Reading Genesis 1 “Literally”

Reading Genesis 1 “Literally”

Most people who claim they read Genesis 1 “literally” don’t. They believe that what they believe about Genesis 1 is literal. But they aren’t reading Genesis 1 literally.

If we read Genesis 1 literally, we come out with a very different picture than most literalists imagine. Indeed, we find ourselves firmly planted in the Hebrew worldview—an ancient worldview. And, if we know our history, we know that the Hebrews had no concept of a round earth that coursed around the sun. They believed the earth was flat, the sky was a dome, and the sun revolved around the earth.

So, let”s take a close, literal reading of Genesis 1. I’ve tried to illustrate the events as best I can.

Gen. 1:1

“In beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This is a topic sentence that introduces the chapter. It can also be translated, “When God began creating the heavens and the earth . . .” introducing the next verse. By the way, the word “the” doesn’t appear in the Hebrew (it’s just “in beginning,” not “in the beginning.”

Gen 1 1

Gen. 1:2

“And the earth was desolate and barren, and darkness hovered over the surface of the deep, and the breath of God blew over the surface of the waters.”

Gen 1 2

Do you notice something here? I mean, really? There’s already something in existence before God starts saying “Let there be.” There is an earth that is desolate and barren (more on that in a minute). There is darkness. There is a deep that covers the earth (this becomes more evident later in Gen. 1:9). And God’s breath is blowing over the surface of the waters.

Usually translations render the Hebrew expression tohu vabohu as “formless and void.” This is unfortunate and misleading, because to Western ears “formless and void” sounds like vast emptiness, somewhat like our concept of space. But that’s not what the writer is saying. In fact, in the only other place the expression tohu vabohu is used (Jer. 4:23), it clearly refers to a desolate wasteland, not empty space (see also Jer. 4:26).

The desolate earth is covered by the deep which itself is covered by darkness. This is why God’s first creative act is to create light. And God’s breath is blowing over the surface of the deep. Now, this sentence can be translated a variety of ways: “And God’s spirit hovered over the surface of the deep” (by far the most popular Christian translation); “And a wind from God blew over the surface of the deep.” Or the way I translated it. I prefer the “God’s breath” translation because it fits in with the Genesis 2 account of God’s breath animating the first human (Gen. 2:7). God’s breath blowing over the deep brings life (see also Gen. 8:1).

Gen. 1:3

“And God said, ‘Let there be light!’ And there was light.”

Gen 1 3 

Now the actual creative words begin. And the first thing God creates is light. But, . . . the Bible says that the sun isn’t created until day four (Gen. 1:14-19). So, clearly the writer of this narrative believed there was a source of light other than the sun. This certainly doesn’t correspond with our modern understanding that the sun is the source of physical light.

Gen. 1:4-5

“And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day,’ and the darkness God called, ‘night.’ And there was evening and there was morning. Day one.”

 Gen 1 4 to 5

God separated the light from the darkness (in the next verses God also separates the waters). God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.” Now day and night exist (without the sun) and the creative act of day one is complete.

 Gen. 1:6-8

“And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ So God made the dome and separated the waters that were above the dome from the waters that were below the dome. And it was so. God called the dome, ‘sky.’ And there was evening and there was morning. Day two.”

Gen 1 6 to 8

Now here’s where things get really interesting.

God creates a dome in the midst of the waters to separate waters from waters. The Hebrew word (raqîya’) refers to a solid dome, something hammered out. Ancient Hebrews believed the sky was a solid dome that kept the waters above from falling down upon them. They believed the sky was blue because of the waters above the dome. The Hebrews also believed the earth was flat and stationary and that the sun moved. Though that fact isn’t overt in Genesis 1, numerous texts attest to this belief through expressions like “the ends of the earth” and the sun “rising and setting” (Josh. 10:13; Job 37:3; 38:13; Pss. 93:1; 96:10; 103:12; 104:5; Eccles. 1:5; Jer. 16:19; Isa. 40:22 [flat circle]; Dan. 4:11). The Genesis writer was a person of his time. He described the world as he observed it. And, if you go out somewhere flat where you can see the earth and the sky, it looks exactly like the writer describes it: a dome that meets the flat earth with a sun moving round about.

Gen. 1:9-10

“And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. God called the dry land, ‘earth’ and the waters that were gathered together, ‘seas.’ And God saw that it was good.”

 Gen 1 9 to 10

Now the desolate barren wasteland hidden underneath the deep is revealed. Notice that God does not create the dry land—it already exists. God merely shifts the waters around so that the dry land appears.

Gen. 1:11-13

“Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning. Day three.”

 Gen 1 11 to 13

After the dry land appears, God commands the earth to bring forth vegetation. God doesn’t create the vegetation, God commands the earth to bring it forth. Creation participates in creation!

Gen.1:14-19

“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night . . . .'”

 Gen 1 14 to 19

This is the longest description of any of God’s creative acts. God creates the lights in the dome. Notice how carefully the writer narrates these events. In other Ancient Near Eastern cultures, the stars, the moon, and the sun were deities. But in the Hebrew writer’s account, these heavenly bodies are merely signs of the seasons and the days. They “rule” over the day and the night, like dignitaries who rule in the stead of the king. But they aren’t the king (in this case God). They give off light, but they aren’t the source of light. They are not gods.

In this way, the writer demotes the stars, sun, and moon from being deities. In fact, he even avoids using the words “sun” and “moon.” He calls the sun the “greater light” and the moon “the lesser light” to avoid any possibility of a reader thinking that these are gods (since the Semitic names for sun and moon were also the names of deities).

Gen. 1:20-23

“And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ . . . .

Gen 1 20 23

Once again God invites creation to participate. “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures . . .” The Psalms and Job mention the great sea monsters alluded to in Genesis. Their names are Rahab and Leviathan. According to these texts, God fought against the sea monsters and defeated them (Job 9:13; 26:12; Job 41:1-34; Ps. 89:10).

Gen. 1:24-25

“And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.'” . . . .

Gen 1 24 25

Now the earth brings forth the creatures that will inhabit it (this is similar to how Genesis 2 describes the animals being created from earth, 2:19). In my illustration, I added a sheep, a deer, and a horse because that’s about all I could draw. But the writer was probably imagining a far greater diversity of species, including icky creeping things like scorpions.

Last, but not least: humanity.

Gen. 1:26-27

“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness . . . .'”

 Gen 1 26 to 27

 The remainder of the chapter describes God’s commands for the humans and the non-human inhabitants of the earth. God instructs all of them (both human and non-human) to eat seed bearing plants and fruit bearing trees. In other words, in Genesis 1 all creation existed on vegetation. God also institutes the Sabbath which deserves a post all to itself.

What does all of this tell us if we read Genesis 1 literally? Well, first, it tells us that the writer wasn’t a 21st-century westerner who knows that the earth is round and rotates around the sun. In other words, Genesis 1 isn’t modern science and it was never intended to be. Second, it tells us that the writer of Genesis 1 described creation from the perspective of his flat earth, dome sky worldview. He depicted the world as he observed it. Third, this means that if you read Genesis 1 literally, you come out with a picture something like what is portrayed below.

 Photo 5

In the above picture, I’ve added a few elements found elsewhere in the Old Testament that aren’t in Genesis 1 but were “literal” to the Hebrew writers: the pillars that hold up the earth (Job 9:6; Ps. 75:4; ), the windows of heaven (Gen. 7:11; 8:2; Isa. 24:18), and the floodgates (or springs) of the deep (Gen. 7:11; 8:2).

Now, unless you believe that the earth is actually flat, set on pillars, and that a solid sky dome holds the waters above from careening down upon us, then you don’t really believe Genesis 1 literally. Yes, there are flat-earth creationists who do believe these things and, at least, they are consistent.

But if we’re going to be realistic and consistent, we have to acknowledge that the writer’s worldview is not our worldview. Most of us do not believe that the earth is flat and the sky is a dome. Most of us know that the earth is round and rotates around the sun. If that’s the case, then we have to acknowledge that Genesis 1 is not a scientific description of the earth. It is a theological one. We don’t have to become flat-earth creationists to accept the theology the writer is communicating—that God created the earth and everything in it.

This is why biblical literalism (in the sense stated at the beginning) fails. It fails to read Genesis 1 literally. It fails to acknowledge the ancient writer’s worldview. It tries to cram modern rationalism and modern pseudo-science into an ancient text, and in so doing, it completely ignores the sacredness of the text—its poetic beauty, its structure, its focus on the sacred week, its emphasis on God as creator and on humanity as God’s representatives, and its acknowledgment of the goodness of all creation. All of these things are communicated through a flat earth, dome sky worldview, but they transcend it.

I read Genesis 1 literally, but what I mean by that is I read Genesis 1 recognizing that the writer’s worldview is pre-scientific but his theology is transcendent.

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140 thoughts on “Reading Genesis 1 “Literally””

    1. dont follow a blind guide because you will both fall in a pit. his view of what ancient hebrews wolrd viewwas is incorrect. He does not allow for figures of speech in the quotes about their supposed errors like we would use today and not intend to be literal but descriptive. your blind guide reeks with the pride of our modern day that imagines we are the smartest people who ever lived when this is incorrect. Do some more homework check out creation.com for answrs to this gentlemans error. Maranatha Bonzabob

  1. I agree with all of the above, but I’m not sure that it gets us anywhere. Sure the writers of Genesis were following a Sumerian/Chaldean understanding of Cosmology. But we now know that their cosmology was entirely wrong. So how do we square that knowledge with a presupposition that God inspired the writers of early Genesis? It is unlikely that God would have inspired authors to write untruths, or faulty science which he knew to be untrue. So one is driven to the conclusion that early Genesis was a human writing that owes nothing to Divine guidance. It that case we are obliged to accept that early Genesis is one of the great myths of humanity and nothing more.

