I came across a short video (11:46 mins) of a montage of speakers on the subject of Genesis 1 compiled by BioLogos. The speakers include Alister McGrath, John Polkinghorn, NT Wright, John Walton, Chris Tilling, Ard Louis, Peter Enns, Karen Winslow, Nancy Murphy and Michael Ramsden.
There was a wide range of views which differed from the traditional teaching of Genesis 1 in my church upbringing and I am in the process of digesting them. Here are some:
Genesis 1 is an ancient document not written to us (although the Bible is written for us). It is not written in our language nor with our culture in mind. It’s not meant to be a divinely dictated text to save us the trouble of doing the science nor meant to provide us with a factual generalistic account, but to tell us the significance of what’s happening. We need to tread into their world and hear it as they would have heard it as the author would have meant it.
We are inclined to see Genesis as an account of material origins because we think about the word in material terms, but it is not. In seeing the need to integrate it with science, people end up making the text say things never meant for an ancient audience.
A lot of the Genesis story was written as a counter measure against the other cultures’ creation stories. Genesis 1 shares the creative vocabulary with the other stories but takes things and turns it on its head. For eg., other creation stories tell of gods at war in creation. Genesis 1 talks about Yahweh being the Creator.
Genesis is about God’s place of dwelling – Heaven and Earth overlapping where God made His abode and shared the earth bit with us. It is the Temple and the cosmos blended into one. The Temple can be likened to the Oval Office where control is exercised.
The failure of Adam in Genesis parallels the failure of Israel, in that both failed and were exiled. Read in this context, Genesis 1, instead of being about whether there were 6 days and were they 24 hours or not, is actually about when the good Creator God making an abode to share with man and even in man’s failure, He wants to rescue and redeem everything.
In going through this exercise, I came across new concepts some of which were confronting (eg. that of Peter Enns, the author of “The Evolution of Adam, What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins”). My initial reaction was to recoil from them but upon further consideration, I see that it’s prudent to engage and understand them to be able to enter into meaningful dialogue with people of different persuasions.
How would you deal with concepts which are radically different from what you are brought up and are comfortable with? I would like to hear your thought processes on this and what you think of some of what’s said. Thank you.