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1689 Reformed_Baptist

Genesis ch. 1-11 Historical or metaphor?

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Aus Der Box Skeptisch

This may have been said already but I read the op and it says made in a 24 hour day well OK six of them. Where does it say 24 hours. To get to my point a 24 hour day is based on the rotation of earth around the sun. Which didn't exist until after it was created. Would it not make more sense that everything was created in six of gods days measured by whatever he measures days by? Making it possible that millions or billions of earth days could fit into one of his days?

This could lead into evolution being a part of his creation in order to reach the result of man. But that's off topic and I wont go any further than that. So how did we come up with 24 hours?

We are not discussing my post but I wanted to correct a common error. In my haste to post I said 24 hours was laughable I know the rotation around the sun. Which is one year not one day. Lol

So instead I should have put the earths axial rotation is a day. Sorry to interrupt ... carry on all.

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Jor-el

Just a quick question. Wouldn’t the formation of Earth from the dark cloud disk circulating around a newly formed sun also fit that description? It wouldn’t necessarily be an ELE? The Earth became formless and empty from the cloud.

Here is an interesting link that coincides with this question... Without form and void

I'm not saying that it can't be interpreted that way, I personally don't because, the translation of the term "without form and void can also be that the earth became an empty wasteland.

Since the Universe/Cosmos had been created and following that, the earth itself in verse 1:1 (In the beginning God created the "Heavens" and the "Earth"), it would seem to me that something catastrophic happened to the earth. Genesis 1:2 states that transformation into a wasteland, followed by a slow recovery, of the planet, with the helping hand of God.

Naturally this is merely one view, there are others as we know.

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RavenHawk

Here is an interesting link that coincides with this question... Without form and void

It’s tidbits like this that I think prove the validity of Genesis 1. It may not be a full scientific proof of the creation, but it is either the luckiest guess ever made or insider information.

I'm not saying that it can't be interpreted that way, I personally don't because, the translation of the term "without form and void can also be that the earth became an empty wasteland.

Since the Universe/Cosmos had been created and following that, the earth itself in verse 1:1 (In the beginning God created the "Heavens" and the "Earth"), it would seem to me that something catastrophic happened to the earth. Genesis 1:2 states that transformation into a wasteland, followed by a slow recovery, of the planet, with the helping hand of God.

The Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago. In that time, there have been several ELEs but I’m pretty sure that one hasn’t happened in the last 200,000 years.

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Jor-el

It’s tidbits like this that I think prove the validity of Genesis 1. It may not be a full scientific proof of the creation, but it is either the luckiest guess ever made or insider information.

The Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago. In that time, there have been several ELEs but I’m pretty sure that one hasn’t happened in the last 200,000 years.

Well, there was something very close to it 74,000 years ago. The Toba Super Volcano Erupted.

http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/supervolcano/others/others_02.html

There are a number of possible causes, an asteroid hitting us, is just one of them. 4000 years ago an asteroid hit in the Indian Ocean almost certainly caused the Great Flood.

http://discovermagazine.com/2007/nov/did-a-comet-cause-the-great-flood/article_view?b_start:int=1&-C=

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Beckys_Mom

The book I used for most of the information in my OP was Old-Earth Creationism on Trial: The Verdict is In by Tim Chaffey and Jason Lisle.

Evolution was proven, so obviously Genesis is just some metaphor.. or if you like another myth...

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karmakazi

Do you then believe that the meaning of the text changes based on the evidence we have available to us?

The meaning of the text as it was written cannot be changed, but our capability of understanding the meaning does change depending on availability of corroborating information.

If the text was written as the best possible explanation of what was experienced or heard, we must consider the person writing the text may not have fully grasped the concept or may not have known how to put it into words. They did their best, and now it is up to us to try and understand the message. Learning more about the Earth can help us to do so as that is the only other place we can find more clues to the meaning, if any. I am not saying that when an archaeological find is dug up that our ideas about what it means are correct, but the find itself combined with the text and other evidence could eventually lead to greater understanding of the original meaning.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are talking about scientific evidence (such as the earth supposedly being much older than 6,000 years)?

I'm speaking of common knowledge of the world and of scientific study of the Earth and space that has been undertaken, as both have advanced since the time of the writing.

I agree that evidence can help us understand a text, but a different kind of evidence. If I wanted to prove to you that Plato held the same views as say a modern day conservative or something, what would be the best way for me to do that? It would be to give evidence from Plato's writings themselves. Along with that, comes universal standards of hermeneutics that if I follow, will keep me from misrepresenting him. If you used scientific evidence to try and prove Plato meant something other than what it really appears that he said, then you are not proving what Plato's view actually was. Instead, you are presenting evidence that Plato's view was wrong.

I would agree, within the context of comparing Plato to a modern person. However, we aren't talking about personalities or ideals, we are talking about scripture which has been held up as everything from a fairytale to recorded history. Plato's viewpoints are a matter of his own opinion and circumstances, and do not need to be verified as he wrote them himself (to our knowledge). In the case of writings that could be recorded history, we can compare it to what we are capable of finding out through our study of what remains within the Earth and maybe shed light on whether it was written as metaphor or documentation.

I'm glad you brought this up, this is a good point. The Bible contains many different literary styles that are not meant to be ignored. For instance, poetry is used a lot in the Psalms, so we do not take everything literalistically (which is an important distinction from literalism). When we read in Psalm 19 that "the heavens declare the glory of God," we do not think they are literally speaking.

I read the Bible in a literal fashion, but this does not mean what many people think it means. To read the Bible literally, is to give reference to the literary context that is established from evidences within that same text and others like it. So when I read the Psalms I understand it is poetry which uses hyperbole, metaphor, anthropomorphism, etc. This is referred to in 2 Corinthians 4:2 as "setting forth the truth plainly."

In other words, I read the Bible in a straightforward manner. By this I can understand that literal history is literal history, poetry is poetry, etc. This is called the historical grammatical method of interpretation. If you wanted to prove my understanding of Genesis 1-11 is incorrect, this is ultimately the method of interpretation you would have to prove wrong.

Genesis 1-11 is in the same literary style as the rest of the book. So if you say the first 11 chapters are allegory or what have you, there's no hermeneutical justification to say the rest of the book is not. It's a wonder to me that the rest of Genesis is not attacked as the first 11 chapters are. Yet all the evidences I've given indicate that Genesis 1-11 is a historical account. Therefore, we can understand or interpret what he says as history.

While Genesis 1-11 is in the same literary style, it provides a different type of information. These passages are speaking of the distant past with little detail while later passages describe more intensive details. The closer you get to the time when the stories were being recorded the more the detail improves. I feel this supports the text having been written as historical and that the beginning is referring to events for which the author has limited information. At times when more information is available it is utilized.

Am I not discussing my view with you right now, though you disagree with my interpretation? The things that are off topic are the things that do not discuss the meaning of Genesis 1-11, since that is meant to be the discussion. It is a narrow topic, but in my opinion that is the best way for a discussion to actually accomplish something.

For me, and I'm probably not alone here, this is how I explore meaning; comparing and contrasting to experience and other available knowledge or information. I appologize if this does not fit the intent of your thread and I'll go elsewhere.

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Paranoid Android

Hey there, that sounds like a lot of fun :) I appreciate your time and thoughts put into this discussion. For organizations sake, I put your reasons in quotations boxes, but I will bring out things you said to support it within my reply, if that makes sense.

No worries. And before I reply to the rest of your post, I'd like to quickly address one of your primary points about evidence shaping meaning. If by this you are asking, the person/people who wrote Genesis down onto parchment believed that what they wrote was historical, then I'd probably say you were right. They believed that God created the world in seven days. I suppose if that is the entirety of your argument then I concede the point. HOWEVER, and I stress that in capitals to ensure it is not missed - in light of evidence (evidence must always be considered) looking at the text not with the eyes of someone writing in 1500 BC (if it can even be said that Genesis is that old) but applying modern textual analysis, then what is absolutely clear is that Genesis 1-11 (and to a lesser-extent Genesis 12-50) show signs of oral tradition. That is, generation upon generation of people brought up telling the stories of their past. Over the course of hundreds of years (perhaps thousands - I am no expert to tell how long Abraham's ancestors passed on their stories) the stories became less history and more theology. From a story of calamity came a warning of the consequences of sin. From creation came the opposition to other creation myths.

