Asking for members to pray for me in my current endeavor

Right, so as you folks may or may not know I’m struggling with a certain aspect of Biblical interpretation. And that is if Genesis 1-11 is meant to be metaphorical why is it taken literally by Exodus, Jesus, and the Epistles of the New Testament.

I am not asking for an answer from any of you regarding this question (though if you have one please share) but for something else. God has put it on my heart to seek him vigorously for an answer to this question and to continue asking God for an answer until he answers. God has spoken to me in the past very clearly so I believe fully in his power to speak to his children.

I am now asking for the Christians of Biologos to put me in your prayers for God to give me an answer. Basically this is a request for all of you to pray for me in this situation. Thank you in advance.


Thank you for sharing. I will pray for you and look forward to hearing what you learn. I am curious: to what level of metaphor do you think you need to being to bear in your interpretation of Genesis? I believe there are different degrees to which people can go: one extreme saying that it is all a myth, the other extreme being that it is completely literal. I fall in the middle: that metaphorical language is used to describe historical events. Thus, I believe in an old earth and a literal Adam and Eve, but I also affirm evolutionary science and am looking for was to harmonize those views. Where have you been landing on that spectrum?


My theory regarding the passages of Genesis 1-11 has been that they are polemics against Babylon putting forth Israel and Yahweh’s theology in opposition to Babylon specifically. Each of the stories has a parallel in Babylonian mythology and it ends with the building of Babylon (Tower of Babel) referred to as the place of confusion. This only leads to the question of why the stories are taken literally in the rest of the Bible which is what i’m hoping to find out.

@Clovis_Merovingian, I will be glad to pray for you. and with you. It is my Christian experience that there is no one way to understand all of the Bible, particularly when we are looking at parts as different as Genesis and Exodus.

The issue with Genesis is not with whether God created the universe, but how God created the universe. Did God create the universe in 6 days or more in a manner that reflects our scientific knowledge and John 1:1?

We try to use whatever information we have about the history of Egypt to understand Exodus, so we need to use similar historical/scientific information about the background of Genesis.

God Bless in these difficult times.


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Why can’t it simply be that they believed in those stories, even if they did not believe it’s literal.

Take Noah’s flood. How do you know for sure what they believed? I believe the story too. I believe a flood covered the word and killed everyone there except for Noah and his family and that he brought animals from the world into his ark.

However, just like how it seems clear that Cain took a wife that was not his sister, I believe that others lived. That Noah’s whole world was much like the apostles whole world. Everyone that belonged to the tribe Noah did lived in the same area and a flood wiped out that tribe. A tribe that God made a deal with. Same as he did several more times. Saving a remnant of his chosen people. Same as when Paul said the whole world hear show gospel, he did not mean the indigenous people of North America. So if Paul’s whole world was not the same as we think of it, why should Noah’s whole world also be different?

Why can’t Adam and Eve have been real, and Jesus believed in them, yet they still were being used in an ahistorical tale where reality and fiction was combined.

While Jesus was speaking to people he constantly mixed in parables ( fiction ) among with telling them truths. Why can’t that same spirit also have worked scriptures out that way in other stories?

In the New Testament they used the word hades instead of Sheol and talked about fire and the land of the grave. They mixed in roman elements to Jewish ones. So why Csnt the Jewish writers of the Torah also combined their tales with Sumerian and Other Mesopotamian ones?

They wrote that sin entered the world through one man, Adam. Yet before Adam sinned Eve sinned. So if Eve sinned first, yet they say sin entered through Adam, that must mean it’s not taken as literal 100% history.

Jesus did not know the times of the end. Only the father. So if Jesus did not know that, why must we assume he somehow knew everything else? Plenty of reasons to believe in a not so literal genesis 1-11 and yet still believe in the stories and refer to them.

I will pray through of course. Just keep studying as well.


Praying, Clovis. Trust Him, and I’m sure He’ll teach you what you need to know.

Forgive me, but quoting a passage does not prove that you take it in a specific manner. Jesus used Scripture theologically and within the the beliefs of the people he was addressing. We do not have to believe in a flat earth, a solid dome over it, Heaven above and Sheol below to be a Christian.


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Out of curiosity, what is your take on Exodus justifying the sabbath by saying that God created the earth, the sea, and all that is in them in six days and on the seventh day he rested? Yes ancients could have referred to the stories of Genesis 1-11 in such a manner for theological purposes as they did the Book of Enoch and Last Testament of Moses but why would God do what he did in Exodus if its not meant to be taken literally?

