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How are we to interpret the book of Genesis?

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Presentation on theme: "How are we to interpret the book of Genesis?"— Presentation transcript:


2 How are we to interpret the book of Genesis?

3 The Days of Genesis FORMFULLNESS Day OneDay Four Day TwoDay Five Day ThreeDay Six 1:3-5 Speak light into existence Separate light/dark Ordered Time 1:14-19 Speak Lights into the Expanse to Separate/Rule Day/Night for Signs, for seasons, for Days/Years light/dark 1:6-8 Speak to Separate Waters Order: Waters below Expanse Waters above 1:20-23 Speak Waters to Team with Fish Separate Birds to Fly in Expanse Bless 1:9-13 Speak to Separate Waters Below so Dry Land Appears Name: Earth/Sea Speak Earth to Sprout Plants 1:24-31 Speak Earth to Bring Forth Living Creation in Kind Let Us Make Man in Our Image Let Them Rule Bless Divide Plants

4 Why View Genesis as History and not Myth?

5 “There are 165 passages in Genesis that are either directly quoted or clearly referred to in the New Testament. Many of them are alluded to more than once so that there are at least two hundred quotations or references to Genesis in the New Testament. It is significant that the portion of Genesis which has been the subject of the greatest attacks of skepticism and unbelief – the first eleven chapters – is the portion that had the greatest influence on the New Testament. There exists over 100 quotations or direct references to Genesis 1-11 in the New Testament. Furthermore, every one of those 11 chapters is alluded to somewhere in the New Testament. And every one of the New Testament authors refers somewhere in his writings to Genesis 1-11. On at least six different occasions, Jesus Christ Himself quoted from or referred to something or someone in one of those eleven chapters, included specific references to each of the first seven chapters. Furthermore, in not one of these many instances where the New Testament refers to Genesis is there the slightest evidence that the writers regarded the events or personages as myths or allegories. To the contrary, they all viewed Genesis as absolutely true and historical and authoritative.” - Dr. Henry Morris

6 Seven Orthodox Views I.Young Earth – Earth is thousands of years old. 1.Standard Six-Day Creation 2.Ideal-Time II.Old Earth – Earth could be millions/billions of years old. 1.Long ‘Days’ 2.Revelatory-Days 3.Day-Age 4.Literary Framework 5.Israel focus View 6.Gap /Ruin-Reconstruction View 7.Progressive Creation

7 Agreements/Disagreement of Views I.Agreements 1.Direct supernatural creation of all forms of life 2.Opposition to Naturalism (says no supernatural cause) 3.Opposition to Macroevolution 4.Historicity of Genesis account II.Disagreements 1.Age of the earth 2.Literal days/allegorical days view of Genesis account

8 Two Core Old Earth Positions I.Theistic Evolution – the belief that natural processes sustained by God’s ordinary providence are God’s means of bringing about life and humanity. Humanity came from a common ancestor but God started everything and used evolution to bring things about II.Progressive Creationism: the belief that second causes sustained by God’s providence are not the whole story, but that instead God has added supernatural, creative actions to the process, corresponding to the fiats of Genesis 1.

9 What About Theistic Evolution?

10 “All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.” (1 Corinthians 15:39)

11 Standard Six-Day Creation Young earth category Interprets Genesis literally and chronologically Natural reading of the text presents the case that the six days in Genesis 1 are six normal 24-hour days The normal use of the word ‘Yom’, the numbered series, and the repetition of ‘evening and morning’ support six days of creation

12 Standard Six-Day Creation “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. ” (Exodus 20:11) “It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.” (Exodus 31:17)

13 Ideal-Time Interpretation Young earth category All things were created with the appearance of age. For example, Adam may have looked 30 years old when he was created but was only seconds old Applies to all things including the earth, trees, etc. Would cause certain scientific tests to arrive at incorrect conclusions; the world appears old but is not

14 Objections to Young-Earth Interpretation

15 Objections to Young-Earth Interpretation The seventh “day” is still going on; it is the Lord’s Sabbath rest It is difficult to imagine that Adam could name all the animals in a single day The earth produced life as stated here: “The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. ” (Genesis 1:12). Are we to think this happened in a ‘time- lapsed photography’ sense or naturally took time? Specifically, “seeds” are mentioned; it would seem they would grow naturally rather than immediately. Their origin may have been supernatural, but their growth was natural Some argue that an old earth view says death came before the sin of man. However, Scripture says that “all men” die because of sin (Rom. 5:12); it does not say animals didn’t suffer normal death

16 “Why not an instant universe? At the Israelite Exodus from Egypt, the Bible tells that God used a wind that blew all night to split the Sea of Reeds (Ex. 14:21). Why an all-night wind rather than perhaps a hand from heaven? That would have been much more impressive.” - Dr. Gerald Schroeder

