Origins - Interpretations of Genesis

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This presentation examines the various interpretations of the book of Genesis in the Bible.

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Origins - Interpretations of Genesis

  1. 1. Origins “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, beingunderstood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. ” (Romans 1:20) Interpretations of Genesis
  2. 2. How are we to interpret the book of Genesis? www.confidentchristians.org
  3. 3. The Days of Genesis FORM FULLNESS Day One Day Four 1:14-19 1:3-5• Speak light into existence • Speak Lights into the Expanse to• Separate light/dark • Separate/Rule Day/Night for Signs,• Ordered Time for seasons, for Days/Years light/dark Day Two Day Five 1:6-8 1:20-23• Speak to Separate Waters • Speak Waters to Team with Fish• Order: Waters below Expanse • Separate Birds to Fly in Expanse Waters above • Bless Day Three Day Six 1:24-31 1:9-13 • Speak Earth to Bring Forth Living• Speak to Separate Waters Below so Creation in Kind Dry Land Appears • Let Us Make Man in Our Image• Name: Earth/Sea • Let Them Rule• Speak Earth to Sprout Plants • Bless • Divide Plants www.confidentchristians.org
  4. 4. Why View Genesis as History and not Myth? www.confidentchristians.org
  5. 5. “There are 165 passages in Genesis that are either directly quoted or clearlyreferred to in the New Testament. Many of them are alluded to more than once sothat 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 subjectof 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 NewTestament. 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 www.confidentchristians.org
  6. 6. Seven Orthodox ViewsI. Young Earth – Earth is thousands of years old. 1. Standard Six-Day Creation 2. Ideal-TimeII. 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. 7. Agreements/Disagreement of ViewsI. 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 accountII. Disagreements 1. Age of the earth 2. Literal days/allegorical days view of Genesis account
  8. 8. Two Core Old Earth PositionsI. 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 aboutII. 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. 9. What About Theistic Evolution? “Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruittrees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. 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 …God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good … Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”;and it was so. God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle aftertheir kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.” - Genesis 1:11-12, 21, 24-25
  10. 10. What About Theistic Evolution? “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) www.confidentchristians.org
  11. 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 www.confidentchristians.org
  12. 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 seventhday; 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) www.confidentchristians.org
  13. 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 www.confidentchristians.org
  14. 14. Objections to Young-Earth Interpretation• “Yom” normally means “day”, but it can mean something else. “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven. ” (Genesis 2:4)• If viewed from God‟s perspective, a day can be longer: “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. ” (2 Peter 3:8)• Why is “evening and morning” used instead of “morning and evening”? The evening-morning chronology was how the Jewish people kept the Sabbath• Moses uses the terms “morning” and “evening” in Psalm 90 and they don‟t mean one day: “You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; Toward evening it fades and withers away. ” (Psalm 90:5–6) www.confidentchristians.org
  15. 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 www.confidentchristians.org
  16. 16. “Why not an instant universe? At the IsraeliteExodus from Egypt, the Bible tells that Godused a wind that blew all night to split the Sea of Reeds (Ex. 14:21). Why an all-night windrather than perhaps a hand from heaven? That would have been much more impressive.” - Dr. Gerald Schroeder www.confidentchristians.org
  17. 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 www.confidentchristians.org
  18. 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 www.confidentchristians.org
  19. 19. ‘Revelatory Days’ Interpretation• Old earth category• Asserts that the six days were 24- hour days of revelation that God gave to Moses who wrote Genesis• Just as God used visions to reveal future events to his prophets, this view asserts that God revealed a past series of events to Moses regarding creation• Some say “asah” used in Exodus 20:11 can mean “reveal: “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) www.confidentchristians.org
  20. 20. ‘Day-Age’ Interpretation• Old earth category• Asserts that the six days were 24-hour days of actual creation• Between each day there was a long period of time where things took place• Third day indicates a process may be involved that took longer than 24 hours: "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) www.confidentchristians.org
  21. 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 www.confidentchristians.org
  22. 22. ‘Israel Focus’ Interpretation• States that the first chapter that speaks of creation is talking about the promised land of Israel and not everything• “In the beginning God created the heavens and the land. ” (Genesis 1:1)• Held by Old Testament John Sailhamer www.confidentchristians.org
  23. 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 www.confidentchristians.org
  24. 24. Ruin/Re-construction Interpretation Fall of God Lucifer; he remakes Fall of man; and earth earth and Satan judged by gives it to regains God Adam earth Untold number of Untold number of ?of Human history up until now… years years years Gen. Is. 14:12- Gen. 1:2- Gen. 3 1:1 14 31 Ez. 28:12-17 2 Peter 3:3-6 www.confidentchristians.org
  25. 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 www.confidentchristians.org
  26. 26. So Which Interpretation is Correct…? www.confidentchristians.org
  27. 27. “I don‟t know”William Lane Craig, 2 Ph.D.‟s Series on Creation
  28. 28. More on Ruin/Re-construction" In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Theearth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surfaceof the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surfaceof the waters." (Genesis 1:1-2) “formless” = “tohuw”; literally “a wreck/chaos” “void” = “bohuw”; literally “a waste” Only used in 2 other places (Jer. 4:23, Isa. 34:11); describes divine judgment"For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is theGod who formed the earth and made it, He established it anddid not create it “tohuw”, but formed it to be inhabited), “I amthe Lord, and there is none else." (Isaiah 45:18) www.confidentchristians.org
  29. 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 creationthat 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 onrebellion, that Satan was somehow involved, and that oppressive evil existed instead of the fullness of life. If creation is a remedyfor 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 www.confidentchristians.org
  30. 30. A Different Eden? "Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, „Thus says the Lord God, “You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. “You were in Eden, the garden of God; Everyprecious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; Theberyl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared. “You were the anointedcherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. “You were blameless inyour ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found inyou. “By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence,And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire. “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; Youcorrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, That they may see you." (Ezekiel 28:12-17) www.confidentchristians.org
  31. 31. More on Ruin/Re-construction "I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void; And to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains, and behold, they werequaking, And all the hills moved to and fro. I looked, and behold, there was no man, And all the birds of theheavens had fled. I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a wilderness, And all its cities were pulled down Before the Lord, before His fierce anger." (Jeremiah 4:23-26) www.confidentchristians.org
  32. 32. More on Ruin/Re-construction" In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Theearth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surfaceof the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surfaceof the waters." (Genesis 1:1-2) “darkness” = “hosek”; never used in Bible for good “deep” = “tahom”; ancient symbol for chaos Lexicons define it as „flood‟, „deluge‟, www.confidentchristians.org
  33. 33. Separation – Good from Evil“Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. . . . God made the expanse, and separated thewaters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. ” (Genesis 1:3–7) www.confidentchristians.org
  34. 34. Election and Separation in Genesis Seed of Woman Abel Seth Noah Abraham Isaac Jacob Separation and Election Cain Lamech Sons of Elohim Rest of World Ishmael Esau Seed of Serpent www.confidentchristians.org
  35. 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 www.confidentchristians.org
  36. 36. Review of AgreementsI. 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 accountII. Disagreements 1. Age of the earth 2. Literal days/allegorical days view of Genesis account
  37. 37. Origins “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, beingunderstood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. ” (Romans 1:20) Interpretations of Genesis

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