    1. It could go either way, of course. Believing that the Bible (or any other writing) is divinely inspired is a presupposition that cannot be proven. It’s a belief. However, I disagree with your statement that “it is unlikely that God would have inspired authors to write untruths, or faulty science which he knew to be untrue.” First, I do not believe we can require ancient writers to write in accordance with our modern standards of “truth,” “accuracy,” and “scientific plausibility,” because these are concepts that came out of rationalism and Western philosophy which came long after the biblical writers wrote. The biblical writers wrote in accordance with ancient standards which focus on story. Could God have inspired the biblical writer in Genesis 1 to write “true science” (by which we are assuming our modern concepts are correct)? Sure. But why would God do that? How could an ancient writer understand the concept of a “Big Bang” or a universe or a round world rotating around the sun? This would have made no sense to the biblical writer. Instead, God revealed creation through the worldview already held by the writer. Does that mean Genesis 1 is any less true? No. It simply means that we accept the limitations of human collaboration in the writing of scripture.

      Now, of course, all of this is contingent on how a person defines “inspiration.” Those who believe God controlled inspiration to the point of dictating every word would have to accept that the ancient cosmology is “true” and that science is wrong (in order to be consistent). Those who believe that God inspired the biblical writers but allowed them the freedom to write in their own style and from their own, limited world views would conclude (as I do) that the world view of the writer does not lessen the theology being communicated. I see inspiration much like I view the incarnation: God coming to us in a form we understand. If inspiration is “God’s guidance,” then doesn’t it make sense that God would guide writers in ways they could understand?

      On the other hand, those who do not believe the Bible is inspired would certainly conclude that Genesis 1 is a myth (though I think we can use the word “myth” in a non-pejorative sense and still believe in the inspiration of Genesis).

      I love the idea of inspiration being a divine/human collaboration. And, I’m not troubled by the fact that the human element means that the biblical accounts aren’t all perfect and logical and historical and scientific in the 21st-century Western sense. But I understand that many others are VERY troubled by such a view and the historicity and accuracy of the Bible is the foundation of their faith (because they have accepted a modern, rationalist-based theology). If that is questioned then everything crumbles. But my view is that Truth is a Person, not a set of rationalist beliefs that one must adhere to.

      I am a great believer in letting the Old Testament be the Old Testament and not expecting it to be modern Western history. So, I try to read it keeping in mind the world view of the writers, the ANE context, the literary context, and the genre of the literature.

    2. I would suggest we consider how we, as adults, would explain stellar fusion and orbital mechanics to a four year old. It would be impossible to do so, and we would have to strip it down to the important elements only to even have a chance to reach the child.
      Instead, Genesis tells the Hebrews – and us – what we really need to know. There is an order to things (we didn’t need to understand it in 1000 bc), and God is in charge. Being a vegan, I would also add “don’t eat meat”, but I admit that’s my subjective point of view!
      Genesis is, as John Bedson says, a great myth of humanity. But I take issue with his “nothing more” because he is dismissing its importance as an origin story to unite the Hebrews, and a simple way to explain to the desert-dwelling sheepherders that they are watched over by a God that cares about them individually – the central message of much of the Bible. It doesn’t have to square with modern science to be true, because it was – in my opinion – never meant in any way as a blueprint for how God called creation into existence.
      In short, that isn’t the point or purpose of Genesis, and it never was.

      Cheers!

      1. I agree. I often use a similar comparison in class with my students. You don’t explain all the intricacies of sex to a four year old. You take him/her where they are and explain it in terms they can understand at that point. Not that the Hebrews were four year olds, but it’s the idea of communicating where they are at.

        I think your third paragraph is quite helpful as well.

        And, as a vegetarian, I like your “don’t eat meat” slogan, and both Genesis 1 and 2 depict what I would call a fruititarian diet for all creation. But such things as diet tend to make people very prickly. :)

      2. “…how we, as adults, would explain stellar fusion and orbital mechanics to a four year old. It would be impossible to do so,…”

        The reason why you say it is impossible is because you don’t understand the topic. Kids are smarter than you think and they CAN understand scientific principles.

        I’ve been slipping in little physics and geology tidbits here and there since my young’un was 3. When he was six I told him some people thought the earth was flat or hollow. He responded that that didn’t make any sense, and gave his reasons why, which were very well thought-out (and correct).

        Your opinion of what the authors of Genesis intended is likewise without merit. You DON’T know the point; you don’t have their mindset and worldview, either.

    3. or it could be that God was explaining creation to someone God knew had no idea of the real cosmology or science like evolution and God would rather we figure all that out ourselves versus try and teach us science. So he told a story as we would to a child that had the correct elements but was simplified for child like comprehension. Read through Genesis again but think of big bang(let there be light), gasses cooling to create several solid planets(desolate earth in the dark) Sun sparks and starts to heat things up (water starts to form atmosphere and lays in the low parts of the land) – then vegetation, then sea life then land animals then man. The story actually does fit our modern scientific understanding as if told to a child.,

    4. So to what ends is Genesis truth? Ever read the genealogy mentioned in Luke? Adam is definitely mentioned. Could it in fact be that this idea you have posted is misguided? So is Luke than not inspired? Genesis lays the foundation for the Word of God. Just maybe the Beginning isn’t meant to be proven through the means of human intellect.

      1. First, what do you mean by truth? I suspect you mean Western, twenty-first century truth which comes out of rationalism and focuses on accurate, historical data. But the Hebrews weren’t twenty-first century Westerners, so that definition of truth is too narrow. Is Genesis truth? Certainly. Truth can be communicated in more than one way, and truth doesn’t have to be communicated through scientifically or historically “accurate” writing. One obvious example is Jesus’ parables which are not historical stories about real people. They are stories told to communicate truth, but they aren’t “true” in a historical sense. So does that mean they aren’t true? Even more important, from a Christian perspective Truth is a person, not a set of “approved” beliefs. I think when we limit truth to the rationalistic definition, we are trying to limit God’s ability to communicate through various means.

        Another thing you mentioned is Luke citing Adam in his genealogy. Does mere citation indicate historical, scientific accuracy? Was that Luke’s purpose in writing the genealogy? Or did Luke have a theological purpose? Of course he wanted to connect Jesus to the first human, so his purpose was theological. Does that then verify that Adam had to be a historical being? Not from a Jewish perspective, because that isn’t the purpose of genealogies (to prove the existence of particular human beings in a rationalistic sense). Rather, the purpose of genealogies is to make a theological point. Another thing to consider, if citation of something “proves” the “truth” (=accuracy, historicity) of that which is cited, then shouldn’t we include Enoch in our scriptures? Because Jude cites Enoch as scripture (Jude 14-15).

        Just some things to consider.

      2. Barnabus,
        No scriptures, Bible nor any others, can be comprehended through “human intellect.” They all are written so a people can have them in their intellect for the day when they are to be “unsealed,” as Revelation 5:5 tells us concerning the Bible. They are written in symbols so “the power that be” CAN NOT intellectually comprehend them and change their message so much that the message can not be comprehended by the “son of man” who is required to unseal them.

        For their purpose, they are true. Scriptures are not to be believed literal, as that Revelation verse suggests, they are a combination of Metaphors, Allegories, Parables and Symbol-types I sometimes call MAPS for short. By having them written in MAPS it leases so many possible meanings which only the “son of man” will be “anointed” with the intended interpretation of them. As said concerning “the woman” in Revelation 12, with both her and her child both being the interpreting “son of man,” he is the woman {woven from man or incomplete man} before his new birth who the “rod of iron” ruling child after being reborn. That is why he is clothed with the sun {has a clear vision of the purpose for things}, with the moon under his feet {walking as the prophets have declared he would} and a crown of 12 stars on his head {endowed with 12 sources of knowledge in order to reveal the truth}.

        He is, however, only to be the “first fruit” of the gospel, i.e., the first of those who will endure until the end of civilization (Matthew 24:13), everyone who does survives the end will also be clothed in that understandingso they will not have to get their feet wet with the “sea of blood {the red sea symbolizes}” (Revelation 16:15-16) those who are destroyed in the “Battle Of That Great Day Of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:13-14 & 19:21) will shed.

    5. if their cosmology was wrong so too was genesis chapter three which tells us what went wrong with the world. If we are so clver today why dont you try and make a pyramid some time
      Have a nice day .

  2. scribalishess: How do you react to the suggestion that “the breath of God blew over the surface of the waters” is also taken from Sumerian cosmology and could be a reference to the Sumerian god Enlil whose name can be translated ‘spirit of god? (“En”=”god” and “Lil”=”spirit”)

    Enlil moved over the infinite deep prior to the Sumerian creation myth. It was Enlil that separated the heaven from the earth.

    See: Click here.

    1. I find no problem with the Genesis 1 writer being aware of other ANE creation accounts and using elements of them. In fact, I’m certain he did. The word for “the deep” in Hebrew corresponds to the name Tiamat in the Enuma Elish. The fact that the writer goes to such lengths to avoid naming the sun and the moon suggests to me that he wanted to deny the concept of multiple gods as contained in the Atrahasis Epic and the Enuma Elish in favor of his monotheistic creation account. It seems to me that the overall structure of Genesis 1-11 with its multiple authors follows the structure of the Atrahasis Epic/Gilgamesh Epic with creation and flood. There are too many similarities to think that the Genesis writer(s) were unaware of other creation accounts. I think the idea that Genesis 1-11 is, in some ways, a polemic against polytheistic accounts is quite reasonable.

