Let’s start with the picture on my ABOUT page:
I think these two interacting galaxies have a lot to say about interpreting the opening chapters of Genesis. They will come into play later, but they ARE beautiful, aren’t they! They represent a long, inter-connected history regardless of how far away they are.
A word to the wise? on Genesis
So, let me come right out and state my position. I know that’s what I want people to do!
1) It is hard to read the Text and understand the intent – what is it REALLY trying to say? Perspective is critically important.
2) I think the Text is a SIMPLE yet PROFOUND description of the cosmos that shows how WE, as His image, are meant to carry out our work. It is NOT a clinical, time-lined, stopwatch, detail-oriented blueprint of the created order NOR a compressed overview of distilled details spanning swaths of time. It IS the reason we are here — to work to bring about the full care, expansion and dominion of the Kingdom of God – His Temple – on Earth.
NOTE: SIMPLE does not mean SIMPLISTIC — a profound work of art may be simple and yet deep at the same time. I get the feeling some want the Scriptures to say more than the text actually says.
A few things arise from these two statements:
A) Ultimately, I believe, we must gain something meaningful from this text — some benefit, insight, instruction or guidance with regards to being His image on Earth. In other words, “Why is this Text important?” I don’t think providing a step by step account of the creation, from atomic nuclei to galactic clusters, would provide us with anything more than saying “He made everything”. More on this later.
B) People are going to be upset and judgemental. They want to be right and their view has become very important to them. In fact, just try discussing this topic and see where you get! Obviously, something of great importance is being addressed to these chapters. But is the importance on what we think should be? Do we want the Scriptures to say more than they actually do? I feel so.
C) We need to listen to the text and listen to others. Do we hear what people are really saying or do we quickly categorize them, label them, and then simply dismiss them? If we can be tempted to do this with people, what about the text? Does the Scripture have a voice? Can we hear it? Is it drowned out by our desires and others’ opinions?
After 30 years of reading Scripture, and three years of dedicated study on Genesis chapters 1 – 3, I have come to the conclusion that many people are getting it wrong when interpreting the opening chapters of The Book. I believe God made it all and uniquely made us, “mankind”, in His image on earth. That much is blatantly obvious from the text — don’t get me wrong. But, as for the rest of the story, there is more here than meets the eye.
So, what does this mean? Glad you asked. In fact, we need to constantly ask this question as we engage these early chapters.
3) I am inclined to view the creation account analogically.
Please see B) above. Then read C) again. 😉
Now everyone with an axe to grind will want to know why I believe this. And there’s a story behind it; it has two points and they are:
i) The seven days of Creation
ii) The Sabbath rest – the fourth commandment, if you like to number them
And the story begins with “Why?” Why seven days and what’s with this very strange Sabbath command?