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…]
Remember the Creation Project from way back in 2016? I have a commitment to the Templeton Religion Trust and the Henry Center for Theological Understanding to publish two articles on the topic of the proper way to read the creation account in Genesis 1. I’ve finally sent off the first article to see if a journal will accept it for publication.[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…]
For the past few years I’ve been attending the annual meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature. These are huge conferences (about 2,000 and 10,000 theologians respectively) where I have the chance to catch up with what’s happening in the world of academia and also present my own research. This year I presented a paper on my interpretation of the Jacob narrative, explaining why I think he never ‘let go and let God.’[Read more…]
The Institute for Biblical Research (IBR) is an organization of evangelical Christian scholars with a vision to foster excellence in the pursuit of Biblical Studies. A fellow Pentateuch scholar and I have recently started a new research group on the Pentateuch and are accepting proposals for the 2018 annual meeting of IBR (at SBL). Proposals are due March 7!