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Opening chapters of Genesis

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  • Opening chapters of Genesis

    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.
    40
    Historical (Literal events, actual individuals, etc.)
    62.50%
    25
    Allegorical (Non-literal events, symbolic individuals, etc.)
    22.50%
    9
    Other (Please detail in the thread.)
    15.00%
    6
    To This Day

  • #2
    OTHER: Apathetic.

    The real impact to me in either case is negligible.

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    • #3
      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.
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Originally posted by HisLeast
        The real impact to me in either case is negligible.
        Why is that?
        To This Day

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        • #5
          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.
          This IGNORE button is by far one of the most useful tools I've used to keep my peace while navigating through some of the madness.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by markedward View Post
            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.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by markedward View Post
              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.

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              • #8
                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?
                To This Day

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by markedward View Post
                  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?

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                  • #10
                    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.
                    To This Day

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by markedward View Post
                      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.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by markedward View Post
                        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.
                        sigpic

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by markedward View Post
                          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?
                          Originally posted by markedward View Post
                          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.

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                          • #14
                            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

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                            • #15
                              I voted historical. I view the entire Bible to mean exactly as it says. Just my view.
                              Psalm 19:14
                              Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
                              sigpic

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