Both Feet Firmly on the Ground (Cosmology)
Until recently, it had been my longstanding view that the earth is really old, and that Gen 1-11 must be figurative.
I have changed my mind.
[That is: I now believe those sections are intended as historical. I am adding this line, because a friend was unclear about my position. Updated at 6 pm, Nov 19.]
Before this change, I didn’t distrust scripture; I was just convinced that unscientific sounding parts couldn’t possibly mean what they sounded like. I think this is because I had regrettably been convinced of a mainly materialist view of the universe. I DID in fact believe in a spiritual side of the world, but it was OUT THERE in heaven. My re-formed view sees a physical and a spiritual together DOWN HERE in the life we have.
It’s hard to describe how my two views were held side by side, but still divorced. Unfortunately this was a very increasingly painful way to live. I was always having to fight the battles of the conflicting views in my head, or to ignore the fact that I did have a conflict, and that it hurt.
I want to begin a series here to highlight biblical reasons to require our submission to the text in a more radical way than I had given it credit for in the past.
A friend of mine, Nathan, on one occasion, challenged my view that the book of Jonah was a-historical.
Now please be aware, if you have always been a 6-day person, you may not be aware how pervasive the view is amongst otherwise orthodox Christians that Gen 1-11 is mythic, and that Jonah is inspired fiction. I never believed the bible was false, but I did believe that Gen 1-11 was teaching through allegory; however, I didn’t have a sophisticated view of how to fit together that Gen 11 was fictive, and Gen 12 was historical.
Back to Nathan’s challenge – he just said that he didn’t see any reason that it couldn’t be historical.
The question is: On whom is the burden of proof that texts are parable and not historical?
Jesus does speak in parable, but he says he is doing so when he does so. Gen 1 says, “And God said, ‘Let there be light!’ and THERE WAS LIGHT.’ And God saw that the light was good.” So did he?
I want to write this over a string of posts, so let me outline some questions to deal with:
- How does the New Testament present Gen 1-11 and Jonah?
- Do we believe that the functioning of things in scripture is limited by material, and is knowable only by means available for examination through scientific instruments?
- Do we believe that the functioning of things in the universe is limited by material, and is knowable only by means available for examination through scientific instruments?
- Do we have proof that all things in the universe have always functioned in uniform ways and at uniform rates?
- Is there a good and biblical reason that things in the universe resemble each other, that animals look so much like people?
- Do we believe in miracles?
- Do we believe in an otherwise spiritual world?
I don’t know in what order I will get to these things, but if you have been wondering about these things, keep checking back here in the near future, and I will make more suggestions, and explain more why I think we HAVE to affirm the historicity of all of Genesis, at the same time of affirming its poetry, symbolism and yes, even numerology.