Interpretation & Meaning in Genesis + Sabbath

(Mervin Bitikofer) #102

It’s easy to sink into that morass - it never lacks for fuel. But you should really listen to the 4th podcast (on soils) - the podcast link given in that thread. I think it represents the best and most biblically faithful Christian response to our faith - that calls us to work against the cynicism that so easily takes over our lives. I know you don’t identify with this faith in particular, but it might help you see that there are those who, through deeper and more respectful biblical study do see beyond the mistaken notion that scriptures endorse exploitation of God’s planet. You are right, though, that we Christians have much work to do in just calling ourselves and each other to account for our neglect of scriptural callings in this regard.

(Oliver van der Togt) #103

Yes all nice and well these good intentions. In the meantime the Earth is burning up (literally) due to human behaviour.

(Oliver van der Togt) #104

A magazine I enjoy reading is about the latest projects in engineering. They are hard at work to tackle climate change and environmental degradation. Engineering has caused the problem and I suppose they are the only ones that will be able to solve it.

(Earl L Dunn) #105

Hello Oliver,

Well consider humans as a permanently erupting volcano. Humans are the cancer in total body of life on this planet. A volcano with intent.

But what caused the human race to become an erupting volcano other than sin, humanity’s collective rebellion against higher authority? Do we expect to live the rest of our lives taking our part in the snowballing eruption? Are we gods to adversely control the ultimate fate of the earth? The “cancer” you spoke of is unregenerate out-of-control human nature that’s alienated from God.

But God has offered a cure (Genesis 3:15) that brings redemption that counters the cancer. Have you considered the much good done by the redeemed? There’s much yet to be done.

Stone age humans (who authored Genesis) had no idea they had evolved from their closest relative: the great ape.

The only stones in the life of Moses that I know of were those of Egypt from which Pharaoh built his empire with the forced labor of the Israelites. It is Moses that authored Genesis under inspiration from God.

Did humans evolve? Addition of un-biblical things to the Bible is the equivalent of adding to the value of constants like pi to manipulate mathematical equations to force desired answers. The value of pi is not in the millions!

Yes all nice and well these good intentions. In the meantime the Earth is burning up (literally) due to human behaviour.

What will we do about it–take it laying down or take up on God and His redemption offer?

A magazine I enjoy reading is about the latest projects in engineering. They are hard at work to tackle climate change and environmental degradation. Engineering has caused the problem and I suppose they are the only ones that will be able to solve it

Has engineering or neglect caused the environmental problems? Which? Engineering is good or bad depending on how we use it.

It is written:
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments (Psalms 111:10).”

The God-centered mind of stewardship uses knowledge and engineering to advantage that they may serve us. Corrective measures should be taken to correct unintended adverse side effects.


(Christy Hemphill) #106

Genesis was completed during the Babylonian exile in 586-539 B.C.

(Mitchell W McKain) #107

Read this and found interesting. I was skeptical regarding Wellhausen’s P source and his transition to legalism agenda, which is precisely what Enns picked up on as well. I was well aware of the content of Job and Isaiah largely being motivated by the Babylonian exile, so I cannot be too surprised by the idea that the writing of most of the rest of the OT was influenced by this as well. I would only caution that just because it was written at such a late time in history does not mean all of its content was made up at that time also.

(Oliver van der Togt) #108

Our god-like ability(Original Sin) to transform the planet.

That is what we have been witnessing sinds our eviction (destruction) from (of) the Garden of Eden. Our fall from Grace.

To receive God’s redemption respect, preserve and honor ALL LIFE (God’s creation) on earth.

Anything that destroys Nature (God’s creation) is bad.

(Oliver van der Togt) #109

I believe this story is much older and was handed down for generations.

(Christy Hemphill) #110

Yes, definitely. You have to take into consideration a culture of orality and the different role of “authorship” and texts. Most scholars see it as a compilation of sources, but one that was given a unity and authorial intent by its authors/editors. I was mostly objecting to the “written in the stone age” assertion.

(Quinn) #111

Got done reading the essay and loved it but I feel that a lot of the stories of the Bible were around even before the exile but might have been kept orally and maybe even a few written documents that are now lost but it was around the Babylonian exile that the Hebrew scribes took seriously the documenting of their history and religious prophecies. I do personally belive that Moses and the Levite scribes in a sense did write down the Law and Genesis stories but got more told orally over time. it would make sense for the exiled scribes to write down their history and religious literature in exile in order to preserve what they were as a people, both nationally and religiously.

(Christy Hemphill) #112

Yes. Here is an excerpt from a commentary that I think expresses the prevailing view of OT Bible scholarship.

