Round 6 Interview with the Apostle Paul – back to Genesis

Round 6 Interview with the Apostle Paul – back to Genesis

Giraffes on Women in Ministry blog by Cheryl Schatz

This is the sixth in a series of simulated interviews with the Apostle Paul taken from the position of what he might say if we could transport Paul from the New Testament account through a time tunnel into our present day.

Doug, a strong complementarian has been patiently waiting to question Paul on his reference to the order of creation in 1 Timothy 2:13.  Let’s listen in.  (The previous interviews are linked at the bottom of this post.)

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Paul: Grace and peace brother Doug.

Doug: It has been days since you were here last.  I was worried that you might not come back.   What took you so long?

Paul: I was apprehended by a group of “Who would Jesus knock down?” thugs.  It seems that some people in the twenty-first century do not accept my authority regarding the gospel.  Remind me to tell you about it before I leave today.

Doug: It appears your journey into our time has been very eventful.

Paul: Cultures change and times change but the attempts of some to add to the gospel has not changed.  I didn’t put up with it in my time and I won’t put up with it now either.

Doug: I look forward to hearing about that story later.  Right now I am anxious to follow through your reasoning concerning why you connected the prohibition of 1 Timothy 2:12 to the order of creation.

Paul: I was expressing the basis or the foundation for my ruling.  The importance of Adam’s first creation cannot be underestimated.  Let’s look at the verses again.

1 Tim 2:13  For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.
1 Tim 2:14  And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

Adam was formed before Eve.  The emphasis I made was on the timing.

Doug: So Adam was the most important?

Paul: No, that is not what I was saying.  I did not write that the prohibition was about Adam’s importance but it was all about timing.  Follow with me through the flow of thought from verse 13 to verse 14.  There is a logical relationship between these verses.  I used a connective conjunction in Greek to draw together the additional idea of deception to the previous idea of timing.

First in time = not deceived

Next in time = deceived

Doug: Are you saying that all women are deceived because Eve was created second?

Paul: No, not at all.  I did not use the generic here as if Adam was representative of all men and Eve was representative of all women.  I was referring to an actual event in history that had an application to another deception.

Doug: Are you saying that you were not setting up a primary role for the man?

Paul: There is nothing in my words that indicate a “role” that is being established.  The connective words leads to the picture of deception.  Notice that I presented a contrast.  It was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived…  This contrast refers to the opposite state of affairs between one person from the past and the other from the ongoing problem.  I contrasted  the “not” deceived state of Adam with the continued state of the woman.

Doug: What do you mean “continued state”?

Paul: When I wrote that “the woman” was deceived I used the “active” form which means that she is in the state of deception.  And because she is deceived she is in the place of transgression.  I used the perfect tense for “transgression” to emphasize that her deception occurred in the past but it has produced a state of existence for her at the time I wrote it.  It is her “state of affairs” and it is the problem that Timothy had to deal with.

Doug: How could Eve still be deceived and in her transgression?

Paul: She can’t be.  This isn’t about Eve.  Don’t you understand?  While I mentioned Eve in verse 13, in verse 14 I go beyond Eve.  I drew the connection between the very first act of deception and the current deception.

Doug: Are you tying in Eve’s deception to all women?

Paul: No this isn’t about all women.  The grammar is specific.  It is about the “state of being” in transgression that is the result of a deception.  Not all women are deceived.  And the bible never says that women inherit transgression from Eve.  You know that not all women are deceived, don’t you Doug?

Doug: Of course I know that all women aren’t deceived.  But I don’t understand your reasoning.  Why did you bring Adam into this equation if this isn’t about men’s roles or about the weakness of all women?

Paul: Let’s go back to Genesis and you should be able to see the connection that I made.  Let me ask you a question first that should set the stage.  We can both agree that Eve was deceived by the serpent, right?

Doug: Sure.

Paul: How would Eve not have been deceived?

Doug: I suppose if Adam would have spoken up and revealed the deception then she would not have been deceived.

Paul: You got it!  God job.  Now tell me, Doug, why was Adam not deceived?

Doug: Hmmm….that question isn’t so easy to answer.

Paul: Let’s rule out some things.  Was Adam not deceived because he was better than Eve?

Doug: They were both created perfect and without sin.  Can perfection be better in one person than another?

Paul: Good question!  The only way that Adam could be better than Eve would be if she was created with a weakness.  Is that what happened?

Doug: No.

Paul: Okay, good.  Now let’s look at Genesis.  Let’s start in Genesis 2:6 that sets the stage for the creation of man.

Gen 2:6  But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. Gen 2:7  Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

In Genesis 2:7 it says God “formed” man and “breathed” into his nostrils.  The Hebrew verbs for “formed” and “breathed” are prefixed sequential verbs.  This means that the actions happened one after another in order.

Doug: No problem with that.  So after the watering of the ground, then God created the man next and after he created him he breathed God’s breath into him.

Paul: Yes, that’s what happened.  Here the story line is sequential so we can know that one thing happened after the other because of the specific Hebrew grammar.  Now let’s look at verse 8.

Gen 2:8  The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.

Here it says “planted” and again this is a prefixed sequential verb.  It means that after man was created, God planted a garden.  Take a look at the next phrase where it says God “placed the man whom he had formed”.  The verb “put” is another prefixed sequential verb but “had formed” is not sequential, it is a suffixed verb.

Doug: I am not that good with grammar.  Are you expecting me to understand this?

Paul: It really isn’t all that hard.  Let’s make it easy by saying a verb can be either sequential or non-sequential.  God “put” Adam into the garden after the garden was planted.  That is sequential.  It happened one event after the other.  He put the man whom he “had formed” into the garden.  “Had formed” here is not a sequential verb.  Instead this verb means that the forming had already done done.

Doug: Okay, I can go along with you there.

Paul: If God created man before he planted the garden of Eden, would Adam have seen a fully created garden when he was first created?

Doug: Well, no.  The garden would have been created after Adam was formed if we can believe the Hebrew grammar.

Paul: Good.  What day was man created on?

Doug: Day six.

Paul: And what day were plants created on?

Doug: Day three.  That is found in Genesis 1:11-13.

Gen 1:11  Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.
Gen 1:12  The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:13  There was evening and there was morning, a third day.

Paul: Right!  Now notice that God created the seeds on day three but the plants themselves didn’t show up until day six.

Doug: How do you know that?

Paul: Because the seeds that God created in Genesis 1:11-12 were tree seeds and plant seeds and vegetation seeds that had not yet sprouted up as plants.  They were all in their original seed form only.  That is what God created on day three.  God tells us in Genesis 2:5 that these seeds that God created had not yet sprung up as plants and why they were still in the ground as seeds.

Gen 2:5  Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.

Doug: So the earth would have looked bare?

Paul: Yes until after the creation of man.  What did Genesis say was the sequential event that happened just before God created man?

Doug: Genesis 2:6 – the whole surface of the ground received water.

Paul: Yes and then man was created from that moist earth.  The earth was now watered but there was no visible vegetation showing as the plant seeds had just received their moisture.  Now Genesis 2:5 says that there were no shrubs and no plants yet when Adam was created even though God created them on day three.  They were still in the seed stage and since the world was barren of grown plants at this point, would there have been anything to obstruct Adam’s view when God planted the garden of Eden?  What do you think that Adam was privileged to see?

Doug: I never ever thought of it that way.  Adam would have seen the very first plants come to life and he would have seen God plant the garden of Eden.  But what would he have eaten?  Would that have left Adam without food for a long time while the garden grew?

Paul: No because the garden of Eden was a miracle that God created.  The Scriptures tell us that there was no plant in the field when Adam was created so there was nothing for Adam to eat there, but God planted a garden after Adam was created and this garden grew in a way that the other plants did not.  The other plants were created by seed and grew through the normal plant cycle, but the garden that God planted grew up right before Adam’s eyes.  God made those trees to grow so that when God placed Adam in his new home the trees were already full grown enough to have their fruit at the stage where it could be eaten.  Adam was there before the tree of life was planted and before the tree of the knowledge of good and evil became a tree full of forbidden fruit.

Doug: Wow!  That would have been an amazing sight to see creation first hand!

Paul: No other human has ever been privileged to see the creation of the plants right before his eyes.  But there was something else that was very special that Adam was given the privilege of seeing.

Doug: What was that?

Paul: Let’s take a look at Genesis 2:18-19.

Gen 2:18  Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
Gen 2:19  Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.

The verb “formed” in verse 19 is once again a prefixed sequential verb.  This means that the animals that God formed on day six were created after Adam was created.  They were formed out of the ground and then brought to Adam.  Both the forming and the bringing are prefixed sequential verbs so the actions were done in a sequential manner one after the other.

Doug: Are you trying to tell me that Adam saw the creation of animals too?

Paul: This is what the inspired grammar of the bible says.  We all knew this because we could read the Hebrew and knew what it said.  And Timothy was Greek so he could also read the bible from the Greek Septuagint as well.  The Greek version of the Hebrew bible shows the grammar as God “is forming” the animals.  (See the English version of the Hebrew here http://scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/OTpdf/gen2.pdf )

Doug: You are blowing my mind!  You mean Adam would have seen God’s creative acts with both plants and animals?

Paul: Adam was there before the plants were visible on the earth.  There were animals created just before Adam was created but we also know that all the animals were also created after Adam was created.  It wasn’t until after Adam was created and God had sent water for the seeds in the field to grow plants, that animals were given the plants for their food.

Gen 1:27  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Gen 1:28  God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Gen 1:29  Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
Gen 1:30  and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.

The food given to the animals in Genesis 1:30 is also a prefixed sequential verb.  The food given to the animals is given after Adam’s creation.

Doug: But how could God create animals at two different times both before Adam and then after Adam’s creation?  This doesn’t make any sense.

Paul: Let me ask you a question.  Did God create mankind before or after the garden of Eden was created?

Doug: Before.

Paul: Are you sure?

Doug: Well we have just seen from the Hebrew grammar that God planted the garden after Adam was formed so mankind was created before the garden.

Paul: What about Eve?

Doug: She was created after the garden was created.

Paul: Is Eve part of the original creation of mankind?

Doug: Yes.  She is the female part of mankind.

Paul: So was mankind created before or after the creation of the garden?

Doug: Okay, I see what you are getting at.  Mankind was created before AND after the creation of the garden of Eden.

Paul: So were animals created before or after Adam’s creation?

Doug: Well, if God created the male and female at separate times, then it wouldn’t be a problem for animals to be created both before and after the creation of Adam.

Paul: You got it!  It is not a contradiction for animals to be created both before and after Adam.  We just take the bible for what it says and believe it.  Now brother Doug, tell me, what education would Adam have had about the person and work of God since Adam was there before the garden was planted by God and before the complementary animals were created?

Doug: Oh boy, Adam would have seen God in action in a way that no other human being has ever seen!  Adam would have seen the Creator creating.  Adam would have realized that he was a work of the Creator’s hand and he would have known that there was no one like the Creator.  He would have seen the Creator as separate from His creation and the creation as the work of God’s hands.

Paul: Absolutely!  Adam would also have seen the Creator’s special care for him by the creation of a special spouse that was created from his very own body.  No other mate was created in this special way.  Only the woman was fit for the man and from the man in a way that no animal was created.  So when the serpent came into the garden to deceive and to tell the woman that she could be like God and that God was holding back his best from her that she could just take for herself, why wasn’t Adam deceived?

Doug: Well it is obvious.  Adam was not deceived because he saw the difference between mere creation and the Creator.  He saw the works of creation so he knew that he could not be the Creator.  He also saw God’s loving care in giving him the very best mate that was suited just for him so he knew that God wasn’t holding back His best from him.

Paul: That is absolutely right!  Adam had a unique educational opportunity that was unlike anything that the woman experienced since all of creation was finished by the time that Eve was created.  Adam was not deceived because he had sound doctrine of who God is based on his experience with the Creator and the creation.  Adam was not deceived because he was smarter than Eve or because males are created without the ability to be deceived.  Adam was not deceived because he was created first.

Doug: Now tell me how you tied that in to the deception happening in Ephesus?

Paul: The situation in Ephesus was just like the situation in the garden all over again.  Adam knew the truth but he kept silent while his wife was being deceived.  He had the truth about who God really was but he didn’t educate his wife or stop her from swallowing the lie.  His silence allowed her to become completely deceived and then he allowed a deceived woman to give him the forbidden fruit and he ate of that fruit without ever opening his mouth and speaking the truth.  The woman in Ephesus was also completely deceived and her husband was also silent.  He allowed her to practice her deception by repeating the false doctrine as she taught it to him and her teaching the error to her husband just solidified her indoctrination in the lie.  I had already told Timothy that she was to learn in quietness.

1 Tim 2:11  A woman must quietly receive instruction (learn) with entire submissiveness.

Learning in this verse is a verb that is present, active and imperative.   Learning is a command by Paul.  The learning implies a reflection on the information so that she can come to understand the truth.  She must also learn in quietness.  Quietness is a noun that means quiet circumstances and a lack of disturbance.  She cannot be teaching her error and learning the truth at the same time.

Doug: I have never seen these things in the way that you have presented them before.  I have to meditate and think my own doctrine through.  I have always believed that it is a sin for a woman to teach any man and now you are rocking my world.

Paul: We must all be willing to have our world “rocked” because truth is of utmost importance.  What is founded on a lie must be demolished because the truth is so important.

Doug: But something still doesn’t make sense to me.  If the woman is equal with the man in spiritual matters, then why was only the man credited with bringing sin into the world?

Paul: That is a great question and deserves more time for us to consider God’s word.

Doug: Okay, then let’s talk about this next time.  Before you go can you tell me who is not accepting your word about the gospel?

Paul: Do you remember that I was invited to speak at Mars Hill by the pastor called Mark Driscoll?

Doug: Yes, I remember you said you were going.  What happened?

Paul: I had to stand up and rebuke him.  He added to the gospel and reinvented a meaning for heretic.  He said:

A heretic is one who proclaims one thing and lives another way.  Any man who doesn’t sacrificially lovingly lead his wife and children, he is a heretic.  His life preaches a false gospel.  He denies Christ with his actions.  It is a very serious matter.  It is not just an alternative marital arrangement.  It is a heresy.

This is an addition to the gospel and it is not the truth.  I just about became unglued when I heard him teach that women need to be led and that this is part of the gospel.  The bible never says that a man is to “lead” his wife nor does it attach any such “leading” to the gospel.  It is a hypocrite who proclaims one thing and lives another way – not a heretic.  To state that any man who doesn’t agree with him as denying Christ is a very serious matter and I opposed him to his face.

Doug: I have listened to Mark Driscoll for many years and I really respected his strong stand on men’s roles, but I never heard him call this role as a part of the gospel before.  I am going to see if I can get a copy of that statement on video tape.  This is indeed a very serious matter to attach a personal conviction to the gospel.

Paul: Amen!  I must be going now.  I will come back again to discuss the issue of man’s responsibility for sin.

Doug: I look forward to it.

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(The first interview with the Apostle Paul and Doug is located here.  The  second interview is here.  The third interview is here.  The fourth interview is here.  The fifth interview is here.)  Part seven is located here.

180 thoughts on “Round 6 Interview with the Apostle Paul – back to Genesis

  1. There is so much more in Genesis to ‘mine’ that has been traditionally ignored. Thank you so much for your work on this. Because of you, I have gone back and studied Genesis in depth over the last few years and am amazed at what I believed about it without doing the hard work of testing every teaching.

    Driscoll and others have dveloped a ‘female’ Christianity and a ‘male’ Christianity. They are trying to so hard to remake Jesus into some kind of macho commando. (i.e., his redneck Jesus teachings, etc)

    This would mean that women cannot be Christlike as He is a male and they do not share the characteristics that Mark teaches. Perhaps this feeds into ESS and what they are teaching there to get around this problem.

    In any event, I see very clearly that they are setting up two very distinct forms of Christianity that are pink and blue. It really is insidious.

  2. Thanks Lin! The study in Genesis has been the most fascinating to me and I take few things for granted now. The more you dig the more one sees the design of the Creator! But the more we dig into the hierarchical system, the more man centered it becomes to the point that they are now distorting the gospel itself. I for one cannot be silent. I must speak out. And “Paul” if he were really able to time travel to our time would certainly speak out.

  3. I think Adam was created in Gen 1 and formed sequentially in Gen 2. I do not mix creation with forming, since each are distinct ideas. So while it may be correct to say “The woman was formed after the man.” it is not correct to say the woman was created after the man.”

  4. Don,
    “Created” and “formed” mean the same thing. Formed is just a subset of the term “created”. God created mankind by forming them. The man was formed from the dust of the earth and the woman was formed from the side part of the man. Before Adam was created, animals were created by being spoken into existence and after Adam they were “formed” from the dust of the earth. Not all that is created is “formed”, but all that is “formed” is created. The plants were created but not formed. Mankind since Adam and Eve are now “formed” in their mother’s womb, but the bible still says that this is called “created”.

    Gen 6:7 The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”

    It is not correct to deny that woman was “created” after the man. In mankind’s case, creation and forming are synonymous as Genesis 6:7 shows since the type of creation of every person is a forming in their mother’s womb. If God can say that all men who are formed in the womb are called “created” then it cannot be an error to say that Eve was “created” after Adam.

  5. Create and form are not synonyms, create is something only God does, form is something a human does with a pot. Obviously, they are related, but are not identical.

    Gen 6:7 says God will wipe off “the Adam/human he created”.

    You depend a lot on the way you merge the stories in Gen 1 and Gen 2, but there are other ways to treat these stories, for example, I do not merge them.

  6. The reason some try to “remake Jesus into some kind of macho commando” is because they perceive he has previously been remade by others into some kind of mushy sissy. I agree that they go overboard in their reaction, but I suggest that their perception is not entirely unjustified. One must not forget that Jesus was still a male. He had just as much testosterone as the rest of us guys and acted accordingly (although without the sinful side effects that we continually fall into). Certainly, no one would suggest that Jesus was androgynous, would they?

    I don’t see gender distinctions having any connection to being Christlike, as Christlikeness is an expression of love without concern for the methodology employed in expressing that love. Both the machoest man and [whatever the antonym for machoest would be] woman can reflect Christ to the world, even if their ways of doing it are worlds apart.

  7. Which brings up an interesting point, gengwall, and it’s the old nature/nurture debate.

    Sometimes I’m passive, sometimes I’m aggressive, and it depends upon the situation. I can be cold and I can be warm; I can refuse to bend and I can allow my arm to be twisted. Per my personality (not my gender) I can have various tendencies, and per my gender I may fit into some (but not all) generalities.

    The problem comes when people try to force all men to be this and all women to be that; that is truly a case of erasing differences!

    Jesus cried, turned tables, mocked, laughed, was sometimes tender and sometimes harsh, etc. In other words, he was human. Does that make him or anyone else androgynous? No. Androngyny is only when someone tries to physically blur the line. Male and female are physical terms. Yes there are generalities, tendencies, and averages, but those are not what make us male and female.

  8. Don,

    create is something only God does

    This isn’t true. I can create a song and I can form a pot.

    Form is a subset of creation and while it is not synonymous with plants since plants were created but not formed, it is synonymous with humans since humans were created by being formed. Genesis 1 says that Eve was created and Genesis 2 says that Eve was formed. This is not a contradiction but the same thing. She was not created twice nor was she formed twice.

    The creation account in Genesis 1 & 2 do not contradict each other. There is no error in the account. There is no second witness in any of the other scriptures that Eve was created twice – once inside the body of Adam and a second time in a separation from Adam. There is also no second witness that Adam was created as a non-gendered human and then re-created or gendered later. There was one creation for male and one creation for female. Jesus didn’t say that God created the non-gendered human or the male/female multi-sex being in the beginning. The creation “from the beginning” in Jesus’ testimony was that mankind was male AND female.

    Matthew 19:4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,

    Jesus said that this was “two” flesh people not one and this is why marriage is to bring them into oneness.

    Matthew 19:6 “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

    The joining of two people comes after marriage. Jesus does not say that there were two people in the beginning jointed in one flesh, then separated and then brought back together. I know that this is what you believe, but Jesus does not substantiate this. Instead Jesus said that in the beginning there were two and the two were then joined together in marriage to become one.

    How do you take the account in Genesis 2 that says that there was no plants or bushes yet on the land? Do you see this as a contradiction of Genesis 1?

  9. Per my personality (not my gender) I can have various tendencies, and per my gender I may fit into some (but not all) generalities.

    The problem comes when people try to force all men to be this and all women to be that; that is truly a case of erasing differences!

