As My Master, and to My Master I Will Submit

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Both Feet Firmly on the Ground (Cosmology)

 

So YES.  I have recently affirmed publicly now that I am indeed a 6 day creationist.  This is a recent development and I want to explain why I felt constrained to making this move.  The posting of this thought began in THIS [Click Here] post, and continues in the current post as installment 3:

 

What Kind of Literature is Genesis?

As I am an Old Testament teacher, I spend a lot of time teaching Genesis every year.  Mind you, I have always dearly loved the Bible and the God who wrote it.  I haven’t been a godless secularist waiting to destroy Jesus.  I have been an evangelistic, child rearing, wife honoring, church serving Christian living under the incredible burden of a nagging scientism and a hermeneutic of doubt.

Back to Genesis, I read and memorize bits of Gen 1 every year.  We memorize Gen 1.1-5, and 1.26-28 (*the first day of creation and *the cultural mandate).

For years I have assumed that Gen 1-11 (Primeval History) was allegorical and that Gen 12-50 was historical.  Please notice:

I have never doubted the existence and necessity of miracles, but I felt at that time that

  • Adam-Babel was obviously a different form of literature than what we would rely on for history, and that
  • Miracle is always literarily highlighted as miracle rather than taken for granted.

 

A Seamless Garment

In truth, there are NO markers in the text indicating a transition from mythic to historical material.  In fact, it looks to me a lot like these are all definitely intended to be read in unity.

Example 1

  • Adam made as God’s son, is made to fall into a deep sleep, his flesh is divided, and a covenant of marriage is created: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother”. (Gen 2)
  • Abraham, made into God’s son (inheritance), is made to fall into a deep sleep next to divided flesh and a covenant of adoption is created: “Go out from your father” (Gen 12, 15).

Example 2

  • Darkness and Watery Chaos, Spirit of God (Ruach) blows over the water, evening and morning, the waters are divided from the waters, dry land is created (Gen 1)
  • Watery chaos, Wind of God (Ruach) blows over the Water, 40 days and 40 nights, the water is driven back, dry land is found (Gen 7-8)
  • Reed Sea, Wind of God (Ruach) blows over the water, water is driven back, waters are divided from the waters, dry land is found (Ex 14)

Example 3

  • People refuse to be scattered abroad, they try to make a name for themselves, they are cursed (Gen 11)
  • Abraham goes forth willingly to fulfill Gen 1.26-28 from his father’s house, God will make his name great, he is blessed (Gen 12)

 

What’s in a Name?

Another reason that I had a hard time with Gen 1-11 was that I thought that the narratives seemed overly contrived.  The names especially couldn’t be real.

Adam is humanity, Eve is Life, Noah is heard.

What was I thinking?!  It goes on just like that after Gen 12 begins.

Abraham means Father of Multitudes, Sarah means princess, Isaac is his mother’s laughter, Jacob grabs at his brother’s heel, but Israel wrestles with God.

The only options, based on THESE criteria, are to accept Genesis 1-11, or doubt ALL of Genesis.

I don’t doubt all of Genesis, so I now accept Gen 1-11 as my master, and to my master I will submit.

I remember someplace that Abram believed the LORD.  Me too.

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3 Responses to As My Master, and to My Master I Will Submit

  1. Caleb says:

    What about similarities between the Genesis creation account and Babylonian creation myths such as the Enuma Elish? And similarities between the story of Noah and Sumerian flood epics? What about the existence of very few life forms for billions of years before the Cambrian explosion, at which point a huge variety of life forms burst upon the scene, and still no men for millions of years? Was this God’s personal joke to make it look like life was created over a long time when really it was only a day? As Christians, I don’t think we need to be afraid of looking for truly satisfying answers to questions such as these. I don’t agree that there are simply the two options of accepting all of Genesis as literal historical truth, or of completely doubting the truth of all of it. It can be scary to openly question the historicity of the entire book of Genesis, but one who is interested in truth is not afraid of inquiry, and neither is God. If we discover that evidence points to something we are not comfortable with, we need to confront the contrary data, either mount counter-evidence to explain why it is false or inconclusive, or learn to accept it. Believing that the author of the Genesis creation account was knowledgable of the Babylonian myths helps me to better understand the significance of the differences between the accounts. Also extra-biblical sources confirm that the battle of the kings in Genesis was an accurate historic event. Information obtained through archaeology has shown that details given in the story of the tower of Babel are amazingly accurate in describing the building of Babylonian ziqqurats including references to phrases commonly inscribed on their walls. Literary criticism is very important to understanding Genesis, and their is great breadth and depth to this subject alone, but all kinds of historical and scientific studies are also very important. The array of knowledge on all of these fronts can be very formidable, but it is important to let all of them inform our view, each one bringing a host of new questions with it. We face these questions unafraid, trusting in God who Genesis reveals to be One who enters into and acts in human history.

    Your brother in Christ,
    Caleb

    • saintluke says:

      Caleb, I had too much to reply, so I wrote it as a post. Thanks for the conversation!
      - Your friend,
      Luke

      Here’s the post: http://saintluke.wordpress.com/2009/11/25/just-because-it-is-embarrassing/

    • Caleb -

      If there was a global flood, then we should expect many cultures to have many similar flood stories. As for the Cambrian explosion, if the flood is true, then the Cambrian through the mesozoic was probably laid down during the flood.

      The question, though, is what is the final authority? Human interpretation or God’s direction? There are many things I believe where the only evidence I have is that God has been faithful and this is what He says. While it is always good to try to understand things more clearly, the Author is the one whose will I should bow to, not my own thinking. I am a creature, subject to egregious misunderstandings.

      However, in the case of the flood, there is a lot of evidence that these deposits came from the flood, and not from millions of years of time.

      Caleb – if you’re interested in Young-Earth Creation thought by scientists, you should check out the book “The New Creationism” by Paul Garner.

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