So to be fair, the original authors almost definitely thought they were documenting history by committing their oral history to paper. Modern analysis confirms that they were doing just that - committing oral history to paper. This does not mean the accounts are worthless. There are still great theological truths to be gleaned - and as I said to Raven earlier, to me it doesn't matter if the accounts actually happened exactly as described or whether it is just oral tradition, the theological impact remains the same; that is, 1- God created all, including us, and 2- we were created in relationship with him but via sin we destroyed that.

Anyway, that said, if you wish to accept this opening paragraph as conceding your point about the original intent of the author, then that is done. Otherwise continue reading and I'm happy to discuss refutations:

In this reason you state that the 7 days of creation follow Hebraic poetry by the use of parallelism. An example of parallelism in poetry is clearly seen in Psalm 49:1: "Hear this, all you peoples; listen, all who live in this world." The two lines of this couplet say essentially the same thing. This is extremely relevant to the discussion. Parallelism is unquestionably a sign of a poetic structure. So if it is found in Genesis 1, then that would make it poetic. However, I want to make the case that parallelism is incorrectly defined and applied in Genesis 1.

First of all, you overstate the case regarding the similarities between the days. It is correct that the creatures of the sea were made on the fifth day, but the water was not created on the second day; it was already there on the first day (Gen. 1:2). Also, you said "The first three days provide the right conditions in which the actions of the second set of three days can be accomplished, in sequential order." The right living conditions for the sun, moon and stars would be the expanse of the heavens correct? However, that is not created until day 2 so it cannot be parallel to day 4.

Secondly, the days of creation simply do not fit into the mold of Hebrew poetry. The idea of parallelism is to express an idea once, then to mirror or expand upon it in parallel or synonymous language. The hallmark of Hebrew poetry is one idea being conveyed in two consecutive lines (as the example from Psalm 49 above points out). Yet you are making an attempt in the creation days to apply this to general concepts that are separated by several verses.

Hebrew poetry is much more complex than you are making out. What you are describing here is only Internal Parallelism, and of that it is only describing Synonymous Parallelism. There is also Antithetic Parallelism (seen a lot in Proverbs), Synthetic Parallelism, Climactic Parallelism and more. The link I provided earlier doesn't really go into Internal and External Parallelism though, I just used it as a quick Internet reference. I'm sourcing this from an article on Hebrew Poetry that is found in the New Oxford Annotated Bible.

But I digress. Genesis 1 shows evidence of External Parallelism, which differs to Internal Parallelism in that it is not just referring to verses immediately following one another, but can be several verses apart. Moreover, the specific type of External Parallelism appears to be Synthetic Parallelism, which is not just the repetition of a concept (as in Synonymous or Antithetic Parallelism), but actually the continuation of an idea, which is exactly what happens here - idea A is presented, then shortly thereafter it is added to.

You're proving too much. The following examples would also be nullified as history since, according to this standard, they also could be classified as poetry:

Abraham and his son Isaac both had barren wives (Gen. 15:2, 25:21).

Both eventually had children through God's intervention (Gen. 21:2, 25:24)

Both men lied to authorities regarding their wives (Gen. 20:2, 26:7)

Both men faced famine in the Promised Land (Gen. 12:10, 26:1)

Both men made a covenant with the Philistines (Gen. 21:22-34, 26:26-33).

I doubt you take any of these passages as poetic though. The creation days simply do not fit into the mold of Hebrew poetry.

I'm pretty certain some liberal scholars would take this as evidence of mythology (if not direct poetry). Fortunately for you I do not consider myself a liberal Christian. While the events are similar, the fact that multiple chapters separate the events disqualifies it from being poetry. The events of creation in days 1&4, 2&5, 3&6 all occur within a confined space of text, which makes it a totally different prospect than what you present.

The problem with these statements is that has no justification in Hebrew grammar. "Yom" when used with a number or the word evening or morning always means a literal day based upon Hebrew grammar.....

So in order for what you said to actually be the case, you would first of all have to prove Genesis 1 to be the only exception to the rules in Hebrew grammar regarding the word "yom." Also, you would have to prove that the light created on day 1 is not a proper basis for a 24 hour day for the first 3 days.

If the event is written in poetic language, then whether it refers to a 24-hour period or not is beside the point. I did refer to the evening-morning issue as a matter of internal inconsistency, but how long the time actually is has no bearing on the text if it is a piece of poetry.

While I agree that those numbers do represent those things, it does not support the idea that Genesis 1 is poetry.

Which represents a key difference in our views here. I cannot help but see it as evidence of poetry. And on that note, I'll end this first post. I'll deal with your other point/s shortly.

~ Regards,

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Paranoid Android

Regarding this reason, you bring up the progression of evil through the first 11 chapters. "* one man rejects God;

* whole world rejects God; * whole world wants to be God!" Due to the choosing of only very specific stories, the author had a very specific purpose. While I agree that the stories are meant to show the declining of mankind, this is not evidence of poetry.

I'm actually not sure why you are saying it is Hebrew poetry. Does it show signs of parallelism as you claimed for chapter 1? Or do you think progression in a story is sign of Hebrew poetry? I'm not sure what characteristic of Hebrew poetry you see in Genesis 1-11.

Perhaps I used the word "poetry" in an inconsistent manner. A better word in this case would probably be that Genesis 1-11 is written in a "theatrical" style. Just to give you a bit of information about myself, I'm a Music/Drama High School teacher. In university I completed a Bachelor of Performance, Theory and Practice, majoring in theatre making. I took several classes dedicated to the conventions of theatre and something that was highlighted was how the most enduring and endearing stories all follow the same pattern - the status quo is introduced, followed by a complication, escalation of events, climax, and resolution. This is true whether it was 16th Century AD England, 3rd Century AD China, 5th Century BC Greece, and anything else you care to name. Furthermore, part of the study of theatre revolved around the concept of "Ritual", looking at sacred activities such as Rites of Passage. What was of interest was how sacred rituals also happened to adhere to theatrical conventions.

So, back to Genesis 1-11 and having studied theatre for three years at university and more outside, I notice that this section of text adhere identically to the theatrical conventions of theatre:

* The status quo is set - God creates, mankind in Eden.

* Complication arises - Adam and Eve sin, thus tossed out.

* Escalation of events, leading to climax - slide into sin with the Cain-Abel/Flood/Babel narrative

* Resolution - God reconnects with Abraham

Theatre 1.01. As I said in my last post, some small-scale events might adhere to a similar structure (such as a pregnancy from conception to birth), but in the course of generations of history it just does not happen unless the author is intentionally writing for dramatic effect. In this case though, God acts in only three distinct acts, each separated by generations.

Does that clarify my meaning? I apologise for using "poetic" in this context, next time I'll use "theatrical" instead.

You claim the following:

The literary context does not change in Genesis 12. Genesis 11 gives us the genealogy of Abraham, so you can you even believe Abraham ever existed if the genealogy that gives his ancestry is merely poetry? What evidence is there in the text of a literary grammar change? And what characteristic is evidence in Genesis 1-11?

First, I address your first question later on in Reason 4 - the story represents oral history, so it is not "merely poetry" as you put it. As to the evidence of a literary style change, how about the focus on grand events sweeping across generations (Genesis 1-11) before suddenly focusing on one individual (Abraham) for thirteen chapters or so and detailing minute details of his life and existence.

First of all, it does not "combine" in the sense that the "world['s] rejection of God is complete and total" is concluded in the first 11 chapters. It is not concluded, for that is the theme of the entire Old Testament that culminates in the work of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Therefore your conclusion is faulty.

For the purpose of the Genesis 1-11 narrative it was definitely concluded. But I do agree that the rejection of God did not conclude there, and that the ultimate goal of the Old Testament is to point towards the saving work of Christ.

You said, "This structure again shows the poetic nature of Genesis 1-11, and reinforces the purpose of the author - not an historical account but a theological description of humanity's relationship (or rather lack of relationship) with God." I would think there is no better way to describe to humanity's lack of relationship with God than by actual accounts of human activity, in other words true history. The idea that there is theological truth behind it does not make it poetry at all. If that were true, the entire Bible would be poetry! Besides, that purpose does not arbitrarily change in Genesis 12. The theme of human depravity and God correcting man's relationship to Him is found throughout the entire Bible, but surely you would not say the Bible is all poetry.

You're right, I would not say the Bible is all poetry. And anyone reading my post can tell that I never had that intention. This is the so-called "Slippery Slope" fallacy at work - to suggest that an opposing view can potentially lead to a total breakdown of theological understanding.

On the same account, I could say something like "The amount of abortions in the United States clearly shows the decline of morals in this society." When I say that, I am not being poetical to purport a theological truth. I am using a historical fact (the number of abortions have increased). Therefore, to say Genesis 1-11 is poetic because of theological truths behind it is a faulty conclusion.