    I agree…to a degree…

  10. Paula and gengwall,
    Would you both agree that being Christlike has nothing to do with imitating testosterone but rather the spiritual qualities that Jesus had that all of us can imitate?

    For those who want to knock Jesus, they can make Jesus’ soft dealings with people as “sissified” and Jesus anger at those who wanted to destroy the purpose of God’s house as “macho male”. It seems to me that Jesus is all about internal attitudes that result in external actions and I don’t see anything that women aren’t allowed to imitate. Maybe I am wrong. Is there anything that Jesus did that women are not allowed to follow and imitate?

  11. That’s exactly my view, Cheryl. Jesus wasn’t “being a guy” when He drove the merchants from the temple, and He wasn’t “being a sissy” when He wept over Jerusalem and compared His attitude toward the people as like a mother hen gathering her chicks beneath her wings.

    I’ve written rebuttals to various male supremacist documents in the past year, and my theme each time is that the qualities they are trying to reserve for men are Christian qualities, not male qualities. Women are courageous, wise, aggressive, nurturing, etc., and are not exempt from the fruit of the spirit– and neither are men. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control– are not Christian men and women all to have these qualities?

    Male supremacism would turn the fruit of the Spirit into something like this: lust, winning, conquest, aggression, harshness, slickness, good ole boy, roughness, and self indulgence.

  12. Cheryl,

    Would you both agree that being Christlike has nothing to do with imitating testosterone but rather the spiritual qualities that Jesus had that all of us can imitate?

    Absolutely – That is what I was trying to say.

    Is there anything that Jesus did that women are not allowed to follow and imitate?

    The simple answer is “no”. But I think we dishonor God when we try to cover up the significant design differences he so clearly built into males and females.

  13. I see Gen 1-2:4, Gen 2:5-4 and Gen 5 as 3 origins stories. They each have their own purpose and are not necessarily meant to be meshed together into 1 story, altho the 1st and 3rd do so easily. God could have inspired 1 comprehensive story, but did not.

    By claiming something that happened in Gen 2 happened on day 6 of Gen 1 implies a merging of the stories that goes too far in my reading. That is, I try assess each story on its own for the point(s) it is making. I do use parts of other stories to make points in a story, such as the God-given name of the man and woman being Adam, yet I do not try to combine them into a single chronological narrative.

  14. gengwall,

    But I think we dishonor God when we try to cover up the significant design differences he so clearly built into males and females.

    **Blush!!** Oh dear….I am covering up my significant design differences! (Sorry. I couldn’t help slipping that one in.)

    Yes, I do agree that there are physical differences that we should not disregard and we should allow for other differences so that we don’t think each other must think/act the way we do and we should not try to become the other sex. But inside….well, we are made spiritually after our spiritual Father and we are all sons of God.

    Thanks for saying that there is nothing that Jesus did that males can follow but I cannot. You are a blessing!

  15. Don,

    By claiming something that happened in Gen 2 happened on day 6 of Gen 1 implies a merging of the stories that goes too far in my reading. That is, I try assess each story on its own for the point(s) it is making. I do use parts of other stories to make points in a story, such as the God-given name of the man and woman being Adam, yet I do not try to combine them into a single chronological narrative.

    I have heard you say this before and it confuses me. Perhaps it is time to try to understand. Are you saying that Adam was created twice? Are you saying that one account is real and another account is just a story that was not meant to be taken literally? How many accounts are literal and how do you decide what is literal and what is figurative? Do you see any harm in taking God at his word and believing that God is the author of all the accounts and that they can be put together without contradiction? Do you see God as the author of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Do you allow the accounts to be put together to have one unified account?

    Sorry for all the questions. If you choose not to answer them all, that is okay. I thought it is time to set aside my ignorance and try to actually understand what you are saying.

    Last question, am I accept by you even though I believe the Bible to be literally true in the creation accounts and believe that God said what He meant and meant what He said?

  16. God inspired the gospels attributed to Matt, Mark, Luke and John; and they are all describing the same person Jesus; but the merging of accounts needs to be done VERY carefully. I dislike verse stitching across pericopes even when it might appear to work, because there are so many times it does not work.

    On Genesis, my sis is a Young Earth Creationist and I am not, but we both accept the other as believers. I am not sure what you are, but I accept you as a believer and hope you also accept me. My sis and I obviously view some Gen. verses differently.

    On literally true, if something is poetic, taking it literally means taking it as poetry; yet I agree that other believers can differ from me on what is poetic and what is not.

    What I think happens too often with Gen 1-11 (AKA Gen Prehistory) is that A way of reading it is claimed to be THE ONLY VALID way of reading it.

    On create and form, elsewhere in the Bible these are processes that can take time; however, some of the Gen readings exclude this potential. I do not see Adam being created twice. I also do not want to get too far away from the thrust of your blog.

  17. Thank you Cheryl, especially for indulging the sidebar. I always feel like we are just not quite in the right post to really get into this, so I will say no more. I know we are all saying 95% the same thing. I suspect the other 5% are just sore spots for each of us that get our dander up. I know that is the case for me – that any inkling toward a “sameness” philosophy gets me in a lather (and I know you aren’t saying that Paula, but that is what I “hear”).

    I will try to be less sensitive…er…more sensitive…oh my…what is the appropriate gender neutral response…my compartmentalized masculine brain just can’t come up with it. (Sorry. I couldn’t help slipping that one in.)

  18. ‘Is there anything that Jesus did that women are not allowed to follow and imitate?’

    Yes…in comp theology, women are not allowed to follow and imitate Jesus’ ‘headhsip’ therefore there is something that Jesus did/does as kephale that women are not allowed to follow and imitate. 😛

  19. pinklight,
    I would answer that one this way – Jesus was the “head” of the church, the bridegroom of the church. Is any male allowed to follow Jesus and be the “head” of the church, the bridegroom of the church? I say no. Is there anything else that a male is allowed to do what Jesus did, but females are not allowed to do? I come up blank. I don’t see anything.

  20. Gengwall, I hear what you’re saying too, and as any egal will point out, we certainly do appreciate the differences between male and female. 🙂 And I will also only make this one more post about it here.

    But beyond the physical, we are in a realm of tradition and personality and group behavior. The traits a particular person might find attractive in the opposite sex may differ significantly from someone else’s opinion. For example, not all women are attracted to men who are into trucks, camping, fishing, etc. and not all men are into those things either. Likewise, not all men are attracted to women who are empty-headed or into high fashion, and not all women are into those things either.

    When asked where the mysterious line between male and female is drawn, you will get a hundred different answers. And if you ask that question across cultures you will get a thousand more. The point being, a trait cannot be labeled as intrinsic to a gender unless there are no exceptions ever, in any culture or time in history.

    We’re all human, and humans have a wide range of personalities and experiences. The day male supremacism grasps that simple fact is the day they cease being supremacists.

  21. Don,
    I still honestly do not understand you.

    As far as the NT gospels, I can put the gospel accounts together and make a solid story even though I understand that putting it together discounts some of the personal style. Matthew is one who has his own style and I think he walked with the beat of a different drummer – very different than the other gospels. I have really come to love Matthew because I feel so much like him sometimes – all over the map, yet very deep and attentive to details.

    However as far as the Genesis accounts, they are all written by God Himself as the ultimate author with no outward human author appending his name to each account. There is a sense of unity between the different “views” of creation and God alone was there to see creation so any truth told had to be God’s account since no human experienced it on his own (other than Adam seeing parts of creation and I don’t know anyone who teaches that Adam wrote any part of Genesis). So what is it about the three accounts that makes you take one or two accounts or parts of each account as a piece of poetry and other parts or accounts as the facts of creation? What other witness do you use that interprets the “poetry” of Genesis? And do you see poetry as the actual facts of creation put into a certain flow of words while still presenting the actual truth, or is poetry actually a myth or a story that isn’t true but which presents some spiritual value outside of factual truth? I am wondering if the word “poetry” is meaning something different to each of us.

    I do view old earthers as brothers in Christ, but I do see problems with the Genesis account that must be glossed over in order for one to be an old earther.

    I also see a problem in Genesis 2 if the passage is not allowed to be fit together with Genesis 1. Genesis 2 is primarily sequential and there is no food provided for animals until after Adam is created. So either Genesis 2 is wrong or the old earth theory is wrong or animals could live millions of years without food. I accept the Genesis 2 account as truth without any disbelief at all. I have never yet run into problems with that view. I assume that you see Genesis 2 as a myth or a parable or a mystery that says one thing but means another. If you could help to clear up your understanding that would be great. If you don’t want to engage, don’t worry. You aren’t going to hurt my faith because I trust in the two or three witnesses test and have yet to find any problems.

  22. So Cheryl, how does one avoid thinking that all males can be more like Christ than females, if they marry because they then are head of their body (wife) as Christ is head of his body (Church)?

  23. Pink, (and any other egal who’s interested)

    I just wrote a small book on authority in Christianity, and it’s basically a walk through the whole Bible with that theme in mind. I’m looking into getting it printed but will send it via a zipped email attachment to you if you want. All I ask is that you don’t make copies for distribution.

    [/shameless plug]

  24. I also see a problem in Genesis 2 if the passage is not allowed to be fit together with Genesis 1. Genesis 2 is primarily sequential and there is no food provided for animals until after Adam is created.

    Well, Cheryl, I think you are employing some presumptive reasoning. You presume 24 hour days so you presume that the period between the mist falling over the earth to water the seeds and the forming of the man occurred within hours of each other (i.e. not long enough for the plants to sprout or the man to get too hungry). I don’t argue with the sequential aspect (or order) of the narrative but there is no data to determine the time interval. It is very possible that God misted the earth, millions of years passed (and the mist continued) in which animals and plants thrived (but were not “subdued”), and the result was a wild but quite alive earth for Adam to see at his birth. I have no problem with the rest of the account (Adam seeing much more than Eve was privy to).

  25. I do think there is more than enough in the Hebrew text to rule out OEC, but of course this topic needs its own thread, so I won’t get into that here. But I will say that I think Gen. 2 is simply the same creation account with more emphasis on details than on the days of creation.

  26. gengwall,

    Well, Cheryl, I think you are employing some presumptive reasoning. You presume 24 hour days so you presume that the period between the mist falling over the earth to water the seeds and the forming of the man occurred within hours of each other (i.e. not long enough for the plants to sprout or the man to get too hungry).

    Genesis 2:5 gives the reason why there was no shrubs or plants. It is two fold – no moisture sent and no man to cultivate the ground.

    Gen 2:5 Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.

    If this was changed millions of years before Adam, then there would be no point in the account to mention why there was no plants that had yet grown if they had been around for millions of years. Everything in chapter two revolves around the man and the bare earth also is focused on the wait for the cultivator.

    The next issue is Genesis chapter 1. In each one of the verses where it says “God said” “God saw” “God placed” etc, the verbs are all prefixed sequential. Genesis 1:27-31 is all sequential so that the animals weren’t given the green plants for food until after man was created. I have gone through each of the verbs and they are all sequential. That doesn’t cause a problem for me since I believe the creation days were ordinary days, but it does pose a problem in my mind for old earthers to have animals alive for millions of years without God’s permission to eat the plants (which apparently didn’t sprout until man as ruler of the earth was created). I don’t see this as presumption, just taking the account as it was written with the time line given in the sequential account.

    Does this make any sense?

  27. gengwall,

    Below is the relevant verses from Genesis 2 with my comments in brackets.

    Gen 2:5 Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.

    (What is the point of this verse if this was the condition of the earth millions of years ago but not also the condition of the earth just before the creation of man? How would the barrenness of the world then have anything to do with man if this “barren stage” was finished millions of years ago?)

    Gen 2:6 But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground.

    (This verse is a contrast to the barren and waterless state of the previous verse. But there would be no contrast if the earth was not barren at the time of Adam’s creation and instead the earth had been watered for millions of years)

    Gen 2:7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

    (“Formed” is once again a suffixed sequential verb. What would be the point of a sequential account following millions of years that weren’t really barren nor dry?)

    Gen 2:8 The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.

    (This is also sequential. If we can import millions of years before Adam, then can we also important millions of years after Adam and before the garden of Eden was planted? Can we see Adam wandering around the earth for millions of years after his creation without a garden home and without a mate or is it reasonable to see one sequential event happening after another sequential event?)

    If anyone can show how the sequential events of chapter 2 can make sense within the context of millions of years before or after the creation of Adam, I invite you to lay out your case from these verses.

    Genesis is a fascinating book and a fascinating set of events that we can trace through one event after another with the particular Hebrew grammar. I really do encourage Christians to have another look at Genesis and follow the events and the grammar through. I think you will find it eye-opening and it will cause you to see the creative Majesty of God in a new way.

  28. Paula #22

    Excellent comment about how male supremacists (the evangelical type) try to use a sort of Biblical proof by induction to argue their case that all humans must fit into pink & blue boxes based on gender.

    They cannot make it true for all x no matter how hard they try, because the rigor of empirical observation shows otherwise, and not all of the dominoes will fall the way they want them to.

    Some (of the Calvinist persuasion) will argue that since the senses are tainted by the black ink of total depravity, they cannot be used to form any valid theological construct. But this really only amounts to a special plea designed to get around those pesky dominoes that won’t play nice.

    Cheryl #30

    Great post about the time line controversy as a road block to a young Earth view! If one of God’s attributes is sheer creative power, then it is not at all unreasonable to conclude that time itself, no matter how large or small the sub-interval, is as pliable (for Him) as the physical stuff he made from nothing.

  29. Cheryl,

    I don’t think so but what stops a patri husband from thinking so? He like Christ is “head” of a body.

  30. pinklight,

    Honestly, I think it takes the grace of God. It takes God’s grace to realize that men have not been given direction to rule over, lord over or take over the power of a woman to make decisions. Those who do these things saying they are doing them for the woman’s good are not giving their own “body” the full right to grow and mature and use her gifts as God gave them. It will take God’s grace to move from living as a “lone son of privilege” to an equal heir with her.

    It should be noted that the scriptures gives the “work” of the head as a place of service to the body to care for, protect and nourish the body. A woman can certainly care for, protect and nourish as well. Such action is not against the law of God nor is it against the law of love. So once again the “actions” of Jesus that can be followed by men can also be followed by women.

  31. ‘So once again the “actions” of Jesus that can be followed by men can also be followed by women.’

    And I did want to get to this point ultimately. That what the husband is told to do for the wife, also the wife can do for the husband as it’s not against any law. 🙂

  32. So since “head” must include serving, giving up one’s life, providing for, protecting and nuturing and a wife can do those things because it’s not against any law then a woman technicaly can function as “head”. (I’m thinking of wives who have disabled husbands) So the point is that “head” cannot be about gender.

  33. The actions are not limited to men. It seems that the only one “required” to serve is the “head”. The “body” has the ability to serve but not the requirement. That is the way I see it. Thoughts?

  34. ‘The actions are not limited to men. It seems that the only one “required” to serve is the “head”. The “body” has the ability to serve but not the requirement. That is the way I see it. Thoughts?’

    That sounds great. Makes perfect sense to me.

    It seems the “requirement” had to do with husbands having had privledge in Paul’s day. If this is true and the “requirement” was based on the privledged giving up and serving instead well it does parallel in some sense to what Christ did because he put on flesh and by doing so came to our level. Something like that?

  35. ‘So the point is that “head” cannot be about gender.’

    And I wanted to make this point because comps or and patris do see from what I can tell that married men can be more Christlike than married women because of their supposed authority. And if they can be more Christlike then they can follow Christ in a way that a woman cannot and the reason is because of gender, so they think.

  36. pinklight,

    If this is true and the “requirement” was based on the privledged giving up and serving instead well it does parallel in some sense to what Christ did because he put on flesh and by doing so came to our level.

    Amen!

    And I wanted to make this point because comps or and patris do see from what I can tell that married men can be more Christlike than married women because of their supposed authority.

    And so they are wrong. Jesus came to serve. He said it. He did it. And he gave us all the example or real service. Those who think they have an authority over their “body” have failed to see Jesus.

  37. Greg, you always have something positive to say, and that means a lot. Tanx buddy! 🙂

    Cheryl and Pink, that’s a critical observation, that the Bible is NEVER giving strict roles to play but practical advice on how believers should conduct themselves within flawed human institutions. What the hierarchical types see in scripture is what their “glasses” show them, what they are designed to show them. But if one removes those silly pink/blue, boss/underling lenses, one sees emphasis on particular problems and not Pharisaical nitpicking.

    With Andrew Jackson (originally said to international bankers) I would say to the male supremacists, “You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the Eternal God, I will rout you out. If Christians only understood the rank injustice of your hierarchical system, there would be a revolution before morning.” (my paraphrase, adapted for the topic)

  38. As a progressive creationist (or older earth creationist, if you will, much like Hugh Ross, author of The Genesis Question and The Creator and the Cosmos), I see no problem with Cheryl’s “meshing” of Day six in Gen 1:24-31 with Gen 2:5-25, or with Gen 3:1-24, for that matter. (Note: I regard 2:4 as summary of the general historical account given in 1:1-2:3 and also as a transition to 2:5-25, which explicates what happened before God’s giving the “cultural mandate” to both Adam and Eve in Gen 1:28. And both 2:5-25 and 3:1-31 are connected to Gen 1:24-31 by the Hebrew word translated “Now” in 2:5 and 3:1, indicating these are further elaborations of Day Six.) Whether the total time involved in Day Six was 24 hrs or a year, I think, is of secondary importance. For my judgment is that when you put the two passages together, the sequence of events, at least chronologically, appear to be 1) God’s decision to make human beings, male and female, both in his image and set them up as co-regents and stewards of the garden placed under their rule and care; 2) He creates Adam, places him in the garden, where he begins his “scientific work” of naming the animals and tending the plants God placed there; 3) Going through this process, he recognizes, what God already knows and plans to rectify, that he is alone and incomplete; so God creates a female counterpart, whom he acknowleges as such by calling her isha, “woman”; 4) Shortly after this, God gives them both what theologians have called the “cultural mandate” in Gen 1:28; 5) some time after this, Satan invades the garden and tempts the human pair; and 6) they embrace the lie, are judged and then shown grace before being expelled from the garden. Perhaps some might disagree with my view about the length of the six creation days, which is fine. But I think we can at least agree that Day Six was long enough for all these events to take place sequentially and to be completed within that time period.

  39. FWIIW, I see problems in the Gen accounts that must be glossed over to be a young earther (to modify Cheryl’s quote), but this forum and esp. this thread is not about discussing this subject.

    The book “Paradigms on Pilgrimage” by Godfrey and Smith gives both a Biblical and scientific understanding that is closest to my own. It also has the best I have yet found explanation of the Gen 1 imagery. It describes 2 former YEC’s who were “dragged kicking and screaming” into dropping their YEC paradigm, one on a Biblical basis and the other on the basis of science.

  40. And I too could cite testimonies of old-earthers who were dragged kicking and screaming into YEC because of science and the Bible. Back and forth it goes, where it stops, nobody knows…

    Personally, I think it should stop at Ockham’s Razor. The non-YEC theories just have too many multiplied entities for me.

  41. “Thank you Cheryl, especially for indulging the sidebar. I always feel like we are just not quite in the right post to really get into this, so I will say no more. I know we are all saying 95% the same thing. I suspect the other 5% are just sore spots for each of us that get our dander up. I know that is the case for me – that any inkling toward a “sameness” philosophy gets me in a lather (and I know you aren’t saying that Paula, but that is what I “hear”). ”

    I am so glad you said this here. I think your last line is very important. I hear this all the time about ‘sameness’ and blurring of the lines of gender and how scary it all is.

    I have another view which I ask you to respectfully consider. But first, let’s look at gender differences from categories:

    Physical/Biological
    Major differences by design!

    Emotional, Intellectual, Spiritual
    What are the differences? And are they nature or nurture.

    One of the problems I have with those who are scared we are blurring the lines or arguing sameness (biologically-NEVER!) is that they are attempting to put me in a box. A pink box of frilly bows. I could never relate to the ‘women’ chapters in comp books. I could relate to the men chapters, though. For that, I was considered, rebellious and a feminist. I would rather debate theology than talk about recipes. I would rather learn how to fix a car than learn to cook. I would rather play golf with the guys than go have my nails done. I despise shopping.

    So by focusing on ‘differences’ outside of those that are biological, we can do great damage to each other.