      1. LOTS of people wonder about that. Personally, I think we’re making much ado about nothing, but I’ll try to list some of the ways people have interpreted it.

        First, I think it’s important to keep in mind that the use of the plural pronoun in reference to the deity occurs a total of four (4) times in the whole Bible. Gen. 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; and Isa. 6:8. That isn’t exactly an overwhelming number of uses.

        As for interpretation of the plural. Christian readers have long argued for the presence of the Trinity in Genesis 1. They read v. 2 as “And the Spirit (note the capitol S) hovered over the surface of the deep.” So they assume “Let us” refers to Father, pre-incarnate Christ, and the Holy Spirit. This works great if you’re a Christian. BUT the writer wasn’t a Christian. He lived long before Christianity. So, even if we read Trinity into Genesis 1, we still have to try to understand what the original writer meant when he used the plural pronoun.

        OT scholars tend to prefer the idea that the “us” refers to the heavenly council, a concept that appears in Isaiah 6 and in Job 1-2. The idea here is that God is the heavenly king, surrounded by heavenly beings. Thus God is referring to the council when “us” is used.

        Other ideas that have been suggested include: the original story was polytheistic and the writer who edited it to make it monotheistic missed the plural pronoun (I find this just silly). Some try to understand the plural using English. For example the “us” is used because God is king and monarchs often refer to themselves in the plural. For example the Queen of England might say, “We are not amused.” But this is an argument from English not Hebrew. A similar argument is to say God is using the plural of self deliberation, much like we might say, “Let’s see.” But, again, this is an argument from English.

        Again, I think we fixate too much on this. I think it’s much more important to think about what it means to be created in God’s image and likeness.

      2. sounds like an assumption re origins. Genesis is the orrigonal and other accounts are post genesis and subject to corruption. At least this is what i believe to be true when i read other cultures description of the flood for example. australian aborigonals have a version of creation called the dreamtime which i cant compare with the simplictic beauty of genesis one.
        Hope this is a blessing
        have a great day bonzabob

    2. Seems fair enough. And from the map on that page, remember that Abraham and Sarah came from “Ur of the Chaldeans”, which I think is the same Ur as in Sumer – the creation stories they carried with them and passed to their descendents would certainly be the ones they grew up with.

  3. Modernly we state the time when the sun ‘sets’ and when it ‘rises’ and that doesn’t mean we think that the earth is in the center of the solar system. The Bible in the same respect doesn’t mean that the sun revolves around the earth when it rises or set

    1. Well, in modern times we know we are speaking figuratively (and anachronistically) when we talk about the sun rising and setting. But that isn’t true of the biblical writers who conceived of the earth as flat. We know they weren’t speaking figuratively, for example, because of texts like Josh. 10:13 which describes the sun “standing still.” Now, admittedly, the first part of this verse and the second part of v. 12 are poetry, and as such the language can be taken metaphorically. But in the second part of v. 13, the writer explains the text to mean that the “sun stopped in midheaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day,” which clearly indicates he believed the sun moved. And there are other texts, of course, as cited in the original post that describe the concept of the ends of the earth, and the sun rising and setting, etc. My favorite is Ps.103:12 which says that God separates our sins as far as the east is from the west. This is comforting if you believe in a flat earth. Not so comforting if you know the earth is round. So, I find it hard to conclude that the Hebrews were any different from other people in their time period in believing that the earth was flat.

      1. To say that the sun moves in the sky can be absolutely correct in our modern understanding of Physics. We only need to distinguish Kinematics from Dynamics. Dynamics studies the movement due to forces and it is how we can explain the rotation of the Earth and its orbit around the Sun. But Kinematics is the study of pure movement and it allows you to set your reference coordinate system wherever you like and define all other movements in relation to it. If I set the reference system on me, it is perfectly correct to say that the Earth is stationary and the Sun revolves around my point of reference. The equation describing the motion of the Sun would be quite complex and not useful for Science and Engineering, but there nothing incorrect in saying that the Sun rises and sets based on this frame of reference.

      2. follow your logic but do you read an eastern book with a western mind. do you beliveve the bible is a reliable book in all areas it speaks on? i accept things myself as literal unless the context screams against it. God is so great that he is able to suspend a solar system anytime he likes dont you think. But i guess it depends on whether you view the bible as i do . You probably guessed (i am and proud of it ),a biblical fundamentalist so if you are not we will have some problems getting on the same page. Hebrews are a very unique people with a special plan in Gods purposes, especially being custodians of the oracles of God. i am not implying that the jewish people were isolated from their surrounding cultures which i can see how they carry ih them some of the prevailing ideas and behaviours of their contemporaries eg polygamy and the format of cutting covenants. The sublime Yahweh was able to work through them turning cultural behaviours (less than the best) for good and yet not letting us absorb their less than ideal behaviour .Its a big subject the inspiration of the scriptures . i have no problems with some of your points as they are poetry. The verses associated with joshua are history true but the writer describes things as one would do from a human and earthly vantage point. no doubt not satisfactory to a western trained mind..
        Nice to talk with you scribalishness.
        Bless you
        bonzabob

    2. i think i agree. Bible too uses figureative language but can see that in genesis chapter one. i feel some for God who had to drag each day out to do some jobs he could have done in seconds. But as moses in exodus c20 says , it was all done around the seventh day and the sabbath example.for us. He is an incredible creator and redeemer. Praise God re bonzabob

  4. Be even more literal! Elohim is plural. It does not say God did this and that. It *literally* says the *gods* did it.

    1. Elohim is plural in form. However, when the Hebrew writers use it to refer to God, they always use third masculine singular verbs (“he” not “they”). So, even though the word itself is plural, it refers to God in Genesis 1, not to gods. Elsewhere, when the writers want to refer to “gods” (plural) they use third masculine plural verbs.

      1. I think it goes a lot deeper than that. The word elohim is much more ancient than the written text. When the oral tradition began, elohim was plural and meant the gods. Monotheism dawned and they started using the word as if it were a name, and as if it were masculine singular.

      2. How do we know if it was used in the plural in the oral tradition? Couldn’t the monotheistic use also be in the oral tradition? I mean, there’s really no way to know, so appeal to the oral tradition isn’t all that helpful. But, I will say that monotheism came very late to the Hebrews and that they likely adopted many of the polytheistic beliefs of their peers, eventually converting shrines to El to be shrines to the Hebrew El, for example. Polytheism is rampant throughout the OT, and it’s really only in the Exile that monotheism finally held sway. That said, since the Genesis 1 account is usually attributed to the Priestly Writer (450 B.C.E.), monotheism would be his perspective and Elohim in this written account refers to one God.

  5. And check out the parallels to Enuma Elish. “The Deep” is the name of the goddess. Darkness was upon *her* face. This goes … deep.

    1. I mentioned the parallels to the Enuma Elish in one of my replies. Yes, “the deep” is a word related to Tiamat and the writer was probably well aware of that. In Hebrew words are either masculine or feminine; there is no neuter. So, “deep” is a feminine word. I suspect the writer was responding to other ANE creation accounts by subverting them–the deep (Tiamat) is no goddess; she is just the deep over which God has complete control.

  6. Please remove the “awaiting moderation” to speed discussion and to make it more fluid. Only re-introduce it if your get spam or trolls. The delay can slow discussion to a crawl and people lose interest.

    1. Unfortunately, I’ve already received some spam and a troll. I’m still trying to decide whether to publish the ad hominem attack because I feel like even those are part of the discussion, but I’m awaiting guidance from some fellow bloggers. Thank you.

      1. Once the spam and trolls start they never stop. You will have to leave the moderation on. I let commenters make ad hominem attacks because it never bothers me and I find it amusing. But if you want a high class of discussion, you might want to delete them. My blog is intended to deconstruct a particular religion. So it helps me if members of that religion write in with rude comments and make fools of themselves. But you blog has a different purpose; so it might be best to keep the rude people unpublished.

  7. Sue: As I understand you, what you are saying is that Genesis 1 is written by humans, in some form of partnership with God, with a (now obsolete) scientific and cosmological worldview that was derived from pagan origins like Sumerian and Chaldea and that it was written this way to accommodate an audience who would not understand anything more advanced and up to date.

    The problem with this view is that if Genesis 1 were written by humans without a partnership with God, the narrative would end up exactly the same way. It would have a scientific and cosmological worldview that was derived from pagan origins like Sumerian and Chaldea.

    Therefore there is nothing in Genesis 1 to provide evidence that God had anything to do with its production; because there is nothing there that humans could not have written unaided.

    The only way that you could “prove” that it is inspired by God is because it is included in the canon of Scripture. But as the cannon was also chosen by humans and there is no evidence that God guided what was included or excluded in the cannon, nor does he ever claim to have done such a thing, we are not left with anything to substantiate the conjecture that Genesis 1 has anything at all to do with God.

    1. I completely agree. As I said, believing that the Bible is inspired is a presupposition that can’t be proven. You either accept it or you don’t. It’s the same thing with canon. Humans determined what was in or out (and we still don’t agree). So, either it’s a completely human creation (text and canon) or God was involved with both.

      1. Ii would like to think that my high view of scripture is derived from the new testament writers , our Lord Jesus(scripture cannot be broken) and the apostle paul. Our Lords life was moved around so he could fulfil what was said of him in the old testament writings over his 33years or so . My confident view of the scriptures is also reinforced by the fact that Gods word has and is changing my life which is something i do value. hope i am not alone here.

