My buddy and I had a debate on taking Genesis as literal. He said that we cannot, in which I responded, how can we not? I asked him, if there was a verse in Genesis that stated, “Do not take anything in this book as literal” Does that include this verse as well? Shouldn’t I take this verse as literal, but then wouldn’t I be violating it’s mandate? but if I didn’t take it literal, then what is this verse trying to convey, or for that matter, how can I ever know? You can trust the book of Genesis, my friends
In this case, I think it might be informative for you to turn things on their head for a moment. So forgive me for asking you a question in return, instead.
Imagine yourself in the End of Times. You’ll be entering into God’s presence, face to face. Suppose God explains to you personally what intended teachings were contained in the Book of Genesis. For the sake of the argument, let’s suppose He explains to you that Genesis 1-3 were not meant to communicate that the earth is less than 10,000 years old… To your surprise, He also says it wasn’t meant to go against the idea of common descent.
In that hypothetical case, would you call God a liar for having inspired the Book of Genesis? Please answer this question as yes or no.
EDIT: (decided to add a positive description as well) Imagine God explaining carefully that He had inspired the ancient author to communicate His redemptive plan in a way that would be meaningful to the contemporaries of the human author. For Him, clarity and relatability of the message had priority over the requirements that later societies (read:Western post-enlightenment societies) were going to impose on the text.
YES, since Jesus reiterated it as truth! Furthermore your argument does not sit well with me, because you are speaking for God and deviating from scripture; His character and nature. The god you are describing is of your own making and choosing, my friend
Here is a hypothetical for you. An unbeliever appears before God at judgment. God says, why didn’t you believe in me?The unbeliever responds, I an an evolutionist therefore saw no evidence of a creator and Genesis (the book of origin) was proven not to be taken literal, in fact, full of of scientific nonsense that could not be trusted, so how can you blame me for doubting your existence? How would God state His case against this unbeliever scripturally? Remember that Genesis is not a sound argument
Apparently, you’re current position on this whole issue already has achieved a higher status than God Himself… To the point that you are even willing to call God a liar if you’re wrong. That makes any further discussion very difficult, if not impossible. Nevertheless, I’ll share my thoughts with you.
Jesus quoted Genesis on marriage, a teaching which I completely affirm. The image of God example you mentioned in a different thread also does not require a narrow literal-historical reading of Genesis. Nowhere in the Scriptures do I find the exhortation to walk around affirming a young earth or rejecting common descent. Instead, I find the exhortation to proclaim the Good News to people… The Gospel is in no way tied up with a literal-historical reading of Genesis.
This was exactly the reason for asking that question. It’s very informative to know your reaction if God turns out to be different than you expect Him to be, according to your view of the Scriptures. It appears you would reject Him in that case.
Well… There are plenty of ways such a person could be corrected. Firstly, one might point this person to Paul’s words in Romans 1:19-21:
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Those invisible attributes are perceivable for anyone. This means that the excuse of this unbeliever does not hold up.
Secondly, Genesis was never meant as a scientific textbook. The unbeliever was imposing his or her own requirements on the Scriptures. That’s an invalid reason for rejecting God’s message of salvation.
Thirdly, evolution does not take away the necessity of a Creator. On the contrary, if evolutionary processes are part of that Creation, understanding its tremendous complexity would increase one’s astonishment at the creativity of the Creator.
Finally and most importantly, JESUS. We are not united to God by means of design arguments. (Apostle James said that even demons believe that God exists.) Instead, we are drawn to Him and united to Him thanks to Jesus’ work on the Cross and His Resurrection. If that unbeliever can’t accept Jesus for who He is, this person would never be willing to be united to God.
I am willing to call the God you conjured up (not biblical) a liar, AND yes! If God went back on His word, in allowing us to believe falsehoods as truth and then using those falsehoods to perpetuate “truth”, then he is a liar. He would not be holy nor righteous, but a powerful being who created us, but of course I would never call God a liar, because that god you created doesn’t exist, my friend. I will get to the rest later
The Holy Spirit allows me to know God’s character and nature, why is why I wholly, emphatically trust God and ALL (Genesis included) God’s word as truth. If God is different than what the Holy Spirit leads me to believe, then ya, I would have a very difficult time trusting the god you painted, my friend
That verse is a direct correlation from the book of Genesis, and I said, Genesis is not a sound argument, since it is proven to be not historical record
And where is God’s invisible attributes being demonstrated? In His creation? which yet again brings us to Genesis, and rendered moot because it cannot be taken as a literal record. There is no proof of creation.
I don’t see the unbeliever doing anything but answering God why he or she never believed, since there is no proof of a creator. Furthermore salvation from what? why do I need saving? because the origin of sin is explained in Genesis among fictitious characters named Adam and Eve. I cannot even be sure that I am a sinner.
It does when its teaching runs contrary to what God PLAINLY says. Evolution states the sun was here at the beginning. The bible does not state the sun was here at the beginning. I cannot appreciate such a complexity when I know that is not how God created our universe. We see order and design first; not chaos first.
We are united to God in TRUTH. If God is deliberately leading falsehoods in His word, then He is not of truth therefore has no valid accusation to charge an unbeliever in truth, because if God cannot be truthful in creation accounts how can he expect an unbeliever to trust him to be truthful on spiritual matters.