    I will give you another example of the damage this can do. Years back I worked on several projects with Love Won Out. These are former homosexuals who speak out on being delivered. The story lines were very similar. Many of the men when young boys were artistically endowed. But that did not fit the paradigm for them from their familes, r their church. They were put in the ‘masculine box’ and became easy prey for those that ‘understood’ them better. It took them years to figure all this out and leave that horrible lifestyle only by the Grace of the Lord. (The women had similar stories)

    On a humorous note, I doubt that Dobson had my thoughts in mind when he started Love Won Out. But I saw this gender box theme in their tesitmony’s even though they did not intend that.

    We can do great damage with gender differences that go beyond the biological. It serves to demean talents and block the exercising of spiritual gifts.

  42. Excellent point, Lin. I have long believed that the cause of certainly a large portion of homosexuality is the result of trying to make all men this and all women that. I don’t know of any exceptions to the observation that even in homosexual couples, there is a “male” personality and a “female” personality, with those terms matching what society deems should define each. One person is aggressive, strong, perhaps mechanical or something like that, while the other is sensitive, passive, gentle, artistic, etc. And if there is a great mismatch between one’s personality and society’s expectations, with enough pressure or negative experiences, it could push someone over the edge.

    Why can’t the control freaks just let people be? How many strict role pushers will find out to their horror on judgment day that they were the cause of much perversion and abuse? It is no secret that many atheists, some famous, were raised in extremely strict “Christian” homes.

  43. Oh, and Lin… we gotta hang out sometime. Computers, fast cars, football, theology, despising shopping… I’m game!

    And my husband and I are very much alike. We are both into computers and electronics, but I’m more into software and he’s more into hardware (now, don’t anybody take that wrong!). We like movies about science fiction or action/adventure, won’t eat fancy food, and are happiest in blue jeans and tees. When somebody belches we say “Good one!” When there is injustice we’d both like to punch the perpetrator. When someone is hurt we hug them. We’re just us, and we don’t give a hoot about roles.

  44. Paula, I hate to watch sports but I do fast cars. Years ago I even did some racing a few times on a motor speedway. I am very fond of war movies and movies with political themes.

    All: If you have not read The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn Custis James, you need to. Ruth was a bold, gutsy woman who broke all the rules of that time and look what happened through her doing that: The line of Messiah.

  45. On Young Earth and Old Earth, it is useful to see that Jews, who have the origins stories in their own language and have studied them for a long time, date this calendar year as year 5679 plus 6 creation days. They do this so that a Jew can ascribe whatever time they wish to a creation day, whether it be 24 hours or much longer. Gerald Schroeder is a Jew who does both and while one might think that is not possible, one should read what he has to say on it.

    The point of my mentioning this is when Cheryl assumes a young earth in some of her arguments, she goes where people who believe in an old earth do not go in their interpretation/understanding.

  46. #41 Frank,

    Perhaps some might disagree with my view about the length of the six creation days, which is fine. But I think we can at least agree that Day Six was long enough for all these events to take place sequentially and to be completed within that time period.

    Amen! So many take the passage as a mixture of history & non-literal that it appears impossible to assert was is real and what is not, so it is refreshing to see the sequential aspect with the set time period held up as God’s inspired record. If God inspired the record of the creation to be written in the grammatically sequential language, then I think we should accept his account. After all He was there and so His account can be trusted as it was written.

  47. #49 Don,

    The point of my mentioning this is when Cheryl assumes a young earth in some of her arguments, she goes where people who believe in an old earth do not go in their interpretation/understanding.

    I try hard not to assume anything. I use the inspired words and the inspired grammar to understand the account in its full context. I try not to disregard any part of the account because I believe that it was inspired as it was written for a reason. The fact that God created animals after the creation of Adam does not pose any problems for me. Nor does the fact that God created the seeds first and that these seeds didn’t sprout until after man was created, does not cause me a problem at all since I do not have any assumed thoughts that animals were created thousands or millions of years before man was. If I had those assumptions, I would have to reject the inspired words of scripture and make them a parable or some kind of non-literal rambling of myths written by people who did not know the truth of creation. If I myself believed that there were millions of years between the animals and Adam and even between Adam and Eve, I would likely chuck most of the foundation of Genesis as unnecessary, meaningless (or at least meaningful only in the eye of the beholder to whatever each individual wanted the myths to mean). But since I come to the text without having to force the text to conform to either young earth or old earth, I can let the text speak for itself. If the text “speaks” old earth (i.e. millions of years of death and decay before Adam was created) then I am willing to hear the other side. Each side needs to be tested by the Word of God to see if there is any conflict with other scriptures or within the passage itself. The correct view should have no conflicts. The view that is incorrect will have problems with the inspired words, inspired grammar, the complete context and other witnesses from the scripture. I cannot in all good conscience see myself standing before God and telling him that I didn’t believe Genesis as it was written.

    Don, I would like to understand you and your view. However I cannot pinpoint your assumptions until you answer my question about how you judge between what is historical and what is “poetry”? I would really like you to consider answering these questions that I posed earlier:

    So what is it about the three accounts that makes you take one or two accounts or parts of each account as a piece of poetry and other parts or accounts as the facts of creation? What other witness do you use that interprets the “poetry” of Genesis? And do you see poetry as the actual facts of creation put into a certain flow of words while still presenting the actual truth, or is poetry actually a myth or a story that isn’t true but which presents some spiritual value outside of factual truth? I am wondering if the word “poetry” is meaning something different to each of us.

  48. I see part of the reason for differences is that the origins narratives do not say everything we might wish them to say, so people fill in the gaps in different ways. And also that someone reads them in A way but thinks it is the ONLY way, but it turns out that this is in turn build on their unstated assumptions. It is similar to the egal/non-egal debate in some ways, many simply do not see how the others get to where they get.

    On the Gen 1-2:3 pericope, I see this as primarily an a(poly)theistic polemic which was SO SUCCESSFUL that it is hard for us today to see it as such, but this can be seen when contrasted with the historical pagan origins stories. It attacked the existing pagan worldviews in repeated ways, claiming all their “gods” were bogus, that Elohim did it all. That is, the very idea of polytheism was wrong, which was an astounding claim at the time, as it seemed so “obvious”. It further claimed humans were the pinnacle of creation and the 7th day was a day of rest for Elohim, serving as an example for Jews to do so later in the Torah. It packs quite a bit into a few words, that is, it is highly compressed.

    I also see the Gen 1 pericope as saying a lot LESS than others think it says. In this I go along with the ideas in “Paradigms on Pilgrimage”. It is giving a word picture that is being sketched in over the creation days like the script of a movie, but the word picture is for an early Israelite, not a modern like us with questions that would never have been asked by an Israelite.

    The Bible uses phenomenological language to describe things, that is, it describes things by appearances and not necessarily (scientific) realities. This allows the Bible to speak to ALL times, as everyone knows how to use phenomenological language as it is so convenient. We know this caused some problems between church and some early scientists, and essentially everyone agrees NOW that the church a few 100s of years ago misunderstood some texts as describing physical reality when actually the texts did not.

  49. Don,

    I see part of the reason for differences is that the origins narratives do not say everything we might wish them to say, so people fill in the gaps in different ways.

    God has given us everything we need to know. It isn’t an issue of “filling in the gaps” but merely accepting what God has already told us and matching that with his confirmation in other scriptures.

    And also that someone reads them in A way but thinks it is the ONLY way, but it turns out that this is in turn build on their unstated assumptions.

    Perhaps some do this. I know that patriarchists do this for sure as they give Adam an authority that is withheld from Eve. However I have not seen an assumption that I am making. I think this is what we are talking about and generalities doesn’t work for me.

    On the Gen 1-2:3 pericope, I see this as primarily an a(poly)theistic polemic which was SO SUCCESSFUL that it is hard for us today to see it as such, but this can be seen when contrasted with the historical pagan origins stories.

    In Isaiah, God clearly shows that it is His word first. Pagan gods and pagan origins do not dictate God’s word. Also if Genesis were a polemic, then the inspired grammar would show that it was a contrast to something else or an statement argument against a false opinion. There is no evidence at all that Genesis 1-3 was written as an argument against another opinion. If so, show it to me.

    It attacked the existing pagan worldviews in repeated ways, claiming all their “gods” were bogus, that Elohim did it all.

    This is the position of Isaiah not Genesis.

    Isaiah 41:23 Declare the things that are going to come afterward, That we may know that you are gods; Indeed, do good or evil, that we may anxiously look about us and fear together.
    Isaiah 41:24 Behold, you are of no account, And your work amounts to nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination.

    Genesis 1-3 does not directly attack any false “god”. This is reading into the text. If you think I am wrong, then show me from the account where God mentioned any other god or attacked a false god? He absolutely did this in Isaiah and in other books of the Bible, but Genesis is all about beginnings. It is all about God Himself and His work. It says not one word about false gods, myths or false creation stories. I mean, I could be wrong, but then you would have to show me the false creation story that is refuted by God in Genesis 1-3. There is no wording that is attached to a refutation.

    That is, the very idea of polytheism was wrong, which was an astounding claim at the time, as it seemed so “obvious”.

    The only reference to polytheism is the serpent’s deception in Genesis 3 that Adam and Eve could be like God.

    What is an amazing thing is that God reveals Himself as Elohiym this is the plural form. God right from the beginning reveals Himself as more than one in unity as God.

    I also see the Gen 1 pericope as saying a lot LESS than others think it says. In this I go along with the ideas in “Paradigms on Pilgrimage”. It is giving a word picture that is being sketched in over the creation days like the script of a movie, but the word picture is for an early Israelite, not a modern like us with questions that would never have been asked by an Israelite.

    What evidence do you have from the text that Genesis 1 was written for an early Israelite and not meant for us, while Genesis 2 was written for all men? How is Genesis 1 a “word picture” while Genesis 2 is not a “word picture”? Does a “word picture” mean something different than the words that were painted? Does it say one thing and mean another? Since you are saying that I am wrong, it might be good to show me where I am wrong. What defines Genesis 1 as a poem or as a “word picture” and not to be taken as historical truth? What words then define Genesis 2 as historical truth? Why would God write the first chapter that speaks about Himself and make it not believable just as He has written it, but write chapter 2 on the origin of man and make that believable? What “clues” did God import into the text that make Genesis 1 a mere picture that can be interpreted in a purely subjective way and Genesis 2 is concrete and real and non-subjective? Was God really trying to make us understand what He meant or was he playing a game with our heads? Or is it possible that men are fallible and whenever there is a concept that they don’t like it becomes “symbolic”?

    The Bible uses phenomenological language to describe things, that is, it describes things by appearances and not necessarily (scientific) realities.

    Sometimes the bible expresses a concept on the way that we see it, not the way that God sees it. But there are other things that are said exactly the way they are so that the we can see when God has described things the way they actually are. But Genesis 1-3 has no other interpretation in the scriptures. There is nothing to interpret Genesis to tell us what it means if God didn’t say what He meant and meant what He said. If we take our own concept of the beginning of creation and import that into the text, then there are a million ways to interpret the beginning of creation. What is truth? There is no one truth that way. It is all subjective. Perhaps then Wayne Grudem is right when he interprets the creation of Adam as God’s plan to give men the preeminence. What right have we to say to Wayne Grudem that he is wrong? We cannot if it is all a word picture and can be interpreted with whatever color we perceive. None of it is real. Whatever we think we see is reality.

    I choose to accept the literal meaning except when God Himself shows by His own word that the meaning cannot be taken literally. I see no reason at all to remove Genesis 1 from reality. It fits perfectly with chapter 2.

    We know this caused some problems between church and some early scientists…

    When I was a child scientists said that the age of the earth was millions of years old. Now they say it is billions of years old. The bible says that the wisdom of man is foolishness compared to His wisdom.

    I still accept you as a brother in Christ. You are a dear brother in Christ.

    I also accept God’s word on the matter of creation and request that if you see the creation account as a mere story that is not literal just show me exactly from the text what words in the text make you believe this way. Generalities cannot be examined so I would need the words. If there is something that I have missed in the account that makes the Genesis 1-3 account something different than a historical record I want to see it.

  50. 1. I agree God has given us what we need to know in Scripture for faith and practise.

    2. As I stated, one sees the polemic in Gen 1 in contrast to the other polytheistic origins stories. These provide the cultural background for the Gen origins stories. I am far from being the first to claim this. This is what egals claim for some verses, asking to see the cultural contrast; this is what I do for Gen origins stories also. It is not reading into the text to notice this contrast, in either case.

    3. On you being wrong, I am NOT saying that the way you understand the origins texts is impossible, just that it is not required by the text, that other interpretations are also possible. Or to put it another way, I believe both young earthers and old earthers are striving in their own ways to be faithful to the text. As I also mentioned Schroeder claims to be both. A simple example of an interpretation choice is: how long is bara/create? The Bible’s usage of bara shows that it may take a loooong time to bara/create something and that is the choice I make in Gen also; you might choose a short time and that is allowed also; my point is both are faithful possibilities.

    4. I try my best to read every portion of Scripture as it would be understood by the original readers, not just the “gender” verses. For the Torah of Moses, I believe these original readers would be the early Israelites.

    5. I also accept God’s word on the matter of creation. I believe what we see had a beginning and did not always exist and that it is at least 6700 years old. This eliminates a lot of alternatives.

    6. One method of trying to interpret Scripture is to “interpret literally, except where it cannot”. The problem is that “where it cannot” differs among believers. My faith says we see thru a glass darkly and faithful believers can believe differently about origins and end times.

  51. Don,

    As I stated, one sees the polemic in Gen 1 in contrast to the other polytheistic origins stories.

    I don’t know about the other polytheistic origin stories. What I was asking for is where do you see in the text that it is a response to other polytheistic origins? I don’t see anything that would make Genesis 1 a response to a myth. I don’t have a problem with you showing where God said this….and the myth said this….but to say that it was written as an argument against a myth and therefore it isn’t to be taken as a real historic sequential event(s), has problems for me. What is the grammar that you use to prove that it is a response to an unrecorded myth? Where is the contrast in the text that points you to the conclusion that it isn’t an actual account but a “picture” that is only meant to refute a myth but have no historical function. I hope that you can understand that I am a fact person and without evidence there is nothing to convince me.

    2….This is what egals claim for some verses, asking to see the cultural contrast; this is what I do for Gen origins stories also. It is not reading into the text to notice this contrast, in either case.

    Or maybe I am misunderstanding you. i.e. that there is no contrast in the text itself, you just see a contrast in the myths with the Genesis account? If this is what you mean, then we would have to take the account as it is since the actual historical account of creation had to come first and the myths are takeoffs of the original.

    3. On you being wrong, I am NOT saying that the way you understand the origins texts is impossible, just that it is not required by the text, that other interpretations are also possible.

    For example? It would be helpful if you could pick a concrete example. i.e. animals created after Adam, the garden created after Adam, the plants sprouting after Adam. Take your pick.

    4. I try my best to read every portion of Scripture as it would be understood by the original readers, not just the “gender” verses. For the Torah of Moses, I believe these original readers would be the early Israelites.

    The origin of creation is not given differently for an Israelite. A fact is a fact. Unless you are trying to say that God relates the creating of the sun different to one race than He does to another? The story of creation would have been passed down from one generation to another. In fact according to the genealogy of Genesis, Noah’s son Shem was still alive when Abraham died and one of Adam’s grandsons was alive when Noah was born. God’s truth survived and flourished and the Genesis account is not muddied by myth but is an accurate account of great historical significance. If this is not true, then show why we should not trust that Genesis was given as a historical record. What hidden code is in the text that makes it not historical?

    5. I also accept God’s word on the matter of creation. I believe what we see had a beginning and did not always exist and that it is at least 6700 years old. This eliminates a lot of alternatives.

    That is pretty general. Do you accept any other fact from Genesis 1?

    6. One method of trying to interpret Scripture is to “interpret literally, except where it cannot”. The problem is that “where it cannot” differs among believers.

    “Where it cannot” needs to be biblical. Where is it a biblical “cannot” that animals were created after Adam? How is there anything at all in Genesis 1 that is a biblical “cannot”? I do not see even one thing and no one has yet instructed me otherwise.

    My faith says we see thru a glass darkly and faithful believers can believe differently about origins and end times.

    I agree. Yet at the same time if one reads into the text or takes away from the text it can have serious consequences on what one believes about other important matters. For example hierarchists believe that God originally gave the male a mandate to rule over the female. This isn’t in the text, but this addition has caused a great deal of grief for male/female relations especially in the home and church. I believe that it is important to push through these differences so that people can both understand and be understood. I do not believe that one should say that one is not a brother in Christ because of differing views in this area. I will also strenuously argue my position because each piece is a puzzle piece that fits together. If we remove one important piece, there are gaping holes. I believe that God gave us each piece so that we could work it all through as a second and third witness to his creative plan. It is essential to my belief that God said what He meant and meant what He said.

  52. See Nahum Sarna’s “Understanding Genesis” for a good discussion of the polemical nature of Gen 1. An example is that the sun and moon are created by Elohim and not “gods” as was thought by some at the time. Since we live in a culture that EASILY discards the notion that the moon and sun are gods, it can be hard to see how radical the claim in Gen 1 was at the time it was written. To see that, one contrasts with the alternatives.

    Each book of the Bible was written to people where they were at at the time it was written. 1900 or more years later, it is ALL TOO EASY to inject our different cultural assumptions into the text and not even realize we are doing it. You know about this possibility for gender verses, but it is true for the whole Bible. The question is not whether we will use cultural defaults to fill in gaps in ANY narrative, the question is WHICH cultural defaults will we use. If we use the 21st century Western cultural defaults, it might be correct sometimes, but can easily be wrong other times.

    I also believe that God meant what he said and said what he meant; this does not mean we will always agree on the MEANING of what he said. Just as a simple example, we know that words have a range of meanings; if you pick A within the range of meanings and I pick B, we might both be acting in faith and yet understand the text differently. I agree that the non-egals add to the Gen origins accounts by seeing male leadership implied.

  53. Don,

    An example is that the sun and moon are created by Elohim and not “gods” as was thought by some at the time.

    What you are saying makes no sense to me at all. If God wrote Genesis 1 as an apologetic response to false theories of creation then He made a big mistake by using the term “Elohim” which is a plurality. Rather than making myths as the focus and Genesis merely a refutation, God has made Genesis his revelation of creation. He used the plural form in a singular way to show the plurality in the Godhead right from the beginning. After that He focused on One saying that God is One. Only one God – yet Genesis 1 reveals God in plurality. That is the opposite of what one might think He should do if he were refuting a plurality of Gods. In that case He should focus on his Oneness first before revealing His plurality. Also there is nothing in Genesis 1 that is written as a refutation or a contradiction. There is no “but”, there is no reference to myths, there is no contrasting language. There is nothing but God’s revelation that we can take as truth. If we focus in on the myths first and line up God’s revelation to these myths we will narrow our interpretation to God’s creation account as seen through man’s eyes. We would then be testing God’s word by the words and myths of men. This is the opposite of how scripture should be tested.

    There is also no language that makes Genesis 1 as written for only Jewish people and Genesis 2 written for all people. If these writers that you referenced make this their claim, then in my opinion I would see it as a way to disregard Genesis 1. Many don’t like Genesis 1 because it is hard to match up with millions of years of evolution. Others make the creative works on the different days to be concurrent instead of sequential. I do not believe that we have the option of writing off some scripture because it does not fit with our preconceived notions. If we say Genesis 1 is just a painting and because of that we can ignore the distinct timing of one event sequentially after another, we will then be able to do this to other things that we don’t like and many have gone down this road. I cannot and will not be one of those who walks away from an uncomfortable scripture. I want to know what God said so that I can hold strong and firm to His word. I refuse to be an egalitarian who ignores scripture or treats it as if God wrote His word so that there are thousands of subjective interpretations and no way to find out what God really meant. This is why I pay attention to detail. This is why I emphasize the inspired words and the inspired grammar. I do not want to be deceived. I want only God’s truth. And this is why I will always push people who disagree with me to prove their point from the text itself. Unless there is evidence within the text to prove a view different than what I can clearly see already in the text, then I cannot be moved by unsubstantiated claims from outside the text that is designed to conform God’s word to man’s word.

  54. If we focus in on the myths first and line up God’s revelation to these myths we will narrow our interpretation to God’s creation account as seen through man’s eyes. We would then be testing God’s word by the words and myths of men. This is the opposite of how scripture should be tested.

    That is the crux of Bible interpretation. The traditional and modern approaches have been “what this verse means to me” when it should always have been “what God said, what the possible range of interpretations are, and only then how I can apply it today”. I agree that the Bible is not a reaction but a revelation. God wrote it for a reason.

    As for what is possible in a given text, the common practice of refusing to rule out anything even when the text itself does, is a gateway to error. All falsehood needs is for the door to be cracked a little. So when I say I disagree with an interpretation, I’m saying that it seems inconsistent with the whole of scripture.

