minister to Christians as they read about them?Mark, here let me ask this as well...

James 5:11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

What "value" can this scripture have for a Christian if they feel Job was "made up"?

What's the point of Job's perseverance if they feel Job didn't really exist. The scripture would be useless for them. The Holy Spirit would not be able to minister to them on a spiritual level.

Do you see what I mean?

Jeffinator
Jun 11th 2010, 08:10 PM
Although my post was directed at someone else, and I await his response, this merely lends to my point: The Bible doesn't always mean "exactly as it says". Different passages and even different verses or phrases can be and should be interpreted differently than other passages or verses. The individual I was responding to clearly said he interprets the Bible "exactly as it says", but this type of rule can only lead to problems, whether being inconsistent to the rule itself, or damaging to properly interpreting various parts of Scripture.

Not that I can speak on his behalf, but I think he was trying to get at the point that the Bible was written with the intention that the reader would use common sense. If a teenager who never picked up a Bible before were to read it, they would most likely take the events of Genesis as meant to be read as literal and know that verses like "and their hearts will melt" are figures of speech.

markedward
Jun 11th 2010, 08:25 PM
The scripture would be useless for them.How is the book of Job "useless" simply because it may be ahistorical? You might as well say the same thing about every parable Christ ever told. After all, since they're "made up", they can't possibly have any value, right? Nothing to learn from the lost sheep, nothing to learn from the Samaritan, nothing to learn from the unrighteous steward, etc.

We know that isn't true of Christ's ahistorical lesson-stories, so how can you possibly claim the book of Job would be "useless" simply because it might be an ahistorical lesson-story?


The Holy Spirit would not be able to minister to them on a spiritual level.Doesn't this go against the oft-repeated manifesto of "Don't limit the Holy Spirit", especially since the usage of Scripture (something given by the Holy Spirit) is the context?

Slug1
Jun 11th 2010, 08:35 PM
How is the book of Job "useless" simply because it may be ahistorical? You might as well say the same thing about every parable Christ ever told. After all, since they're "made up", they can't possibly have any value, right? Nothing to learn from the lost sheep, nothing to learn from the Samaritan, nothing to learn from the unrighteous steward, etc.

We know that isn't true of Christ's ahistorical lesson-stories, so how can you possibly claim the book of Job would be "useless" simply because it might be an ahistorical lesson-story?

Doesn't this go against the oft-repeated manifesto of "Don't limit the Holy Spirit", especially since the usage of Scripture (something given by the Holy Spirit) is the context?Christ uses parables to give Christians meaning and understanding to His words. It's His words that minister and heal us of our hurts, that has power in the life of a Christian... the parables assist as they help us understand His words.

There is no parables concerning Job and the scripture's about Job so we are ministered by them straight up. So if a Christian feels Job was fake, and there is no parable to help them understand... how is the story of Job (his testimony) gonna be helpful to them?

teddyv
Jun 11th 2010, 08:47 PM
Christ uses parables to give Christians meaning and understanding to His words. It's His words that minister and heal us of our hurts, that has power in the life of a Christian... the parables assist as they help us understand His words.

There is no parables concerning Job and the scripture's about Job so we are ministered by them straight up. So if a Christian feels Job was fake, and there is no parable to help them understand... how is the story of Job (his testimony) gonna be helpful to them?

The story of Job imparts God's truth, regardless of whether or not it is a factual account.

divaD
Jun 11th 2010, 08:50 PM
I've skimmed thru this thread, and I have to agree with John146 overall. Like he mentioned, where does it end if Adam wasn't a real person, etc. But let's go with that for a moment...Adam wasn't a real person, or perhaps he represented many people. Let's take the latter for now, Adam represented many people.


Genesis 3:9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?


What I'm wondering, why so many "I"s , "him"s, etc in this passage. Shouldn't the passage read something like this instead?


Genesis 3:9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto THEM, Where art thou?
10 And THEY said, WE heard thy voice in the garden, and WE WERE afraid, because WE WERE naked; and WE hid OURSELVES.
11 And he said, Who told thee ALL that thou wast naked? Hast thou ALL eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee ALL that thou shouldest not eat?


Clearly, that doesn't make sense...at least not to me anyway. But for the fun of it, let's take the former...Adam wasn't a real person. Who exactly was God conversing with then, and who exactly did God create, if Adam wasn't a real person? How can a non literal person have lived 130 yrs when Seth was born? And finally, how can a non literal person both live and die, and produce children on top of that?

The same thing with Job, since I noticed he was brought up also,

Job 42:17 So Job died, being old and full of days.

How can a non literal person die? Why do non literal people need to die in the first place? What's the point in that? And the biggest question of all...how did the world become so populated over time, via non literal people? I'd like to hear someone explain that.

teddyv
Jun 11th 2010, 08:55 PM
The same thing with Job, since I noticed he was brought up also,

Job 42:17 So Job died, being old and full of days.

How can a non literal person die? Why do non literal people need to die in the first place? What's the point in that? Almost every fictional book I have read has had a character die, sometimes the protagonist.


And the biggest question of all...how did the world become so populated over time, via non literal people? I'd like to hear someone explain that.
Lots of sex?

divaD
Jun 11th 2010, 09:14 PM
Almost every fictional book I have read has had a character die, sometimes the protagonist.




Take note what you just stated here. Surely you're not implying the Bible is fictional, right? I think you're missing my point, if you can't see why Adam being a non-literal person, that the idea is absurd. Even if Adam represented many people, then exactly which one of them fathered Seth for example? And which one of them died when he was 930 years? Sometimes I want to kick myself because I'm not college material or anything like that, just simple minded I guess. But the more I think about it, perhaps I'm blessed and don't even realize it. Perhaps keeping things simple, and sticking to the text is not such a bad thing afterall. And yes, I know parables were used throughout the Bible, and that parables are basically non fiction making literal points, etc, but I seriously doubt that the story of Adam, and even Job, fits the description of a parable. Perhaps there are parables contained within those accounts, but the accounts themselves would still be literal.

teddyv
Jun 11th 2010, 09:34 PM
Take note what you just stated here. Surely you're not implying the Bible is fictional, right?
I am not implying the Biblical account is fictional since I believe it is God's words given to man. The Bible tells us about God, his relationship to his creation, his plan of redemption of creation, and so on. These truths can be imparted through various means - poetic, historic, legal writings. And truth does not equal fact.


I think you're missing my point, if you can't see why Adam being a non-literal person, that the idea is absurd. Even if Adam represented many people, then exactly which one of them fathered Seth for example? And which one of them died when he was 930 years? I've read several explanations of how Adam can be non-literal representative of humanity (that I could not restate here to do any justification of the argument) and still be easily accomodated into the scriptural story. Maybe he was a specific individual as well. I don't know the absolute answer to that.


Sometimes I want to kick myself because I'm not college material or anything like that, just simple minded I guess. But the more I think about it, perhaps I'm blessed and don't even realize it. Perhaps keeping things simple, and sticking to the text is not such a bad thing afterall. And yes, I know parables were used throughout the Bible, and that parables are basically non fiction making literal points, etc, but I seriously doubt that the story of Adam, and even Job, fits the description of a parable. Perhaps there are parables contained within those accounts, but the accounts themselves would still be literal.
Don't kick yourself. Not all of us are called to do the same things.

As mentioned in the Job thread elsewhere in Bible Chat, many Biblical scholars see the Book of Job as a theodicy, not a parable, and I find the arguments for that to be quite compelling. I think we also need to be aware of the way literature was handled by people of the Ancient Near East is much different than how we handle it.

newinchrist4now
Jun 11th 2010, 09:59 PM
I voted literal. It just seems to me that sometimes modern man think they know better because they are modern.

markedward
Jun 11th 2010, 11:17 PM
So if a Christian feels Job was fake, and there is no parable to help them understand... how is the story of Job (his testimony) gonna be helpful to them?How is it not going to help them? How is the book of Job useless simply because it may be an ahistorical story? How is the keyword here, because you've made the assertion that the book of Job is "useless" if it's ahistorical ("fake" in your terms, though that carries such a negative connotation) and that the Holy Spirit "would not be able to minister" to people through it, but you haven't said anything to support this assertion.

Let's use a wholly different example. The movie Ratatouille, by Disney-Pixar. It's an animated film about a rat that becomes a master chef. For most people, it's simply an entertaining story. For others, however, it provides a lesson on overcoming obstacles, particularly the common obstacle that you can achieve great things regardless of your social origins. Although in the real world it's absurd for a rat to become a master chef, the message of the movie is given several times: "Anyone can cook", or rather, "A great cook can come from anyone". It doesn't matter if you're a street bum or the son of a rich elitist, you both have the same chances to become a master chef if you choose to do so. And that overarching point can and probably has inspired people despite the fact that the movie is a fictional story about a rat in Paris.

And that all about becoming a chef, or more generally, achieving great goals you've set for yourself. People can be inspired by fiction, and non-God-breathed fiction at that.

I am not placing Ratatouille on the same level as Scripture, but the point remains: If people can inspire themselves with non-Scriptural fictional stories, and God can inspire people with non-Scriptural fictional stories, how is the book of Job "useless" (your word) if the story it tells is ahistorical? How is the Holy Spirit "not able to minister" (your words) someone with the story of Job, a man who persevered against blaspheming God and remained patient and righteous in God's name, just because the story may be just a story?

The lessons of the story remain pure and God-breathed, regardless of the events' historicity.

And likewise in taking this back to Genesis (as per the thread topic). Genesis 1's message remains pure regardless of whether it is historical or not: God created all things, he created all things by himself, he created all things without effort, he created all things with care and precision, he created all things with order and structure, he created all things with purpose and meaning. Genesis 2's message remains pure regardless of its historicity: God created man because he loved him, God created man to represent him to the earth, God created man because he is involved in his creation, God created man good and sinless. Genesis 3's message remains pure regardless of historicity: mankind was tempted into sin by Satan, mankind indeed sinned against God, mankind became inherently sinful, man and God's relationship was broken, and man needs an outside remedy for his inherent sinfulness in order to restore his relationship with God.

markedward
Jun 11th 2010, 11:24 PM
Just to put this forth... Many Christians already interpret part of Genesis 3 allegorically without even realizing it: The serpent. Almost every Christian recognizes the serpent as representing Satan, and (at least in my own experience, though I cannot speak for Christians as a whole) many Christians I know who interpret Adam as literal still interpret the serpent as being Satan (as opposed to a literal serpent). When it comes to "the serpent" they find a way to explain why it's not a serpent. When it comes to "beasts of the field" they find a way to explain it as allegorical. When it comes to "eating dust" they find a way to explain it as not literal dust. When it comes to the serpent's head being "crushed" they find a way to explain how this refers to the cross.

Obviously, not all Christians do. There are many who do think it was a literal serpent, who probably had legs that disappeared when it was cursed to crawl in the dust, and that Satan merely inhabited it... or something along those lines.

But still, there are many, many Christians who interpret the serpent as allegorical. So the question is not whether or not allegorical is in the opening chapters of Genesis, but to what extent is there allegory in them? I feel that I have been led to the belief that there is more allegory in it than most Christians today suppose.

newinchrist4now
Jun 11th 2010, 11:31 PM
Obviously, not all Christians do.

I would say I am one that does not take the serpent as allegory, myself or the others you mentioned.

Redeemed by Grace
Jun 11th 2010, 11:41 PM
How many of you hold to the "historical" belief of Genesis, and how many to the "allegorical" belief, and how many to whatever a third (or more) option might be?

In the last several months I have been studying, and re-examining my beliefs on the opening chapters of Genesis, and coming out the other end of the tunnel with vastly different beliefs than I held before. Namely, I find myself moving toward the conclusion that the opening chapters of Genesis are depicting something more allegorical (i.e. non-literal), rather than actual history.

(For those who would try to pin it on me, my shift in beliefs has absolutely nothing to do with the evolution debate. Any chances in my beliefs have come strictly from examining the text at hand. As such, if you oppose the allegorical interpretation of Genesis' opening chapters, don't try to throw that down at me, because it's entirely irrelevant as far as I care.)

Hopefully, this thread can serve as a healthy, edifying discussion between the various interpretations. No wild accusations, no slandering, no hate.

Voting results are private.


I Read it Again... Sooooo I'm not slandering you, I'm not hating you. I'm asking you a question... Are you a pastor or a Sunday school teacher?

You are asking folks to consider a 'new found understanding' that Adam and Eve were not the first man or woman created, this is a major doctrinal shift that is not accepted by either protestant or catholic faiths... and as far as I am concerned if published within the Bible Chat needs to be challenged. I'm just surprised that other can't discern the need to drop the flag.

And then you also state you don't want to hear about any challenges.. Well sorry my friend, I'd hate to see you believe an error... It be like witnessing an accident and I don't get involved and call for help and then go over and assist those who are hurt - gotta help...


Read the OP again:

Your post here does nothing to lend to edifying discussion. All it presents is an unwillingness to converse openly on a subject. If you have nothing of value to contribute to the discussion, especially if what you have to say is merely derogatory, please do not post. Unlike some, I'm not afraid to discuss any and every topic brought before me, regardless of how well "established" one interpretation may be.

Sorry, but if you are presenting teachings that Adam and Eve were not the 1st man and women created by God, that the first few chapters of Genesis are to be taken as allegory, and that there is potential that the flood might be of the same thought process, then I and all others who name the name of Christ need to question your doctrines and offer corrections to the errors, as patterned by Paul's instruction to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4.

You may want an easy thread, but when it contradicts sound doctrines, it must be identified and addressed, so I'm asking again...are you a pastor or teacher?

In a round about way you are asking for validation but rejecting any rebuttal, so you seem to just want folks to just agree with you.


Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

Edification will come if merited. But correction 1st...

divaD
Jun 11th 2010, 11:48 PM
Just to put this forth... Many Christians already interpret part of Genesis 3 allegorically without even realizing it: The serpent. Almost every Christian recognizes the serpent as representing Satan, and (at least in my own experience, though I cannot speak for Christians as a whole) many Christians I know who interpret Adam as literal still interpret the serpent as being Satan (as opposed to a literal serpent). When it comes to "the serpent" they find a way to explain why it's not a serpent. When it comes to "beasts of the field" they find a way to explain it as allegorical. When it comes to "eating dust" they find a way to explain it as not literal dust. When it comes to the serpent's head being "crushed" they find a way to explain how this refers to the cross.

Obviously, not all Christians do. There are many who do think it was a literal serpent, who probably had legs that disappeared when it was cursed to crawl in the dust, and that Satan merely inhabited it... or something along those lines.

But still, there are many, many Christians who interpret the serpent as allegorical. So the question is not whether or not allegorical is in the opening chapters of Genesis, but to what extent is there allegory in them? I feel that I have been led to the belief that there is more allegory in it than most Christians today suppose.



This post makes some very good points. I personally tend to agree with you on all points. Not to argue, but if the serpent is an allegory, which I believe it to be, does that have to automatically make Adam allegorical also? What about the LORD God? Isn't He included in the story? Should we interpret Him allegorically also, since we interpret the serpent that way? Now, if the LORD God can be interpreted literally, then why can't Adam be also?

HisLeast
Jun 11th 2010, 11:52 PM
In a round about way you are asking for validation but rejecting any rebuttal, so you seem to just want folks to just agree with you.

If there's anything about markedward I've learned in my time on the board, its that this description is wholely unfit for him. You'd be hard pressed to find a single member on this board more open to actual correction via proper instruction.

But lately "actual correction via proper instructoin" is wanting... if it ever existed. At any rate, your hope is validated: he's not a pastor or a teacher, so houray for you. But at least he'll laborously ponder any inquiry. He's one of only a handfull of Christians I know that will do so (counting on ONE hand).

inn
Jun 11th 2010, 11:52 PM
How many of you hold to the "historical" belief of Genesis, and how many to the "allegorical" belief, and how many to whatever a third (or more) option might be?

In the last several months I have been studying, and re-examining my beliefs on the opening chapters of Genesis, and coming out the other end of the tunnel with vastly different beliefs than I held before. Namely, I find myself moving toward the conclusion that the opening chapters of Genesis are depicting something more allegorical (i.e. non-literal), rather than actual history.

(For those who would try to pin it on me, my shift in beliefs has absolutely nothing to do with the evolution debate. Any chances in my beliefs have come strictly from examining the text at hand. As such, if you oppose the allegorical interpretation of Genesis' opening chapters, don't try to throw that down at me, because it's entirely irrelevant as far as I care.)

Hopefully, this thread can serve as a healthy, edifying discussion between the various interpretations. No wild accusations, no slandering, no hate.

Voting results are private.

It happened just as He said it did!

HisLeast
Jun 11th 2010, 11:56 PM
It happened just as He said it did!

Nobody is disputing that. What is being asked is whether the way "He said it did" was literal or allegorical.

Jeffinator
Jun 12th 2010, 12:15 AM
Just to put this forth... Many Christians already interpret part of Genesis 3 allegorically without even realizing it: The serpent. Almost every Christian recognizes the serpent as representing Satan, and (at least in my own experience, though I cannot speak for Christians as a whole) many Christians I know who interpret Adam as literal still interpret the serpent as being Satan (as opposed to a literal serpent). When it comes to "the serpent" they find a way to explain why it's not a serpent. When it comes to "beasts of the field" they find a way to explain it as allegorical. When it comes to "eating dust" they find a way to explain it as not literal dust. When it comes to the serpent's head being "crushed" they find a way to explain how this refers to the cross.

Obviously, not all Christians do. There are many who do think it was a literal serpent, who probably had legs that disappeared when it was cursed to crawl in the dust, and that Satan merely inhabited it... or something along those lines.

But still, there are many, many Christians who interpret the serpent as allegorical. So the question is not whether or not allegorical is in the opening chapters of Genesis, but to what extent is there allegory in them? I feel that I have been led to the belief that there is more allegory in it than most Christians today suppose.

Its not that the serpent necessarily and allegorically represented Satan, but maybe that Satan took the form of a Serpent? Which is literal :D

Quickened
Jun 12th 2010, 12:22 AM
By considering Adam as non literal then wouldn't we take the imputation of sin through disobedience as non literal aswell? That's an honest question.

Sin exists because of the transgression in the garden. The death and destruction brought by this sin exists because of this. If the transgression is non literal then where would we exactly aquire a sin nature and therefore a need for a savior?

Second question i have... When a figure in the bible refers to the account of Adam in a literal sense are they mistaken? (ie: the geneology in Luke 3:23, Paul's reference in Romans 5:12, First letter to the Corinthians, the reference in Titus, etc). Surely these individuals in NT times would have had that knowledge that it was allegorical and refered to it as such. But instead they refer to it as an actual event.

John146
Jun 12th 2010, 12:25 AM
Am I the only person who just really hates it when people use this phrase? I dunno, I just think people sound more rude when they use it; I'm not asking or telling you to "buy" anything. You asked me a question, and I politely answered. But then you pull out the "I don't buy it" phrase, as if trying to depict me as an overbearing profiteer trying to shove my way in through the front door to forcibly sell you something. But I digress.I meant no offense. We all have certain phrases and sayings that we don't like, but that doesn't mean when people use them they are intending to be offensive. I won't use it again when directing comments towards you.


Then, at least for the sake of consistency, do you take Job to be as historical as Noah and Daniel?Absolutely.


I'm not saying you do or don't, I'm genuinely curious, because I know that many Christians believe Adam to be historical yet have no problem with believing Job to be ahistorical.I have no idea why that is the case.


At the least, let's make it clear that "fictional person" was your description of Adam... not mine.You said, after speaking of Adam "I also believe Job is a non-literal individual". Maybe you're just not aware, but you gave the impression that you didn't beileve Adam was a real person. So, to be clear, you believe Adam was a real person but just not the first man created or not the only man God created (who wasn't born)?


I described Adam as being the individual representative of early humanity as a whole. Nowhere did I call him "fictional", but rather, "symbolic" or "representative".Where does scripture itself teach that?


And now you're simply trying to be antagonistic.No, I'm just trying to illustrate where I believe this line of thinking can lead. I think you're being a bit overly sensitive here.


I know you read this post (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php/211029-Opening-chapters-of-Genesis?p=2428614#post2428614), yet for the sake of argument you're intentionally ignoring it in order to justify your claim that I'm advocating (or at least allowing) the belief that "God did not really create the heavens and the earth".How do you know what I'm thinking? You don't. I was not saying you did not believe God created the heavens and the earth, I'm saying if you continue down this road you've chosen you might end up believing something like that because of how you're reading Genesis.


Where did I say it was? You are quickly leaping back from my request in the OP: "healthy, edifying discussion between the various interpretations". Rather than being respectful and edifying, you're putting words in my mouth (claiming I believe Adam was a "fictional person"), and heavily implying that I believe "the entire Bible is fictional" and that "God did not really create the heavens and the earth".I wasn't implying that at all, I'm merely showing what I see as the danger of reading Genesis the way you have decided to do.


If you cannot remain respectful to my request in the OP, please don't take part in the discussion. Is that really so hard to remain edifying and polite and respectable, rather than accusative and demeaning?It's not hard at all. I think you're blowing things out of proportion. But, look, I apologize that I offended you. I truly did not mean to do that.

John146
Jun 12th 2010, 12:43 AM
Mark, here let me ask this as well...

James 5:11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

What "value" can this scripture have for a Christian if they feel Job was "made up"?

What's the point of Job's perseverance if they feel Job didn't really exist. The scripture would be useless for them. The Holy Spirit would not be able to minister to them on a spiritual level.

Do you see what I mean?I strongly agree with you here. You make an excellent point. If it was somehow proven that Job was a fictional character then, frankly, the story of Job would not mean very much to me. I draw a lot of inspiration from that book regarding the need to persevere under adversity and how Job kept his faith despite all that happened to him, but if he wasn't real that would not be the case. And the way the text reads does not at all give the impression that he was not a real person.

The problem with thinking Job was fictional is that someone might also think that Satan is fictional since it speaks of Satan having an impact on Job's life. I just don't like where it can lead if we start thinking different people of the Bible weren't real. Beyond that, the book of Job itself gives absolutely no indication whatsoever that it could be a made up story. When Jesus told parables it was plain to see that He was telling a fictional story to illustrate a point. We have no such indication in the book of Job. Or in the book of Genesis, for that matter. Why wouldn't there be something there to tell us that what is written there is fictional if that was the case?

And then there's the fact that if Job wasn't real neither were Daniel or Noah.

Ezekiel 14
14Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.
15If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts:
16Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters; they only shall be delivered, but the land shall be desolate.
17Or if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land; so that I cut off man and beast from it:
18Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only shall be delivered themselves.
19Or if I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast:
20Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.

I can't for the life of me understand how any Christian would think none of those 3 were real people. The text itself gives no such indication at all.

Sirus
Jun 12th 2010, 12:45 AM
By considering Adam as non literal then wouldn't we take the imputation of sin through disobedience as non literal aswell? That's an honest question.Of course. You don't think sin is a thing floating around do ya?


Sin exists because of the transgression in the garden.Satan sinned first. It wasn't counted as sin entering the world. Why is that? Do you know?


If the transgression is non literal then where would we exactly aquire a sin natureGrowing up in this world with the god and spirit of the world, having chose to reject the truth and knowledge of God your were born with? You gave yourself a 'sin nature'. [no markedward, I will not derail your thread - there's plenty of sin nature threads - just answering the question - done]

markedward
Jun 12th 2010, 04:11 AM
I Read it Again... Sooooo I'm not slandering you, I'm not hating you. I'm asking you a question...Your previous post consisted of nothing resembling a question. Merely your "hope" that I was not a pastor or teacher.


You are asking folks to consider a 'new found understanding' that Adam and Eve were not the first man or woman createdNo I am not. You are placing words in my mouth. Not once did I (a) "ask folks to consider" anything; it was a poll, with an additional invitation for discussion... consideration is up to the individual. And (b) nowhere did I suggest or imply that this was a "new found understanding". In fact (if you knew your history), an allegorical interpretation of the opening chapters of Genesis goes before even the first-century AD.


And then you also state you don't want to hear about any challenges.No, I did not. Stop putting words in my mouth. What I said was that I want polite and edifying discussion; disagreement is totally welcome, as long as people can keep from breaking kind discussion. You've already broken it by putting words in my mouth (twice) which is outright deceitful on your part.

markedward
Jun 12th 2010, 04:18 AM
Not to argue, but if the serpent is an allegory, which I believe it to be, does that have to automatically make Adam allegorical also?Nope, not necessarily.


Now, if the LORD God can be interpreted literally, then why can't Adam be also?Well, the same could be said in the reverse, regarding the serpent and Adam. If the serpent can be interpreted allegorically, then why can't Adam be also? Like you, I'm not trying to be argumentative, but this manner of reasoning could go either direction very easily.

markedward
Jun 12th 2010, 04:41 AM
I meant no offense. We all have certain phrases and sayings that we don't like, but that doesn't mean when people use them they are intending to be offensive. I won't use it again when directing comments towards you. Thank you; I apologize, it's just one of those phrases that always seems to imply more than the person is saying.


I have no idea why that is the case.Understood.


You said, after speaking of Adam "I also believe Job is a non-literal individual".Correct. But I didn't use the words "fictional person", because however you may have been using them, it may or may not imply something other than what I am meaning to say.


So, to be clear, you believe Adam was a real person but just not the first man created or not the only man God created (who wasn't born)?He may or may not have been; I'm not totally settled.


Where does scripture itself teach that?Nowhere explicitly, anymore than it teaches explicitly that "clouds" are a symbol of God's majesty and judgment, or that the "sea" is a symbol of chaos and the Gentiles.


No, I'm just trying to illustrate where I believe this line of thinking can lead.Unless I actually exhibit such beliefs, I don't see the necessity in "warning" me of this. The belief I have is simply an alternate interpretation of the text of Genesis (e.g. I interpret "Adam" differently than others do). I'm not denying the truth of the narrative. On the other hand, I don't see how one could interpret God as having not created the world... not merely by Scripture, but by the matter of existence itself. If the world exists, and God didn't create it, one would have to assume it either always existed or someone/thing else created it, both of which Scripture adamantly denies.

Scripture denies that the world has always existed, and Scripture denies that anyone/thing other than God is powerful enough to have created the world, which plainly leaves us with God as sole, all-powerful creator (the driving message of Genesis 1). On the other hand, Scripture does not deny that Adam may have been allegorical, nor does it deny that he was historical... and coming to either conclusion does not somehow demand that a person must necessarily follow it up with concluding that God didn't create the world. In other words: Regardless of whether one interprets Genesis 1 as literal or allegorical, the reader is still left with the message that God alone created all things. So it makes no sense to claim that an allegorical interpretation of Genesis 2-3 will lead to denying the message of Genesis 1 (e.g. that God created the heavens and the earth).

crossnote
Jun 12th 2010, 04:47 AM
Jesus took it historical so I will also. Even what was written.

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
(Mat 19:4)

John146
Jun 12th 2010, 05:54 AM
Thank you; I apologize, it's just one of those phrases that always seems to imply more than the person is saying.Everything's fine. I'm certain that neither one of us has the intention of insulting the other.


He may or may not have been; I'm not totally settled.Okay, since you're not sure, let me go back to something I pointed out earlier. Doesn't Jude 1:14 and 1 Chr 1:1 tell us that Enoch descended from Adam? I'd say they clearly do, but you're not sure. This would mean that you are also unsure about whether or not Enoch was a real person and I believe you stated as such earlier. Would this also mean that you're not sure whether anyone who is listed in 1 Chr 1:1 was a real person? Keep in mind that the list includes Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We know God said He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob so I'm pretty sure you'd agree that He would not have said He is the God of fictional people, right?

Beyond this, Adam is also listed among the descendants of Jesus in Luke 3:23-38. Is that not even more evidence that Adam was indeed a real person? And not only a real person, but an individual person just like everyone else in those lists?


Unless I actually exhibit such beliefs, I don't see the necessity in "warning" me of this.What is the purpose of a warning? To warn someone about something before something occurs, right? You may not find it to be necessary, but I certainly think you would agree that it makes more sense to warn about something before the fact rather than after, right? Anyway, if the whole idea of warning about what could happen offends you then please know that it was not my intention to offend you. I'm just expressing the reason why I think this is an important issue.


The belief I have is simply an alternate interpretation of the text of Genesis (e.g. I interpret "Adam" differently than others do). I'm not denying the truth of the narrative. On the other hand, I don't see how one could interpret God as having not created the world... not merely by Scripture, but by the matter of existence itself. If the world exists, and God didn't create it, one would have to assume it either always existed or someone/thing else created it, both of which Scripture adamantly denies.Fair enough.


Scripture denies that the world has always existed, and Scripture denies that anyone/thing other than God is powerful enough to have created the world, which plainly leaves us with God as sole, all-powerful creator (the driving message of Genesis 1). On the other hand, Scripture does not deny that Adam may have been allegoricalWell, I think it does for the reasons I've mentioned. Especially because of the fact that he is listed in the lineage of both Enoch and Jesus (and the rest of those who we see listed in 1 Chr 1 and Luke 3).


nor does it deny that he was historical... and coming to either conclusion does not somehow demand that a person must necessarily follow it up with concluding that God didn't create the world.I didn't say that would necessarily be the conclusion one would draw, I'm merely saying that if someone gets too carried away with allegorizing the text that is the conclusion they could draw. It's not a concern I have regarding you because you made it clear you do believe God created the heavens and the earth. It's other people who might be reading this thread that I'm concerned about.

AndrewBaptistFL
Jun 12th 2010, 10:09 AM
Not only is this incredibly subjective, but also I guarantee that you don't hold to this rule consistently.

Isaiah 19 describes God as riding on clouds to come to Egypt to destroy it. The very idols "tremble" at God's arrival. The hearts of the Egyptians melt in their chests. "Exactly as it says", God rode on a cloud to Egypt, the idols were alive (how else can they tremble in fear if they are not alive), and God melts the Egyptians' internal organs simply by showing up in their country. So, "exactly as it says", or not?

Possibly the demonic spirits represented by the idols tremble at God's arrival. "Melt in their chest"....surely you can use our language skills to determine that it means their courage failed.

AndrewBaptistFL
Jun 12th 2010, 10:14 AM
Not that I can speak on his behalf, but I think he was trying to get at the point that the Bible was written with the intention that the reader would use common sense. If a teenager who never picked up a Bible before were to read it, they would most likely take the events of Genesis as meant to be read as literal and know that verses like "and their hearts will melt" are figures of speech.

In this case, it was as though Jeff WAS speaking on my behalf, and I thank him for it.
Adam = Real person
Eve = Real Person
Moses = Real Person
Paul = Real Person
Jesus = REAL PERSON AND REAL GOD

The Bible is not a bed-time story. It's the inspired Word of God. There is nothing fictional about it. There is absolutely nothing that can be said that will change my view on this.

AndrewBaptistFL
Jun 12th 2010, 10:18 AM
Although my post was directed at someone else, and I await his response. The individual I was responding to clearly said he interprets the Bible "exactly as it says", but this type of rule can only lead to problems, whether being inconsistent to the rule itself, or damaging to properly interpreting various parts of Scripture.

So what probelms do you think that I have because I believe what the Bible says? I'll tell you the truth, the only problems that exist in my life occur when I do not consult God or follow His Word before making a decision.

SirToady
Jun 12th 2010, 02:52 PM
No doubt there was a "Beginning" since we are here and even science agrees that before the "Big Bang" nothing existed and you can't make something from nothing. Even "evolution" has to evolve from something. In regards to Adam and Eve we must remember that this was in the context of the Jewish people so this also poses no problem with me. Remember that not only Adam, but all living things came from the Word, and the Word is the life of the spirit, and the spirit is the life of the blood, and the blood is the life of the flesh. There are just as many scientist that subscribe to Creationism as there are those who don't but we all have that pesky little thing called free will with the option of faith to help guide us in what we believe verses what we know. Remember, there is nothing in Genesis that can be proven "false".

divaD
Jun 12th 2010, 03:42 PM
Here are some reasons why Adam can't be anything but a real individual person.


Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

At this point, if one keeps on reading, there are no females yet, at least not of the humankind. Why would God populate the garden with a bunch of males, if Adam is representive of countless people? He wouldn't. So Adam is an individual from the very beginning.


Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground


Let's concentrate on Abel for a second. We all know what happened to him, but was he a real person? Let's let Jesus clear that up once and for all.

Matthew 23:34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.


These are Jesus' very own words. It would be preposterous to conclude that the prophets, and wise men, and scribes, and Zacharias son of Barachias, were all real people, but Abel wasn't. This makes Abel a real person, who could have had only one earthly father, in this case..Adam.


Genesis 5:3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
4 And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:
5 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.


This can only be describing a real individual person. If this record is not accurate, or if it's fictional, then there is absolutely no reason to believe any other records like this. May as well not even believe the Bible at this point, if one can't conclude these records are non fictional, and are referring to a literal specific individual human being by the name of Adam.


Luke 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.


If this listed Adam was a fictional character, or a group of people, then that applies to every last one in this geneology, because obviously, Adam was the very beginning of it. Why was he the son of God? My guess would be because he wasn't born...he was created personally by God Himself, which points back to Genesis 1:26.

Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth


Some people interpret this incorrectly. Since it states "and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea', they conclude God created many people, not just one. But if one reads the more detailed account in Genesis 2, one can see that's not the case. One has to keep in mind, this is the very beginning. So how does one individual equate into a them? Simple...God creates a female, in which Genesis 1:28 would now apply. IOW, ADam and Eve begin procreating and starting the mankind process, ending up with the them, as intended in Genesis 1:26.
IOW, all of mankind that would come thru Adam and Eve, this dominion would apply to them also. So what happened to that perfect plan? The serpent of Genesis ch 3, that's what.

Nihil Obstat
Jun 12th 2010, 05:23 PM
In a more literalistic reading, God starts out as revealing himself universally to mankind, and allowing knowledge of him to diminish drastically, even though everyone was aware of his existence. Even the wicked knew he was there, they simply sinned against him because they were inclined to do so. In a more non-literal reading, God essentially started very locally in revealing himself and gradually moved outward over the course of history.

Hey Mark. You know me: I'll gladly discuss such a topic with you. I liked what you wrote here, and I'd like to see more of it. Most all of your other posts have been to evidence that whether the creation account was actual or allegorical, the 'moral of the story' (per se) remains unchanged. However, more is needed to prove for allegory than the mere possibility of it. I'm not telling you anything that you don't know; you've been responding to other posters patiently, assuring them that an allegorical approach isn't as scary as it may first seem, and it's kept the thread at a bit of a standstill, to no fault of you or the others. But I think that more posts of the kind you gave above would move this discussion right along.

As you know, I too have been studying the creation account lately. I voted for historical, but, as always, am open to change if there is sufficient evidence provided. While reading through Victor P. Hamilton's commentary on Genesis (chs. 1-17, NICOT), I was struck with what he wrote here: "Given the OT's emphasis on corporate personality, the sins of the fathers being visited unto subsequent generations, it is perhaps surprising that the OT says virtually nothing about Adam and Eve after Gen. 5. For example, the prophets do not hesitate to draw on the catastrophe at Sodom and Gomorrah to illustrate the consequences of disobedience, but they never use the story of the expulsion from Eden to draw a similar analogy. As a matter of fact, one must wait until Rom. 5 and 1 Cor. 15 for an extensive discussion of Adam." (pgs. 210-211) Though Hamilton does later list several Jewish texts that are similar to Rom. 5:12-21 and 1 Cor. 15:21-22, 45-49 (Sir. 25:24; 4 Ezra 3:7, 21-22; 7:116-19; Wis. 1:13; 2:23; 2 Apoc. Bar. 23:4; Syr. Bar. 48:42-44 - listed on pg. 213), I still found his point an interesting one.

A thought I'm playing with presently is this: In Gen. 1:1-2:3, when God creates all the plants and all the living creatures, does He only make, for example, one male elephant and one female elephant, or does He make herds of elephants? Were there only two fig trees, and only two doves, or were there a multitude of fig trees, and swarms of doves? I think that the latter option is the one more likely to have occurred. Perhaps then, when God created man in 1:26-30, "male and female He created them", would it not be anachronistic to assume the "them" to be Adam and Eve? Perhaps, just perhaps, the "them" refers to more than just one male human and one female human, as with the vegetation and the animals? Perhaps God created many males and many females on the sixth day, and of them all, only Adam was subsequently placed in the Garden of God to till the soil? Would this not make more sense of Cain's fear (4:14) and Cain's wife (4:16-17), among several other things?

Not only would this allow Adam to remain a very real individual, from whom Jesus (the very real God-Man) branched from, but it would also, I think, answer many of the problems seen and voiced by those who might want to answer those problems by considering the account as an allegory of sorts. I'm also thinking that this is in the likeness of Abraham being called out of Ur, and the Hebrews being called out of Egypt. Eve being the mother of all the living would, in this case, be 1) a prophetic name given her by Adam (think of it - he could have named her "Death" or "Stumbling Block"!), in faith of the prophecy of her seed striking at the seed of the serpent (as opposed to simply stating that she was the only female in all the earth), and 2) a rhyming verse to the following one of God clothing them before sending them out of the Garden.

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this. Blessings to all.

inn
Jun 12th 2010, 05:35 PM
Perhaps God created many males and many females on the sixth day, and of them all, only Adam was subsequently placed in the Garden of God to till the soil? Would this not make more sense of Cain's fear (4:14) and Cain's wife (4:16-17), among several other things?


I liked reading your post.
A comment/question. Does not this view detract from these verses below?
It seems good that Adam is singled out ABOVE in a sense from the others, and in a way, if many were created all at once, well maybe a detraction?

Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

1 Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Cor 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

1 Tim 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

HisLeast
Jun 12th 2010, 05:41 PM
Possibly the demonic spirits represented by the idols tremble at God's arrival. "Melt in their chest"....surely you can use our language skills to determine that it means their courage failed.

This has always sounded double-standard-ish to me. "Use our language skills" when its obvious to me that something is allegory / metaphor, but don't dare suggest allegory where all I see is literal.

Exactly when are we allowed to think?

losthorizon
Jun 12th 2010, 06:43 PM
I voted for Genesis representing the historical record and not allegory or myth. Jesus clearly believed there was a literal “beginning” and He said the first man and woman were “made” in God's image. I will go with the truth presented by Jesus - He was there "in the beginning".

divaD
Jun 12th 2010, 08:18 PM
Perhaps God created many males and many females on the sixth day, and of them all, only Adam was subsequently placed in the Garden of God to till the soil? Would this not make more sense of Cain's fear (4:14) and Cain's wife (4:16-17), among several other things?.


The problem I see with this is, the Bible states that sin entered the world thru Adam. The only way that sin could be passed on, would be thru procreation. Think of it like a computer virus and a network of computers. The network of cpmputers would equal these other alleged ppl God created. So the question is, how were these other people infected with Adam's sin, if they didn't come thru him? If there is a computer virus that is affecting computers on a network, what about computers that might not be connected to this network, or any network at all? How could the virus spread to them? It couldn't. The same thing with Adam.

Picture this in your mind. God creates myriads of people. There is no sin in the world whatsoever. Adam sins. Magically, at the same time even, out of the clear blue sky, these others that God created, they start sinning too, because Adam sinned. How in the world did that happen? That would be like a computer that is not hooked up to the same network, all of a sudden, getting the exact same virus, the network of computers did, right after they did. It's not even logical or possible.


As far as God making myriads of animals from the same species, such as housecats for instance...then think about it like this. How many housecats did Noah have to bring on the ark, in order for that species to live on beyond the flood? Hundreds of them, or just a pair? As far as plants and trees, I see no reason why God wouldn't have created myriads of those. He would have to anyway, since an apple tree can't produce an orange tree for instance, and vice-versus.

