Guest / Limited Access /

I attended a Christian university in the long ago days of acid wash denim and Commodore 64s. One of my classmates, Ken Jacobsen, had a gift for impersonation. He was renowned for his imitation of Bono on the U2 song "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking ...

Read More

Displaying 1–20 of 34 comments.

1 2 next page   Show All

Paul Schryba

September 17, 2013  7:36pm

John 1: 1" In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." KJV The Word of God is not the Bible- it is Jesus. Jesus, infinite Being, second person of the Trinity. The Bible is not God. It is a written Word, that must be quickened by the Spirit to speak to the individual's heart. Does God speak through the Bible? I believe so, and have had such an experience; but I do not believe the Bible to be 'literally' true. Was there an Adam and Eve who ate the apple? I cannot discount such; but I believe that the Genesis creation story is inspired by God, and that it reveals a truth that is deeply 'human', that speaks to the heart, and not necessarily about a conscious moral failing of the first humans to eat a literal apple in a literal garden. Could the world have been created in six-24 hour days? Yes, but there is good material reason to believe that it took longer, and that creation involved an 'evolution' of life forms, just as human thought has 'evolved'.

Report Abuse

Daniel Hartshorn

May 09, 2012  7:23am

I just found this. Fascinating! "Most Ancient Hebrew Biblical Inscription Deciphered, Scholar Says" "The significance of this breakthrough relates to the fact that at least some of the biblical scriptures were composed hundreds of years before the dates presented today in research and that the Kingdom of Israel already existed at that time." English translaton of the deciphered text: 1' you shall not do [it], but worship the [Lord]. 2' Judge the sla[ve] and the wid[ow] / Judge the orph[an] 3' [and] the stranger. [Pl]ead for the infant / plead for the po[or and] 4' the widow. Rehabilitate [the poor] at the hands of the king. 5' Protect the po[or and] the slave / [supp]ort the stranger. Take that you so-called OT scholars who sneer at an early dating of the OT.

Report Abuse

Duane D Watts

May 08, 2012  11:14pm

My Theologian friend may be right that Genesis 1 and 2 are not science text, but that leaves us with a vacuum. In this vacuum steps scientists, the offspring of fallen man in a fallen creation, and we are to buy into their creation myth because they have scientific evidence. Their version is replacement theology for our "creation myth" (which by the way DOES subject us to natural theology). But the real reason for my comment was to beg, BEG someone to answer what the LORD wishes us to glean from this: And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept; and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh thereof, and the rib which the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman and brought her unto the man. And Adam said "this is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man". I implore you oh learned ones, cipher to me the meaning of this vision.

Report Abuse

Glen Waugh

May 08, 2012  6:44pm

... the Word of truth, coming as it does, as a whole, from one and the same Divine Author, is its own context. That is to say, a particular passage is to be regarded not only in the relation it bears to its own ... context; but, in the relation which it bears to the Word of God as a whole. It may not be intended to teach science, chronology, or history ... but, everything that it records will be in perfect harmony with whatever is true of any or all of these. Scientia means knowledge, and nothing in Scripture will be found to contradict what we really know, which is true science. Much that goes by the name of "science" is only hypothesis; and, in much more, supposition is so mixed up with knowledge that the result is vitiated. All must be brought to the bar of the Divine Word. That Word as a whole is the context for its every part. All that is outside the two covers of the Word of God must be judged by what is within. We must not reverse this process. (E.W. Bullinger)

Report Abuse

Roger McKinney

May 07, 2012  12:54pm

Compare interpretations of Genesis 1 with interpretations of Christ's resurrection. How would scientists handle the resurrection using nothing but knowledge we have today of the natural sciences? They would say resurrection is impossible because it violates the laws of physics and biology. Therefore Jesus must not have actually died and his recovery took longer than 3 days, probably months. The only reason we know about the resurrection is the eye witness accounts. The only way we can know about the creation is through an eye witness account, but God is the only witness. Science cannot prove or disprove a miracle because miracles by definition violate physics. So if the creation was a miracle that took six day, then physics would lead us astray and convince us it was not a miracle. Science can tell us nothing about miracles.