    If a word or phrase can mean anything, then it means nothing. There are legitimate boundaries in textual criticism, and we need to know where those are. But such knowledge will not be gleaned from randomly-chosen websites whose theories sound good at first hearing. My favorite verse is Prov. 18:17, and it has served me well. When the range of meaning is in dispute, we must consult experts to find the boundaries. Even experts disagree at times, but we dare not call any meaning possible– or impossible– until we’ve done our research and compared it with others.

    So while it’s fine for each one to have a personal conviction, it is dangerous ground unless we’ve done our homework.

  55. Gen 1 declares, as one example, that the sun is NOT a god, rather it was created. Same with the moon. This was contra some other ideas floating around the fertile crescent at the time.

    There are many things that can be seen today as immoral in Torah, but at the time Torah was written they were a step into the Kingdom put in language that the original readers would understand. Atheists use the immoral Bible argument all the time, but that is because they view it out of its cultural context. Similarly, there are many things that can be seen as scientifically simplistic in Torah, but at the time Torah was written they were a step into the Kingdom put in language that the original readers would understand. Neither of these say the Torah is untrue, just that it was written in a specific culture and advanced that culture into the Kingdom as people read it, believed it, and followed it. Taking any text (let alone Bible verses) as some kind of stand alone truth outside of the culture they were written in risks misunderstanding them greatly, making them into something they were never intended to be.

  56. Don,

    Gen 1 declares, as one example, that the sun is NOT a god, rather it was created.

    Genesis 1 says no such thing. I don’t know which bible you are reading from. Genesis 1 also doesn’t say that the earth is NOT god or that plants are NOT god. We can understand that there is only one Creator and all things are created, but Genesis does not say anything directly about the earth, the sky, the planets, the bugs, the cows NOT being god.

    What Genesis 1 does speak about is beginnings. Genesis means beginning or origin. Genesis 1 is all about the beginning and the Beginner. It is not about a refutation of some man-made myths. If I am wrong, show me from the text where the words “NOT god” are in the text.

    Genesis is a timeless work that was given to all of mankind to explain the origin of all people and all created matter. It was not given to one tribe alone to let them know how THEY alone were created. It is God-breathed. The theme of the Beginner and the beginning is picked up by John in John 1:1

    John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    John 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.
    John 1:3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

    John was also not writing to refute myths. John was writing to tie the Creator of Genesis to the Word who became flesh. To see the inspired words of John as merely answering a pagan myth would water down the word of God. God doesn’t have to answer anyone. God is God. When God gives his revelation, He does as He pleases and reveals His own work. He is not required to answer man-made myths. In fact, the strength of God’s argument demolishes myths without even having to challenge them directly because the truth of God outshines the lie.

    John also does not say that the birds are NOT god and the grass, bugs, sun and moon are NOT god. John merely declares the majesty of God in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

    Similarly, there are many things that can be seen as scientifically simplistic in Torah, but at the time Torah was written they were a step into the Kingdom put in language that the original readers would understand. Neither of these say the Torah is untrue, just that it was written in a specific culture and advanced that culture into the Kingdom as people read it, believed it, and followed it.

    The word of God is both simplistic (so that even the simple minded can understand) and complex (things that we are now discovering were written ahead of time in the scriptures). God is able to make his word both understandable and filled with depth. The wonderful way that God did this makes the bible timeless. It also makes the concepts true in any generation. As far as your comment on the “immoral” bible, I am not going to comment here as it would take this post off of my intended topic.

    I am fully amazed at God’s word. The more I study it, the more it becomes like an onion that can be peeled layer after layer. Each layer is more complex and it has amazing depth and yet it has the ability to be understood by the common simplistic man (or woman!) I am also amazed at how often I find a verse that I have read many times and when the verse leaps out at me I wonder how I could have missed such a treasure. I could never tire of such an amazing revelation of God.

  57. Don,

    I want to make sure that you understand that my comments are not meant to be critical of you as a person. We have had many good discussions on this blog and there are times when you actually agree with me even though there are other times that we are on opposite sides of a particular theological fence. What I am trying to do is to encourage us all to stay in the text first and foremost before accepting any outside explanation that adds to or takes away from what is already written. Atheists already are calling Genesis a Christian myth. If we say that God wrote a mythical story to counteract pagan myth, how would that be anything other than a sanctified “Christian” myth? One myth cannot refute another myth. Also an account of creation that has no defined meaning but one which is veiled in a billowy, smoky undefined account that has no biblical interpretation set forth for us to understand what God meant by what He wrote, this “Christian” myth would have absolutely no weight at all to refute a “pagan” myth.

    I for one have been given no reason to put my faith in this kind of a Genesis account that doesn’t mean what God wrote. I choose to accept that the sequential grammar that God inspired in the creation account is exactly what He said – it is sequential. If my belief in a literal Genesis is to be refuted it will not be primarily with outside sources. It will be from within the text itself. Then when that has been done, then you may show me a cultural context from outside the text that adds a second witness to what the text says. So first things first. If we are to continue a talk about a non-literal “picture” or non-literal “poetry”, I am going to continue to ask for the proof from the text. Without a textual proof, we will have to move on. I think this is fair and if not, I am sure someone will pipe up and tell me why I am not being fair.

    Shortly we will be moving onto the next issue of Genesis and that is the issue of why Adam was alone credited with bringing sin into the world. It is a key issue that has brought universal male headship into the church. I hope to get my next post up within a couple of days, God willing.

  58. Cheryl,

    I think it’s only fair to ask ourselves where Biblical literalism as stand alone truth ends and where poetic imagery begins.

    For example, the account given in Joshua 10:12-14 and with apparent repetition in Psalm 19, was used for centuries as proof positive that the sun, stars, and planets all revolve around the earth.

    We know today that geocentrism is simply not true. Not because we dug something out of Scripture to show that it’s not true, but because repeatable experiments and observations have shown that it’s not true.

    Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I believe the Genesis account of God’s majesty and power, but I do not believe that the sun stood still for Joshua because the sun has never revolved around the earth. I believe that God stopped the earth’s axial motion for a day and used poetic imagery to describe it.

  59. Another perspective on “the sun stood still”:

    It’s no different than saying “sunrise” or “sunset”. Even in the most literal context, where we really mean the time we first see the sun or the last time we see it in a day, the expression itself is figurative. The figure of speech itself is poetic if you will, but the reference is to something very literal. This is standard textual analysis.

    So if “the sun stood still”, what matters is that there was a literal miracle where the sun, from our perspective, did not move. Likewise, in creation week everything is from our perspective. And while we can’t get into complex theories of space-time here, there is no scientific reason to deny that what may have taken a gazillion years out in space, from that vantage point, could have appeared from Earth to take a day.

    But while this deals with distant starlight in a young universe, it does not impinge upon the fact of “our perspective” as to the length of creation days. The Hebrew wording– “evening and morning, day [n]” (the two terms together rule out vague periods of time) is clearly indicative of literal solar days from our common experience, from our perspective; whatever happens on Earth is from that perspective. So if Moses was told by God to write “evening and morning, day [n]”, then that is what literally happened here on Earth. Not even the poetry defense can stand against that.

  60. Excellent comments about real events spoken from our perspective. It is also wise to realize that poetic language in the saying “the sun stood still” does not mean that we can make it mean anything we want – whatever we “feel”. Neither does it mean that the poetic language means that it was written to refute a pagan myth. It was written about an actual event and spoken from the perspective of the people who saw the event. That kind of language is acceptable.

    I find the talk of “poetry” in a historical account to be difficult to put a finger on the meaning by the person who declares it to be poetry. There doesn’t seem to be a concrete meaning or an interpretation by God other than what it says. Without God telling us what His “poetry” means or what His reason for recording the account, how could we ever tie Him into the purpose of defending Himself against pagan gods? For what reason is He obligated to defend Himself? In other places God challenges false gods to do as He does, but He is never obligated to answer their challenges and I would like someone who believes differently to instruct me on why God would have to bow down to the level of paganism to even answer it?

  61. I was careful to issue the caveat in comment #63 that I believe the Genesis account of creation as written down by Moses.

    God’s majesty and power is NOT limited by time intervals as we know them, nor did I imply that it was.

    The purpose of my comment was to show that there is a sharp divide between God’s majestic creative power, and what we can observe and measure directly.

    If this means that I do not take all Scripture as literal stand alone truth, and some of it as poetic imagery, then so be it.

  62. #63 Greg,

    I think it’s only fair to ask ourselves where Biblical literalism as stand alone truth ends and where poetic imagery begins.

    I didn’t see this as questioning the Genesis account at all since you didn’t mention poetic imagery in Genesis. I think Paula’s comment that Genesis was written from our perspective and not from outside of our view here on earth, is valid. I saw her words as standing beside yours. What I was getting at was that the language of Genesis is sequential so whatever way one looks at the time period, it must be judged by the grammar as it was written as one event after another. My point was also that God was not obligated to answer a challenge from pagan’s or their view. Unless God mentions the false gods in the account (which He does not), there is nothing in the account that says it isn’t meant to be historical. Poetic language, if it were to exist in the account, does not take away from the account being a real historical event.

    When I am challenged that my view of a historical account of the creation in Genesis 1 is not the best view, I do have freedom to request proof of the claims of the challengers who say that the account is not literal but is only poetry meant to convey something else. I am not saying that I do not believe that anyone who does not believe that Genesis 1 is historical is not a Christian. However, since this is my blog, I reserve the right to request something concrete from those who challenge me. This can be done in a respectful way since we belong to the same family of God. As far as what you do or don’t believe, I don’t know. I didn’t think that you were challenging me.

    As far as the issue of God answering the challenge of pagans who believed that creation was the work of pagan gods, I would be interested in anyone who has a scripture that shows that God is obligated to answer the challenge of pagan gods. I would also be interested to read anyone’s argument that God would answer such a challenge and not even mention the challenge or mention the pagan gods. It seems to me to be a position that is without merit.

  63. Yes, I hope also that I didn’t give the wrong impression when I made reference to “the poetic argument”. I was referring to the habit of some (not anyone here) to make poetry an excuse to interpret anything any way one wants.

    A good illustration of the other extreme is Calvinism’s citation of Psalm 51:5 as doctrine instead of poetic exaggeration. This is clearly poetry and not a statement of doctrine, yet Calvinism uses it as a proof text for Total Depravity. So we can see the contrast between true poetic expression here with the sequential, matter-of-fact narrative of Genesis. And sequence is stated clearly, along with the numbering of each day as corresponding to evening/morning.

    Point being, that there is a critical difference between poetry to convey an emotion, and poetry to describe a fact.

  64. I apologize to all here if it appeared that I went on the defensive.

    Had I read more carefully, I would have known that my comments were not being stacked in the same bin as those who engage in non-legitimate criticism of Scripture.

  65. In the last series of exchanges between Cheryl and Don about the historicity of Genesis 1 and its polemic usefulness, I think that we should remember that the Torah is the covenantal document of Israel, and so history and polemic are in many places combined. I don’t think it is always an either/or situation. The Torah, its parts and the whole, have to be studied in their historical, literary, and cultural context. And the whole point of the history in the Torah is to show how the descendants of Adam, Shem and Abraham became the covenantal people of God.

  66. Frank,
    I agree with you. The historical, literary and cultural context will all mesh together and should not contradict each other. They are all points that we can anchor our theological “ship” to and when the points align together, we can know that we do not misunderstand. I am amazed at how many Christians believe that the accounts of Adam, Shem and Abraham are merely moral myths and these people may or may not have actually lived. However if they are myths then God deliberately misled us with no historical anchor point. I don’t think so.

    Greg,
    Glad that you could see that no one here was lumping you into a category of those who attack the Bible.

    Paula,
    I don’t think your group of friends is so small at all. Lots of us appreciate your wisdom and your gifts.

  67. Paula,

    I am learning that those who have set themselves up as my enemies can be safely ignored so they don’t “count”.

    I am also learning that God will deal with those who unjustly attack us. Paul mentioned the name and he spoke about the harm one of his attackers did to him, but he left it in the hands of the Lord for the “payback”. This leave us free to serve without having to worry about our enemies.

    2 Timothy 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.

    In essence if our enemies are in the Lord’s hands for Him to give them to reap what they sowed, then to us they truly don’t “count”. Think on this as you count up your brothers and sisters in Christ. 🙂

  68. Aw, I was just being my snarky self there Cheryl. 🙂 I keep in mind the “remnant” principle; it seems to be the norm. I actually used to worry about too little persecution since scripture promises it to believers!

    (Ha! The security word is “pain”)

  69. Ah, I think I was mostly preaching to myself in what I said. The ones who consider themselves my enemies think they have the power to stop me from ministering. They think that they have the power to harm and I have no power to continue to serve because of God’s grace. Those who seek to harm God’s sheep will reap what they sow. None of us can afford to rent any space in our heads over the persecution that we receive at their hands, because it is God’s business and it is our business to be faithful and carry on what God has called us to do.

    See what you did to me by mentioning “enemies”? It was an opportunity for me to reflect on my own inability to make peace with those who hate what I am doing for God’s women. Now that I have taken that moment, those unnamed ones will go back into the “uncounted” box in my head. 😉

  70. See what you did to me by mentioning “enemies”?

    The power I wield! 🙂

    Which is actually a good point to remember whenever someone blames wives for their husbands’ sins (“that woman you gave me…”). Only they really believe it, while you and I know we’re joking around.

  71. FWIIW, the words “evening and morning, day n” do not clearly indicate a solar day TO ME in these examples from Gen 1. For 1, evening and morning are the end points of what we call night, not daytime or a 24 hour day. For 2, evening and morning are terms that can be used in metaphors. There are GOOD reasons that Jews decline to insist that the creation days MUST be seen as the same as solar days.

    I am an old earther for many reasons and short discussions here are not going to sway me. I would hope that others who believe that there is only one way to view origins texts on this would study views contrary to their own and see why they make sense to others, if not themselves.

    In any case, I made a attempt at a helpfu

  72. In any case, I made an attempt at a helpful comment by pointing out that any argument that assumes young earth will not be followed by old earthers like me. CBE faces similar things in trying to get their message out. It is Cheryl’s choice on how to present her arguments and she is free to ignore my point.

  73. I don’t think the issue here has been so much about OEC/YEC as it has been about how scripture can be interpreted. And it is not at all as simple as “this is how the Hebrews take it” either. One must consider standard textual criticism of any document, including rules of grammar, historical setting, author, intended audience, etc. It is no more accurate to throw out “Greek thought” as it is to throw out anything else.

    And I think it’s a cheap shot to accuse Cheryl of ignoring your point. I have my issues with her on other topics but I always made it clear that I would not accuse her of “seeing only what she wants to see”, even when that very accusation was made toward me. And in all fairness, I could easily say that you seemed to keep pressing the issue as more of a personal effort to promote OEC than to challenge Cheryl’s interpretational methods. We all have our blind spots, and unless everyone who makes such accusations is prepared to take them in return, it would be best not to make them at all.

    That said, I will only add that what “evening and morning, the nth day” means TO ANY READER TODAY is irrelevant. The important thing is what it meant in Hebrew during the time it was written, and whether this meaning is consistent with this same pattern found elsewhere in scripture. While I don’t have the research here in front of me, I’ve read that this pattern with the numbers always indicates normal Earth days as we know them. And of course, when we consider the Ten Commandments with its statement about the 7-day week being based upon creation week, there is far less speculation involved in taking it as literal.

  74. Don,

    All I want to assume is that anyone (young earth or old earth view) will be open enough hear and understand the points that I am bringing out and then I would desire that they would be open-minded enough to test my argument by the scriptures. If anyone who follows my blog were to dismiss my arguments just because it contracts their presuppositions, then the door is shut for me to teach them anything.

    This is where I put the rubber to the road as far as what submission means. Submission means that one is willing to listen and understand what is being taught. Submission can mean that one is willing to reflect back what he/she hears in order to make sure they properly understand. Then the teaching must be tested for truth against the only measuring stick that is not a rubber ruler. The test must be against the word of God.

    I usually chose not to ignore alternate arguments. I try to ask questions to pinpoint the meaning of the argument so that I can fully understand where the person is coming from. Sometimes my questions are not answered so I find myself assuming I know what they mean. If I am wrong, I like being corrected because it would never do to misrepresent another point of view. When I get to that point, I must test the view by the scriptures. Some may think that this is a wrong thing to do. Some may think that one must just accept another view as valid so that there is no one right view. I do not believe this is scriptural. The Apostle Paul’s teaching was tested by the Bereans and they were considered “noble” for testing even the Apostle Paul. If we test a teaching by the word of God, we too should be considered “noble”. Unless we are instructed that our biblical test is wrong or that we misunderstood the opposing view, the test from scripture will stand. When we our views are tested by the scriptures by others, it gives us a chance to correct our view to measure up to scripture, refine our view or hold to our view even more strongly if it stands the test.

    As far as “evening and morning” that go together with the first day, day two, etc, how would we know what metaphor “evening and morning” refer to? If there is no reference to another meaning, how could we ever come to a consensus about what it means? It seems impossible unless we just take God at his word that there was a time period one the earth that appeared as a dark time (night) and a light time (called day) followed by another dark time and another light time, etc?

    I think the thing that amazes me is the closed mindedness that most old earthers have. Perhaps I am just so amazed because I don’t think this way. I understand that truth is more valuable than my own ego and I also understand that truth can be uncomfortable. Because of that I brace myself to accept truth even if it is uncomfortable and even if contradicts my point of view. But I will not accept another point of view without first testing it by the scriptures. For for old earthers I don’t see them trying to test my arguments by the scriptures. When I have been on other forums all I got was science and reason. The scriptures did not play a major part or perhaps any part at all in the “test”. That way of thinking just doesn’t cut the mustard with someone like me who wants truth more than life itself. However the spiritual truth that I will hold onto will always and only be the truth that is able to be tested by God’s word. Does that seem fair?

  75. Paula,
    It looks like your comment was coming in at the same time as I was writing my comment.

    If I said that you only saw what you want to see, that would have been a wrong way to say it as it would come across as if I know your motives and I certainly do not. If this is what I said, then I ask your forgiveness. It is not up to me to judge heart motives.

    Having said this, I have been feeling like Don is promoting the old earth view and not just interacting with my argument. I have not removed any link because I do want to steer clear of controlling the conversation. This is a place to speak up and say what we think without having to have someone control as long as the comments are respectful. Yet when a view is promoted that I believe contradicts some very important principles of scripture, I have to speak up. Yet I will not close my ears to the argument. I will challenge the view by the scriptures and I will listen carefully for the answers so see if it is I who err. But if someone misses out on my argument and is influenced by old earth because of my own blog, then would it not be right for me to feel bad? Would I not be to blame like I have missed out in providing a solid rebuttal using the scriptures? I do welcome any one to try to refute me, but it does make me nervous when there is no refutation of my view, just a challenge to read up on the other side where the other side gives a point of view that has no opportunity to be challenged because it is not interactive.

    I hope this is understandable. I will be out of the office for a week, but I will be working on finishing the next post that I am already well on the way to putting on line. When I get a chance I will pop in here to read the comments and respond to as many as I can.

    I have great love for you all, whether you accept my view or not. The fact that all of you read what I have to say is such a blessing to me. Thank you!!!

  76. I’m pretty sure you did, but ya know what? I don’t even think it’s worth researching, because I know you, and we all say things in the heat of battle that we don’t even realize. Where I draw the line is when there’s a pattern of personal attack from the same individual, a pattern you don’t show. The important thing is always consistency and equal treatment. As long as we live by our own rules and do so the majority of the time, that’s good.

    And I’m sure I can say for all of us “regulars” here that we have the same love for you and the fearless, relentless defense you make for Christianity in general and women in particular. It’s not easy; and neither is it easy to always see where we are to be flexible and where we dare not be flexible. I see a great need in Christianity to go back to the foundations of the faith, and for training in methods of textual analysis.

  77. What I have been trying to do is propose that both young earth and old earth people can be faithful to the text, but obviously interpret it differently. It is not really useful to make claims like the other “ignores” the text, fails to “take God at his word”, etc. This does not mean that oneself cannot have a preferred interpretation, one can; but one should leave enough room for the other, IMO.