Many modern critical scholars believe the “documents” lying behind the present biblical texts were either too fragmentary to reconstruct or were melded so closely into the final text that it is now impossible to separate them confidently from their context. Also, many believe that the sources used by the biblical writers may have circulated in oral form before they were written down and eventually used in composing the biblical narratives. That, of course, does not rule out the likelihood that some records were written from the start. Few biblical scholars today, however, have the appetite for the painstaking and often fruitless task of unscrambling the literary fabric that now forms the biblical stories. What this means is that the attention of biblical scholarship has, at least in many circles, turned to the biblical narratives themselves, the ones that now lie before us in the present text. Though there is still little interest among biblical critics today in viewing the Pentateuch as a Mosaic document—that is, a document written or contributed to largely by Moses—there is a great and growing interest in viewing the Pentateuch as a document composed of many ancient written records and reflecting a final unity of design.

Sailhamer, J. H. (2008). Genesis. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Genesis–Leviticus (Revised Edition) (Vol. 1, p. 30). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

The main takeaway for me is that although there is clearly intertextuality with source texts (oral and written), Genesis is not merely an encyclopedic document that compiles historical documents and oral tradition. It was “authored” for an audience and with a purpose, and that audience and those purposes were shaped by the exile and the needs of the Jewish people to re-establish and maintain their identity and recover the theology of their heritage.

(Oliver van der Togt) #113

Why? They must have had an oral tradition.
The period lasted roughly 3.4 million years[1] and ended between 8700 BCEand 2000 BCE

(Christy Hemphill) #114

Oral traditions are shared in culture groups. The idea that an oral tradition would pass from language to language and culture group to culture group and move from place to place for millions of years is not credible. Anything beyond 10,000 years is not attested in human experience. Multiplying that by factors of 100 is not credible.

(Oliver van der Togt) #115

Stone age lies between 8700 [BCE]and 2000 BCE
The Kingdom of Israel emerged as an important local power by the 10th century BCE

(Christy Hemphill) #116

“Stone age” can also refer to 2.5 million years ago or earlier.

(Oliver van der Togt) #117

My bad. Late Stone Age.

(Tim) #118

Speculation leads to more speculation. Either the command to scribe what Moses was given by God, is re-writing history, or it actually happened. There were several written forms handed down by different tribes. What started out as coherent written accounts got lost several times during the kingdom period. There are several times it had to be reconstructed from oral tradition. While God commanded Moses to train scribes, does not mean all generations after kept up the task. That is why they had to go into captivity to begin with. There is no reason why what we read in the Bible was not a reliable account of the whole history, even if we get it in bits and pieces.

Those who went into captivity were trained in Hebrew culture and “religion”. They were the best of the best. Most of them became good Babylonian citizens, but some remained true to the Sciptures they had knowledge of. The return after 70 some years was not because they re-wrote their history and scriptures while in captivity. It is because they had promise they would return from a previous reliable source, not some manufacturered hope.

It is assumed that for the next 400 years they took the writings of Moses more serious, and even formed the religion of Judaism to keep their scripture and heritage in a new and tangible way. It was the early theological period where they had the OT along with oral and a separate written body of theology. I would posit that instead of being influenced by Babylonian and the later Persians, that the influence was in the opposite direction. It is said the NT changed western civ. I think that the OT had a much bigger influence on the ANE than we want to admit, and I would even say the start of eastern religions. I am sure all connections got lost in time, but the magi did come 400 years later to find Jesus.

If that was a Christian ploy to bridge the gap with eastern religions, it would still have to have some truth to even mention it. I think the disciples of Jesus influenced Hinduism as well.

(Oliver van der Togt) #119

I think you would have to qualify that statement:

What religions did Judaism influence?

It was the first religion based on ethical monotheism . Judaism influenced the development of Christianity and Islam , and had a major influence on Western civilization - Christianity , the eventually dominant religious faith of the West, was in large part a child of the Hebrew religion.

The chance that Jesus was influenced by Buddhism seem far more logical.

(Tim) #120

I never said Judaism in the section you quoted. The OT is not Judaism. Judaism probably came after Alexander conquered the ANE, and the area came under Greek rule. Probably similiar to the formation of Mormonism in the US. It had it’s own distinct body of writings and theology separate from the OT. The OT is not a written theology. It may contain a few “theological” and philosophical writings. We did get the OT as passed down via it’s importance to Judaism, but the OT was in place way before Judaism became what it is today. I do not think that Abraham is the founder, nor Moses. God did not even start Judaism. But the roots of Vedic writings is just as much shrouded in mystery as to it’s source. I’m sure if all the dots were connected it has something to do with events during Abraham’s time. I doubt Hinduism as a religion sees Abraham in the same way Judaism does. But the source of Hinduism may be more related to the sons of Noah coming from the same geographical area as Abraham did.

If Jesus is influenced by Buddhism, then you cannot say that the Tanakh or Judaism influenced Christianity. That would be like saying American Baptist, are rooted in African superstitions. Perhaps via the Ethiopian converts?

(Randy) #121

Oh Ra!
Are you sure? Not Egypt? Zoroaster?

sorry, just an interesting red herring. Thanks.