I guess the reason I can't shut up, is because recently, I spent almost 3 years studying the first few chs of Genesis. I couldn't even get out of that portion of the Bible at the time. I was literally one track minded at the time. Doesn't mean I know anything, or that I'm even right, but I feel a lot of it rubbed off on me during the time. I sorta' have the first few chs of Genesis engraved in my brain or something. Unfortunately very few folks even like to discuss these first chs at all...or if they do, they get bored real quick. In my opin, I find them to be the most fascinating chs in the OT. There's hidden treasure yet to be discovered in them, I'm positive of that.

BroRog
Jun 12th 2010, 09:08 PM
Hey Mark. You know me: I'll gladly discuss such a topic with you. I liked what you wrote here, and I'd like to see more of it. Most all of your other posts have been to evidence that whether the creation account was actual or allegorical, the 'moral of the story' (per se) remains unchanged.I believe that those, including me, who defend a literal Adam and Eve, are arguing that an allegorical interpretation would, in fact, change the moral of the story. It makes all the difference to the significance of Job, whether Job actually existed or not. It makes all the difference to the significance of the story of Adam and Eve whether or not Adam actually existed. For instance, Paul argues in Romans 5 that Adam is a prototypical human being, which is highly significant to us if Adam actually existed but almost meaningless if he didn't.

Also, and I haven't seen anyone address this explicity yet, an allegory depends heavily on a shared knowledge of actual events, since an allegory works by resemblances between reality and fiction. If the stories and narratives of Genesis are fictional resemblances of actual people, then the significance of the allegories is lost to us, not having access to the reality behind these events.


A thought I'm playing with presently is this: In Gen. 1:1-2:3, when God creates all the plants and all the living creatures, does He only make, for example, one male elephant and one female elephant, or does He make herds of elephants? Were there only two fig trees, and only two doves, or were there a multitude of fig trees, and swarms of doves? I think that the latter option is the one more likely to have occurred. Perhaps then, when God created man in 1:26-30, "male and female He created them", would it not be anachronistic to assume the "them" to be Adam and Eve? Perhaps, just perhaps, the "them" refers to more than just one male human and one female human, as with the vegetation and the animals? Perhaps God created many males and many females on the sixth day, and of them all, only Adam was subsequently placed in the Garden of God to till the soil? Would this not make more sense of Cain's fear (4:14) and Cain's wife (4:16-17), among several other things?


This interpretation causes a problem with the story itself, and the significance of the story is completely lost. First off, God asks Adam to name all the animals etc. which is a project intended to teach Adam that he has no one like him to be his mate. And since God creates a mate for Adam from his rib, rather than, say, going to the next town to find someone it is hard to make your interpretation work.

Also, while it is true that God planted a garden east of Eden for Adam, it also says that there was not man to cultivate the ground. It wasn't as if there were farmers in the next village who suddenly woke up one day and said, "Hey, where did all these weeds come from?"

Scruffy Kid
Jun 12th 2010, 10:17 PM
I don't find discussion of whether Genesis is "literal" or "allegorical" a particularly helpful way of getting at what is going on in the text, or of trying to discuss what the relationship is of this God-breathed text to history of the sort that is written nowadays (or by Greeks like Thucydides).


Thinking about humanity (Adam), the ground (adamah), and perhaps blood (dawm)

Let's start a different way: what are the first 11 chapters of the Bible getting at when speaking of (what our translations give us as) "man", or "adam"?

To even begin to address this question, we need to recall that the word translated "man" in these chapters is the same as the word "Adam". A different word for man (usually ish, Strong's 376, meaning "male human being") is used in verses 2:23-24, 4:1, 4:26, 6:9, and 9:5, and this and other words for "a man" or "men" or "human beings" are more often used after chapter 11. However, in these first 11 chapters the word adam (Strong's H120) is the word used, for the most part, when the text is referring to humanity generically. Thus Genesis 1:26-27 -- the creation of humanity in the 7-day creation narrative -- which is often translated

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.is readily misunderstood unless one understands that a more consistent (or, if you prefer, "literal" rendering of the text would say

And God said, Let us make adam in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created adam in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."Man" whom God creates male and female, in God's own image, is really the word adam: here adam is treated as meaning humanity, humanity male and female.

The word adam, in Genesis 1-11, is translated "man" or "men" in the KJV about 32 times, at 1:26, 1:27, 2:5, 2:7 (twice), 2:8, 2:16, 2:22 (twice), 2:25, 3:12, 3:22, 3:24, 5:1, 6:1, 6:2, 6:3, 6:4, 6:5, 6:6, 6:7 (twice) 7:21, 7:23, 8:21 (twice), 9:5 (twice), 9:6 (thrice), and 11:5. In a very few of these instances, it could be translated "Adam", meaning the particular person; but in most cases it seems to mean "mankind" or "humankind" or "humanity"; and that certainly is how it is used in 1:26-27, critical verses about the creation of humanity, and the word's first appearance in the text. That same word (adam) is translated "Adam" about 14 times, at 2:19 (twice), 2:20, 2:21, 2:23, 3:8, 3:20, 3:21, 4:1, 4:25, 5:1, 5:2, 5:3, and 5:4.

The word adam in these texts cannot be understood properly in its narrative context, however, apart from other key words. Especially important is "ground" -- not to be confused with dust, or earth, which are different words -- which is used 17 times in these first 11 chapters, at 2:5, 2:6, 2:7, 2:9, 2:19, 3:17, 3:19, 3:23, 4:2. 4:3, 4:10, 4:12, 5:29, 7:23, 8:8, 8:13, 8:21. "Ground" is Strong's H127, adamah, a clear cognate of adam (H120, H121). Both words imply something ruddy, or reddish brown. (Perhaps it's reasonable to think that this is a kind of pictorial description of some of the ground, or soil, and of the people of the region, at the time, or some of them.) Both words, with their color connotations are derived from the Hebrew word dawm, Strong's H1818, meaning "blood", which occurs in these chapters 6 times, at Gen 4:10, 4:11, 9:4, 9:5, and 9:6 (twice). Particularly, the Garden creation account, including with it the Fall, and the murder of Abel, repeatedly plays upon the echo of adam (man, humankind) and adamah (ground) and the relationship to blood is also played upon in 4:10-11, 9:4-6, and, arguably, 8:16-8:22 and 9:1-9:10, and perhaps the contrast between Gen. 4:4 and 4:5. But we may concentrate primarily upon the Gen. 2 account of humanity's creation, the curse at 3:17 (and maybe 4:11), and Cain's crime and God's response.

When God forms humanity (adam) in Genesis 2 it is because (2:5) "there was not yet an adam (a man) to till the adamah (ground)". So God makes "a mist go up to water the adamah (ground)" (2:6) and then "And the LORD God formed adam (humanity) [of] the dust of the adamah (ground)" and "breathed into his nostrils the breath (or spirit) of life ,and the adam (man, humanity) became a living soul." God forms beasts, too, out of the ground, but divides humanity -- or takes a rib out of the human being, the adam, and then fashions woman (ishshah, a female human being) whom the residual of humanity, the guy finds to be just what he is looking for, as we all know, saying "she shall be called ishshah (woman, a female human being) because she was taken out of ish (a male human being).

However, after the Fall, everything starts to go wrong with humanity. They want to hide from themselves, each other, and God. Then God says to Adam (here, Strong's H121, apparantly a slightly different form of the word) "The adamah (ground) is cursed because of you, and you shall eat of it in sorrow all the days of your life! It will, also, bring forth thorns and thistles for you, and ... you will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the adamahm (ground); for you were taken out of it, you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Also we must remember that God tells Cain that "your brother's dam (blood) cries out to me from the adamah (ground)."


How is language being used in these accounts?
Do the words "literal" or "allegorical" help us understand that?

Humanity (adam) and the Ground (adamah)

It seems evident that the narrative is constructed to emphasize the connection between the ground (adamah) and humanity (adam). Adam, or humanity, is put in the Garden specifically for the task of keeping things fruitful and orderly -- although the Garden is already really, really good, with every kind of tree being good for food. All that man likes, and works with -- plants and animals -- comes from the ground, in this account. And man is put there to keep it all in order. But humanity, also is taken from the ground. Taken from the ground, but with a difference: God breathes His own spirit into man, so that man becomes "living" -- spiritually alive, one might say -- "living" in a way that the animals (and plants),which certainly are alive rather than dead, are not. Here, as in Genesis 1, God talks with, and fellowships with, human beings, and not directly or in similar depth with the rest of Creation, the rest of the Garden. So man, humanity, (adam), though taken, like the plants and animals, from the ground (adamah), stands in a different relationship to the ground than these other things do, in many ways.

Perhaps we might think of the ground in somewhat the way that we talk in our language of "nature", but also -- in regard to humanity -- "human nature." Man, human beings, have a kind of responsibility for nature -- a fact expressed in a different way at 1:26-27, and Genesis 9 -- as well as a Lordship over it; but also a responsibility for keeping ourselves on track, a responsibility for our human nature. Thus, when humanity falls, the curse which comes upon us is phrased, most centrally, as a curse upon the ground. Humanity (adam) has gone against God, and against his own nature; and as a result the ground (adamah), the basic material from which we are made, has gotten all messed up. Where before humanity was good in heart -- so that good deeds flowed from us naturally -- now we can get ourselves to act productively, helpfully, only "by the sweat of our brow" but what "comes natural" comes natural out of a messed-up human nature, which naturally produces messed-up stuff, thorns and thistles.

What kind of a use of language is this?

Is this intended as "literal history"?

I don't even know what the words mean. But let me put that a different way. Do I think that the purpose of explaining the curse upon the ground is to give us an account of the origins of agricultural difficulties, and why there are weeds, and why farming is a lot of work?

Why on earth would the text bother to go off on such a subject? It seems obvious that that is not the intention of the text!

What then is all this about the ground being cursed?

What is the purpose of the text? What is it trying to accomplish? to teach us?

To me it seems clear that the Biblical text here is giving us a careful, precise reflection -- not just in the use of these terms, but in many other ways as well -- about the nature of human fallenness, its origins, its results, its sadness, and its rootedness in the very stuff of human nature.

Put a different way: I think that the passage about the ground being cursed is developing many of the same truths that are involved when we talk about human beings having a "sin nature". It is suggesting that the very stuff of which we are made, our human nature, got radically messed-up in our initial rebellion against God's commands.

That is, I think that the text is dealing with some of the deepest and most important theological themes possible, in a way that is profound, nuanced, multilayered, careful and exact, and powerful -- and especially the way that fallenness is in our blood, the very ground of human nature, and so on, in a way that makes us liable to keep bringing forth more and more destructive things. This bringing forth of thorns and thistles, and the corruption of the ground in a sense pre-figures the deeper woundedness which emerges in the broken relationship between brother and brother, eventuating in the murder of Abel, and the rootlessness and wandering of Cain. (Cain, being alienated from his own nature -- cursed from the ground -- realizes he'll be a vagrant, a wanderer, and dwells in the land of wandering (Nod means "wandering"). We could go on through Cain's life, and descendents, to consider how this pattern gets worse and worse -- which in turn prefigures the corruption of the whole of humanity which so grieves God that he sends a flood, in chapter 5.

Is the text doing that by hewing to exact historical details? Or is it doing so -- as Jesus' parables, for instance do -- by constructing a precise philosophical or poetic account which makes clear the essential truths we need to know -- and to wonder about and ponder upon -- concerning the nature of humanity's brokenness, and difficult journey?

Continued in the next post

Scruffy Kid
Jun 12th 2010, 10:18 PM
Continued from previous post


The nature of these inerrant, precise, powerful theological texts in Genesis 1-11
Means that we have to read them with full attention to their literary structure

Thus, I am arguing, that these centrally important theological passages in Genesis, which form the foundation of our faith, and which are written with the most amazing and precise thoughtfulness and insight, function -- function theologically -- by the way that they are organized as literature, as narratives and as an interplay of words.

A careful reading of the language about adam (Adam, humanity), adamah (the ground), dawm, and the brokenness of the creation in Genesis 2 and 3 (and 4) especially is necessary if we are to start to learn some of what God is teaching us in these texts. That careful reading requires that we pay close attention to the words, and letters of the words (adam, adamah, dawm, etc.) which the Biblical text uses. It requires that we think carefully about the narrative sequence of the actions, and about what relationship those actions and sequences might bear to the problems and aspects of human life that we face day by day.

Why does the Bible use figurative, or symbolic, language, and narratives, to make its points?

Wouldn't it be better for God to have set these important themes out in discursive prose, like a theology book?

Well, we know that it wouldn't have been better, because God does always what is best, and this is what He in fact gave us. But WHY?

I think that there are at least two kinds of reasons.

(1) One is that the narrative, and literary, style that the Old Testament so often uses -- which is at its height of symbolic power in these first 11 chapters of Genesis -- speaks deeply, and in many different ways to people of all sorts, and in all cultures. Theology books, or precise scientific reports are helpful to people of modern Western cultures, or at least those who are trained to access these things, in those cultures. But the language of symbol, narrative, and figure speaks to human understanding at a more universal, and probably a deeper level. Thus, the Bible -- in the NT as well as in the OT -- uses symbol and figure and complex literary structure to communicate to us many things which we anyone can grasp (with God's help and grace!) by reading and reflecting upon it, because the language of narrative and symbol is at the very core of human consciousness. By making many of the core theological points in forms that rely heavily upon narrative and symbolic language, the Bible communicates to all cultures -- even our own over-rationalized culture -- more profoundly and directly than explicit theological constructs could. (But of course, the Bible uses both!!)

(1 recap) The Bible uses narrative and symbolic language because it speaks directly to all kinds of people in all kinds of cultures.

(2) The other is that the kind of language which is used in an account -- like these early chapters of Genesis especially -- which is laden with many complex overtones and ideas expressed symbolically is able to be both more precise and more comprehensive and nuanced than a language which spells everything out precisely. To make things single-valanced and (in that sense) precise, one has to narrow them. That's what our culture is particularly good at. But the kinds of themes the Bible is getting at are ones which -- though absolutely corresponding to the truth, the highest possible truth, about God and humanity, and God's purposes and work with us and for us -- are also not easy to pin down. They are broad, and deep, and cannot be dealt with adequately by a formula or precise expression alone. Rather they are meant to access realities so fundamental and vast that only indirect language -- language which makes use of the full symbolic potential of expression that language has -- can express the full range of meaning that we need to be prepared to grasp, and only such divinely-inspired symbolic language can deal with these vast and hard-to-grasp truths in a way which stays exactly on point, and conforms with exquisate accuracy to the truth that God is teaching us.

(2 recap) The Bible uses Narrative and Figurative Language because it is the most accurate and comprehensive sort of language


Where does that leave us on "literal" versus "allegorical" readings?

Along lines that HisLeast has emphasized again and again in this thread, I doubt if it makes much difference whether one reads the Genesis account "literally" or not. What is, in my opinion, far more important is that one reads it, and reads it seriously.

If someone is trying to put together a skyscraper, an airplane, a legal case, or plan of battle in war, one looks very very carefully at the materials before one. The same principles apply in reading the Bible.

Often in discussions about whether Genesis 1-11 is "literal" or not is that people don't seem to want to read Genesis, or read it with real care. To show that it is literal, or not literal, is their aim, it often seems. OUr aim should be to understand the text better. We need to know, to hear ideas about, what the implications of the text are for our understanding of human nature, of God's work of redemption, of what constructive and destructive attitudes are, and so on.

The Bible is our guide to living, our map of reality, our handbook, our authority, and it is full of depths of wisdom which we must constantly seek and constantly ask God to open and illuminate to us. We should be poring over it, sharing it with one another as we sit on the stoop, and over dinner. We are seeking not curiosities there, but vital truths to illumine, challenge, strengthen, and change our hearts.

markedward
Jun 13th 2010, 03:04 AM
Possibly the demonic spirits represented by the idols tremble at God's arrival. "Melt in their chest"....surely you can use our language skills to determine that it means their courage failed.In other words, you're not reading it "exactly as it says"... Because nothing in the text says anything about "demonic spirits", nor does anything in the text say anything about "courage failing". You're interpreting symbolic language, yet won't admit it because it doesn't suit you to admit it.


The Bible is not a bed-time story.I never said it was. Don't imply that I said such a thing. You're doing exactly what I asked in the OP for everyone not to do.


It's the inspired Word of God.I never said it wasn't. Don't imply that I said such a thing. You're doing exactly what I asked in the OP for everyone not to do.


So what probelms do you think that I have because I believe what the Bible says?I didn't say you didn't believe in the Bible. And don't imply that I said I don't believe in the Bible.

markedward
Jun 13th 2010, 03:19 AM
A thought I'm playing with presently is this:This would be an interesting interpretation of the text. I'll look into it a bit more when I have time; I'm out of town this week.


The only way that sin could be passed on, would be thru procreationSo... sin is biological? How do you explain Paul's statement that all of creation groans because of the effects of sin, if sin is merely something only humans have to deal with because it's passed on from parent to child?

Adam and Eve sinned, and all of creation "fell"... not just Adam and Eve.


How many housecats did Noah have to bring on the ark, in order for that species to live on beyond the flood? Hundreds of them, or just a pair?What about the seven pairs of kosher animals? Yes, cats are "unclean", and hence only went in a pair (according to the text)... but there were many animals which would have gone in seven pairs. So using the pairs of Noah's flood for why mankind in Genesis 1 must have been a single pair doesn't exactly work.

markedward
Jun 13th 2010, 03:46 AM
I believe that those, including me, who defend a literal Adam and Eve, are arguing that an allegorical interpretation would, in fact, change the moral of the story.How?


It makes all the difference to the significance of Job, whether Job actually existed or not.How?


For instance, Paul argues in Romans 5 that Adam is a prototypical human being, which is highly significant to us if Adam actually existed but almost meaningless if he didn't.How?


Also, and I haven't seen anyone address this explicity yet, an allegory depends heavily on a shared knowledge of actual events, since an allegory works by resemblances between reality and fiction.That's... not what an allegory is. An "allegory" is not "heavily dependent on shared knowledge of actual events". An "allegory", by definition, is:

Wikipedia: a figurative mode of representation conveying meaning other than the literal. It teaches a lesson through symbolism. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation.

M-W: the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence; also : an instance (as in a story or painting) of such expression; a symbolic representation.

Dictionary.com: a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.

rom826
Jun 13th 2010, 05:29 AM
How does a symbolic being beget another human being? Were all those in Genesis 5 also symbolic?

markedward
Jun 13th 2010, 05:38 AM
One idea put forth is that Adam represents prototypical humanity. In example, "Seth, son of Adam" some interpret as "Seth, son of humanity".

BroRog
Jun 13th 2010, 06:38 AM
How?The significance and meaning of the story of Adam and Eve changes if Adam and Eve are not real for the following reasons. First, the story perports to give facts concerning the origin of man, the origin of sin, the loss of innocence, the justification for marriage and fidelity, why the labor of man is frustrated by nature, why the labor of woman is frustrated by sinful children, and why there is enmity between Satan and the seed of Eve. On the other hand, one can only speculate as to the actual meaning and significance of the story if Adam and Eve were fictional characters. With fictional characters, a story of fiction couldn't be the explanation of how sin actually came into the world, how woman actually came into the world, what her purpose and designed role is, why fidelity is important, why man is frustrated by his labor, or woman frustrated in her child bearing. The story purports to be the explanation for our universal human experience, not simply the cautionary tale of two individual human beings who found themselves in over their head with regard to their ethics.

As others pointed out, if Adam and Eve weren't real, all of that is lost. If Adam and Eve weren't real, Jesus couldn't use God's word to them as the basis for his ethics on divorce. If Adam and Eve weren't real, Paul couldn't use their story as the foundation for his teaching on the role of women, which is based on God's design and purpose for marriage. If Adam and Eve are not the prototypical human beings through which God is teaching us something about universal principles, then Adam and Eve are simply examples of an ancient culture which may or may not have relevance for us today. Actual history is the only guard against relativism and the historicity of Adam and Eve sets their story apart from all the other mythological tales and fable stories of other cultures, the significance of which is anchored in an actual, real relationship between a human couple and their creator.

The account of Genesis wouldn't have the same impact or the same significance if the story was about a rabbit and a fox talking to a snake about eating fruit from a tree, the moral of the story being that life would go better if we were wary of snakes. The account doesn't read like a cautionary tale as if to warn the reader that sin could be avoided if one could listen to their husband, or deny lust, or not open the door to strangers, or keep the garden free of snakes, or whatever. The story offers us a window into human nature and doesn't offer a bit of wisdom to help us excel in virtue, or strive for excellence. It says, here is a story about how mankind came to have enmity with God and started a perpetual life of hostility to his creator. There is no tag line at the end that gives the reader some bit of wisdom to ponder and adopt on the way to moral excellence. It is a sad story about how mankind became estranged from God and seemingly cut off from his true and only source of life.


How?If Job didn't actually exist, then the story of Job doesn't find significance in its historicity, and since it doesn't then it doesn't offer the rest of us a window into God's nature or man's nature with respect to his creator. If Job isn't real, then why assume God is real? But the story of Job seeks to explain why bad things happen to people, which seem contrary to expected outcomes of behavior. Unlike a moral tale in which cause and effect are clear, and motivations are explicated and even emphasized, the story of Job describes the misfortunes of Job as not directly connected with anything Job did to cause them himself. What lesson can be learned from the idea that bad things happen to men the cause of which is totally outside of his control? What bit of sagacity are we to gain from the story of a fictional character in which the character was not the cause of his own suffering? What bit of wisdom can we learn in retrospect from a story in which all normal, natural, and expected rules of cause and effect have been suspended? What lesson can we learn? Don't be Job? Avoid things we can't see? Don't be so good as to be noticed by both God and Satan? What practice of virtue do we learn from the story? Either a real God has the right, ability, and audacity to interrupt the life of a real man, cause suffering in a real person for his own reasons, or he doesn't. It would be hard to make that case if Job was a fictional character.


How?Well, a fictional character can't be our representative since we aren't fictional. If Paul wants to argue that Adam constitutes the original human being after which the rest of us are patterned then it makes all the difference whether Adam was a real human being or not. Paul can't suggest that we are just like Adam in every way if Adam was fictional.


That's... not what an allegory is. An "allegory" is not "heavily dependent on shared knowledge of actual events". An "allegory", by definition, is:

Wikipedia: a figurative mode of representation conveying meaning other than the literal. It teaches a lesson through symbolism. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation.

M-W: the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence; also : an instance (as in a story or painting) of such expression; a symbolic representation.

Dictionary.com: a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.If you look up the words "metaphor", "metonymy", "simile", "fable", and "parable" I think you will find similar definitions. But if we ask, what is the most famous allegory we know, most people will say "Pilgrim's progress" which is a Christian allegory which draws similarities between the events and motivations of Pilgrim, and the Christian believer. In other words, the significance of Pilgrim's progress is the fact that it purports to say something about life as a believer, albeit in an obtuse way. Without the reality behind the story, i.e. real Christians leading real lives, the story of Pilgrim wouldn't have the same significance or import. Without the correspondence to real things, rather than being about Christians in general, the story would simply be about one particular individual.

Now, maybe you didn't really mean to say that the work of Genesis was an allegory, which has correspondence to real people and events, but perhaps a series of fables or parables or something else. I mean, if all you are saying is that a real man existed, and his real name was Schlock, but the author of Genesis changed the name to Adam for literary purposes, then that is one thing. But if you are saying that the events never happened or that the stories are meant as fables to make moral points, then the stories don't read that way as others have pointed out.

rom826
Jun 13th 2010, 11:19 AM
One idea put forth is that Adam represents prototypical humanity. In example, "Seth, son of Adam" some interpret as "Seth, son of humanity".

So what does "son of humanity" mean and how did Seth get here. Also, in calling the first three chapters of Genesis a metaphor, are you saying that the bible does not mention the origins of creation at all. How did mankind start?

David Taylor
Jun 13th 2010, 12:23 PM
Gen 3:20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

How can this verse be understood otherwise, contrary to the traditional Creation interpretation ?

Scruffy Kid
Jun 13th 2010, 01:18 PM
Certainly the Hebrew word adam is used in Genesis 1-3 (and elsewhere in the Bible) to refer to "humanity" or "humankind".




One idea put forth is that Adam represents prototypical humanity. In example, "Seth, son of Adam" some interpret as "Seth, son of humanity".So what does "son of humanity" mean and how did Seth get here. ...

Markedward is clearly correct on this point, it seems to me. More precisely: it clearly is the case that in Genesis 1-11 the word adam is often -- not always -- used to mean "humanity" or "humankind".

(That does not indicate agreement, nor disagreement, with any or all of markedward's other points or suggestions or speculations.)

It's pretty clear that the Hebrew word adam (Strong's H120) is often used in the Bible -- and particularly in Genesis chapters 1-11 -- in the meaning of "humanity" or "human person", very much along the lines that markedward is indicating. That word adam is also used to indicate a particular human being, in the narrative, that is the man whom we might describe as "the husband of Eve".

For instance Genesis 1:26-27 says:

And God said, Let us make adam in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created adam in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.The translation I've used here is the KJV, substituting adam (H120, what the Hebrew text says) for "man". Evidently "God created adam in his image ... male and female he created them." does not mean that God created the individual named "Adam" a hermaphrodite (male and female). The text refers to the adam God had created as "them". Surely, it means "humanity" or "humankind" here, does it not?

Again, Genesis 6:5-7 says:

And God saw that the wickedness of adam [man, humankind] [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made adam [man, human beings, humanity] on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy adam [man, humanity] whom I have created from the face of the earth; both adam, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. God then wipes out humankind, except for Noah and his family, and the text (7:21, 23) puts it this way:

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every adam [human being]: ... And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both adam [human beings], and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained [alive], and they that [were] with him in the ark.

(I have taken the text from blb (blue letter bible)'s KJV: they use brackets to indicate words which are traditionally italicized to indicate that they are the KJV translators' interpolations. Following adam -- H120 which is what the Hebrew text says -- which I've italicized to show that it is the Hebrew word, and substituted where the KJV uses "man" to translate it I put "[man]" or "[man, human beings]" and the like to indicate what the sense of the text seems to me to be. At all these points the KJV translators sinply say "man" which, in their day, meant simply "humanity" or "the human being" or "a human being" (in these cases).)

Thus, as I also discussed in posts 67 and 68 above, there is really no doubt that the word adam (H120) is used to indicate "humanity", in general, or "human beings", or "a human person" throughout the Genesis 1-11 text, as well as being used at other points in those chapters to indicate a particular person (whom we might call "the husband of Eve").

losthorizon
Jun 13th 2010, 01:54 PM
An "allegory" is not "heavily dependent on shared knowledge of actual events".

What part of the literal history presented in Genesis is not “literal”? If “God” is “allegory” then what does God symbolize? Are “the heavens” and “the earth” literal or are they allegory? Again, if they are to be understood allegorically, what do they symbolize?

You say in the OP that the “evolution debate” has nothing to do with your belief that the creation account must be allegorical. Question - in your allegorical theology does man and chimp have a common ancestor? I ask because theistic evolutionists (an oxymoron) require the Genesis account to be allegorical because their theory is dead in the water if the Genesis account is literal as God intended.

Scruffy Kid
Jun 13th 2010, 02:01 PM
The following comment by BroRog is very helpful, I think, for purposes of understanding the way in which various parties to this discussion may be failing to understand what others are trying to say:

The significance and meaning of the story of Adam and Eve changes if Adam and Eve are not real .... [T]he story purports to give facts concerning the origin of man, the origin of sin, the loss of innocence, the justification for marriage and fidelity, ... [etc.] .... On the other hand, one can only speculate as to the actual meaning and significance of the story if Adam and Eve were fictional characters. With fictional characters, a story of fiction couldn't be the explanation of how sin actually came into the world, ... [etc.] ... The story purports to be the explanation for our universal human experience, not simply the cautionary tale of two individual human beings who found themselves in over their head with regard to their ethics.

As others pointed out, if Adam and Eve weren't real, all of that is lost. If Adam and Eve weren't real, Jesus couldn't use God's word to them as the basis for his ethics on divorce. ...

As far as I understand, people who think that the Adam-and-Eve narrative involves the use of figurative language, and even those who think that it is a representative narrative or teaching-story of some sort, are not saying or thinking that Adam and Eve are "fictional characters" or "not real". Rather, they are saying that the narrative text that we have -- "what the Bible literally says" as I'd use that phrase if I had to use that word "literal" at all -- refers to reality in a manner which is different from, and more abstract than, the way that history of the kings of Israel, for instance, does.

The use of the words "fictional characters" is helpful in clarifying the difference. To use a word, we need to have some idea of what the reality is to which that word refers. The word "fictional characters" refers to something very familiar to all of us: modern novels, short stories, and then movies and TV shows and comic books, which make up (invent) stories which are plainly intended to be hypothetical accounts of things which never really happened, but which could have happened, for the purpose of considering the plot, or story, and so on.

As far as I know, no one is suggesting that the Biblical narratives of Genesis 1-11 are at all like that. I've seen no one who thinks they consist of "fictional characters" or are "not real".

What is going on, instead, is that some people -- and markedward in particular -- are exploring the idea that the text of Genesis 1-11, or in particular of Genesis 1-4, does not use the same kind of description of reality as, say, Exodus, or I Kings, or the Gospels, or Acts. Rather, they seem to me to be saying, is along the lines that the early chapters of Genesis are describing the origins and nature of us all -- what BroRog helpfully characterizes as "the origin of man, the origin of sin, the loss of innocence, ..." etc., in a more indirect way, which gets at the essential points through a narrative making use of a more poetic or philosophical vocabulary and style of telling what happened.

losthorizon
Jun 13th 2010, 02:17 PM
As far as I understand, people who think that the Adam-and-Eve narrative involves the use of figurative language, and even those who think that it is a representative narrative or teaching-story of some sort, are not saying or thinking that Adam and Eve are "fictional characters" or "not real". Rather, they are saying that the narrative text that we have -- "what the Bible literally says" as I'd use that phrase if I had to use that word "literal" at all -- refers to reality in a manner which is different from, and more abstract than, the way that history of the kings of Israel, for instance, does.


What part of the historical narrative revealed in Genesis 1-11 is not to be understood as "historical" when compared to "Exodus, or I Kings"? Please be specific. Did Jesus consider Adam and Eve to be literal and historical just as Abraham and Isaac were literal and historical?

divaD
Jun 13th 2010, 03:37 PM
Certainly the Hebrew word adam is used in Genesis 1-3 (and elsewhere in the Bible) to refer to "humanity" or "humankind".





.

I agree with this, but I understand it differently than most. For instance...Genesis 1:26-27. I understand that to mean humanity, but at the same time, I use other passages, in order to see what exactly was meant. Briefly, according to Gen 2...God creates 1 human being....then He creates another human being...and when one adds up the results...it equals humanity, because thru these 2, God creates humanity as intended in Genesis 1:26. IOW, everything that applies to this single man Adam, it applies to all that would come thru him, including Eve.
No doubt, starting at around Genesis ch 6, the Hebrew word for Adam was being used to describe humanity, when referring to man, men, etc.

BroRog
Jun 13th 2010, 05:26 PM
The following comment by BroRog is very helpful, I think, for purposes of understanding the way in which various parties to this discussion may be failing to understand what others are trying to say:


As far as I understand, people who think that the Adam-and-Eve narrative involves the use of figurative language, and even those who think that it is a representative narrative or teaching-story of some sort, are not saying or thinking that Adam and Eve are "fictional characters" or "not real". Rather, they are saying that the narrative text that we have -- "what the Bible literally says" as I'd use that phrase if I had to use that word "literal" at all -- refers to reality in a manner which is different from, and more abstract than, the way that history of the kings of Israel, for instance, does.

The use of the words "fictional characters" is helpful in clarifying the difference. To use a word, we need to have some idea of what the reality is to which that word refers. The word "fictional characters" refers to something very familiar to all of us: modern novels, short stories, and then movies and TV shows and comic books, which make up (invent) stories which are plainly intended to be hypothetical accounts of things which never really happened, but which could have happened, for the purpose of considering the plot, or story, and so on.

As far as I know, no one is suggesting that the Biblical narratives of Genesis 1-11 are at all like that. I've seen no one who thinks they consist of "fictional characters" or are "not real".

What is going on, instead, is that some people -- and markedward in particular -- are exploring the idea that the text of Genesis 1-11, or in particular of Genesis 1-4, does not use the same kind of description of reality as, say, Exodus, or I Kings, or the Gospels, or Acts. Rather, they seem to me to be saying, is along the lines that the early chapters of Genesis are describing the origins and nature of us all -- what BroRog helpfully characterizes as "the origin of man, the origin of sin, the loss of innocence, ..." etc., in a more indirect way, which gets at the essential points through a narrative making use of a more poetic or philosophical vocabulary and style of telling what happened.In my opinion, except for a talking snake, the accounts beginning in Genesis 2:4 read like a story that actually happened. And the author of the story gives us perhaps one clue that the events were some kind of retelling, naming the first human being the generic term "man" rather than "Butch", or "Rocky" or "Andrew." Now, if someone wants to say that God placed a couple in a garden, but even while their true names were Ray and Betsy the author changed them to Adam and Eve for literary purposes, then I have no problem with that. Maybe the garden was originally called, "Tree grove" but got changed to "Eden" for literary purposes too. Fine. I have no problem with THAT.

I'm familiar with movies based on real events in which the director or the script writer changes a few names or conflates several people into one person in order to move the story along. When we want to know about the actual people and their actual history we have history books, news articles, and other source data from which to find the actual names, places, dates, events, etc. The thing is, the Genesis account purports to be the source material, not the movie if you get my drift. By contrast to the Gilgamesh Epics, or the Greek Heroic Poems, or stories from other cultures that purport to give us the origin of life on earth, the Biblical account is either "the way it really was" or it's just another mythology.

Now, it's possible that the opening chapters of Genesis are nothing more than Hebrew mythology. I think this is a logical possibility. But my master and Lord thinks the Garden of Eden story gives us an account of the way things really happened. And so I am compelled to grant him "belief" authority over me as long as he remains my teacher and my Lord.

markedward
Jun 13th 2010, 05:55 PM
If “God” is “allegory” then what does God symbolize? Are “the heavens” and “the earth” literal or are they allegory? Again, if they are to be understood allegorically, what do they symbolize?You're overextending what I have presented in the thread. I never said that God was allegorical, nor did I say that the heavens and earth are allegorical. What I presented for this topic was the possibility of the opening chapters of Genesis being allegorical.


You say in the OP that the “evolution debate” has nothing to do with your belief that the creation account must be allegorical. Question - in your allegorical theology does man and chimp have a common ancestor?You're clearly trying to turn to "guilt by association" by inferring, since theistic evolutionists (which is not an "oxymoron"; I don't think you understand the definition of that word) use an allegorical reading of Genesis' opening chapters, that the allegorical reading must be inherently wrong. I am not learned in the evolutionary debate, and it has no relevance to this discussion.

This thread is not about evolution. Respect the thread topic and do not discuss it.

markedward
Jun 13th 2010, 06:01 PM
So what does "son of humanity" mean and how did Seth get here.Like Scruffy Kid pointed out, the Hebrew term adam is often used to refer to mankind as a whole. For Seth to be a "son of humanity" simply means he is a descendant of mankind, just as you and I are.


Also, in calling the first three chapters of Genesis a metaphor, are you saying that the bible does not mention the origins of creation at all.No. Regardless of literal or allegorical interpretation of Genesis 1, the reader is specifically left with the impression that a single omnipotent God created all things.


How did mankind start?God created mankind.

losthorizon
Jun 13th 2010, 06:24 PM
You're overextending what I have presented in the thread. I never said that God was allegorical, nor did I say that the heavens and earth are allegorical. What I presented for this topic was the possibility of the opening chapters of Genesis being allegorical.


But the opening chapters of Genesis include “God”, “heavens and earth” and “Adam and Eve”. If God is to be taken literally and the heavens and the earth are literal then why is the historical Adam and Eve not to beunderstood literally? Where is your consistency? Where and how does one "overextend" in your theology?


You're clearly trying to turn to "guilt by association”...

You are overreacting – I asked a legitimate question to see from whence you are coming. If you do not want to answer the question simply say you do not want to answer.


I don't think you understand the definition of that word...

But I do know the definition well and it is an oxymoron.


I am not learned in the evolutionary debate, and it has no relevance to this discussion.
Your OP mentions the “evolution debate” and I am asking where you stand on that debate because one's "creation worldview" directly affects how one interprets the historical record in Genesis . If you do not want to answer the question presented just say you do not.

markedward
Jun 13th 2010, 06:29 PM
Gen 3:20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

How can this verse be understood otherwise, contrary to the traditional Creation interpretation?The symbolism commonly identified by an allegorical interpretation:

Eden is called as such, because God initially created the world to be a "delight" to mankind. Adam represents prototypical, pre-fall mankind. The name means both "of the earth" because that is how he was made, and also "man" because that is what he is. Eve means "life-giving" because she represents womankind, which gives life through birth. The tree of life represents God's life-sustaining power. Faithful obedience to God means access to everlasting life without price. Disobedience results in God revoking this access. The tree of knowledge of good and evil represents the desire to have God's knowledge, and the desire to be god, i.e. placing one's self in God's place. The serpent represents selfish ambition, pride, temptation, and ultimately Satan, for he is the tempter of man.

losthorizon
Jun 13th 2010, 06:32 PM
Like Scruffy Kid pointed out, the Hebrew term adam is often used to refer to mankind as a whole.


But Adam is referred to in Genesis as a literal man - the "first Adam" just as Jesus is the "second Adam", thus Adam is an anti-type of Christ. Which came first the literal Adam or the Hebrew term, "adam"?

BroRog
Jun 13th 2010, 06:40 PM
But Adam is referred to in Genesis as a literal man - the "first Adam" just as Jesus is the "second Adam", thus Adam is an anti-type of Christ. Which came first the literal Adam or the Hebrew term, "adam"?

In the phrases "first Adam" and "second Adam" aren't these metaphors?

markedward
Jun 13th 2010, 06:41 PM
The Greek text refers to Jesus as the "last Adam". Clearly Jesus isn't the literal last man on earth... (and neither was he the literal second man on earth...) The force of this reasoning is lost if one presses the phrase too literally.

losthorizon
Jun 13th 2010, 06:53 PM
In the phrases "first Adam" and "second Adam" aren't these metaphors?
The first Adam was literally Adam, a literal man - the "last Adam" is symbolically represented by Jesus Christ, who was and is a literal Person.
"For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive”

losthorizon
Jun 13th 2010, 06:57 PM
The Greek text refers to Jesus as the "last Adam". Clearly Jesus isn't the literal last man on earth... (and neither was he the literal second man on earth...) The force of this reasoning is lost if one presses the phrase too literally.
Then your reasoning is that the 'last Adam' was a "literal man" but the 'first Adam' cannot be a literal man? How exactly does that compute?

BroRog
Jun 13th 2010, 07:07 PM
Then your reasoning is that the 'last Adam' was a "literal man" but the 'first Adam' cannot be a literal man? How exactly does that compute?

Are you using the term "literal" as a synonym of "actual?" I don't think Markedward is suggesting that Adam wasn't an actual person. I believe that he and scruffy kid are suggesting that the term "Adam" symbolically refers to "mankind".

inn
Jun 13th 2010, 07:22 PM
If Job didn't actually exist, then the story of Job doesn't find significance in its historicity, .

I like a lot of what BroRod says, but spesificaly this.
Thanks man!

