What if Genesis predates ANE civilisations?


(Reggie O'Donoghue) #1

What if Genesis 1 was originally written by Adam, before the Egyptians and Babylonians and Sumerians? What if the cosmic temple imagery doesn’t exist, and Ancient Civilisations just got their temple layout from Genesis (effectively the opposite of what Genesis asks for). I’ve seen some creationists argue this before. And I will concede that it is an issue with what Walton argues for. How can we deal with this?

I don’t see this as an issue for Evolution, it’s more of an issue for the rich theology that comes from the universe being a cosmic temple.


(Jay Johnson) #2

Genesis written by Adam before the Sumerians even invented writing? I think that’s a theory we can dismiss out of hand.


(Reggie O'Donoghue) #3

Why hadn’t I thought of that!

Fine, revealed to Adam and passed down orally


(Jay Johnson) #4

Oral transmission is the common view for most evangelical Christians. How else does one explain the genealogies and stories of Adam, Cain, Seth, etc., if they are presumed to be accurate representations of historical events? The difficulty there is how far back can we place Adam before the possibility of oral transmission becomes too far-fetched. Could the stories have been passed down for a thousand years, or two thousand, or four thousand, or forty?

Between genetics and the problem of oral transmission, it is obvious why many people who insist on a literal man named Adam feel compelled to place him somewhere in recent history.


(Phil) #5

While I have really not thought through it very well, my understanding is that just as God has a sustaining hand in maintaining the written text of the Bible to say what he wants it to say to us despite translation, transciption, editing, aggregating, and canonization, he also had a hand in the evolving oral traditions to maintain the desired message despite the changes in transmission of information that happens in oral communication as cultures and languages evolve, and human memory falters.
In other words, I feel the Bible evolved also under the sustaining and guiding hand of God.


(Phil) #6

One question that leads to, is whether that means it continues to evolve today? Are the gender inclusive translations just a step in that evolution to keep it relevant to changing society?


(Matthew Pevarnik) #7

Do you know what evidence that anyone has for this? This is how I imagine most conversations going.

Person 1: I believe Genesis and the flood story predate all writing and flood tablets. Those are just satanic copies of the original Genesis one.
Person 2: well, the earliest copies of these stories (like the flood) predate any copies of the Genesis one by over a thousand years.
Person 1: So what? The Bible is inerrant (secretly also implying their interpretation is equivalent to the scripture itself).


(Reggie O'Donoghue) #8

This may seem like a silly question but how do we know this?


(Reggie O'Donoghue) #9

I nonetheless think there is a chicken and the egg problem with Waltons ideas.


(Matthew Pevarnik) #10

Here’s one basic article on a flood tablet:

What is our earliest record of Genesis? This Wikipedia summary seems to give maybe a 500-600 BCE to a partial fragment:

This are just some loose ideas but I think some steps in the direction I am thinking of.

Which ideas exactly?


#11

I like people who reject all ecumenical councils and instead rely on just their Bibles. Really? Did the Bible drop into your lap? Did you develop your own canon of Scripture?


#12

I would say this has been my general assumption for most of my life. Probably the reason is “inspiration,” as @jpm mentioned earlier – that we believe that Genesis was inspired by the Spirit, while we do not believe this about any of the other ANE texts/stories around that time (at least, not that I’ve heard), therefore we should give it more credence. I can see why this view lends itself to YEC, but I’m not sure it’s all that far out, though I admit I haven’t done much reading on it.


(Reggie O'Donoghue) #13

Is creation based on temple imagery, or a temples based on creation imagery?


(Reggie O'Donoghue) #14

I now think that the prevalence of Babylonian language and imagery, when combined with Tohu vavohu (also used to refer to the desolation of Jerusalem by Jeremiah) makes it very likely that Genesis was written during the exile, and was intended to give the message that Israel would be restored into something ‘very good’.

Thanks to @Jonathan_Burke for alerting me to this. I had no idea that Tohu vavohu appeared anywhere other than Genesis 1.


(Matthew Pevarnik) #15

I believe the tohu is alluded to also in Isaiah 45:18 where Yahweh says that he didn’t create the world in that state but formed and established it.


(Matthew Pevarnik) #16

Sorry, I don’t quite follow what you are reponding to or commenting on but your questions alone make sense.


#17

Oh, I’m sorry I wasn’t clearer. I was just making another comment about the idea of an inerrant Bible.


(Larry Bunce) #18

A campus minister at the Wesley foundation when I was in college had been on his way to becoming an Old Testament scholar before entering the parish ministry. He said that the various books of the Bible started out as oral readings for centuries before they were written down. The writing process began around 500 BC during the Babylonian captivity, because people were afraid the oral tradition was beginning to die out, and they wanted to preserve them. He also said that the ancient world trusted oral recitation more than written documents, because scribes working alone could make mistakes that would not be caught, while a group of people listening, many of them familiar with the stories, could detect errors right away.


(Phil) #19

Matthew 5:18: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (KJV).

I have been waiting for someone to bring this verse up, but guess I have to do so myself. This is often used to support a fixed Bible canon and interpretation, but is probably a stretch.
How do you read it in conjunction with different interpretation, translations, and changing language, especially with oral traditions? We don’t even use jots and tittles anymore.


#20

Jesus is speaking of the law here and its fulfillment. There was no New Testament at the time. Yes, the canon is fixed but not its interpretation. There have been efforts to build a better bible; look at the Book of Mormon and the Qur’an. And there is always Dan Brown’s b.s.