  8. Thank you for this. It is so helpful, and, I think, a good lesson about things in the rest of the Bible as far as so-called ‘literal’ readings go. This is phenomenal, and I’m sure it was a ton of work, thank you!

  9. I agree with Paul: It was a great article. Common sense about Genesis chapter 1. Very rare in the literature. Thanks. I’ll discuss it some more when I get some time free.

  10. I like your comment that the writer of Genesis 1 thought that there was a source of light other than the Sun, which was not created until later. I’ve thought that for a long time. That’s what the Sumerians believed. When Enlil created the firmament and raised heaven above earth, the firmament blotted out the light from heaven. So he had to create the Sun Moon and stars to illuminate earth. The writer of Genesis appears to think that there is a 24 hour cycle of day and night in heaven, irrespective of the presence of our Sun. At least, that’s how I see it.

  11. I’m not a flat earther but the bible isn’t all wrong, when the bible talks about the springs of the deep, these were found in 1977. The bible got it right there. You mention our sins being as far as from the east to the west. That is something we would say to paint a picture, which is how i think the bible means it The bible also talks of the earth hanging in nothing, that is accurate enough.

    1. I can’t really respond to a vague reference to springs found in 1977. Obviously the earth has underwater springs and water tables, etc. For the Hebrews, such springs would be part of the waters beneath the dome described in Genesis 1. And, it’s clear that the flood account depicts a reversal of Genesis 1 when it speaks of the waters coming through the windows of heaven and from the floodgates of the deep.

      I would still say that when the biblical writers spoke of the ends of the earth and east vs. west they were speaking literally not figuratively because of their flat earth view. The idea that the earth is round and travels around the sun comes very late in history. Some attribute the round earth concept first to Pythagorus. But I doubt the ancient Hebrews knew of him. When Copernicus challenged the prevailing (16th century) view that the earth was the center of the universe, the church reacted rabidly. The flat earth view and geocentric universe were things that the church took a very long time to accept because the Bible told them so.

      Again, I don’t think the language of “right” and “wrong” is appropriate to this discussion. The Bible isn’t “wrong” because the writers expressed theology through an ancient worldview. That’s a completely modern (mis)judgment. They were simply using their powers of observation to express their understanding of creation, the theology of which Christians accept even though they know the world isn’t flat and the sky isn’t a solid dome. This idea that the Bible has to be scientifically and historically accurate (in modern terms) is the result of rationalism and the Western viewpoint (16th and 17th century A.D. conceptions). The biblical writers weren’t westerners. They were easterners. And they wrote entirely in keeping with the views of their day.

      1. Right. I think that when the Bible uses historical narrative, we are justified in evaluating it with an eye to ‘literalness.’ But that’s not the chapter’s genre. It is a highly poetic passage, though not exactly a poem. Repeated use of complex chiasms, symbolic use of the number 7 (multiple of seven in the number of words in the first two verses, multiple of seven in the number of words of the last three verses of the account, number of times God is named, also a multiple of seven, earth – multiple of seven, heaven – multiple of seven. ‘God saw that it was good’ – multiple of seven, and on and on), apparently a devotional or even polemical slant in the whole six-days-of-work-one-day-of-rest. It seems very credible to me that one could hold to inspiration, even ‘inerrancy’ (though I don’t), and still accept that this account was never intended by God to supply anyone with details of exactly how the world came into being. The theological themes are dominant.

  12. Hey, Scribalishess, do you reckon the regional ANE flood that inspired the Biblical one was actually sent by God as a punishment for sin? Or do you think it was just like any random disaster today?

    1. Hi Sam,

      That’s a good question, albeit a very sensitive one to respond to. I’m not sure what I “reckon” is all that important, but I’ll get to that later.

      I am positive that the writers of the biblical flood account (and there are at least two versions woven together) believed God sent the flood as punishment for sin, because that’s exactly what they say (Gen. 6:5-7). The other major ANE flood accounts (Atrahasis/Gilgamesh) also attribute the flood to divine wrath, but not for sin so much as noise.

      The fact is that, until very recently in history, humans attributed all natural disasters to the divine (whether to the Judeo-Christian God or other deities). This is because people always want to know why something happened, and pre-scientific people attributed everything to deities. And, some modern people still do (i.e. Pat Robertson claiming that hurricane Katrina was punishment for sin).

      In the OT, the writers believed that God caused all things, both good and evil (cf. Isa. 45:7; Job 2:10, etc.). So, of course the ancient flood was sent by God in their view. And yet, even within the OT, we see an evolving theology of good and evil, especially in Job. Orthodox theology said that if you were good, God would bless you and if you were evil, God would curse you. But that black and white theology began to be questioned in books like Job and Ecclesiastes. In Job, the assumption of Job’s “friends” is that “because you’ve been struck by calamity, both natural disasters and personal illness, you must have done something to deserve it. You must have sinned.” But what we as readers know is that Job didn’t do anything to deserve the disasters that came upon him (though they were still approved by God). Thus, there is a development in the theology that not all natural/physical disasters are punishment for sin. But the idea that God is the author of all things still existed. The NT reveals a similar theology when Jesus is asked who sinned, the parents of the blind man or the blind man (John 9:2-3). The disciples’ assumption is God was punishing the man for sin. But Jesus said that God caused his blindness for a greater purpose. So, God still caused it, but not for punishment.

      Today, I would venture to say that most people (except for Pat Robertson and those of his ilk) believe natural disasters or illnesses are not sent by God. They are simply the result of nature and disease.

      So, (and I realize this is a much longer answer to your question than you probably wanted), no, I do not believe that God sends natural disasters to punish people, but the biblical writers did. Here again is where worldview comes in. They believed that God caused all things and punished people through natural disasters. I don’t believe that any more than I believe that the sun revolves around the earth. BUT (BIG BUT), I do think that the flood account offers some very important theological lessons for us. First, I, like the biblical writers, believe that human sin affects all creation. Notably, in the flood account, humans weren’t the only ones affected by the flood—all creation was. I think this is still true. So, while I don’t believe that God sent hurricane Katrina to punish a certain group of people, I do believe that human negligence and arrogance has caused all sorts of earthly woes, including climate change (Oh, dear, that’s going to open a can of worms). Second, I believe that human sin has consequences. As a Christian, I view sin and consequences through a NT theology which focuses more on how sin affects our relationship with God rather than on punitive punishments (although I am well aware of the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5). Thus, I don’t think God will strike me with lightning when I sin. But I do believe that my sin has consequences for me and my relationship with God, and it may affect those around me, including creation.

  13. Perhaps should have explained it more fully. At the bottom of the ocean where no one in bible times could have gone to there are springs coming up. These were only found in 1977. How did the people of bible times know they were there? Also everyone believed in the times of believing in a flat earth that the oceans were saucer shaped, yet again the bible describes the mountains and the valleys of the sea. Something again that knew nothing about. Perhaps this might show that God had some input into the bible? Just posing some thoughts. The bible isn’t a science manual yet when it does speak of these things it is often accurate about things the writers could not have known about or their beliefs at the time were very different. The bible also describes precipitation accurately.

    1. nanajbatya: If you mean hydrothermal vents then you are not making any sense. Genesis 7:11 says that the Noah floodwaters came from the fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven. The closing of the fountains or springs of the deep caused the flood waters to dry up in Gen:11. There is no way that the tiny leaks of water through hydrothermal vents would have caused the flood waters. Therefore Genesis cannot be referring to hydrothermal vents. It’s all myth based on pagan science and cosmology of about 1,000 – 3,000 BC. Taking it literally leads to confusion and misunderstanding.

  14. Tell me this nanajbatya;

    Is the earth only 6,000 years old?

    Was the flood global?

    Were there dinosaurs on the ark?

    I’ll wager that you will answer “yes” to all three questions.

    If you do, I’ll go and beat my head against the wall. :)

  15. Very interesting for a literal non literal translation. The design of physical things omits the most important design. Inner man and the spirit side of creation.
    I think the Bible if we read it in spirit gives credence to this design. In my view *all* things were created in the physical to shed *Light* on the inner creation of man and the creation and use of his mind and heart. The Kingdom of Heaven is “within.” There is a *mental realm* where we discuss these things everyday but rarely give it much thought. For instance. We walk in spirit, we drown in our sorrows, we calm the storm, we eat food for thought, we gather understandings, we starve to death, we don’t eat wholesome spirit food. We thirst (spirit water). We are gardeners, we reap what we sow, we seed the earth, we cultivate, we harvest, sometimes life is sunny and other times it’s miserable. And where and how do we do all things? We are fruitful and multiply, we are not fruitful and do not believe it is necessary to multiply fruits of the spirit and let Jesus do all the work. There is something very important about MIND and it’s creation of being able to create, where and how and when and with who. I could write a book about this.

  16. Reblogged this on JustJohn and commented:
    can’t say it better than this excerpt:
    “Now, unless you believe that the earth is actually flat, set on pillars, and that a solid sky dome holds the waters above from careening down upon us, then you don’t really believe Genesis 1 literally. Yes, there are flat-earth creationists who do believe these things and, at least, they are consistent.”

  17. I enjoyed the article and the discussion-because I have always had trouble with some of those unscientific concepts and the descrepancies about the light, etc. I especially like your reply regarding the Bible not being “wrong”, but just written in the understanding of the writer’s worldview. When I try to explain that concept to some “Bible Is Inerrantists” they cant seem to understand that based on what we knew then and what we know now, that scripture could possibly portray anything less than truth, regardless.