Zack702
Jun 13th 2010, 07:23 PM
How many of you hold to the "historical" belief of Genesis, and how many to the "allegorical" belief, and how many to whatever a third (or more) option might be?

In the last several months I have been studying, and re-examining my beliefs on the opening chapters of Genesis, and coming out the other end of the tunnel with vastly different beliefs than I held before. Namely, I find myself moving toward the conclusion that the opening chapters of Genesis are depicting something more allegorical (i.e. non-literal), rather than actual history.

(For those who would try to pin it on me, my shift in beliefs has absolutely nothing to do with the evolution debate. Any chances in my beliefs have come strictly from examining the text at hand. As such, if you oppose the allegorical interpretation of Genesis' opening chapters, don't try to throw that down at me, because it's entirely irrelevant as far as I care.)

Hopefully, this thread can serve as a healthy, edifying discussion between the various interpretations. No wild accusations, no slandering, no hate.

Voting results are private.


I think that Genesis has alot more to do with Abraham / Isaac than it does with a historical account of mankind.

Genesis is one of, if not the, oldest writtings there is.

Which also means that it is perhaps the most archaic book.



One thing I think of is how the cherubim were only really seen in visions.

I can't think of any account in the bible except perhaps Genesis where cherubim were litterally seen.

And some things which were imparted to the children of God are actually unseen forces which relate to the unseen world.

In my opinion they, or it, has more meaning to the spirit of humans than they do to the physicality of humans.



The account of Adam and Eve if nothing else reveals plainly that man, above animals, has decisions to make and these decisions have deeper consequences than face value.

Both for the individual as well as those around them.

That I think was meant to be the opening message to readers.

Not that we should know the foundations of the Earth or that we should claim to know all things.

But that we should know that we don't know all things but that we should understand that our little movements can cause big reactions.

And a even deeper message of why or how our little movements can cause big reactions.



As far as historical account of creation.

What I think is that the author received the opening of the bible by revelation.

Certain visions which regarded the forming of the Earth.

As well as certain visions which regarded sacred events.

For example there is no record (correct me if I'm wrong) of how long Adam and Eve remained in the garden of Eden.

But there is a record of the day they were cast out.

To me it shows perhaps how the book is not historical but rather it is written to contain a few points about what it means to be a human.



In all practical uses Genesis is not going to sway many people if used as a historical count to a non-believer.

What it can do is to provide a relative situation which is actually comparable to many different situations.

But what ends up happening often is that since we are so knowledable in these days that we actually want there to be more than a simple common sense type of message.

And while perhaps there are secrets to be revealed.

I think such secrets are perhaps only feasible for those individuals who are able to extract them.

But all in all the best thing I think that we can get out of the bible is how to better approach and help other people on equal level under God.

Thats all I thought about anyhow for the past few minutes on this topic.

BroRog
Jun 13th 2010, 07:32 PM
The first Adam was literally Adam, a literal man - the "last Adam" is symbolically represented by Jesus Christ, who was and is a literal Person.
"For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” Again, it seems as if you are using the term "literal" to mean "actual". The first adam was an actual man. I agree with that. But the phrase "first Adam" seems more likely to mean "first man" rather than "the first guy named Adam".

In first Corinthians 15:45, Paul is making a play on words to make his profound point.

So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

First he translates the name "Adam", calling him the "first man". In the last half of his contrast he refers to Jesus as the last "Adam", keeping the name. This comparison works well since the Hebrew word adam is both a formal name and a word used to indicate mankind in general. I believe Paul is cleverly suggesting that mankind is about to go through a fundamental transformation and that Jesus Christ is an exemplar (the model to be copied) for the rest of a future humanity. In essence, God is going to transform humanity such that we are all like Christ.

markedward
Jun 13th 2010, 08:20 PM
Then your reasoning is that the 'last Adam' was a "literal man" but the 'first Adam' cannot be a literal man? How exactly does that compute?In comparison: Christ is an actual person, so do you reason that the bride of Christ must be an actual person as well? One being a literal person does not necessitate that the other is. This line of reasoning simply doesn't work. "Literalness" should be validated by the context of Scripture, not by a "(a) and (b) are mentioned together, thus if (a) is this, then (b) is also this" method of reason.

newinchrist4now
Jun 13th 2010, 08:21 PM
Gen 3:20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

How can this verse be understood otherwise, contrary to the traditional Creation interpretation ?

Beyond the Scriptures the Adam and Eve story is supported as fact. All mankind has been linked to one women.

BrckBrln
Jun 13th 2010, 08:24 PM
Beyond the Scriptures the Adam and Eve story is supported as fact. All mankind has been linked to one women.

You might want to check that again. Mitochondrial Eve (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve) (link to wikipedia) does not support the Biblical Eve.

newinchrist4now
Jun 13th 2010, 08:27 PM
You might want to check that again. Mitochondrial Eve (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve) (link to wikipedia) does not support the Biblical Eve.

What I am trying to say that while that may not it does support the idea of one Women. :)

BrckBrln
Jun 13th 2010, 09:15 PM
What I am trying to say that while that may not it does support the idea of one Women. :)

No, it doesn't. Science does not support there being a time when there was one man and one woman from which we all decended from. Mitochondrial Eve is apparently our last common female ancestor, not the first woman.

losthorizon
Jun 13th 2010, 09:18 PM
Again, it seems as if you are using the term "literal" to mean "actual". The first adam was an actual man. I agree with that. But the phrase "first Adam" seems more likely to mean "first man" rather than "the first guy named Adam".


In the beginning God said, “Let us make man”. The first human to ever walk on the earth was Adam – he was "the first guy named Adam"; he was the "first Adam"; he was the "first man"; and he was the "living soul" mentioned in the historical narrative of Genesis who literally “walked with God in the garden”. Are we on the same page, Rog? :)

newinchrist4now
Jun 13th 2010, 09:25 PM
No, it doesn't. Science does not support there being a time when there was one man and one woman from which we all decended from. Mitochondrial Eve is apparently our last common female ancestor, not the first woman.

That's fine it still comes down to one women regardless

losthorizon
Jun 13th 2010, 09:33 PM
In comparison: Christ is an actual person, so do you reason that the bride of Christ must be an actual person as well? One being a literal person does not necessitate that the other is. This line of reasoning simply doesn't work. "Literalness" should be validated by the context of Scripture, not by a "(a) and (b) are mentioned together, thus if (a) is this, then (b) is also this" method of reason.
But there is absolutely no reason to force the first man, Adam – the husband of Eve - to be anything other than a literal man - an actual person - just as the “last Adam”, Jesus Christ is literally a man. Genesis tells the historical record of God's interaction with His crowning creation, man. Adam should be considered an actual man just as he is presented throughout the Bible just as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were actual men. If not, why not? Again, those who force a metaphorical Adam are those who must 'adjust' the biblical account to fit a personal worldview.

markedward
Jun 14th 2010, 03:35 AM
those who force a metaphorical Adam are those who must 'adjust' the biblical account to fit a personal worldview.What "personal worldview" is this that you seem convinced I have, then, since you seem to know so much about it and my beliefs?

Scruffy Kid
Jun 14th 2010, 03:43 AM
To think accurately about how Genesis 1-11 uses the Hebrew word adam (H120) -- and therefore what that word means, there, and how we should understand the Biblical text -- we need to look carefully at the actual words used in those passages, in their actual contexts.



Dear losthorizon, :)
I appreciate the deep conviction to follow what the Bible says which animates your posts, and I thank you for it.

Your strong desire that we understand the Bible correctly is a very valuable thing. :pp :pp :pp :pp

Yet I think that it would be helpful for you to recognize that other who are deeply committed to follow what the Bible says may understand the Biblical text somewhat differently from you. And, in particular, I think that for discussion to go forward we have to pay attention to the actual arguments that have been made, and the actual text of the Bible. Thus we must try to answer careful study of the actual Biblical text with arguments grounded in the text, and not simply in the presuppositions we bring to the text.



Markedward observed that H120 -- the Hebrew word adam -- is used to mean man, mankind, humanity, human being, or humankind at many places in the text of Genesis 1-11, just as I had pointed out. You replied as follows:


Like Scruffy Kid pointed out, the Hebrew term adam is often used to refer to mankind as a whole. But Adam is referred to in Genesis as a literal man - the "first Adam" just as Jesus is the "second Adam", thus Adam is an anti-type of Christ. Which came first the literal Adam or the Hebrew term, "adam"? Perhaps I don't understand what you are saying here -- and if so please correct me. But you seem to be disagreeing with what markedward stated. Markedward referred to my posts (especially #67 and #77, quoted in part below) because I had given there detailed support from the text of Genesis, showing that the Hebrew word adam (H120) is often used to mean "humankind".

In post #67 I listed all the usages of adam that I could find which are translated "man" or "men" in the KJV, and also at all which are translated "Adam" in the KJV. Together, these constitute all the uses I could find of the Hebrew word adam in the first 11 chapters of Genesis. By comparing these usages, usually meaning "humanity" or simply "a human being", but sometimes referring to a particular person ("the husband of Eve") we see that the former meaning -- "humanity" or simply "a human being" is about twice as common at the meaning "husband of Eve."

In post #77 I looked in more detail at Genesis 1:26-27 -- the creation of humanity, and the first use of the word adam (here meaning "humanity, male and female") -- and at Genesis 6:5-7 where God, in the time of Noah, considered "the wickedness of adam [man, humankind] great in the earth", regretted making human beings, and said "I will destroy adam [man, humanity] whom I have created from the face of the earth; both adam [man], and beast" so that "every adam [human being]" died and "every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both adam [man, human beings], and cattle." These usages, it seems to me, clearly demonstrate what markedward, and I, had claimed, namely that the Hebrew word "adam" (H120) sometimes refers to a particular singular human being ("the husband of Eve") but often (and in fact more frequently) refers to humanity as a whole, or means simply "a human being". I am then perplexed by what it is that you disagree with in markedward's (and my) claim that "the Hebrew term adam is often used to refer to mankind as a whole."



It seems to me that if you wish to disagree, you need to present detailed support -- for instance support from the text of the Bible (here, the Hebrew text) -- and not just an unsupported assertion that "But Adam is referred to in Genesis as a literal man." As I take it what you mean by this sentence is something like "But Genesis, when it speaks of Adam, is referring to a single particular individual, not to humanity or human beings generally." (Please correct me, gently if possible, if I am misreading your thought here. I am doing my best to understand your meaning.)

In friendship, :hug:
Scruffy Kid




I give longer excerpts from posts #67 and #77, below, for reference.






I don't find discussion of whether Genesis is "literal" or "allegorical" a particularly helpful way of getting at what is going on in the text ... .

Let's start a different way: what are the first 11 chapters of the Bible getting at when speaking of (what our translations give us as) "man", or "adam"?

To even begin to address this question, we need to recall that the word translated "man" in these chapters is the same as the word "Adam". A different word for man (usually ish, Strong's 376, meaning "male human being") is used in verses 2:23-24, 4:1, 4:26, 6:9, and 9:5, and this and other words for "a man" or "men" or "human beings" are more often used after chapter 11. However, in these first 11 chapters the word adam (Strong's H120) is the word used, for the most part, when the text is referring to humanity generically. Thus Genesis 1:26-27 -- the creation of humanity in the 7-day creation narrative -- which is often translated

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.is readily misunderstood unless one understands that a more consistent (or, if you prefer, "literal" rendering of the text would say

And God said, Let us make adam in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created adam in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."Man" whom God creates male and female, in God's own image, is really the word adam: here adam is treated as meaning humanity, humanity male and female.

The word adam, in Genesis 1-11, is translated "man" or "men" in the KJV about 32 times, at 1:26, 1:27, 2:5, 2:7 (twice), 2:8, 2:16, 2:22 (twice), 2:25, 3:12, 3:22, 3:24, 5:1, 6:1, 6:2, 6:3, 6:4, 6:5, 6:6, 6:7 (twice) 7:21, 7:23, 8:21 (twice), 9:5 (twice), 9:6 (thrice), and 11:5. In a very few of these instances, it could be translated "Adam", meaning the particular person; but in most cases it seems to mean "mankind" or "humankind" or "humanity"; and that certainly is how it is used in 1:26-27, critical verses about the creation of humanity, and the word's first appearance in the text. That same word (adam) is translated "Adam" about 14 times, at 2:19 (twice), 2:20, 2:21, 2:23, 3:8, 3:20, 3:21, 4:1, 4:25, 5:1, 5:2, 5:3, and 5:4.


Certainly the Hebrew word adam is used in Genesis 1-3 (and elsewhere in the Bible) to refer to "humanity" or "humankind".

... More precisely: it clearly is the case that in Genesis 1-11 the word adam is often -- not always -- used to mean "humanity" or "humankind". ...
That word adam is also used to indicate a particular human being, in the narrative, that is the man whom we might describe as "the husband of Eve".

For instance Genesis 1:26-27 says:

And God said, Let us make adam in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created adam in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.The translation I've used here is the KJV, substituting adam (H120, what the Hebrew text says) for "man". Evidently "God created adam in his image ... male and female he created them." does not mean that God created the individual named "Adam" a hermaphrodite (male and female). The text refers to the adam God had created as "them". Surely, it means "humanity" or "humankind" here, does it not?

Again, Genesis 6:5-7 says:

And God saw that the wickedness of adam [man, humankind] [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made adam [man, human beings, humanity] on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy adam [man, humanity] whom I have created from the face of the earth; both adam, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. God then wipes out humankind, except for Noah and his family, and the text (7:21, 23) puts it this way:

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every adam [human being]: ... And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both adam [human beings], and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained [alive], and they that [were] with him in the ark.
Thus, as I also discussed in posts 67 and 68 above, there is really no doubt that the word adam (H120) is used to indicate "humanity", in general, or "human beings", or "a human person" throughout the Genesis 1-11 text, as well as being used at other points in those chapters to indicate a particular person (whom we might call "the husband of Eve").

John146
Jun 14th 2010, 05:47 PM
I brought this up earlier but it was never addressed. Don't 1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3:23-38 give strong evidence to show that Adam was a real individual person? Those passages show that, among others, Seth, Enoch, Methuseleh, Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, Elishah, Cush, Nimrod, Canaan, Terah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Esau, Judah, Boaz, Jesse, David, Nathan, Joshua, Zerubbabel, Nahum, Amos, Joseph and Jesus as having descended from Adam. If Adam was not a real individual person then could we try to say the same about any or all of the names listed as his descendants? I don't believe so. I believe the evidence is overwhelming that Adam was an individual person and that all people descend from him and Eve (Gen 3:20).

crawfish
Jun 14th 2010, 08:30 PM
I hold to the ANE (ancient Near Eastern) view - that God used human authors to communicate spiritual truths using their own language, skills, presuppositions and worldviews. This isn't allegory, as allegory suggests an intention to be symbolic. What it means is that Moses and the early authors described things in terms that had meaning to them, that may have not been "technically" right but communicated the proper message. Thus, Genesis 1 is not a blow-by-blow description of creation as it happened, but a description using ideas from the ANE cosmology of the Sumerians/Babylonians/Egyptians, stripping out the pagan elements but using them to describe God's activity. In my study, I've found that this view is not only the one that jibes with known reality (science) best but also presents the best hermeneutics.

However - this does not necessarily imply that A&E were fictional characters. There are plenty of ways to fit a non-literal view with real people that are supported by acceptable readings of the text. I think our biggest problem is that we've built a set of assumptions around the Genesis creation account that are accepted as no-brainers by most evangelicals that are actually not really supported by the text (no death before the fall, all humans descended from A&E, etc.) A true understanding requires that one step outside the box and look at the scripture anew, without assumptions.

crawfish
Jun 14th 2010, 08:37 PM
I brought this up earlier but it was never addressed. Don't 1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3:23-38 give strong evidence to show that Adam was a real individual person? Those passages show that, among others, Seth, Enoch, Methuseleh, Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, Elishah, Cush, Nimrod, Canaan, Terah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Esau, Judah, Boaz, Jesse, David, Nathan, Joshua, Zerubbabel, Nahum, Amos, Joseph and Jesus as having descended from Adam. If Adam was not a real individual person then could we try to say the same about any or all of the names listed as his descendants? I don't believe so. I believe the evidence is overwhelming that Adam was an individual person and that all people descend from him and Eve (Gen 3:20).

It's important to note that the purpose of both geneologies is not historical, it is legal. In Luke 3, Jesus is tied to David (as he must to fulfill prophecy), but is continued to Adam to point out that ultimately, Jesus was Lord of all men through Adam, the symbolic father of all mankind, Jews and Gentiles alike.

crawfish
Jun 14th 2010, 08:58 PM
I believe that those, including me, who defend a literal Adam and Eve, are arguing that an allegorical interpretation would, in fact, change the moral of the story. It makes all the difference to the significance of Job, whether Job actually existed or not. It makes all the difference to the significance of the story of Adam and Eve whether or not Adam actually existed. For instance, Paul argues in Romans 5 that Adam is a prototypical human being, which is highly significant to us if Adam actually existed but almost meaningless if he didn't.

A few years ago, a book called "A Million Easy Pieces" was released, obstensiably about the author's battle with drug addiction. It became a bestseller, and even Oprah lauded the book, citing how her entire staff were crying while reading it. It wasn't long, however, before the book's story fell apart and it was revealed the author had made quite a bit of it up. Oprah immediately recanted her support of the book, and the overall backlash was huge.

Now, I believe he got what he deserved, since he was presenting this story as real. However, what I would question is why the book was no longer inspiring simply because certain elements were not true? Was it not still the same story that had people weeping? Was it not still powerful? Why does the simple fact of something's truth sharpen or dull its meaning?

Fiction is powerful. Life is often messy and hard to translate literally to print. The best biopics tend to ignore great swaths of history, simplify elements of the subject's character or even alter chronology in order to tell a story with a focused purpose. The worst and most boring biopics tend to be the ones that follow most closely to the "reality" of one's life.

The point: if scripture is "making up" characters, or simplifying them, or altering the chronology of their lives, it is doing so in order to make its spiritual points more clearly. And, make no mistake, the spiritual points are the focus of the text, regardless of their actual historical content. The story of Job and of Jonah make the same points if they are real or not, and in either case the generalized notion of the character of each is still absolutely true. The story of Adam and Eve - literally meaning "mankind" and "life" - presents realities about God and man whether they existed in that form or not. If the fact they did not exist changes the message, we need to either re-evaluate the signs of the symbolic nature or re-evaluate the necessity of historical accuracy.

Matthehitmanhart
Jun 14th 2010, 09:22 PM
A thought I'm playing with presently is this: In Gen. 1:1-2:3, when God creates all the plants and all the living creatures, does He only make, for example, one male elephant and one female elephant, or does He make herds of elephants? Were there only two fig trees, and only two doves, or were there a multitude of fig trees, and swarms of doves? I think that the latter option is the one more likely to have occurred. Perhaps then, when God created man in 1:26-30, "male and female He created them", would it not be anachronistic to assume the "them" to be Adam and Eve? Perhaps, just perhaps, the "them" refers to more than just one male human and one female human, as with the vegetation and the animals? Perhaps God created many males and many females on the sixth day, and of them all, only Adam was subsequently placed in the Garden of God to till the soil? Would this not make more sense of Cain's fear (4:14) and Cain's wife (4:16-17), among several other things?

Not only would this allow Adam to remain a very real individual, from whom Jesus (the very real God-Man) branched from, but it would also, I think, answer many of the problems seen and voiced by those who might want to answer those problems by considering the account as an allegory of sorts. I'm also thinking that this is in the likeness of Abraham being called out of Ur, and the Hebrews being called out of Egypt. Eve being the mother of all the living would, in this case, be 1) a prophetic name given her by Adam (think of it - he could have named her "Death" or "Stumbling Block"!), in faith of the prophecy of her seed striking at the seed of the serpent (as opposed to simply stating that she was the only female in all the earth), and 2) a rhyming verse to the following one of God clothing them before sending them out of the Garden.

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this. Blessings to all.

Personally, I think the "creation account" of Genesis 1 reflects more of a functionally oriented cosmology than a materially oriented one, and that the point of the chapter is not "creation out of nothing" (after all, "in the beginning... the earth was desolate and bare", but materially existent nonetheless), but rather the establishment of the cosmos as dwelling place fit for YHWH to take up his residence (to "rest") and begin the expansion of his kingly reign. Not that Genesis 1 denies that YHWH originally created everything ex nihilo (the affirmation of which is fundamental to Judaism), but simply that its concern is focused elsewhere, namely on the inauguration of the earth as a temple in which God might rest and from which he might reign.

To use the analogy of the "creation" of a college, Genesis 1 would be focused more on the establishment of classes and the hiring of teachers for the school to function as a school than on the construction of the buildings. In our post-Enlightenment world we tend to focus more on the material than on the functional, and our reading of Genesis 1 has reflected this worldview, but which is really more important? Who cares about the building if there are no classes (the functions of a college) and no teachers (the functionaries of a college). It's not technically a college until all of those elements are in place and students are attending.

Similarly, I think the first three days of creation focus on the establishment of functions within the cosmos (assigning the roles of (1) night and day, to divide light from darkness, (2) the "firmament", to divide the waters above from the waters below, (3) separating bodies of water from the land, for vegetation to grow and make a place for land animals) and the second three days focus on the installment of functionaries into the respective spheres established in the first three days (assigning the roles of (4) lights to govern the sphere established in day 1, i.e. day and night, (5) creatures to inhabit the sphere established in day 2, i.e. the waters below and the face of the "firmament" above, and (6) creatures to inhabit the sphere established in day 3, i.e. dry land). The "creation" scene climaxes on day 6 in the establishment of humanity as the viceregents of YHWH in the government of creation, installed (of course) into the sphere established on day 3.

To anyone interested, I would highly recommend OT scholar John H. Walton's book, The Lost World of Genesis One.

losthorizon
Jun 14th 2010, 10:40 PM
[B]

I am then perplexed by what it is that you disagree with in markedward's (and my) claim that "the Hebrew term adam is often used to refer to mankind as a whole."

Hi Scruffy – hope all is well and the truth is I am just as perplexed as you are my friend. I think maybe you are making a straw-man here. I do not see anyone on this thread who denies the truth that ad'am can be used as a reference to mankind in general – it can and is so used. I believe the word is Babylonian in origin and simply means “red, ruddy or red-earth”. Strong included the word to mean “a human being, individual or the species, mankind.” Again, I see no one here disputing that truth.

My disagreement lies with the OP's notion that the “opening chapters” of Genesis must be understood through the “allegorical interpretation”. I would strongly disagree with that position. All of Genesis, including chapters 1-11 are clearly historical narrative. Those men who wrote the OT and the NT considered Adam to be a “real person” - the first ad'am (man) whom God created - a man formed out of the “red soil" (adamah - see Strong's Number 127) of the earth (God's play on words).

Thus the personal name, Adam is applied to the first ad'am (man) - a real man created by God from the red soil (clay). Holy Writ is clear - Adam was a real person - a literal, historical man that God breathed the breath of life into on the sixth day and made a “living soul”. He is as real as Peter, Paul and Mary. God's word remains true – Adam was the first created human.

What about you Sruff – in your theology was Adam the first man - a living soul created by God – a real historical person or was he simply a figment of God's imagination?

losthorizon
Jun 14th 2010, 10:47 PM
What "personal worldview" is this that you seem convinced I have, then, since you seem to know so much about it and my beliefs?


But I don't claim to know your worldview - you have refused to answer my questions about what you believe - therefore your worldview regarding creation remains unknown to me. Maybe you can answer my earlier questions.

losthorizon
Jun 14th 2010, 11:00 PM
I hold to the ANE (ancient Near Eastern) view - that God used human authors to communicate spiritual truths using their own language, skills, presuppositions and worldviews. This isn't allegory, as allegory suggests an intention to be symbolic. What it means is that Moses and the early authors described things in terms that had meaning to them, that may have not been "technically" right but communicated the proper message.


Hey crawfish - it's been awhile. Questions for you - do you not think Moses had the intelligence to understand whether or not God was referring to a real historical figure when He revealed the truth of Adam's creation from the earth? Did the ancient Near Easterners understand the difference between reality and allegory or were they not that sophisticated?

Doesn't your ANE require an allegorical Adam because your worldview of "Descent with Modification" prohibits a literal Adam created by God and you must have an Adam who shared a common ancestor with chimps? I don't want to hijack this thread and I already know the answers to the questions so you do not have to answer. Thanks for your input - I have missed discussing God's word with you.

markedward
Jun 14th 2010, 11:23 PM
My disagreement lies with the OP's notion that the “opening chapters” of Genesis must be understood through the “allegorical interpretation”.Nowhere did I state in the OP (or anywhere else in the thread) that "Genesis must be understood through the allegorical interpretation". I specifically stated that it was a belief that I am "moving towards", but I intentionally avoided giving specifics in the OP.

It is incredibly dishonest of you to outright distort the purpose of the OP merely to attack the position that the writer of the OP is "moving towards".


But I don't claim to know your worldview - you have refused to answer my questions about what you believe - therefore your worldview regarding creation remains unknown to me. Maybe you can answer my earlier questions.The questions about evolution? I did answer them, even when I specifically said that the thread's focus is not about evolution, but about Scripture itself. Perhaps I missed some other questions of yours? If so, I apologize. I am entirely open to answering questions if the person I am interacting with is willing to keep kind-words and kind-intent. Even despite my statement in the OP that the topic had nothing to do with evolution you insisted on bringing it in, which I found to be rude in itself. But in the post I am responding to here, you claimed that I said that "Genesis must be understood through the allegorical interpretation" when I said nothing resembling such a thing.

If you can not turn the topic in a direction I have no cares for, and if you can not perpetuate the falsehood you claimed above, and if you can remain kind in the discussion (you don't have to tear me down in order to disagree with me), then as I said, I am more than willing to engage in discussion with you and answer questions you have.

crawfish
Jun 14th 2010, 11:40 PM
Hey crawfish - it's been awhile. Questions for you - do you not think Moses had the intelligence to understand whether or not God was referring to a real historical figure when He revealed the truth of Adam's creation from the earth? Did the ancient Near Easterners understand the difference between reality and allegory or were they not that sophisticated?

Doesn't your ANE require an allegorical Adam because your worldview of "Dissent with Modification" prohibits a literal Adam created by God and you must have an Adam who shared a common ancestor with chimps? I don't want to hijack this thread and I already know the answers to the questions so you do not have to answer. Thanks for your input - I have missed discussing God's word with you.

Hi, LH. Took a hiatus for a while, glad to be back.

It has nothing to do with intelligence. Plato was no doubt far more intelligent than me, though I daresay I know quite a bit more than he did about the nature of the world around us. Our intelligence is based upon slowly building our knowledge over thousands of years, and I am a beneficiary of that.

We are also products of changes in thinking. The ancient peoples did not think of science and history the same way we do. We do not hear stories or value storytellers the way they did. We do not give the same symbolic meaning to numbers. Our way of thinking would be completely foreign to them, as their's is to us. Actually, it is probably the literalists who are not giving the ancients enough credit for intelligence; they were quite sophisticated in their thinking and the way they presented truth. It's just that they had never seen a satellite image of the earth. Never seen a table of elements. Writing was rare, and reading was only done by a very small minority. They came up with elaborate ways to describe the world around them. Think about the term "sunset" - in reality, it is wrong, because the sun does not set, the earth spins. However, it is a perfectly reasonable statement because from our perspective that is exactly the way it looks. The ancients, without telescopes or maps or anything else, spoke from their own perspectives, and were quite eloquent. The only mistake is for us to assume that they had some level of knowledge that would have been impossible for them to know otherwise.

And no, my ANE doesn't require a symbolic Adam (although it certainly doesn't require it). Perhaps Adam was the first hominid who was sophisticated enough to have a relationship with God. Perhaps Adam was created supernaturally but there were other humans on earth who evolved. I am still wrestling with all the implications of all views of Adam, and there is no "clean" view.

losthorizon
Jun 15th 2010, 12:10 AM
Nowhere did I state in the OP (or anywhere else in the thread) that "Genesis must be understood through the allegorical interpretation". I specifically stated that it was a belief that I am "moving towards", but I intentionally avoided giving specifics in the OP.

You stated you were “coming out the other end of the tunnel with vastly different beliefs than I held before”. “Vastly different” doesn't sound like you are "moving towards" anything – it sounds more like you are there in concrete.


It is incredibly dishonest of you to outright distort the purpose of the OP merely to attack the position that the writer of the OP is "moving towards".
No dishonesty and no attack - just asking the obvious. You do consider this topic to be highly controversial - right?


I am entirely open to answering questions if the person I am interacting with is willing to keep kind-words and kind-intent.

My words and intent were and remain kind. :)


Even despite my statement in the OP that the topic had nothing to do with evolution you insisted on bringing it in, which I found to be rude in itself.
It might be uncomfortable for you but it certainly is not rude and it has much to do with the topic for the obvious reasons as you well know – thus your 'disclaimer' of the “evolution debate” in the OP.


If you can not turn the topic in a direction I have no cares for, and if you can not perpetuate the falsehood you claimed above, and if you can remain kind in the discussion (you don't have to tear me down in order to disagree with me), then as I said, I am more than willing to engage in discussion with you and answer questions you have.
You're being over-sensitive – I have hardly 'torn you down'. I have simply asked you the obvious questions related to the OP and you did not want to go there. I kindly asked, what part of the literal history presented in Genesis 1-11 is not literal and I asked if your new allegorical theology that is vastly different from what you believed before the tunnel includes a shared common ancestor between man and chimp? It's a fair question. I also politely stated that if you didn't want to share that information that would be your prerogative.

losthorizon
Jun 15th 2010, 12:31 AM
Hi, LH. Took a hiatus for a while, glad to be back.


Well I am glad to see you back, brother – I hope you had a restful hiatus.


It has nothing to do with intelligence. Plato was no doubt far more intelligent than me, though I daresay I know quite a bit more than he did about the nature of the world around us. Our intelligence is based upon slowly building our knowledge over thousands of years, and I am a beneficiary of that.

While you may know more raw facts than Plato could ever imagine, you would agree that he knew the difference between a “real historical person” and an “allegorical character” as did Moses?


We are also products of changes in thinking. The ancient peoples did not think of science and history the same way we do.

But no one here is presenting the Bible as a science textbook. Do you find a conflict between science and God's word? For the record – evolutionism is metaphysical and cannot be consider “true science”. What part of Genesis 1-11 do you reject as historical narrative? Is the story of Abraham based on a historical man?


We do not hear stories or value storytellers the way they did. We do not give the same symbolic meaning to numbers.

Do you believe Jesus - the Son of God - was with God “in the beginning”? Do you think Jesus referred to Adam as an allegorical character or a historical man? Do you think Jesus thought other humans lived before Adam or did He consider Adam to be uniquely the first human - created in God's image?


And no, my ANE doesn't require a symbolic Adam (although it certainly doesn't require it). Perhaps Adam was the first hominid who was sophisticated enough to have a relationship with God. Perhaps Adam was created supernaturally but there were other humans on earth who evolved. I am still wrestling with all the implications of all views of Adam, and there is no "clean" view.
But you do admit that your worldview requires man and chimp to have a shared ancestor and man to be the by-product of descent with modification? Would your worldview cause you to reject Adam as being the "first man" out of hand? Do you think Adam had a father "after the flesh" as you and I have a father after the flesh?

Scruffy Kid
Jun 15th 2010, 12:43 AM
Thanks for your reply, losthorizon! :pp :pp :pp

Thanks for clarifying your point. If I now understand your position, it is that you agree that "the Hebrew term adam is often used to refer to mankind as a whole" and is so used quite a lot -- more often than not -- in the first 11 chapters of Genesis (since about 2/3 of the usages of H120 in those chapters bear that sense). From your previous post I thought you disagreed; that's why I said what I thought you were saying, and then asked for your corrections if I was misunderstanding you.

I don't think that the OP is saying that "the 'opening chapters' of Genesis must be understood through the 'allegorical interpretation'” as you seem to think he is. I thought that he said he was exploring, or rethinking the whole question.

I certainly don't think that the accounts in Genesis 1-11 are "figments of God's imagination", as you put it. I don't think anyone on the thread thinks that, or has indicated anything that could be construed that way. Your use of terms like "figments of God's imagination" is you way of re-interpreting the way people see the text who don't fully agree with you, I would submit, to put it in the worst, or most absurd, possible light. I really don't find that very helpful to discussion. Even if one's sole aim to refute the view of someone one disagrees with, it's usually best to take the most plausible and sympathetic reading possible of that view (the view one aims to refute). If one mischaracterizes that view, or presents it in a way which seems to those who hold it to be a kind of straw man, then they will not find what one says about it convincing, because they will perceive that one's own attempted refutation refutes not the view that they hold, but some other view which they don't hold. Thus the discussion isn't moved along.

In order to do my best to answer the questions you are raising, I must try to sketch possible views of the relationship between our thinking, and the Scriptures, and some of the things which the Scripture speaks of which are -- in my opinion -- a bit above our understanding. Only after doing that can I come back to try to address your questions.


Our knowledge -- including our knowledge from the Bible -- is limited
God's knowledge is complete and absolute
For God does not reveal everything to us

In general, the things of God far surpass human capacity to grasp. Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV) says

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Even Jesus' closest disciples often had difficulty understanding what God was saying to them, even after the Resurrection and Pentecost. Naturally, what God knows and thinks is quite a bit beyond what human beings can fully grasp. Much that is told us in the Bible is, to use Paul's term, a mystery -- a truth which surpasses our ability to fully comprehend it.

For instance, (point one) Christian faith tells us that there is but one God, yet also that God the Father, God the Son (our Lord Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit are each fully God, and are not the same as one another (for Christ, for instance, prays to the Father). Thus, there is a kind of complete unity in God, but also a kind of existence of these distinct persons -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That God is that way -- has revealed Himself in Scripture to be thus -- fits with many other things we know about God and his nature, but it does remain (from our point of view) paradoxical. Again, (point two) the Christian faith tells us that Christ is fully God and fully man (fully a human being). As God, Christ is immortal, omnipotent, omniscient, and beyond time and space; as a man, Christ died for us, grew in wisdom, and didn't know some things (so He tells us), and is located in time and space. Yet He is not two Christs, but one unified person. Again, this somewhat exceeds our ability to comprehend, but we faithfully believe what we are told. Also, (point three) the Bible tells us, repeatedly, that we are the body of Christ, members of him and members of one another. When Jesus speaks to Saul on the road to Damascus he says to Paul "Why are you persecuting me?" Saul's persecution, however, was a persecution of the church. This and various other things stated in Acts, and elsewhere, indicate that Christ dwells in his people in some way. But of course that's not the same as my saying or your saying "because I am a member of Christ's body, what I say has the same authority as what Christ said"! So there are ways in which we are members of Christ, and in which He dwells in us and we in him, and other ways in which we are quite distinct from Him.

As a matter of fact, these kinds of perplexing dualities or paradoxes are a feature of the physical world as scientifically observed, as well as a feature of the ultimate truth that the Bible reveals to us. Thus, experiments show that elementary particles -- light and electromagnetic waves (photos), electrons, protons and so on -- are in some respects like particles, but in other respects like waves. They don't behave just like anything that is a part of our experience, and so we cannot conceive exactly what is going on with them, and their behavior is, in some regards, impossible to describe or predict. (This can be an uncomfortable thing to someone who grew up thinking that atoms were just like little solar systems, or that the basic constituents of matter function kind of like machines with gears and levers do.) If even the very basic matter that makes up our physical world is, in some ways, too subtle or different from our experience for us to grasp, it should hardly surprise us that God is quite a bit beyond our comprehension!

The Bible is given us by God to tell us what we need to know about certain important spiritual realities and truths.

It is not there to answer every question we might have, however. Thus, there are a lot of things about Jesus' life which we might wish to know, between ages 1 and 12, or 12 and 30; but the Bible tells us only a very little. (We know that He made his living as an ordinary workman, a builder or carpenter, just as Joseph, his foster-father had, and lived in Nazareth. But not much else.) There are a lot of things about the early church we might want to know; but for the most part all we know is what's said in the Epistles and Acts. There's a lot we might want to know about theological points, but often these are disputed, and in other cases we really don't know much at all.

Does that bother me? No, of course not! I know that God knows all things, and that I cannot know all things. There's lots of truth which is too deep for my mind. Other truths are exceed my depth not so much because of my mental limits, as because of the limits of my character. Do I fully grasp what Christ means when He tells me to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Of course, I understand the words, in some sense, and believe him, and in a sense try to follow him. But I know that my "best efforts" are very very far even from what I should be capable of, and of what some fine Christians have done, let alone of the depth of love to which He graciously calls us. (Thus John's epistle (chapter 4) says: "God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God and God abides in that person also. ... This is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and gave His son to be the propitiation for our sins!") That doesn't mean that we should give up on loving God and following Him, of course, or that we know nothing about what godly love is. It does mean, I think, that our knowledge is very circumscribed! As Paul says (I Cor. 13), also talking about love, "we know in part, and prophecy in part, but when that which is complete comes, that which is partial will be done away with."


One of the mysterious things in Scripture is the relation
between individual persons and larger wholes

As noted above, God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, distinct and in a community of love, yet one God. As noted above, Christ is both God and man (anthropos, human), yet one Christ. As noted above, we are members of Christ's body, the Church, and He dwells in us and we in Him -- yet we are also distinct from Him.

This kind of complex situation -- in which collectivities have an aspect of being made up of distinct individuals, and an aspect of being wholes -- occurs throughout Scripture. "Israel", or "Jacob", refers both to particular individuals and to the collective body of their descendants. The same is true of other nations. And this is not just a matter of words: there are important spiritual realities being referred to here as well. Thus, for instance, Amos, rebukes the nation of Edom (the descendants of Esau) because of the way Edom pursued Israel with the sword, saying "he pursued his brother with the sword", because Esau (Edom) was the brother of Jacob (Israel). The descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are special to God for their Fathers' sakes. This doesn't fit particularly well with individualistic modern (especially American) culture -- it generally makes more sense to Africans and Asians -- but it is the way the Bible talks.

Each of us, of course, is an individual who stands before God; but also we are members of one another, and responsible for one another, and our lives are bound up together. We are, in some ways, co-responsible for one another. Arguably, it is the denial of this which leads Cain to murder Abel.


What is the usage of words like adam (H120), adamah (ground), dawm (blood),
and shem (name), abram/abraham (great father, father of a multitude), and so on, in Scripture

I believe the Scripture to be literally (that is -- "letter by letter") inspired by God. It says just what God intended it to say. (That is quite different from saying that I don't think figurative language is being used, or denying that poetic narrative is used by God where that is the most precise and useful way to present truths that the Scripture gives us.) For just this reason, I think the words, and the shape of the narrative as it is presented in the early chapters of Genesis are hugely significant. For instance, I think that the doctrine of the fall corrupting human nature is clearly set forth in the way the term adamah (ground) is used in conjuction with the word adam (H120), and in the statement that "the ground is cursed because of you" -- as I set out in posts #67 and #68 above.

Thus, the fact that adam (H120) is used both to indicate a particular personage in the Genesis 2-4 narrative, and also used to indicate -- from its first appearance at Genesis 1:26-27 -- humanity as a whole is a part of the way that the Bible chooses to speak truthfully to us about the complex meaning and significance, and history, of human origins.

