Tunnel vision regarding Genesis


Yeah, I fully understand your confusion…


OK then let’s go a little deeper:

In Genesis 1 it states “God said…let there be light,…let there be separation,…let there be fish,…let there be birds…let there be lights…”
Then somewhere else in the bible I read these words:
Ezekiel 13:
" ‘Hear the word of the LORD! [ 3 ]This is what the Lord GOD says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, yet have seen nothing. [ 4 ]Your prophets, O Israel, are like jackals among the ruins. [ 5 You did not go up to the gaps or restore the wall around the house of Israel so that it would stand in the battle on the Day of the LORD.
[ 6 ]They see false visions and speak lying divinations. They claim, “Thus declares the LORD,” when the LORD did not send them; yet they wait for the fulfillment of their message.

[ 7 ]Have you not seen a false vision and spoken a lying divination when you proclaimed, “Thus declares the LORD,” even though I had not spoken?’

Now the question arises. If Genesis 1 is not history then which prophet makes the claim that God said things which He did not say historically? Is that prophet not falling into the same error as the ones that Ezekiel was addressing?

So did God say those things or did He not? Did God really say ?

(George Brooks) #44


So you think God talks to himself…
And then tells humans about it…

(Christy Hemphill) #45

The sun provides the heat the atmosphere traps to keep nights warm enough for life. Where did that heat come from before the sun? The warmth of God’s presence?

(Haywood Clark) #46

Here are three for starters:

  1. Your failure to distinguish between evolution and abiogenesis.
  2. The absence of any testable creationist hypotheses.
  3. Quote mining.

(Darek Barefoot) #47

I think of it as intensely stylized history. Each narrative has a historical seed, I believe, that is wrapped in a package of spiritual metaphor. The size of the “seed” relative to its wrapping can only be determined by taking all information into consideration and making a spiritual judgment.

For example, the Bible says that the entire earth came to hear the wisdom of Solomon. It also says that Solomon made silver as common as the stones in the streets of Jerusalem. Did the ancient peoples of the Americas really travel all the way to Jerusalem? The peoples of east Asia and Australasia? The seed is, I assume, a real person whose reign–whatever its exact extent–was noted for peace, prosperity, and influence on surrounding peoples. The hyperbole has a spiritual purpose, namely, to model the universal peace of the coming kingdom of Christ.

In Genesis 1, God commands and creation comes to be. In Ezekiel 16:6, God sums up the formation of Israel by saying that he simply commanded, “Live!” and Israel survived and multiplied. In historical fact, of course, this was a messy process over a period of generations, but it is summed up by one word from God’s mouth. Something similar is true in Genesis, according to our best evidence.

In Job 31:13-15, Job says that God formed him in the womb, as God did his male and female servants. But, of course, there is a side of this process to which science has access, developmental biology and embryology, that is incredibly complex in its physical details, and which can easily be misinterpreted as a godless process. The same is true of evolution.

Genesis one does convey, in stylized form, the fact that creation took shape in progressive stages according to the will of God. It’s not just a temple-building story, as in the interpretation of Tom Wright and some others. It casts creation as a birth story, with the embryonic world forming in womb-like darkness and water with the Spirit presiding (cf. Eccl 11:5). The birth of humankind and the birth of creation are blended into one magnificent narrative.


It seems to me that this isn’t quite correct. The foundation of the Christian Faith is Jesus Christ and Him crucified and resurrected. Christ and His resurrection at the centre. So, I’d suggest a Christocentric approach to the Scriptures (of course, I’m a Lutheran). So, let’s understand Christ and His resurrection correctly, and then we will understand the rest of the Bible.

(Phil) #49


(Eakin C) #50

I don’t disagree that Jesus, HIs death and resurrection, is the crux of the Christian faith, and that all Scripture needs to be read in the light of Him. Jesus said that we are to live on every word that proceeds from God’s mouth (Matt. 4:4), and that we will be judged by those words (John 12;48). Jesus interprets Genesis in a literal, grammatical, historical manner (e.g. Mark 10:6) and thus so should we. If you start reading the Bible in Genesis and do not recognize it as historical, then there is significant risk that further reading of the Bible will not reveal what it intends. Ergo, if you don’t understand the information given in Gen. 1-3–which is foundational to the rest of Scripture–you will not understand the rest of Scripture.

(George Brooks) #51


So… if Jesus didn’t worry about germs, because while in his human skin he didn’t know anything about microscopic disease factors … should we ignore germs too?

(Phil) #52

So, since the literal interpretation of Genesis portrays a cosmology that is three tiered, with a solid firmament and geocentric, we should do the same?
That seems to be the problem with most literal proposals: they pick and choose what they want to be literal and ignore the rest.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #53


I am afraid that you have overlooked a very important reference that Jesus made to Gen. 1.
John 5:9-18 (NIV2011)

9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,
10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
11 But He replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”
12 So they asked Him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”
15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus Who had made him well.
16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute Him.
17 In His defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working.”
18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill Him; not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.

Also John 1:1 and following, Which begins, “in the Beginning…”


I still disagree. If you do not understand that Jesus is foundational of all of Scripture - you will not understand Scripture. You’re making Gen 1-3 the interpretive key to the Scriptures. I’m making Jesus the interpretive key.

Furthermore, there are many Christians who believe Jesus lived, died on the cross, and rose again and in Him they have forgiveness, life, and salvation - but do not interpret Genesis 1-3 literalistically. It seems to me that while you may disagree with how they interpret Gen 1-3…they’ve still come to see the truth to which all the Scriptures point…Jesus, the Saviour.

(George Brooks) #55

Nicely said, Martin Luther! Have a tall cool beer … in honor of Martin!

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #56

Gen 1-3 is the OT story of Creation. John 1:1-18 is the NT story of creation. The problem with focusing so narrowly Gen and asking the wrong question of it is that we lose the NT salvation message of John 1.

The historical meaning of Gen. 1 is that the universe has a Beginning. That is what John 1:1 says. It also says that Jesus Christ, the Logos was an integral part of Creation which is not explicitly a part of Gen 1. Jews understand “the information given in Gen 1-3,” but still do not “understand the rest of Scripture.”


Something like this…

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #58

The OT testifies that Jesus is the Messiah. The OT is not Jesus. Jesus the Logos does not testify that the universe was created in 6 days.

Jesus is the Word of God. The Bible is not the Word of God. Jesus proves the Bible, not the Bible proves Jesus.


I’m not sure I agree. I’m not sure I disagree. However, I would say the Bible is the Word of God written.

I absolutely agree.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #60

That would seem to make the OT equal to the NT, which it is not. That would seem to make the Bible, which is not God equal to Jesus, Who is God.

The reason evangelicals got into the mess is because they thought that they could protect their faith by making the Bible Perfect or Divine, which it is not. See Hebrews 1:1-4.

(Randy) #61

Good reference. But it is certainly easy to put what is written on too high a pedestal.