Interpretation of Genesis 1

There are many commentators and individuals who have adopted a non-concordist interpretation of Genesis 1, which means they endorse a figurative or literary view of the creation account. But a non-concordist view is a flawed approach to Genesis 1 because it conflicts with the meaning of the creation narrative for the following reasons:
•Since the revelation of scripture and the creation of the natural world are both emanations from God, they fundamentally must have a harmonious relationship.
• Genesis 1:1 does not declare a singular creation event of a long-ago era. Instead it proclaims a creation process that resulted in the ancient-past and present-day universe.
• The structure of Genesis 1 includes two creation time periods; the creation of the universe in Gen 1:1-2 and the transformation of the earth in Gen 1:3 thru 1:31.
• The structure of Genesis 1 also is consistent with the scientific understanding of how the universe and the earth were created.
• There are eight “And God said” decrees that sequentially describe the physical transformation of the earth and its subsequent population with created life.
• The decrees are creative mandates but because of their brevity and lack of specifics they clearly are not scientific explanations.
• The precise language of the decrees is proof that they describe the physical transformation of the earth.
• A six-day refrain divides the earth’s transformation into six days and since the age of the earth spans approximately 4.6 billion years, the days are not 24-hours in duration but long periods of time.

The concordist view of Genesis 1, which is based on compliance with the above criteria is the correct approach to faithfully interpret the biblical creation account.

What do you do with the second creation account that contradicts the first? Or the overwhelming scientific evidence that Genesis 1 (and 2) gets things very much wrong?

The creation account also serves as an etiology for the sabbath and the 7 day week. I see no reason, aside from ad hoc harmonization forced by modern science, to read the days of Genesis as anything other than 24 hours. There was evening and there was morning….

It also rearranges Mesopotamian furniture to establish the primacy of the Jewish God which seems to be its primary goal.

Sounds to me like you are just assuming the revelation of scripture must be concordant in nature. You have to demonstrate this, not hide it in an argument that assumes it. Biblical a accommodation does not deny the accuracy or harmony of scripture with the created order. We have a different genre for Genesis 1 and understand it to mean something else. This is a moot point.

  • Nice! “Interpretation by fiat”… always fun to watch. Thanks.

Genesis 2 was written for a different purpose. The fact that a Genesis 2 sequence seems to be a little different does not negate the purpose of Genesis 1.

The refrain has a two-fold purpose. It divides the transformation of the earth into six days of long duration but its unique wording specifies an ordinary day for man’s living. Therefore, the creation day and man’s ordinary day are not identical but have an analogical relationship.

The harmony of God’s two revelations is not hidden but very logical. Why would God create the natural world and then inspire a scripture that was in contradiction with his creation?

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If the author is not intending to write a scientific or historically accurate description of reality then your question is moot. Historical error requires historical intent. People who disagree with you disagree with you on the Genre of the text in front of us. God clearly allowed considerable freedom to the ancient authors of scripture.

If the final editor of the Pentateuch was concerned with strict accuracy/history then he would not have put two stories side-by-side that contradict one another. In fact, this occurs in dozens of not hundreds of places throughout the text where multiple versions of the same events with contradictory details are included. To claim historical intent with the details is questionable considering the author intentionally puts mutually exclusive strands of tradition side by side. Failure to see the source breakdown leads Christians to misinterpret the Pentateuch.

Though I fully support your line of thinking.

Why would God create/write/inspire an inerrant scripture only to let the autographs be lost and corrupted over time? We only have scripture that has errors in it. Surely He who inspires inerrant scripture can preserve it perfectly. By that logic I guess God didn’t create/write/inspire inerrant scripture. Are you willing to concede that point by the same logic?

Maybe the specifics but both are creation accounts describing God’s creative activity. If there was historical intent there they get it wrong. They were written by different authors probably in a different time and place as well.

I’m hearing OEC (old-earth creationism) since you explicitly said day-age. Am I inferring correctly? And if it’s the Hugh Ross variety, it would include endorsing ID as scientific?

Many on this forum reject that but honestly, there seems to be a lot of “physics of the gaps” and non-falsifiable beliefs passing as “science” nowadays in an attempt to explain or circumvent the apparent fine-tuning of our universe. Multiverses, strings and exotic physics is getting out of hand. It seems to me some of these mathematical models are getting confused with reality itself. Even inflation which was posited for good reasons and explains a lot of things is virtually unfalsifiable at this point.


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I pretty much agree. The more that is discovered the more the anthropic principle seems to be supported. ID is not scientific, but I do like this response to the fine-tuning self-selection effect argument (that’s why I’m posting it yet again :slightly_smiling_face:):

As mentioned before, you can’t take genesis 1 literally, and also accept the basis of reality.

  1. The earth is not and has never been protected by a dome ( and firmament does mean some as in beaten out and as the flood myth showcases, was fixed with windows that when opened allowed space water to fall inside.

  2. It never says when water was made. It was just there. Water is not eternal and did not predate the creation of the planets and stars.

  3. Angiosperms did not predate fish.

  4. Birds did not predate tetrapods.

Young earth creation is not based on science. It’s based on the philosophical views of those who interpret places like genesis 1-2 literally.

Nothing about the literary style makes us place its over genesis 2 which it disagrees when.


My objective in making my original post was to emphasize the point that a non-concordist view of the biblical creation account was a flawed approach to the interpretation of Genesis 1. I also suggested that the concordist view was the appropriate method to determine the correct interpretation. For some time, I have had the hope of helping the Christian community move toward a consensus position. To this end, I worked on and developed a PowerPoint program that illustrates what I believe is the singular and correct interpretation of Genesis 1. Here is a Dropbox link that allows for the downloading of the program for review and analysis.

ray9wiil - see my post toward the end of this thread.

Good luck with that!

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For me it’s just impossible. I can’t ever imagine going back to a concordistic understanding of genesis 1. To do so I would have to ignore thousands of scientific facts, tons of historical data and then just completely ignore contextual analysis to the point even fairytales would have to be something i read and accepted as history.


My interpretation is in complete harmony with modern science!

Meanwhile, every should exercise caution before clicking on that link.

There is absolutely no risk in clicking on the link with the exception that you might be challenged.

Nice work on the Dropbox presentation.

It never hurts to look at it, Beaglelady. However, it will take some time…

How can something that is short and lacking in specifics be considered “precise language”? To me “short and lacking in specifics” means hand waving away any objection.

Given you appear to accept standard scientific data the fact that birds are the descendants of land animals makes the birds first and then land animals sequence in Genesis incorrect.

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