That's not the same thing at all. You are making your statement in the context of a person living in 2012 and commenting on your opinion of social morality. The context of Genesis 1-11 is of a centuries-old oral tradition. You can't compare applies and oranges.

Thanks for reading, I'll try and get to your other responses as soon as I can :tu:

~ PA

Edited by Paranoid Android

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Paranoid Android

Another purpose you bring up is that the creation account in Genesis was written in direct opposition to other nation's creation stories. This is actually a contention between the Old Earth view and New Earth View of creation. If you interpret historical and scientific evidence with the Young Earth understanding of Genesis 1-11 and the Bible as your ultimate authority, the evidence has a much different conclusion (since all evidence must be interpreted).

The problem with this reasoning is that it begs the question. Do you agree with the following statement?: "YECs are wrong because older creation stories from other nations prove that Genesis 1-11 was shaped by a rejection of those stories, not literal history." If you do agree with it, and I think that's the point you're trying to get across (correct me if I'm wrong), then you are begging the question because YECs do not accept the assumptions that go into dating other creation stories. We have 2 competing worldviews that interpret the evidence. So you have merely assumed what you are trying to prove with this reasoning.

Again, I would remind us that evidence does not shape the meaning of the text in the first place. The meaning of the text - if we accept it to be true - should interpret the evidence. Therefore, whether or not Genesis 1-11 is a historical narrative or not does not depend on what it is a reaction to or other evidences that may be used to change its meaning, but simply on the context and meaning the author gives us. Though I agree Genesis 1-11 does implicitly reject all other views of creation, it does not prove that it is based off of those other creation accounts, especially since the plain reading of the text indicates the author is intending to write about true history.

I mentioned this in the very first part of my first response. If the entirety of your argument is whether the original authors understood it to be history, then I agree, and our discussion is at an end. However, as I also said, I totally disagree that evidence does not shape the meaning of a text. To people reading in 1000 BC, they only had access to their own centuries-old oral tradition. Today, we have access to so much more, including the written version of Hebrew oral tradition from pre-Abrahamic times. We also have access to scientific data that in my opinion demands a closer look at the oral tradition of the Hebrews.

But with that said, I'll agree with your first couple of paragraphs, what we have represents two alternate and impossible-to-reconcile world views.

It's difficult to address these last points since I have already given a number of objections against your interpretative foundation (Genesis 1-11 is poetry) that need to be answered. If your foundation is incorrect, which I believe my objections suggest, then clearly the genealogies are further evidence that Genesis 1-11 is real history. Thus, you correctly state that the genealogies are a stumbling block for people to accept Gen. 1-11 as poetry and I've given the valid reasons for that. You cannot correctly interpret the genealogies if your foundation for interpretation is wrong.

It is a stumbling block, but one that is easily rectified when thinking of Genesis 1-11 not as direct "poetry" or "history", but rather "oral tradition". Thus both history and poetry can co-exist in the same sentence.

The italicized statement clearly shows that you are using supposed scientific evidence about our past to re-interpret Scripture. The plain reading of Genesis 1-11 teaches the YEC view and we don't need to be ashamed of that! In order for any evidence to support a view, it has to be interpreted - otherwise all it is is a bone or a rock. Darwinian evolution rejects Scripture as the ultimate authority and therefore does not interpret it in accordance with Scripture.

Actually, evolution (Darwinian, or otherwise) neither accepts nor rejects the authority of scripture. It simply takes the data and follows wherever it leads. If the conclusions led to Young-Earth creationism, then that is where it would lead. However, it is bad science to presuppose a conclusion ("Young-earth creationism is correct"!) and then fit whatever you can into that and ignore the rest.

But really, this thread isn't about Evolution vs Creationism, so I really don't want to get too involved into discussing how evolution is or is not correct (there are plenty of threads about evolution already).

If you really do believe that "we require the redemption of Jesus to save us from our sinful desires," then theistic evolution cannot be true. For instance, you arbitrarily state that Genesis 12 switches to a historical context. But that's just it - it's arbitrary, there's no good reason to do that because it is written in the same context as Genesis 1-11. If we cannot trust the history of Genesis 1-11, we have no basis to trust the history of Jesus Christ

Theistic Evolution is blatantly anti-Scriptural. It places death before sin, the sun is created before the earth, Satan fell before the end of the creation week, dinosaurs did not live with man, Noah's flood was not a wordl-wide catastrophe, all creation was not "very good," symbiotic relationships were non-existent, and many of the other order of events of Scripture are in direct conflict with theistic evolution.

So in conclusion, if you believe the Bible you must interpret evidence with the understanding the Bible gives - not vica versa. Then we can know that any evidence that contradicts that is wrongly interpreted.

I have to disagree. We are sinful beings, the only way we can be saved from sin is by Jesus. None of the problems you see are problems that I see. Whatever else happens I believe that we are sinful beings requiring salvation through Christ. Whoever has the son has life, whoever does not have the son does not have life (to quote 1 John 5).

~ Regards,

Edited by Paranoid Android

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CommunitarianKevin

The final court scene in “Inherit the Wind” is a brilliant presentation and explanation of the discrepancy in measurement of time and hence the meaning of “night & day”.

Nice, that movie is a classic.

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CommunitarianKevin

Well, we find a number of ancient views, some of them follow the concept of literal 24 hour days, others do not.

The actual text is sufficiently loose in that a day could be seen as an unspecified period of time, we have a number of instances in the bible where days do not refer to a specific 24 hour day but a time period that in some views could last as much as a actual 1000 years.

Given that the text is written in a semi poetic style in the hebrew, it also stands to reason that some of this text van be seen as a literay metaphor.

I have asked 4 professors this question and they all agree that in genesis it was meant to be a literal 24 hour day. There parts of the Bible where a day is longer are the parts of the Bible written in Greek, not Hebrew.

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Fergus

Very interesting thread.

I would just like to point out that I don't believe a literal interpretation of Genesis has to conflict with science and means the Earth has to be 6-7,000 years old. I don't read anything that says how long man lived peacefully alongside God after the creation, walking and talking with him in the garden, before the fall. It could have been 4 billion years, who is to say? All we can really see do is count the generations it gives us after the fall.

I think a literal reading can coexist with a scientific view of the old age of the world without conflict. I also don't read anywhere that it says we are God's only creation, just that we were made in his image. Cain went off to the land of Nod to get a wife, where did they come from? There could have easily been another, less intelligent and evolved form of humans on the earth, living outside of the garden, apart from the enlightenment that Adam & Eve were given.

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Jor-el

I have asked 4 professors this question and they all agree that in genesis it was meant to be a literal 24 hour day. There parts of the Bible where a day is longer are the parts of the Bible written in Greek, not Hebrew.

That drew a smile from me, seriously...

1st question, did any or all of these Professors belong to the conservative movement of christianity?

For example, do their views coincide with the 24 hour view because of their theological position within the christian community?

If so, then it is absolutely natural for them to frame their response according to their view.

Personally, I have nothing against the view, I held it myself at one time, what i can't do anymore is say that it is the only correct or possible view.

As for that later comment regarding parts of the bible written in greek, that applies uniquely to the New testament, there is no greek in the Old testament.

For example we can look at Genesis 2:4...

4These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

So was it one day or six?

Edited by Jor-el

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Mr Walker

Genesis is not an historical document. We know that, and thus working logically 'backwards" it was not writen as an historical transcript of events which happened. Its not physically possible to be such a record because the recorded events never happened.

I say this as a aperson who has always seen the scientific explanation of our history as the only possible one. Creation requires simply believing, against all the evidences available. SOme can do that but i cannot. I am no longer like my cromagnon ancestors. My mind is filled with knowlege, which i must use to understand who and what i am, and how I came to be here.

But again, that does not preclude me from living with a very real and powerful god. The same sort of facts and deductions which lead me to accept evolutionary history force me to acknowledge and know god.

There are a number of possibilities for its writing. Perhaps it was a story told to someone by "god" Perhaps it was an amalagamation of earlier genesis stories, such as gilgamesh and others. Perhaps it was some one (or more) person's best atempts to describe the origins of man as best they could, with the knowledge available to them.

The literal truth of genesis is not important, either to the existence of god, or to man's relationship with him.

However, it does go to the NATURE of our relationship with self , god and environment. In other words, I can know and live with god, knowing genesis is a "fable", but also knowing it has a particular purose in my relationship to god. It helps define it and explain it.