  78. Don, I, like you, have various reasons for being an old earth creationist, and while I agree quite a deal with Cheryl as regards the events occuring on Day Six, I personally believe Day Six, though less than an age, was certainly more than 24 hrs. And I also believe Days One through Five, are indefinite periods of various length. As I have indicated elsewhere, I view Gen 2:4 both as a summarization of 1:1-2:3 and as a lead into 2:5-3:16, which I view as a “historical” commentary on the events, on Day Six, that occurred prior to and after God gave both Adam and Eve the “cultural mandate” of Gen 1:28. Gen 2:4 clearly states, “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” (NASB) Long ago, I came to the conclusion that–on the basis both of same word (Yom), being used here as it is of the individual days 1:3-2:3; that only in 1:14 doe God declare that 24 hr, rotational days are now to be marked; and that God’s Sabbath rest from his creating work continues to this very day, even as he carries on his work of providence and redemption (cf. Gen 2:2 with John 5:16-18 and Heb 4:1-7)–Gen 1:1-2:3 describes an Age of Creation, each of the days being of various length, and Day Six being the shortest. And in this way I am able to harmonize the Scriptures and the proven facts of astrophysics, geology, biology and history, though not in the way insisted on by either Neo-Darwinians or “Scientific” Creationists. For I had serious problems with a number of arguments pressed not only by the Neo-Darwinians, but also with a number of those pressed by the “Scientific” Creationists as well. But that is something to be discussed elsewhere under Creation vs. Evolution, not Women in Ministry.

    Now, my point in stating my OEC viewpoint is not necessarily to win everyone to my position. I state it because I want us all to remember that whether we are YEC’s and OEC’s, the majority of us have a high view of the inspiration, infallibility, and authority of Scripture; believe that whatever role reason, history and experience play in our formulation of doctrine, from first to last, Scripture has the final say; and, I think, we all try to live by the Puritan dictum, enunciated by Richard Baxter, “In essentials, unity; in disputable matters, liberty; but in all things, love.”

    Just recently, CT had a review on a book by OEC authors, THE BIBLE, ROCKS, AND TIME, who argued that this passage was “allegorical.” Though the reviewer made some valid critiques of the book, he then went on to imply that if you were of the OEC persuasion, you inevitably denied that there was a historical Adam and Eve, or that there was a historical Fall that had universal spiritual and physical consequences. I felt compell to comment on the review, first stating where I thought my fellow OECers had erred, but then correcting the reviewer on his misrepresentation of OECers as a whole. And so this commentary I write is an exercise in caution, not persuasion. But I felt this was something I needed to say for the benefit of us all.

  79. in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

    Where is the number? My point here is that there is a world of difference between “the day of the LORD” and “evening and morning, the nth day”. It is the combination, the phrase as a whole, not merely the word “day”, that matters. This is an important detail that needs to be considered, as a general interpretive principle.

    God’s Sabbath rest from his creating work continues to this very day

    This is a common claim: If the seventh day is the day God rested from creative work, and if God still speaks of people entering his rest, then this must still be the seventh day. But that would mean all people, not just the righteous, have entered God’s rest. And it is clearly stated in Heb. that a”Sabbath” still remains, meaning it hasn’t started yet. This passage states that only the righteous can enter it, along with all other scriptures regarding salvation. So the rest spoken of in this context cannot be equated with that of the seventh day of creation. “Today” here is held in contrast to ancient Israel, not to creation week. Notice also that “God specified another day called Today.” Not all the “Todays” are the same.

    Reference is made to creation week and specifically portrays the seventh day as symbolizing God’s rest. But note the direction of the symbolism: the literal seventh solar day is a symbol of God’s rest; God’s rest is not a symbol of the seventh day. And God’s rest will never end; the writer has repeatedly pointed out that the opportunity to enter God’s rest (Today) is temporary, but the rest itself is eternal.

    I mention these two points simply to illustrate that there are indeed problems with these particular lines of reasoning; they are hardly airtight. But of course we can always see the holes in other people’s arguments better than those in our own. But I will say that whenever one claims allegory, one must make sure it is consistent; hence the charge that if creation week is allegorical then there is no reason to omit the accounts of Adam and Eve as well. We need consistency above all, or there is as Cheryl mentioned a rubber standard. Personally, I would be most interested in studying the rationale for treating the “eve/morn day n” as allegory while not so treating the accounts of Adam and Eve.

  80. Paula, as I mentioned before, I didn’t expect my brief summary of my OEC viewpoint would win anyone over; I wrote it, as I said, to remind each other that though we had different interpretations as to the “duration” of the six creation days, we all had a high view of Scripture; we all tried to interpret it as consistently and coherently, as best we could; and where we could agree, we should, and where we couldn’t, to allow liberty of opinion and treat each other with love and respect. And I think we all agree, yes?

    Still, while I respect your view, I will briefly point out why I still disagree. And then I will say no more, because I believe we want to move on.
    1. It does not seem to me that whether you translate the refraining clause as “And there was evening, and there was morning–the first day” or as “And there was an end of the day, and there was a beginning of the day–Day One” at the end of each day–which are both literal and legitimate translations of the Hebrew words,’ereb and boqer, respectively,– iyou can automatically say this is a 24 hr rotational. First of all, when such literal days are described elswhere in the Hebrew text as from “by evening to evening” or “by morning to morning,” but not “by evening was and to morning was”. A clue that perhaps something other than a 24 hr rotational day may be in view? At least I think so, but again, you may disagree. Context and usage must decide.

    2. Even if you are correct that Day 1 to Day Six are literal 24 hr rotational days, yom (“day”) in 2:4 must be being used in a metaphorical sense by Moses and refer to a “period” or “time” longer than 24 hrs, otherwise, you not have a linquistic problem but a logical one: 6 days cannot equal 1 day if they are all 24 hrs long!

    3. And the closing refrain, “And it was evening and it was morning–Day 7” is not to be found. A very significant missing item, I would think, unless Day 7 is itself distinct from the previous six days in length. So I still standfast to my view.

  81. Yes, we all have a high view of scripture. But my point is that even when we think our own view is flawless, we cannot say that those who still disagree are doing so for some negative reason. Yet at the same time, we must have consistent and well-defined methods of interpretation or we are simply molding the scriptures to our personal taste. This is a major issue on the topic of women in ministry, as well as many others.

    I still would like to see a defense of the method that allows Adam and Eve to be literal while not the creation week narratives. Perhaps another time. Until then, I too remain steadfast in my view that those narratives are literal, since I can see no way to consistently claim allegory for them without claiming it for any given scripture, and also since I believe that theories of an old earth can be defeated with science alone.

  82. I agree that ” consistent and well-defined methods of interpretation” is important. I also believe that there is a difference between those who try to be consistent with the creation account and those who see the accounts as what I would call OT parables, or non-literal stories because there is no consensus on what the parables mean. This is not consistent. For those who try to be consistent, I think it is helpful to dialog because it isn’t also understandable to us what is believed. I think the next post will be very helpful to explore our views. That is when I get a chance to finish it. Hopefully I can break away from family to finish it on Sunday.

    I do sincerely appreciate the respectful dialog on these issues.

  83. Here are verses in the ESV that have all of “day, evening, morning” in them.

    (Gen 1:5) God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

    (Gen 1:8) And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

    (Gen 1:13) And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

    (Gen 1:19) And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

    (Gen 1:23) And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

    (Gen 1:31) And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

    (Exo 18:13) The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening.

    (Lev 6:20) “This is the offering that Aaron and his sons shall offer to the LORD on the day when he is anointed: a tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a regular grain offering, half of it in the morning and half in the evening.

    (Num 9:15) On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning.

    (Num 9:21) And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning. And when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they set out.

    (Deu 16:4) No leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the flesh that you sacrifice on the evening of the first day remain all night until morning.

    (Jdg 19:9) And when the man and his concubine and his servant rose up to depart, his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, “Behold, now the day has waned toward evening. Please, spend the night. Behold, the day draws to its close. Lodge here and let your heart be merry, and tomorrow you shall arise early in the morning for your journey, and go home.”

    (Act 28:23) When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.

    It seems to me that the non-Gen 1 uses do not indicate a 24 hour day.

    If someone said to me, “it was evening, it was morning, the second day” it would not at all be clear to me that a 24 hour day was indicated, rather I would suspect a poetic metaphor was being used, as pointed out evening to evening or morning to morning would be a better indication of a 24 hour day. And a natural metaphor (for me) is evening is the onset of darkness/night, which is associated with less order and morning is the onset of light/daytime, which is associated with more order. And God is increasing the order in Creation in each day, so this metaphor makes sense in context.

  84. Don, if you can look at those verses and see anything but a literal solar day, we can’t possibly communicate on this. That sort of approach to any text would render most communication useless.

    And it seems that any time we come to a decent stopping point for this, you start it back up again. So I’m just going to bow out and not respond anymore, and no, that doesn’t mean I don’t have counter-arguments; it’s just obviously not going anywhere.

  85. Paula,

    In those non-Gen verses the term “day” might refer to a solar day, but the 2 terms evening and morning mark either daytime or night-time depending on the order of use. This is part of the reason why I do not see the usage in Gen 1 as literal, due to the use of these terms. Evening to evening would be one solar day, as would morning to morning. Anyone else is free to differ, but I give my reasons for believing as I do in a disputable area.

  86. Why would thousands or millions of years be described as morning (singular) and evening (singular)? One daytime and one nighttime doesn’t work well for millions/billions of years. I think it would have been wise for God to say there were mornings (plural) and evenings (plural) if He meant to identify many human days. Remember that God is the one who created time.

    However it might be better to discuss the issues that I have brought up regarding why Adam was not deceived, like the issue of animals created after Adam. How does the creation of animals after Adam in Genesis 2 become an important fact to glean from the account? Does this present any problems for those who see the creation account as sequential events over thousands (millions, billions) of years? Or is the creation of animals after Adam a thing to be ignored by OEC believers? This is what interests me.

  87. Cheryl,

    If evening is seen as poetic metaphor, it does not need to indicate time, I gave an example of evening meaning “less order” in contrast to morning meaning more order. That is, each creation day results in a further fulfillment of the ordering of reality according to God’s plan and use of the terms evening and morning is confirming that (to me).

    Yes, God created time, and space, or in Einstein’s language, spacetime.

    FWIIW, I do not use time synchronicity in my understanding of Gen 1. Part of the reason is that God can create over time, that is, the “creation days” can be times of proclamation of God’s activity that will take place over universe time in any order God wishes. For example, the first 3 days are anti-tohu (form) and the latter 3 are anti-bohu (void). I see this as a literary device that forms an ordered structure of forming the places for the occupants. But it does not need to mean that plants were physically created before the sun, for example. That is, science can investigate and perhaps discover that the sun was created before plants and that poses no problem.

  88. #91 Don,

    And a natural metaphor (for me) is evening is the onset of darkness/night, which is associated with less order and morning is the onset of light/daytime, which is associated with more order. And God is increasing the order in Creation in each day, so this metaphor makes sense in context.

    If you are saying that God chose evening and morning to not indicate time but rather to indicate “less order”, then you are saying that each new time period starts out with “less order” then the day before. This is not a natural thought from the text. If this is the picture that God wanted to bring, He would have done much better to show light getting brighter and brighter from dark to dim to medium brightness and then to full brightness. But to show a recurring pattern of dark to light to dark to light to dark to light, etc, is not an indication of going from disorder to more order to even more order to the most order. It is going backwards instead of continuing forward. It is much more natural to take the passage for exactly what it says.

    I would also like to see a second witness that shows “evening” being used to mean less order. None of the bible examples that you gave show that meaning.

    Part of the reason is that God can create over time, that is, the “creation days” can be times of proclamation of God’s activity that will take place over universe time in any order God wishes. For example, the first 3 days are anti-tohu (form) and the latter 3 are anti-bohu (void). I see this as a literary device that forms an ordered structure of forming the places for the occupants.

    It doesn’t seem reasonable to me that God would express an “ordered” creation by using a mish-mash of numbered days that are meaningless. Why even give a number to day one if it isn’t first in time? Maybe Eve was created before Adam on day two? Didn’t God think that people would scramble what He said?

    I have been told that God inspired wrong grammar (in 1 Timothy 2:15) because God can do anything He wants. The problem with having God communicate meaningless words is that it makes Him to be a mutterer of nonsense. Ever hear a person who isn’t quite sane who mutters things that don’t make sense? Is our God like that? That is what some seem to think. They make it appear that God doesn’t have to use the rules that he creates for us. He doesn’t have to make sense. He doesn’t have to use proper grammar and he can give an ordered creation a meaningless set of numbers that have no correlation to His works.

    However if we take Genesis for what it actually says, we see that animals were also created after Adam. This is an extremely important event. It helps us to understand that the woman was not a dimwit who could be easily deceived while the man was smarter than Eve was. Instead it gives us a valid reason why God made Adam the guard of the garden and why God deemed Adam’s sin to be treacherous.

    I would really like you to consider that the animals were made after the man (the second half of the creation of the animals). Do you not see any significance to this at all? If we cannot believe the order that God gave then by what logic can we believe any man who tells us the order of creation? And then perhaps woman wasn’t created after man. Perhaps it is only a metaphor that we are supposed to figure out and we haven’t got it yet. It is crazy making to think that there is no solid foundation in Genesis, just make it say whatever one “feels” is right. We have been there before.

    Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.

  89. Cheryl,

    There can be logic to poetry, but it does not need to be strict, it can be allusional. I see the less order/more order as allusion/metaphor inside each creation day, it does not need to cross days.

    In Gen 1:4-5 God does not call night good, while daytime is called good.

    I never even thought the creation days are a mishmash, I see the order as forming a structure as I mentioned. I see the order differently that you do, but that does not make mine a mishmash. Also, the 7th day is called holy, so there needed to be six before it for this to make sense.

    I do not think God inspires nonsense, however we are to use our heads when something might appear to be nonsense at first to us.

    I see each of the 3 origins stories at first as standalone by themselves. One can put 1 and 3 together fairly easily. But story 2 is a challenge to integrate with the others and faithful people can do it differently. But first one needs to read each pericope on its own.

    Given that I do not see Gen 1 as requiring synchronization in universe time, there is no time problem to address in Gen 2. So yes, in Gen 2 the man knows more than the woman and bears more responsibility; not because he is a man, but because he knows more.

  90. Don,

    There can be logic to poetry, but it does not need to be strict, it can be allusional.

    No need for strict logic? God is the Master Communicator and He is the Creator of logic. I see no such category as “allusional” logic. Rather God consistently through the scriptures communicates what He means and any allegory has meaning.

    I see the less order/more order as allusion/metaphor inside each creation day, it does not need to cross days.

    Then the different days have no meaning. God could be helped in His endeavor if He would have removed the order of the days and removed the detail of the creation actions. He also could have been helped if He would have provided the meaning of the allegory. Without a identified meaning for the “allegory”, God has failed to be the Master Communicator if you are right and He has left the most important record of Creation’s history up for grabs. Make it say whatever you want. This does not cut the mustard with me. The God that I find in the pages of scripture has kept his word as meaningful throughout the generations. Through the history of the church, the record of creation has given us hope that there is a God who is attentive to detail and that he has created all things for our benefit. Without the detail, the proof is gone and left up for grabs to whoever thinks he knows God’s mind.

    In Gen 1:4-5 God does not call night good, while daytime is called good.

    The darkness is absence of the light. But even in the absence of light, God brings his smaller lights to reveal the light. There is no pure blackness in this “good” creation that is without light.

    I never even thought the creation days are a mishmash, I see the order as forming a structure as I mentioned.

    The order is what God has given. The structure is what God has already said. Our words can never compare to what God has already revealed. If we remove the sequential order that God deliberately has woven into the account, and we distrust that He revealed event after event after event after event, then how can we honor his grammar? The measuring stick is His word, His grammar and His eye witness account.

    I see each of the 3 origins stories at first as standalone by themselves.

    Adam was not created more than once. If the accounts meaning something other than the one creation account, then God has purposely set out to confuse us. Then he really doesn’t care what we can know about creation. That isn’t the God that I have found in the pages of the Bible. I have fallen in love with the Master Communicator not a parable maker who refuses to give the meaning of the parables.

    But story 2 is a challenge to integrate with the others and faithful people can do it differently.

    Either the chapters integrate with the other chapters without contradiction or God has failed. The question is not are people faithful, but is God faithful to inspire an account without contradiction.

    By the way I haven’t read how you integrate the accounts. I only get the idea that you don’t integrate them at all, which frankly tells me that you can’t integrate them together. So if you can’t, why not let me try? All you need to do is show me the contradictions in my view. I believe that all false views will have problems and contradictions. If my view is false, there should be contradictions to expose. I welcome that if you are able.

    Given that I do not see Gen 1 as requiring synchronization in universe time, there is no time problem to address in Gen 2.

    This makes no sense at all. God has not revealed what is “universe time”. It also would be foolhardy to reveal the creation account in a time that is meaningless to humans on earth. It would seem that He was writing the account for angels instead of his human creation. I don’t think so.

    So yes, in Gen 2 the man knows more than the woman and bears more responsibility; not because he is a man, but because he knows more.

    Don, my friend, I am absolutely thrilled that we agree on one thing. May the Lord bless you real good!

  91. Jesus does not explain all the parables he teaches in the gospels, only some of them.

    We differ on our interpretation in this area, just like others differ on their interpretation of end times. We see thru a glass darkly and some things are simply disputable, Paul discusses some of them.

    I do not need to convince you I am correct for me to continue to hold my beliefs (nor you me); I can try to explain some aspects but I keep getting misunderstood. I did give 2 of the books I use to inform my beliefs. I assure you my beliefs in this area are not lightly held but after deep study.

    Just as egals get dinked by comps for “not holding to Scripture” so do I feel dinked in this area by Cheryl and Paula but I find that such terminology does not advance the discussion between egals and comps and between young earthers and old earthers. The first thing is to ASSUME both are trying to be faithful and not express dinks.

  92. Just as egals get dinked by comps for “not holding to Scripture” so do I feel dinked in this area by Cheryl and Paula but I find that such terminology does not advance the discussion between egals and comps and between young earthers and old earthers. The first thing is to ASSUME both are trying to be faithful and not express dinks.

    Don, I already expressed my belief that nobody is doubting scripture here nor accusing the other side of such. Can you point to something I said that indicates otherwise? There was surely a great misunderstanding here.

    What I have actually said is that I believe your approach to interpretation is inconsistent. I asked for an explanation of how Adam and Eve can be considered real and literal while the days of creation can be called allegory, but so far no such explanation has been given. I didn’t demand it but instead left it for another time.

    If saying such things is perceived as a personal attack, once again we cannot communicate. And FWIW, I could turn around and accuse you of making a false accusation, but I won’t, because Christians need to learn how to separate the person from the argument. Until we all do, all such conversations will deteriorate into catfights.

  93. Since you asked I cover some of your YEC posts on this thread.

    Post 28 – fine

    Post 43 – fine but unclear to me

    Post 64 – last paragraph is a concern, note I comment on your claim that evening/morning/day means a 24 hour day in post 93.

    Post 68 – somewhat clarified post 64 to reduce concern but then post 64 becomes unclear to me.

    Post 81 – I was not making a cheap shot at Cheryl, I was trying to help her in expanding her argument’s reach to include old earthers, if she does not want to pursue that angle, that is up to her and fine with me. I am far from promoting OE in this forum, as it is too tiny to do much. This is a study topic, not one given to a few posts. What I was TRYING to promote is recognition that both YE and OE are held by faithful people, that is, neither can prove they are correct to the other, it is a disputable issue.

    Post 92 – You misunderstood my point in post 91, which I then tried to clarify in post 93. You also claimed I would not accept some “decent stopping point”, how does this not say I am going beyond what is decent?

    My post 93 – I state evening to evening would be a 24 hour day and morning to morning would also; but evening then morning marks the endpoints of nighttime. You had no comment.

    I agree with most of your interpretation cautions and methods.

  94. Post 43: What I mean is that a theory that is overly complex is probably inaccurate. The YEC view is the simplest; it does not read into the text but takes it according to the tone and context, which is matter-of-fact without any hint of allegory. If God wanted to make a list of things happening in order, I don’t know how else He could have put it. Other interpretations require much speculation.

    I don’t understand your comments on posts 64 and 68, but that’s ok.

    Post 81 comment: Again, nobody here has accused the other side of being unfaithful; I’m not sure why you keep saying this. But at least it illustrates the fact that since you feel we have misinterpreted your posts, you can understand when we say you have misinterpreted ours as well.

    Post 92 comment: I don’t see why you think I misunderstood your post 91. But per the flow of the conversation, I am of the opinion that just when it seemed we could all drop it and go on to something else, you’d post again, Just my opinion, that’s all.