Genesis clearly ascribes to our first ancestors a horrendous sin and blunder -- basically, rebelling against God, disbelieving Hm, disobeying Him, and not trusting Him, and even seeking to put ourselves in His place. It is clearly saying that this rebellious usurpation caused spiritual death to all humankind. It is clearly saying that the Evil One (Satan) played a destructive part in that. It is clearly indicating God's love, and intention to restore humankind, from the very beginning. I think it is clear that the inversion of obedience -- with humanity, charged with the rule of creation, listening to the voice of Devil rather than God's voice -- had a disastrous effect upon the whole creation, and also in some way cut us off from God, and put the world, including ourselves, into the power of the Evil One. I think it is clearly telling us that alienation of man -- humanity, ourselves -- each from him or herself, from one another, from the earth, from God was a result of this Fall. I think it is clearly telling us that, as Jesus put it, the Devil "was a liar and a murderer from the beginning".

In setting out these basics, I think the text is also doing quite a lot more, by way of teaching us basic truths which we would not be able to firmly grasp without this revelation from God. I think it is contrasting the Holy character of God, as expressed in the eternal and temporal humility of Christ Jesus (in Phil. 2, for instance) with the self-exalting tendencies in man, and in the Devil. I think it is telling us important things about the need for us to take our self-definition from God, rather than seeking to grasp for ourselves the definition of what is right and wrong (i.e. take and eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.) I think that it is telling us that the fundamental fault of Adam and Eve -- self-exaltation, and attempted self-definition -- is recapitulated at collective levels later, for instance in the account we are given of the tower of Babel. I think that this is very carefully and purposefully contrasted not only with Pentecost, but also with the succeeding call of Abraham in Genesis 12. These chapters are, in my opinion, obviously God-breathed and full of Divinely revealed truth. I think about them all the time, and try to learn from them, not only in regard to my own life, but in regard to human history and politics.

However, I think that the text may leave open whether the events it narrates are narrated in the way we would make historical accounts, or whether they represent the fundamental truths that God is revealing here more indirectly. I don't think that it is necessary -- though it is possible -- to suppose that the garden and the ground that God is referring to in Genesis 2-3 is a specific plot of ground. I that it is possible -- though it is not necessary -- to view the term adam as referring to original humanity, consisting of a group of people, as well as to see it referring to a particular person who was the ruler and father of that group. I think that that is a plausible reading of I Cor. 15 (the primary place in the NT where it refers to Adam, and contrasts the first Adam with Christ as the final adam, the final embodiment of humanity) as well as of the Genesis text.

I don't really know, and -- as HisLeast has said several times, also -- I don't greatly care.

What I care about is understanding the message of salvation, and the nature and origins of humankind, and of our brokenness, and of how God works with us, as these are revealed in the Genesis text. I have said quite a lot about how I think God is communicating such truths to us. I think these theological truths in Genesis 1-11 -- truthfully, inerrantly, perspicuously, powerfully reveled in Genesis 1-11 -- are very, very important, and very much underdiscussed.

In friendship, :hug:
Scruffy Kid

PS. I may have to bow out of this discussion now, because of time constraints in regards to my job, etc. SK

markedward
Jun 15th 2010, 01:20 AM
You stated you were “coming out the other end of the tunnel with vastly different beliefs than I held before”. “Vastly different” doesn't sound like you are "moving towards" anything – it sounds more like you are there in concrete.Regardless of how you (erroneously) interpreted what I said of my own beliefs, nowhere did I say that "Genesis must be understood through the allegorical interpretation" like you claimed. Hence, you claimed something absolutely false, and that you refuse to admit as much is dishonest.


You do consider this topic to be highly controversial - right?I recognize that people react to it as a controversial topic. Which is why I specifically asked in the OP for people to remain respectful toward each other, and to not slander each other, or to falsely accuse each other of things.


It might be uncomfortable for youIt's not uncomfortable for me to discuss evolution. However, it is not relevant to the present discussion, and I expect you to respect my request to leave it out of the discussion. Can you respect that request?


but it certainly is not rude and it has much to do with the topic for the obvious reasons as you well know – thus your 'disclaimer' of the “evolution debate” in the OP.So you're again claiming to know something about me, and what you claim to know about me is the exact opposite of what I have said of myself?


I have simply asked you the obvious questions related to the OP and you did not want to go there.Because it's not relevant here. Are you aware that people have interpreted the opening chapters of Genesis in allegorical manners for centuries, long before the idea of "evolution" was ever a concept known to the public. Hence, if allegorical interpretations have existed for centuries before evolution was studied, then evolution is not relevant to the discussion. Do you understand, now, why I don't want evolution to be a part of the present discussion? Because the connection you're attempting to making between the two is historically unnecessary.


I kindly asked, what part of the literal history presented in Genesis 1-11 is not literalI have not studied much beyond chapter 4. However, several of the things I have studied in the chapters up to chapter 11 indicate to me that things may not be absolutely historical, but rather ahistorical, or a mixture of both; however God directed it to come to be.


and I asked if your new allegorical theology ... includes a shared common ancestor between man and chimp?I answered this already: I am unstudied about anything regarding "evolution" other than the basics of what it teaches, and hence, I have no opinion regarding its validity. If evolution is false (the belief I fall under, simply out of traditional Christian upbringing), then it has no effect on how I study of Scripture. If evolution is true (the belief I do not fall under, simply because I don't blindly accept things I haven't studied in-depth), then it has no effect on how I study Scripture.

crawfish
Jun 15th 2010, 01:47 AM
While you may know more raw facts than Plato could ever imagine, you would agree that he knew the difference between a “real historical person” and an “allegorical character” as did Moses?

I would not agree that Moses or any of his contemporaries would view history the way we do, in a literal, factual way. Events would be told for spiritual/symbolic purposes rather than historical function. Now, Moses would have viewed Adam as a real person of history, but I'm certain even that would have the same meaning as it does to us.



But no one here is presenting the Bible as a science textbook. Do you find a conflict between science and God's word? For the record – evolutionism is metaphysical and cannot be consider “true science”. What part of Genesis 1-11 do you reject as historical narrative? Is the story of Abraham based on a historical man?


I've answered this in a post above. It's not historical narrative, it is theology delivered from an ANE perspective.


Do you believe Jesus - the Son of God - was with God “in the beginning”? Do you think Jesus referred to Adam as an allegorical character or a historical man? Do you think Jesus thought other humans lived before Adam or did He consider Adam to be uniquely the first human - created in God's image?


I believe that Jesus referred to Adam in methods consistent with application of the basic theological principles that Adam represented. They do not imply historical truth. I do not know how Jesus as both man and God played into what he knew - was he limited to the immediate knowledge like any normal man, or was he able to access "all knowledge" like a supernatural database? Was God's revelation to him limited to what he should know for his immediate situation or did he know all things even as a human? There is no way of knowing the extent of Jesus' knowledge of things beyond what we read, so there is no reason to read anything more into his statements than what was intended.


But you do admit that your worldview requires man and chimp to have a shared ancestor and man to be the by-product of descent with modification? Would your worldview cause you to reject Adam as being the "first man" out of hand? Do you think Adam had a father "after the flesh" as you and I have a father after the flesh?

Our conversations will go much better if you don't attempt to put words into my mouth. I said what I said, and I admitted that I'm still working with the details. If you want to know exactly what I believe, it is one of four things:

1) Adam was the first human being in a fully supernatural creation. Or
2) Adam was the first hominid capable of self-awareness and grasping the concept of God. Or
3) Adam was a special creation, he was driven from the garden with Eve, and was placed into the rest of an evolved humanity. Or
4) Adam, like his name, is symbolic of "Mankind", and no person by that name existed.

I hope that clears things up.

RogerW
Jun 15th 2010, 01:58 AM
How many of you hold to the "historical" belief of Genesis, and how many to the "allegorical" belief, and how many to whatever a third (or more) option might be?

In the last several months I have been studying, and re-examining my beliefs on the opening chapters of Genesis, and coming out the other end of the tunnel with vastly different beliefs than I held before. Namely, I find myself moving toward the conclusion that the opening chapters of Genesis are depicting something more allegorical (i.e. non-literal), rather than actual history.

(For those who would try to pin it on me, my shift in beliefs has absolutely nothing to do with the evolution debate. Any chances in my beliefs have come strictly from examining the text at hand. As such, if you oppose the allegorical interpretation of Genesis' opening chapters, don't try to throw that down at me, because it's entirely irrelevant as far as I care.)

Hopefully, this thread can serve as a healthy, edifying discussion between the various interpretations. No wild accusations, no slandering, no hate.

Voting results are private.

Markedward, would you mind sharing why it is so important to you that Genesis be interpreted as allegorical?

Blessings,
RW

losthorizon
Jun 15th 2010, 02:39 AM
I don't think that the OP is saying that "the 'opening chapters' of Genesis must be understood through the 'allegorical interpretation'” as you seem to think he is. I thought that he said he was exploring, or rethinking the whole question.


I don't want to put words into the OP's mouth as I have been accused of doing so I will limit myself to his words but he states that his position before the tunnel and after the tunnel is “vastly different” and in favor of the allegorical interpretation for reasons not yet disclosed. He makes it appears as through his exploration may be about over.


I certainly don't think that the accounts in Genesis 1-11 are "figments of God's imagination", as you put it.
You misunderstand – I use “figment of the imagination” in the sense of “myth”.
myth – an ancient story dealing with ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people.

The Bible is given us by God to tell us what we need to know about certain important spiritual realities and truths.
But 95% of the Bible deals with historical narrative as seen in Genesis 1-11. What part of those chapters do you consider to be myth? Why would God present Adam as a historical person if he were really only a myth? Do you think God is concerned with historical accuracy in His revelation to man?


I that it is possible -- though it is not necessary -- to view the term adam as referring to original humanity, consisting of a group of people, as well as to see it referring to a particular person who was the ruler and father of that group.

So the “first Adam” was a group of people or a ruler? Do you think that is what Jesus thought of “Adam” or did Jesus consider Adam to be an actual man who lived at a specific time in history? I will have to go with real person - specific historical time just as the historical context indicates.

losthorizon
Jun 15th 2010, 02:52 AM
Our conversations will go much better if you don't attempt to put words into my mouth.


I don't think I am putting words in your mouth at all – remember, we have had detailed discussions regarding evolutionism many times in the past. For the record - can you clarify your position for us – does your worldview include the notion that man and chimp have a shared ancestor and where does God come into play between that common ancestor and Adam?


If you want to know exactly what I believe, it is one of four things:

1) Adam was the first human being in a fully supernatural creation. Or
2) Adam was the first hominid capable of self-awareness and grasping the concept of God. Or
3) Adam was a special creation, he was driven from the garden with Eve, and was placed into the rest of an evolved humanity. Or
4) Adam, like his name, is symbolic of "Mankind", and no person by that name existed.

I hope that clears things up.

Clear as mud. ;)



Hint - door number 1 - Adam was the first human being in a fully supernatural creation.

BadDog
Jun 15th 2010, 02:53 AM
In a more literalistic reading, God starts out as revealing himself universally to mankind, and allowing knowledge of him to diminish drastically, even though everyone was aware of his existence. Even the wicked knew he was there, they simply sinned against him because they were inclined to do so. In a more non-literal reading, God essentially started very locally in revealing himself and gradually moved outward over the course of history.
Why would one be more non-literal and the other literal. What if Gods' plan was to reveal Himself just as set out in scripture? I have a question: if NT scripture corraborates the OT, then what? Is the NT then in error, or allegorical as well?

Thx,

BD

Nihil Obstat
Jun 15th 2010, 03:05 AM
The problem I see with this is, the Bible states that sin entered the world thru Adam. The only way that sin could be passed on, would be thru procreation. Think of it like a computer virus and a network of computers. The network of cpmputers would equal these other alleged ppl God created. So the question is, how were these other people infected with Adam's sin, if they didn't come thru him? If there is a computer virus that is affecting computers on a network, what about computers that might not be connected to this network, or any network at all? How could the virus spread to them? It couldn't. The same thing with Adam.

Sin is absolutely not passed on through procreation. Sin is not 'passed on' at all. Consequences for sin are passed on, yes, but not sin itself.


Picture this in your mind. God creates myriads of people. There is no sin in the world whatsoever. Adam sins. Magically, at the same time even, out of the clear blue sky, these others that God created, they start sinning too, because Adam sinned. How in the world did that happen? That would be like a computer that is not hooked up to the same network, all of a sudden, getting the exact same virus, the network of computers did, right after they did. It's not even logical or possible.

And yet what do you make of Rom. 8:19-23? When was creation subjected to futility? When, by Adam, sin entered, and by sin, death - that'd be my guess, anyway. Do you disagree? If not, then what would be different if he and Eve were not the only two humans on the planet?

losthorizon
Jun 15th 2010, 03:55 AM
Sin is absolutely not passed on through procreation. Sin is not 'passed on' at all. Consequences for sin are passed on, yes, but not sin itself.


Good point. Man is responsible for his own sins.


And yet what do you make of Rom. 8:19-23? When was creation subjected to futility? When, by Adam, sin entered, and by sin, death - that'd be my guess, anyway. Do you disagree? If not, then what would be different if he and Eve were not the only two humans on the planet?
Are you saying Adam and Eve are a historical husband and wife who lived at a specific time in history? That's a novel idea.

BadDog
Jun 15th 2010, 04:29 AM
I am heavily leaning to the idea that Adam and Eve were not individuals as we commonly think of them, but more so ideas, concepts, symbols (or whatever term best fits) in a message that speaks louder through narrative than through plain speech.

For example, though I believe God created all things instantly, we really wouldn't learn much if Genesis 1 consisted entirely of "God created all things. Now, moving on..." Rather, though I take the six-day creation account to be non-literal, the message it conveys becomes much clearer for me by (a) reading it in the context of the world of the ancient Israelites, and (b) what it means about God to have created the world the way he did. The meaning I draw out of it is (a) one all-powerful God created all things alone without effort (directly contradicting the feeble polytheistic worldview surrounding Israel), and (b) God created things with order and structure and purpose (directly contradicting the rather arbitrary and directionless existence of creation in the views of the surrounding cultures, where the gods can't get along, let alone handle human existence properly).

I haven't moved on to studying the flood in-depth yet, but I have noticed interesting parallels between the people (not the events) of chapter 4 and chapter 5 that I think at least raises some questions to the historical reading.
Mark,

Very interesting ideas. I do hold to a general historical view of Genesis, but I think the idea of having a thread in which Christians are encouraged to really think this through is to be commended. This is an excellent idea for a thread. Though you will find that a very high percentage of people here hold to a literal interpretation of most of Genesis. I am actually surprised that the moderators allowed this thread; though I am glad they did.

Personally FWIW I will allow a more allegorical handling of 1:1 - 2:4 and the creation account, for those who see it that way, though Adam and Eve must be seen as literal people else it impacts our soteriology. But after that, we need to treat the text as it appears to be attempting to present itself--in a more literal manner. The arguments that the creation account was intended to be more allegorical, whose main purpose was to set up the need for a Savior and show man's sin problem is strong IMO. But the text after that seems to be presenting itself in a manner that would encourage treating it like history. Why all of the genealogies otherwise?

I believe that sound hermeneutics tells us to search for the plain natural reading of the text. I will share a few texts from the NT in which various authors of the NT speak of Adam and Noah as real historical people and the flood as a world-wide cataclysmic event. We need to then ask ourselves what sort of reading does the NT assume about the OT Genesis accounts?

Adam:

Luke 3:38 [son] of Enos, [son] of Seth, [son] of Adam, [son] of God.
The genealogy includes a literal Seth and Adam. Yes, the word for Adam in Hebrew essentially refers to mankind, though that might be expected as a name for the first human being.

Romans 5:14 Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam's transgression. He is a prototype of the Coming One.
Adam sinned in some specific manner, which apparently many of us have not done. If he represents mankind allegorically, then how could that be?

1 Timothy 2:13, 14 For Adam was created first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed.
If Adam is just representative of mankind, then why say that Adam was not deceived, while his wife, Eve, was? That makes no sense for allegorical humanity.

Jude 1:14 And Enoch, in the seventh [generation] from Adam, prophesied about them: Look! The Lord comes with thousands of His holy ones.
Apparently Enoch, the father of Methuselah (or at least the ancestor), was the 7th generation from Adam. Pretty specific for allegory. To say that God would give specific details that are not true to make a better story just doesn't fly.


Noah:

Matthew 24:37, 38 As the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah boarded the ark.
Noah and the flood are assumed to be literal.

Luke 3:36 [son] of Cainan, [son] of Arphaxad, [son] of Shem, [son] of Noah, [son] of Lamech,
As with Adam and Enoch, here we see Noah listed in the genealogy from Adam. Why list in a genealogy unless you wanted to verify that he was an actual living person?

Luke 17:26, 27 "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man: people went on eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day Noah boarded the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
This is our Lord talking... He speaks of Noah as a real person, and the events of the flood as real. Now one might make an argument that the flood was not universal, but to argue that Noah never actually existed, and that the flood was allegorical is certainly not the natural reading of this text. (Though if it covered the tops of all the local mountains, then mathematically it can be shown that it must have been worldwide.)

Hebrew 11:7 By faith Noah, after being warned about what was not yet seen, in reverence built an ark to deliver his family. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
The author of Hebrews treats Noah as a real individual.

1 Peter 3:20 who in the past were disobedient, when God patiently waited in the days of Noah while an ark was being prepared; in it, a few -- that is, eight people -- were saved through water.
Peter viewed Noah as a real individual, as well as a literal, historical cataclysmic event... the flood.

2 Peter 2:5 and if He didn't spare the ancient world, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others, when He brought a flood on the world of the ungodly.
If we hold to a local flood, then how do we treat this "world of the ungodly?" Shouldn't we allow the natural reading to prevail?


Also, regarding the flood, consider the following:


2 Peter 3:3-7 First, be aware of this: scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, following their own lusts, saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation." They willfully ignore this: long ago the heavens and the earth existed out of water and through water by the word of God. Through these the world of that time perished when it was flooded by water. But by the same word the present heavens and earth are held in store for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
Here we see that the world was destroyed by a flood, and in the future it will be destroyed again by fire. Now, should we consider that fire to be local as well? Later in the same chapter this is reinforced, where we see that it is the entire earth which will be destroyed by fire before the creation of a new earth and heaven:

2 Peter 3:10-13 But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief;F18 on that [day] the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, [it is clear] what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness as you wait for and earnestly desire the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be on fire and be dissolved, and the elements will melt with the heat. But based on His promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell.

Genesis 9:8-13 Then God said to Noah and his sons with him, "Understand that I am confirming My covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you -- birds, livestock, and all wildlife of the earth that are with you -- all the animals of the earth that came out of the ark. I confirm My covenant with you that never again will all flesh be wiped out by the waters of a deluge; there will never again be a deluge to destroy the earth."
And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all future generations: I have placed My bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.
The Covenant God made to Noah was an everlasting covenant made with Noah and his descendants—all of humanity from that time onward. God promised unconditionally that never again would He destroy the earth and all the flesh on it with a flood. As a sign of the covenant, God prepared the rainbow as a reminder to humanity from then on that he would never destroy the earth by flood again. Now why provide such a sign if it only impacts a local part of the world?



Finally, how did Paul view Genesis? Well, we know a little about what he thought concerning the fall.
Paul and the fall:


Romans 8:19-23 For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God's sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility -- not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it -- in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God's children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits -- we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.


Mark, you've asked some good questions, and we should not be afraid to genuinely consider them. Otherwise, how real is our faith? Faith is not blind. I have no issue with asking whether or not God intended much of Genesis as allegory. I just find the natural reading and the assumption of some of the NT authors to be that it was literal and historical as well. You may want to research what Christian archeologists have discovered regarding some of the peoples of Genesis.

Thx,

BD

BadDog
Jun 15th 2010, 04:36 AM
Markedward, would you mind sharing why it is so important to you that Genesis be interpreted as allegorical?

Blessings,
RW
Roger,

Good question. I think that at least one of the reasons is that he sees some of the text as naturally allegorical.

BD

Nihil Obstat
Jun 15th 2010, 04:47 AM
Are you saying Adam and Eve are a historical husband and wife who lived at a specific time in history? That's a novel idea.

Yes. Whether they were the sole two humans on the earth to have been created on day six is what I myself am wondering. And that is a novel idea.

BadDog
Jun 15th 2010, 05:18 AM
For those who may be interested, Bob Deffinbaugh writes an excellent article here specifically about the creation account, but much of it applies beyond:

http://bible.org/seriespage/creation-heavens-and-earth-genesis-11-23

Here's an excerpt:

We have failed to study Genesis one in its historical context. I suppose that it is easy to commit such an error here. We may doubt that there is any historical background. Or we may conclude that this is precisely the purpose of the chapter—to give us a historical account of creation.

The background which is vital to our grasp of the meaning and message of creation is that of those who first received this book. Assuming Moses to be the author of Genesis, the book most likely would have been written sometime after the Exodus and before the entrance to the land of Canaan. What was the situation at the time of the writing of this creation account? Who received this revelation and what needs were to be met by it? This is crucial to rightly interpreting and applying the message of the creation.

BD

markedward
Jun 15th 2010, 05:21 AM
Markedward, would you mind sharing why it is so important to you that Genesis be interpreted as allegorical?I'm not sure I understand your question fully; could you clarify it for me? Are you asking if I think it is important to "spread the word" regarding an allegorical interpretation (I don't; I advocate discussion on Scriptural interpretation, not forcing one interpretation over others*), or are you asking what about the text of Genesis has thus far lent to my shift towards an allegorical reading? Thanks.

*Lest those opposing interpretations so blatantly challenge the Christian foundation: (1) The triune nature of the single, eternal, all-powerful God; (2) The atoning death of Jesus Christ; (3) The resurrection of Jesus Christ; (4) The resurrection of those whom Jesus Christ has promised to save.

RogerW
Jun 15th 2010, 01:16 PM
I'm not sure I understand your question fully; could you clarify it for me? Are you asking if I think it is important to "spread the word" regarding an allegorical interpretation (I don't; I advocate discussion on Scriptural interpretation, not forcing one interpretation over others*), or are you asking what about the text of Genesis has thus far lent to my shift towards an allegorical reading? Thanks.

*Lest those opposing interpretations so blatantly challenge the Christian foundation: (1) The triune nature of the single, eternal, all-powerful God; (2) The atoning death of Jesus Christ; (3) The resurrection of Jesus Christ; (4) The resurrection of those whom Jesus Christ has promised to save.

Actually I was wondering if perhaps I am missing something from the text. I've heard others teach an allegorical interpretation, but almost always they do so in order to fit their preconcieved theology. Since you don't appear to promote a particular theology, I'm curious as to why you would begin to doubt the historicity of Genesis. Some here, including you claim a natural reading of Genesis inclines one toward allegory. I don't see that at all. And apparently you haven't always seen that either.

So what about the text makes you turn from historical to allegory? For instance what about the text makes you see the six day creation as non-literal? Even if the purpose of the creation account is to show that "God created things with order and structure and purpose", isn't it still necessary to take six literal days into account? If God says He created all things in six days, and then rested on the seventh day, what in the text itself would lead you to a non-literal six day creation? Is there anything in the text itself to make you think that Adam and Eve were not meant to be seen as literal, but as mankind in general?

What am I missing, because I just don't get allegory from the text itself. I could of course bring an allegorical reading into the text through outside influence, so I'm wondering if your allegorical conclusions are drawn from the text itself, or from other sources, or even from other parts of Scripture???

Many Blessings,
RW

markedward
Jun 15th 2010, 07:53 PM
Actually I was wondering if perhaps I am missing something from the text. I've heard others teach an allegorical interpretation, but almost always they do so in order to fit their preconcieved theology. Since you don't appear to promote a particular theology, I'm curious as to why you would begin to doubt the historicity of Genesis. Some here, including you claim a natural reading of Genesis inclines one toward allegory. I don't see that at all. And apparently you haven't always seen that either.To be honest, I haven't ever been wholly convinced of a literal reading. The classic questions hovered over me even from the time I first began reading the Bible: Why are the chronologies of chapter 1 and chapter 2 so opposite? Why is it a snake and not Satan we're seeing? Where did Cain's wife come from? Who are the people he's afraid of? A more literal, absolutely chronological reading attempts to provide answers for these, but even though I would repeat those answers if asked, I myself was never fully convinced of them.


So what about the text makes you turn from historical to allegory?First and foremost is the presentation; the method of narration in the opening chapters of Genesis is radically different from those chapters following. In other words, Genesis 1-11 places itself under a genre far different from Genesis 12-50. A different genre requires a different way of looking at things.


For instance what about the text makes you see the six day creation as non-literal? Even if the purpose of the creation account is to show that "God created things with order and structure and purpose", isn't it still necessary to take six literal days into account?Is it necessary to believe that a piece of bread and a drink of wine are literally Christ's body and blood, for us to partake in communion? By context, we see that the bread and wine merely signify something other than themselves, being the act of Christ's sacrifice for sins. Similarly, it is possible that the seven days of Genesis 1 merely signify something other than themselves, being the ordering of God's creation and allowing for the precedent of the calendar week by which the Israelites followed under the Law.

Aside: Even ancient Jews and ancient Christians recognized this. In his book Jewish Antiquities, the first-century Jewish historian Josephus recounts the creation week, and when he turns to the story of Adam and Eve, he says that, "Here Moses begins to talk philosophically." His contemporary Philo interpreted Genesis 1 as allegorical, citing the use of numbers as his reasoning. Origen likewise interpreted Genesis 1 allegorically, using the common reason on how light (day 1) could precede the objects which emit light (day 4). He also suggested that the story of Adam and Eve was non-literal, stating, "I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance and not literally." Augustine interpreted Psalm 33.6-9 as describing an instantaneous creation of all things, and that the creation week should be interpreted allegorically. His reasoning was that God gave us the creation week of Genesis 1 to describe the framework of creation, rather than a literal description of its beginnings.
In comparison to Genesis 2, I do not see the necessity in interpreting Genesis 1 as literal, because their chronologies are at odds with each other if one or both are taken literally. One must perform incredible linguistic gymnastics to reconcile them together. This would lead me to the idea that one (or both, depending on individual merits) is non-literal in its presentation... not non-literal in its message.


Is there anything in the text itself to make you think that Adam and Eve were not meant to be seen as literal, but as mankind in general?In that I am not limiting myself to merely Genesis 2-3...

Genesis 1 refers to how God created "adam ... male and female he created them". Here, a plurality of adam is found. In Genesis 5, we are told again, "Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them adam when they were created." In the surrounding text, beyond the individual story of Adam and Eve, the narrative refers to adam as being a "them".

Let's compare, for a moment, Ezekiel 16. Although the text itself does not state that we are being told an allegory, it is clear from the rest of Scripture that it is. Ezekiel 16 tells us the origins of the city of Jerusalem as the home of God's Covenant people. However, the narrative tells us the story of a woman who was raised by God from infancy, became his wife, and then became an adulterer. In the allegory, a single woman summarizes the whole populace of the city of Jerusalem through Jerusalem's origins and fall into idolatry, so we are not surprised that this woman is named "Jerusalem". Likewise, if we were to instead read an allegory about the origins of Man and his fall into sin, summarized in the actions of a single man, we would not be surprised that this man's name is "Man"... and that's what we have in Genesis 2-3.

Extending into chapter 4, I find that all of the names are far too coincidental in comparison to the details provided about the individuals bearing those names.

Imagine, for a moment, you met an extensive family, and being introduced to each person you began to notice a pattern. You meet a man named who was named Father when he was born, and he is the patriarch of the family. You meet his wife, who was named Mother when she was born. You meet Father's son who was named Painter at birth, and he happens to be a professional artist. You meet Father's daughter who was named Dancer at birth, and she happens to perform ballet for a living. You meet another son named Sloth at birth, and learn that he has been a lazy bum his entire life. You meet a third son, who was named Wealthy at birth, and learn that he just so happened to come up with a genius invention and became insanely rich from it. And after being introduced to the family, you learn about their brother Brief, and how he died when he was only a child, having drowned in a river named Drowning. Would it not be a major coincidence that these peoples' names "just so happen" to describe the lives they led? If you didn't know any better, you'd say that these names were given to them only after the goals they had achieved. But no, they insist that each of them has had their names since birth.

This is the dilemma that comes up when I read Genesis 4. We've already met a man named Man (Adam), and a child-bearing woman named Life-Giving (Eve). But now we have a man named Possession (Cain), who possesses land to farm. We have a man named Breath (Abel), who tends to creatures with the breath of life, and his own life was as brief as a breath [Psalm 39.5]. Cain is cursed to wander the earth, and he happens to go to a region named Wandering (Nod). Cain has a son whom he names Dedication (Enoch), and then he dedicates a city's name after his son's name. After a few generations, we are then told of a man named Powerful (Lamech), who happened to overpower and kill a man.

We are also told of his sons. There is Stream-Of-Water (Jubal), whose children were nomadic herdsmen (living near rivers). There is Flow (Jabal), whose children played music and instruments. And there is Scoria-Smith (Tubal-Cain; the whole name seems to be of non-Hebrew origin), who happens to be a bronze-smith and iron-smith. (The women in this narrative also bear symbolic names, which seem to fixate on the subject of simply being women. Adah means "ornament", in the sense of decorative accessories worn by women. Zillah means "shade" or "shadow"; I'm not sure exactly why, but it may be in the sense of relaxation and refuge [Job 7.2; Psalm 17.8; Song of Songs 2.3]. And Naamah means "pleasantness", in the sense of beauty.)

These symbolic names continue onward, too. God brings rest and peace to the earth by destroying all of the wicked with a flood, with a man named Rest (Noah) being the the sole man (along with his family) to survive. He also has three sons. The son named Warm (Ham) is the ancestor of the people who remained in the warmer regions of the Levant. The son named Renown (Shem) is the ancestor of some of the mightier nations (Syria, Assyria, Persia, Lydia, Arabia). The son named Expansion (Japheth) is the ancestor of the nations that expanded farther into the world.

Edit: I forgot a few additional notes. Enoch (of chapter 5) is seventh in the genealogy, and he happens to be the individual who has a different fate from the rest of the men. We know that the number seven retains a certain symbolism regarding holiness, and the most holy individual in the listing happens to be attached to the number placement that equates to holiness. Later on, in chapter 10 we have an individual named Division (Peleg), and it "just so happens" that during his lifetime "the earth was divided". So which is it: Was he named because the earth was divided (how could it happen "in his days" then?), or did the earth become divided because his name was Division (his name was prophetic of the event)?

Those are some of the reasons.

newinchrist4now
Jun 15th 2010, 07:57 PM
I was thinking this morning about the Constitution, I was wondering the intent of the founding fathers. Than this thread came to my mind I think I understand more now though now I am want to question all of Holy Writ if anything is actually true or the whole thing allegory.

John146
Jun 15th 2010, 08:13 PM
It's important to note that the purpose of both geneologies is not historical, it is legal.How did you come up with this exactly?


In Luke 3, Jesus is tied to David (as he must to fulfill prophecy), but is continued to Adam to point out that ultimately, Jesus was Lord of all men through Adam, the symbolic father of all mankind, Jews and Gentiles alike.I don't know what your point is here. Can you elaborate? My point was to show that Adam was an individual person. Are you saying otherwise? If so, then couldn't we try to say that everyone listed in those genealogies, including even Jesus Himself, were not individuals but were symbolic?

markedward
Jun 15th 2010, 08:26 PM
Than this thread came to my mind I think I understand more now though now I am want to question all of Holy Writ if anything is actually true or the whole thing allegory.
If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.

Paul made it clear that Jesus Christ was seen by eyewitnesses. His life, his ministry, his death on a cross, his resurrection on the third day, his ascension to heaven. The historicity of Jesus Christ is necessary for our faith. The historicity of Job, for example, is not a necessity to our faith. One cannot dismiss the whole Bible as allegory in one fell swoop simply because certain portions of it may be allegory. Just because Adam may be an allegorical figure does not mean that Jesus Christ is allegorical.

The attempts of some to make such a claim (see the above post) are superfluous.

newinchrist4now
Jun 15th 2010, 08:34 PM
Yet in my mind if one thing is not true than none of it is. It is a very slippery slope, of course I am of the mind it is literal but if someone I look up to questions it how true can any of it be. If just one part is just a nice story than why not the rest of it. It is a scary thought to me

John146
Jun 15th 2010, 08:40 PM
To be honest, I haven't ever been wholly convinced of a literal reading. The classic questions hovered over me even from the time I first began reading the Bible: Why are the chronologies of chapter 1 and chapter 2 so opposite?This one is very easy. Chapter 2 is not a chronology. It's not written as one. In chapter 1 it specifically says what happened on which day. We do not find that in chapter 2 as that is not the purpose of chapter 2 (from verse 4 on).


Why is it a snake and not Satan we're seeing?Because Satan is a spirit and spirits are invisible to man.


Where did Cain's wife come from?His sister. Incest was not yet a sin at that time.


Is it necessary to believe that a piece of bread and a drink of wine are literally Christ's body and blood, for us to partake in communion? By context, we see that the bread and wine merely signify something other than themselves, being the act of Christ's sacrifice for sins. Similarly, it is possible that the seven days of Genesis 1 merely signify something other than themselves, being the ordering of God's creation and allowing for the precedent of the calendar week by which the Israelites followed under the Law.But the text itself gives no indication that it's symbolic and when we look at the NT references to Adam and Eve, to creation and to Noah and the flood there is not even a hint that it could be not referring to real individual people and real events that occurred historically.


Genesis 1 refers to how God created "adam ... male and female he created them". Here, a plurality of adam is found.I see two people mentioned: Adam and Eve. Two people can be referred to as "them". I think you're turning something simple into something complicated.


Let's compare, for a moment, Ezekiel 16. Although the text itself does not state that we are being told an allegory, it is clear from the rest of Scripture that it is. Ezekiel 16 tells us the origins of the city of Jerusalem as the home of God's Covenant people. However, the narrative tells us the story of a woman who was raised by God from infancy, became his wife, and then became an adulterer. In the allegory, a single woman summarizes the whole populace of the city of Jerusalem through Jerusalem's origins and fall into idolatry, so we are not surprised that this woman is named "Jerusalem". Likewise, if we were to instead read an allegory about the origins of Man and his fall into sin, summarized in the actions of a single man, we would not be surprised that this man's name is "Man"... and that's what we have in Genesis 2-3.

Extending into chapter 4, I find that all of the names are far too coincidental in comparison to the details provided about the individuals bearing those names.

Imagine, for a moment, you met an extensive family, and being introduced to each person you began to notice a pattern. You meet a man named who was named Father when he was born, and he is the patriarch of the family. You meet his wife, who was named Mother when she was born. You meet Father's son who was named Painter at birth, and he happens to be a professional artist. You meet Father's daughter who was named Dancer at birth, and she happens to perform ballet for a living. You meet another son named Sloth at birth, and learn that he has been a lazy bum his entire life. You meet a third son, who was named Wealthy at birth, and learn that he just so happened to come up with a genius invention and became insanely rich from it. And after being introduced to the family, you learn about their brother Brief, and how he died when he was only a child, having drowned in a river named Drowning. Would it not be a major coincidence that these peoples' names "just so happen" to describe the lives they led? If you didn't know any better, you'd say that these names were given to them only after the goals they had achieved. But no, they insist that each of them has had their names since birth.

This is the dilemma that comes up when I read Genesis 4. We've already met a man named Man (Adam), and a child-bearing woman named Life-Giving (Eve). But now we have a man named Possession (Cain), who possesses land to farm. We have a man named Breath (Abel), who tends to creatures with the breath of life, and his own life was as brief as a breath [Psalm 39.5]. Cain is cursed to wander the earth, and he happens to go to a region named Wandering (Nod). Cain has a son whom he names Dedication (Enoch), and then he dedicates a city's name after his son's name. After a few generations, we are then told of a man named Powerful (Lamech), who happened to overpower and kill a man.

We are also told of his sons. There is Stream-Of-Water (Jubal), whose children were nomadic herdsmen (living near rivers). There is Flow (Jabal), whose children played music and instruments. And there is Scoria-Smith (Tubal-Cain; the whole name seems to be of non-Hebrew origin), who happens to be a bronze-smith and iron-smith. (The women in this narrative also bear symbolic names, which seem to fixate on the subject of simply being women. Adah means "ornament", in the sense of decorative accessories worn by women. Zillah means "shade" or "shadow"; I'm not sure exactly why, but it may be in the sense of relaxation and refuge [Job 7.2; Psalm 17.8; Song of Songs 2.3]. And Naamah means "pleasantness", in the sense of beauty.)

These symbolic names continue onward, too. God brings rest and peace to the earth by destroying all of the wicked with a flood, with a man named Rest (Noah) being the the sole man (along with his family) to survive. He also has three sons. The son named Warm (Ham) is the ancestor of the people who remained in the warmer regions of the Levant. The son named Renown (Shem) is the ancestor of some of the mightier nations (Syria, Assyria, Persia, Lydia, Arabia). The son named Expansion (Japheth) is the ancestor of the nations that expanded farther into the world.

Those are some of the reasons.I tried before to illustrate how dangerous this line of thinking can be. If you read Luke 3:23-38 then you can see that the line extended all the way beyond Noah and his sons to Jesus. If we start thinking that Adam, Eve, Cain, Enoch, Noah and Shem were symbolic figures then what if someone decided to keep that line of thinking going all the way to Jesus? Can you see why the line of thinking that you're speaking about here concerns me?

markedward
Jun 15th 2010, 08:41 PM
Yet in my mind if one thing is not true than none of it is.The problem here is your definition of "true". You're treating "true" as "absolutely, word-for-word literal interpretation of the text". In that case, Ezekiel 16 is "false", because it isn't "absolutely, word-for-word literal interpretation of the text".

Just look at what Martin Luther said about the heliocentric cosmology. He called Copernicus a "fool" for contradicting the "literal" interpretation of the Bible, citing the example in which Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, rather than the earth. Of course we now know that Martin Luther was the "fool" for attempting to read the Bible as "literally" as possible, rather than simply engaging it for the truth it presents (that God performed a miracle for the Israelites by keeping it daylight for an extended period of time).

teddyv
Jun 15th 2010, 08:44 PM
Yet in my mind if one thing is not true than none of it is. It is a very slippery slope, of course I am of the mind it is literal but if someone I look up to questions it how true can any of it be. If just one part is just a nice story than why not the rest of it. It is a scary thought to me

Truth does not have to equal fact.

ETA:
Just as point to raise for consideration, I wonder if our current highly individualistic worldview culture is being forced upon an ancient worldview/culture.

markedward
Jun 15th 2010, 08:49 PM
This one is very easy. Chapter 2 is not a chronology. It's not written as one. In chapter 1 it specifically says what happened on which day. We do not find that in chapter 2 as that is not the purpose of chapter 2 (from verse 4 on).
Genesis 1: Plants, then animals, then Man (male and female).
Genesis 2: Man (male only), then plants, then animals, then Woman (female only).

Even if one claims that Genesis 2 depicts events of the sixth day of Genesis 1, there's still problems which, like I said, require linguistic gymnastics to reconcile.

I'm not demanding that you agree with me. I'm only saying that I don't agree with the attempts made at reconciling the text.


Because Satan is a spirit and spirits are invisible to man.So, was the serpent possessed by Satan (where does Scripture say so), or was the serpent Satan himself (which requires interpreting the serpent and its curse allegorically)?


His sister.The "literal" reading of the text doesn't leave room for this. For one, nothing in Scripture says that it was Cain's sister whom he married. That is something that must be inferred by the reader... which makes it an interpretation.


Incest was not yet a sin at that time.Morality is relative, then?