God speaks to humans in many ways, most of them limited by our abilty to integrate with god and thus understand his language fully. Visions, dreams etc., no matter how vivid and clear, must be interpreted. Even direct comunications are often presented as metaphors allegories and allusions. I think that is the teacher in god. He uses these tools to develop our thinking skills and to force us to make our own connections and conclusions.

What geneis IS, is both a wonderful creation tale, but more importantly a significant allegorical statement about early mans transition from innocence to knowledge, and the great challenges, and dangers, and loss, contained in that transition.

Early peoples lived with no separation of their spiritual and physical understandings. They and their world were (in their world views) inhabited by, and at the mercy of powerful paranormal forces. Birth death and every aspect of life, from hunting /gathering and even the making of beer, were gifts of, and at the mercy of, powerful forces beyond their control.

As genesis points out, when human's gain knowledge they can lose their relationship with those powerful forces. (Including, if you are an atheist with the forces of nature.)

They lose a spiritual connection, which is a form of death to any human. They are cut off from what they perceived as the source of all life and light and being. The very creative force of the universe (no matter how that is perceived )

This does not mean forces which created the universe, but the "creative" forces within our natural universe. Early humans assumed that these real creative forces, such as the sun, and life itself, must have created the world/universe and human beings, because they knew no better)

.And so, with knolwedge, they are cast out of their "innocent" existence where life was governed by their connection to "god" (O r to the natural world) not by what they can do for themselves.

Every time we alter our natural environment, we lose a part of our natural connection to it. Eventually we exist independent of, and outside of, it. And are no longer the beings we were when we lived as one with nature. Substitute god for nature and you have the basic story of genesis.

Edited by Mr Walker

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fullywired

Genesis is not an historical document. We know that, and thus working logically 'backwards" it was not writen as an historical transcript of events which happened. Its not physically possible to be such a record because the recorded events never happened.

I say this as a person who has always seen the scientific explanation of our history as the only possible one. Creation requires simply believing, against all the evidences available. some can do that but I cannot. I am no longer like my cromagnon ancestors. My mind is filled with knowlege, which I must use to understand who and what i am, and how I came to be here

I was with you all the way up to this part and then you spoilt it all by wandering off again

fullywired

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CommunitarianKevin

That drew a smile from me, seriously...

1st question, did any or all of these Professors belong to the conservative movement of christianity?

For example, do their views coincide with the 24 hour view because of their theological position within the christian community?

If so, then it is absolutely natural for them to frame their response according to their view.

Personally, I have nothing against the view, I held it myself at one time, what i can't do anymore is say that it is the only correct or possible view.

As for that later comment regarding parts of the bible written in greek, that applies uniquely to the New testament, there is no greek in the Old testament.

For example we can look at Genesis 2:4...

4These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

So was it one day or six?

First I wanted to point out that I said IN GENESIS (do I need to specify the verses we are talking about?) my professors agree that it is meant to be a literal 24 hour day. It has to do with context, which Dr. Heiser addresses in the video. Dr. Heiser is not always perfect though. Sometimes he is a little contradictive in his arguments. I do like Dr. Heiser though. Him and I have email back and forth a bit. He actually got fired from a college, Pillsbury College,in my hometown, Owatonna, MN. :lol:

Next, Genesis 2:4 reads

According to The New Oxford Annotated Bible...

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created. In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

The word "In" actually starts a new paragraph. It is not connected by a coma. If continue reading you will see “the day” you pointed out is talking about the day that God created the heaves and the earth (referring to Genesis 1:1.)

In The Jewish Study Bible TANAKH Translation…

It says “Such is the story of heaven and earth when they were created (end of paragraph.) When the Lord God made earth and heaven…

In The Harper Collins Study Bible it is same as the New Oxford Annotated Bible except that between “created” and “in,” There is not only the start of another paragraph but in larger letters a heading that says “Another Account of the Creation.”

In the Good News Bible New English Version It once again starts another paragraph. Like above is also has a heading in between that reads “The Garden of Eden.”

In The Student Bible New International Version it is also separated by a paragraph. This Bible, as well as the one listed above, read the same as the Jewish Study Bible in that the second paragraph starts with “When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens…” So in all of those examples the word “day” is not even found.

Shocking you are quoting the KJV…the worst translation there is. The KJV would write it incorrectly like that…Basically what I am saying is find another example.

Next, no my professors do not belong to the Conservative Christian movement. I will actually name them for you…

Dr. Alex Jassen

2006: New York University. Ph.D. Hebrew and Judaic Studies.

2001: University of Washington. B.A. Jewish Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Cum Laude.

I believe he is a practicing Jew.

Dr. Eva von Dassow

• Ph.D: Bible and Ancient Near East, NY University, 1997.

• M.A.: Bible and Ancient Near East, NY University, 1991.

• M.A.: Classics, University of Washington, 1982.

• B.A.: Classics, University of Washington, 1981.

A few of the languages she knows and teaches are Hurrian, Akkadian, Ugaritic, and obviously Ancient Hebew. I am not sure of her religious beliefs.

Katherine Brink

She teaches Ancient Hebrew 1 and 2. She was raised Roman Catholic. She is just finishing her Ph.D at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Bernard Levinson

Levinson earned an Honors B.A. from York University in 1974, where he majored in Humanities and English and graduated with first class honors. He received his M.A in Religious Studies from McMaster University in 1978. Following his two years at McMaster, he spent a year as Visiting Researcher in Bible and Semitic Languages at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1991, under the advisor Michael Fishbane, he received a Ph.D. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University.

He teaches our advanced Ancient Hebrew classes.

So no, they are not Christian Fundamentalists but decorated scholars.

Edited by HuttonEtAl

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CommunitarianKevin

I had another thought I wanted to…

This is a real easy debate and I will show you why…I will use the word sheep as an example. Sheep can be singular or plural. Here are two sentences…

This is my sheep, his name is Bob.

Look at all of those herds of sheep.

The structure of the sentence and the words around the word sheep shows us how the word was meant to be used. One could make the argument that the word sheep in the first sentence actually refers to many sheep because the word sheep can mean more than one sheep…But I would call that a pretty stupid argument based on the evidence of the other words or the context it is in.

Could the word Day in the creation story mean more than 1 day or a period of time? I guess it could…but there is no reason for one to draw this conclusion based on the evidence and context. To suggest that it means anything other than 1 day, as we know a day to be, is wishful thinking, or as some may call it, theology.

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Diablo Blanco

The first basis is the existence of a great disorder having been introduced into the World by a Serpent, which had tempted a woman, to pluck forbidden fruits; a trespass, which had for consequence, the knowledge of evil, until then unknown to man, and which could only be redeemed by a God conqueror of death and of the Prince of Darkness. This is the fundamental dogma of the Christian religion; because in the opinion of the Christians, the incarnation of Christ had become necessary, merely, because he had to redeem the Evil introduced into the Universe by the Serpent, which had seduced the first woman and the first man. These two dogmas cannot be separated from each other: if there is no sin, there is no atonement; if there is no trespasser, and then no redeemer is required. Now this fall of the first man, or this supposition of the double state of man, who had been created first by the principle of Good, enjoying all the benefits, with which the World is filled by it, and afterwards passing under the dominion of the principle of Evil, into a state of unhappiness and degradation, from which he could not be saved except by the principle of Good and of Light, is a cosmogonic fable, of the nature of those, which were made by the Magi on Ormuzd and Ahriman, or rather it is merely a "copy" of them.

Let us consult their books. We have already seen in the IV Chapter of this work, how the Magi had represented the World under the emblem of an egg, divided into twelve parts, six of which belonged to Ormuzd or the God author of Good and of Light, and the six others to Ahriman, author of Evil and of Darkness; and how the good and the evil in Nature was the result of the combined action of these two principles. We have likewise observed, that the six portions of the reign of the good principle, included the six months, which follow the equinox of spring, up to that of autumn, and that the six portions of the reign of the bad principle comprised the six months of autumn and winter. In this manner was the time of the annual revolution distributed between these two Chiefs, one of which organized the animal creation, ripened the fruits; and the other destroyed the effects, which had been produced by the first, and disturbed the harmony, of which Heaven and Earth offered the spectacle during the six months of spring and summer. This cosmogonical idea has also been expressed by the Magi in another manner. They suppose that from time without end or from eternity, a limited period had been created, which incessantly renews itself. They divide this period into twelve thousand small parts, which they call years in allegorical style. Six thousand of these fractions belong to the principle of Good, and the other six to that of Evil; and that there may be no mistake, they make each one of these millesimal divisions, or each one thousand, correspond to one of the signs, through

which the Sun makes the transit during each one of the twelve months. The first one thousand, they say, corresponds to the "Lamb," the second to the Bull, the third to the Twins, &c. Under these first six signs, or under the signs of the first six months of the equinoctial year, they place the reign and the beneficent action of the principle of Light, and under the other six signs, they place the action of the principle of Evil. It is at the seventh sign, corresponding to the Balance, or at the first of the signs of autumn, of the season of fruits and of winter, that they place the commencement of the reign of Darkness and of Evil. This reign lasts until the return of the Sun to the sign of the Lamb, which corresponds to the month of March and to Easter. This is the foundation of their theological system about the distribution of the opposing forces of the two principles, to the action of which, man is subject, during each solar revolution; this is the tree of Good and of Evil, near which Nature has placed him.