    1. Thanks. It’s a touchy issue for some. But for others, seeing the cosmology in Genesis 1 is both eye-opening and a huge relief: “I don’t have to ignore my mind to read the Bible!”

  18. A really excellent exposition (and nice illustrations, too!). I’ve never fully understood the need to hinge one’s faith on a “literal” reading of Genesis. It seems to me that any parent who was wrestled with a child’s question, “where do babies come from?” – or, for that matter, any of us who as children saw our parents wrestle with the question – can appreciate what the Genesis author was attempting to do.

  19. Thank you for this wonderful post and thoughtful respectful answers to the comments. I appreciate that you are trying to help people understand the Bible in an unbiased fashion without trying to ram anything down anyone’s throat. I am 68 years old and been a member of many different religions. I sometimes have had great anxiety in my struggles to believe. In the end, I think all roads lead to Rome. Live the golden rule and don’t sweat the small stuff. Just LOVE.

    1. Often in discussions like this that can trigger highly emotional responses, it’s hard to remember to love. And it’s hard to remember humility. But those two things go hand in hand. And if we turn a discussion about Genesis into a hateful thing, we’re misunderstanding the Bible.

  20. Magnificently stated.

    As I interpret the 2 creation stories, Genesis 1:1-2:3 and Genesis 2:4-3:24 in the back of my mind was the flat view of earth but I never drought it to a conscious revelation as you did, thank you very much for it. Also, I recognized the KJV translation that “the earth was without form and void” to mean of the things man had produced. I had long recognized, because of Revelation 21 and the KJV saying for man to again or replenish the earth, a cycle similar to days and years because of the wording of Genesis 1:14 saying the orbs in the sky are for signs, I say, “to reveal man’s earthly plight like” the seasons days and years.

    You are the first person I’ve seen to use those words in verse 14, some of the jots and tittles people often ignore, and I thank you for that also.

    1. Gidday elijah
      Notice you dont approach the bible the same way as me. Genesis comes under narrative/history writings whereas revelation is apocalyptic with concealed meanings. dont believe all the bible is secret code with hidden meanings but is capable of being read by anyone as with any other literature. Genesis chapter one explains the 7 day method God used to create the world and especially chapter 3 what went wrong with it. You either accept its plain language and lieral message or you dont. Now there is some hidden stories in the book of genesis called types for example genesis chapter 22 which has a secondary meaning. The latter can be understood if you have the spirit of the author of scripture(Holy Spirit) living inside you. That is why i asked yoy have you been born again. Its from that moment God the Holy spirit takes up his residence in you to change your life.
      The allegorical approach to interpreting scripture has prooven to very errroneous.Whats wrong with taking language historically and literally unless the context demands another line of thinking. You rightly mention revelation c12 with the woman. But with apocalypic literature this is to be the norm. Still much of revelation is understood by the plain reading method.
      what is your relationship with the God of the Bible and his glorious son? If that is right, then understanding correctly his book is from my experience, easier. I could not understand much of the bible before being born again by the grace of God.
      Pleased though that you seem to be a fan of the scriptures anyhow.
      Maranatha Bonzabob

      1. Maranatha Bonzabob,
        The Bible can be read as literature but without comprehending its overall message. Getting the overall message requires seeing the whole picture rather than the many small pictures independent of the whole. The primary message of it is “all things are interconnected and is we segregate them we can’t see it,” thus, the reason for the tree of “The Knowledge Of Good And Evil” being in the garden, to keep man-in-mass from comprehending the message. It is also by the “Adam operation” and that tree that man has the need the new birth.

        The question of rebirth you should ask yourself since Romans 1:20 say the invisible {new birth} things are clearly seen by the things made {natural birth}. Does yours have such a pattern of activities in your testimony? I have a testimony of my “new conception” although I do not remember the exact date, between September and October 1973, from which I gestated until my birth August 6, 1973 with my trivial beginning around November 1975, thus, I’m over 36 years reborn. [Google search “Elijah NatureBoy” and read THE BOOK OF ELIJAH: A LETTER TO THE WORLD for the entire story.]

        The problem with taking the language “historically and literally” is one sees only the individual stories rather than first seeing the overview to determine the interconnectedness of the individual stories rather seeing separate individual stories without connecting boundaries to paint the grand picture. That’s why Genesis 1:14 say the “seasons, days and years” are “signs” to guide us into interpreting the book. Throughout the book are instructions as seen there in Genesis, Isaiah 28:9-13 is another one, for example, and among Yoshua’s (Jesus’) teaching are many such as “judge ye not, go into all the word and observe all things, forsake {leave uncared for} mother, father, sister, brother, houses and land” and so many more. He said in John 3:8 that when we are born again we are like the wind, enters a place, gives your message and leaves without them knowing from where we came or to where we went {unless they ask although sometimes one doesn’t know where in particular they are going}.

        My relationship to YHWH is I am it’s prophet Elijah who precedes “the great and terrible day of the lord,” what is yours?

        Elijah Alfred “NatureBoy” Alexander, Junior

      2. Elijah
        There is onlyone essential message the christian believer is charged with spreading and that is the Gospel message. Paul outlines this clearly in the first 6 or so verses in 1 corrintians c15. I heard this gospel message in 1972 and was saved and born again.after responding to it My goal since that time is to continue to spread the message that brought me out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his beloved son.. Searching for secret messages is irrelevant to the job. (but interpreting the word of God correctly is very important)
        I am now especially looking for the return of the Lord jesus and being with him. after the rapture for ever more.
        Cant find anything that tells me in scripture to also watch out for any elijah.
        I am only interested in jesus.He is where it is all at cobber!.

        Hope you can recive this plain talk
        Have a great day. best regards
        Bonzabob

      3. Maranatha,
        You are taking the “gospel” Paul gave rather than the charge of Yoshua (Jesus) the anointed gave all who “have ears to hear what the spirit has to say” in Matthew 28:19-20.
        “19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
        20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

        If you notice Yoshua’s “commandment” corresponds with his “new birth doctrine” in John 3 where where we are to becomes wonderers who enters a place, share our message of how and what we have observed [without judging them evil or good] and without their knowing where we came from or went [unless they ask] leave. So, were you in Yerusalem during Yoshua’s crucifixion that you can testify to what you saw as Paul claims? However, Paul did let us know in Roams 1:20 ” For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that [we in these last days] are without excuse” to assume one is instantly reborn when the “new birth” of the tadpole into a frog or caterpillar into a butterfly takes time to complete, since the metamorphosis is a rebirthing. Doesn’t the animals that go through a metamorphosis become a new creation like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 6:15, so, why would you believe your transformation would be instantly?

        So, who do you believe, he who was crucified or someone who was not even there at the time? Therefore, if people call themselves Christians will they not be living the example of Yoshua who is called the Christ rather than living like the world while talking about him? After all, he did tell the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:21 “… If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me” which is what everyone who call themselves Christians are supposed to be doing.

        According to the foregoing, how have Christians gotten Yoshua’s message confused with Paul’s? Something to think about if you are truly born again.

        Elijah

  21. Just a quick note – Love this discussion!
    I’ve believed in this kind of theory for awhile as a means to understand the geological record and the age of the Earth. I refuse to believe that such data is simply chalked up to Satanic influence which is how many conservative beliefs systems insist is the reason for its existence (yes I heard this many times growing up).
    Not to mention it drives me batty when so many literalists refuse to place the bible in proper cultural, physical, spiritual and political context (not that it’s completely possible in our day and age).

    1. The one I’ve heard that drives me batty is that God created the earth to look old to trip up scientists later on. If so, I’m not sure that’s the kind of God I’d want to believe in.

      1. oh, yes! Good one, too. I’ve also heard that making the earth (or the universe in general) look old and mysterious is just to keep us occupied and entertained essentially. Seriously.

      2. The vision I have, based on history, science and religions integrated, I recognize the existence never ages, as we recognizes aging. If we never processed out foods but ate them as those Genesis 1 people would have, raw and from where they were growing, when our bodies replace their cells they would not be aging as we do {the reason for the longer early biblical lives}, and some of all plants regardless of taste.

        Upon eating “The Knowledge Of Good And Evil” man began to discriminate in the taste of their foods and some substances, in some of the plants which has now become poison to most of us, required for maintaining our non-aging bodies we lack along with the cooking of them. Medical people have wondered why our every cell are replaced periodically and yet we age, that is the reason, therefore, I believe, because we would not age if we ate without discriminating and existence still , so to speak, eat what is required for it to appear the same age without fail.

  22. This is excellent! I’ve been trying and trying to communicate how much is a mistake the current version of Biblical Literalism is, theologically, on my own blog as well.

  23. Reblogged this on AnUnsuspectingSmile and commented:
    This is a perfect example of how context is so important in reading ancient texts, especially the Bible. The Bible wasn’t written with our modern worldview in mind but was written based upon what the writer understood. Check it out:

  24. As I read through OT apologetics, etc. I have come to understand that God uses templates. In His ongoing revelation through the history of humanity He has allowed (maybe even guided) “templates” to develop which would be “filled” in with clearer structures that provided humanity to understand Him over time. For me it makes sense that if God was directing the Hebrews, He would have a template already in the world that helped the people understand what new thing He was revealing. He did that with the Jewish writings paving the way for the incarnation – a new thing that suddenly made sense because it fit into the template the people already knew. That’s because he did allow people to write in their style while still guiding them.

  25. The apostle Paul reminds us that all Scripture is God-breathed, so I am assuming Genesis was written using the words God intended.

    I personally like the Amplified translation of 1:2 and says the Spirit of God was ‘brooding’ over the waters. Brooding is “showing deep unhappiness of thought” which I read in conjunction with Luke 14:28. Perhaps, as God considered the Creation journey He was about to embark upon, He was counting the [awful] cost of His endeavour?