I see two people mentioned: Adam and Eve. Two people can be referred to as "them". I think you're turning something simple into something complicated.Eve is not mentioned in Genesis 1, nor is she mentioned in Genesis 5, both of which refer to adam as a "them".

newinchrist4now
Jun 15th 2010, 08:49 PM
If we question if part is allegory than how can I know what is truth and is not in Scripture. There is no way to stop the hemorrhage once it begins, how do I know the story of Christ is true maybe it's all allegory. How could I trust any of it at all, everything then is up for questions. You showed a verse from Paul now how can I even be sure he was real or what he wrote was true? Maybe it was all just a quaint allegorical story. You say there were eyewitness how can I be sure maybe there were not after all you referenced a book chock full of allegory, so who's to say that isn't made up to.

BrckBrln
Jun 15th 2010, 08:52 PM
If we question if part is allegory than how can I know what is truth and is not in Scripture. There is no way to stop the hemorrhage once it begins, how do I know the story of Christ is true maybe it's all allegory. How could I trust any of it at all, everything then is up for questions. You showed a verse from Paul now how can I even be sure he was real or what he wrote was true? Maybe it was all just a quaint allegorical story. You say there were eyewitness how can I be sure maybe there were not after all you referenced a book chock full of allegory, so who's to say that isn't made up to.

I can't trust anything you say because I'm sure at some point in your life you said something that was false.

crawfish
Jun 15th 2010, 08:54 PM
Yet in my mind if one thing is not true than none of it is. It is a very slippery slope, of course I am of the mind it is literal but if someone I look up to questions it how true can any of it be. If just one part is just a nice story than why not the rest of it. It is a scary thought to me

That is really a false dichotomy. Nobody takes the bible 100% literally, and nobody just considers as non-literal what is specifically called out as so. We use literary style, genre and other cues to distinguish some scripture from others in terms of how we read/interpret them. If you can show that Genesis 1-3 is written in a format that allows for a non-literal interpretation, then that has absolutely no effect on the Gospels or anywhere else.

What you might call a slippery slope, I call discernment. We should not want to understand scripture in a literal sense, we should want to understand it the way it was meant for us to understand.

teddyv
Jun 15th 2010, 08:55 PM
If we question if part is allegory than how can I know what is truth and is not in Scripture. There is no way to stop the hemorrhage once it begins, how do I know the story of Christ is true maybe it's all allegory. How could I trust any of it at all, everything then is up for questions. You showed a verse from Paul now how can I even be sure he was real or what he wrote was true? Maybe it was all just a quaint allegorical story. You say there were eyewitness how can I be sure maybe there were not after all you referenced a book chock full of allegory, so who's to say that isn't made up to.

The account of Christ and his resurrection is recorded in 4 written accounts (which also speak of other witnesses). For me, this is satisfactory for determining the historical legitimacy.

markedward
Jun 15th 2010, 09:30 PM
That is really a false dichotomy. Nobody takes the bible 100% literally, and nobody just considers as non-literal what is specifically called out as so. We use literary style, genre and other cues to distinguish some scripture from others in terms of how we read/interpret them. If you can show that Genesis 1-3 is written in a format that allows for a non-literal interpretation, then that has absolutely no effect on the Gospels or anywhere else.

What you might call a slippery slope, I call discernment. We should not want to understand scripture in a literal sense, we should want to understand it the way it was meant for us to understand.Thank you. This is what I was trying to say, but you worded it much better than I could have.

John146
Jun 15th 2010, 09:33 PM
Genesis 1: Plants, then animals, then Man (male and female). Genesis 2: Man (male only), the plants, then animals, then Woman (female only). Even if one claims that Genesis 2 depicts events of the sixth day of Genesis 1, there's still problems which, like I said, require linguistic gymnastics to reconcile.Like I said, chapter 2 was not intended to be a chronological record whereas chapter 1 clearly was because it specifically mentions specific things happening on specific days (first day, second day, third, fourth, etc.).


I'm not demanding that you agree with me. I'm only saying that I don't agree with the attempts made at reconciling the text.But can you show that chapter 2 was meant to be a chronological record? If it was then, literal or not, we'd have a contradiction between that and chapter 1 and I'm sure you agree that there are no contradictions in scripture.


So, was the serpent possessed by Satan (where does Scripture say so), or was the serpent Satan himself (which requires interpreting the serpent and its curse allegorically)?It portrays Eve speaking to an actual literal serpent (a physical animal) because it speaks of how "the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made" (Gen 3:1). So, I believe Satan possessed the serpent and spoke through it. We can see an example in the NT of demons possessing pigs so I think this is not unreasonable at all. If it wasn't Satan speaking through a serpent then what exactly would Eve have been seeing and talking to?


The "literal" reading of the text doesn't leave room for this. For one, nothing in Scripture says that it was Cain's sister whom he married. That is something that must be inferred by the reader... which makes it an interpretation.There is no mention of God creating anyone else in the same way He created Adam and Eve. It refers to Eve as "the mother of all living" (Gen 3:20) which I believe clearly indicates that all people descend from her (and Adam). Because of that I can't see anything else as being viable except that Cain married his sister.


Morality is relative, then?Is that what I said? I said that incest was not yet a sin at that point (that law was not yet given at that point). Do you disagree?


Eve is not mentioned in Genesis 1, nor is she mentioned in Genesis 5, both of which refer to adam as a "them".She's not mentioned by name in chapter 1, and neither is Adam but then we see in chapter 2 that Adam was created from the dust and Eve was made from his rib, so it should not be hard to conclude that it's saying male (Adam) and female (Eve) he made them (Adam and Eve).

markedward
Jun 15th 2010, 09:50 PM
Like I said, chapter 2 was not intended to be a chronological record whereas chapter 1 clearly was because it specifically mentions specific things happening on specific days (first day, second day, third, fourth, etc.).It includes words of temporal relation, including: generations, in the day, when, yet, then, etc.


It portrays Eve speaking to an actual literal serpent (a physical animal) because it speaks of how "the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made" (Gen 3:1). So, I believe Satan possessed the serpent and spoke through it. We can see an example in the NT of demons possessing pigs so I think this is not unreasonable at all.And yet, Scripture never actually says that Satan possessed the serpent, which again requires for you to interpret that from the text. Besides, if Satan was the one to blame, having possessed the serpent, why does the text not indicate any of this? It specifically refers to the serpent as "more subtle than any beast of the field", which is a direct reference to the serpent's characteristics... not Satan's. And if Satan is the one to blame, why does the narrative present God as cursing the serpent, and not Satan?


Is that what I said? I said that incest was not yet a sin at that point (that law was not yet given at that point). Do you disagree?Incest has always been a sin. The Law was not given, but that doesn't mean incest wasn't a sin before the Law came. The Law doesn't turn something into a sin, it exposes sin for what it is. Let's use another sin for an example: murder. You're claiming that Cain did not sin in marrying his sister, because there was no command forbidding it. Does that mean Cain did not sin in murdering his brother, because there was no command forbidding it?

losthorizon
Jun 15th 2010, 10:01 PM
The historicity of Jesus Christ is necessary for our faith. The historicity of Job, for example, is not a necessity to our faith.

With your reasoning Adam is a non-historical man because he is not necessary to our faith (odd reasoning). Are Job, Noah, Abraham, Solomon also non-historical because they are not necessary to faith? Is there anyone in the Bible other than Jesus who escapes suspicion as being an allegorical man or woman in your new theology? Under your reasoning system can we even determine Jesus to be historical other than by faith?

Was Julius Caesar a historical man or was he allegorical? How do you determine the historicity of Caesar? Do you agree that 95% of the Bible is related to historical narrative? Does Genesis 1-11 present historical fact from the mind of God? Why would God present Adam as a historical man if he was not a real person? Was God trying to fool us?

markedward
Jun 15th 2010, 10:16 PM
losthorizon,

There seems to be a recurring theme with you, in which I have to preface every response to you with: This isn't what I said, you've completely misinterpreted me. The fact that I have to do this with virtually every response makes me hesitant to engage in further discussion with you. How can you possibly have misinterpreted me this many times this badly, lest the answer be you don't actually care about understanding what I'm saying?

losthorizon
Jun 15th 2010, 10:19 PM
Incest has always been a sin.


Chapter-verse please. Abraham married his half-sister - does the OT say he was a sinner because of that marriage? The father of Moses (Amram) married his father’s sister which would have been his aunt. If you buy into the “man is descended from lower forms” worldview then you must also accept the fact that the offspring of the first “breeding pair” of viable hominids committed incest as they continued the zoo-to-you linage. Were these breeding hominids also sinners?

losthorizon
Jun 15th 2010, 10:31 PM
losthorizon,

There seems to be a recurring theme with you, in which I have to preface every response to you with: This isn't what I said, you've completely misinterpreted me. The fact that I have to do this with virtually every response makes me hesitant to engage in further discussion with you. How can you possibly have misinterpreted me this many times this badly, lest the answer be you don't actually care about understanding what I'm saying?
You can review your post>>>HERE (http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php/211029-Opening-chapters-of-Genesis?p=2431221#post2431221). What is it you imagine I am misrepresenting? Please be specific. Are you not going to address my questions?

markedward
Jun 15th 2010, 10:34 PM
Chapter-verse please.Explain to me how morality is not relative, if something that was previously not a sin is suddenly a sin. If God can change something from sinful to not-sinful, or from not-sinful to sinful, how can we claim he is consistent in his standard of righteousness?


If you buy into the “man is descended from lower forms” worldview then you must also accept the fact that the offspring of the first “breeding pair” of viable hominids committed incest as they continued the zoo-to-you linage. Were these breeding hominids also sinners?Well, that convinces me. You clearly don't care about having a respectful discussion. This is the 4th or 5th time now that you've falsely claimed I said or believed something which I never said nor claimed to believe. Not to mention you keep trying to bring the whole evolution thing into the thread after I asked you several times not to.


Are you not going to address my questions?No, because you continually misinterpret me and then claim you never did... Anyone who has been paying careful attention can see that what I actually said and what you claim I said are drastically different (not just in this case, but throughout the thread). This leads me to conclude that you either don't care enough to pay careful attention, or you're doing it on purpose because you don't care to be respectful.

-SEEKING-
Jun 15th 2010, 10:36 PM
MOD NOTE:
Ok. Let's step away from our computers for a little while perhaps. It's a little too personal right now. Let's just focus on the OP and not each other.

losthorizon
Jun 15th 2010, 10:43 PM
Just as point to raise for consideration, I wonder if our current highly individualistic worldview culture is being forced upon an ancient worldview/culture.


I think it more likely that the predominant materialistic worldview of creation is forcing many Christians to abandon the historical record of Genesis presented by God in favor of a metaphysical worldview that man is the by-product of unguided naturalistic mechanisms. This worldview is intent of removing God from the creation story but this argument is best discussed in another forum.

How are you doing teddy - it's been awhile my friend. :)

losthorizon
Jun 15th 2010, 10:57 PM
Explain to me how morality is not relative, if something that was previously not a sin is suddenly a sin.


Then you do not have scriptural support to condemn Abraham as a sinner for marrying his half-sister? Do you have scriptural support that condemns the children of Adam and Eve for marrying each other and having children?


If God can change something from sinful to not-sinful, or from not-sinful to sinful, how can we claim he is consistent in his standard of righteousness?
You and I can eat pork tonight and not sin against God – Jews under the Law of Moses could not.


Well, that convinces me. You clearly don't care about having a respectful discussion. This is the 4th or 5th time now that you've falsely claimed I said or believed something which I never said nor claimed to believe. Not to mention you keep trying to bring the whole evolution thing into the thread after I asked you several times not to.
You do understand what that little word “if” means - right? I clearly said, “If you buy into the “man is descended from lower forms” worldview then you must also accept the fact that the offspring of the first “breeding pair” of viable hominids committed incest as they continued the zoo-to-you linage.” If you do not want to answer the questions I have presented just say you don't but please don't accuse me of misrepresenting your position.

newinchrist4now
Jun 16th 2010, 12:42 AM
I can't trust anything you say because I'm sure at some point in your life you said something that was false.

So say we all :)

newinchrist4now
Jun 16th 2010, 12:50 AM
That is really a false dichotomy. Nobody takes the bible 100% literally, and nobody just considers as non-literal what is specifically called out as so. We use literary style, genre and other cues to distinguish some scripture from others in terms of how we read/interpret them. If you can show that Genesis 1-3 is written in a format that allows for a non-literal interpretation, then that has absolutely no effect on the Gospels or anywhere else.

What you might call a slippery slope, I call discernment. We should not want to understand scripture in a literal sense, we should want to understand it the way it was meant for us to understand.

Actually most Christian will take it how they want. Yes I want to understand it a literal sense, modern man runs around acting as if they know better and are smarter then the ancients just because they are more "enlightened". All that tells me is modern Christian have more pride than is warranted as has been shown many places in Holy Writ takes Adam and Eve and the whole kitten caboodle as genuine, even God himself in the person of Christ referenced the truth of it.

If Christ (who is God) accepts it that is good enough for me.

losthorizon
Jun 16th 2010, 01:00 AM
If Christ (who is God) accepts it that is good enough for me.
Paul, via divine inspiration also taught a *literal-historical Adam* when he proclaimed to the Hellenistic philosophers that God "has made from one blood [Adam] every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.”

RogerW
Jun 16th 2010, 02:29 AM
To be honest, I haven't ever been wholly convinced of a literal reading. The classic questions hovered over me even from the time I first began reading the Bible: Why are the chronologies of chapter 1 and chapter 2 so opposite? Why is it a snake and not Satan we're seeing? Where did Cain's wife come from? Who are the people he's afraid of? A more literal, absolutely chronological reading attempts to provide answers for these, but even though I would repeat those answers if asked, I myself was never fully convinced of them.

The chronologies of chapters one and two are not the same because chapter one chronicles the creation and chapter two chronicles the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created or after creation. After the creation we find the historical record of the first man and woman in their generations.

Ge*2:4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.

The serpent is the embodiment of Satan. This is how Satan works to deceive.

Re*12:9 And the great dragon was cast down, the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world; he was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him.

Cain would have married his sister. Perhaps Cains greatest fear wasn't so much other men as much as it was falling into the hands of Satan. This is the fate for those driven from the face of the earth, and from God.


First and foremost is the presentation; the method of narration in the opening chapters of Genesis is radically different from those chapters following. In other words, Genesis 1-11 places itself under a genre far different from Genesis 12-50. A different genre requires a different way of looking at things.

Genesis 1-11 is not radically different from the chapters following. These chapters 1-11 give us the historical record first of creation, and then the historical record of the generations of the first man. But chapter 12-50 chronicles the history of another patriarch, Abram. We understand the significance of the history of these men because it is through Abram's seed (Christ) that all the nations of the world will be blessed, and Abram descended from the first man, Adam. Through Isaac, is born Jacob. Jacob is the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, and it is through this nation that Christ is born. So Genesis is the historical record of beginnings, first of man in creation, then the nation, finally Christ. With lots of history along the way.


Is it necessary to believe that a piece of bread and a drink of wine are literally Christ's body and blood, for us to partake in communion?

The ordinance, properly administered is established to remember what Christ has done for us. The bread merely symbolizes His broken body, and the wine symbolizes His shed blood. Christ says as much when He tells His disciples to take bread & wine and eat & drink for these are my body and my blood.


By context, we see that the bread and wine merely signify something other than themselves, being the act of Christ's sacrifice for sins. Similarly, it is possible that the seven days of Genesis 1 merely signify something other than themselves, being the ordering of God's creation and allowing for the precedent of the calendar week by which the Israelites followed under the Law.

Christ clearly shows what the bread and wine signify, but I find nothing in Genesis 1 to signify anything other than a literal six day creation, and a seventh day of rest. Yes, I agree it does set the precedent of the literal calendar week or seven literal days.


In comparison to Genesis 2, I do not see the necessity in interpreting Genesis 1 as literal, because their chronologies are at odds with each other if one or both are taken literally. One must perform incredible linguistic gymnastics to reconcile them together. This would lead me to the idea that one (or both, depending on individual merits) is non-literal in its presentation... not non-literal in its message.

The chronology of Genesis 1 and 2 are not at all at odds. As I have already shown one tells of creation itself, where two tells the history of the heaven and earth after creation, specifically the history of the generations of the first man.



Genesis 1 refers to how God created "adam ... male and female he created them". Here, a plurality of adam is found. In Genesis 5, we are told again, "Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them adam when they were created." In the surrounding text, beyond the individual story of Adam and Eve, the narrative refers to adam as being a "them".

"Them" could be two, male and female, but I am more inclined to believe "them" simply refers to all humanity since every human is descended from the first man and woman. All are in Adam, therefore while speaking at creation to Adam God speaks of "them".

1Co*15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.



Let's compare, for a moment, Ezekiel 16. Although the text itself does not state that we are being told an allegory, it is clear from the rest of Scripture that it is. Ezekiel 16 tells us the origins of the city of Jerusalem as the home of God's Covenant people. However, the narrative tells us the story of a woman who was raised by God from infancy, became his wife, and then became an adulterer. In the allegory, a single woman summarizes the whole populace of the city of Jerusalem through Jerusalem's origins and fall into idolatry, so we are not surprised that this woman is named "Jerusalem". Likewise, if we were to instead read an allegory about the origins of Man and his fall into sin, summarized in the actions of a single man, we would not be surprised that this man's name is "Man"... and that's what we have in Genesis 2-3.

But we find no justification for reading Genesis as allegory. An allegory would be telling a story of something having a hidden or symbolic meaning, or a description of one thing using the image of another. While it is true we find this in Eze 16, we do not find this in Genesis 1-2.



Extending into chapter 4, I find that all of the names are far too coincidental in comparison to the details provided about the individuals bearing those names.

Imagine, for a moment, you met an extensive family, and being introduced to each person you began to notice a pattern. You meet a man named who was named Father when he was born, and he is the patriarch of the family. You meet his wife, who was named Mother when she was born. You meet Father's son who was named Painter at birth, and he happens to be a professional artist. You meet Father's daughter who was named Dancer at birth, and she happens to perform ballet for a living. You meet another son named Sloth at birth, and learn that he has been a lazy bum his entire life. You meet a third son, who was named Wealthy at birth, and learn that he just so happened to come up with a genius invention and became insanely rich from it. And after being introduced to the family, you learn about their brother Brief, and how he died when he was only a child, having drowned in a river named Drowning. Would it not be a major coincidence that these peoples' names "just so happen" to describe the lives they led? If you didn't know any better, you'd say that these names were given to them only after the goals they had achieved. But no, they insist that each of them has had their names since birth.

What you describe above I attribute to the providence of God. Nothing in the names is coincidence, nor do the names just so happen. There are many times in Scripture where God specifically says what a child shall be named. But even if He did not speak directly to the parents, do you doubt the providence of God to put in their minds the names they shall be called? I don't! Biblical names often, if not always have specific meaning associated with the profession, gift, talent, etc a child will pursue according to the providence of God.

Many Blessings,
RW

Nihil Obstat
Jun 16th 2010, 05:36 AM
Genesis 1: Plants, then animals, then Man (male and female).
Genesis 2: Man (male only), then plants, then animals, then Woman (female only).

I think that the plants and animals described as being created in ch. 2 are those within the garden. The words for the vegetation written of in 2:5 speak of plants that need to be worked by man in order to grow. Those described in ch. 1 as having been formed on day three can grow wild. Cf. 3:18.


So, was the serpent possessed by Satan (where does Scripture say so), or was the serpent Satan himself (which requires interpreting the serpent and its curse allegorically)?

The serpent is not said to have been possessed by Satan, neither was it said that its mouth had been opened by Satan (similar to Balaam's donkey). Unless I am mistaken, their seems to be no direct correlation made between the serpent and Satan until the Revelation, itself being a highly symbolic book. Presently my take is that the serpent was just that: a serpent, who used his craftiness according to the manner of Satan.


The "literal" reading of the text doesn't leave room for this. For one, nothing in Scripture says that it was Cain's sister whom he married. That is something that must be inferred by the reader... which makes it an interpretation.

Eve is not mentioned in Genesis 1, nor is she mentioned in Genesis 5, both of which refer to adam as a "them".

Have you had the time to consider my thought that Adam and Eve were but two of many humans created on day six? Blessings buddy.

crawfish
Jun 16th 2010, 02:42 PM
Actually most Christian will take it how they want. Yes I want to understand it a literal sense, modern man runs around acting as if they know better and are smarter then the ancients just because they are more "enlightened". All that tells me is modern Christian have more pride than is warranted as has been shown many places in Holy Writ takes Adam and Eve and the whole kitten caboodle as genuine, even God himself in the person of Christ referenced the truth of it.

If Christ (who is God) accepts it that is good enough for me.

Actually, part of the process is to try and understand the text the way the ancients did. You think they had access to satellite photos or the scientific method? No, they explained the world around them the best they could from their limited perspective. It didn't make them less intelligent than modern man, but there is no doubt they were operating with less basic knowledge of how things work than we do. If you try and convince yourself otherwise, that they knew about the nature of the motion of planets and stars, of the shape of the earth, of concepts like atmosphere, and the like, you are fooling yourself.

I think that it is extremely arrogant to read the bible as if it's a 21st-century book written specifically to our culture and our knowledge level and using modern rational thought. The bible was written for all peoples of all times of all cultures. It is full of mystery, ambiguity, symbol, allegory and even contradiction, and every single one of those elements is used to effectively tell the story of God and His relationship to man.

losthorizon
Jun 16th 2010, 03:02 PM
I think that it is extremely arrogant to read the bible as if it's a 21st-century book written specifically to our culture and our knowledge level and using modern rational thought. The bible was written for all peoples of all times of all cultures. It is full of mystery, ambiguity, symbol, allegory and even contradiction, and every single one of those elements is used to effectively tell the story of God and His relationship to man.
Conversely – it would be extremely arrogant to think Moses, Paul and Jesus would fail to differentiate the metaphorical from the reality and all three clearly understood Adam to be the “first man” created by the Eternal - i.e., an actual historical man. Let’s not forget – Jesus is God and was with God “in the beginning”. It must take great faith to believe man and chimp have a common ancestor – a notion not supported by the Bible or by science.

Firefighter
Jun 16th 2010, 04:06 PM
Second Mod Note: If you cannot refrain from calling each other names and attacking others that you disagree with, this thread will be closed. Surely men and women of God can follow His simple orders to love one another while we are discussing the very Bible that contains that command...

Nihil Obstat
Jun 16th 2010, 04:11 PM
Genesis 1 refers to how God created "adam ... male and female he created them". Here, a plurality of adam is found. In Genesis 5, we are told again, "Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them adam when they were created." In the surrounding text, beyond the individual story of Adam and Eve, the narrative refers to adam as being a "them".

Let's compare, for a moment, Ezekiel 16. Although the text itself does not state that we are being told an allegory, it is clear from the rest of Scripture that it is. Ezekiel 16 tells us the origins of the city of Jerusalem as the home of God's Covenant people. However, the narrative tells us the story of a woman who was raised by God from infancy, became his wife, and then became an adulterer. In the allegory, a single woman summarizes the whole populace of the city of Jerusalem through Jerusalem's origins and fall into idolatry, so we are not surprised that this woman is named "Jerusalem". Likewise, if we were to instead read an allegory about the origins of Man and his fall into sin, summarized in the actions of a single man, we would not be surprised that this man's name is "Man"... and that's what we have in Genesis 2-3.

Extending into chapter 4, I find that all of the names are far too coincidental in comparison to the details provided about the individuals bearing those names.

Imagine, for a moment, you met an extensive family, and being introduced to each person you began to notice a pattern. You meet a man named who was named Father when he was born, and he is the patriarch of the family. You meet his wife, who was named Mother when she was born. You meet Father's son who was named Painter at birth, and he happens to be a professional artist. You meet Father's daughter who was named Dancer at birth, and she happens to perform ballet for a living. You meet another son named Sloth at birth, and learn that he has been a lazy bum his entire life. You meet a third son, who was named Wealthy at birth, and learn that he just so happened to come up with a genius invention and became insanely rich from it. And after being introduced to the family, you learn about their brother Brief, and how he died when he was only a child, having drowned in a river named Drowning. Would it not be a major coincidence that these peoples' names "just so happen" to describe the lives they led? If you didn't know any better, you'd say that these names were given to them only after the goals they had achieved. But no, they insist that each of them has had their names since birth.

This is the dilemma that comes up when I read Genesis 4. We've already met a man named Man (Adam), and a child-bearing woman named Life-Giving (Eve). But now we have a man named Possession (Cain), who possesses land to farm. We have a man named Breath (Abel), who tends to creatures with the breath of life, and his own life was as brief as a breath [Psalm 39.5]. Cain is cursed to wander the earth, and he happens to go to a region named Wandering (Nod). Cain has a son whom he names Dedication (Enoch), and then he dedicates a city's name after his son's name. After a few generations, we are then told of a man named Powerful (Lamech), who happened to overpower and kill a man.

We are also told of his sons. There is Stream-Of-Water (Jubal), whose children were nomadic herdsmen (living near rivers). There is Flow (Jabal), whose children played music and instruments. And there is Scoria-Smith (Tubal-Cain; the whole name seems to be of non-Hebrew origin), who happens to be a bronze-smith and iron-smith. (The women in this narrative also bear symbolic names, which seem to fixate on the subject of simply being women. Adah means "ornament", in the sense of decorative accessories worn by women. Zillah means "shade" or "shadow"; I'm not sure exactly why, but it may be in the sense of relaxation and refuge [Job 7.2; Psalm 17.8; Song of Songs 2.3]. And Naamah means "pleasantness", in the sense of beauty.)

These symbolic names continue onward, too. God brings rest and peace to the earth by destroying all of the wicked with a flood, with a man named Rest (Noah) being the the sole man (along with his family) to survive. He also has three sons. The son named Warm (Ham) is the ancestor of the people who remained in the warmer regions of the Levant. The son named Renown (Shem) is the ancestor of some of the mightier nations (Syria, Assyria, Persia, Lydia, Arabia). The son named Expansion (Japheth) is the ancestor of the nations that expanded farther into the world.

Edit: I forgot a few additional notes. Enoch (of chapter 5) is seventh in the genealogy, and he happens to be the individual who has a different fate from the rest of the men. We know that the number seven retains a certain symbolism regarding holiness, and the most holy individual in the listing happens to be attached to the number placement that equates to holiness. Later on, in chapter 10 we have an individual named Division (Peleg), and it "just so happens" that during his lifetime "the earth was divided". So which is it: Was he named because the earth was divided (how could it happen "in his days" then?), or did the earth become divided because his name was Division (his name was prophetic of the event)?

Those are some of the reasons.

I found this line of reasoning interesting, but you'd have to make an addendum to it explaining why the meanings of historical names such as Jesus ("salvation") are not proof against their having actually been real individuals. Without such an addendum, your post here is, like the mere possibility of an allegorical reading, not weighty enough in itself to sway the scales in the minds of those who disagree with you here.

markedward
Jun 16th 2010, 05:41 PM
It's wholly contextual. Jesus is named "Salvation" because we are explicitly shown an angel explaining that that is the name God chose for him. We have nothing like that in Genesis 4. While I do agree it is possible that the men of Genesis 4 could have been so-named prophetically under direction from God... that conclusion would have to be one entirely assumed by the reader, not something drawn from the text.

Jesus is named in prophetic utterance by an angel, because his name foretells what he was to do in his life on earth. We're specifically told that his name was given prophetically.

We don't have any such prophetic utterances in Genesis 4; nothing in the text tells us that that was the case. This leaves us with several men whose names directly correspond to their lives, but neither is causative of the other.

newinchrist4now
Jun 16th 2010, 05:55 PM
Actually, part of the process is to try and understand the text the way the ancients did. You think they had access to satellite photos or the scientific method? No, they explained the world around them the best they could from their limited perspective. It didn't make them less intelligent than modern man, but there is no doubt they were operating with less basic knowledge of how things work than we do. If you try and convince yourself otherwise, that they knew about the nature of the motion of planets and stars, of the shape of the earth, of concepts like atmosphere, and the like, you are fooling yourself.

Scriptures are inspired by who? God. Therein is the problem God did not lie the world was created as He said and nothing about is fiction.


I think that it is extremely arrogant to read the bible as if it's a 21st-century book written specifically to our culture and our knowledge level and using modern rational thought. The bible was written for all peoples of all times of all cultures. It is full of mystery, ambiguity, symbol, allegory and even contradiction, and every single one of those elements is used to effectively tell the story of God and His relationship to man.

I'll agree to the point that the Bible was not written to us; However, the Bible contains no contradictions. If it contained even one than it would not be the Word of God but of man

John146
Jun 16th 2010, 06:23 PM
It includes words of temporal relation, including: generations, in the day, when, yet, then, etc.Not in the same way that chapter 1 does, otherwise we'd have a contradiction. it does not reference the days specifically so there's no reason to think it's a chronological account. Are you willing to interpret it in such a way that causes chapter 1 to contradict chapter 2? I'm not.


And yet, Scripture never actually says that Satan possessed the serpent, which again requires for you to interpret that from the text. Besides, if Satan was the one to blame, having possessed the serpent, why does the text not indicate any of this? It specifically refers to the serpent as "more subtle than any beast of the field", which is a direct reference to the serpent's characteristics... not Satan's. And if Satan is the one to blame, why does the narrative present God as cursing the serpent, and not Satan?Here's the thing. We don't have to try to interpret it only from that text. We can use other scripture to help us. What does other scripture say?

John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

This says that Satan is the father of lies. Since lying had not yet been in the world who else but Satan could have caused the serpent to lie to Eve? Satan had to be directly involved in the first lie since he is the father of lies. So, either Satan was the serpent itself and it wasn't a literal serpent or the serpent was possessed by Satan. I don't see any other possible alternatives. I certainly don't believe that a serpent, without any other influence, would be capable of deceiving anyone. Is that your claim, that Satan had nothing to do with the deception of Eve and a serpent was somehow able to do that itself?


Incest has always been a sin. The Law was not given, but that doesn't mean incest wasn't a sin before the Law came. The Law doesn't turn something into a sin, it exposes sin for what it is.Give me scriptural evidence that incest was a sin before the law was given. Also, if Cain did not marry his sister then how do you explain Genesis 3:20 which says that Eve was "the mother of all living"?

I believe the reason that God gave a commandment against incest is because as time went on there were more genetic flaws in people, which made it so that it became the case that the closer people were related the more likely it was that they would have children with deformities. That would not have been the case from the beginning because Adam and Eve would not have had the accumulated genetic flaws that people later on would have inherited over a number of generations. This article explains this better than I can (scroll down to the section titled "Biological deformities"): http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/aig-c004.html


Let's use another sin for an example: murder. You're claiming that Cain did not sin in marrying his sister, because there was no command forbidding it. Does that mean Cain did not sin in murdering his brother, because there was no command forbidding it?No, but does this mean that the entire law was in effect from the beginning? Is that what you think? Should Adam have been circumcised? Should Adam and Eve not have eaten certain meat? Should Adam have built a temple and brought animal sacrifices to it? Were Adam and Eve held responsible to oberve the sabbath day?

John146
Jun 16th 2010, 06:37 PM
Explain to me how morality is not relative, if something that was previously not a sin is suddenly a sin. If God can change something from sinful to not-sinful, or from not-sinful to sinful, how can we claim he is consistent in his standard of righteousness?Are we then still today obligated to be circumcised and to perform animal sacrifices and so on? Clearly not, right? So, what once was sinful (not being circumcised when commanded to be circumcised, not performing animal sacrifices when commanded to do so and so on) is no longer sinful. Does this mean He is not consistent in His standard of righteousness? No. Can you see how your logic here doesn't work?

John146
Jun 16th 2010, 06:48 PM
Actually, part of the process is to try and understand the text the way the ancients did. You think they had access to satellite photos or the scientific method? No, they explained the world around them the best they could from their limited perspective. It didn't make them less intelligent than modern man, but there is no doubt they were operating with less basic knowledge of how things work than we do. If you try and convince yourself otherwise, that they knew about the nature of the motion of planets and stars, of the shape of the earth, of concepts like atmosphere, and the like, you are fooling yourself.Do you not believe that the book of Genesis was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? It does not matter what they understood back then. The Holy Spirit understood everything perfectly.


I think that it is extremely arrogant to read the bible as if it's a 21st-century book written specifically to our culture and our knowledge level and using modern rational thought. The bible was written for all peoples of all times of all cultures. It is full of mystery, ambiguity, symbol, allegory and even contradictionEven contradiction? What does that mean?

markedward
Jun 16th 2010, 07:33 PM
Are we then still today obligated to be circumcised and to perform animal sacrifices and so on? Clearly not, right? So, what once was sinful (not being circumcised when commanded to be circumcised, not performing animal sacrifices when commanded to do so and so on) is no longer sinful. Does this mean He is not consistent in His standard of righteousness? No. Can you see how your logic here doesn't work?The things you mentioned were delegated to specific covenants, to specific people, to prophecy a specific message. Neither of them has to do with moral action regarding sexuality.


Let's use another sin for an example: murder. You're claiming that Cain did not sin in marrying his sister, because there was no command forbidding it. Does that mean Cain did not sin in murdering his brother, because there was no command forbidding it?
No, but...What I see here is inconsistency. You claim that sexual immorality was not a sin because no command was given, but turn right around and claim that murder was a sin even though no command was given. Do you have a reason for this double-standard?

Many see a great difference between the moral portions of the Law and the ceremonial portions of the Law, and I agree that there is a difference. Sexual immorality is universally a sin, just as murder is universally a sin. Actions like circumcision and animal sacrifice are clearly covenant-related issues, not sin-related issues. Circumcision and animal sacrifice passed away with the Old Covenant in the first-century... but sexual immorality is still a sin, as it has always been, and murder is still a sin, as it has always been.


So, either Satan was the serpent itself and it wasn't a literal serpent or the serpent was possessed by Satan.And yet... Scripture never says that the serpent was possessed by Satan. So if you're going to claim the serpent was possessed by Satan, then you have to assume that, since Scripture never says Satan possessed it. And since the actual narrative specifically refers to the serpent's own characteristics (as opposed to Satan's), and specifically describes it as an animal, that leaves only two interpretations for us... either the serpent was merely a devious serpent... or the "serpent" and the descriptions regarding it are allegorical for Satan. I see the latter as making the most sense in the full context of Scripture, as do many who don't interpret the full narrative of Adam and Eve as allegorical.

John146
Jun 16th 2010, 08:54 PM
The things you mentioned were delegated to specific covenants, to specific people, to prophecy a specific message. Neither of them has to do with moral action regarding sexuality.The law regarding incest was commanded to specific people as well, so what is your point exactly? Can you back up your claim that incest has always been a sin with scripture? What are you thoughts regarding what I said about why God made it so that incest was against His law?


What I see here is inconsistency. You claim that sexual immorality was not a sin because no command was given, but turn right around and claim that murder was a sin even though no command was given. Do you have a reason for this double-standard?There is no double standard. I gave examples of sins that were not always sins and that shows that not every sin was a sin from the beginning. For example, there came a time when God commanded men to observe the Sabbath and if someone didn't it was a sin. Adam was not under that obligation. So, there is one clear example of a sin that was not a sin at the beginning. That close relations having children would mean there was a higher risk of deformities in children would not have been a concern early on. Do you understand that and why that is? Did you read the article I showed you?


Many see a great difference between the moral portions of the Law and the ceremonial portions of the Law, and I agree that there is a difference. Sexual immorality is universally a sin, just as murder is universally a sin. Actions like circumcision and animal sacrifice are clearly covenant-related issues, not sin-related issues. Circumcision and animal sacrifice passed away with the Old Covenant in the first-century... but sexual immorality is still a sin, as it has always been, and murder is still a sin, as it has always been.Show me the scripture.


And yet... Scripture never says that the serpent was possessed by Satan. So if you're going to claim the serpent was possessed by Satan, then you have to assume that, since Scripture never says Satan possessed it. And since the actual narrative specifically refers to the serpent's own characteristics (as opposed to Satan's), and specifically describes it as an animal, that leaves only two interpretations for us... either the serpent was merely a devious serpent..How can this be a legitimate option? Do you really think animals could talk and deceive people at that time?


or the "serpent" and the descriptions regarding it are allegorical for Satan.Or Satan possessed the serpent. You forgot that one. I certainly see the idea of him possessing the serpent as being far more viable than thinking an animal could talk and deceive people on its own.


I see the latter as making the most sense in the full context of Scripture, as do many who don't interpret the full narrative of Adam and Eve as allegorical.But Adam and Eve are not allegorical. Unless you think Jesus descended from an allegorical figure (Luke 3:23-38) and that all the living descended from an allegorical figure (Gen 3:20).

What is your current stance at this point? Can you tell me exactly who you believe Adam and Eve to be?

crawfish
Jun 16th 2010, 09:03 PM
Scriptures are inspired by who? God. Therein is the problem God did not lie the world was created as He said and nothing about is fiction.

What does "inspired" mean?


I'll agree to the point that the Bible was not written to us; However, the Bible contains no contradictions. If it contained even one than it would not be the Word of God but of man

If you read the bible in a purely literal and simple format, then it has plenty of contradictions. If you read it correctly - which requires interpretation, by the way - then the contradictions become relatively simple to deal with (the poetic nature of language allows for divergent presentations of truth). I'd be more than happy to discuss this with you, but this is not the appropriate thread or forum for it. Let me know and I'll start a new thread up in contro.

Again, we all use interpretive techniques when reading the bible, because we have to. If God wanted to send us a clear, unambiguous message of facts he'd have given us the "Holy Pamphlet". My question has always been, why do many Christians regard the early chapters of Genesis as being exempt from the same interpretive methods they use in other parts of the bible?

crawfish
Jun 16th 2010, 09:04 PM
Do you not believe that the book of Genesis was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? It does not matter what they understood back then. The Holy Spirit understood everything perfectly.

Even contradiction? What does that mean?

(FYI, my post above is directed at you as well.)

Nihil Obstat
Jun 16th 2010, 09:13 PM
Sorry for not responding to this earlier. They were good questions, and I needed time to think!


This interpretation causes a problem with the story itself, and the significance of the story is completely lost. First off, God asks Adam to name all the animals etc. which is a project intended to teach Adam that he has no one like him to be his mate. And since God creates a mate for Adam from his rib, rather than, say, going to the next town to find someone it is hard to make your interpretation work.

I don't know that the naming of the animals was for Adam to find a "mate", but instead it is for a "helper" that God intends Adam to long for. Surely God did not bring to Adam one of each kind of female animal for him to choose a suitable wife! Nor does the text suggest one way or the other that God marched mated pairs of animals before Adam that he would become aware of his lack of a match from the opposite sex. Rather, Adam is shown that not one animal is a helper. A helper in doing what? Procreating? No, I think not. I think an equal helper to dress and keep the garden (cf. 2:15). I doubt that Adam was confined within the walls of the garden. But perhaps he alone was granted access into it, like the High Priest into the Holy of Holies? In which case he could not simply walk to the surrounding regions in search of a helper. Furthermore, it was not Adam who considered his solitude within the garden to be "not good", but it was God who made that statement.


Also, while it is true that God planted a garden east of Eden for Adam, it also says that there was not man to cultivate the ground. It wasn't as if there were farmers in the next village who suddenly woke up one day and said, "Hey, where did all these weeds come from?"

Groundwater came up from the underworld to water all the surface of the ground (2:6). What was being watered? I think it was the plants created on day three that were watered in this way. But it would take a tiller of the soil to produce the types of plants mentioned in 2:5. When by Adam, sin and death entered, all of creation began to groan for freedom from its futility. How would this change if there were others besides Adam and Eve created on day six? Could you clarify that for me? Thanks.

