The Various Meanings of Concordism


Yes, we do understand Scripture by discovering the message to the original audience and then determining how this applies to us in our own context. We do this fairly easily with Genesis 1. We see that God is saying that he himself created the heavens and the earth. We get this message pretty easily. What causes so much difficulty about Genesis 1 is that God does not just tell us that he made the heavens and the earth. If he had stopped there, we wouldn’t need to discuss it so much. But he goes on to tell us a bit of history; he tells us how he made the heavens and the earth. This is the part that becomes difficult. How can we believe that God created the universe if he says that he made light itself first, if he says that he separated water from water (where is this water?), if he made the plants before there was any sun, and particularly how could he have done these things in so little time? This makes no sense to us now that we know so much more about how the universe came into being. This is where the ancients differed from us in understanding.

God didn’t have to include the history of his actions in creating the earth; he could have left it alone. I think he included these details for our benefit. If we see that this history fits with what we now know, wouldn’t we have to accept that this piece of writing was produced by more than human effort?

(Christy Hemphill) #23

Well, that is one of the arguments for concordism, but I don’t think it’s necessary to see “how it fits with what we know now.” I think a more honest look at the text asks what it was trying to teach the ancients. I don’t think it really was trying to teach them how the world was made. And if we can get inside the ancient perspective we can understand the real lessons there, which still apply today because they don’t have to do with the material origins of the universe.

What does original sin actually mean and what are its consequences?

I think the only honest look at the text is to read what it says and go from there. The text is presented as history. If God was not telling us how the world was made, then what is the point of the 6 days? What is the point of the series of creations on those days? If this isn’t an explanation of how something was done, then language fails us. The real lesson of the passage is stated in the very first sentence: God created the heavens and the earth. That is the lesson for the ancients and for us. What follows, the description of the days, is God telling us how he did this totally incredible thing. He told us the details so that when we gained enough scientific sophistication to discover, from our point of view, the way the universe was made, we would find that he had told us already and thus be convinced that he tells us the truth. What we have recently discovered in cosmology so closely echoes Genesis 1 that it is the stuff of goose bumps; but no one will listen. Everyone is convinced that they have gotten the answer and don’t need to look further. All I am saying is we should not be so sure of our own ideas that we throw out a whole quadrant of the interpretive enterprise at a go.

(George Brooks) #25


If you are still around, or other readers if interested, please see this posting from another thread, on the parsing and analysis of what is and what is not Concordism.



Yes, I’m still around, and still thinking. Still thinking concordism is the right way to understand Gen 1. Not Gen2-3, but Gen 1. Gen 2-3 is a whole 'nother ball of wax.