17 Scientific objections to young earth The speed of light and the distance of the stars contradicts light sources causing evening and morning so quickly The rate of the expansion of the universe contradicts six literal days if “heavens and the earth” mean the entire universe Early rocks on earth have been radioactively dated in terms of billions of years The rate that salt runs into the sea and the amount of salt there indicates multi-millions of years

18 ‘Long Days’ Interpretation Old earth category Proposes both biblical and scientific evidence to support the view that the ‘days’ of Genesis are actually long periods of time ‘Yom’ (Hebrew word for day) often means more than just a 24-hour period of time. “Day” is from God’s perspective Sixth day may be longer than 24 hours. Land animals, man, woman created, and Adam names the animals

19 ‘Revelatory Days’ Interpretation

20 ‘Day-Age’ Interpretation

21 Literary Framework Interpretation Old earth category Asserts that the six days were an ancient literary device that was sometimes used to frame certain periods of time in order to encapsulate them in literary form much like we use a ‘chapter’ in a book to do the same “Morning” and “Evening” were natural ways to point to a beginning and an end Held by Augustine who believed God created everything instantly, but used a allegorical framework to convey His work However, Genesis doesn’t seem to be the genre of poetry

22 ‘Israel Focus’ Interpretation

23 Ruin/Re-construction Interpretation Old earth category Thomas Chalmers early champion States that there is a gap of time either between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 or there was a gap of time that occurred prior to 1:1 Lucifer was originally given dominion of the earth as the ‘covering cherub’, but when he sinned, God judged both him and his domain The six days of creation in Genesis are not an original creation, but a reconstruction of the earth God then granted a new steward – man – to be in charge of the remade earth

24 Ruin/Re-construction Interpretation Untold number of years Fall of Lucifer; he and earth judged by God Gen. 1:1 Untold number of years God remakes earth and gives it to Adam Gen. 1:2- 31 Is. 14:12- 14 Ez. 28:12-17 2 Peter 3:3-6 Human history up until now… Fall of man; Satan regains earth ?of years Gen. 3

25 Progressive Creation Interpretation Old earth category Combines Literary Framework and/or Day-Age interpretations, and poses a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 (without the Lucifer episode) Accepts mainstream geological and cosmological estimates for the age of the Earth Posits that God created new forms of life gradually, over a period of hundreds of millions of years Rejects macro-evolution as Scripture and the fossil record don’t support it. Distinct from theistic evolution in that God is seen to regularly involve himself in the process of species development through special creative acts

26 So Which Interpretation is Correct…?

27 “I don’t know” William Lane Craig, 2 Ph.D.’s Series on Creation

28 More on Ruin/Re-construction “formless” = “tohuw”; literally “a wreck/chaos” “void” = “bohuw”; literally “a waste” "For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it “tohuw”, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the Lord, and there is none else." (Isaiah 45:18) Only used in 2 other places (Jer. 4:23, Isa. 34:11); describes divine judgment

29 More on Ruin/Re-construction " It is clear from the contents of verse 2 that something is drastically wrong at the outset.... Essentially the work of creation is a correction of chaos. Emptiness, formlessness, darkness, and the deep are replaced or altered with a creation that is pronounced good and is blessed by God. Genesis gives no explanation of the chaos, but we may gather from the words used and from parallel passages that is was a judgment on rebellion, that Satan was somehow involved, and that oppressive evil existed instead of the fullness of life. If creation is a remedy for this chaos, then God’s work through the six days anticipates his work in bringing about blessing after the fall.” -Dr. Allen Ross Creation and Blessing

30 A Different Eden?

31 More on Ruin/Re-construction

32 More on Ruin/Re-construction “darkness” = “hosek”; never used in Bible for good “deep” = “tahom”; ancient symbol for chaos Lexicons define it as ‘flood’, ‘deluge’,

33 Separation – Good from Evil

34 Election and Separation in Genesis Seed of Woman Abel Seth Noah Abraham Isaac Jacob Cain Lamech Sons of Elohim Rest of World Ishmael Esau Seed of Serpent

35 Gap + Progressive Creationism? Gap does occur between Gen. 1:1-2 Satan’s fall did occur in between these times and judgment pronounced God re-creates the world and there are long periods of time between the creative acts

36 Review of Agreements I.Agreements 1.Direct supernatural creation of all forms of life 2.Opposition to Naturalism (says no supernatural cause) 3.Opposition to Macroevolution 4.Historicity of Genesis account II.Disagreements 1.Age of the earth 2.Literal days/allegorical days view of Genesis account


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