John146
Jun 16th 2010, 09:22 PM
(FYI, my post above is directed at you as well.)That scripture is inspired means that what was revealed to the authors to be written down was not from man and his limited understanding but from God and His unlimited understanding. When you said the ancients "explained the world around them the best they could from their limited perspective." I took that to mean you were applying that even to the authors of the OT. Is that not the case?

As far as my question regarding what you meant by contradictions, I wanted to make sure you weren't actually saying there were contradictions in scripture. That's something we definitely don't want to be teaching on this forum. We should interpret every part of scripture according to the kind of language it's written in. It's not hard to see that we should read the accounts of Jesus and His life literally and it's also not hard to see that we should not read the book of Revelation in the same manner as we read the accounts of Jesus' life, His ministry, His death and His resurrection. I personally see no evidence for the idea that we should read Genesis 1-11 allegorically, at least not most of it.

crawfish
Jun 16th 2010, 10:24 PM
That scripture is inspired means that what was revealed to the authors to be written down was not from man and his limited understanding but from God and His unlimited understanding. When you said the ancients "explained the world around them the best they could from their limited perspective." I took that to mean you were applying that even to the authors of the OT. Is that not the case?

I don't think that inspiration is holy dictation, and the bible itself supports that position. The authors were inspired to write by God what they did, which means they took what they knew personally and put it to pen. They did not have an unnatural knowledge of the world, they were still limited by their own worldview - but it was a message that God approved and had canonized into scripture.



As far as my question regarding what you meant by contradictions, I wanted to make sure you weren't actually saying there were contradictions in scripture. That's something we definitely don't want to be teaching on this forum. We should interpret every part of scripture according to the kind of language it's written in. It's not hard to see that we should read the accounts of Jesus and His life literally and it's also not hard to see that we should not read the book of Revelation in the same manner as we read the accounts of Jesus' life, His ministry, His death and His resurrection. I personally see no evidence for the idea that we should read Genesis 1-11 allegorically, at least not most of it.

That becomes a different argument, then. Have you ever heard the literary reasons that are used to take Genesis 1-11 as ANE perspective? I have found them to be quite compelling, and actually hold together better than a very literal interpretation.

newinchrist4now
Jun 17th 2010, 12:08 AM
What does "inspired" mean?



If you read the bible in a purely literal and simple format, then it has plenty of contradictions. If you read it correctly - which requires interpretation, by the way - then the contradictions become relatively simple to deal with (the poetic nature of language allows for divergent presentations of truth). I'd be more than happy to discuss this with you, but this is not the appropriate thread or forum for it. Let me know and I'll start a new thread up in contro.

Again, we all use interpretive techniques when reading the bible, because we have to. If God wanted to send us a clear, unambiguous message of facts he'd have given us the "Holy Pamphlet". My question has always been, why do many Christians regard the early chapters of Genesis as being exempt from the same interpretive methods they use in other parts of the bible?

I take everythibg literal that is. It comes down to this 1) No contradictions in God's Word period and 2) Christ and the apostles accepted what the Father did as real and that is enough. I don't need some fancy 21st century thinking for that

Scruffy Kid
Jun 17th 2010, 12:13 AM
Let's consider some of the recurring points that come up in the discussion, based on some recent posts, in sequence:

In post #137, newinchrist4now argues for what he considers the "literal" view on the grounds that departing from a "literal" reading is a slippery slope which might lead to questioning the historical substance of all parts of the Bible. He also suggests that he is concerned that, logically, taking any one part of the Bible (or anything else) as "not true" leads to grave doubts about why we should take any of that thing to be true. He sums it up by asking, "If just one part is just a nice story than why not the rest of it"?

Yet in my mind if one thing is not true than none of it is. It is a very slippery slope, of course I am of the mind it is literal but if someone I look up to questions it how true can any of it be. If just one part is just a nice story than why not the rest of it. It is a scary thought to meCrawfish replies in post #144:

That is really a false dichotomy. Nobody takes the bible 100% literally, and nobody just considers as non-literal what is specifically called out as so. We use literary style, genre and other cues to distinguish some scripture from others in terms of how we read/interpret them. If you can show that Genesis 1-3 is written in a format that allows for a non-literal interpretation, then that has absolutely no effect on the Gospels or anywhere else.

What you might call a slippery slope, I call discernment. We should not want to understand scripture in a literal sense, we should want to understand it the way it was meant for us to understand. Newinchrist4now replies, in #158:
Actually most Christian will take it how they want. Yes I want to understand it a literal sense, modern man runs around acting as if they know better and are smarter then the ancients just because they are more "enlightened". All that tells me is modern Christian have more pride than is warranted as has been shown many places in Holy Writ takes Adam and Eve and the whole kitten caboodle as genuine, even God himself in the person of Christ referenced the truth of it.

If Christ (who is God) accepts it that is good enough for me.
Crawfish then says (#162) that he thinks that it would be a serious mistake
read the bible as if it's a 21st-century book written specifically to our culture and our knowledge level and using modern rational thought. The bible was written for all peoples of all times of all cultures. It is full of mystery, ambiguity, symbol, allegory and even contradiction, and every single one of those elements is used to effectively tell the story of God and His relationship to man.Rather, he argues, we should
try and understand the text the way the ancients did.
Losthorizon responds that he thinks it a very serious mistake:

... to think Moses, Paul and Jesus would fail to differentiate the metaphorical from the reality In losthorizon's view Moses, Paul, and Jesus
all three clearly understood Adam to be the "first man" created by the Eternal - i.e., an actual historical man. Let's not forget -- Jesus is God and was with God "in the beginning".


Those who argue for what both sides term (unfortunately, in my view) "literal" view (represented mostly by newinchrist4now, but a bit by losthorizon) make these points, here:

(1) departing from a "literal" view is a slippery slope which could lead to de-historicizing the entire Bible
(2) logically, one one admits that the Bible is "not true" or "just a story" at one point, then this undermines reason for adhering to its authority in general. Put differently, the argument would be that arguing that a part of the Bible is "not true" undermines -- perhaps utterly vitiates -- the claim that the Bible is reliable and inerrant, authoritative, with solid teaching which is always true.
(3) taking an approach other than the "literal" one is presumption on the part of modern man, supposing themselves to be "better and smarter" than the "ancients" because they hold themselves to be "more enlightened" because of their pride.
(4) Specifically, it reflects a "materialistic" modern world view, one which denies spiritual realities.
(5) Holy Writ treats the story of Adam and Eve as "genuine", and Jesus Himself presumes its truth.
(6) It is wrong to suppose that "to think Moses, Paul and Jesus would fail to differentiate the metaphorical from the reality"
(7) Moses, Paul, and Jesus "all three clearly understood Adam to be the 'first man' created by the Eternal - i.e., an actual historical man."
(8) "If God Himself" -- and Christ is God -- "accepts it, that is good enough for me". For we shouldn't forget that " Jesus is God and was with God 'in the beginning'."

Those who argue the other side -- which people on both sides sometimes (very unfortunately, in my view) dub the "allegorical" position -- make the following arguments (here represented by Crawfish's recent posts):

(1) Treating the "literal"/"non-literal" as characterizing different points of view in the debate "is really a false dichotomy. Nobody takes the bible 100% literally, and nobody just considers as non-literal what is specifically called out as so."
(2) "We use literary style, genre and other cues to distinguish some scripture from others in terms of how we read/interpret them" so that if elements of the style of the early chapters of Genesis differentiate how that narrative is to be read from how -- say -- the Gospels are to be read, reading Genesis as written in "a format that allows for a non-literal interpretation" does not cast doubt upon the rest of the text.
(3) Therefore, reading the early chapters of Genesis as a figurative account (as many on the thread argue) -- or (Crawfish's distinctive argument) in a way reflecting the less technically and scientifically developed worldview of the cultures of the Ancient Near East generally -- "then ... has absolutely no effect on" our reading of the Gospels or any other part of the Biblical text.
(4) "We should want to understand" Scripture in the way the text invites us to understand it, or "the way it was meant for us to understand." What's called for is "discernment" in reading the various texts of Scripture, and what some see as a "slippery slope" should instead be understood as a need to be discerning in reading various Scriptural texts in ways appropriate to those texts."
(5) We should "try and understand the text the way the ancients did"
(6) An attempt to read the Bible literally reflects an attempt to read an individualistic, over-rationalistic, approach to knowledge and communication into an earlier culture which used symbolism and narrative and parable and figurative language much more broadly.
(7) Reading all parts of the Bible -- such as the opening chapters of Genesis -- as if they were what some call "literal" is to "read the bible as if it's a 21st-century book written specifically to our culture and our knowledge level and using modern rational thought." Instead it was "The bible was written for all peoples of all times of all cultures" and therefore uses a wide array of communication styles.
(8) Specifically, it "is full of mystery, ambiguity, symbol, allegory and even contradiction, " and this is no flaw, but rather the Bible's deliberate use -- God's deliberate use -- of "every single one of those elements is used to effectively tell the story of God and His relationship to man."

The purpose of this post

Here I am simply trying to sum up some of the arguments on each side.
Not only am I trying not to take sides, I'm trying not to make any arguments of my own at all, here.

It seems to me helpful, if fruitful discussion is to continue, without going over the same ground again and again repetitively, to try occasionally to sum up where recent discussion has gone, and so that we may see how the various positions differ, and perhaps understand why they differ. This may, at least, help us as Christian brothers and sisters with different views to start to understand one another better.

Such mutual understanding is important even if one side (either side) is in fact 100% right and the other 100% wrong (where they differ), and the side which is right knows that it is right, and knows that this is a vital matter. For if they are to be able effectively to help the other side see things correctly, they must first start by understanding what the other point of view, as held by people here for instance, actually is, and not a caricature of it. For unless they understand, and state, the other's point of view accurately and sympathetically, the others will not be able to hear the critique of their errors very well, since they will, correctly, see that what's being critiqued is not in fact their position at all, but a distortion or pastiche of it.

Blessings to all!

(This post was started before the #177 / #178 exchange, and crossed posts with it.)

losthorizon
Jun 17th 2010, 12:15 AM
I don't think that inspiration is holy dictation, and the bible itself supports that position. The authors were inspired to write by God what they did, which means they took what they knew personally and put it to pen. They did not have an unnatural knowledge of the world, they were still limited by their own worldview - but it was a message that God approved and had canonized into scripture.


You are missing an important concept taught throughout the Bible – all scripture comes from the mind of God and is presented to all men for all time. God's words are very specific and are presented exactly as God intended. He does not hid the truth as gnosticism teaches. God has always presented Adam as a real historical man in the book of Genesis. Moses understood Adam to be a historical man who was the father of all men as did Jesus and Paul.

You want us to believe that God - for unknown reasons - fooled everyone in the Bible so that man in the 21st Century could discover some hidden revelation that was hidden for thousands of years. Sorry my friend but your remain in error and such thinking is silly. The ancients understood the difference between allegory and reality and those inspired by God understood the truth that Adam was a historical man just as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were historical.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, ~ Paul

newinchrist4now
Jun 17th 2010, 12:45 AM
You are missing an important concept taught throughout the Bible – all scripture comes from the mind of God and is presented to all men for all time. God's words are very specific and are presented exactly as God intended. He does not hid the truth as gnosticism teaches. God has always presented Adam as a real historical man in the book of Genesis. Moses understood Adam to be a historical man who was the father of all men as did Jesus and Paul.

You want us to believe that God - for unknown reasons - fooled everyone in the Bible so that man in the 21st Century could discover some hidden revelation that was hidden for thousands of years. Sorry my friend but your remain in error and such thinking is silly. The ancients understood the difference between allegory and reality and those inspired by God understood the truth that Adam was a historical man just as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were historical.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, ~ Paul

Amen and Amen. Great post!

losthorizon
Jun 17th 2010, 01:07 AM
We don't have any such prophetic utterances in Genesis 4; nothing in the text tells us that that was the case. This leaves us with several men whose names directly correspond to their lives, but neither is causative of the other.

In the OP you make it appear as though you have had some eureka moment that changed your thinking regarding the historicity of Adam as you went through the tunnel and yet you present nothing of significance to back up such a transforming revelation. Do you have more than what you have presented thus far or is this it?

Scruffy Kid
Jun 17th 2010, 01:28 AM
Dear losthorizon,
I think you fail to understand what it is that you, and those on this thread who have expressed points of view not fully in agreement with yours, disagree about.

I don't think anyone disagrees with you when you state that:
all scripture comes from the mind of God and is presented to all men for all time. God's words are very specific and are presented exactly as God intended. He does not hid the truth as gnosticism teaches. Again, at the end you state, with emphasis, as if there were some disagreement about the point, that
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, ~ Paul But again, I don't think anyone on the thread disagrees about this.

What some others are not convinced of is that
God has always presented Adam as a real historical man in the book of Genesis. Moses understood Adam to be a historical man who was the father of all men as did Jesus and Paul. What would be necessary to convince those who disagree with you is more specific discussion on this point, not on the general point that God is faithful, and inspired the whole Bible. Those who disagree with you that the Bible must be read to make Adam a historical man, and the snake a physical snake, is whether this is in fact what "God has always presented." Later you re-iterate the same point by saying
those inspired by God understood the truth that Adam was a historical man just as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were historical. Again, this is what those you wish to convince are doubtful about, and your simply saying the same thing over and over doesn't help them much in understanding why they should agree with this, when they don't think the Bible is, in fact, necessarily saying that.

You then go on to say:
You want us to believe that God - for unknown reasons - fooled everyone in the Bible so that man in the 21st Century could discover some hidden revelation that was hidden for thousands of years. I don't see anyone on the thread arguing that. It's therefore not helpful -- whether in getting others to come around to your point of view, or in attaining mutual understanding and respect -- to characterize their views in this way.

The arguments you are making on this point are -- it seems to me -- in a sense summed up by your statement
Sorry my friend but your remain in error and such thinking is silly. Again, even if it were the case that some of those who are now adhering to a point of view different from yours would prefer to believe as you believe, you don't help them much in that direction by calling them "silly" and stating apodictically that the "remain in error". What they'd like to know, instead, is what compelling rational, scriptural reasons you think might lead them to that conclusion.

BadDog
Jun 17th 2010, 01:31 AM
In a more literalistic reading, God starts out as revealing himself universally to mankind, and allowing knowledge of him to diminish drastically, even though everyone was aware of his existence. Even the wicked knew he was there, they simply sinned against him because they were inclined to do so. In a more non-literal reading, God essentially started very locally in revealing himself and gradually moved outward over the course of history.
Why would one be more non-literal and the other literal. What if Gods' plan was to reveal Himself just as set out in scripture? I have a question: if NT scripture corroborates the OT, then what? Is the NT then in error, or allegorical as well?

Edit: I re-posted this because I really wanted to read your response on it. I am not looking to debate it. But I think the bold question above has not been addressed in this thread, and if it isn't addressed, then we are just playing games. IF the NT is viewed as corroborating the OT, then doesn't that shoot down your approach to Genesis?


Also, in post # 127 I gave specific references for places where IMO the NT does corroborate the OT as an historical record regarding Adam, Noah, the flood and the fall. (I don't want to re-post that one, as it's too long. But it should not be ignored, or your argument is without support unless you do not view scripture as verbal plenary inspired.) I think another important question to ask is if you believe in a literal fall of mankind, or only in an allegorical sense. (I believe you've said the latter.) And if it is the latter, then how does that not affect the gospel message? Just curious. Again I am not trying to debate this. I gave my position and supported it. I'd like to know where you stand on those questions.

Thx,

BD

Scruffy Kid
Jun 17th 2010, 01:54 AM
Let me try to get at some of the issues in a somewhat different way.

Let's assume for sake of discussion -- let's stipulate -- that the Genesis 2-4 account does refer to several specific historical individuals, those who, traditionally, are named "Adam", "Eve", "Abel", "Cain" and "Seth". Similarly, let's assume that the text is saying that Adam and Eve were the parents of the other three, with Seth born after Cain killed Abel.

Now, without disputing those points, let's consider what the main teachings of this passage of Scripture are.

As I see it, these passages are saying that God created humanity, male and female, in original righteousness; that humankind by our disobedience, our pride, our rebellion, and our disbelief -- to which the Evil One prompted us -- wrecked human nature, not only individually transgressing God's commands, but, in doing so, becoming spiritually dead, and leaving human nature, as all or virtually all subsequent human beings inherited it in a fallen -- a messed-up, corrupted -- state, which we might characterize as "spiritually dead" or as "possessing a sin nature" or the like.

Are these assumptions with which, generally, you and others taking what you regard as the "literal" point of view would agree?

If so, then we could explore the question of how we should read the Genesis 2-4 text, what its further implications are, what different approaches might be to how the text itself perhaps expects or intends us to read it, what the role of symbolism and figurative language might be within it, and so on.

newinchrist4now
Jun 17th 2010, 02:13 AM
No because you did it by "assuming" already your typing down at those who hold that God be true as Scriptures say and all others liars

Scruffy Kid
Jun 17th 2010, 02:14 AM
Dear BD, :hug:
I'm so please that you are weighing in on this thread! :pp :pp :pp :pp

(1) Main point #1

I was hoping for responses to your earlier post, and your responses, and am very glad you re- posted! I am indeed certain that you " I re-posted this because I really wanted to read your response on it. I am not looking to debate it."


(2) Main point #1

I'd be interested also to your response to what I just posted.


(3) Subsidiary point

However, let me flag an issue -- on the surface a vocabulary issue, but indicative of something rather deeper perhaps -- which comes up in your post. You say:
I think another important question to ask is if you believe in a literal fall of mankind, or only in an allegorical sense. But surely the term "fall" is -- as regards humankind -- a figurative term, rather than a literal term. As far as I recall, the term "fall" -- that is a tumbling from on high to a lower place is not used at all of what we call "the Fall", humanity's rebellion by which we messed-up human nature and find ourselves "very far gone from original righteousness." The word "fall" is used of Satan's fall -- Jesus says "I saw Satan fall like lightning", but even there it is probably a figurative use -- and certainly primarily so -- because we don't necessarily suppose that heaven is physically (and thus "literally") higher than earth or hell (sheol, hades, etc.). Thus it would seem that we do not -- that no one does -- believe in a "literal fall" of mankind. We don't think that when Adam and Eve stumbled, or fell, that they literally tripped over their feet, or lost their footing physically, and fell to the ground. Right?

This is not mentioned as a triviality, or a cavil, dear bro. I bring it up rather because I think that different uses -- and some confusing uses -- of the word "literally" (and, though it's less a problem even if more a blunder, the word "allegorically") are major factors in making various people on the thread talk past one another, and (IMO) major factors in confusing everyone's thinking. So I'm trying to clarify what people mean, or are trying to get at, when they argue that something is "literal". It somewhat surprises me that you used the term "literal fall" and I'm taking this as a point of entry to discussing, with you, I hope, particularly, what we may be trying to get at when we discuss the ways in which language and narrative in Genesis 2-4 -- and more generally in Genesis 1-11 -- is or is not figurative or analogical or poetic or philosophical, and ways in which it is historical, or the senses in which it is exact.


Thanks! :) and blessings!
Scruff

Scruffy Kid
Jun 17th 2010, 02:17 AM
I'm sorry, newinchrist4now, but I didn't understand what it was that you were saying in this post.

No because you dif it by "assuming" already your typing down at those who hold that God be true as Scriptures say and all others liars I'm not sure if it was addressed to me, or to someone else (and if someone else, who).

I wasn't sure what "dif it" meant, and not sure what you meant by "typing down at".

I'd like to understand. Could you clarify?

Thanks

newinchrist4now
Jun 17th 2010, 02:21 AM
I'm sorry, newinchrist4now, but I didn't understand what it was that you were saying in this post.
I'm not sure if it was addressed to me, or to someone else (and if someone else, who).

I wasn't sure what "dif it" meant, and not sure what you meant by "typing down at".

I'd like to understand. Could you clarify?

Thanks

It was to you, it was under your post. Your acting all self righteous by saying "let's assume" there is no assumption it all happened as God said, period, end of story. If it was a mere story I would not want to even be a Christian with a lie that in the very first part of the Bible. This is a hill I am willing to die on and for

losthorizon
Jun 17th 2010, 02:21 AM
Again, even if it were the case that some of those who are now adhering to a point of view different from yours would prefer to believe as you believe, you don't help them much in that direction by calling them "silly" and stating apodictically that the "remain in error". What they'd like to know, instead, is what compelling rational, scriptural reasons you think might lead them to that conclusion.


You misunderstand my intent and the intent of some of those on this thread that I oppose my friend. Those who reject the historicity of Adam and Eve are not likely to be persuaded to change their position and I am not here to convince them to do so. Most of those who reject Adam as a real historical person do so because they have no choice – their worldview will not allow them to believe the truth presented in the Bible for the obvious reasons. If you are not aware of those reason I will be happy to explain.

I am here for one purpose only and that is to defend the truth taught in Holy Writ - the truth that Adam was a historical man. All biblical genealogies trace our race back to that one man and to reject this truth is to misunderstand much.
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.... It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ ~ Paul

Scruffy Kid
Jun 17th 2010, 02:36 AM
Dear newinchrist4now, :)
I'm afraid you misunderstood my intent.

In the world of discourse I live in, when one conducts a discussion among people who differ, and one is trying to pinpoint areas of agreement and disagreement, one clarifies what is common ground -- or may be common ground among many of those in the discussion -- by saying things like "let's assume" or "let's stipulate" so that we can explore what may be held in common, and what may be points of difference.
ta
This is not peculiar to me: it's quite common in discussion, and has been so for about 2500 years or more. It's evidently not a style of talking, and reasoning, which is very familiar to you. It doesn't imply that the assumption or stipulation is other than solidly true. It is not a way of talking down to anyone. It's just a common way of trying to clarify things logically.

There are lots of different kinds of people on the board, and in the wider world. They all use language somewhat differently. It's important to learn to converse in a polite way, and try to understand one another. It's not very helpful to take offense when none is intended; and certainly when the way another talks is a pretty standard way of talking.

The Scriptures -- very concerned with spreading the Gospel, the one and only message of salvation given by Christ and handed on by the apostles -- emphasize that we should be gentle and respectful in explaining our views. This is the way that we win over others, even if initially they are not convinced. This is illustrated by Peter's discussion in I Peter 3, and by Paul where he says he has become a Greek to the Greeks, and all things to all men, so that by any available means he might win people to Christ. It is illustrated also by the way Paul speaks with the Athenians on the Areopagus (Mars Hill) in Acts 17.

Let me repeat: I was not talking down to anyone. I was not trying to be "self-righteous" -- and still can't quite fathom why you thought that. I was just trying to establish common ground for discussion in the ongoing dialogue on the thread.

Pax et Bonum (May Peace and All Good Things be with you), :hug:
Scruff


Let me try to get at some of the issues in a somewhat different way.

Let's assume for sake of discussion -- let's stipulate -- that the Genesis 2-4 account does refer to several specific historical individuals, those who, traditionally, are named "Adam", "Eve", "Abel", "Cain" and "Seth". Similarly, let's assume that the text is saying that Adam and Eve were the parents of the other three, with Seth born after Cain killed Abel.

Now, without disputing those points, let's consider what the main teachings of this passage of Scripture are.

As I see it, these passages are saying that God created humanity, male and female, in original righteousness; that humankind by our disobedience, our pride, our rebellion, and our disbelief -- to which the Evil One prompted us -- wrecked human nature, not only individually transgressing God's commands, but, in doing so, becoming spiritually dead, and leaving human nature, as all or virtually all subsequent human beings inherited it in a fallen -- a messed-up, corrupted -- state, which we might characterize as "spiritually dead" or as "possessing a sin nature" or the like.

Are these assumptions with which, generally, you and others taking what you regard as the "literal" point of view would agree?

If so, then we could explore the question of how we should read the Genesis 2-4 text, what its further implications are, what different approaches might be to how the text itself perhaps expects or intends us to read it, what the role of symbolism and figurative language might be within it, and so on.
No because you did it by "assuming" already your typing down at those who hold that God be true as Scriptures say and all others liars
It was to you, it was under your post. Your acting all self righteous by saying "let's assume" there is no assumption it all happened as God said, period, end of story.

Sirus
Jun 17th 2010, 02:39 AM
I don't think that inspiration is holy dictation, and the bible itself supports that position. The authors were inspired to write by God what they did, which means they took what they knew personally and put it to pen.But that's not what Scripture says.

1Pe 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
1Pe 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
1Pe 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

It says they wrote what they did not know. Searched diligently trying to figure it out.

BadDog
Jun 17th 2010, 02:41 AM
Let me try to get at some of the issues in a somewhat different way.

Let's assume for sake of discussion -- let's stipulate -- that the Genesis 2-4 account does refer to several specific historical individuals, those who, traditionally, are named "Adam", "Eve", "Abel", "Cain" and "Seth". Similarly, let's assume that the text is saying that Adam and Eve were the parents of the other three, with Seth born after Cain killed Abel.

Now, without disputing those points, let's consider what the main teachings of this passage of Scripture are.

As I see it, these passages are saying that God created humanity, male and female, in original righteousness; that humankind by our disobedience, our pride, our rebellion, and our disbelief -- to which the Evil One prompted us -- wrecked human nature, not only individually transgressing God's commands, but, in doing so, becoming spiritually dead, and leaving human nature, as all or virtually all subsequent human beings inherited it in a fallen -- a messed-up, corrupted -- state, which we might characterize as "spiritually dead" or as "possessing a sin nature" or the like.

1) Are these assumptions with which, generally, you and others taking what you regard as the "literal" point of view would agree?

2) If so, then we could explore the question of how we should read the Genesis 2-4 text, what its further implications are, what different approaches might be to how the text itself perhaps expects or intends us to read it, what the role of symbolism and figurative language might be within it, and so on.
Scruffy kid,

Not sure if you're asking this of me, but I'm going to respond as if you are. (Above is post #185)

I #ed the text above. I am not sure what you're asking in #1. If I were to take Genesis 2-4 as non-literal, I could only do so if the assumptions you listed were made. I think they would prevent us from having serious theological concerns. But I would still have concerns since Jesus, Paul, Peter and the gospel writers seem to write assuming that Noah and Adam were historical individuals. Also, in the transfiguration, Jesus met with and spoke to Moses and Elijah, so they clearly were historical individuals.

#2: I do believe that some of Genesis is figurative or allegorical language - intentionally. I assume that Moses was the primary author of the Pentateuch, which Jesus seems to indicate and was held by the Jews of the time. I think we need to then consider who the original readers were: the Jews in the wilderness, who had just exited from Egypt. They were greatly influenced from living there for 400 years! The Egyptians held that creation was accomplished by several gods. They did not understand that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was the one true God, who created the heavens and the earth.

The creation account was not written to give the Exodus Jews correct scientific, or even historical, understanding of how God created the universe. It was mainly theological in nature. Hence, I am not adamant in my own personal view of creation and see more than one view out there as possible.

Now with the flood and following, at the latest, we need to view the accounts as historical, in general.

Hope that helps.

BD

losthorizon
Jun 17th 2010, 02:42 AM
Let me try to get at some of the issues in a somewhat different way.


Questions for you Scruff - was the "Fall" a real event in human history? If yes can you explain when and how it occurred if Adam and Eve are mythological/metaphorical? Please provide scriptural support. Was there "sin" and "death" in the world before the Fall?
...sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned--Paul

crawfish
Jun 17th 2010, 03:00 AM
But that's not what Scripture says.

1Pe 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
1Pe 1:11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
1Pe 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

It says they wrote what they did not know. Searched diligently trying to figure it out.

Luke 1:3

And you're taking the verses in 1 Peter waaaaay out of context.

BadDog
Jun 17th 2010, 03:14 AM
Dear BD, :hug:
I'm so please that you are weighing in on this thread! :pp :pp :pp :pp

(1) Main point #1

I was hoping for responses to your earlier post, and your responses, and am very glad you re- posted! I am indeed certain that you " I re-posted this because I really wanted to read your response on it. I am not looking to debate it."

BD: I did post a response in post #193


(2) Main point #1

I'd be interested also to your response to what I just posted.

BD: See above.




(3) Subsidiary point

However, let me flag an issue -- on the surface a vocabulary issue, but indicative of something rather deeper perhaps -- which comes up in your post. You say:


I think another important question to ask is if you believe in a literal fall of mankind, or only in an allegorical sense.

But surely the term "fall" is -- as regards humankind -- a figurative term, rather than a literal term. As far as I recall, the term "fall" -- that is a tumbling from on high to a lower place is not used at all of what we call "the Fall", humanity's rebellion by which we messed-up human nature and find ourselves "very far gone from original righteousness." The word "fall" is used of Satan's fall -- Jesus says "I saw Satan fall like lightning", but even there it is probably a figurative use -- and certainly primarily so -- because we don't necessarily suppose that heaven is physically (and thus "literally") higher than earth or hell (sheol, hades, etc.). Thus it would seem that we do not -- that no one does -- believe in a "literal fall" of mankind. We don't think that when Adam and Eve stumbled, or fell, that they literally tripped over their feet, or lost their footing physically, and fell to the ground. Right?
Scruffy,

It is a figurative term of a real event (IMO). We use it (theologians, amateur or professional) to refer to Genesis 3. But you don't really see it used in scripture that way at all. Now you don't need to lecture me about figurative language in the Bible. I have no problem at all with the above. But the expression "fall" is how Christians have grown to refer to the sin which Adam and Eve committed by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. :P It saves on the typing. But I do believe that the story in Genesis 3 about the tree, serpent and Eve is literal. Is part of it more allegorical? Probably. But something very real and spiritual happened.

You see Scruffy. You took what I said of "the fall of man" in too literal language, when I intended it more figuratively. :D


This is not mentioned as a triviality, or a cavil, dear bro. I bring it up rather because I think that different uses -- and some confusing uses -- of the word "literally" (and, though it's less a problem even if more a blunder, the word "allegorically") are major factors in making various people on the thread talk past one another, and (IMO) major factors in confusing everyone's thinking. So I'm trying to clarify what people mean, or are trying to get at, when they argue that something is "literal". It somewhat surprises me that you used the term "literal fall" and I'm taking this as a point of entry to discussing, with you, I hope, particularly, what we may be trying to get at when we discuss the ways in which language and narrative in Genesis 2-4 -- and more generally in Genesis 1-11 -- is or is not figurative or analogical or poetic or philosophical, and ways in which it is historical, or the senses in which it is exact.

Thanks! :) and blessings!
Scruff
Scruff,

No problem. I recognize what you are saying. When I say "literal," I generally am careful to mean precisely that, especially in a thread like this one. I thought about it when I used it, and when I referred to "historical" people.

I do believe that most of Genesis 1 and 2 is very figurative and allegorical in nature. Was it 7 24-hour days? Probably not. Was the order in days 1 - 6 as we see it there? Not very likely. I don't know if you read what I posted earlier on that. But it was focused on people who had just gained their freedom from Egypt. God was not interested in giving great details about the specific scientific facts of the creation. Regarding the "fall of man," part of that may be more figurative also. But Adam and Eve were real, historical people IMO, and something happened at a point-in-time IMO there. And Eve did something different than Adam. Paul said that because Eve was deceived that the wife should submit to her husband. That indicates some sort of historical event. Was there really a tree?

Hope that helps.

BD

Sirus
Jun 17th 2010, 03:29 AM
Luke 1:3

And you're taking the verses in 1 Peter waaaaay out of context.
Luke 1:3 is inspired.

How am I taking 1Pe 1:10-12 out of context? Context cannot change its meaning here. It says what it says. 2 Peter says

2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

am I out of context there too?

Scruffy Kid
Jun 17th 2010, 03:51 AM
PLEASE NOTE: This is a reply to BD's post #193, not to post #196, which crossed with this!!


... Let's assume for sake of discussion -- let's stipulate -- that the Genesis 2-4 account does refer to several specific historical individuals, those who, traditionally, are named "Adam", "Eve", "Abel", "Cain" and "Seth". Similarly, let's assume that the text is saying that Adam and Eve were the parents of the other three, with Seth born after Cain killed Abel.

Now ... let's consider what the main teachings of this passage of Scripture are.

As I see it, these passages are saying that God created humanity, male and female, in original righteousness; that humankind by our disobedience, our pride, our rebellion, and our disbelief -- to which the Evil One prompted us -- wrecked human nature, not only individually transgressing God's commands, but, in doing so, becoming spiritually dead, and leaving human nature, as all or virtually all subsequent human beings inherited it in a fallen -- a messed-up, corrupted -- state, which we might characterize as "spiritually dead" or as "possessing a sin nature" or the like.

Are these assumptions with which, generally, you and others taking what you regard as the "literal" point of view would agree?
Scruffy kid,

Not sure if you're asking this of me, but I'm going to respond as if you are. (Above is post #185)


Direct Reply to BD

Dear BD,
Post #185 was addressed to people on the thread, generally, but when I saw your post I was also, in particular, interested in your response to post #185, as I mentioned in Post #187.

You start off by saying (in post #193) " If I were to take Genesis 2-4 as non-literal, I could only do so if the assumptions you listed were made." I never understand what people mean by the words "literal" or "non-literal" and find these very difficult words to assign a sensible meaning to at all.

What I was assuming, in that post, first, was the historicity of distinct individuals Adam, Eve, Abel, Cain, and Seth. (I presumed that this would be an important starting point for all who think that the accounts in Genesis 2-4 are what they call "literal" -- a word which, recall, I don't really understand, and concerning which I certainly don't understand how it is used by those who are fond of using it on Bibleforums.)

A second set of propositions I was putting forward as assumptions -- with a fairly confident hope that this would be common ground between most of those on the thread -- was the basic theology which is (in my experience) commonly understood (by Biblical Christians) to be taught by the Genesis 2-4 account, namely


"that God created humanity, male and female, in original righteousness; that humankind by our disobedience, our pride, our rebellion, and our disbelief -- to which the Evil One prompted us -- wrecked human nature, not only individually transgressing God's commands, but, in doing so, becoming spiritually dead, and leaving human nature, as all or virtually all subsequent human beings inherited it in a fallen -- a messed-up, corrupted -- state, which we might characterize as 'spiritually dead' or as 'possessing a sin nature' or the like."

My hope was -- presuming we discovered that this was common ground -- to go on from there, to ask about the extent to which people would find the language and narrative of Genesis 2-4 to be reasonably susceptible to interpretations which do assume that the text is perfect and saying just what it intends, and by doing so presenting a true and clear record of what actually occurred, but which do not assume that these accounts are non-figurative in character.

You anticipated these interests of mine, in part, by stating that: "#2: I do believe that some of Genesis is figurative or allegorical language - intentionally" and then giving additional parameters which help make clear how you read the text of Genesis 1-11, and also what some of your concerns are about some kinds of readings which (on their understanding) treat the narratives and language there as getting at the truths which God has revealed by the use of a broadly poetic or philsophical, rather than strictly historical, presentation.

In particular, in a way which is indeed very helpful -- both in clarifying your own views and in setting out a basis for discussion -- that

The creation account was not written to give the Exodus Jews correct scientific, or even historical, understanding of how God created the universe. It was mainly theological in nature. Hence, I am not adamant in my own personal view of creation and see more than one view out there as possible.


Further Discussion

In my opinion, the Bible is clear (perspicuous), wholly true and reliable, and authoritative. But that's different from saying that it's always easy to understand, or from thinking that the first thing that we get when we come to it -- particularly without having reflected on how Christians through history and worldwide have understood it -- is necessarily what it is actually saying to us. Clearly, throughout history, devout people have made mistakes in reading the Bible, and on many points it may leave us wondering.

And, as the song says,

People let me tell you it's a natural fact
Every man don't understand the Bible alike
And that's all.
Let me tell you that's all.
But you better have Jesus!
And I tell you that's all! Or as you put it "I am not adamant in my own personal view of creation and see more than one view out there as possible" and not least because "The creation account was not written to give the Exodus Jews correct scientific, or even historical, understanding of how God created the universe. It was mainly theological in nature."

There are several reasons why I think it is important to develop the idea that the early chapters of Genesis are primarily theological in nature.

First, I am interested in looking at the text as a particular sequence of words and events which is supposed to teach us something theologically, because I think the theology is vital.

Is vital, but not very closely dependent upon whether one thinks the text is "literal" or not.

Alas, I think that the heated debates about whether the accounts are "literal" or something else have the effect of making those genuine Christians who get into them -- in my own experience, which may not be very typical, especally on the "must be literal" side -- miss the main points which are, as you say, theological, and in fact tends to lead them to take little interest in the text itself. I love the Genesis text, and pore over it and ponder it constantly. I am intensely interested in the words and letters of the text, and its narrative sequences, because I am convinced that the text is God-breathed, and full of life and vital teaching for us. Alas, most people I find are rather uninterested in the text. In over six years here, I've not once found a person -- particularly someone who takes the text "literally" -- who seems to have any sustained interest in reading the text and trying to learn more about what it is teaching us.

Second, I am interested because I think that very many Christians, and non-Christians, are deflected from the possibility of taking the Christian faith -- in its full-blooded Biblical Gospel form -- seriously, or as seriously as they otherwise might by the erroneous perception that robust Christian belief conflicts with the standard accounts given by scientist concerning the age of the earth, the processes of physics, the origins of human life, and so on. I myself don't much care what one thinks about this: what is vital, in my opinion, is the basic Biblical truth of God's creation of all things, and of humanity, our fall, and the nature of God and of His redemption of humanity through Jesus Christ, God and man, who died for our sins, and rose from the dead, thus setting us free from sin, hell, death, and the devil, and bringing us to God, reconciled, and thus to eternal life. That fundamental Biblical and Christian story (that is, fundamental Biblical and Christian truth), is built in a fundamental way on things that Genesis 1-11 teaches -- as Paul's speech on the Areopagus makes clear. However, I don't think that that Biblical deposit of truth is much affected by whether one thinks the details of the narrative are meant as exact history, or as a more philosophical or poetic account which uses figurative language and narrative to tell the truth God is revealing to us about the core issues of anthropology (who we human beings are) and theology.

Third, I am interested, vitally, in all this because I think that division -- and particularly acrimonious division -- in the body of Christ is very bad for the unity God wants of us, for hearts being oriented in faith and love and obedience toward God, and for the strengthening and spread of the Gospel (and that, moreover, at a time where the Gospel is under attack from many quarters). Thus, I'm interested in trying to promote mutual understanding among Christians who confess Christ as our only Savior, and as God with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and who adhere to Biblical truth, even when there are disagreements -- including fairly important disagreements -- about matters which are less central to the faith. That's not to say that one should be dismissive about lesser matters, or reckon them unimportant. It is to say that our call from Christ -- the ministry of reconciliation (Paul says: be reconciled to God!) with which we are entrusted -- requires that we learn to proceed, graciously, despite some important differences.

For these reasons, I am seeking (in this thread among other places) to promote both mutual understanding, and a discussion in which we aid one another in trying to understand God's teaching and purposes from the Genesis texts.

Scruff

Scruffy Kid
Jun 17th 2010, 04:15 AM
This post is a reply to BD's post #196

BD --

Sorry if I seemed, or was, pedantic about the use of the term "Fall"; my concern was not that you would be confused about how to use the word "literal", but rather than, it seemed to me, division is unnecessarily occurring on the thread in general, in part because of confusion over how imagery and truth work together, especially in the description of cosmic and archetypal events, and I was trying to get at the way that something can be figuratively, and very indirectly, described, and yet be real. And in fact, at the concept that such indirect, figurative, descriptions are often the best possible (or only possible) descriptions, which is why, IMO, God has often elected to use them of some of the most important events in the Bible.