Report Abuse

Roger McKinney

May 07, 2012  12:49pm

Mike, no I don't think Genesis 1 is a scientific account of creation. The commonly understood definition of science limits the word to the natural sciences. Of course Moses did not know modern natural science. Creation was a miracle. Science can tell us nothing about miracles because by definition miracles violate the laws of physics as we know them. But Genesis one is an accurate historical account of creation. Get a book on hermeneutics and see if you can force "evening and morning" to mean anything other than a 24-hour day using Aristotle's principles.

Report Abuse

Kevin V

May 04, 2012  8:47pm

In general, it's a thoughtful, well-written piece. I do think, however, that Ms. Arends could have helped her article (and the comments section) by providing a number of examples so we could better gauge where she believes literalists get it wrong. Specifically, I'd be interested to know where she stands with regard to creationism.

Report Abuse

Kyle Dupic

May 04, 2012  3:22pm

Roger McKinney: Thank you! It is good (and bad) there is a character limit. I have felt the need to include hermeneutics. Most of the Bible can be handled with a simple understanding of hermeneutics.

Report Abuse

Kyle Dupic

May 04, 2012  3:20pm

Diane Tucker, please refer to Arthur Shippee's post. Your comments about Jesus being a literal door make me believe, that like many others, you struggle to understand the perspective we are coming from. It is the unfortunate stigma against those who use the word literal. There are different contexts for the word literal. Of course Jesus doesn't have literal eyes blazing with fire. It is almost impossible some times to have productive conversations about this issue because people will do that. Well is this literal!?! Please, please, PLEASE stop making that argument, because almost no-one actually believes that. My apologies if that is the way that post came off, but I have met no-one (doesn't mean they don't exist, but they are a RARE population) who believes everything in the Bible is literal word for word. No doubt, Scripture can be difficult to handle, but overall, it is most of the time much simpler than we make it (thus child-like faith illustration Driscoll shared).

Report Abuse

Mike Sechler

May 04, 2012  2:22pm

Thanks for the article I really enjoyed it. Roger McKinney are you sure a proper understanding of Genesis 1 indicates that it is a straightforward scientific and historical account of how God created with no room literary structures that might influence our understanding of the passage? What do the terms "evening" and "morning" mean on the first 3 days when there was no Sun to demarcate those times of day? Are they perhaps being used as a literary devise rather than as specific markers of the time of day? Doesn't the fact that the Hebrews of 3500 years had a completely different understanding of cosmology mean that Moses' intent was not to give a rigorous scientific explanation of creation? Exegesis of the passage tells us some things very clearly about the fact the God created everything, but not everything is as clear as you seem to think.

Report Abuse

Roger McKinney

May 03, 2012  12:10pm

Strange. Neither the article's author or anyone in the posts have mentioned the principles of hermeneutics. Aristotle wrote down the principles, but they are common sense and honest interpretation. They are the principles of reason applied to interpretation. Aquinas and succeeding Church scholars refined them and applied them to scripture. So why is there such apathy toward hermeneutics? Paul gave the answer in Romans 1: people don't like the truth. Men love darkness rather than light. The principles of hermeneutics rein in the flights of fancy that people love to take. They force people to face the truth that they dislike so much. Hermeneutics applied to Genesis one says that God created the universe in six literal days. Any other reading is dishonest.

Report Abuse

ildefonso j. rubrico

May 03, 2012  5:41am

The point that Ms Arends drives in her article is clear and unequivocal, and she expresses it succinctly, thus: “God uses every kind of language available—straightforward (but culturally lensed) historical narrative, analogy, metaphor, parable, poetry, apocalyptic vision, and, hallelujah, the Word made flesh, Jesus.” One might say that she has "graduated" from a literalist mindset of her college days, to a more-nuanced view of biblical interpretation that calls for a lot of open-mindedness, and - yes - humility on our part! As we used to say in our adult Sunday school class, "no one, but no one, can put God in a box!"

Report Abuse

Diane Tucker

May 03, 2012  1:11am

Kyle Dupic: You said: "God isn't trying to "trick" us with poetry, allegorical sayings." Are you saying that poetry, allegory, etc. are tricks to obfuscate meaning and blur truth? No so! Poetic language properly used is specific, precise and expresses figuratively things that can't be expressed another way. Example: Jesus said "I am the door." This is poetic language: a metaphor. Jesus "is" the doorway to eternal life: we must go through him, as people go through a doorway, to go from death to life, as a person does when he goes from one room to another. To interpret Jesus statement "I am the door" literally would be to assert that Jesus is a wooden plank hung between two rooms. So Jesus is speaking the truth, but not speaking literally. He is speaking the truth using the tool of metaphor. We need to know when these tools of language are being used and when they are not. But both the figurative and the literal can communicate objective truth. That's a basic fact of language.