      1. I highly recommend ‘A Book to Die For’ by Dr. William McRae. It is an easy and entertaining read which answers this VERY important question in detail.

        Also note: 2 Timothy 3:15-16 says “… the Holy Writings thou hast known, which are able to make thee wise — to salvation, through faith that [is] in Christ Jesus; every Writing [is] God-breathed, and profitable for teaching, for conviction, for setting aright, for instruction that [is] in righteousness…” Young’s Literal Translation. Scripture is GOD-BREATHED – not simply inspired.

    1. David, are you familiar with the term for a hen sitting on a clutch of eggs? It’s “brooding”. A hen who’s laying/ready to lay eggs is called “a broody hen”. This is how **I** read the Spirit of God “brooding” over the waters: incubating, preparing to give Life. And darned if it doesn’t kinda fit the idea of Life beginning in water. Whoops! So does all mammalian life. Egg-borne species develop in fluid, too. And water is necessary to open a seed to Life. So, my “brooding” Spirit isn’t deeply unhappy, but joyfully preparing for the emergence of Life.

      1. I love this image. And you’re right, the verb “hovering” does have that image of a hen brooding over her eggs–keeping them warm, readying them for life. It is certainly another beautiful way to read v. 2 and think of the anticipation of creation. Although some interpreters think of the deep in a negative way (a symbol of chaos), you are correct that water imagery in both testaments is often used for life and birth. I love the idea of the Israelites passing through the waters during the Exodus as an image of birth (same for the Jordan crossing in Joshua). The dome created separating waters from waters might be a sort of a womb. Hmm. Oh boy! Another way to think of all of this!

      2. Ankynan, I did consider the broody hen analogy but the dictionary provides more than this one definition. Even at the point of Genesis 1:1 God knew the outcome of His creative endeavours and that this would ultimately result in the death of His Son and why I referred to Luke 14:28 where Jesus asks, who does not count the cost before building/creating something?

        This is why I have an image of God ‘brooding’ over the waters, considering the ultimate cost of His Creation and coming to the conclusion that it will all be worthwhile in the end (Hebrews 12:12). In his next breath He says, “Let there be light!”

        In no way does my line of thought contradict the simultaneous idea God’s Spirit ‘happily brooding’ or joyfully preparing for the emergence of life. My only caution here would be the inference in the Scriptures that the chicken came first – but that’s a discussion for another day!

    2. Re: ‘God-breathed’ – my own thought (not very clear, I admit) comes by way of contrast — in Islam, the belief is that the Quran is literally the word of God dictated from God’s mouth to Mohammed’s ears, thus each word of the Quran is understood to be the quite literal word of God. No teachings of the Bible with which I am aware hold that the passages were received by humanity in dictated form (save, perhaps, the prophets and that’s a pretty big perhaps). Christian scholars of all sides seem to hold that scripture is God-inspired rather than God-dictated and between the two there is a world of difference. One concrete example: the bible is just a book. When it gets old or worn out, it may be thrown away. Its value lies in what it witnesses to and it holds no intrinsic value. When our Bibles wear out, we throw them away. Not so with Qurans, We need not wash our hands before handling the Bible, as a Muslim should when handling a Quran. I may write in my Bible. Not so the Quran. It’s what the author referred above regarding the context of all creation, I think: in one instance, God is understood as dictating and the human as the court reporter/transcriptionist. In the other, the humans (plural and many) are understood as co-participants in the rendering of God’s story into human history.

      1. Amen, I think. Yes, the Bible is ‘just a book’ but when the Holy Spirit opens our eyes it becomes the source of [eternal] life and is itself a Living Entity (John 1:1-2). It is why, when the Holy Spirit imparts a truth or revelation to us, we fill its margins with notes and references. It’s why I don’t buy a new one!

    3. David, If you are going to insist on the word ‘brooding’ in Genesis 1:2 because that is how the KJV translated it, then you can’t insist on using a modern dictionary’s definition of ‘brooding’. How do the dictionaries that existed in 1611 define ‘brooding’?

      1. Hi Michael, you make an excellent point (not that I am insisting on anything) and so I looked it up:

        [Middle English, from Old English brd; see bhreu- in Indo-European roots.] brooding·ly adv. Synonyms: brood, dwell, fret, mope, stew, worry. These verbs mean to turn over in the mind moodily and at length.

        Also:
        Old English brōd, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch broed and German Brut, also to breed. The verb was originally used with an object, i.e. ‘to nurse (feelings) in the mind’ (late 16th century), a figurative use of the idea of a hen nursing chicks under her wings.

        The second example is especially poignant.

  26. I’m not really a scholar, just a dabbler, but I’m looking at this great explanation and I’m wondering – it seems to me with “the deep” and the dark already existing before god started creating, where does the idea of God as an unmoved mover come from? It seems like things already exist along with God, contemporary with God, and there’s no implication that God created them. Am I reading this wrong? Or is this implication somewhere else? Or is this “unmoved mover” an invention of theologians and philosophers?

    1. I’m not really sure when the “unmoved mover” idea came along—sounds like a philosophical invention to me. I’m not sure that, just because things were in existence before God said, “Let there be,” that necessarily means God didn’t create them. The first verse sort of covers everything: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That suggests to me that the writer believed God created all things, and then he focuses on the how. But, it can (and has) been argued that there was already stuff in existence before God created because of the way Genesis 1 is structured. Exactly what the writer thought, I guess we’ll never know.

      1. It the earliest part of your blog you said “in beginning” is how the Hebrew actually translates. That may very well be exactly what the writer meant, “in beginning this native we are saying god created…”. Being a philosophy {lover of wisdom who is willing to pay whatever price necessary to obtain the wisdom of every subject matter} who doesn’t recognize any god but the one the words of Jesus suggest he recognized, his own life-force. Since that is the god his teachings suggests {if you ant to know how I’ve come to it, ask} it’s also suggesting there never was a creation, everything happening has always been, is and shall forever be.

      2. While technically the Hebrew does not have the definite article, I’m not sure how much weight we can put on this. It’s complicated, but the only way we know that the definite article is not there is because of the vowel pointing underneath the first letter of the first word. But vowel pointings weren’t introduced until A.D. (C.E.) 500 by the Masoretic scribes who wanted to preserve the pronunciation of the Hebrew. They put a sheva under the bet that we translate “In.” But if they had put a qames we would translated it “In the.” So, basically we’re relying on vowel pointings to make that distinction, and I, for one, think it’s entirely plausible to translate it either “In beginning” or “In the beginning.” English translators often supply a definite article even when there’s not one in the Hebrew.

      3. I believe the “unmoved mover” came from Aristotle. I’m not sure why you seem to equivocate on the idea that the Genesis story does not support the idea of an omnipotent god (“all-powerful” as in having ALL the power). As you pointed out, “Let the earth bring forth” indicates creativity “from below”. Not too long ago, before Darwin perhaps, if a Creationist challenged an atheist with the question, “Why is there something?” there weren’t too many answers available. Today, we are learning about autopoiesis and stigmergy and Process Philosophy. We can choose what to believe, but it’s also nice to have increasing choices.

    2. Don’t forget John 1:3 (Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.) and Hebrews 11:3 (By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.)

    3. Well, ‘unmoved mover’ isn’t a biblical idea, but it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with God creating. The idea is that there are things in the world that don’t contain in themselves the reason for their own existence – that is, they are contingent, they have their being from another. The cosmological argument argues that this naturally leads us to the conclusion that there is a necessary existent, and supplementary arguments are added, seeking to establish this necessary existent’s unity, simplicity, etc.

      Some time doesn’t come into it. The question is one of logical priority. Does a thing depend on another thing, or doesn’t it? Many proponents of the argument argued for an eternal cosmos. In fact, Thomas Aquinas, one of the argument’s best known exponents, admitted that it could not be known through pure reason whether the earth even had a beginning! His version of the argument did not appeal to time or creation. His point was that everything which exists depended and continues to depend, at every moment on a necessary existent, whom he labored to identity, through many additional arguments, as the God of the philosophers – omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good, simple, etc.

      Unfortunately, most people today are familiar with the kalam version of the cosmological argument, which does invite such questions. William Lane Craig endorses this form of the argument, but it’s a very particular part of a broader tradition which usually eschewed such questions.

      1. Amend:

        ‘Some time’
        Should be ‘so time’

        ‘everything which exists’
        Should be ‘everything which exists contingently.’

        Sorry about that.

      2. As a philosophy my view, or vision, is the cosmos remains incarnated for a time then everything is reduced to, so to speak, ashes and remains for as long as it was incarnated while another life-force studies the records to see where every life-force are in their evolving process before it bring it back into existence placing every life-force in the exact place they were prior to it’s discarnation. In that way every life-force get to be the life-force of the cosmos fulfilling the law of Karma.

      3. Yeah, see that’s the thing – people are very fond of the god of the omnis, the god that can be logically painted into a corner, but does this god really exist anywhere in the Bible? God is loving, God is powerful, God is vast in his/their knowledge, but the whole “can God create a rock so heavy God can’t lift it” stuff, that’s a result of trying to paint God in absolutes, and the kind of logical absolutes that put you in that logical jeopardy, I can’t say I’ve searched every corner of the Bible, but it does seem more Greek than Hebrew.
        I spend a fair amount of time arguing with atheists. It is usually fun for everyone concerned, and I can argue both sides of the problem of evil, but the problem of evil is pretty much a game of three card monte, where the omnis let you rig the game, because they assume so much. But I’m not sure they can really be applied to the Bible. That’s part of what interests me so much about this translation. If God appears in an already existing universe, the omnis may not even be relevant. That changes the game entirely.