You say that the term "Fall" is a figurative term for a real event. That was a very helpful way to put it, IMO. This is exactly what I was trying to get at, because I think it can help bridge some of the differences between different members on the thread, and deepen our understanding. Again, later on, you similarly say "I do believe that most of Genesis 1 and 2 is very figurative and allegorical in nature" which "That indicates some sort of historical event" in which "something happened at a point-in-time." And you state
Is part of it more allegorical? Probably. But something very real and spiritual happened. These are just the kinds of concepts I am trying to work towards here.

Scruff

BroRog
Jun 17th 2010, 04:25 AM
I don't know that the naming of the animals was for Adam to find a "mate", but instead it is for a "helper" that God intends Adam to long for. Surely God did not bring to Adam one of each kind of female animal for him to choose a suitable wife! Nor does the text suggest one way or the other that God marched mated pairs of animals before Adam that he would become aware of his lack of a match from the opposite sex. Rather, Adam is shown that not one animal is a helper. A helper in doing what? Procreating? No, I think not. I think an equal helper to dress and keep the garden (cf. 2:15). I doubt that Adam was confined within the walls of the garden. But perhaps he alone was granted access into it, like the High Priest into the Holy of Holies? In which case he could not simply walk to the surrounding regions in search of a helper. Furthermore, it was not Adam who considered his solitude within the garden to be "not good", but it was God who made that statement.The process of naming animals involved study and careful observation since the name would subsequently bring to mind the unique, distinguishing feature of the animal. The text says that God planned on giving Adam a helper but first asked Adam to name the animals. Why? What purpose did it serve for Adam to perform a large amount of taxonomy before getting a helper? Wouldn't a helper be more useful to have during the project rather than after? The text says that after Adam named all the animals, "there was not found a suitable helper for him." Since the text says that the decision to give Adam a helper was made before hand, God surely knew that Adam needed a helper. Therefore it seems, even as God knew Adam needed a "suitable" helper Adam didn't. It would seem, therefore that the ulterior reason for naming the animals was the education of Adam concerning his need for a "suitable" helper. It wasn't until Adam named all the animals that HE knew that he had no one like him around."


Groundwater came up from the underworld to water all the surface of the ground (2:6). What was being watered? I think it was the plants created on day three that were watered in this way. But it would take a tiller of the soil to produce the types of plants mentioned in 2:5. When by Adam, sin and death entered, all of creation began to groan for freedom from its futility. How would this change if there were others besides Adam and Eve created on day six? Could you clarify that for me? Thanks.Yes, it was postulated that other people existed, or were created along with Adam so that he wasn't the sole human being during his Garden experience. Why would the author say that there was "no man to cultivate the ground" if there actually were other men?

Scruffy Kid
Jun 17th 2010, 05:31 AM
About the Fall, the Serpent, the Tree, and the Overall Message of Scripture

I do think that the Fall -- and the narrative in Genesis 3 which presents it -- is a figurative account (a poetic and philosophical account designed by God to go to the central points in the most incisive possible way) of real events involving real people.

It's exactly because of the realness and cosmic importance of these events that I think it is vital to read the narratives and their language in a way that gets out of them the full theological teaching that the inspired text -- the text that God authored -- put there, as fully as we can.

The ground (adamah) and the garden provide the basis for discussion of humanity
much as the creation of humanity in the seven-day creation account did

In earlier expository posts on this thread (#67 and #68), I discussed this in terms of the terms adam (humanity, and/or Adam) and adamah (ground) and even blood (dam or dawm) because I think that understanding the symbolic role these terms have is important to understanding the theological implications of the text, and thus the realities both of Creation and Fall (and, for that matter, Redemption, and probably Parousia). In the imagery of Genesis 2-4, (adam) that is humanity (and the historical figure Adam) is formed from the adamah, the ground. But then, the plants of the Garden, and the beasts, are also formed from the ground (adamah). Humanity, the adam differs from the rest of the creation in that God breathes His Spirit into human beings, and also in that he speaks to them, and in that they are placed in charge of things, to till and dress the Garden.

This corresponds rather exactly to the same themes, expressed in somewhat different imagery, in the 7-day creation account, mostly in Gen. 1. There too, Humanity (adam, male and female) is, like the rest of creation, brought forth from the elements of creation, and given dominion; but there too Humanity is radically different from any other part of creation, not just in having dominion, but in being made in God's image, and in placed in dialogue with Him. Humankind is, clearly, in both accounts, the crown of creation, oriented toward God, in charge, and so made that our central life is to be one of dialogue with God (and, also, with one another and with the rest of the Creation).

The imagery of serpent, tree, and so on is meant not so much to give historical detail
as to indicate the spiritual nature of man's -- Adam's, humanity's -- rebellion

In Genesis 2-4, the idea of the ground (adamah) keeps recurring; and the fact that the ground is cursed through humanity's disobedience is (IMO) speaking about far more than human difficulties with the natural world, although that is almost certainly an element of it, in view of Romans 8, especially. When the ground -- that from which humanity has been formed -- will not yield its good fruits without a struggle, and naturally brings forth nasty stuff, thorns and thistles, this signals, principally, IMO, the corruption of human nature, which was meant to bring forth good fruits, but now brings forth bad stuff very easily, and good stuff only with a lot of labor and difficulty. This is seen, in addition, in the alienation of humanity (the man and the woman, whom we may for convenience call Adam and Eve, even though the woman is not named Eve until the very end of chapter 3) from themselves, from one another, from nature, and from God, and in their propensity to blame others rather than owning up to their own faults and brokenness.

However, I want to pass to the specific imagery of the Fall. This occurs in two or three main forms. (1) They are disobedient to God, and do what he warns them will bring death, and tells them not to do. (2) They do something which is termed "eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil". (3) The Evil One, satan, the accuser -- that is the serpent -- poisons their minds by telling them that God is lying to them, by convincing them that God is withholding good from them, but especially by urging them to usurp God's place. "If you eat of the fruit", he tells them (specifically tells "Eve"), "you will be like God" and "knowing good and evil" exalted to the highest place.

The same themes are recapitulated in the Babel Narrative, in Genesis 11,
which precedes the call of Abraham, the start of salvation-history, in Genesis 12

It is helpful, in considering this Fall, to note how exactly the same latter two themes come up in the social, or collective, recapitulation of the Fall in the Tower of Babel narrative in Genesis 11. Just as Adam and Eve seek to define for themselves who they are and what is right and wrong -- to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and to be like God in their knowledge, and make themselves like Him -- so the men of Babel seek to "make a name for themselves". Just as the Devil tempts Eve (and Adam) to usurp God's place, and to seek to put themselves in His place, so the men of Babel seek to make a tower that reaches to heaven. They are, along the very lines that the serpent tempted Eve, seeking to raise themselves, by their own activity, to heaven, to the place that is God's.

(The importance of "making a name for themselves" is underscored not just because it's what people generally want to do, and not just by the parallels to Genesis 3. The Babel narrative is both preceded and followed by genealogies of Shem (although of slightly different structure -- whose name means "name" -- thus placing additional emphasis upon the "making a name for themselves. Moreover, the Genesis 11 Babel account is immediately followed (after the non-fissiparous genealogy of Shem) by the call of Abram, who does not seek to exalt himself, but to whom God comes, and to whom God gives a name, so that "all the families of the earth" (and later, "all the nations of the earth") will bless themselves. This blessed name, reflects God's very own nature, for He intensifies Abram's name "great father" to "father of a multitude." Yet Christ Jesus teaches us to call God "father", and Paul notes in Ephesians 3, that the blessed Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the "father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.)

These things take on fuller significance in light of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ,
and the Whole Narrative of Redemption and Restoration, and the Account of Christ's Deity

The significance of these passages in the whole teaching of Scripture can also be seen in the fundamental contrast which is posed between the men of Babel, and Adam and Eve, who seek to define themselves as they please, and to bestow a name upon themselves, and to exalt themselves, and Jesus. Jesus is born in lowliness, given names that God chooses, dies in lonely agony and shame as a criminal, but is "lifted up" by God and at God's initiative. Jesus teaches the disciples, and indeed everyone, to take the lowest place, and to be the servant of all, in love for others, and for God. Jesus teaches us to seek, not our own definition of right and wrong (not to take for ourselves, and seek to ingest, the fruit of "knowledge of good and evil") but God's will, God's command, God's definition for our lives; and He Himself says that he is doing what the Father tells him, and what he sees the Father doing.

This contrast is perhaps most marked, however, when we consider what may be the highest Christology in Scripture (or comparable, at least to John 1, and Colossians 1, and maybe Thomas's in John's resurrection account): the Christological hymn in Philippians 2. This well known passage uniquely combines its emphasis upon Jesus' full manhood and His full Deity, and presents His self-abnegating lowliness and humility as the very expression of His Deity.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped:
But made emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, and being made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
And became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Though this God has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
Things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
To the glory of God the Father. Rather than exalting Himself -- though the highest place was His by right, and by His Eternal nature -- Jesus humbled Himself in God's sight, (and dieing on the tree, as the fruit overcoming humanity's darkened mind and will) allowing God to raise Him up highly, and to give Him a name which is above every name.

Thus Genesis 1-11 is a highly theological account, which prepares the readers' hearts
for the entire message of Scripture. The essential message of all the Scriptures is our Lord Jesus Christ!

It is in light of this larger narrative of Scripture, and of the very definition of Who God is, and Who Christ is, and how we are to follow Him, that the symbolic elements of the Genesis 2-4 narrative (and also the Genesis 11 Babel narrative which immediately precedes God's initiation of salvation-history in the call of Abraham) start to fit into the larger picture of what is wrong in our hearts, and in the hearts of all humanity, and how God's own nature, and Christ's person and work are the foundation of our salvation.





Praise, honor, and glory be to God forever and ever
For by His great humility and by His death, Who is everliving and highly exalted over all
He has overcome sin, hell, death, and the devil, though his mighty victory
And has restored the whole creation through His cross
Reversing the dreadful work of Satan's lies by the truth of his very nature,
Bringing us, by His love, to the very place of partaking of God's own life
Which we by our folly and self-will excluded ourselves from
When departing from God's command we ruined the creation.

Praise and thanks and love and strength and power
Be forever to God
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Amen

Nihil Obstat
Jun 17th 2010, 06:37 AM
Why would the author say that there was "no man to cultivate the ground" if there actually were other men?

Sorry, but I'm just not following your question. In v. 5 no man had yet been created. That did not occur until v. 7.

But whether there were many "earthlings" created from the earth in v. 7 or just one, how would the whole of the cosmos immediately given over to futility change upon Adam's sin? I'm not seeing the difference.

BadDog
Jun 17th 2010, 01:41 PM
Concerning the genealogies in the Pentateuch it is important to recognize that for the time period before the Patriarchs (Genesis 1-11) there is almost definitely some gaps in the genealogical record listed in both Genesis 5 and 11. Look at the genealogies in Matthew 1 or Luke 3, for example. It is clear that there main purpose there was theological in the NT accounts, so why not also in Genesis 5 and 11? They would appear to contradict one another otherwise.

Also, when we say that Enoch "begat" Methuselah that does not always indicate direct parenthood in the Hebrew text, but that one is the ancestor of the other. The context needs to be considered. This is what also happens in Matthew 1 where links are known from the OT to have been intentionally omitted.

In the genealogy in Exodus 6:16-20, if we were to interpret it as four literal generations it would last in total perhaps a century or a little longer. But the purpose of Exodus 6:16-20 is not to give a full genealogy, for it only gives the tribe (Levi), clan (Kohath), and family-group to which Moses and Aaron belonged, and not their actual parents. But the Bible itself tells us that this period is 400 years. Is not such gaps more likely to occur the closer we get to the creation?

So did man's existence on earth begin about 4004 BC? No. It could have been perhaps 10,000 BC or even possibly 50,000 BC. Depending on your view of origins, it could have taken place even earlier. But IMO we need to be careful about a theistic evolution position, for the NT does corroborate key individuals in the OT record. And man was created in the image of God.


You said, "The imagery of serpent, tree, and so on is meant not so much to give historical detail as to indicate the spiritual nature of man's -- Adam's, humanity's -- rebellion."

Agreed. Doesn't mean that the individuals involved were not actual historical people.


You also said, "The same themes are recapitulated in the Babel Narrative, in Genesis 11, which precedes the call of Abraham, the start of salvation-history, in Genesis 12," which you explained:

...Just as Adam and Eve seek to define for themselves who they are and what is right and wrong -- to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and to be like God in their knowledge, and make themselves like Him -- so the men of Babel seek to "make a name for themselves". Just as the Devil tempts Eve (and Adam) to usurp God's place, and to seek to put themselves in His place, so the men of Babel seek to make a tower that reaches to heaven. They are, along the very lines that the serpent tempted Eve, seeking to raise themselves, by their own activity, to heaven, to the place that is God's...

I see those parallels. Again, my concern is that we find those people and events corroborated in the NT. That is strong evidence for their historicity of Adam and Eve. Why would Paul use Eve being deceived in the OT account as an explanation for why in God's design the wife was to submit to her husband. Do you see how theology is affected by how we interpret the OT historical record?


You also said, "These things take on fuller significance in light of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, and the Whole Narrative of Redemption and Restoration, and the Account of Christ's Deity." You added,

"Rather than exalting Himself -- though the highest place was His by right, and by His Eternal nature -- Jesus humbled Himself in God's sight, (and dying on the tree, as the fruit overcoming humanity's darkened mind and will) allowing God to raise Him up highly, and to give Him a name which is above every name."
I do see that symbolism, but that doesn't imply that Jesus was not actually crucified, or even necessarily that there was not some form of literal tree in the Genesis account. I consider the garden of Eden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to have been at least to a degree allegorical. But something historical and theological did happen there. The NT corroborates it.


Lastly, you said, "Thus Genesis 1-11 is a highly theological account, which prepares the readers' hearts for the entire message of Scripture. The essential message of all the Scriptures is our Lord Jesus Christ!" You then referred to

"...the symbolic elements of the Genesis 2-4 narrative (and also the Genesis 11 Babel narrative..."
You described how that fit into the concept of sin in mankind. I think such observations are valuable. But I personally hold to the tower of babel as an historical event. We have very little information about what actually happened there. Did it take place over a period of time? Undoubtedly. Is it an accounting of where the various language groups developed around the earth? Well, let me just say that the intent of the account is to show that God directly intervened into history so as to best provide an environment in which man might be open to God's drawing of him to salvation. Mankind was headed in the wrong direction. I personally assume something miraculous happened there at a point-in-time in history. I don't think much detail was given to us, so we can only surmise.

Similarly, regarding the flood, I think the evidence is too strong of a worldwide event. Such is supported in the NT accounting of it. If it was not worldwide, then we are not all descendants of Noah. Specific information is given regarding Noah and his family as they rode out the flood. Again, not very many specific facts are given to us of the flood. But IMO it was a genuine worldwide event in history which wiped out mankind except for Noah and his family.


Take care,

BD

BroRog
Jun 17th 2010, 03:16 PM
Sorry, but I'm just not following your question. In v. 5 no man had yet been created. That did not occur until v. 7.

But whether there were many "earthlings" created from the earth in v. 7 or just one, how would the whole of the cosmos immediately given over to futility change upon Adam's sin? I'm not seeing the difference.

Now I'm not understanding your question! :) :) Must be the end of the week. :)

I don't think the cosmos changed upon Adam's sin. But surely I'm missing something important. So please try asking your question again. And forgive my sin of staying up late when I know I shouldn't. :)

BadDog
Jun 17th 2010, 04:02 PM
I'm curious what you guys think the following are talking about:

Romans 8:18-25 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God's sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility -- not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it -- in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God's children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits -- we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. Now in this hope we were saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.

2 Peter 3:3-13 First, be aware of this: scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, following their own lusts, saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation." They willfully ignore this: long ago the heavens and the earth existed out of water and through water by the word of God. Through these the world of that time perished when it was flooded by water. But by the same word the present heavens and earth are held in store for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

Dear friends, don't let this one thing escape you: with the Lord one day is like 1,000 years, and 1,000 years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that [day] the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, [it is clear] what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness as you wait for and earnestly desire the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be on fire and be dissolved, and the elements will melt with the heat. But based on His promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell.

How does this possibly relate to the 2nd law of thermodynamics which refers to the usable energy in the universe running down, as things tend to head from order to disorder? What does this say about the flood? Was the flood a real event in history? Was it worldwide? Will God eventually destroy this world with "fire" and create a new universe and earth?

In post #127 I listed NT scripture which appears to corroborate the OT events as historical. What do you think of those NT texts?

Thx,

BD

crawfish
Jun 17th 2010, 04:57 PM
Luke 1:3 is inspired.

Yes. Inspired, but Luke still did research and interviewed eyewitnesses. Hardly necessary if God is dictating the words. This is a big clue as to the nature of inspiration.


How am I taking 1Pe 1:10-12 out of context? Context cannot change its meaning here. It says what it says.


"Jesus wept". Why? Because he stepped on a tack? Verses have no meaning outside of context. Or, more accurately, they have any meaning.

The scripture is a) pointing specifically to prophecies of the Messiah, b) asking the readers to trust in Jesus even though they've never met him or seen him. The context is to trust in what we do not know.



2 Peter says

2Pe 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

am I out of context there too?

It's referring to prophecy. Most of the OT was not prophecy. It's a big stretch to use this to apply concordist principles to all of scripture.

John146
Jun 17th 2010, 05:36 PM
I don't think that inspiration is holy dictation, and the bible itself supports that position.It's not holy dictation as evidenced by each author writing in different styles, but I believe He ensured that what they wrote portrayed the message that He wanted to convey. He inspired the message and then led them to write it down using their own writing style.


The authors were inspired to write by God what they did, which means they took what they knew personally and put it to pen. They did not have an unnatural knowledge of the world, they were still limited by their own worldview - but it was a message that God approved and had canonized into scripture.I completely disagree with this. They were not limited in their knowledge because the Holy Spirit was inspiring them and revealing things to them that no one knew before. The authors of scripture wrote things long before they were discovered by the secular world, including things such as the fact that the earth is spherical in shape (Isa 40:22, Job 26:10), the universe is expanding (Job 9:8, Psalm 104:2, Isa 40:22, etc.), every star is different (1 Cor 15:41), light is in motion (Job 38:19-20), the life source of the flesh is blood (Lev 17:11), air has weight (Job 28:25), how the water cycle works (Eccl 1:7, Isa 55:10, Job 36:27-28) and that the earth is suspended in space (Job 26:7). How would they have known those things except that God supernaturally revealed it to them?


That becomes a different argument, then. Have you ever heard the literary reasons that are used to take Genesis 1-11 as ANE perspective? I have found them to be quite compelling, and actually hold together better than a very literal interpretation.No, I haven't. What are they?

GitRDunn
Jun 17th 2010, 05:39 PM
I do see that symbolism, but that doesn't imply that Jesus was not actually crucified, or even necessarily that there was not some form of literal tree in the Genesis account. I consider the garden of Eden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to have been at least to a degree allegorical. But something historical and theological did happen there. The NT corroborates it.
Just one quick question for you. If it is to a degree allegorical, and it is all written in the same manner, how do you know how much is allegorical? Why could the 6 days of creation not also be allegorical (I am assuming from what you have said that you believe in a literal 6 day creation, forgive me if I am wrong, I have not had time to read the entire thread)?

John146
Jun 17th 2010, 06:00 PM
For those who do not see Genesis 1-11 as being a historical account, can you tell me who you believe Adam is in the following verses:

Luke 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

1 Chr 1:1 Adam, Sheth, Enosh,

If you believe these are not referring to a historical individual named Adam then what about the other names listed in 1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3:23-38? Do you believe none, some or all of those are names of historical individuals?

crawfish
Jun 17th 2010, 06:39 PM
It's not holy dictation as evidenced by each author writing in different styles, but I believe He ensured that what they wrote portrayed the message that He wanted to convey. He inspired the message and then led them to write it down using their own writing style.

More than just style.


I completely disagree with this. They were not limited in their knowledge because the Holy Spirit was inspiring them and revealing things to them that no one knew before. The authors of scripture wrote things long before they were discovered by the secular world, including things such as the fact that the earth is spherical in shape (Isa 40:22, Job 26:10), the universe is expanding (Job 9:8, Psalm 104:2, Isa 40:22, etc.), every star is different (1 Cor 15:41), light is in motion (Job 38:19-20), the life source of the flesh is blood (Lev 17:11), air has weight (Job 28:25), how the water cycle works (Eccl 1:7, Isa 55:10, Job 36:27-28) and that the earth is suspended in space (Job 26:7). How would they have known those things except that God supernaturally revealed it to them?


I do not hold with the concordist view of scripture. It's beyond the scope of this thread, but suffice it to say that the verses above are likely all views of perspective rather than scientific statements. Isaiah 40:22, for instance, is the perspective of one standing in the middle of a field with the land streching around in a circle, with the land meeting the skies at the edge and stretching out far above like a tent. That is the most straightforward explanation, since the word used is chuwg (2-dimensional circle) and not duwr (ball). You can approach each verse above with the "perspective" idea and it works far better than forcing concordism.



No, I haven't. What are they?

There are plenty of sources. On Genesis 1-11, the best I've read is Denis Lamoreaux's book "Evolutionary Creation" - a summation is here: http://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure/3EvoCr.htm.

A great commentary on Genesis 1 is John Walton's "The Lost World of Genesis 1", where he expounds on the idea of Genesis 1 as temple allegory. This idea works perfectly and explains why the original audience would have found deep meaning in a non-literal interpretation. He gives a good summary of his book's idea here: http://www.wheaton.edu/physics/research/symposia/conferences03/Sci_Sym.html

Another term to look up is the "Framework hypothesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framework_interpretation_%28Genesis%29)". Many non-literal interpretations use this as a basis. Essentially, it lists the first three days as creating "containers", and the last three days as filling those containers.

Point is, there are plenty of clues that allow us to consider the non-literalness of Genesis 1 and beyond.

John146
Jun 17th 2010, 07:13 PM
More than just style.What do you mean by that?


I do not hold with the concordist view of scripture. It's beyond the scope of this thread, but suffice it to say that the verses above are likely all views of perspective rather than scientific statements. Isaiah 40:22, for instance, is the perspective of one standing in the middle of a field with the land streching around in a circle, with the land meeting the skies at the edge and stretching out far above like a tent. That is the most straightforward explanation, since the word used is chuwg (2-dimensional circle) and not duwr (ball). You can approach each verse above with the "perspective" idea and it works far better than forcing concordism.I couldn't disagree more.

Please show me how what you're saying could apply to any of these verses:

1 Cor 15:41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

Job 26:7 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

Job 28:25To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure.

Job 36:27 For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: 28Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly.

Isaiah 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

Eccl 1:7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.


There are plenty of sources. On Genesis 1-11, the best I've read is Denis Lamoreaux's book "Evolutionary Creation" - a summation is here: http://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure/3EvoCr.htm (http://www.ualberta.ca/%7Edlamoure/3EvoCr.htm).
In the very first paragraph he says "This position also argues that humans evolved from pre-human ancestors, and over a period of time the Image of God and human sin were gradually and mysteriously manifested.". The problem with this is that it is not at all what we see described in Genesis. Genesis says that God created Adam from the dust and Eve from Adam's rib and that Eve sinned by disobeying God by eating fruit from the tree and believing the lie that she would not die as a result and Adam sinned by doing the same. If Adam was created from the dust as Genesis says then it is not possible that he evolved. And if Eve was created from Adam's rib, as Genesis says, then it would not be possible that she evolved. Also, how sin was manifested is not presented in Genesis as a mystery at all.


Another term to look up is the "Framework hypothesis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framework_interpretation_%28Genesis%29)". Many non-literal interpretations use this as a basis. Essentially, it lists the first three days as creating "containers", and the last three days as filling those containers.

Point is, there are plenty of clues that allow us to consider the non-literalness of Genesis 1 and beyond.The problem with "Framework hypothesis" is that we have NT references to things written in Genesis, including references to Adam and Eve and Noah and the flood, and they speak of them as historical events. We also have a genealogy in Luke 3 that shows Jesus and many individual historical people as having descended from Adam. Does that not mean Adam, too, was a historical individual person or is Adam the only name listed that is not a historical individual person? It doesn't appear that "Framework hypothesis" has any good explanations for these things.

BadDog
Jun 17th 2010, 07:48 PM
Just one quick question for you. If it is to a degree allegorical, and it is all written in the same manner, how do you know how much is allegorical? Why could the 6 days of creation not also be allegorical (I am assuming from what you have said that you believe in a literal 6 day creation, forgive me if I am wrong, I have not had time to read the entire thread)?
No. I said that the length of the days during creation were very likely not 24-hr days. I also said that the creation account was likely highly allegorical, but that the characters involved (Adam, Eve, the serpent) were real historical people (except the snake - he wasn't a person :P ).

But that is the question of the day (underlined above). Regarding the creation account, since it is supported in the NT, it is a real event... just not likely in the chronological order found in the 6 days. I do not hold to a traditional creationist position. I also do not hold to theistic evolution. I think it's a big mistake to go down that path. Nor do I support the Day-age view. My background is physics, so I get into relativity. But I must acknowledge that I'm just speculating. I think the framework view has a lot to offer. But I take a conservative framework approach.

If we look at the 6 days of Genesis 1, here is what we see. We see structure. The structure does not appear to be precisely an order of when God did what in creation. (I am ignoring the length of the days for the present.)

......Forming . . . . . . . . . . . . Filling
Day 1 light . . . . . . . . . . . . Day 4 sun, moon & stars
Day 2 oceans & sky . . . . . Day 5 fish & birds
Day 3 continents . . . . . . . Day 6 animals and humans

What God formed in days 1 - 3 He filled in days 4 - 6. Verses 1 and 2 are not part of day 1. There we read that the earth was "without form and empty" when God began to create. When people try to be too literal with the text, they're missing the whole point.


I think the first step is to look for the intent of the author and the people group to which the original account was directed. I see no reason to give scientific or detailed explanations of creation. It is highly theological in nature. So I don't expect to be able to do more than take my best shot at it until I see our Lord.

You should read my post #127. That will help get you up to speed.

Take care,

BD

John146
Jun 17th 2010, 08:44 PM
No. I said that the length of the days during creation were very likely not 24-hr days.So, do you think evening and morning were different then than they are now? If so, why? How could evening and morning, day and night, and light and darkness refer to a long period of time? At what point do you believe 24-hour days came to be?

Can you tell me the length of time of each mention of the word day(s) in this passage:

Exodus 20
8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

I see no evidence here that the six days in which people were to do their work were of a different length than the days that it took the LORD to make the heavens and the earth. Do you have any scriptural evidence to show that the "six days" of verse 9 are different in length of time than the "six days" of verse 11? It seems to me that man was to work for six consecutive literal 24-hour days and then rest because that is what God did.

The text itself suggests literal 24-hour days. As I said earlier one reason I say that is because it describes the days as being divided between evening and morning, day and night, light and darkness. Also ,if there was a long period of time between when the plants were created (day 3) and when the sun began to shine upon the earth (day 4) then how were all the plants able to live all that time without the sun ever shining on them? Another thing is that Genesis 1:14 refers to both days and years. Could anyone reasonably say that verse is not referring to literal 24-hour days or literal years? I don't believe so. So, if that verse is referring to literal 24-hour days then why not the other verses in Genesis 1?

BadDog
Jun 17th 2010, 09:41 PM
So, do you think evening and morning were different then than they are now? If so, why? How could evening and morning, day and night, and light and darkness refer to a long period of time? At what point do you believe 24-hour days came to be?
The underlined text is a good question. My argument is that this is clearly theological in nature. The Hebrew word for "day" (YOM) is often used in such a manner. I've read all the arguments for "Day" combined with a numeral, but I have also read those who have argued that they're making too much of it. I don't have a background in Hebrew, so I can only go by what others say.

But yes I do think that at the beginning of creation that day or night didn't really even exist in the sense that we think of it today. Now I personally do see the references to "night and day" as an indication of an actual day. Yet those days can be "days" without necessarily being 24-hours in length. Bottom line, the text in Genesis 1 was not intended to be a literal, chronological presentation of precisely how God created. It was intended to show that God formed and filled so that we have what we see today. It was intended to correct the Israelites' theology taken from the Egyptians that several gods were involved in creation. It was intended to show the Israelites that man has a sin problem, and how that came to be.

Just FYI my real concern is those who take vss. 1 and 2 to be part of day 1. I do believe that when God began to create that He did it in a very short time--perhaps 6 24-hr. days. I do not hold to a Day-Age or to a progressive creationism origins viewpoint. My concern is with taking what is intended as theology and trying to break it down too much scientifically.


Can you tell me the length of time of each mention of the word day(s) in this passage:

<snip> - N/A

I see no evidence here that the six days in which people were to do their work were of a different length than the days that it took the LORD to make the heavens and the earth. Do you have any scriptural evidence to show that the "six days" of verse 9 are different in length of time than the "six days" of verse 11? It seems to me that man was to work for six consecutive literal 24-hour days and then rest because that is what God did.
Perhaps. And perhaps God set the creation in a framework of 6 24-hour days so that we could see this relationship. The text in Genesis 1 was never intended to be highly technical in nature. It is theological in nature.

God could have done that, sure. Let me ask you something? If light and darkness were created on day 1, then was there any light before that? (Your position must say "no.") And from where did the light come on day 1, if the sun, moon and stars were not created until day 4? The angels were created before Genesis 1:3. Their creation is not described in Genesis 1. Was there no light even after their creation? We cannot say that God was their light as light did not exist until day 1. The angels are prior to day 1. If one takes such a literal approach, there really is not logical way to handle light.

You spoke of reasonableness. The closest star is 4.3 light-years away, and many stars are millions of light-years away, how is it that the universe is only a few thousand years old? Why would God create all the stars, galaxies, etc. with the light already in its place? Makes no sense to a reasonable person at all. Why not just create them in a natural manner? God is outside of the space-time continuum, so time means nothing to Him.

Now there are answers for the person who insists on forcing the creation account into a literalist framework. I've heard them. But why try to go so far beyond what the text naturally says? This text is not about scientific details. It is about theology. So personally, I may speculate about how God did it all, and trust me I've spent much time speculating on how relativity fits into the picture (it most definitely has lots to say here) but since He didn't give us the details, I'll focus on what He intended... the theology. I am afraid that if we do not, we will miss the boat on what God has intended for us to pick up here.


The text itself suggests literal 24-hour days. As I said earlier one reason I say that is because it describes the days as being divided between evening and morning, day and night, light and darkness. Also ,if there was a long period of time between when the plants were created (day 3) and when the sun began to shine upon the earth (day 4) then how were all the plants able to live all that time without the sun ever shining on them? Another thing is that Genesis 1:14 refers to both days and years. Could anyone reasonably say that verse is not referring to literal 24-hour days or literal years? I don't believe so. So, if that verse is referring to literal 24-hour days then why not the other verses in Genesis 1?
John,

Perhaps you are right. But I will stick to my position that the creation account was not given so that we could know the scientific details of what God did when during creation. In some places the creation account is given as to have occurred in an instant. What happens to the 6 24-hr. days then?

So yes, it is very reasonable to say these were not literal 24-hr. days and it is also reasonable to say that our focus should be on the theology, not the science.

BD

losthorizon
Jun 17th 2010, 10:41 PM
So yes, it is very reasonable to say these were not literal 24-hr. days and it is also reasonable to say that our focus should be on the theology, not the science.

BD

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath unto Jehovah … for in six days Jehovah made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is….” Exodus 20:8-11 Questions for you BD – the Jews were required to keep the Sabbath holy – is the seventh day of the week a literal 24-hour day? Of course it is. If the seventh day is 24-hours why would you insist that the “six days Jehovah made the heaven and earth” not be 24-hour days? Was God not capable of creating all that was created during the “creation week” - six 24-hour days?

The Bible interprets itself and a word used over and over again within context should mean the same thing every time – wouldn't you agree? Your notion regarding the days of creation appears weak when looked at biblically and logically. Do you find some contradiction between God's six days of creation and science? Do you think Moses understood the six days of creation to be six 24-hour days? Does scientific theory trump God's word in your theology?

crawfish
Jun 17th 2010, 10:41 PM
What do you mean by that?

Literary style, worldview, knowledge level. However, let's stick with style. There is a particular style from the ancient Israelites called "midrash". These stories expand on known facts or alter chronologies in order to make some intended point. They were written at the same time period as the bible, and would have been a known literary style.

As an example, please read Matthew 27:3-8. Then read Acts 1:18-19. Tell me, without interpreting, how did Judas die, and who bought the plot of land? This is easily explained via midrash style, but I've not heard a good literal explanation.



Please show me how what you're saying could apply to any of these verses:

Sure.


1 Cor 15:41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.

The stars are visibly different from each other. Some brighter, some dimmer. Some of slightly different color. Some are planets and the reflected light looks different that the stars that produce light. This was even more evident in pre-electric civilization where the nights were much darker. It is about perspective.


Lev 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

If someone bleeds enough, they will die. I'm sure this was evident to an Israelite in 1000BC, especially one who engaged in war with swords and other sharp weapons. Perspective again.



Job 26:7 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

"The void" from which this statement is taken, has a much different meaning in ancient cosmology. Also note that this verse is spoken by Job; yet when God speaks in Job 38:4, He says ""Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?
Tell me, if you understand. " It seems that Job got things more correct that God Himself?


Job 28:25To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure.

Have you ever felt the wind at your back? Many translations use "force" instead of "weight", and honestly it makes a lot more sense. Very simple perspective.


Job 36:27 For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: 28Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly.

Do you ever have rain without clouds? You ever been in a fog or a mist and saw the dew form on your hands? Even without knowing the exact methods, this isn't a difficult matter to deduce.


Isaiah 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

Is it not obvious that water causes life? You don't think they saw it rain and then saw crops grow?


Eccl 1:7 All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

I think the author is being obvious about the perspective here. The waters run to the sea but the seas never get any higher? Obviously that water is going somewhere, must be back to the place where it came.


In the very first paragraph he says "This position also argues that humans evolved from pre-human ancestors, and over a period of time the Image of God and human sin were gradually and mysteriously manifested.". The problem with this is that it is not at all what we see described in Genesis....

The problem with "Framework hypothesis" is that we have NT references to things written in Genesis...

You're reading articles on how the Genesis account is written from a symbolic/allegorical/non-literal format, and then complaining because they don't approach the bible literally?

If you're going to dismiss any arguments that start off saying something you don't agree with, then I suppose the chance you'll gain any understanding of the reasons why they hold their opinions is pretty small.

I'm only offering them for your perusal. Read them or not, if you wish, but don't pretend to understand where I'm coming from if you don't.

losthorizon
Jun 17th 2010, 10:56 PM
I'm only offering them for your perusal. Read them or not, if you wish, but don't pretend to understand where I'm coming from if you don't.
But isn't it true that you are coming from a metaphysical worldview that rejects out of hand a real historical man "specially created" by God? Under your worldview isn't it required that man must be the result of hominid evolution and therefor you wouldn't entertain for a moment the biblical truth that Adam was historically the "first man" - a man created by God - a man without a "father after the flesh"?

I think you owe it to the folks reading this thread to admit from whence you come, Crawfish - your worldview skews your interpretation of God's word my friend.

crawfish
Jun 17th 2010, 11:57 PM
But isn't it true that you are coming from a metaphysical worldview that rejects out of hand a real historical man "specially created" by God? Under your worldview isn't it required that man must be the result of hominid evolution and therefor you wouldn't entertain for a moment the biblical truth that Adam was historically the "first man" - a man created by God - a man without a "father after the flesh"?

I think you owe it to the folks reading this thread to admit from whence you come, Crawfish - your worldview skews your interpretation of God's word my friend.

Again...you can read those pages if you want to better understand why I believe the way I do. If you don't, that's your perogative, but I'm not going to play any games.

losthorizon
Jun 18th 2010, 01:09 AM
Again...you can read those pages if you want to better understand why I believe the way I do. If you don't, that's your perogative, but I'm not going to play any games.
No game my friend and unless you have changed your worldview from what you disclosed to me in the past I clearly understand your potion and it is just as I have outlined, hominid evolution - zoo-to-you evolution - without biblical support.

As for your reference to the work of Denis Lamoureux, his “evolutionary creation” is simply worn out and recycled “theistic evolution” in drag. Phillip Johnson soundly defeated Lamoureux in their debate on Darwinism and it is important to note that Lamoureux's notions are rejected by 99% of evolutionary scientists who consider “God-talk” anathema and his ideas find no support in Holy Writ – God is not a Darwinist. If your theology is built of the work of Lamoureux you are on sinking sand.

BadDog
Jun 18th 2010, 02:09 AM
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath unto Jehovah … for in six days Jehovah made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is….” Exodus 20:8-11 Questions for you BD – the Jews were required to keep the Sabbath holy – is the seventh day of the week a literal 24-hour day? Of course it is. If the seventh day is 24-hours why would you insist that the “six days Jehovah made the heaven and earth” not be 24-hour days? Was God not capable of creating all that was created during the “creation week” - six 24-hour days?

BD: Of course. Didn't you read my other posts? :confused If this text was organized in a different manner. Not to give details of creation, but to give details of the fall of man. Then that text simply doesn't apply.

The Bible interprets itself and a word used over and over again within context should mean the same thing every time – wouldn't you agree? Your notion regarding the days of creation appears weak when looked at biblically and logically. Do you find some contradiction between God's six days of creation and science? Do you think Moses understood the six days of creation to be six 24-hour days? Does scientific theory trump God's word in your theology?
I answered this one already... I think twice now. Regarding the contradictions, there is very little at all scientific about the creation account. That's not what it's about. Now God could obviously do whatever he chooses. But when we see scientific evidence of something, why would we put our heads in the sand and assume that something which does not account for it is what happened?

Now regarding the underlined portion, if you're going to make such a claim, then you have to be specific. I gave great details in my comments. What specifically was not biblical or was not logical? I think I'm going to refuse to further respond to this post because of the tone with which it was delivered. The bold sentence above is simply rude and unfair. Have you supported your posts with scripture as much as I have?

I don't interact with those who don't play fair.

BD

losthorizon
Jun 18th 2010, 03:14 AM
But when we see scientific evidence of something, why would we put our heads in the sand and assume that something which does not account for it is what happened?


What scientific evidence do you think you see that contradicts God's word? Please be specific.


I think I'm going to refuse to further respond to this post because of the tone with which it was delivered.
Just stating the facts - your notion regarding the days of creation appears weak when looked at biblically and logically. Do you think Moses understood the "creation days" to have been *billions of years* or did he understand the word of God for what it clearly stated -
"...Six days shall you labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath unto Jehovah … for in six days Jehovah made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is…." One must do some pretty heavy-duty literary gymnastics to get *billions of years* from *in six days shall you labor*. Again, it appears that logic and scripture is just not on your side but if you can elaborate a bit more on how you overcome your dilemma I would be happy to hear your defense. :)

BadDog
Jun 18th 2010, 03:33 AM
How does relativity theory apply to the creation account? Well, bear in mind that this is simply conjecture, based upon known facts, but still speculation.

Relativity facts:

Nothing with rest mass can travel at the speed of light.
Light (act. all electromagnetic radiation) can travel only at the speed of light.
Time is like another dimension. The "space-time" continuum is a way of expressing that time and space are intertwined.
Special relativity: As a mass approaches the speed of light, time "slows down." It's called "time dilation."
General relativity: In the vicinity of a large mass slows down time as well.

How does this relate to creation? You guys have heard of the big bang theory. I prefer to refer to it as the expanding universe. It simply says that "in the beginning" the universe was condensed into a singularity (an extremely small point). Very, very, very dense. The "explosion" was not an ordinary explosion in which matter was propelled outward into space. Instead the matter and space-time expanded together.