    I did not comment on your post 93 because I had just said I was going to bow out. But then you named me so I had to respond. FWIW, when I see “there was evening and morning, the nth day” I take it as the Hebrew concept of a day beginning at sunset, not as how people today view such an expression.

    Anyway, all I ever tried to say in this thread was that an interpretation method that cannot explain why one incident in a passage is allegorical but not another in the same passage, is a method that makes no sense to me. I look at the context of each (Adam and Eve, creation week) and see no literary cues to justify treating them differently. That’s just the way I see it, and the reason I keep asking for someone who holds this view to explain the difference. Until then, there is no point in discussing it further, because we have no common principle to appeal to.

  95. I can accept the Hebrew concept of a day beginning at evening, this was what I was referring to when I said evening to evening implies a 24 hour day, as it is a normal Hebrew day. But FOR ME, I cannot in faith make that inference for the words in Gen 1, “becoming evening, becoming morning, day one”. I cannot claim you are NOT acting in faith thinking it means a 24 hour day, my only request is that I wish to be considered similarly, that since, in faith I am not able to see it as a 24 hour day, my belief in OE not be dinked as somehow “less than” belief in YE. That is, for me, the description is not a 24 hour day or a 12 hour day (daytime) for that matter, so it must be a metaphor for a longer time for me. And this is just one tiny reason I am OE.

  96. Don,
    I can see that you have become offended. For that I am sorry. It has not been my purpose to offend you. Please forgive me. I have not challenged other people here who are old earth as it appears to me that they are taking the days as more than 24 hours but keeping the creation acts as sequential. With you I have not been able to get a handle on what you believe is literal and sequential and what is an allegory. Everytime I asked questions I didn’t get answers that helped me to understand. I honestly don’t think that I able to get answers that would help me to understand your view so maybe it is time to drop it so that what as I say is not seen as a attack.

    However there are two things that I would like answers to if you are willing to engage and to try to help me to understand if possible. I am not looking to put you down or put your view down. The key is that I want to understand. Maybe I am the one who is too dinkable because of my inability to understand.

    Here goes:
    1. Were animals created after Adam was created? Yes or no?
    2. You said that “evening to evening” implies a 24 hour day. Can you please point me to the phrase “evening to evening” in the bible so I can see that it is this exact phrase that implies a 24 hour period? I have not been able to find this phrase so please show me what scripture you are referring to.

    If you would like to engage in these two questions, then I am willing to continue. If not, let’s drop it because, honestly, I cannot understand your view at all. For someone who has been accused of being too logical, I cannot get a handle on your view of the creation account because I cannot understand it.

    I would also like to make the point that I have not purposely challenged any other OEC person who appears at all consistent in the issue of sequential grammar. I believe that I have stated several times that those who do not agree with me are my brothers and sisters in Christ. If I haven’t made it clear enough, I am sorry. I am not questioning anyone’s salvation.

    Don, I consider you a valuable person. I believe you are a dear brother in Christ.

  97. 2. As far as I know, evening to evening is not mentioned in Scripture. I get that this delimis a 24 hour day from the Hebrew culture, which I maintain is an assumed substrate to understand the Bible (and I think you agree). That is, all authors except perhaps Luke were Hebrews and so one needs to know the basic Hebrew mindset to make the most sense of the Bible. Recall that in the limit the Bible is just marks on paper, any meaning is provided by the culture where those marks have a meaning.

    1. I want to be careful on terminology, in the 2nd origins story, animals are FORMED after the human is formed. The ESV adds a “had” so this is how they reconcile Gen 1 with Gen 2, so they claim that the animals were NOT formed after man was formed.

  98. Don,
    #2. While the Hebrew day starts with sunset and ends with sunset, a “day” is not referred to as “evening to evening”. And since the scriptures speak about a regular day throughout the bible without ever using the term “evening to evening” we would not expect God to use this term either. If you need that term “evening to evening” to be the only way that God could prove to you that he was speaking about a normal day, then I don’t think we could ever prove a normal day at all throughout the rest of the scriptures if this was the standard.

    It is time to drop this one because it is going nowhere.

    #1. The ESV is wrong in adding “had” to the verb formed. The grammar is verb, qal, active, prefixed (imperfect) sequential. In answering question #1 you answered both yes and no. Which is it? Were animals formed by God after Adam was created? Yes or no? What do you say?

  99. On #1, I did not answer yes and no, I said in in the 2nd origins story (Gen 2) the animals were formed after the human was formed. I pointed out that the ESV made a “highly interpretive” choice in presenting how they reconciled Gen 1 and Gen 2 in their translation; I mentioned it as they claim to be a “word for word” translation (which implies to them very little interpretation in their choices), but this is at least a partially false claim here and elsewhere.

    On #2, it would be helpful to indicate that at least you understand why I cannot see the creation days as 24 hours, even if you disagree. Yom/day has a range of meanings, I picked one of the allowed meanings, which happens to be different from yours. I have already agreed that your selection is allowed by the faithful, it would be helpful if you agreed mine was also.

  100. Don,
    I am trying to get answers so that I can figure out if the problem is me (that I am such a dimwit that I cannot even figure out a simple straight answer) or if the answer is that you are not actually answering my questions.

    #1 I asked for a yes or no answer because I want to know what you believe. Were animals formed by God after Adam was created? I don’t want to hear what both sides say. I want to know what you believe from the text.

    #2 I do not understand why you do not see creation days as 24 hours. When I read your answers it makes me feel akin to watching someone say to God that they will not believe in Him unless He does some miracle in the sky. In other words what He has already said is not good enough. It has to be exactly the way that only they would believe. So if I take your “evening to evening” I can see that if God had said that you would say that it is a unique saying and nowhere else in the bible does it say “evening to evening” so this is a sign that we are to take it as poetry, a parable, a metaphor, etc, etc. Secondly it appears that it isn’t just the days that turn you away from the literal. You appear to me to want to cut up the creation account into different stories that have different creation accounts that are allowed to contradict one another. Perhaps a different Adam in each account? I really don’t know, but I am starting to doubt that I will ever get a straight answer so that I can even acknowledge your view. Perhaps this is a self-defense mechanism. Perhaps it is still me as a dim wit. But honestly it feels like trying to nail jello to the wall. So unless I can even identify the jello (and attach it gently to the wall so it stays), I cannot agree that your view is faithful to the text because I do not understand your view at all.

    Does this make any sense?

  101. I think part of the problem in understanding what I am saying is that you have a way of putting together these verses that I do not use, so when I give an aspect of what I believe, you do not know where to fit it in your schema, but I am not using your schema. I do not think you are a dim wit, quite the contrary.

    I will back up and be more basic.

    Here are the pericope starts, see if you agree, you do not need to agree with my titles, just the start of each pericope. If you disagree, tell me where.
    Gen 1 – Creation hymn
    Gen 2:4 – 2 problems, 2 solutions
    Gen 3 – Sins and consequences
    Gen 4 – Murder and consequences
    Gen 5 – Human descent

    I claim the 3 origins stories start with Gen 1, Gen 2:4 and Gen 5. Do you agree with this?

    Do you see that one of the problems being address in the first origins story is too much water and in the 2nd is not enough water?

  102. Don,
    I can see that I gave too much information again so that my questions were not answered. Let me try one more time. Are you able to answer questions to allow someone from outside of your view to understand? If so, please answer these questions so that I can get a handle on what you believe.

    #1 I asked for a yes or no answer because I want to know what you believe. Were animals formed by God after Adam was created? I don’t want to hear what both sides say. I want to know what you believe from the text.

    #2 You appear to me to want to cut up the creation account into different stories that have different creation accounts that are allowed to contradict one another. Perhaps a different Adam in each account? Are there differences in the creation accounts that allow them to contradict each other?

  103. #1 The 2nd origins narrative says that animals were formed after the human.

    #2 The way I study the Bible is by pericopes, not doing this leads to the potential for mixing verses from different pericopes into a mishmash. This is done a lot, but it not a good practice. It is not that a mishmash is always the result, sometimes it is not, but one needs to be careful and I think the best way to be careful is to deal with each pericope separately. I am not cutting up anything by letting each pericope be its own story on its own terms; God could have inspired a seamless single narrative creation/origins story but did not do so.

    P.S. The 4 gospels DO have seemingly contradictory things in them, as I am sure you know, even tho we know they are describing the same person, Jesus. Atheists love to point these out. My point is when we find seemingly contradictory things in text, there are various ways to address this; and we might find that we differ on how we do this.

  104. Don,
    #1 I still don’t know what you believe. Since you believe that much is allegory, I don’t know if what you are saying is allegory or real. Do you believe that God formed the animals after Adam in realty or is this one of the “stories” that is meant to be taken as an allegory because it contradicts the “actual” creation account?

    #2 I do not believe that the Bible contradicts itself, even the gospels. Are there differences in the creation accounts that allow them to contradict each other?

  105. Cheryl, it might be of interest to know that at least one person (ex-atheist.com) sees any alleged incongruities in the scriptures as paradox. But personally, I believe the gospels for example are simply four perspectives on one reality and that they do not contradict each other; instead, we must consider errors in our thinking or presumptions. The same goes for how I view Genesis; they are different perspectives on one reality. Just as the gospel writers each had a different goal in mind (not different facts but different choices in which facts to present and when), so also each treatment of creation week has a different purpose but all the same fact or reality.

    I have also observed that for some people, saying exactly what they believe is not easy. But whenever I’ve had any such uncertainty, I just say “I don’t know” or “I haven’t decided yet”. However, in this case I think the question is “what is possible”: is it even possible to allow that the days of creation are anything but normal solar days from our experience and perspective? This same question could be asked on any controversy, such as Calvinism or Eternal Security.

    My view is that I should be able to state my conviction on these issues without being accused of calling my opponent unfaithful to scripture. Too often this happens in debating male supremacists, as we all know. We simply disagree on what meanings are possible. So when I say I believe it is impossible for the days to be other than normal solar days, I’m not saying all who disagree are stupid or unfaithful to scripture; I’m just stating what I believe.

    But in this particular case, Don is stating his personal conviction that the days are long ages yet without explaining what interpretive method allows it and can be tested on other parts of scripture, and this is frustrating to us. Another example is when I cite Rom. 5:18 and ask Calvinists what allows them to change the meanings of “all” and “many” within one sentence; whatever answer they choose cannot be applied consistently to other scriptures. Yet they stand by their interpretation, and they think I am unfaithful to the “plain reading” of scripture.

    Just some observations. “-)

  106. I DO give at least partial reasons for my OE belief, that these reasons do not fit into a schema that you use that results in your belief of YE is NOT my problem, the problem is that your schema is so confining you do not see where to hang my beliefs, the solution is that I do not hang my beliefs on the schema you use, but my guess is you are so close to your schema you do not see it as such, as it apparently seems so “obvious” to you. This is VERY SIMILAR to what the non-egals do with egals in trying to dismiss them, they use a schema that assumes male preference over the entire Bible and this is so “obvious” to them that they at first think egals are simply bogus, then they end up not understanding them unless they change.

    The YE/OE area is a big one with scads of books by proponents of each. It is simply not possible on a forum like this to try to repeat what is already in books. But I can try to give indications of why I believe as I do. I believe a Berean should study both sides in this area and come to their own conclusions, while not dismissing others who see things differently. I gave a book “Paradigms on Pilgrimage” that is written by 2 former YE people. I recommend it, as it covers a lot of the Scriptural AND scientific reasons for OE. Paula replied that there were those who flipped from OE to YE, yet gave no book. I would read one if it existed, will you YE people read P on P? One of the authors is also a guy who was a main actor in the recent “The Books of the Bible” version of the TNIV so he is no slouch as a scholar.

    The very way Cheryl asks her questions assumes her schema, which is why I find it hard to give her an answer that she wants, as I do not assume her schema. I give an answer as best I can, but it seems insufficient to her. So I back up to basics as I understand it (pericopes), but find even the basics are not agreed upon, or at least not responded to; instead I get more questions.

    I do not believe the Bible contradicts itself either, but it can SEEM to do so and these are puzzles to solve, not ignore or deny. It means we need to dig deeper as it is likely we are missing something.

    FWIIW, I think the allegorical method of interpretation is one that has been greatly misused, used where it should not be. So I hesitate to say I use allegory, but it is true I do interpret some prehistory verses differently than YE people.

  107. Don,

    You seem to presume that none of us YECs have ever studied OEC. Let me assure you that this is not the case. I spent years in boards just on that topic, debating every flavor of theory from pure evo to the various compromise theories. I’ve also spent years on matters of interpretation, logic, literature, and textual criticism. To say that those who disagree with you are unwilling to consider other possibilities is both unfair and untrue. Are you saying we’re not Bereans?

    And I’m not saying you haven’t explained your personal conviction, but that you haven’t yet given an explanation as to how, from the text, you determine whether something is allegory, such that your method could be tested for consistency. This is indeed “your problem”, your responsibility.

    You know I have a blog, and you can easily look up the category on Science to see what I have about that. Besides, we’re not here in this thread to find out why other people believe as they do, but why you do. We could sit here and line up experts till the cows come home but it still wouldn’t tell us what method YOU use to examine scripture and determine whether it’s an allegory or not. Will you read some of the massive amount of YEC literature I refer to in my blog? At this point I really don’t care; all I want to know is what interpretive method you use that can be applied to all scripture, which tells you whether something is an allegory. You, not somebody else. As for my own method, see The Fountain of Truth in my blog.

    Again, I’m no newcomer to this topic of the age of the earth, nor to textual criticism. I’m only asking you to explain what it is about creation week that tells you it’s an allegory, while the account of Adam and Eve is not. Let’s just concentrate on that one point, okay?

  108. I do not think I have said that the creation week is allegory, I have called it a creation hymn (as have others) and I have said it can be called poetic narrative and/or narrative with poetic elements and that people can disagree over what is narrative and what is poetry, some seeing more narrative and some seeing more poetry. From everything we have discussed, I see it as having more poetry than you.

    Some aspects I have shared are:
    1) bara/create can take lots of time elsewhere in the Bible, so it is POSSIBLE to take time here also, FOR ME.
    2) The structure of the week, the first 3 days being anti-tohu (formless) and the latter 3 anti-bohu (void). This indicates a literary structure TO ME.
    3) The “morning, evening, day 1” does not indicate a 24 hour day, nor a 12 hour daytime to me, TO ME.

    Others are:
    4) The 7th day does not have the same ending. In fact, all of the days have differences in literary structure.
    5) The order of doing things is different in Gen 1 and Gen 2, also the problems are different.
    6) Sun on day 4, but earth rotation in relation to a sun defines a day, in MY understanding.

    And there are others. Again, Jews themselves call them 6 creation days and leave it at that, letting the days be special and allowing various understandings. Now it is not the case that YE people do not have what they see as solutions to these concerns, it is that the YE arguments fail to convince me, so in faith I am OE. There are also science aspects as truth is one, but I decline to get into that, at least here.

    I also feel I am being asked questions from a schema I do not believe in, yet when I try to go to basics I get no response, just more questions. And I have offered to read a book by a former OE who became YE, yet I have suggested a book on the opposite yet have received no response from Paula or Cheryl on reading P on P or even a book suggestion for me.

  109. I give up, Don. I don’t know how else I can say “Please explain why Adam and Eve are literal but creation week is not, so we can use your method on other scriptures to see if it’s valid.”

    I’m not asking you to adopt my view, and I did give reference to where you can read links on the YEC position. And I explained that I am well familiar with the OEC position; there is no need to keep repeating it.

    If all I’ve written is not a response, then we’ve completely wasted our time and I deeply regret the effort. I will say no more, even if you address me.

  110. Clarification: By book suggestion, I mean the name of a book by a former OE who became YE. Paula said that such people exist but did not give a book. I gave a book for the opposite and recommended it.

  111. Paula,

    Your question ASSUMES your schema, yet when I try to back up to see where we differ on interpretation methods, you decline to respond to my BASIC questions. That is YOUR choice, not mine. You decline to say whether you will read a book I recommend. I even ask for a recommendation from you, yet you decline to give such. All your choices.

  112. Don,
    At this point I would like the conversation to stop the discussion of OE and YE. This is taking us away from the points that I would like to make. Please stay on track and talk about the creation of Adam and Eve and the animals. The account is a historical account. Here is what I see as the problem:

    Sally woke up and had breakfast. Then she went to school and dropped off her two younger children. Next she went shopping to pick up some bread. Then she dropped off her older children at high school. Then she went to the dog store and bought some dog food. Then she went home.

    This is a historical account. It is not rocket science. The question is did Sally drop off children after she went shopping for bread?

    Can we say that we cannot answer this question because of the schema of the person asking the question? The fact is that we are talking about history, not the plans to build a house or disputable theology. We are also not talking about Calvinism or whether tongues is for today or any other doctrinal issue where we can have differences. We are also NOT talking about the length of the “days”. We are talking about whether animals were formed by God after Adam was formed from the dirt by God. Are these historical events? I say they are historical events. From your inability to answer my questions, I don’t think you see history at all. Would you do the same things with the gospels? Is John historical but Mark is allegorical? Is Luke half allegory and half history and is Matthew completely pie in the sky, with no historical information? If you do not do this to the historical gospels, why will you not answer questions about the historical account of creation?

    So no more discussion about the length of the days, please and thank you.

    Was Adam formed by God? If it was a real, literal event, then it has a set point in time. Were animals created after Adam? If animals exist and they were formed by God, then we should be able to answer this question without accusing the person asking the question of having a “schema”?

    While I agree with Paula that you have not given any reason why you believe as you do, I also believe that you have not given out what you do believe. I cannot get a handle on what you believe and instead of helping me understand, you attack me for asking questions. This is not right.

    I do not know if you actually believe that animals were really created after Adam or if these animals were a piece of poetry that said one thing but was not actually a historical event. If you cannot answer this question so that logical people like me can figure out what you believe, then this conversation will have to end. It is extremely frustrating to me that you do not directly answer questions but want to accuse me of seeing history as merely history and thus somehow I must be illogical.

    Perhaps you do not see Adam as a real man created at one point in history. Perhaps I have misunderstood and you believe that everything is poetry. Adam is poetry and Eve is poetry and the first animals are poetry. Then we actually know nothing at all about the history of creation, but we can “feel” God’s love and that is about all we really know.

  113. I attacked no one for asking questions. My questions remain unanswered, I at least attempted to answer yours, altho you might not agree with my answers or even think they are answers. It is because my questions remain unanswered (even in an attempt) that I feel disrespected as this indicates to me you see this as a non-peer relationship.

    The gospels were each written from different perspectives to different Christian communities from 30 to 60 years after the events they describe, they are not like newspaper articles recording events as they happened. The intended initial audience is also different for each, which can help explain some differences in presentation. Sometimes truncation occurs, which can be a curve ball if you are a Greek thinker like most of us. For example, Jesus on no sign except the sign of Jonah and Jesus on divorce contain truncations in some gospels. But if you do not know about the possibility of truncation then it is a (seeming) contradiction for Jesus to say “No sign” in one gospel and “No sign except Jonah” in another. (Mat 12, 16; Mark 8; Luk 11).

  114. On Adam, yes, humans were formed by God. I am fuzzy on details, perhaps it is as you say, perhaps not, this is something that I have on the shelf as I see thru a glass darkly on this. Gen 2 says that animals were formed after the human. I hope I am not put down for sharing what I believe.

  115. Don,

    My questions remain unanswered, I at least attempted to answer yours, altho you might not agree with my answers or even think they are answers.

    What questions on the creation of Adam or the animals did I not answer? You are the one who has not answered my questions. It seems that you are trying hard to skirt the questions than even try to answer what you believe. You gave me what Genesis 2 appears to say, but you did not say what you believe. I do not yet know if you believe the animals created after Adam were real animals or were “poetry” animals or “hymn” animals which would mean that it is not a historic event (or historical animals). The fact that you fail to answer my questions seems to me that you do not want me to know the answers as it wouldn’t be to your benefit. What else can I think?

    It is because my questions remain unanswered (even in an attempt) that I feel disrespected as this indicates to me you see this as a non-peer relationship.

    I do not disrespect you. In fact I agree that this is a non-peer relationship because I am not even in the ballpark with your education or your intellectual capacity. But just because I am not as smart as you are doesn’t mean that what I have to say or the questions I ask are not to be considered. And it also doesn’t mean that I disrespect you. I just want my questions to be answered.

    Many understand that it is rude to tear down a straw man by trying to refute something that an opponent does not believe. I believe that it is best to completely understand what the other person believes so that I can either agree with it or give my objections to it. I cannot understand what you believe because you are not giving me enough information to understand your view. If you actually believed that the account was a historical event it should not be too hard to say so. Must I assume that you believe that Genesis 1-3 is mostly non-historical? What else can I assume since you will not tell me?

