Check out this 3-minute clip from N.T. Wright talking about what’s actually important in Genesis. According to Wright, people who think the point of Genesis is to figure out how many days creation took and how young the earth is, etc, are completely missing the point. I agree with him. What do you think?
dave bish says
I find Peter Leithart helpful here "One way to gather clues regarding the structure of a biblical book (or any book) is to look at the beginning and end. Genesis begins with a command to Adam to rule the earth, and ends with a new Adam, Joseph, ruling the largest empire of the world. Exodus begins with Israel in slavery and ends with God’s presence descending on the tabernacle; as James Jordan has written, the theme of the book is "From Slavery to Sabbath." The cosmic scope of the books of Chronicles is reinforced by the fact that it begins with Adam (creation) and ends with the declaration of Cyrus that the temple would be rebuilt, an anticipation of the eschatological temple of the new creation. The book of Matthew begins with the Jewish genealogy of Jesus, depicts his escalating conflict with and rejection of the Jewish leadership and ends with Jesus commissioning His disciples to spread the gospel to the Gentile nations. Acts begins with Pentecost in Jerusalem and ends with Paul preaching unhindered in Rome.."
Ben Sternke says
Great points, Dave. Thanks.
As you are probably aware, The BioLogos Foundation is committed to discrediting those who hold to a young earth creation, so getting N.T. Wright to weigh in on the issue gives them greater credibility.
I listened to N.T. Wright in this video and also to his comments on Adam and Eve. If he really thinks that young earth creationists think the point of Genesis is to figure out how many days Creation took, then he needs to have a talk with a young earth creation scientist to find out what they really believe.
Ben Sternke says
Merv, I wasn't aware of anything about the BioLogos Foundation, I just found the quote from N.T. Wright to be interesting.
And to Wright's point: if the point of Genesis is not to figure out how many days creation took (or even one of the points), then why do people make a big deal out of it? I just don't see how it matters how old or young the earth is. I feel like the point is that God created a good world and continues to sustain it (and is, of course, rescuing it).
That is one of the main points made by young earth creationists. God created a "very good" world. He did not use death and disease to sort out the unfit so that he could end up with the best. He created it good and very good. Death came by Adam, as it clearly states in the New Testament.
Ben Sternke says
I can definitely agree with that, but I'm not sure how that directly relates to how old the earth is.
There is nothing about the way the first eleven chapters of Genesis are written that would make one interpret them as other than historical, just as we interpret the rest of Genesis. The only reason to think that the days of creation were other than six days is to try to accommodate evolutionary thinking. Evolution requires long periods of time.
Creation scientists and evolutionary scientists work with the same evidence. The basis for interpreting that evidence depends on starting assumptions. If one accepts that Genesis is literal history, the evidence in biology, geology, astronomy, etc. can be interpreted to support a young earth and young universe. If one choose to accept the opposite, the evidence can be interpreted to support evolution.
The bottom line for me is that I choose to fit science into the Bible, rather than try to adjust my understanding of the Bible to fit the conclusions of fallible human scientists. When the Lord gave the ten commandments (Exodus 20:11), he said, "In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them,…" I conclude that God knew what He was talking about when He said that.
While I agree that we shouldn't make this an issue in defining who we think is saved and who isn't, I do think that this is a defining issue between those Christians who are accepting of abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, etc. and those who aren't. I know it's a cliche, but if we begin to question one part of the Bible because it doesn't fit our paradigm, we start down a slippery slope.
TJ H says
Reading your own presuppositions into the Scriptures a bit too much there, my friend. The New Testament teaches us that human death came into the world through the sin of Adam. It says nothing at all about animal death, or the death of vegetation for that matter. To assume that animal and plant death was introduced by way of Adam's sin is to add something to the Scriptures that isn't there to begin with.
Clara Rothenbush says
I love the Creation story! Whenever I get a bit confused about God, I think about what He gave us in the garden and what things He said to Adam and Eve… before the "fall". That shows me God's heart and intentions… as so much better said by Mr. Wright.