    4. The concept of God as the “unmoved mover” comes from Aristotle, Metaphysics 12.7. Thomas Aquinas developed his “five ways” of proving God’s existence from his reading of Aristotle.

      The whole idea of creatio ex nihilo is more philosophical than biblical. Process theologians think that their understanding of ongoing creation (i.e., matter is co-eternal with God, and God lures the world into higher states of harmony, beauty, and intensity out of disharmony, chaos, and triviality, etc.) is far more biblical than the “orthodox” belief in creation out of nothing.

      1. I figured it was those silly philosophers that came up with that idea :) The OT writers were much more earthy. And the whole ex nihilo thing has really held sway, even though it’s clear that (in most cases) God uses “stuff” to create with. I love the idea of creation as co-creators (“let the earth bring forth” “let the seas bring forth” “be fruitful and multiply.”)

        Thanks for the “unmoved mover” reference!

  27. This blog is very interesting, and follows much of my personal point of view. Many years ago, I read the beginning chapters of a book copyright 1872, by John Kitto entitled “An Illustrated History of the Holy Bible: …” that very convincingly showed the harmony of the Bible in Genesis with the natural science teachings of the day. Dr. Kitto would concur with this discussion presented here.

  28. I really enjoyed the entire conversation. Not sure if you removed the idiotic comments or if everyone here really can discuss theology with respect for differing views. Even those who may not have a faith in a God or Christ encouraged me in my struggles with my faith. I get a kick when I tell a non believer I can explain why dinosaurs are not in the Bible. I don’t do it to offend, but to stimulate conversation and challenge people to open their minds and hearts to examine ancient texts in context with the times it was written. And oh, the word dinosaur didn’t exist. Or am I wrong about that? Hhhhmmm….

    1. Hi Danny,

      I’ve only had to trash one comment in which the person attacked me, personally, questioning my credentials, etc., etc. It was mean-spirited, but I almost published it anyway. Then I decided, life’s short. Why give a flamer a place to flame? Otherwise I’ve published everything except one suspected spam thing.

      There is no word in Hebrew for dinosaur. No. If they didn’t know they existed (and how could they?) they wouldn’t write about them. Though some have tried to make Leviathan and Behemoth in Job dinosaurs. Problem there is behemoth is likely a hippo and Leviathan is a fire breathing dragon. I did have a creationist tell me that that fire breathing dragons really must’ve existed because of Leviathan and pictures of dragons in other cultures. So, there you go, I guess.

      You’d love the Gap Theory (created by Scofield) which tries to have old earth, young earth, and the dinosaurs all in Genesis 1. I’ll have to write a post about that one.

  29. Susan: how would you respond to someone who claimed that your idea of Biblical inspiration was one where humans do 100% of the work and God touches the paper to make it “inspired.”

    1. Hmmm. I guess I see more God-involvement than just touching the paper to make it inspired. I see inspiration as a divine-human collaboration, but one in which God allows a great deal of human freedom. I’m not sure I would put percentage values on how much is “inspired” and how much is human, because there’s no way to tell. I would say all of the scriptures are inspired by God, but they reflect human limitations.

  30. This is great, a really simple way of reading through it. You’ve nicely summed up The Lost World Of Genesis One by John Walton into a few minutes reading time with nice pictures to accompany it.

  31. The first verse in the bible says God created the heavens and the earth…..so why later on do you say God didn’t create the earth? As I read it, the second verse then goes on to describe the earth that God created….a formless and void earth. Just wondering why the disconnect between these 2 verses?

    1. Gen. 1:1 indicates that God created the heavens and the earth. But the creative words (“Let there be”) don’t start until Gen. 1:3. I call Gen. 1:2 the “pre-creation situation” because it describes what already exists before the creative words begin. That doesn’t necessarily mean God didn’t create the barren wasteland or the deep or the darkness. It just means that the writer takes for granted they are already in existence before the six days of creation begin. Thus, there’s no place in Genesis 1 where it says, “Let there be earth.” Instead, God merely corrals the waters beneath the dome to expose the earth that is already there.

    2. My disconnect in that is because of the cycle it presents and the law of Karma {reaping what’s sown, in Christianity}. With a cycle there is no actual place to start and with the term “the” not being in the Hebrew scroll suggests the that it was only the place where Jews began their dialog concerning their description of existence. That also suggest that they did not complete the story of the existence of everything, in my opinion.

  32. Thank you so much for your excellent post about reading Genesis “literally”. I am a pastor in North Texas and I am preaching on Genesis 1 this weekend. I love the way you have taken the text and used these images to demonstrate the creation of a world as understood by an ancient pre-scientific writer. I would love to use those images in worship with your permission and obviously attributed to you. Do you happen to have those images in a format with higher resolution? I would like to project them and I want to make sure they don’t go pixel-y.

    Doug

  33. Excellent post. Thank you. I actually drew a similar picture (not nearly as artistic however) on the board when I was sub-teaching for my wife’s biology class (at a Christian high school) a couple weeks ago. They had just written a compare/contrast on evolution creation, and I talked to them about the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate last night.

    I’ve been mulling this over for a lot of years, considering the question “what did Moses picture in his mind when he wrote down the verses in Genesis?” (assuming that Moses did write the first 5 books. I’ve come to call it the “Snow Globe Creation Model”, and I agree with you 100% — if you’re going to say you believe Genesis is literal in its creation account, you get a very different picture. The 24 hour days isn’t even the biggest issue to me… how were the days measured without the son in the sky?

    Good post, and nice artwork. (If I could draw, I just might have drawn this up before you did!)

  34. At the flood (Genesis 6:1-4) we see there were children of god before the foundation of this world which is material civilization that Adam, accompanied by Eve, began. Scripture also tells us everything happens time and time again as in (Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.) and that we are to look to happens like “seasons, days and years” as “signs” (Genesis 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years). 

Those verses, and others, reveals a cycle to civilization on the order of seasons, days and years, thus, when reasoning with “the words” (Isaiah 1:18) concerning it we are shown a cycle.

    Look at the 2 civilizations in Genesis as the place where they began explaining the cycle while considering Revelation 21 as a spiritual civilization without the sun (v 23) man man don’t recognize our bodies (v 4) like we can’t recognize our life forces today. Then consider the 6 creation and rest days as thousands of years between civilizations {thousand year days due to the slow migrating over the earth}. See the “millennium” as being the reverse of the rest day of Genesis that takes another six before the spiritual or evening world preceding this material or morning one.

    Beginning at Genesis 1:2 {The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters} to the flood completes this material civilization’s rising. The “without form and void” means works of man. Notice how Revelation 17:15 gives us waters {with an “s”} to mean people, so spirit moves over the people. Light generally represents “good” and darkness “evil” so saying “let there be light” was dividing the saved from the unsaved people. And on the second day a “firmament” separates the waters with some being above, in heaven, and the other below, thus, the “saved” from the previous civilization are raptured the second day.

    On the third day dry land appears as the literal “waters” [normally written without “s”] which had a crust covering the oceans and seas, disappears allowing man a visual differentiation. Day 4 has the sun being reignited, the moon’s glowing and stars being recognized in the evening. On day 5 they notice the fish in the water and birds in the air as they migrated exploring the earth but it’s not until day 6 that they begin to see the animals, primarily herbivores, eating and mating and they began doing the same. Having lived a higher vibration without recognizing their bodies it took 6 thousand years before copying the other animals and to begin eating and reproducing for the next thousand years before this civilization began (2:4).

    A girl {meaning an adult and egg producer of man} was the Alpha {first to come into this comprehension} and Omega {remained to give rise to this civilization before rapturing} from the spiritual civilization gave birth to a child and, around its crawling age, became invisible leaving it in a fruitful place while protecting it. Invisible she {has “dominion powers” to exceed the ability of all life and the earth} communicated verbally so the child would not develop telepathy abilities and all animals and birds were kept away until about puberty. About puberty she allows the birds and animals to begin entering the area and Adam, having assumed he had come from the earth, thought the same about the birds and animals.

    With his invisible mother’s assistance he names everything and, in the process, observed them mating and reproducing so he wanted the same for himself and fell asleep thinking about it. He dreamt of an operation since he was never told about it nor that he was going to get a help meet. He awoke to the girl’s presence and calls her “woven from man” using “woman” but he also named himself “woman” meaning incomplete man. That’s why it say next “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” The “shall ‘a man’ leave his mother and father” means to become “a man” again each gender must forsake parents’ and civilization’s teachings not develop either our femininity or masculinity and integrate them into each other and our bodies.

    Realize man means mind able to comprehend all things and to comprehend all things one must be completely objective, the tree of “the knowledge of good and evil” is designed to stop man from being objective since it’s something eaten with our minds and not physically. It’s a metaphor of liking and disliking half of most things, increasing as knowledge increases and based on sense perceptions which, in most cases, are the opposite of reality.

    With mother having “dominion powers” she turned into a serpent and showed Eve the opposites, she disliked and liked half then went and pointed then out to Adam who agreed. About that time Eve was ovulating but being hairy (Daniel 4:33) they didn’t know how to mate with a hairy foreskin since erected boys don’t exit the foreskin like all other animals do, therefore they became ashamed, the reason for covering themselves. By using her dominion abilities his mother cause them to loose all body hair except on the head, limbs’ unions to the body and facial hair on boys to allow mating with the foreskin. Thus, they didn’t begin to reproduce until leaving the garden, meaning needing shelter from the elements, and began using caves until learning to build their own shelters.