    But if you do not know about the possibility of truncation then it is a (seeming) contradiction for Jesus to say “No sign” in one gospel and “No sign except Jonah” in another. (Mat 12, 16; Mark 8; Luk 11).

    Jesus said that “no sign” would be given because no sign would be given unless they believed. The sign of Jonah is the resurrection and Jesus did not appear to anyone who was not a believer. Therefore “no sign” was given to the unbeliever. Yet a sign “the sign of Jonah” was given but it was “no sign” to the Pharisee leaders. There is absolutely no contradiction at all and one doesn’t need a truncation to explain the matter.

    Don, you have been on my blog for a long time and I have always treated you with respect even when I haven’t agreed with you in everything. I have appreciated your help in a lot of things on this blog. For you to be offended by my questions seems very out of character for you. I haven’t seen you offended even when comps were coming at you on the slick discussion boards. It seems to me that somehow I have pulled on your security blanket. If this is the case perhaps it would be better for the discussion to end because I will not stop asking for enough information so that I can understand. Perhaps someone else can give me the answers to my questions and you and I can stop discussing this issue so that you are no longer offended. Fair enough?

  116. Don,

    You were responding at the same times as I was, so our comments crossed over.

    I am fuzzy on details, perhaps it is as you say, perhaps not, this is something that I have on the shelf as I see thru a glass darkly on this.

    What part of the sequential account in Genesis 2 would cause you to be fuzzy so that you are not sure if the account is historical or not? Why might animals not be created (formed by God) after Adam?

  117. Mar 8:10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.
    Mar 8:11 The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
    Mar 8:12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
    Mar 8:13 And he left them, got into the boat again, and went to the other side.

    The disciples were with Jesus when he said no sign would be given to this generation. This generation includes his disciples.

    Luk 11:29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.

  118. It is to the EVIL generation that the sign of Jonah will be given, according to Luke.

    Things are fuzzy as I cannot integrate (or at least have no integrated) all my beliefs in this area. In the Gen pre-history, I believe it describes a local flood. The tower of Babel was a probably Babelonian ziggurat.

    Chap 8 of Paradigms on Pilgrimage is “Was Adam Created Before of After the Animals?”.

  119. The basic idea is that the Bible uses phenomenological language quite a bit. It describes things by appearance and not necessarily “real” reality. This turns out to be a good thing as views on reality change, while appearance is pretty consistent. And believers can differ on what is phenomenlogically “real” and what is really “real” in the Bible. Just a few centuries ago, Galileo was persecuted based on the interpretation of a few verses. Now most of us see those verses as “not really real” but they did back when.

    The questions that I asked that were not answered were:
    1. The 5 pericopes at the start of Genesis.
    2. The offer to exchange reading, if someone reads Paradigms on Pilgrimage (which I admire highly), I offered to read a similar book with a different viewpoint.

  120. That is, Gen 1-11 (pre-history) might be written “as to appearances” in some ways. This might also happen elsewhere in the Bible, but might be more prevalent in the pre-history. This is what is fuzzy for me and do not want to be dinked for it.

  121. Don,

    The sign was given to the evil generation yet they rejected the sign. The Pharisees understood the sign but they did not believe it. Matthew gives the account to show us that the Pharisees understood the sign that was given to them:

    Matthew 27:62 Now on the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate,
    Matthew 27:63 and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’
    Matthew 27:64 “Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.”

    So the sign was indeed given to the evil generation and those who refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah understood the sign and tried to fight against it by sealing the tomb.

    There is no contradiction at all since the sign was given yet “not given” since it was not only not accepted but no unbeliever saw Jesus after his resurrection.

  122. Don,

    Things are fuzzy as I cannot integrate (or at least have no integrated) all my beliefs in this area.

    I am asking you what it is in the account in Genesis 2 concerning the formation of the animals by God that would be fuzzy to you? What about the inspired words and the inspired grammar is fuzzy?

  123. Don,

    And believers can differ on what is phenomenlogically “real” and what is really “real” in the Bible.

    So were the animals that were created after Adam just in his head? He only thought he saw God create them? Perhaps Eve was also in his head? Perhaps she wasn’t really real but a figment of his imagination?

  124. Don,

    The questions that I asked that were not answered were:
    1. The 5 pericopes at the start of Genesis.

    Pericopes cannot be discussed until we know what is reality and what is not. I do not understand you at all so we have to go to the basics o any discussion.

    On your #2 I have already said that this post will not be discussing the length of days ond OE or YE is beyond the scope of this discussion so please drop it.

  125. The words are not that fuzzy. It is a question of what methods of interpretation are appropriate. How much is “phenomenologically” real and how much is “really” real in the Bible is a disputable area, esp in the pre-history. This is part of the puzzle of integrating Gen 1 with Gen 2. People can differ on this.

  126. On the sign of Jonah, the accounts differ. The Pharisees in Mark (apparently) have not heard about the sign of Jonah, while those in Matt have. For me the solution is that Mark truncated. But this makes treating the Bible like Euclid precarious, but I think that it should NOT be treated in that way.

  127. Don,

    That is, Gen 1-11 (pre-history) might be written “as to appearances” in some ways. This might also happen elsewhere in the Bible, but might be more prevalent in the pre-history. This is what is fuzzy for me and do not want to be dinked for it.

    There is no such thing as “pre-history” since creation is the start of history. Your words here make no sense at all. Also your word usage “dinked” is inflammatory.

    I see no reason to continue this discussion. When you call history “pre-history” as if it doesn’t exist and you attribute an attack mode on my behalf, it is apparent that there is no purpose to our discussion. I can not get a handle on what you believe or do not believe and it appears that you are not willing to walk in my steps to help me and the rest of us understand what you believe and why you believe as you do, then all this discussion can do is cause hard feelings.

    I must say that I am disappointed and very surprised. I have always seen you as being articulate and calm and never easily ruffled. Even during the difficult times on CARM, you did not attack the comps. I don’t know what happened to that sweet, calm and unruffled Don who never took anything as an attack against him personally. But here for some reason you are taking everything personally and responding as if I have no ability to understand your high level of thinking.

    On the sign of Jonah, the accounts differ. The Pharisees in Mark (apparently) have not heard about the sign of Jonah, while those in Matt have. For me the solution is that Mark truncated. But this makes treating the Bible like Euclid precarious, but I think that it should NOT be treated in that way.

    I have already given you the biblical explanation of why there was no sign and yet it was a sign. You have not even tried to engage my biblical explanation. It appears to me that your mind is made up that there are missing things in the scripture that we must add to, to make it make sense.

    I think it would be better to set this one aside for now because you are obviously getting upset and my patience is being tested by continually being accused of “dinking” you. The fact is that I still do not understand what you believe and apparently you do not understand either because you appear to be somewhat “fuzzy” on the details. We will leave it at that.

    If anyone else has two cents to put into this discussion, please go ahead. The fact of creation regarding what Adam saw that kept him free from deception is a very important point that we can use when we discuss Genesis with complementarians.

  128. FWIIW, I agree that the man knew more than the woman in the Gen 2 story and that this is crucial to understanding the story and opposing non-egal interpretation.

    The term prehistory is commonly used for Gen 1-11. It simply means events before things were written down in a history, it is not pejorative.

  129. I must say I am also surprised by your responses. When I said I was AFRAID of being dinked, I did not think I was already, but it seems communication is breaking down.

  130. This whole bugaboo started when I was simply trying to assist you Cheryl in pointing out you assumed YE in your argument and you might not want to do that. I had no idea it would go on like it has.

  131. Alister McGrath recently (5/2009) wrote an article in Christianity Today on Augustine interpreting the Bible’s origins stories. It is here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/may/22.39.html

    McGrath is a debater of Richard Dawkins’ claims that evolution makes the Bible’s origin’s stories nonsense. He is well worth reading, both the article and his books.

  132. He was also the one Calvin got the great bulk of his theology from, especially the idea of total depravity; it is a Gnostic concept. Ironic that both Roman Catholicism and the Reformers should cite the same “father”.

    It should also be pointed out that the idea of evolution did not originate with Darwin or in his time, but only that Darwin et al made it into a “science”. The Greeks had long held to some kind of evolutionary idea.

  133. Paula,
    Thanks for that information. I didn’t know that the Greeks believed in an evolutionary myth. I knew they believed in myths but I didn’t realize that it was akin to evolution.

  134. Yup, there it is in black and white in the link that Paula provided. Augustine is the link to evolution:

    The idea of evolution was not particularly dominant in patristic and scholastic theology and philosophy, both on account of the dualism which runs through them as an echo of Plato and Aristotle, and on account of the generally accepted Christian theory of creation. However, evolution is not generally denied; and with Augustine (De civitate dei, xv. 1) it is taken as the basis for a philosophy of history.

    It is no wonder that the Catholic Church holds to evolution and holds up Augustine as a great church father.

  135. I think it is an overstatement to claim that the RCC holds to evolution. Their official statements tend to be nuanced, sometimes so nuanced that non-Catholics can misunderstand them; I know that is the case with me. I think what the pope said was that there was nothing in the theory of evolution that was contrary to Catholic teaching. The Vatican has a science advisory board which I hear is top notch, I think they are trying their best to avoid another Galileo incident.

  136. Don,
    It is not an overstatement. Several years ago I spent a lot of time with a very zealous Catholic who was anxious to convert me. She confirmed that the Catholic Church holds to evolution. At least the last two Popes have taught this. Pope John Paul 11:

    “In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII has already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points….Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than a hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies — which was neither planned nor sought — constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.”

    Also Pope Benedict XVI:

    According to the widely accepted scientific account, the universe erupted 15 billion years ago in an explosion called the ‘Big Bang’ and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Later there gradually emerged the conditions necessary for the formation of atoms, still later the condensation of galaxies and stars, and about 10 billion years later the formation of planets. In our own solar system and on earth (formed about 4.5 billion years ago), the conditions have been favorable to the emergence of life. While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5 – 4 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution.

  137. “… no conflict between …”

    “According to the widely accepted scientific account…”

    These qualifiers indicate TO ME the nuance I mentioned before.

    Also, I accept that there are fellow believers that happen to be Catholic. Yes, there are some (actually, many) things I disagree about in relation to Catholic dogma, so I am not a Catholic. But I do not believe for a second that Catholics are not ipso facto Christian, simply for being Catholic. Probably some are and some are not, which I how I see ANY denomination, altho I will agree that in some denoms it is HARDER to hear the gospel and in some it is easier.

  138. Again, I repeat one of the comments by the present Pope:

    Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism.

    The comments are clear that he believes all living things descended from the first organism. This is evolution. We take the comments as they are written and we do not have the liberty to make them say what we feel we want to hear.

    I do not think that my blog is a place to advocate the Roman Catholic endorsement of evolution or to advocate its predecessor Augustine’s form of evolution. Let’s keep the discussion on the order of creation and whether the animals were created after Adam. The language is sequential and this should be our focused discussion.

    Thanks!

  139. I was not advocating either. My point was simply that both Jews and Christians before the modern scientific age figured out that the days in the first creation account MIGHT not be normal (24 hour) days, and they did this strictly from textual clues, they cannot be accused of conforming to the modern culture.

    In Gen 1 animals are CREATED before Adam, in Gen 2 animals are FORMED after Adam and then Adam is split forming male and female. In the Gen 2-3 story, the man knows more than the woman and I think this is important to the story, as you also say.

  140. Don,
    Adam was not “created” in chapter 1 and then “formed” in chapter 2. He had one creation alone and formed is just a subset of creation. It is the method of creation.

    The point is that there were always and will always be those who will mix myth with scripture. We do not need to give myths credence. We also need to be aware that just as there were false prophets in the OT, so too there will be false teachers in the NT. Because of this, we do not just accept what anyone teaches just because he or she says they are a Christian. We must test all things by the straight edge of scripture.

    For example Adam is never said to be “split”. This is a term foreign to the text.

    The language of Genesis is primarily sequential when it comes to creation. This is the focus of my blog article and the angle that I wish to discuss. If someone wants to discuss the grammar and show how sequential doesn’t mean sequential, then we can discuss that. However if we are going to understand that God desired to communicate his truth with us and he uses language and grammar, then we need to accept his language and his grammar in the context it was written.

  141. I never said “created then formed”. I was only saying the 2 creation accounts use different terms, which are not identical in meaning or application; and I was trying to be precise by using the English equivalents of the Biblical terms.

    I used the term “split” in trying to counteract the KJV “myth” of a rib, when a better translation is side, as the same term was used for a side of the tabernacle.

    People may mix Scripture with anything else, that was not the question as far as I can see, it was how to interpret some text and how tight or loose to interpret some words and phrases and text. If I see a metaphor where you do not, then obviously, we will interpret the text differently. If I contrast the Hebrew creation narratives with pagan ones and you do not, we may see the text differently. And so forth.

  142. Don,
    It appears to me form what you are saying is that the solution would be that eiither one creation account is not true, or Adam was created twice or both accounts are not true. I see no contradiction and I do not see different creations or different accounts. Genesis 2 is merely the viewing of a different angle of the creation account – an account that focuses in on the details of the creation of man. Also the fact is that the word “formed” is not different than the word “created”. “Formed” is the way man was created so that as a subset of creation it is equal to the word creation.

    The KJV term “rib” is not a myth as Adam said that Eve was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. It is reasonable to see the rib as the portion of the side that was said to be the “bone” part. Whatever “side” included, it certainly included a bone.

    As far as whether one sees “metaphor” or “literal” will have to be defended in the text itself. One cannot arbitrarily choose something to be a metaphor without good cause. Otherwise everyone who has a sin that they don’t like exposed by the bible would yell “metaphor” when their sin is identified. It works for many.

  143. I see both Gen creation accounts as true, but I suspect you mean something different by true if you read them literally and I read them poetically, for want of betters words to succinctly describe our differences. The essential reason I read them thus is because I (and many others) cannot in good conscience join them into one account based on the information given in the text of each account. To be specific, if the days in Gen 1 are held to be literal and sequential and the order of events in Gen 2 is also held to be literal and sequential, I do not see how to harmonize the accounts; so this is a big clue for me (and many previous interpreters, I am far from alone on this) that one is to read these accounts in a non-literal (i.e., poetic) way. If you do not see it this way, I have no problem with it and can believe you are acting in faith, my wish is that you agree I am ALSO acting in faith to see it my (different) way.

    My point on saying side and not rib is that MORE is involved; if someone talks about the side of a house, it is MORE than just a plank, altho it will include planks, a side can even be 50% of something. Further on rib, I once heard a sincere woman in a Bible study claim that all men had one less rib then women did, I disabused her as I thought it was a bad witness as it is so easily shown to be wrong.

  144. Don,
    You said:

    The essential reason I read them thus is because I (and many others) cannot in good conscience join them into one account based on the information given in the text of each account. To be specific, if the days in Gen 1 are held to be literal and sequential and the order of events in Gen 2 is also held to be literal and sequential, I do not see how to harmonize the accounts; so this is a big clue for me (and many previous interpreters, I am far from alone on this) that one is to read these accounts in a non-literal (i.e., poetic) way.

    I have already shown you how to harmonize the accounts so you have indeed seen how one in good conscience can join the accounts and see a literal view. What you have to do is show how my harmonization is impossible. I have already shown that the specific language is sequential and to take specific words with specific meanings and make them mean the exact opposite is subjecting the Word of God to man’s wims. I cannot in all good conscience see the accounts as non-literal – as non sequential events. I will one day stand before God and give an account of my belief and my teaching and I fear God enough to take Him at His word rather than subject his Word to my own interpretation that has no basis at all in the text or any other literature in the Bible that would give the meaning of the “poetry”.

    My point on saying side and not rib is that MORE is involved

    The best ribs have lots of flesh attached. I have no doubt that God took out the rib with flesh attached and I prefer not to add to or take away from the inspired words. It was flesh AND bone so a side bone (rib) and flesh is completely logical and adequate that one doesn’t need to seek a more complicated meaning.

    Back to the issue of animals created AFTER Adam in sequential fashion. This is the topic. Sequential is the key. Unless one can deal with the inspired grammar, the subjective meanings are really just meaningless as everyone can add to the text whatever they “feel”.

  145. No, you have NOT shown how to harmonize the accounts, you have not yet even identified the various things that are in a different order in the 2 sequences. I agree that each account is given in a sequential order, but the items in each account are in a different order. As this is tangential to the main point, I was trying to decline to go there; all I wished was affirmation that faithful people can interpret these passages differently and that remains my wish.

    Yes, we will all give an account before God, I know I want mercy.

    By restricting the idea to rib and some flesh, you are making an interpretive choice on what “one part/side” means. It might mean as little as you choose or it might mean more. Faithful people are allowed to see it as more by their choice. This is as aspect of the range of meaning of terms.

  146. #155 Don,
    You said:

    I agree that each account is given in a sequential order, but the items in each account are in a different order.

    I have no idea what you are talking about. Please be specific. What is it that I have not explained?

    all I wished was affirmation that faithful people can interpret these passages differently and that remains my wish.

    I am not questioning whether “people” are faithful. I am just doing what scripture requires of me and I am testing the interpretations and trying to get a handle on why one believes as they do. I then take each alternative on its own merit and see it there is any validity. It is unreasonable to say that each account is “sequential” and then reject that accounts as not the same. This would leave Adam as being created more than once. Your contention that “formed” is not “created” is not valid. I have already shown you that “formed” is a subset of “created” and you have not shown an refutation of this.

    If there are others who see the sequential events of the accounts as long periods of time but without seeing them as “poetry” and contradictions between the accounts, then I can give them credit for trying hard to be faithful to the word as it is written. The issue is still were animals created after Adam and how does one deal with this with the view of an extended period of time between the creation of the first animals and the creation of their complements?

    However I have a great deal of trouble with dismissing history and calling it “poetry” as if the term means you can make the passage mean whatever one “feels”. I have seen this in too many people who have left Christianity to follow their “feelings”. When we set our interpretation up as valid without any second witness to verify the validity it becomes a problem. This is not the way that God does things. He has given words to us that have meaning. He has given a second or third witness to everything command and he has repeated important matters and made a big deal about history and genealogies to merely dismiss them. I can only speak for myself, but I have no agenda that would cause me to dismiss the text as it is written. I see not even one contradiction and if there is one, I would like to be informed of the contradiction. I think that is a fair request.

  147. Don,
    You said:

    all I wished was affirmation that faithful people can interpret these passages differently and that remains my wish.

    It comes to mind that I may not have affirmed you as a person lately. If so, please forgive me. I affirm you as a brother in Christ. I do not say that a person who believes as you do is not a brother. It is not a salvation issue.

    At the same time, it seems like you are really wanting me to affirm that what you believe about Genesis 1-3 is a valid interpretation. This I cannot do. The reason, I had hoped you would see, is that I cannot get a handle on what you believe. I cannot figure out what parts you believe are literal and what parts you believe are “poetic” and therefore a story, or myth or hymn, etc. You have not given me any solid explanation for the “story” (that isn’t literal) or which verses in the Bible explains your interpretation of the “hymn, fictitious tale, etc”. I have absolutely nothing to work with that would allow me to give your view my affirmative nod as something that is indeed valid. However once again, this does not mean that I hold you at arm’s length as if you are not a brother in Christ. Until there is something more to grasp at than subjective poetry that cannot be explained so that someone else can understand your view, intellectually or morally grasp it and then affirm it as a possibility, I cannot grant you what you are looking for. This is how I want to be treated – as a sister in Christ who has a view that is worthy of asking questions about, digging into to separate truth from error and giving valid and biblical feedback. I think this is how we should treat all of the foundational views of Christianity. Genesis is the lowest point of the foundation as it gives us the literal reason for the creation of man, the cause of sin, the struggle between men and women and the promise of the Savior who fulfills all that God originally gave to us in the Garden of Eden which will be fulfilled at the end of the ages which is shown to us in the book of Revelation.

  148. http://www.biologos.org/ is a new org. started by Francis Collins, of human genome fame. He is both a believer and a genetic scientist and like the foundation believes that both faith and science lead to truth about God and creation, as I do also.

    My request is NOT that you agree with him or me, but that you agree that believers over many time periods differ on their understanding of the early Gen. stories and similarly, believers differ in their understanding of the end times. Or to put it another way, there is a range of orthodox understanding in both creation and end times.