Report Abuse

Brendt Waters

May 03, 2012  12:31am

YECers are a hoot and a half. Carolyn made one passing comment (referring to Genesis 1 as an "ancient Hebrew prose poem") that has almost nothing to do with her larger point, and suddenly, they see their entire faith under full-scale nuclear attack (and react accordingly). BTW, this observation is coming from within the camp -- I've been a YECer for 40+ years and anticipate no change (despite being thoroughly embarrassed by the behavior of some of those who share my beliefs).

Report Abuse

Randy Brandt

May 02, 2012  6:43pm

> We'd been blithely unaware that there is more than one genre in the Bible, or that literary context profoundly matters to meaning I'm curious where Carolyn attended school, because I was at the Ground Zero of the Young Earth Creation movement in the early 80s (Christian Heritage College) and we certainly knew there were multiple genres, that context mattered, and that there was an amazing amount of scientific detail in books like Job and Genesis. It's too bad her teachers were so sub-par and poorly read.

Report Abuse

MICHAEL H CONSTANTINE

May 02, 2012  6:38pm

Carolyn, thanks for a well-written article. My observation is that we Christians are quite skilled at turning our opinions into convictions. We then claim we alone understand the "right" way to interpret Scripture, and mix all of that with our human pride. Like you, I attended a Christian college ( a couple actually). The first was so fundamentalist that a fellow student asked me to go with him to a nearby Assemblies of God college to "win souls for Jesus!" We were taught to follow Usher's dates, so 4004BC was the beginning of everything. Now, almost 50 years later, I had almost the same conversation with a pastor friend here in Southeast Asia. I told him that there is much I do not understand, but that I do believe, as Hebrews says, that the world was made by the Word of God, so that what is seen was made from what cannot be seen. Brilliant words, and simple enough for me to grasp, whatever processes God used to do it. Thanks again.

Report Abuse

Lewis Herbert

May 02, 2012  5:07pm

Great post. The Bible must be read and interpreted through the world of its original writers and audience--the questions they asked and answered. The writer of Genesis was not writing for a scientific journal, but rather to an ancient audience in an ancient world asking ancient questions. When Christ is the center of our faith (as opposed to Biblicism), the arguments about a slippery slope leading away from the gospel become irrelevant.

Report Abuse

Arthur Shippee

May 02, 2012  4:35pm

Please, some patience, wisdom, and closer thought. As stated, the post is somewhat unsophisticated, but the direction taken has been around since, as someone noted, at least Paul. But beware the word "literal", a word used in many different senses, and which people use mostly for its emotional attachment to "good" or "bad," depending. But look at, e.g., Alston's discussion on talking about God literally, where he argues for a linguistically sensitive use of "literal", marking how a word is used in a specific context, i.e., it is always historically contextualized. So, Aquinas' analogy (akin to Maimonides' negative theology) can be a form of literal usage, when so established. Reading anything is riskier than some like, and one must take responsibility. Some use "poetry" or "allegory" to wiggle out of that responsibility; others wiggle out by other means. But patience, commitment, community, and wisdom are likely to help guide us aright. We are children of God, not slaves.

Report Abuse

Dan

May 02, 2012  4:33pm

Genesis 1 is not science -- it is not meant to give us a geological timeframe, but rather a theological truth. That does NOT mean it's not historical, either. As John H. Walton points out in his book "The Lost World of Genesis One", Genesis is written in the context of a primitive cosmology, shared with ALL of the Ancient Near-East neighbors. Modern science shows us that the sun does not revolve around the earth, there is no "solid dome" (firmament) in the sky holding back the waters, and the earth is NOT 6,000-years-old. But that's fine -- because Genesis (nor any genre in the Bible) is concerned with scientific truth.

Report Abuse

Justin Stratis

May 02, 2012  4:01pm

Just a quick note - Carolyn Arends doesn't say that the Bible is to be read allegorically; she says that language used for God is to be understood analogically. This is a standard view in the tradition, and I suspect she's getting it from the first question of Thomas' Summa. No need to get the pitchforks out just yet.

Report Abuse

Displaying 1–20 of 34 comments.

1 2 next page   Show All