Hi Wookin, that statement runs into problems with your earlier answer to the question of my hypothetical scenario. I asked you “what if…” I already knew that you do not accept the hypothetical statement by itself. My interest was purely to know what you would do IF God had chosen to inspire the creation story without nailing down the scientific side of it.
If you say “I would call God a liar” and right after that “I would never call God a liar”, then there’s an internal contradiction in your approach. Then it would all hinge on the accuracy of your interpretation of Genesis 1-3. If you’re willing to claim that God is a liar if your interpretation of Genesis 1-3 turns out to be false, that seems to be a very unhealthy and unstable way to believe in God. Can you really call that “trust”?
I myself am perfectly fine with my beliefs concerning Genesis 1 turning out to be false. If God would explain to me that I’m mistaken , so be it. It wouldn’t change a tad about the person I know as my Savior.
Hi Casper, First let me thank you for the civil debate There is no contradiction. I said, that I would only call your god a liar. Note: how I use “g” and “G”.
You make that sound so easy. That somehow I am judging God versus my interpretation of His word. If I am wrong then so is Jesus, because He saw and used Genesis the same way as I did, constantly quoted Genesis as literal truths
There lies the difference between you and I. I would ask God why would he allow Jesus and others for so long to perpetuate false truths. Sorry, my friend, but when I became a Christian. I had to know who God was and His character and nature which allowed me to trust Him and surrender unconditionally to Him. There is zero room for such a blatant blight in His character. God should have just left out any mention of creation, rather than perpetuating falsehoods about creation. If God says that he created Adam and Eve on the sixth day but it wasn’t true. Well, my friend. That is lying
People’s mistaken interpretations of Scripture have led them to believe, among other things, that slavery was acceptable, that certain races are cursed, that women are inferior to men, that genocide is God-ordained in some cases, that Jesus was returning to Earth on a certain day (now past), and that if you have enough faith you will always be healthy and rich. It seems that by your logic, all these mistaken interpretations are God’s fault. Because if he was really a God worthy of worship, no one would have ever gotten anything wrong about him. Does this honestly square with your observations of the world? It sounds like you are saying, “Unless I am right in my understanding, God is not really God, because if God was God, he would not allow me to be wrong about how and when he created the world.”
When people would rather think God is a liar than accept that their interpretation of the Bible is wrong, there’s not much you can do to take the conversation forward.
And that all Jews rejected Christ and were therefore cursed.
If you add up the years of Genesis, the great flood occurs sometime in the middle of the 5th or 6th Dynasty of Egypt.
Which part of Genesis do you reject in order to get out of this problem?
Where do I even begin? In Christian history books, I read that there are four different kinds of interpretation: allegorical, tropological, anagogical, and literal. I don’t think it is right for people to only interpret Genesis literally. They should consider these different kinds of interpretation after studying the author(s), writing style, culture, etc. behind the text.
I think all four types of interpretation are valid, but it depends on the particular piece of text.
I am so glad you brought slavery up. The main argument was not if slavery was right, because any honest, un-bias novice who would read the entire bible could see slavery was a sin. The main argument was whether black people were humans or animals (EVOLUTION, ANYONE). Even then Christian evolutionists were twisting scripture to fit their agenda. Furthermore what you are attempting to do is make a text (Genesis 1) more complicated than it really is based on abhorrent teaching and not scripture itself. That is bad hermeneutics, my friend
So now, I must take the word of archaeologists over what the bible tells me? Archaeologist are well meaning and sincere, hard working people but fallible, doing their best guess. If the bible’s chronology does not match secular archaeologist’s chronology, then I must take the bible’s. Please note that there is no room or evidence for an exodus out of Egypt. Am I to throw the exodus out as well?
How’s that? The Old Testament law treats slavery has normative and has many instructions for how slaves are to be treated. In the NT, the runaway slave Onesimus was sent back to his master by Paul. In all the NT household codes, slaves are instructed to be subject to their masters. Masters are not instructed to free their slaves. There are plenty of “plain readings” that would not lead you to the conclusion “slavery is a sin.”
Evolution says all humans have African ancestors. Racist arguments that propose some people are more or less human than others are not based on science. Race is a social construct anyway, not a biological reality.
I get this argument a lot from homosexuals, atheists etc… for which I give them one verse (Exodus 21:16) “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.” Do you believe that the bible contradicts itself on slavery?
It was, and my people are still feeling the ramification from it. In fact, I know for a fact it still has influenced the thinking of many anglosaxons. Just because scienctists has tried to correct a wrong does not absolve them of their actions. Perhaps you should look up Germany (heaviliy influenced by evolution) and Herero and Namaqua tribe members in its Southwest Africa colony, my friend
I believe there is a redemptive trajectory at work in history. God is calling people to higher and higher standards of righteousness and justice. As the gospel works in cultures over many generations, things God made allowances for because of people’s ignorance and hard hearts (slavery, polygamy, women as chattel, “eye for eye” retribution, war, etc.) become seen for the sins they actually are. I think this redemptive trajectory is seen within Scripture itself (moving from ancient OT times into the first century church), as well as within the history of the church.