Since the beginning was a very dense mass, tremendous time dilation would occur due to general relativistic concerns. Also, the initial speed of expansion was incredible! There would have been tremendous time dilation due to special relativity as well. Now, so what? The "twin paradox" refers to a hypothetical situation in which one twin travels at relativistic speeds while the other stays home. The one traveling would experience only, say 5 years, while the twin at home might experience 20 years. Now during the big bang things would have been very extreme. Perhaps several billions of years would have elapsed for an outside observer, but the matter traveling at such speeds would have only a few hours perhaps. This is not theoretical. We have much data to support this "time dilation." At such speeds, it is simply a fact that tremendous time dilation would have occurred.

So as I was thinking about the big bang one day, I had an epiphany. I wondered if anyone else had thought of it, and I realized that they must have. So I researched and found that some Christian physicists have proposed this. One of them is on the board of directors of The Creation Research Society. He is a faculty member of their university in San Diego. Bottom line: during the big bang, the matter that would later compose the earth would literally have experienced almost no time (as the traveling twin), while when we look at the evidence in the rest of the universe (where the rest of the universe is the traveling twin) we would see scientific evidence of billions of years having elapsed. And for those stars, it would have been billions of years.

What this does is show how we could see light from star systems millions of light years away, yet the matter would have been present for God to begin creation on earth almost instantaneously. Now, with this viewpoint, the creation of light on day one would simply be the beginning of the rotation of the earth. From the perspective of the surface of the earth, night and day was "created." Again, on day 4 the stars would have already been present, just not visible yet. The atmosphere was murky until day 3 when God separated the atmosphere from the oceans. In clearing up the atmosphere completely on day 4, the stars and even the sun would have been distinctly visible now. Perhaps God created the moon then, or he caused it to happen naturally during the expansion and coalescing of some matter.

God could have created all that is upon the earth in 6 24-hour days, for those who hold to this as most likely. What relativity theory does is give an explanation for why they could see the stars which are many light years away on day 4. Now, would we expect God to explain the relativistic effects of what He had done to those Israelites wandering in the universe? That's why I think we need to really think through the purpose of what God did tell them, and the context. What God did was incredible. We really have very little idea of just how He did it. But science and the Bible do not conflict. Let's just leave it at that. It's fun to speculate on how God could have done this or that. I mean, we have almost no details in Genesis 1.

BD

BadDog
Jun 18th 2010, 04:05 AM
LH,

I don't think I'm going to respond to your posts for awhile. When I see something like this, it just makes me angry:


What scientific evidence do you think you see that contradicts God's word? Please be specific.
When did I even hint at such a thing as saying that scientific evidence "contradicts" God's Word?! Please pay attention to what I actually say. There is no contradiction, when the record we read in Genesis 1 is NOT intended by God to be scientific at all. If it is somewhat of an allegorical description of creation, why try to make it more "literal"? If Goddoesn't give the details, and I surmise what they may be, where's the contradiction? Don't force the test to say more than what it actually says.

Thx,

BD

GitRDunn
Jun 18th 2010, 04:14 AM
How does relativity theory apply to the creation account? Well, bear in mind that this is simply conjecture, based upon known facts, but still speculation.

Relativity facts:

Nothing with rest mass can travel at the speed of light.
Light (act. all electromagnetic radiation) can travel only at the speed of light.
Time is like another dimension. The "space-time" continuum is a way of expressing that time and space are intertwined.
Special relativity: As a mass approaches the speed of light, time "slows down." It's called "time dilation."
General relativity: In the vicinity of a large mass slows down time as well.

How does this relate to creation? You guys have heard of the big bang theory. I prefer to refer to it as the expanding universe. It simply says that "in the beginning" the universe was condensed into a singularity (an extremely small point). Very, very, very dense. The "explosion" was not an ordinary explosion in which matter was propelled outward into space. Instead the matter and space-time expanded together.

Since the beginning was a very dense mass, tremendous time dilation would occur due to general relativistic concerns. Also, the initial speed of expansion was incredible! There would have been tremendous time dilation due to special relativity as well. Now, so what? The "twin paradox" refers to a hypothetical situation in which one twin travels at relativistic speeds while the other stays home. The one traveling would experience only, say 5 years, while the twin at home might experience 20 years. Now during the big bang things would have been very extreme. Perhaps several billions of years would have elapsed for an outside observer, but the matter traveling at such speeds would have only a few hours perhaps. This is not theoretical. We have much data to support this "time dilation." At such speeds, it is simply a fact that tremendous time dilation would have occurred.

So as I was thinking about the big bang one day, I had an epiphany. I wondered if anyone else had thought of it, and I realized that they must have. So I researched and found that some Christian physicists have proposed this. One of them is on the board of directors of The Creation Research Society. He is a faculty member of their university in San Diego. Bottom line: during the big bang, the matter that would later compose the earth would literally have experienced almost no time (as the traveling twin), while when we look at the evidence in the rest of the universe (where the rest of the universe is the traveling twin) we would see scientific evidence of billions of years having elapsed. And for those stars, it would have been billions of years.

What this does is show how we could see light from star systems millions of light years away, yet the matter would have been present for God to begin creation on earth almost instantaneously. Now, with this viewpoint, the creation of light on day one would simply be the beginning of the rotation of the earth. From the perspective of the surface of the earth, night and day was "created." Again, on day 4 the stars would have already been present, just not visible yet. The atmosphere was murky until day 3 when God separated the atmosphere from the oceans. In clearing up the atmosphere completely on day 4, the stars and even the sun would have been distinctly visible now. Perhaps God created the moon then, or he caused it to happen naturally during the expansion and coalescing of some matter.

God could have created all that is upon the earth in 6 24-hour days, for those who hold to this as most likely. What relativity theory does is give an explanation for why they could see the stars which are many light years away on day 4. Now, would we expect God to explain the relativistic effects of what He had done to those Israelites wandering in the universe? That's why I think we need to really think through the purpose of what God did tell them, and the context. What God did was incredible. We really have very little idea of just how He did it. But science and the Bible do not conflict. Let's just leave it at that. It's fun to speculate on how God could have done this or that. I mean, we have almost no details in Genesis 1.

BD

That is an interesting postulation. I am not sure whether or not I agree with it as the description because I have never heard of this theory before, but it is still interesting.

BadDog
Jun 18th 2010, 04:36 AM
That is an interesting postulation. I am not sure whether or not I agree with it as the description because I have never heard of this theory before, but it is still interesting.

Yeah, it is interesting. Bottom line: if there was a big bang, and as a physics major and teacher, I am convinced that there was, then there would have been such time dilation. The question is if this was how God initiated the whole creation process. If the universe is expanding, and it is, why assume that God put all of the universe in place, expanding? Why would He do that? It just seems more logical to let the evidence direct us to where it naturally follows. Assuming no contradictions of something explicitly stated in scripture.

BD

GitRDunn
Jun 18th 2010, 04:49 AM
So as I was thinking about the big bang one day, I had an epiphany. I wondered if anyone else had thought of it, and I realized that they must have. So I researched and found that some Christian physicists have proposed this. One of them is on the board of directors of The Creation Research Society. He is a faculty member of their university in San Diego. Bottom line: during the big bang, the matter that would later compose the earth would literally have experienced almost no time (as the traveling twin), while when we look at the evidence in the rest of the universe (where the rest of the universe is the traveling twin) we would see scientific evidence of billions of years having elapsed. And for those stars, it would have been billions of years.
I do have one question. Since all matter and energy was in the singularity at the start, wouldn't the other stars have been in the same time dilation field as us? If they were, how would it be no time for us but billions of years for them?

BadDog
Jun 18th 2010, 05:01 AM
Just read Crawfish's last post, and it was excellent. I did want to comment on a couple of the texts:

Job 26:7 (NET) He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; 16 he suspends the earth on nothing. 17
16 sn There is an allusion to the creation account, for this word is תֹּהוּ (tohu), translated “without form” in Gen 1:2.

So Job 26:7 seems to be a reference by Job to the creation. It is interesting, because at times Job refers to one of the ancient ideas that the earth was supported upon pillars. Later on in this chapter he does so (vs. 11).

In the NET Bible, Job 38:25 it does translate "weight" as "force." Makes more sense.

Now it sounds like you are perhaps a theistic evolutionist. Is that correct? If so, we have a different perspective, but I appreciate reading your thinking on this... to be able to understand your perspective better.

Thx,

BD

BadDog
Jun 18th 2010, 05:17 AM
I do have one question. Since all matter and energy was in the singularity at the start, wouldn't the other stars have been in the same time dilation field as us? If they were, how would it be no time for us but billions of years for them?Not exactly, for we were not all expanding at the same rate. Those stars further from the origin would be traveling faster. From the perspective of earth, the other stars "appear" to be traveling away from us. Think about it. For any expanding object this will be so.

Now, for the earth matter traveling, and I assume that this would be the perspective in Genesis, very little time elapsed. But when we look at the other stars, there would be time dilation to consider. The same would be true from another perspective. The stars are not all expanding at the same rate. I'm probably not explaining it very well. The physics is valid.

One of the books I've read on this, published by ICR, is called, Starlight and Time. Solving the Puzzle of Distant Starlight in a Young Universe, by D. Russell Humphreys, Ph.D. It's a short book. The appendixes are twice as long as the book itself. It was published in 1994 I think. He is publishing a longer version. It may be out already. You can read his text in PDF form online regarding his book at:

http://www.icr.org/article/seven-years-starlight-time/ (main link)

http://www.icr.org/i/pdf/imp/imp-338.pdf (PDF)

I bought the book because I teach physics, and I wanted to have it available to share with other staff. I particularly like his attitude to origins:


How to Regard Creationist Models

In contrast to the way some scientists promote their theories, I don't expect people to take mine as gospel. For example, many people may prefer the mature creation of starlight, a venerable creationist theory I commented on in appendix A of my book. Even if you like my theory, please try to keep open to the possibility that a better one may come along. I myself remain open, and anticipate my tenure at ICR, with increased attention and time focused on this vital question, to bear much fruit.

And the following also:


Cosmic phenomena are so complex and beyond our ken that it would be especially arrogant to assume God couldn't do what He said He did simply because we can't imagine how. Our imaginations are very limited, but God's is not. Even in cosmology, all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26). Every human theory needs to conform to the knowledge the word of God gives us. Regardless of the complexities of cosmology, we can know that the world is young because of clear Scripture in clear context, such as Exodus 20:11, "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth . . ." Our privilege, our mandate, is to try to discern His methods and thoughts, and to give Him all praise and glory throughout.

Again, Humphreys is on staff with ICR. He's on the board of directors also. He is a young earth creationist... but from a unique perspective.

BD

losthorizon
Jun 18th 2010, 11:35 AM
LH,

I don't think I'm going to respond to your posts for awhile. When I see something like this, it just makes me angry:


When did I even hint at such a thing as saying that scientific evidence "contradicts" God's Word?!
You were the guy who said, "when we see scientific evidence of something, why would we put our heads in the sand and assume that something which does not account for it is what happened?" I am asking you a legitimate question - what scientific evidence do you think you see that contradicts God's word? Please be specific and use examples from science not speculation based on scientism or evolutionary mythology - just science.

I understand science and I see no contradiction between science and the Bible. The conjecture in your past few posts appear to suggest you buy into the scientism hard sell - do you?
scientism is the idea that natural science is the most authoritative worldview or aspect of human education, and that it is superior to all other interpretations of life.

BadDog
Jun 18th 2010, 03:31 PM
You were the guy who said, "when we see scientific evidence of something, why would we put our heads in the sand and assume that something which does not account for it is what happened?" I am asking you a legitimate question - what scientific evidence do you think you see that contradicts God's word? Please be specific and use examples from science not speculation based on scientism or evolutionary mythology - just science.

I understand science and I see no contradiction between science and the Bible. The conjecture in your past few posts appear to suggest you buy into the scientism hard sell - do you?
scientism is the idea that natural science is the most authoritative worldview or aspect of human education, and that it is superior to all other interpretations of life.
LostHorizon,

By your definition of scientism, I do not at all align with such. I think you just don't understand the whole Bible science issue then. I simply do not understand how you could take what I said (in bold above) and take that to mean that "science trumps the Bible." :confused What we are talking about is trying to understand what the author of a text in the Bible is saying. That's where we disagree. Now if one has some historical data or scientific data that relates to the text, doesn't it make sense that it is more likely that the text should agree with said scientific or historical data? That's what I mean by burying your head in the sand. You appear to be trying to interpret Genesis 1 without considering the historical context within which it was written. Moses wrote it. We should not ignore that. It was addressed to the Israelites in the wilderness after having been drawn into many wrong concepts about God after 400 years living with the Egyptians. Again, we should not bury our head in the sand and ignore that. Finally, we should not ignore that the universe which God created is expanding. Now my theory (and that's what it is--just a theory) regarding relativity possibilities is just an attempt to see how the Bible and science may not be in conflict with a young universe. It allows the universe to be young and old at the same time--no conflict. But I was clear that it was just speculation.

Or are you one who assumes that science and the Bible are in conflict? You appear to be. If so, then you are the one who has an issue regarding science and the Bible. I don't.

Now I cannot talk about something from science that contradicts God's Word since I never implied such a thing. So how in the world can I answer your question?

LH, the problem is that you are interpreting the Genesis text IMO in a manner that is not consistent with how it was written. Now regarding science, did you read post #228 in this thread regarding Dr. Humphreys from the ICR? I'll re-post his comments here. Perhaps they'll help answer your questions:


How to Regard Creationist Models

In contrast to the way some scientists promote their theories, I don't expect people to take mine as gospel. For example, many people may prefer the mature creation of starlight, a venerable creationist theory I commented on in appendix A of my book. Even if you like my theory, please try to keep open to the possibility that a better one may come along. I myself remain open, and anticipate my tenure at ICR, with increased attention and time focused on this vital question, to bear much fruit.

And the following also:


Cosmic phenomena are so complex and beyond our ken that it would be especially arrogant to assume God couldn't do what He said He did simply because we can't imagine how. Our imaginations are very limited, but God's is not. Even in cosmology, all things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26). Every human theory needs to conform to the knowledge the word of God gives us. Regardless of the complexities of cosmology, we can know that the world is young because of clear Scripture in clear context, such as Exodus 20:11, "For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth . . ." Our privilege, our mandate, is to try to discern His methods and thoughts, and to give Him all praise and glory throughout.

Notice the bold text, particularly the bold underlined portion. I am simply trying to discern God's message and thoughts from the Bible text. If we disagree in how we interpret the Genesis account, you could be wrong, I could be wrong, or more likely we both could be wrong. Now, when you stop misrepresenting me I would consider it a privilege to interact with you on this issue. (I assume it is in ignorance, not intentionally; yet still it is misrepresentation.) I just do not interact with those who are rude or who misrepresent what I said or who do not read carefully what I posted. It's just not worth it. But please do not assume that if someone interprets Genesis differently than you, that they are not giving God's word the authority that it warrants. I guarantee you that you do not have any greater respect for God's Word than I do. We know so little about how God created the universe and the earth. The Bible did not tell us much, because the focus was on the theological implications. You might want to read what I posted in #127 on this thread.

I hope you understand.

BD

newinchrist4now
Jun 18th 2010, 08:22 PM
You know this thread has done one thing, and I am being very serious, it has lead me to question if I can believe one thing from Scripture and wonder if it's all just a good allegorical story. It has been on my mind lately. Of course my stronger side tells me it's all true but now that I see some I looked up to not believe it all maybe none of it is true.

BrckBrln
Jun 18th 2010, 08:25 PM
You know this thread has done one thing, and I am being very serious, it has lead me to question if I can believe one thing from Scripture and wonder if it's all just a good allegorical story. It has been on my mind lately. Of course my stronger side tells me it's all true but now that I see some I looked up to not believe it all maybe none of it is true.

Get it out of your mind that everything in the Bible must be literal or else it's all allegorical. That's an absurd notion that you are too smart to believe.

newinchrist4now
Jun 18th 2010, 08:39 PM
Get it out of your mind that everything in the Bible must be literal or else it's all allegorical. That's an absurd notion that you are too smart to believe.

Sorry can't, to many people here brought up questions for me. I am now headed into my own long night of the soul.

BrckBrln
Jun 18th 2010, 08:46 PM
Sorry can't, to many people here brought up questions for me. I am now headed into my own long night of the soul.

I think your being over-dramatic. Nothing wrong with you exploring these questions but it shouldn't present a crisis of faith.

newinchrist4now
Jun 18th 2010, 08:51 PM
I think your being over-dramatic. Nothing wrong with you exploring these questions but it shouldn't present a crisis of faith.

Maybe you shouldn't rush to judgement about my experiences. I am questioning because some who I thought were solid Christians said some things are just mere stories, welll how the heck in this earth am I not to suspect it's all one big lie. If Gensis can be a lie than so can the whole mass of it.

BadDog
Jun 18th 2010, 09:09 PM
You know this thread has done one thing, and I am being very serious, it has lead me to question if I can believe one thing from Scripture and wonder if it's all just a good allegorical story. It has been on my mind lately. Of course my stronger side tells me it's all true but now that I see some I looked up to not believe it all maybe none of it is true.
NewInChrist,

What we do in trying to "interpret" scripture is simply strive to understand what the original intent was. This particular text is one of those for which theologians argue about what that intent was. Now, in some Psalms, for example, we read about trees clapping their hand to the Lord. Obviously that is allegorical. This text is not so clear. The thing to do with scripture is to let it tell you what to do. "If the plain text make sense, seek no other sense." In post #127 I gave NT passages which leads me to believe that Adam and Eve, Noah, and Abraham were actual historical people, not just representative. Some hold that "Adam" is representative, IOW allegorical, since in Hebrew the word refers to mankind.

Now God named him such since he was the first man. When in doubt, we should take a more literal approach. In the case of Genesis 1 and 2, the creation story, God did not give us much to go by--very few details. IMO the purpose of the story was to correct the Egyptian view that several gods were involved in creation. It also was to tell how man had originally sinned and the consequence of that sin. That leads to our need for a Savior.

Now to refer to not believing it at all you are assuming that God did not really inspire this scripture. Here are some scriptures which talk about how God inspired His Word:

2 Timothy 3:14-17 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The word translated as "inspired" in most Bibles means literally "God-breathed."

2 Peter 1:16 - 21 For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, a voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory:
This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!
And we heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with Him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic word strongly confirmed. You will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dismal place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. First of all, you should know this: no prophecy of Scripture comes from one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, moved by the Holy Spirit, men spoke from God.
Peter is talking about when he, James and John saw Jesus transfigured. He says that inspired scripture is God speaking to us.

2 Peter 3:15, 16 Also, regard the patience of our Lord as [an opportunity for] salvation, just as our dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you. He speaks about these things in all his letters, in which there are some matters that are hard to understand. The untaught and unstable twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures.
Notice that Peter referred to Paul's writings--the letters that comprise about 1/2 of the New Testament, as scripture. So pretty much people recognized what was actually from God--inspired scripture--immediately. It did not take time for people to figure that out.

To doubt the veracity and inspiration of scripture, which you are alluding, is a serious step. If you believe Jesus is God's Son, you accept His Word as scripture... "God breathed."

Think about it... you're talking about your spiritual life. A person who has come to genuine faith in Christ will trust His Word. What you need to do is get into the Bible and just read it. Ask God to reveal Himself you as you do so. Start in the gospel of John.

BD

newinchrist4now
Jun 18th 2010, 09:22 PM
See the thing is your using something to try to prove that something and unless I am mistaken (and I apologize in advance if I am) your one that might view it as just a story. For so long I believed God did exactly as He said in Genesis and rebuffed others who said it nothing but fairy tales, now I see Christians who say exactly that. If I can't trust God to tell the truth about our beginnings than how can I trust anything in His book.

If Genesis is really just a bit of great fiction than nothing in the rest can be trusted to be true. That's huge, very huge. I can tell you I believe everything in Genesis is 1000 percent true, but it still nags me that if good Christian people can think God lied in one part than why not the other parts

John146
Jun 18th 2010, 09:36 PM
The underlined text is a good question. My argument is that this is clearly theological in nature. The Hebrew word for "day" (YOM) is often used in such a manner. I've read all the arguments for "Day" combined with a numeral, but I have also read those who have argued that they're making too much of it. I don't have a background in Hebrew, so I can only go by what others say.

But yes I do think that at the beginning of creation that day or night didn't really even exist in the sense that we think of it today. Now I personally do see the references to "night and day" as an indication of an actual day. Yet those days can be "days" without necessarily being 24-hours in length. Bottom line, the text in Genesis 1 was not intended to be a literal, chronological presentation of precisely how God created. It was intended to show that God formed and filled so that we have what we see today. It was intended to correct the Israelites' theology taken from the Egyptians that several gods were involved in creation. It was intended to show the Israelites that man has a sin problem, and how that came to be.

Just FYI my real concern is those who take vss. 1 and 2 to be part of day 1. I do believe that when God began to create that He did it in a very short time--perhaps 6 24-hr. days. I do not hold to a Day-Age or to a progressive creationism origins viewpoint. My concern is with taking what is intended as theology and trying to break it down too much scientifically. So, is your answer to my question regarding when 24-hour days began "I don't know"?


Perhaps. And perhaps God set the creation in a framework of 6 24-hour days so that we could see this relationship. The text in Genesis 1 was never intended to be highly technical in nature. It is theological in nature.

God could have done that, sure. Let me ask you something? If light and darkness were created on day 1, then was there any light before that? (Your position must say "no.") And from where did the light come on day 1, if the sun, moon and stars were not created until day 4?The text doesn't tell us specifically, but it may have come from God Himself, similar to what will be the case on the new earth:

Rev 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

Rev 22:5 5And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.



The angels were created before Genesis 1:3. Their creation is not described in Genesis 1. Was there no light even after their creation? We cannot say that God was their light as light did not exist until day 1. The angels are prior to day 1. If one takes such a literal approach, there really is not logical way to handle light.Since scripture does not have much at all to say about the creation of the angels we are left to speculate on that. You are assuming that angels need light. Is there any scripture that says angels need light? Wasn't the purpose of the light to give light for the plants, animals and humans on the earth?


You spoke of reasonableness. The closest star is 4.3 light-years away, and many stars are millions of light-years away, how is it that the universe is only a few thousand years old?Adam was an adult man on day 1 so we have to be careful about relying on human logic here. If the stars were set in place right at the beginning then they would have immediately been millions of light-years away from the earth, right? I don't see this as a problem at all for my view.


Why would God create all the stars, galaxies, etc. with the light already in its place? Makes no sense to a reasonable person at all.Why is that? I suppose it also isn't reasonable that God would create an adult man from dust and an adult woman from his rib? Does the truth of scripture depend on what humans tend to find to be reasonable? Who are we to say what God would have found to be reasonable?


Now there are answers for the person who insists on forcing the creation account into a literalist framework. I've heard them. But why try to go so far beyond what the text naturally says?It seems to me that people like yourself are not accepting what the text naturally says.


This text is not about scientific details. It is about theology. So personally, I may speculate about how God did it all, and trust me I've spent much time speculating on how relativity fits into the picture (it most definitely has lots to say here) but since He didn't give us the details, I'll focus on what He intended... the theology. I am afraid that if we do not, we will miss the boat on what God has intended for us to pick up here.I think the mistake many make is bringing what they have been taught by science and forcing the Bible to fit into that when it should actually be the other way around.


John,

Perhaps you are right. But I will stick to my position that the creation account was not given so that we could know the scientific details of what God did when during creation. In some places the creation account is given as to have occurred in an instant. What happens to the 6 24-hr. days then?What are you referring to exactly?


So yes, it is very reasonable to say these were not literal 24-hr. days and it is also reasonable to say that our focus should be on the theology, not the science.We should focus on truth and the authenticity of the Bible. I believe those who claim that Genesis 1-11 is not a literal historical account bring into question the authenticity of scripture.

teddyv
Jun 18th 2010, 09:36 PM
See the thing is your using something to try to prove that something and unless I am mistaken (and I apologize in advance if I am) your one that might view it as just a story. For so long I believed God did exactly as He said in Genesis and rebuffed others who said it nothing but fairy tales, now I see Christians who say exactly that. If I can't trust God to tell the truth about our beginnings than how can I trust anything in His book.

If Genesis is really just a bit of great fiction than nothing in the rest can be trusted to be true. That's huge, very huge. I can tell you I believe everything in Genesis is 1000 percent true, but it still nags me that if good Christian people can think God lied in one part than why not the other parts
I really don't think that one person here who holds to a non-literal or non-plain reading of Genesis is calling it fairy tales. No one is saying God lied. It is a an interpretative difference. Truth does not have to equal fact.

newinchrist4now
Jun 18th 2010, 09:41 PM
I really don't think that one person here who holds to a non-literal or non-plain reading of Genesis is calling it fairy tales. No one is saying God lied. It is a an interpretative difference. Truth does not have to equal fact.

Saying allegorical is no different than saying the Holy Spirit lied. If that can't be trusted than all of it has to be suspect now and I am not playing around I am really upset about this. Even though the other side is there, the whole thing is a lie is creeping up

BrckBrln
Jun 18th 2010, 10:03 PM
Saying allegorical is no different than saying the Holy Spirit lied. If that can't be trusted than all of it has to be suspect now and I am not playing around I am really upset about this. Even though the other side is there, the whole thing is a lie is creeping up

All I can say is that you are completely wrong. You misunderstand our position and you are upset over nothing. This is what is wrong with Christians today. We teach our children that the Bible popped out of heaven with no errors (even on minor things) and as literal as can be (because our modern minds can't take things non-literal) and once we find that something is allegorical or is the same type of literature as the world produced around the Bible or there's a textual variant, well then the whole darn thing must be a lie therefore we can't believe anymore. It's ridiculous.

newinchrist4now
Jun 18th 2010, 10:05 PM
All I can say is that you are completely wrong. You misunderstand our position and you are upset over nothing. This is what is wrong with Christians today. We teach our children that the Bible popped out of heaven with no errors (even on minor things) and as literal as can be (because our modern minds can't take things non-literal) and once we find that something is allegorical or is the same type of literature as the world produced around the Bible or there's a textual variant, well then the whole darn thing must be a lie therefore we can't believe anymore. It's ridiculous.

Well the Bible contains no errors and personally I would be very suspect of ones who think Scripture does.

BadDog
Jun 18th 2010, 10:15 PM
See the thing is your using something to try to prove that something and unless I am mistaken (and I apologize in advance if I am) your one that might view it as just a story. For so long I believed God did exactly as He said in Genesis and rebuffed others who said it nothing but fairy tales, now I see Christians who say exactly that. If I can't trust God to tell the truth about our beginnings than how can I trust anything in His book.

If Genesis is really just a bit of great fiction than nothing in the rest can be trusted to be true. That's huge, very huge. I can tell you I believe everything in Genesis is 1000 percent true, but it still nags me that if good Christian people can think God lied in one part than why not the other partsNIC,

I think you should go back and look at those texts, with comments, more carefully. Here are the points:


Scripture refers to itself as "inspired" meaning literally "God-breathed."
People recognized letters written at the time they were written as scripture.
All scripture is "inspired" = "God-breathed."


Now, I was not, am not, using scripture to prove that it is from God. There are arguments to show that scripture is inspired. That was not my intent above. I heard an illustration once about a man who was about to stab an enemy with a sword. The man he was about to stab stopped him and asked him to prove that what he held was really a sword, and that it could really harm him. Of course no one would do such a thing as argue to prove to the unarmed man that what he held was a sword. He would just use it. Similarly, I was just challenging you to read God's Word, asking God, if He truly exists and wrote the Bible, to reveal Himself to you. If it is God's Word, he will use it in your life If you get into God's Word, he will reveal Himself to you. Guaranteed.

And you much misunderstand me! You need to go back and read my posts more carefully, for I was very clear on that! Start with post #127 (page 9 I think). I never even hinted such a thing as to say that Genesis 1 was just a story! Adam and Eve were real people - the first human beings - created by God. What I said was that what was written in Genesis 1 was not intended to be science. It is theology. Hence God did not give many details of how and when He created. I personally question how traditionalists view what happened in those 6 days. For example, I gave the impact of special and general relativity to creation. Now obviously God would not try to reveal the relativistic aspects of what He did when Genesis was written about 3400 years ago, though there were relativistic effects. God shared what could be understood to the people He intended it for at the time.

Let me give an example. Say you are a brain surgeon. Your 5 year old son asks you to tell him what you are going to do in a surgery you are going to be performing tomorrow. Do you tell the details of your surgery on a level such that another surgeon could follow? Of course not. He could not understand it, and it would not serve the best purpose. You would probably give a few very general details, such as to say that you are going to make a small hole in the person's head and fix some thing that was wrong with their head.

IMO for similar reasons God did not give us many details about what He did during creation nor regarding the order of the process. It wouldn't have been understood, and it would not accomplish any good purpose.

Now, I am going to surmise that you were brought up around the church, but you never really searched it out for yourself. There is nothing to fear with genuinely seeking for the truth. But you need to really, genuinely dig. And so far, from what you've shared, you've done only shallow scraping. Dig. Dig deep. Search for the truth. Do not accept anything but fact.

I wish you the best in your search. I would also add that it does not appear that you ever have truly believed. You cannot live on your parent's or friends' faith. It must be your own. And the only way that can occur is if you truly seek truth. Don't expect other people to tell you what to believe. Dig. And you cannot tell yourself to believe. You must genuinely come to believe that Jesus Christ died for you, as revealed in scripture. Sometimes that taks time for that to occur. You can't just know a few surface facts about Christ. You must know Him personally, intimately. You have clearly not yet come to know Him so. God will bring about faith in your heart, revealing Himself to you, but he only does so for those seeking truth.

Proverbs 2:1-6 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding; furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Dig.

BD

newinchrist4now
Jun 18th 2010, 10:29 PM
I wish you the best in your search. I would also add that it does not appear that you ever have truly believed. You cannot live on your parent's or friends' faith.

I took that challenge long ago (to find out my faith for myself and weather it was my beliefs or my parents) and have been very confused ever since and I have and continue to believe and question (which I hate). I wish I never did it was and it continues to be the single biggest mistake I made and like I said I am sorry if I was wrong about what you typed.

I will never believe that Genesis is a mere lie (allegory), once I was involved in a debate at that point I really didn't give Genesis a second thought so I had to research a lot and through such I became and remain till the day I day a young earth creationist.

Again I am sorry if I misunderstood you

losthorizon
Jun 18th 2010, 10:34 PM
LH, the problem is that you are interpreting the Genesis text IMO in a manner that is not consistent with how it was written.

But you are wrong my friend – it is your position that has thrown consistency to the wind. I read Genesis 1-11 exactly as God intended it to be understood not only by Moses but by *all men for all time* - Holy Writ is given to us all. God revealed to Moses pure historical narrative and that was the way Moses understood the text. There is nothing in the text to even hint that God intended Genesis to be some mythological literary invention. The Creation Story sets the stage and prepares the reader for the historical record that follows in the entire Bible.

The Bible begins with man's special creation and subsequent Fall and it ends with man's redemption through a Risen Savior. The “first man”, Adam was an historical man and the “last Adam”, Jesus the Christ was an historical man – the Son of God. Moses understood Genesis in its entirety to be a historical record of God's creative power and His plan for mankind through the coming ages...


And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." Gen 3This biblical fact should be obvious to all who seek the truth.
“The style of these chapters, as indeed, of the whole book of Genesis, is strictly historical, and betrays no vestige whatever of allegorical or figurative description; this is so evident to anyone that reads with attention as to need no proof. ” ~ Thomas H. Horne, An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures

"Genesis one is not poetry or saga or myth, but straightforward, trustworthy history, and, inasmuch as it is a divine revelation, accurately records those matters of which it speaks. That Genesis one is historical may be seen from these considerations: (1) It sustains an intimate relationship with the remainder of the book. The remainder of the book (i.e., The Generations) presupposes the Creation Account, and the Creation Account prepares for what follows. The two portions of Genesis are integral parts of the book and complement one another. (2) The characteristics of Hebrew poetry are lacking. There are poetic accounts of the creation and these form a striking contrast to Genesis one." ~ Edward J. Young

Now if one has some historical data or scientific data that relates to the text, doesn't it make sense that it is more likely that the text should agree with said scientific or historical data? That's what I mean by burying your head in the sand. You appear to be trying to interpret Genesis 1 without considering the historical context within which it was written. Moses wrote it. We should not ignore that.

Again I ask – where is the contradiction between God's word and science? Do you think Moses understood the "creation days" to have been *billions of years* or did he understand the word of God for what it clearly stated -
"...Six days shall you labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath unto Jehovah … for in six days Jehovah made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is…." Tell me what "scientific or historical" data I am violating. Please be specific and we can discuss. Please remember, I do not accept metaphysical rhetoric or the mythical lore of evolutionism as science so limit your evidence to real science.

BadDog
Jun 18th 2010, 10:37 PM
I took that challenge long ago (to find out my faith for myself and weather it was my beliefs or my parents) and have been very confused ever since and I have and continue to believe and question (which I hate). I wish I never did it was and it continues to be the single biggest mistake I made and like I said I am sorry if I was wrong about what you typed.

BD: Yes, I realize you apologized if you misunderstood me. Thx.

I will never believe that Genesis is a mere lie (allegory), once I was involved in a debate at that point I really didn't give Genesis a second thought so I had to research a lot and through such I became and remain till the day I day a young earth creationist.

Again I am sorry if I misunderstood you

To seek the truth is never a mistake. How much time have you spent digging into the scriptures? How much have you read and studied the Word? I may be wrong in many areas, but I have met only a handful of people who study the Bible as much as I do. I love His Word. You can never gain assurance and spiritual maturity without digging into the Word.

I am a young earth creationist... but with a relativistic twist. Hence I also hold to an old earth universe. Now, did you read the example I used of the surgeon and his boy? My point is that we should not expect God to have given great details in what He did in creation. I don't worry about somethings that on the surface in the creation story seem to have some inconsistencies, since i simply am far too dumb to begin to follow what God did in creation.

Take care,

BD

newinchrist4now
Jun 18th 2010, 10:49 PM
To seek the truth is never a mistake. How much time have you spent digging into the scriptures? How much have you read and studied the Word? I may be wrong in many areas, but I have met only a handful of people who study the Bible as much as I do. I love His Word. You can never gain assurance and spiritual maturity without digging into the Word.9

I don't think we can have total assurance as I was stating in the other thread :)


I am a young earth creationist... but with a relativistic twist. Hence I also hold to an old earth universe.

Than you really can't say your YEC :)


Now, did you read the example I used of the surgeon and his boy? My point is that we should not expect God to have given great details in what He did in creation. I don't worry about somethings that on the surface in the creation story seem to have some inconsistencies, since i simply am far too dumb to begin to follow what God did in creation.

Take care,

BD

Yes I did and I do not believe Genesis is like that at all.

newinchrist4now
Jun 18th 2010, 10:55 PM
But you are wrong my friend – it is your position that has thrown consistency to the wind. I read Genesis 1-11 exactly as God intended it to be understood not only by Moses but by *all men for all time* - Holy Writ is given to us all. God revealed to Moses pure historical narrative and that was the way Moses understood the text. There is nothing in the text to even hint that God intended Genesis to be some mythological literary invention. The Creation Story sets the stage and prepares the reader for the historical record that follows in the entire Bible.

The Bible begins with man's special creation and subsequent Fall and it ends with man's redemption through a Risen Savior. The “first man”, Adam was an historical man and the “last Adam”, Jesus the Christ was an historical man – the Son of God. Moses understood Genesis in its entirety to be a historical record of God's creative power and His plan for mankind through the coming ages...


And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." Gen 3This biblical fact should be obvious to all who seek the truth.
“The style of these chapters, as indeed, of the whole book of Genesis, is strictly historical, and betrays no vestige whatever of allegorical or figurative description; this is so evident to anyone that reads with attention as to need no proof. ” ~ Thomas H. Horne, An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures

"Genesis one is not poetry or saga or myth, but straightforward, trustworthy history, and, inasmuch as it is a divine revelation, accurately records those matters of which it speaks. That Genesis one is historical may be seen from these considerations: (1) It sustains an intimate relationship with the remainder of the book. The remainder of the book (i.e., The Generations) presupposes the Creation Account, and the Creation Account prepares for what follows. The two portions of Genesis are integral parts of the book and complement one another. (2) The characteristics of Hebrew poetry are lacking. There are poetic accounts of the creation and these form a striking contrast to Genesis one." ~ Edward J. Young


Again I ask – where is the contradiction between God's word and science? Do you think Moses understood the "creation days" to have been *billions of years* or did he understand the word of God for what it clearly stated -
"...Six days shall you labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath unto Jehovah … for in six days Jehovah made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is…." Tell me what "scientific or historical" data I am violating. Please be specific and we can discuss. Please remember, I do not accept metaphysical rhetoric or the mythical lore of evolutionism as science so limit your evidence to real science.

Very good post http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk129/palong_palo/smiley/thumbsup.gif

crawfish
Jun 18th 2010, 10:57 PM
Saying allegorical is no different than saying the Holy Spirit lied. If that can't be trusted than all of it has to be suspect now and I am not playing around I am really upset about this. Even though the other side is there, the whole thing is a lie is creeping up

Did Jesus lie when he told parables?

I do pray that you'll come to us for any questions that you have. Many of us do not believe the assertion that it all has to be "literally true" to be God's word. I understand it's an idea that is tougher for some than others- I'm one who has an easier time, but even I went through some serious crises of faith. God can get you through it.

BadDog
Jun 18th 2010, 10:57 PM
But you are wrong my friend – it is your position that has thrown consistency to the wind. I read Genesis 1-11 exactly as God intended it to be understood not only by Moses but by *all men for all time* - Holy Writ is given to us all. God revealed to Moses pure historical narrative and that was the way Moses understood the text. There is nothing in the text to even hint that God intended Genesis to be some mythological literary invention. The Creation Story sets the stage and prepares the reader for the historical record that follows in the entire Bible.
Why did you state what I underlined above? Is that what you believe? Obviously you cannot be speaking about anything I even hinted at, because no one has spoken more clearly than I have hear on that point. The Bible is not mythology - not even 1% of it. So then, who are you speaking of here that has said such a thing? :confused


Now if one has some historical data or scientific data that relates to the text, doesn't it make sense that it is more likely that the text should agree with said scientific or historical data? That's what I mean by burying your head in the sand. You appear to be trying to interpret Genesis 1 without considering the historical context within which it was written. Moses wrote it. We should not ignore that.

Again I ask – where is the contradiction between God's word and science?...
Again, apparently you have no clue about science, history and how they relate to the Bible. Foryou to even ask such a question reveals that.

WHEN DID I EVEN HINT THAT THERE IS EVER CONTRADICTION BETWEEN THE BIBLE AND SCIENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LH, the Bible and science must agree. All theologians understand this fact. If there appears to be some contradiction, that is because we either have our science wrong, or we misunderstand what the scripture in question says. LH, if you can't get what I said straight, then please just stop responding to any of my posts. You are grossly misrepresenting me.

BTW, I agree 100% with the bold text above in your first quote.

Now, since you can't get what I said straight, and since the rest of your post completely misrepresents anything that I said, I refuse to respond to it. If you continue to misrepresent me and ask me to respond to things that I never implied or spoke about, then I'll have to ask a moderator to get involved here. I think you are not following what I am saying because you are making gross assumptions about anyone who does not hold the same position as your own of Genesis.

Please, just go do this with some one else, LH.

BD