How Did the World Begin?

“We should not read Genesis 1-2 without asking the question, “What sort of creation account is this?” That is because we should not expect that every culture would be interested in the same sort of creation account. Their values and interests may lead them to choose a different story than our modern culture might choose.”

Genesis was written by and for early Hebrews, not Greeks or western scholars. It was written by very literal-minded people who thought in concrete terms, not abstractions. And Genesis is partly an ‘identity’ story, as he said, but it isn’t just about man’s identity. It’s also about God’s introduction to man.

Exactly Vinnie, this isn’t a two-stroke universe. Space is flat. And how many infinities of eternal infinite multiverses can there be? Hmmmmmmm.

No argument here. It’s the only game in town. How our neighborhood got this way is plenty fascinating in its own right regardless what it’s greater context may be whether that be a natural process we cannot verify or a one of a kind act of a supernatural agent which we likewise cannot verify.

Well, yes and no. It was orally transmitted at least until the time of Moses, and certainly the final written form was not compiled until the exile. I would disagree that the people were very literal minded, and think that is projecting our modernism on a people that saw the spiritual intertwined with the physical everywhere they looked. There concept of the universe was limited by their knowledge, and as such God communicated through their limitations, including their limited knowledge of the form and structure of creation. I do fully agree with your statement on identity and God’s indrodution to man, though I feel that God’s revelation of himself to man and showing man his place in creation is pretty much the total message.

Either way, it cannot be one of a kind.

That’s my hunch too but my difficulty in imagining it doesn’t establish it as undeniable fact.

Genuine question: What is your evidence to support the view that early Hebrews were literal minded people?

1 Like

Darwin had that problem with the mammalian eye as an ‘organ of perfection’. Until Alfred Russell Lord Wallace called him out on that. It always comes down to disposition; “I can’t believe it!”.

I think that parts of the history had been handed down, both through the Hebrews and the Egyptians, but it isn’t necessarily all the information he had. God related the laws and books of the Torah directly to Moses. He could have also related the history of mankind and the lineage of the Hebrews.

Thanks, a bit pressed for time this week. Any chance you could quote some of the key points or summarise them in your own words?

1 Like

just read the first one which basically implies that your philosophy is limited by your language. its a bit selfevident and does nothing to help. The let down of the article is to imply that the ability to think about what is beyond the ocean is absent in the capability of the “primitive” native american because he only built a canoe compared to the ocean liner of the western civilisation.


None of them show that the Hebrews were literal minded. They abstracted from the concrete. Hence metaphor. All language does. Do chairs have arms and legs?


As a Christian I also struggled with the compelling evidence of Darwin’s evolutionary theory. But in the last ten years or so I discovered it is possible to have a personal and intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. And, it is the Holy Spirit who has provided me with much ‘unpicking’ and deepening of the meaning of Scripture. So, many years ago I asked the same questions as many scientists have: Lord is it evolution or creation?
The answer came in a second or two:
“It is not one or the other, it is both. Evolution is an Almighty God ‘mechanism’ but so is Creation an Almighty God ‘mechanism’. God can choose either or, or both concurrently. Your Heavenly Father can grow something slowly, or create a dramatic loveliness in the blink of an eye”.
I did not altogether grasp the meaning of this message because as soon as I thought I understood this revelation, it just slipped away.
Reading the Biologos articles about this whole issue has really helped me understand and accept a major part of what the Holy Spirit told me about creation versus evolution.
As a Christian Contemplative/Mystic I recently received some other words from the Holy Spirit about something called Completion; this is supposed to be some kind of finished state in Almighty God. A situation much desired by many Christian Contemplatives. I have no idea what this really entails!
This is what the Holy Spirit said to me:
“There is no Completion in Eternity anymore than there is a finish line in Infinity. Infinity is the process for Eternity.”
I kind of understand the Completion bit, because I do not believe God has finished His plan for creation, but the process bit is more difficult to grasp. Perhaps our Lord is saying His Creation has no end, no not ever.
God’s life affirming processes are everywhere; I see them most easily in nature; here creation and evolution are apparent, and sometimes they do seem to coexist or coalesce, often in tiny ways, but I see them clearly.
Research Methodology was one of my teaching themes as a University Lecturer, so for a long time I have been passionate about the place of Science in Faith and vice versa.
The Holy Spirit told me a very long time ago that humankind’s spirituality will be validated by Science (this will be good for those who have no faith or knowledge of God).
Thank you Biologos.


Hi, Jennie; welcome to the forum.

It is good to have many journey companions as we all learn to listen to the Spirit - revealed in many ways and through many people. And I think it also good to have communities like our local churches as well as on-line communities like Biologos with whom we can engage to check our spiritiual insights and strengthen, clarify, or even correct them as necessary. Our faith is certainly not a “go-it-alone” endeavor. I hope you continue to find fruitful engagement here.


Yes, fellowship and Christian community is important and something Christians are commanded by our Lord to seek out.
I am a Christian poet, and these poems all come from the Holy Spirit whose words I ‘follow’.
So glad I have found Biologos.

A poem: Where creativity and Science may meet?

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
2 Corinthians 3: 17.


When Love catches fire

It burns so bright

Letting the soul and the spirit fly

High and higher

Wide and wider

No hills to climb

Or valleys to plunge

Rests now and flows in ‘Living Waters’

Chains unbound set free

Travels then beyond the edge

Where time ends

And ‘place’ no longer imprisons me.

Jennie Starling: 22/11/2020.


Ancient Hebrew does not use or recognize conceptual language. It is all based on physical reality and personal actions. Even the letters in Ancient Hebrew had meaning, and the oldest words were made by adding the meaning of the letters. For example, ‘alef’ means strength, and is symbolized by the bull. Beit means tent or household, and looked like a tent in Ancient Hebrew. ‘Ab’ or "Abba’ means father or strength of the household.

The Hebrew word for faith is אמונה ( emunah - Strong’s #530) and is an action oriented word meaning “support”. This is important because the Western concept of faith places the action on the one you have faith in, such as “faith in God”. But, the Hebrew word אמונה places the action on the one who “supports God”. It is not a knowing that God will act, but rather I will do what I can to support God. This idea of support for the word emunah can be seen in Exodus 17:12.

But Moses’ hands grew weary; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat upon it, and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; so his hands were steady (emunah)until the going down of the sun

Actually, abstractions weren’t needed until the bible was translated into other languages, beginning with Greek.

Some chairs have legs and arms, but not all.

1 Like

So Hebrew has no words that are figurative? No chairs have arms and legs. Primates do.

@HRankin Ever since reading Gaster’s Thespis [ ] my default way to think about Bible narratives is theodrama

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.