If we substitute for the names of the signs, or of the Balance, the Scorpion, the Sagittarius and the Capricorn, the Waterman and the Fishes, those of the months of September, October, November, December, January and February, we shall have the six times affected by the principal of Evil and its effects, which. are the hoary frosts, the snow, the winds, and excessive rains. It will be observed, that the evil Genius begins to exercise his fatal influence in September or in the season of fruits and of apples, by the introduction of cold weather, by the destruction of plants, &c. It is then, that man becomes aware of the evils, which he ignored in spring and summer in the beautiful climates of the northern hemisphere.

According to the formal expressions used in this cosmogony, it follows, that the evil introduced into the World, is the winter. Who shall be its redeemer? The God of spring or the Sun in its passage under the sign of the Lamb the forms of which are taken by the Christ of the Christians, because he is "the Lamb, that taketh away the sins of the World," and under this emblem is he represented in the monuments of the first Christians.

It is evident, that the question here is only of the physical and periodical evil, which the Earth experiences annually by the retreat of the Sun, which is the source of life and of light for all that lives on the surface of our globe. This cosmogony contains therefore only an allegorical picture of the phenomena of Nature and of the influence of the celestial signs; because the Serpent, or the great Adder which ushers winter into the World, is, like the Balance, one of the constellations placed on the boundaries, which separate the dominion of the two principles, or in other words, in the present instance, on the equinox of autumn.

The cosmogony of the Jews introduces the Serpent with a man and a woman. In it the Serpent is made to speak; but one feels, that all this is peculiar to the oriental genius and belongs to the character of the allegory. The foundation of the theological idea is absolutely the same, It is quite true, there is no mention made by the Jews about the Serpent having introduced winter, which destroyed all the blessings of Nature; but it is said there, that man felt the necessity of covering himself, and that he was compelled to till the ground, an operation, which is performed in and which corresponds to autumn. It is not said, that it was at the seventh thousand or under the seventh sign, when the change happened in the situation of man; but the action of the good principle is there divided into six times, and it is on the seventh, that its rest or the cessation of its energy is placed, as well as the fall of man in the season of fruits and the introduction of the Evil by the Serpent, the forms of which was taken by the bad principle, or the Devil, in order to tempt the first mortals.

"We must not understand or take in a literal sense, what is written in the book on the creation, nor form of it the same ideas, which are participated by the generality of mankind, otherwise our ancient sages would not have so much recommended to us, to hide the real meaning of it, and not to lift the allegorical veil, which covers the truth contained therein. When taken in its literal sense, that work gives the most absurd and most extravagant ideas of the Deity. Whosoever should divine its true meaning, ought to take great care in not divulging it. This is a maxim, repeated to us by all our sages, principally concerning the understanding of the work of the six days. It is possible, that somebody, either through himself, or by means of the light obtained from others, may succeed to divine its meaning; then let him be silent, or if he speaks of it, let it be done only in as veiled a manner as I do, leaving the remainder to be guessed, by those who can

hear me." The title of "Lord" is under all circumstances a very proper one for the Sun. ~

The Origins of All Religious Worship

Charles Francois Dupuis (26 October 1742 – 29 September 1809)

http://www.masseiana.org/Dupuis/origin_of_all_religious_worship.htm#IX

September: In Latin, septem means "seven"

October: from the Latin, octo meaning "eight"

November: from the Latin, novem meaning "nine"

December: In Latin, decem means “ten”

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RavenHawk

First of all, you overstate the case regarding the similarities between the days. It is correct that the creatures of the sea were made on the fifth day, but the water was not created on the second day; it was already there on the first day (Gen. 1:2). Also, you said "The first three days provide the right conditions in which the actions of the second set of three days can be accomplished, in sequential order." The right living conditions for the sun, moon and stars would be the expanse of the heavens correct? However, that is not created until day 2 so it cannot be parallel to day 4.

I really would encourage you to read my treatise on the subject. I think PA’s parallelism and poetry is there. Water would have been created on the first part of day 3 as comets crashed to Earth during its initial formation. The Expanse is space itself and Dark Matter, Dark Energy, dust and gas. If GOD showed Adam the act of creation, it was more than likely through visions sped up considerably (or perhaps Adam was taken out of the context of time completely). You could consider that Adam’s position (or point of view) in this framework would be where the Earth would eventually be. So of course in his point of view, the Earth was void and formless and stayed that way until day three when dry land appeared.

The broad outline of creation is thus:

1) “Let there be light!” (Event 0 - Big Bang)

2) Expanse (Universe)

3) Earth – Plants

4) Stars (and solar systems form)

5) Fish – Birds

6) Animals-Man

7) GOD rested.

As I said before, this is either the luckiest guess anyone has made, or someone knew something. If you look at this outline, it pretty much shows the top level steps of evolution. And what I consider evolution as everything from the Big Bang to the latest gene mutation. Of course, there is no proof of that - yet! Only to Adam has it ever been proved.

There is an error in this list. Day 3 and 4 are blatantly reversed or seemingly so. Stars obviously developed before planets. That’s still pretty good at preserving this order. One would have to think that over this amount of time, there must be at least some errors in copying. But this still bugged me because if this was not an error, then it meant that someone had to do it on purpose. If it was on purpose, then it wasn’t done because the order was just a lucky guess, but there was purpose in doing it that way.

PA’s pairing explains this. 1 & 4 deal with heat and light – element fire. 2 & 5 deal with expanses (space, plasma, ocean, atmosphere) - element water. 3 & 6 deal with flesh - element earth. 7 deals with GOD the spirit – element air. I add the elements for two reasons. It adds another level of parallelism which is unique and to express that I’ve always thought that the usage of terms like “expanse” and “firmament” where not directly describing liquid H2O water only. PA’s structure makes that expression possible.

Now none of this proves anything, but it does indicate that just maybe there is more to Genesis 1 than the casual reading reveals. As a side note, we see Hebrew parallelism in Genesis 2. Here are two authors writing two different viewpoints of creation. Genesis 1 is a chronological version and Genesis 2 is a topical or man-centered or biology-centered version.

Secondly, the days of creation simply do not fit into the mold of Hebrew poetry. The idea of parallelism is to express an idea once, then to mirror or expand upon it in parallel or synonymous language. The hallmark of Hebrew poetry is one idea being conveyed in two consecutive lines (as the example from Psalm 49 above points out). Yet you are making an attempt in the creation days to apply this to general concepts that are separated by several verses. You're proving too much. The following examples would also be nullified as history since, according to this standard, they also could be classified as poetry:

The *idea* is creation. The thing here to notice is that Genesis can be broken up into two parts. Genesis 1-11 and Genesis 12-50. Genesis 12 indicates a new author and therefore is moving away from poetry to more history. Part one is more concerned with the creation of Man. It is far sketchier than part two which has far more detailed info on the lives of Abraham to Joseph. That tells me that part one was already ancient myths in the time of part two. And like the Enuma Elish today, has missing parts. I’d say that it was Joseph which was the chronicler of all of this. He collected the old stories and wrote the biographies of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and himself. So the parallelism is the Genesis of Man and the Genesis of Israel. The scribes during the Babylonian captivity read *steps* of creation and converted and combined those steps into days.

The problem with these statements is that has no justification in Hebrew grammar. "Yom" when used with a number or the word evening or morning always means a literal day based upon Hebrew grammar. Just because the sun did not exist until day 4 does not mean the first 3 days were not literal days (since the context already tells us they are). "Day" can be defined as "The time taken for the Earth to spin once on its axis; by extension, the rotation period of any planet. The rotation of the Earth can be measured relative to the stars (sidereal day) or the sun (solar day)." What is needed is a source of light. Therefore the summary of verse 5c could be a sidereal day of 24 hours.

