Untroubled by the modern fooleries of science, ancient commentators didn’t pretend the firmament meant expanse, or air or some similar nonsense. It plainly meant there was a solid barrier holding up water. Below is an extract from Bede the Venerable’s commentary (how do you even get a name like that!?!):
“Described in these verses is the creation of our heaven in which the stars are fixed. It is established that the firmament is in the midst of the waters, for we understand that waters were placed beneath the firmament and in the air and the land; and we are taught about the placement of these waters above it by the authority of this Scripture passage and by the words of the prophet who said, “Spreading out heaven like a tent, you cover your chamber with waters.” It is in agreement then that the starry heaven was firmly set in the midst of the waters, and this does not prevent the belief that it was made from these waters.
“It is precisely here, at the face of Tehom, that the breath of the Divine flutters, we are told, like a nesting dove over her fledgling chicks. Concerned, protective, nurturing, urging her brood into flight, so too the breath/wind/spirit of God returns again and again to the edges of disorder and chaos, unsettling the norms, disrupting the habitual, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, cracking an opening for novelty to emerge. The Hebrew verb, merachefet, to sweep or flutter, is “vibration, movement. … Motion, which is the essential element in change, originates with God’s dynamic presence.” There are physicists who remind us that the components of matter are really vibrations, fluttering packets of energy shimmying the dance of becoming: “the microscopic landscape is suffused with tiny strings whose vibrational patterns orchestrate the evolution of the cosmos.” The divine vibrating resiliently invites chaos toward cosmos, organizing, constraining, enticing, luring. The work of creation is never ending and never static. We are a part of its harvest, and we are, with the cosmos and the Divine, co-creators. The ruach continues to vibrate across the face of tehom, though us, in us, with us: creatio continua, continuous creating.”
Artson, B. S. (n.d.). Vibrating Over the Face of the Deep: God’s creating and ours.
Do yourself a favour and just read the whole article – its not very long 🙂 Yes we know the implication of chaos in Gen 1 is a touch astray (it’s more Psa 104) but still a good read.
Ask for evidence of a change in Adam’s nature and literalists often bluster. Obviously there were big changes in Adam’s circumstances, experience and relationships as a result of sin. However we should stick to what Scripture clearly says. In a recent interaction, one literalist insisted Adam’s fundamental nature changed because while once Adam was very good, Paul says there was no good thing in his flesh. Is this a reasonable argument? Spoiler – no. Continue reading
there is therefore no precedent by which to conclude that the introductory formula in Genesis 2:4 is bringing the reader back into the middle of the previous account to give a more detailed description of a part of the story that was previously told. Such introductions never do this in the rest of Genesis, and the word tōlĕdōt (account) argues against such an understanding. Furthermore, Genesis 2 does not follow the pattern of the recursive examples that follow a genealogy of the unfavored line before returning to the story of the favored line. This evidence then leads us to give strong preference to the view that Genesis 2 is not adding further detail to what happened during the sixth day in Genesis 1. It would therefore also mean that, though Adam and Eve may well be included among the people created in Genesis 1, to think of them as the first couple or the only people in their time is not the only textual option.
Walton, J. H. (2015). The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2–3 and the Human Origins Debate (p. 66). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press.
Literalists are divided on Gen 1:31. Some accept it applies to stars, dry land, trees, serpents, and people. Others try and restrict it to people. What they all do is add a lot of detail to “very good” – ignoring how Scripture uses the phrase. Some also demand their additions are accepted as Scripture.
We believe God created. How is another question. Contrary to common slurs we don’t believe in science. Not in the same way. We accept reality. Eg climate change. The evidence is overwhelming and all but the most conflicted or ignorant accept the reality that humans are changing the planet for the worse. The evidence for this ALSO flatly contradicts a literal reading of Genesis 1. Below is an extract of temperatures across Greenland over the last 12,000 years. There is no change around 6,000 years ago. Things were operating as they do today. Continue reading
Following is an extract from Bro Wilfred Lambert’s 1997 articles in The Endeavour Magazine entitled “Creation”. Bro Wilfred was a highly regarded Assyriologist. His conclusion reproduced below neatly answers the questions posed Australian ecclesias recently on the importance of the creation accounts in Gen 1-3. Interesting too Bro Wilfred pointing to the reuse of Baal creation myths in Isaiah! Continue reading
“The mystery of divine creativity is, of course, ultimately unknowable. The Genesis narrative does not seek to make intelligible what is beyond human ken. To draw upon human language to explain that which is outside any model of human experience is inevitably to confront the inescapable limitations of any attempt to give verbal expression to this subject. For this reason alone, the narrative in its external form must reflect the time and place of its composition. Thus it directs us to take account of the characteristic modes of literary expression current in ancient Israel. It forces us to realize that a literalistic approach to the text must inevitably confuse idiom with idea, symbol with reality. The result would be to obscure the enduring meaning of that text.
The biblical Creation narrative is a document of faith. It is a quest for meaning and a statement of a religious position. It enunciates the fundamental postulates of the religion of Israel, the central ideas and concepts that animate the whole of biblical literature. Its quintessential teaching is that the universe is wholly the purposeful product of divine intelligence, that is, of the one self-sufficient, self-existing God, who is a transcendent Being outside of nature and who is sovereign over space and time.”
Sarna, N. M. (1989). Genesis (pp. 2–4). Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.
Bro Rick Bower has written a new and interesting book. The introduction reads – “In recent years, few topics have generated more interest and prompted more debate across the broad spectrum of Christian denominations, than that of the Biblical creation texts. And in particular, the text of Genesis 1 has played a controversial role. So then, the goal of this work is only to encourage a deeper and more sensitive approach to the creation text of Genesis 1. This approach must necessarily incorporate the ancient perspectives of the original, Biblical audience, as well as the spiritual aspects of the text which are explicitly revealed to us.”
As he says in the book’s preface
“The goal of this work is not dogma. And yet the evidence is presented in such a way, so that all of it can be accounted for in any conclusions which the reader may reach. Of course, I offer my own conclusions for consideration. Ultimately, the goal of this work is only to encourage a deeper and more sensitive approach to the creation text of Genesis 1. To that end, I pray that this work strengthens your faith in God, and His Son, as much as it has mine.”
Bro Rick Bower’s work can be purchased on Lulu here
Creationists claim to read Genesis literally. This indeed is one of the proclamations made in the IEAC Reaffirmation Statement which says in its background that the various signatories “accept the creation record as literal in its details”. This is a fine sounding declaration. We thought we would align Genesis 1 in the KJV with the old earth creation model promoted by The Lampstand Magazine (a promoter of the Reaffirmation Statement). Lots of words had to be deleted or added. Be warned you might be upset. The intention is not to upset but rather demonstrate the old earth creation view is NOT a literal reading. Neither is the young earth creationist view, as should also be evidence from the below. Continue reading