    As the Genesis 1 man ventured into Adam’s and Cain’s territories {by then Cain was in the land, Nod, to be discovered and forgotten many times, the Americas} they liked the hairless look and taught them dominion powers (6:4) causing a flood of ignorance to overtake them eliminating those abilities out of everyone except 4 groups of people, one Asian {Noah}, one American {Japheth}, one in African {Ham} and one in European {Shem}. By that flood of ignorance the material civilization rose all over the earth. However, it will not be so easy for material minded man to give materialism up so everyone from this civilization discarnates and the “saved (Matthew 24:13),” after giving birth to “the discarnated in christ,” will give birth to them as they are raptured one at a time (Matthew 20:1-16) leaving the Alpha and Omega to begin the new civilization and thus the Bible’s cycle.

  35. Dera elijah
    this is too deep, even off this planet . I feel i am struggling to express a response to so fertile an imagination. Do you really believe this writing of yours? We need the help of the author of scripture to understand it do you agree?

    Are you born again?

    from puzzled BOb

    1. Bro. Puzzled Bob,
      That is no deeper than the writings of scriptures. Do you recall reading Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he,” so without visualizing what’s written how can you expect to comprehend the Bible?

      Visualize (Rev. 21:11-23) the earth with some kind of crust covering all salt water with a square city having gemstone colored buildings and man having clear vision without sun or moon {most likely no stars but I CAN NOT say since it is not written}. Visualize, as Genesis 1:2 suggests, the earth without any evidence it has been changed by man and you’ll see only plants and animals {Animals meaning “any being with self mobility”}. Now read “Mutant Message Down Under” by Marlo Morgan {it’s said to be online} comprehending what abilities they had or have, as Isaiah 28:9-13 say is required to comprehend the scripture’s message.

      Now, visualize the waters in Genesis 2 as people who live without recognizing their bodies like we can’t see our life-forces because of the concept of Adam’s operation seeing the sea and earth differences for the first time in their lives after 2000 years. Having lived in a group in the now “sunken” or disappeared city they would be leery of exploring this new condition so they first see only the earth and plants for 1000 years; the sun, moon, stars, days and seasons of the year for a thousand, birds and fish for another thousand, and then the animals, hairy as they also saw themselves, eating from plants and and mating to reproduce they began to do the same near the end of the sixth thousand years and yet they could fly, swim and even sink themselves into the earth as they say some animals coming out of their holes the Bible calls “dominion powers.”

      From there all you need to do it continue to visualize how it lead to today’s corrupt state of man. Visualization is the key.

  36. Scribalishess, are you associated with one of the universities in Abilene? I noted from your previous post re : public school teacher teaching Bible to your child that you mentioned being in Abilene. I am absolutely enthralled with the conclusions of this blog. I’ve always held the belief that there was a universe already created and that the author of Genesis 1 was inspired by God only limited by what he knew at that time. I think there’s a lot of assumption that Adam and Eve were the only humans God created, which might explain where the wives of Adam’s decedents came from and opens the door to a whole possibility of explanations for issues we face in 21 century. And I especially subscribe to the belief that the knowledge of Moses in writing this, assuming he did, was limited to his worldview as you described it. That God did inspire the scripture, but the finished product was limited. Truth in the Bible and it’s relevance in this century has to take into account the scientific and technical advances we’ve discovered since. Just fascinated to see information that parallels my understanding of Genesis 1, also taking into account as well that a day may have been thousands of years. The longevity of descendants increasing to almost 1,000 yrs. correlates with what has been discussed by the majority of respondents.
    Thanks for the posts and comments. Those my comments are more from a layman’s point of view, I can totally appreciate your views of creation and evolution.
    L

  37. I just wanted to say thanks for explaining the thing about the waters above the earth. I’ve always wondered what that meant.

  38. Thanks for a great article. I agree with you that we see Genesis through 21st century eyes and are probably missing the true meaning.

    Let me ask a question that rankles literalists. Is it possible that there are not two creation accounts, but that there are two creations? Did the Lord first create the world and then Eden and Jesus’ ancestors which would become Israel? That would clear up the question of where Cain found his wife.

    Thanks again, you opened the scriptures up for me.

    1. I think God is always creating, so there’s not one or two creations but ongoing creation. As for your suggestion, reading the text that way would require a pretty literal reading of each creation account. I don’t see them as depicting two different creations. Now, once you get to the Cain and Seth genealogies, I think you have a way to discuss why Cain’s lineage is passed over in favor of Seth’s lineage.

  39. BTW I think we make a similar mistake when we read the New Testament. I think that our translations of Scripture and much of our doctrine are predicated on the views of Greek philosophers, and the Reformers. I believe we would have a better understanding if we attempted to see the New Testament through ancient Hebrew covenant eyes rather than Reformer, faith alone, eyes.

    1. I may seem to simple to some but i bekieve in a 7 day creation period because moses say so in exodus c20v11 and of the 70 odd reference to moses in the new teatament , jesus always endorses moses as reliable. Where there was a problem it was always with people. so i just take 2 two most important people ever at their word.
      Happy days since Jesus washed my sins away
      God bless
      BOB

  40. Steve Page,
    You are very correct that we should, in attempting to interpret the NT, visualize that time and area of the earth while being led by the spirit once you have gone through the spiritual birth in a sequence that a man is naturally born (Romans 1:20). Then we will become led of YHWH (Isaiah 28:9-10) how to put precept upon precept, lines upon lines and a little from here and a little from there to know what we are meant to get from both testaments.

    1. I’m convinced that if we teach that we saved by faith alone, we are missing something. Every relationship that the Lord has had with man has been covenantal in nature. In order to be in covenant with Him we must have faith He will keep His promises, and we must be faithful to the covenant. (of course there is grace when we are not).

      So maybe it’s not enough to say we are saved by faith and instead we should say we are saved by covenant faithfulness. To be clear, we must first have faith before we can have covenant faithfulness. I’m not downplaying the role of faith in our salvation

      1. I Agree, Steve, especially since faith is working to find substance and evidence to support unseen beliefs and without doing that work one’s faith is dead. Since the Bible is sealed from un-spiritually born man’s understanding the first requirement is to obtain the new birth and we, without being among the chosen to be sealed, can not be, so, for man-in-mass we can not keep that covenant.

        Based on the foregoing it is safe to say what your second paragraph say. Only the actual metamorphosed or reborn into a new creation and peculiar people taught by spirit (Isaiah 28:9) makes it safe to say that most people are only regurgitating what man taught them and have not been taught by spirit causing them not to know how to practice faith by observing the things made (Romans 1:20) for proof of the unseen.

      2. Hope my understanding helps steve. To beome a child of God in every generation the person who receives Gods self revelation, needs to place their faith in Gods word with a response of obedience. So faith is never alone. Under the new covenant the peculiar message of Gods word for faith to be placed in is Christs death buriel and resurrection. i get this from romans chapter 4 where david is talking is talking about abrahams justification. Abraham did not receive our particular Gospel message but he did respond outstandingly, in obedience to Gods word as it came to him . (he moved home for starters)
        Maranatha
        BONZABOB

  41. I wish I had been fortunate enough to have access to something like this as a young woman. Was sent to you by my young cousin, Ali Jenkins, who was a student of yours. Thank you for this.

    1. Thank you! How wonderful of her to send you a link! I hope you will find the blog posts helpful and challenging. I wish you could take the class along with her. From what I’ve seen so far, she is a brilliant, curious, and open-minded young woman. She’s been asking wonderful questions!

  42. Great post Jason! Thanks for sharing your insights. Sometimes when people say they take Scripture “literally” it might be more accurate for them to say that take it “seriously” because of some of the implications you point out.

    Would love your thoughts on if you think God still created in terms of 7 days of creation and that the details of the account are what’s impacted by the author’s worldview. Beyond the implications to Genesis 1 there are other references to creation elsewhere in Scripture (I know you know this) but in light of this, how does it all connect? Some of the references I’m thinking of are mentioned in this blog post I came across https://answersingenesis.org/days-of-creation/did-jesus-say-he-created-in-six-literal-days/ (not at all saying I agree/disagree with this post but it brings up some NT references to 7 day creation. Would love your thoughts.

    Thanks brother!

    1. The first scripture mentioned in the link is about the formation of everything in existence which is not the same thing as “creation of the world.” What Yoshua, called Jesus, is saying in Mark10:6 is both of man’s genders, boys and girls, were made during at the formation of existence while the reference to Adam and Eve represents the beginning of the world. [ I show the difference at http://prop1.org/protest/elijah/vision.htm#unsealed ]

      Most people consider “the formation of all existence” to be the same as “the beginning of the world” but they are not. Genesis 1:14 shows us, when we realize the term “signs” preceding “seasons, days and years,” it telling us there is a cycle to man’s plight here on earth that parallels seasons days and years. The foregoing link is how I am revealed “the world” operates in the eternality of existence which out a beginning.

      The Hebrew word translated in Genesis 1:1 to “in the beginning” is not “בהתחלה” but it is “בתחילת” with a meaning of “in beginning” and suggests a place in a cycle of man’s plight on earth used to began the revelation, in metaphors, allegories, parables and symbols-types (MAPS). That is why Revelation 20:4 is a “day of rest” prior to replenishing the earth (20:5) with those who discarnated [slain by the sword in Revelation 19:21]. Therefore, in recognizing those discrepancies, usually made when reading of the Bible, it should be clear that the Adam and Eve metaphor represents the beginning of the world while Genesis 1 represents the eternity of existence.

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