If I’m not mistaking, ancient Hebrew culture was based on a lunar calendar. Days of the week didn’t come into it until the Babylonian captivity. 7 Days per week is a Babylonian invention. Also of note is that Hebrew culture began with Eber (Tower of Babel). Now this opens up a lot of questions as to how many times these stories have been rewritten and with what influences?? You had the original pre-Hebrew authors, then Hebrew influence, Egyptian influence, Then Moses trying to edit out the Egyptian influence, then Babylonian influence, which leads to the Bible we know today. From attrition, these stories have lost their full meaning.

I think you attempt to answer this objection when you say, "While it is true that light can come from sources other than the sun, the author’s intentions are clear – day and night are created, evening and morning play prominent roles that do not change even when the sun is created, and light is brought forth." However, I would agree with this. The purpose of night and day and evening of morning did not change when the sun was created - and they have not changed since. As I've already stated, in Hebrew grammar, these phrases unquestionably refer to a 24 hour day. Thus, the clear and plain reading of the text (the literal reading of the text) indicates that these were 24 hour days.

So in order for what you said to actually be the case, you would first of all have to prove Genesis 1 to be the only exception to the rules in Hebrew grammar regarding the word "yom." Also, you would have to prove that the light created on day 1 is not a proper basis for a 24 hour day for the first 3 days.

Well, light only comes from stars. Not every planet in the Goldilocks zone has a 24 hr day. It’s the same assumption that made Man believe that the Earth was the center of the universe. The “evening and the morning” structure is a mnemonic probably added at the time of the Babylonian captivity. You see a very similar phraseology in the Enuma Elish (the Babylonian creation story). Several places, it says “night and day”, although not in the same usage. But it’s enough to understand that it is a common enough Babylonian phrase.

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Jor-el

First I wanted to point out that I said IN GENESIS (do I need to specify the verses we are talking about?) my professors agree that it is meant to be a literal 24 hour day. It has to do with context, which Dr. Heiser addresses in the video. Dr. Heiser is not always perfect though. Sometimes he is a little contradictive in his arguments. I do like Dr. Heiser though. Him and I have email back and forth a bit. He actually got fired from a college, Pillsbury College,in my hometown, Owatonna, MN. :lol:

That would be natural, his ideas fly in the face of traditionalist views. And having said that, I do not always agree with him over everything. The purpose of the video is to illustrate that there are in fact other views out there, and that one particular view does not have superiority over the others.

As i said earlier, I personally can accept, the literal day view, I held it for a very long time, what I am saying is that it isn't better than any other view since all views can be held depending on how one interprets the text.

For me, it doesn't affect what I believe to be correct, that Genesis is a reconstruction after a cataclysm that destroyed it in a judgment of some kind.

The days of the reconstruction, can be literal (24 hour days)or figurative (unknown periods of time), since God can pretty much do it any way he intends to do it.

Next, Genesis 2:4 reads

According to The New Oxford Annotated Bible...

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created. In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

The word "In" actually starts a new paragraph. It is not connected by a coma. If continue reading you will see the day you pointed out is talking about the day that God created the heaves and the earth (referring to Genesis 1:1.)

In The Jewish Study Bible TANAKH Translation…

It says Such is the story of heaven and earth when they were created (end of paragraph.) When the Lord God made earth and heaven…

In The Harper Collins Study Bible it is same as the New Oxford Annotated Bible except that between created and in, There is not only the start of another paragraph but in larger letters a heading that says Another Account of the Creation.

In the Good News Bible New English Version It once again starts another paragraph. Like above is also has a heading in between that reads The Garden of Eden.

In The Student Bible New International Version it is also separated by a paragraph. This Bible, as well as the one listed above, read the same as the Jewish Study Bible in that the second paragraph starts with When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens… So in all of those examples the word day is not even found.

Shocking you are quoting the KJV…the worst translation there is. The KJV would write it incorrectly like that…Basically what I am saying is find another example.

Shocking... you went to all that trouble to find out how the various translations render the Hebrew, why didn't you just go to the Hebrew and find out if the actual word day is in the text?

אֵלֶּה תֹולְדֹות הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ בְּהִבָּֽרְאָם בְּיֹום עֲשֹׂות יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶרֶץ וְשָׁמָֽיִם

And that would be the Masoretic text, you can personally check that out in a number of sites.

http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Gen&c=2&v=1&t=KJV#conc/4

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0102.htm

Next, no my professors do not belong to the Conservative Christian movement. I will actually name them for you…

Dr. Alex Jassen

2006: New York University. Ph.D. Hebrew and Judaic Studies.

2001: University of Washington. B.A. Jewish Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Cum Laude.

I believe he is a practicing Jew.

Dr. Eva von Dassow

Ph.D: Bible and Ancient Near East, NY University, 1997.

M.A.: Bible and Ancient Near East, NY University, 1991.

M.A.: Classics, University of Washington, 1982.

B.A.: Classics, University of Washington, 1981.

A few of the languages she knows and teaches are Hurrian, Akkadian, Ugaritic, and obviously Ancient Hebew. I am not sure of her religious beliefs.

Katherine Brink

She teaches Ancient Hebrew 1 and 2. She was raised Roman Catholic. She is just finishing her Ph.D at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Bernard Levinson

Levinson earned an Honors B.A. from York University in 1974, where he majored in Humanities and English and graduated with first class honors. He received his M.A in Religious Studies from McMaster University in 1978. Following his two years at McMaster, he spent a year as Visiting Researcher in Bible and Semitic Languages at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 1991, under the advisor Michael Fishbane, he received a Ph.D. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University.

He teaches our advanced Ancient Hebrew classes.

So no, they are not Christian Fundamentalists but decorated scholars.

Naturally, the ancient Hebrew view was taken literally, and that is how scholars would teach it. What I have said still applies, as we recontextualize Genesis within our worldview, we can and do have the right to interpret it from within that modern light. As such the days can be considered literl, or they can be reinterpreted as ages, or periods of time, within the evolutionary process, as some on this thread have done.

Edited by Jor-el

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CommunitarianKevin

That would be natural, his ideas fly in the face of traditionalist views. And having said that, I do not always agree with him over everything. The purpose of the video is to illustrate that there are in fact other views out there, and that one particular view does not have superiority over the others.

As i said earlier, I personally can accept, the literal day view, I held it for a very long time, what I am saying is that it isn't better than any other view since all views can be held depending on how one interprets the text.

For me, it doesn't affect what I believe to be correct, that Genesis is a reconstruction after a cataclysm that destroyed it in a judgment of some kind.

The days of the reconstruction, can be literal (24 hour days)or figurative (unknown periods of time), since God can pretty much do it any way he intends to do it.

Shocking... you went to all that trouble to find out how the various translations render the Hebrew, why didn't you just go to the Hebrew and find out if the actual word day is in the text?

אֵלֶּה תֹולְדֹות הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ בְּהִבָּֽרְאָם בְּיֹום עֲשֹׂות יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶרֶץ וְשָׁמָֽיִם

And that would be the Masoretic text, you can personally check that out in a number of sites.

http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Gen&c=2&v=1&t=KJV#conc/4

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0102.htm

Naturally, the ancient Hebrew view was taken literally, and that is how scholars would teach it. What I have said still applies, as we recontextualize Genesis within our worldview, we can and do have the right to interpret it from within that modern light. As such the days can be considered literl, or they can be reinterpreted as ages, or periods of time, within the evolutionary process, as some on this thread have done.

I did not go through much trouble; I just grabbed a few of my Bibles. I did not go straight to the Hebrew because I am not fluent in Hebrew. As I suggested with the second post, the appearance of a word means little if one does not understand the words around it or the structure of the sentence. My ability or lack thereof, to pick out the word day would be pointless. It does not matter that it is there, but how it is used. Every Bible I have, with the exception of the KJV, has an entire different paragraph separating the words, not just a coma. That is huge because it shows the start of an entirely different thought.

Scholars teach it that way because that is the way the authors meant it to read. I refer you to my very first post…

“It is important to understand the context of Genesis. What the people thought of it during that time is different than what people think about it today. For example if it was written to be literal did that mean the people thought it was true or even that it needed to be true? Did they think of it simply as a myth, knowing it was not true, but an important part of their beliefs none-the-less? This goes much deeper than literal v. metaphor.”

I did not want to get into a whole debate but the reason I said this is because people of that time knew genesis was a myth or legend. That ties into other myths of the Ancient Near East, for example the extra long ages of people. People ask “did people really live to be hundreds of years old in those days?” No, in ANE literature people were given extra long ages to show that they were “heroes” or mythological figures. The story was written to be a literal account and a day was meant to be a day. The point I was trying to make in my first post is did this matter? Did the ancient Israelites and Judahites have arguments about whether it was literal or not? Probably not…The question comes in as whether they considered it literal truth or just an important story in their tradition. A modern day example would many of the American Indian creation myths. They are still important, still recited, still taught, but many do not actually believe story. The story is important to them and is important to understanding their traditions. Literal truth means very little to them.

