Hasn’t the church always read the creation account in Genesis 1 as a straightfoward narrative? Haven’t Christians always believed that the earth is relatively young and that the creation days were twenty-four hour days? How do I just up and think I can read this text anyway I want to? Where has the Holy Spirit been all these years?Todd Patterson
In my posts on Genesis 1 I say that the creation account is history and that it is literature. Is it possible to cross the impassable divide? At first, it seems the obvious answer is no. Historical fiction, after all, even though it’s cast in a real historical setting, is still fiction.[Read more…]
Evangelicals often read the creation account in Genesis 1 as straightforward history but I’ve been suggesting that we need to pay attention to the literary features of the text and its ancient Near Eastern background. The text is historical narrative, I affirm, but also literary and figurative. This raises three questions that we need to address.[Read more…]
The creation account of Genesis 1 is divided into six days of creation and one day of rest. Each day of creation ends with the same two clauses: “And there was evening and there was morning, day 1,” “…evening…morning…the second day,” etc. To us, it seems perfectly clear that day means a 24 hour period. Why else would he say, “And there was evening, and there was morning…?” So why do some interpreters, like myself, say it’s possible that Moses uses “day” in a non plain-language way?[Read more…]
It’s time to bring together the material from the last two posts to show how Moses makes a brilliant literary move in his Genesis 1 creation account. What does he do? He takes the normal ANE metaphor “the temple is creation” and reverses it to “creation is a temple.” This literary move has huge theological implications.[Read more…]
Memes are a modern phenomenon that we associate with social media. But in a way, memes are as old as human culture. In this post, I want to think about the idea of “temple” as a meme in the ancient Near East that served as a way for people to understand their place in creation, especially their place in relation to God. We’ll see how the idea of temple, like a meme, was transferrable to different contexts. Then we’ll be ready for the next post, when we’ll see how Genesis 1 uses the temple meme to communicate theological truths about creation.[Read more…]
In response to my most recent post in my series on “The Evangelical’s Creation Conundrum,” A friend asked my opinion about the Mohler-Collins conversation about Scripture’s teaching on the age of the universe that took place on February 1. Rather than an extensive response, I picked out one of Mohler’s statements that I think is representative of the way young earth creationists sometimes rhetorically distort the debate by forcing us to go all in on a lopsided bet.
Creation was meant to be a place of provision and protection. That’s what the ordering of the six days of creation communicates. But Genesis 1:1-2:3 sets in motion a big idea that drives the whole biblical story from beginning to end. The temple theme is rooted in the seven day structure of creation and opens up the possibility that the author did not use “days” to express length of time, but rather to set up the all important temple metaphor as the lens through which we understand the creation narrative.[Read more…]