I have a question for those who are reading this topic. What spirit was it that motivated the writing of Genesis 1-11?
If 1-11 is just the thoughts, ideas and ANE beliefs about a god they believed in, how did Genesis 12 miraculously change to reality?
What spirit influenced 1-11 and what spirit made the prophets, the apostles and Jesus believe it was the very Word of God?

There is some interesting discussion on this thread: The Sabbath day?

This is an unhelpful conflation of history and reality. Figurative language can also describe reality, just as non-figurative language can describe the unreal. (Almost all fiction is written in a narrative style that we only know is not “reality” because we have access to reality to compare it to.) Claiming that Gen 1-11 is not history, is not anyway near the same thing as claiming it doesn’t talk about reality. Christians would all say that “God is the Creator of the world and humanity” “Humans are created to bear God’s image” “Humanity sinned and damaged their relationship with God,” “There is only one true God,” “Creation is good,” “God judges sin, but provides means of grace and redemption,” are all claims about reality. Whatever other theological message you could derive from Gen 1-11, it would be a claim about reality. So this insinuation that if a Christian views Gen 1-11 as something other than historical narrative, they must some other “spirit” than God inspired it, is a bit uncharitable. Plenty of the Psalms involve no history, and we have no problem saying they are inspired Scripture.

False prophets were lead by a false spirit, the true prophets of God were lead by the Spirit of God. So my question still is, what spirit is behind Genesis 1-11. Basically, which spirit spoke these words?

@Clovis_Merovingian, as I said above you need to look at the broader context when you interpret a passage from the Bible.

It looks as if you have not done your homework or you would know that the Ten Commandments are not only found in Exodus, but also in Deuteronomy 5:6-21.

Also that the Fourth Commandment on the Sabbath in the Deuteronomy version does not mention the Creation.
Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (NIV2011)
12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you.
13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
14 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.
15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

Therefore there is more than one basis for this commandment.

I am sure you know that the Jewish leaders attacked Jesus because He healed, did not rest, on the Seventh Day. Of course today most Christians do not keep the Sabbath and make the First Day the Lord’s Day.

John 5:16-18 (NIV2011)
16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him.
17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”
18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Thus Jesus disputed the plain meaning of the Genesis 2:2-3. We need to use the NT in our understanding of the OT including John 1:1-3 especially concerning these difficult matters.

Yahweh inspired all of Scripture. None of it was dictated.

I have a question for you, Cody_G. Both St Paul (Colossians 2:17) and the unknown author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 10:1), state that the Law of Moses in both its legislative requirements and its stories is a mere shadow of the reality we have in Christ. So, to put things in your terms, if the Holy Spirit inspired the life of Christ, what spirit inspired a mere shadow and not the reality?

If you read the other version in Deuteronomy you will see that the reference to Exodus is not there. The pre-amble to the law is edited in. Chances are that the tablets had the bare minimum on them due to both the space available and the time needed to “write” them. The length of time up on the mountain would suggest that the “finger of God” is actually Moses. Which would tally with New Testament Theology.

Genesis 1 establishes the Sabbath, but only inasmuch as it compresses the 8 day Babylonian creation into 6. (On two days God does 2 things).

The bible is not meant to be used as a history book. It sets God in History. It uses history. But there were no human witnesses to the beginning of time. Creation myths are a part of many cultures. As human knowledge increases so the need to rely on myths decreases. Trying to hold onto Genesis 1 (-11) as history only weakens belief in God.


Gregoreite (and Christy), I will gladly answer your question but please answer this first for me.
Were the commands, statutes and ordinances in the Law from God or man?

I believe they were inspired by God, but communicated by people in a specific time, place, and culture.


They were certainly from man, for see how Jesus responded in Matthew 19:

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.” (Matthew 19:7-8 NIV)

Clearly a human being (Moses) has played a central role in the giving of the Law, albeit in an imperfect way. So the question is whether the Law was also from God. If so, then the question cannot be answered in a binary way, that is, in an “either or” way. So the framing of your question will not lead you to the truth.


Christy, so as not to take away from Clovis’s original request of prayer, I would rather start a new topic, if that’s ok. I will post it later, the title will be along the lines of Is the Law from God or man?
I would imagine this topic has been discussed over and over…but since I have not been a member of the forum very long I would not have been involved.
Gregoreite, I will answer your question there. Remind me if by chance I forget.

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