Evidence shows that scribes, rabbis, ext, had no problem editing the text. If they believed it was the perfect word of God breathed into these words, they would not edit it. They edit it because it was not thought of this way and was perfectly acceptable. They were not worried that it was the literal word of God but more concerned about tradition and answering questions.

With all that being said, I think it is unfair for Christian Fundamentalists to use this idea to support their claims of the earth being only 6,000 years old and to try and force religion into a science classroom. BUT it is one of the few things they are right about. However, once again, they do not understand the context of the Bible as a whole. They do not understand the history around it or its people. You said this…

“What I have said still applies, as we recontextualize Genesis within our worldview, we can and do have the right to interpret it from within that modern light.”

This is one of the major problems with history. Though you CAN fit it into your own world view and look at it in a modern light, historians strive to look at things in the context of their own time. A historian is not looking at what it means today but rather what it meant to those people during that time. A THEOLOGIAN is looking at what it means today in the light if their personal beliefs. That is fine, but that is a difference between philosophy and science/history. If we are looking at this question in a theological prospective we are doing nothing more than stating opinions and personal beliefs. If one wants to talk about what the authors actually meant and what the people of that time believe I think the realm science is the correct way of looking at it, and that is the view I argue.

Of course people are free to interpret it however they choose. My wife a Theistic Evolutionist. This means she believes in the Bible but believes that day can refer to a period of time. Because of this she can accept the Big Bang, evolution, and other scientific theories. That is her belief, and that is great. She, like the majority of Christians interprets the Bible to work with the science of today. All of that is fine…it makes no difference to me BUT their theology does not belong in a scientific debate.

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Jor-el

I did not go through much trouble; I just grabbed a few of my Bibles. I did not go straight to the Hebrew because I am not fluent in Hebrew. As I suggested with the second post, the appearance of a word means little if one does not understand the words around it or the structure of the sentence. My ability or lack thereof, to pick out the word day would be pointless. It does not matter that it is there, but how it is used. Every Bible I have, with the exception of the KJV, has an entire different paragraph separating the words, not just a coma. That is huge because it shows the start of an entirely different thought.

Scholars teach it that way because that is the way the authors meant it to read. I refer you to my very first post…

None of us can claim to read biblical Hebrew, but I can muddle through it, given enough time. One of the very 1st things I learnt, is that there are no commas or even paragraphs in the Hebrew text. It all flows in one consistent and continuous line. It was only in the 9th century that Hebrew acquired what we call diacretical marks, their equivalent of our punctuation and accenuation of particular words. It was the Masoretes that 1st applied these marks to the Hebrew text, thus we get the Masoretic text.

Scholars will teach that because historically that is how the wording was viewed, we do not find ancient Rabbinical accounts trying to give a different view other than 7 literal days. That is to be expected, that is actually how they viewed the world, scholars can only give you that view because it is the only historically correct view they can have.

But the words themselves have come down to us, who have a different view of the world, a scientific view, based on discoveries we have been able to verify, we are influenced by that perspective, and as such the words themselves, can be seen through a different set of eyes, other than the ancient historical one.

My perspective is one such view since God used those ancient authors in such a way that even when it made sense to them to write in a certain way, the text can actually still speak to us in a living way, even with the view we have today. thus, we get new interpretations of an old text, not based on the generational lensing given by the civilization that wrote the test, but by our own particular way inwhich we see the world today.

What is amazing is that the text doesn't change yet our understanding of it is much deeper today than it was when it was written so many thousands of years ago. To me, that is what is meant by a God inspired word.

It is important to understand the context of Genesis. What the people thought of it during that time is different than what people think about it today. For example if it was written to be literal did that mean the people thought it was true or even that it needed to be true? Did they think of it simply as a myth, knowing it was not true, but an important part of their beliefs none-the-less? This goes much deeper than literal v. metaphor.

They thought of it as literally true, exactly as described, their conception of the world we lived in was based on the common ANE cosmology, just as the other surrounding nations also believed, Israel was not unique in its cosmological outlook, it shared many of the same beliefs as the Canaanites, Egyptians and Babylonians.

The believed the earth to be a flat area of land surrounded by the sea, held within a great cup. With the vault of heaven over them, where the planets, stars and the sun revolved.

cosmic-dome.jpg

hebr.jpg

I have no doubt you are aware of this but I am also thinking of others who may not know this about the ancient view of the bible.

I did not want to get into a whole debate but the reason I said this is because people of that time knew genesis was a myth or legend. That ties into other myths of the Ancient Near East, for example the extra long ages of people. People ask did people really live to be hundreds of years old in those days? No, in ANE literature people were given extra long ages to show that they were heroes or mythological figures.

Sorry, but I cannot agree with this, they did literally believe the ages and the history as given in the bible. We have Jesus himself believing in a the literalness of the Genesis account by many of his words.

What you need to realize is that today, we are the ones who need to state that people were given long ages to show their semi-divine status. You will notice in all the literature, that all the people who did have extremely long ages were also divine or semi-divine in some way. Or as in the case of the bible, that people naturally tended to live a very long time then. Something that changed drastically after the great flood.

The very same thing can be found in the ancient Sumerian and Egyptian king lists. As a matter of fact many of the people in those lists are clear references to many of the ancient Patriarchs of the bible.

The story was written to be a literal account and a day was meant to be a day. The point I was trying to make in my first post is did this matter? Did the ancient Israelites and Judahites have arguments about whether it was literal or not? Probably not…The question comes in as whether they considered it literal truth or just an important story in their tradition. A modern day example would many of the American Indian creation myths. They are still important, still recited, still taught, but many do not actually believe story. The story is important to them and is important to understanding their traditions. Literal truth means very little to them.

And if you had asked many of the ancient Indians before their untimely contact with us pale faces, what would have been their response?

that no, they didn't believe their own mythology?

Sorry, that doesn't fly. They did believe it, they lived it and breathed it. Today, they may not believe, just like many Jews do not believe or follow the Torah.

Remember the term mythology does not mean that something is false. That is merely the modern take of the word.

Evidence shows that scribes, rabbis, ext, had no problem editing the text. If they believed it was the perfect word of God breathed into these words, they would not edit it. They edit it because it was not thought of this way and was perfectly acceptable. They were not worried that it was the literal word of God but more concerned about tradition and answering questions.

Hmm, I would have to disagree here, we do have textual differences, we do have textual traditions that some factions followed over others. There is no denying that, but I do have a problem with stating that these alterations were purposefully done.. In may cases, the scribe made mistakes and changed a word, because he added a letter he shouldn't have. Sometimes, he would be tired and nod off, only to waken and search for where he left off, not realizing that he has skipped an entire paragraph when he did so. Sometimes annotations that were in the margins, over successive copying generations made their way into the actual text as if they belonged in the text, the list goes on. Sometimes the scribe didn't know the meaning of the word and changed it to something he thought made more sense to him.

But not once did they set out to alter their text. to them it was even worse than it is for fundamentalist christians. They believed each word was God himself speaking to them, that the actual text was the very presence of God. There is no way that I can accept what you have said knowing what I do about scribal practices.

With all that being said, I think it is unfair for Christian Fundamentalists to use this idea to support their claims of the earth being only 6,000 years old and to try and force religion into a science classroom. BUT it is one of the few things they are right about. However, once again, they do not understand the context of the Bible as a whole. They do not understand the history around it or its people. You said this…

What I have said still applies, as we recontextualize Genesis within our worldview, we can and do have the right to interpret it from within that modern light.

This is one of the major problems with history. Though you CAN fit it into your own world view and look at it in a modern light, historians strive to look at things in the context of their own time. A historian is not looking at what it means today but rather what it meant to those people during that time. A THEOLOGIAN is looking at what it means today in the light if their personal beliefs. That is fine, but that is a difference between philosophy and science/history. If we are looking at this question in a theological prospective we are doing nothing more than stating opinions and personal beliefs. If one wants to talk about what the authors actually meant and what the people of that time believe I think the realm science is the correct way of looking at it, and that is the view I argue.

Of course people are free to interpret it however they choose. My wife a Theistic Evolutionist. This means she believes in the Bible but believes that day can refer to a period of time. Because of this she can accept the Big Bang, evolution, and other scientific theories. That is her belief, and that is great. She, like the majority of Christians interprets the Bible to work with the science of today. All of that is fine…it makes no difference to me BUT their theology does not belong in a scientific debate.