    For example, I do not think that non-egal believers are unorthodox simply because of their non-egalism, I think they are mistaken, but then again maybe it is me in my egalism that is mistaken and I will find out when there is unity in the faith and in the meantime I am to maintain the unity of the Spirit. And similar for my beliefs about Creation and end times.

  149. Don,
    I don’t know what your beliefs are since you don’t appear to be able to explain what you believe or why you believe as you do. Because of this I must repeat what I said in comment #157

    it seems like you are really wanting me to affirm that what you believe about Genesis 1-3 is a valid interpretation. This I cannot do. The reason, I had hoped you would see, is that I cannot get a handle on what you believe. I cannot figure out what parts you believe are literal and what parts you believe are “poetic” and therefore a story, or myth or hymn, etc. You have not given me any solid explanation for the “story” (that isn’t literal) or which verses in the Bible explains your interpretation of the “hymn, fictitious tale, etc”. I have absolutely nothing to work with that would allow me to give your view my affirmative nod as something that is indeed valid.

  150. I should add, I think it is time to move on since we have been around this bush before and there is no further explanation on what you use to determine the division between literal, figurative, poetic, myth, etc. Without a basis for interpretation, all that is left is subjective feelings which cannot be tested.

  151. I have stated before and again now that I cannot find a way to integrate the 2 Creation stories starting in Gen 1 and Gen 2:4 into a single narrative because of the different sequential ordering of items in each narrative, rather, I see them as 2 narratives that are both true and then try to see how that can be. My resolution (and many others) is to see them less literally than you do and is why I gave the biologos link.

    I have also stated that I understand Gen 1 along the lines proposed in “Paradigms on Pilgrimage” which is a very basic and simple way of understanding it and is how I believe the original readers would have understood it.

  152. Don,
    I have already asked you previously what ordering of the items are not sequential and why you cannot put them into a single sequential narrative. It seems to me that your paradigm doesn’t allow you to accept the sequential of both inspired accounts that can easily be put together. Without giving a reason for why the accounts do not fit together other than it doesn’t fit your preconceived view, seems to me to be a weak view. I could be wrong of course, but to know I am wrong would necessitate facts that I can review and test. I have shown how it is logical and quite natural to keep the sequential order and put Genesis 1 & 2 into a single narrative. I have no way to measure your problems since you haven’t listed them.

    I am not about to read a book to understand your way of reasoning. Honestly right now I am over loaded as I am working on the issue of the Sovereignty of God for a new DVD I am authoring plus I am also editing a video project for another author. There are quite a number of books that I need to research for my next script and I am also looking at the different avenues to get a book published on the issue of women in ministry. It is an exciting time for me yet very stressful so I do need to limit the paths that I can personally travel down. Unfortunately if you cannot list your division between literal, non-literal, poetic, myth, etc, there won’t be anything to discuss here because I do not have the time to read another book.

    I would encourage you to try to answer questions on your view in an clear fashion. Just giving links to manuscripts and books really doesn’t work well in an interactive forum where views are explained and discussed. Perhaps you just haven’t thought through your own view yet. That is understandable. However if you want to present that view here, you may need to take the time first to put you view down in writing so that your view can be questioned and tested. I think this is reasonable and is something that I try hard to follow myself. Does this make sense?

  153. Don,

    Cheryl has been more than patient with you on this. Most bloggers would have closed comments by now because you keep the merry-go-round going even after quite a bit of time has passed since the last post. But for her sake I will make this one last comment.

    Your argument appears to be this: smart, godly people reject a literal Genesis, so that view must be valid. But truth and understanding are not determined by majority vote. Even in science, if we stick to the scientific method (observation), one’s credentials are irrelevant. Of course we recognize those who have studied various issues and respect their knowledge, but when observed scientific facts (as opposed to theory and presupposition) differ from the majority view of scientists, the facts must rule. I think I’ve mentioned before about the lowly intern that defied all the experts and insisted he had proof that stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria. They called him names, they reminded him of his “place”, but the facts were undeniable. Now it is “common knowledge”. The experts, the whole world full of them, were wrong.

    Likewise, not all theologians agree on the first two chapters of Genesis. There are smart, godly people on both sides. But it doesn’t take a ThD to read, or to comprehend, or to think. Experts are needed to determine the words, to write dictionaries, to offer insights into the culture, etc. But even among themselves they argue vehemently over meaning and interpretation. (And I should add that this very determination of who is an expert is itself utterly dependent upon the schema of absolutes.)

    Does this mean, then, that every view is equally valid to every other view? If so, then we must accept as valid the views of Unitarians, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientologists, and every other view that has come down the pike. They all have what they consider airtight, indisputable backing for their interpretations.

    But the question for you personally, Don, is this: By what criteria do you reject the interpretations of any of those groups? If you can’t rule them out, does that mean you have to accept them as possibly valid? Should they not, as you do to Cheryl, demand that you say you allow their views as possible? Where does it stop?

    This is no mere academic exercise either, for it impinges upon the very gospel itself. Saving faith is more than “I think so” or “It’s probably true”. Saving faith requires conviction, that is, accepting Jesus and ONLY Jesus as the ONLY Way, Truth, and Life. Anyone who cannot say this with absolute conviction, who allows that they may be wrong, is in all likelihood not saved. But again the question comes to you: By what criteria do you reject all other views of salvation?

    I’m not questioning your salvation. I’m only trying to get you to define the standard by which you determine truth from error, saved from lost. You may say that this very question is “too Greek” and that it isn’t part of your schema, but to this point you have not offered an explanation of your own schema. And when you demand that we say your schema is possible, you are demanding that we abandon our entire epistemology! If, as the Zen Buddhists say, “nothing is knowable”, how do you expect us to respond with anything but “that’s self-contradictory nonsense”? In other words, you are demanding that we discard our epistemology and only accept yours– which is intolerant of our view.

    You still haven’t even begun to explain how you tell fact from fiction or history from allegory. And you would have to explain it in a schema we can fathom; othewise you still demand that we allow your relativity schema, which effectively discards ours. That is, it is impossible for us to accept your schema without denying our own.

  154. Genesis is one of my focus study areas, so I have thought it out yet am still learning. When there are 2 or more sides to something, I encourage people to study all the sides.

    There are some things that are not that simple to explain in a thread format, people have written books giving comprehensive reasons for their understandings. I understand if you want/need to read and work on other things.

  155. It took me two years of research, writing and editing to bring my WIM DVDs to life and I have put on this blog a lot of that teaching so I know that one can take complex ideas and make them simple enough in this forum. My interviews with Paul show that, I think.

    Anyway I just want to put a period on this discussion at this point. If we were to discuss anything further I would want you to answer Paula’s questions first before I entertained anything more. Paula’s questions are very good and I think they deserve to be answered. I especially believe this because my own speciality is in the area of the cults.

  156. Paula,

    My argument is not that smart, Godly people reject a literal Genesis, so that view must be valid. And I do not think truth is determined by majority vote. And I do not think any and all views are equal.

    My faith is like a bull’s eye target. In the core, I put the essentials, like trusting in/on Jesus. The elementary teachings are listed in Hebrews 6:1-2, yet there are believers that differ on some of these, such as baptism. I can explain my understanding if asked (believer’s water baptism and Holy Spirit baptism) but others may disagree. And guess what? I might be wrong, but I have a very high confidence based on the word (which is primary), my experience (includi, and the teachings of the church in history and among people I trust.

    Creation is not an elementary teaching and I study the word and works of God. And guess what? I might be wrong, but I have a high confidence.

  157. (including prayer and insight I believe is from the Spirit).

    What I have pointed out before is that the claim that there is only one legitimate interpretation of Gen 1-11 is similar to what the comps claim for their interpretation. When egals say there is another, they do not believe it. We ask for a level playing field and point out a lot of scholars are egal.

    This is similar to what I ask on Creation, a lot of scholars are NOT YE. So do not be too quick to dismiss them.

  158. Don,

    The question still is: HOW do you decide what goes in the core? HOW do you decide whether something is factual, allegorical, poetic, etc.? What is it in Heb. 6 that tells you “this is factual” and not allegorical?

  159. It is easier to ask questions than to answer them, it would help if you would answer your own when you asked them. so I can see what kind of answer you seek.

    I see some comps putting their interp. into the core, I see this as a big mistake. I see some YECs putting their interp. into the core, I also see this as a mistake. So I try to limit the core. God exists and reveals God in the Bible. Salvation is by faith/trust in God’s promises, the primary one being Jesus Messiah, Savior and Lord. Ask the Spirit for help. Repentance.

    On Hebrews, I read how others have interpreted, specifically Hebrew/Jewish believers, but also others. I try my best to understand any book in context as an original reader would have, knowing I may have many challenges to doing so in some cases. If an original reader would have seen something as literal, then that is a big clue I should also, but things are also often described in the Bible by appearances, not actual reality. The church got this wrong with Galileo. So “the earth cannot be moved” is not literal, even tho it appears to us as not moving.

  160. it would help if you would answer your own when you asked them. so I can see what kind of answer you seek.

    I have no clue what this means. Are you actually saying I’m supposed to supply the answers to questions I asked YOU? How difficult is the question, “how do YOU decide what goes in the core?”

    God exists and reveals God in the Bible

    How do you know? What is there in the text that you recognize as fact, as opposed to allegories or moral tales?

    I try my best to understand any book in context as an original reader would have, knowing I may have many challenges to doing so in some cases. If an original reader would have seen something as literal, then that is a big clue I should also, but things are also often described in the Bible by appearances, not actual reality.

    Yet you presume that in the case of the Bible, “an original reader” was primitive and incapable of understanding certain things, or that they always wrote in allegory if they wrote of things you think were beyond them. This is hardly an established fact, and it still does not deal with genre. The text determines genre, not preconceived notions about the people reading it. And why would Jesus, so many centuries later, refer to Genesis in factual terms? Were the people of His day also too primitive, and didn’t Jesus know fact from allegory? Did Paul not really believe in a literal Adam and Eve, and if so, why would this allegory prove anything about Jesus the Last Adam? Is Jesus the last allegory?

    And it still remains that even allegories point to literal facts. When John was given the Revelation he wrote in factual terms what he observed. The images he described represented realities: governments, people, judgments. These are not moral stories for primitives. Neither is Genesis; it is fact, written clearly, and I would challenge you to imagine how a factual account would have been written.

    The church got this wrong with Galileo.

    Oh please! Didn’t you read my blog on The Galileo Syndrome? It was SCIENCE that “got it wrong”; it was a clash between THE PREVAILING SCIENTIFIC VIEW, which the church adopted (sound familiar?), and OBSERVATION. You really need to study this and learn the real issues. Besides, this hardly amounts to justification for throwing out the scriptures as a hopeless mishmash of stories for primitives.

    So “the earth cannot be moved” is not literal, even tho it appears to us as not moving

    It’s an expression, one we still use today. Sunrise, sunset, etc. Are we thus primitive? More importantly, we are STILL REFERRING TO LITERAL FACTS, not moral tales for primitives.

    Don, your mixing apples and oranges here. You don’t seem to know where expression leaves off and the facts they point to begin. And you STILL have not explained how YOU, not someone else, decide what is truth and what is merely a story.

    Sorry Cheryl, I’m done. This is still going nowhere.

  161. As an outsider, I think it could be helpful for Don and Cheryl, at the least, (others are welcome, too) to give a simple explanation on how one determines what is allegory, poem, fact, expression, etc. as a way of defining the basic ‘playing field’ or parameters. I say this for several reasons:

    First, years ago I took a course on the Wisdom books of the bible at a so-called Christian university, and the professor did indeed define some passages as wisdom literature that was common to the time, not just to Christianity, etc., some things as poetry, some as fact, etc. There may be persons who come to this blog who have questions about this, either not having studied as much as some of you or having had very persuasive teaching on several sides of the issue.

    Second, strictly for the purposes of this discussion, there would be no ambiguity about where the primary proponents stand with regard to the basic ‘rules of the game’, the guidelines by which one determines a poem, fact, allegory, etc. As one who is clearly less educated on these matters I would welcome such definition.

    Third, I have noticed that in the debate between comps and egals, it is not always clear how one determines what is plain reading, expression, word play, contextually-dependent, etc. I think these ‘housekeeping matters’-matters of definition-likely plague all good discussions. If we can alleviate some of this by establishing baseline understandings, it would be helpful not only for this discussion but also for the egal/comp. discussion and others.

    I suggest this with all due respect to each of you who have contributed to this particular blog subject thus far. I am humbly learning as this is not an area of expertise for me by any means.

  162. TS,

    There are many places to study terms of literature, such as this one. But I think the issues you brought up really have to do with genre, which is the type of literature, as opposed to whatever methods of expressions may be used within that genre.

    You mentioned wisdom literature, which the Proverbs are a prime example of. They are listed as proverbs, written in a somewhat poetic style. Psalms of course are poetry. The books of Kings are history. These are various genre of literature.

    The question of women in ministry really isn’t as much a question of genre or expression as it is of grammar and syntax. Both sides agree that Paul’s letters are non-fiction, largely non-poetic, and instructional. The arguments come over the meanings of words, the structure of sentences, and the consideration of context to ascertain meaning.

    But the debate over Genesis, specifically creation week, is one of genre. Is it written as typical Hebrew poetry? Does the LXX, which long predates our earliest Hebrew text, convey creation week as poetry or moral lessons? The genre of Genesis is clearly written as prose, as fact, and not as wisdom literature or parable. That’s been the issue in this particular thread.

    Don’t know if that helps, but I tried. 🙂

  163. own question is to show me what kinds of things you are looking for. And also to show what your idea of the answer or type of answer you expect. It also shows that you are not asking a question that you do not know how to answer, e.g. are not playing epistomological games.

    I agree genre is crucial to determine meaning. I see Genesis being covenant prologue establishing the relationship of the parties of the covenant.

    I never used the word “primitive” but I did say that the Bible often words things by appearances and not actual reality, I see this as a good thing as it can be understood by anyone in any era. The church got this exactly backwards, it was OK (so said the church) for Galileo and co. to say things “appeared” to do something, but not OK for them to say it “actually” did something, like the earth move. That is, the church said it was ok to “simplify the math explanation” by “pretending” the earth moved, but everyone knew the Bible said the earth cannot be moved so it did not.

    I do not see Gen 1 as prose, I see it as a Creation hymn, as it is highly structured.

  164. TS,
    On Genesis, I see the toledots (generations of) defining the internal structure. This starts with Gen 2:4, so the question is what is before that? It is some kind of intro section.

    One needs to realize that Hebrew poetry does not necessarilry conform to our ideas of poetry. Hebrew poetry is OFTEN characterized by repetition and parallelism, either of words themselves or of rephrased ideas. This is one reason I see Gen 1 as poetic narrative.

  165. TS,

    While it is common knowledge that Hebrew poetry uses repetition, the parallels are within a few lines– certainly not between entire chapters (even considering that the chapter divisions came much later, the point is that what we call ch. 1 is not a parallel of ch. 2, not even structurally).

    And above all, the method of expression is still not the genre. Facts in sequence are being conveyed; that they are done so with style does not make them allegories. It would be like the difference between “Both good and bad things were happening” and “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. Genesis 1 is expressing, one way or another, a sequence of events, and Genesis 2, while not violating the sequence, pauses to give additional details of some events.

    So regardless of terminology or style, the fact remains that the creation account is not a made-up story, parable, allegory, or vision, but history. No one in the NT, including Jesus, gave any hint that Gen. 1 and 2 was not a historical record. Even the 10 Commandments refer to it as the basis for the Sabbath, which would be quite meaningless had it been allegorical. And of course with Jesus being the “last Adam”, and sin coming through Adam alone, it all evaporates into meaninglessness if Adam is a mere allegory. And if Adam is historical, then so is creation week; they are both found in the same passage.

    That’s my whole point in all this: both Adam and creation week are in the same passages of scripture, so if one is allegory then so is the other. No one has ever come up with an explanation as to how only some parts of the account are fiction and some are history.

  166. And yet many believers believe differently, so I encourage believers to study all sides of this.

  167. #171 truthseeker,

    As an outsider, I think it could be helpful for Don and Cheryl, at the least, (others are welcome, too) to give a simple explanation on how one determines what is allegory, poem, fact, expression, etc. as a way of defining the basic ’playing field’ or parameters.

    I think that Paula has given a very good answer to this question, but I would like to add my 2 cents worth. The books of the bible are named for the material that is in them. For example the books of Psalms means “A sacred song; a poetical composition for use in the praise or worship of God”. The book of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings or precepts.

    So when we read this:

    Psa 91:4 He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge;…

    we can understand that it is a poetic way of saying that God is the one who gives us protection. We do not make this poetry prove that God has feathers and wings.

    When we come to the book of Kings and read this:

    1Ki 1:1 Now King David was old, advanced in age; and they covered him with clothes, but he could not keep warm.

    we can understand that this is a historical fact and the “clothes” that David was covered with were literal clothes and the fact that “he could not keep warm” is not poetry or a song to be song, but a historical fact. We can also understand that the people and places that the book of Kings documents are real people and real places. Zadok the priest and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada are not abstract toledots in a mass of words that have no set meaning. The book is a historical writing that we are to take as fact. This is the way that we would classify any book whether it is the bible or not. Otherwise we have writings that have no meaning and every man will see something different in the writings as if the author had no care that people would understand him.

    Genesis is the book of beginnings. The very word Genesis means origin, creation, beginning. It is a history book that starts with the historical account that is beyond what humans could know without God’s revelation. As it progresses it gives the names Adam and Eve’s descendants and the ages when they died. This is history. There is nothing here that would prompt us to see it as anything other than history. We can ask ourselves, if God wanted to write actual history how would he do it? He would do it exactly as he wrote the creation account in Genesis. When God wrote Genesis 1 he used specific words to express the historical account.

    Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    The term “in the beginning” means :

    the beginning, first of time, i.e., a point of time which is the beginning (non prior) in a duration (Ge 1:1) Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew

    The very first Hebrew word expresses a point of time. It is not an abstract “song” that has no historical meaning in actual fact. It is what we use to define the origin of man, the origin of sin, the origin or death and the origin of our salvation. If we look at the book of Genesis as if he was written to mean something other than the ordinary meaning of the words that were used, then we can easily do away with many key doctrines in the Christian faith. If we do away with the promise the the “seed of the woman” would bruise the serpent’s head, then we can easily do away with the virgin birth. And those who create a myth out of Genesis by calling it something other than a historical writing do not agree on the meaning of the words. It may as well be cut out of the bible if we cut out the history and replace it with a “creation myth” or a “creation hymn”.

    One thing that I regularly do when I am looking deeply to study scripture is that I do not look just at one chapter. I start by going back a chapter and going ahead one chapter. I also methodically look back chapter after chapter until I get the big picture. Genesis is one big picture of the historical creation of the universe, the world, the plants and animals and man and from there man takes precedence and the generations of man are documented. Those who wish to remove the documentation have no foundation whatsoever to do this. And none of them can agree on the meaning of the book and all its words if it isn’t historical. That should say volumes. If God wanted to show us our history but gave us nothing concrete about the past and creation how can we trust him to be accurate about our future? Perhaps the new heavens and the new earth is mere poetry and a post-creation myth. Maybe all just a song to be sung as we die and become non-existent.

    My point is that we start with the purpose of the book and we read the content with that purpose. We take historical accounts as literal in the standard of literal (i.e. it is considered historical and literal to say that there were 3,000 men when there were actually 3,027 men because rounding is not outside of the standard of literal).

  168. Don said in #178:

    And yet many believers believe differently, so I encourage believers to study all sides of this.

    I take this statement as poetry and as a hymn. What I take this to mean is that those who love God should put their thumb and forefinger together, cross their legs and say “ohmmmmmmm” in a meditative thought about the differences of the creation of the unicorn and the cosmic force. That is what I get out of it.

    Am I wrong? Am I allowed to take words and make them mean anything I feel like? Should I be affirmed that what I think Don is saying is POSSIBLE? Let’s all just accept my take as one of the hundred’s of thousands of different “feelings” that we can get by what Don says.

    Or should we accept that words have meanings within their context? It is time that we accept what God said. God said that there was a beginning. It is one thing to say that the “days” of creation may be more than our 24 hour earth days, than it is to say that there are different creation accounts which are, well just different and they cannot be put together and who knows when they happened and who knows what is true and who knows anything???

    I am weary of the jello on the wall. Jello cannot be nailed to the wall. It slips and slides and makes a mess of my “Women in Ministry” wall. It is so frustrating to ask for definitions and get none and ask for meanings and get none and ask for a way of defining the difference between truth and myth and get no real answer.

    Please just STOP.

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