The only error I find with christians who believe the YEC position, is that they cannot accept that there are other valid views to the same text that do not denegrate the bible in any way, but allow the bible to speak to us, its intended audience in our own light. That is the difference between a historical text and a divinly inspired text.

While I can read an ancient text in the light it was originally written, I can also percieve how that very same text can speak to us, the modern scientifically influenced human being, in a very real and faithful way.

Edited by Jor-el

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CommunitarianKevin

None of us can claim to read biblical Hebrew, but I can muddle through it, given enough time. One of the very 1st things I learnt, is that there are no commas or even paragraphs in the Hebrew text. It all flows in one consistent and continuous line. It was only in the 9th century that Hebrew acquired what we call diacretical marks, their equivalent of our punctuation and accenuation of particular words. It was the Masoretes that 1st applied these marks to the Hebrew text, thus we get the Masoretic text.

Scholars will teach that because historically that is how the wording was viewed, we do not find ancient Rabbinical accounts trying to give a different view other than 7 literal days. That is to be expected, that is actually how they viewed the world, scholars can only give you that view because it is the only historically correct view they can have.

But the words themselves have come down to us, who have a different view of the world, a scientific view, based on discoveries we have been able to verify, we are influenced by that perspective, and as such the words themselves, can be seen through a different set of eyes, other than the ancient historical one.

My perspective is one such view since God used those ancient authors in such a way that even when it made sense to them to write in a certain way, the text can actually still speak to us in a living way, even with the view we have today. thus, we get new interpretations of an old text, not based on the generational lensing given by the civilization that wrote the test, but by our own particular way inwhich we see the world today.

What is amazing is that the text doesn't change yet our understanding of it is much deeper today than it was when it was written so many thousands of years ago. To me, that is what is meant by a God inspired word.

They thought of it as literally true, exactly as described, their conception of the world we lived in was based on the common ANE cosmology, just as the other surrounding nations also believed, Israel was not unique in its cosmological outlook, it shared many of the same beliefs as the Canaanites, Egyptians and Babylonians.

The believed the earth to be a flat area of land surrounded by the sea, held within a great cup. With the vault of heaven over them, where the planets, stars and the sun revolved.

cosmic-dome.jpg

hebr.jpg

I have no doubt you are aware of this but I am also thinking of others who may not know this about the ancient view of the bible.

Sorry, but I cannot agree with this, they did literally believe the ages and the history as given in the bible. We have Jesus himself believing in a the literalness of the Genesis account by many of his words.

What you need to realize is that today, we are the ones who need to state that people were given long ages to show their semi-divine status. You will notice in all the literature, that all the people who did have extremely long ages were also divine or semi-divine in some way. Or as in the case of the bible, that people naturally tended to live a very long time then. Something that changed drastically after the great flood.

The very same thing can be found in the ancient Sumerian and Egyptian king lists. As a matter of fact many of the people in those lists are clear references to many of the ancient Patriarchs of the bible.

And if you had asked many of the ancient Indians before their untimely contact with us pale faces, what would have been their response?

that no, they didn't believe their own mythology?

Sorry, that doesn't fly. They did believe it, they lived it and breathed it. Today, they may not believe, just like many Jews do not believe or follow the Torah.

Remember the term mythology does not mean that something is false. That is merely the modern take of the word.

Hmm, I would have to disagree here, we do have textual differences, we do have textual traditions that some factions followed over others. There is no denying that, but I do have a problem with stating that these alterations were purposefully done.. In may cases, the scribe made mistakes and changed a word, because he added a letter he shouldn't have. Sometimes, he would be tired and nod off, only to waken and search for where he left off, not realizing that he has skipped an entire paragraph when he did so. Sometimes annotations that were in the margins, over successive copying generations made their way into the actual text as if they belonged in the text, the list goes on. Sometimes the scribe didn't know the meaning of the word and changed it to something he thought made more sense to him.

But not once did they set out to alter their text. to them it was even worse than it is for fundamentalist christians. They believed each word was God himself speaking to them, that the actual text was the very presence of God. There is no way that I can accept what you have said knowing what I do about scribal practices.

The only error I find with christians who believe the YEC position, is that they cannot accept that there are other valid views to the same text that do not denegrate the bible in any way, but allow the bible to speak to us, its intended audience in our own light. That is the difference between a historical text and a divinly inspired text.

While I can read an ancient text in the light it was originally written, I can also percieve how that very same text can speak to us, the modern scientifically influenced human being, in a very real and faithful way.

I know diacretical marks are not original, nor are they in Arabic, but experts in the Hebrew language make these translations to the best of their ability. If I have to trust anyone on the Hebrew, it is a Hebrew scholar.

You believe in a living text that is valuable no matter what day and age it is, that is fine, but that is not a scientific argument…that is philosophy.

I was just going to say that you do not need to explain beliefs in the ANE to me but I agree, it is good for those reading :)

You do not have to agree with me on a lot of these points. But if you study the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Midrashic texts you will see what I claim of the scribes and rabbis is true. They often added things to explain parts in the Bible that did not make sense to them. You can look up an entire work trying to explain the Cain and Able story. They did this, period.

The difference between a historical text and divinely inspired text is your opinion that something is divinely inspired.

I stand by what I say. You do not have to agree with it but I can back up what I claim…but that may not mean anything to you. We most likely have different views on how to interpret things. I prefer empiricism and logic personally. That does not mean my view is right but that is what I go by. I mean that is how I know ancient Israelites and Judahites were not the monotheists many people claimed. If they were monotheists we would not have found figures of other gods in their households.

If you want to know more about me or my studies, or if you want to talk about something off topic, PM me.

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Mr Walker

I was with you all the way up to this part and then you spoilt it all by wandering off again

fullywired

LOL. What can I say. Like all humans, I am complex and there are many facets to me. These are a product of my life's experiences and how my mind has responded to them. I use the same evidences and logic to know that evolution is our history as I do to know that god is real physical and interactive in my life. It would be conflicted and illogical to think /reason in any other way.

I take and accept reality as i find it, rather than construct it on the basis of belief. In a "sane" mind, what is known (proven) to be real, must displace what is believed, no matter where that leads one.

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Jor-el

I know diacretical marks are not original, nor are they in Arabic, but experts in the Hebrew language make these translations to the best of their ability. If I have to trust anyone on the Hebrew, it is a Hebrew scholar.

You believe in a living text that is valuable no matter what day and age it is, that is fine, but that is not a scientific argument…that is philosophy.

I was just going to say that you do not need to explain beliefs in the ANE to me but I agree, it is good for those reading :)

You do not have to agree with me on a lot of these points. But if you study the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Midrashic texts you will see what I claim of the scribes and rabbis is true. They often added things to explain parts in the Bible that did not make sense to them. You can look up an entire work trying to explain the Cain and Able story. They did this, period.

The difference between a historical text and divinely inspired text is your opinion that something is divinely inspired.

I stand by what I say. You do not have to agree with it but I can back up what I claim…but that may not mean anything to you. We most likely have different views on how to interpret things. I prefer empiricism and logic personally. That does not mean my view is right but that is what I go by. I mean that is how I know ancient Israelites and Judahites were not the monotheists many people claimed. If they were monotheists we would not have found figures of other gods in their households.

If you want to know more about me or my studies, or if you want to talk about something off topic, PM me.

You can PM me with your views regarding what you can claim, we can take it from there.

I would like to add as a final point on this matter that the most you can state is that many ancient Israelites were not monotheists, but not that they developed monotheism after having been polytheists. As a matter of fact neither word ascribes what they actually were, if anything they were Henotheists.

The ancient Israelites recognized the existence of other Gods, they simply rejected them as worthy of worship, they belonged to the other nations as judgement for their rejection of the Most High God. The ancient Israelites believed quite clearly that these gods served the God that they, the Israelites, did worship.

It is a well known biblical and archaelogical fact that many Israelites were constantly worshipping other gods, it is one of the central themes within the history of the Israelite nation. They suffered 70 years in exile for that fact and even then many kept on doing it.

What is interesting is that scholars make a very peculiar interpretation of this fact, something that they cannot really back up except as a fervent belief, that Isreal was once a polytheistic nation, and that it developed Monotheism over time.

I had to hear this BS many times from my Proffessors. It is a pity I had nothing to refute their arguments with, at that time. It was only years later that I came across the needed information that refuted their claims. Yet they still keep on claiming it, even today.

Edited by Jor-el

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