| | | |

Faith and Creation – Some Links

I encountered a few posts related to these to words, to which I’d like to call your attention. First, via Higgaion I navigated to this post about taking things on faith.

The author, Dr. James F. McGrath, makes some excellent points on just what faith means from a Biblical perspective. One thing I would emphasize is that while we may believe certain things on limited evidence, we rarely believe based on no evidence at all, or contrary to the positive evidence. Usually we at least believe that there is some evidence with us.

Let me quote one key comment that ties this in with creation:

There is no reason to think that the author of Genesis expected his readers to believe his creation story ‘on faith’. He does not dispute the basic facts of the natural world as understood in his time: that the world is mostly land with a large gathering of connected basins filled with water called seas; that there is a dome over the earth; that above the dome are waters; that there are lamps placed in the dome (the moon, like the sun, being viewed as a source of light). He says all of this because it is what people thought in his time. None of it is anticipated to require faith to believe it. What the author offered was an alternative story of creation, not alternative facts about that which was created.

This is an extremely important paragraph. Those who have never tried it, have no idea how difficult it would be to express both a new view of God and a complete new cosmology simultaneously, and have it connect with hearers. Those who look for a modern cosmology in the Bible are really asking the wrong questions of the text. We tend to ask how accurate the text appears to us, when a better question would be what the text communicated to those who first spoke/wrote or heard/read it. I don’t mean here to say that the historical meaning is the only meaning of a religious or spiritual text, nor that we can be 100% certain we know. But we will do much better starting with that historical text, then by immediately trying to read it from a perspective unknown and unimaginable to the first audience.

The second related post is the beginning of a series by Dr. Westmoreland-White on Levellers. He has written an initial post that consists largely of suggested reading, and has now continued with an initial post looking at the texts, starting from Genesis 2:4b-25.

Dr. Westmoreland-White notes regarding this passage:

All this is clearly to say that those who told this story and those who wrote it down and included it in our Bibles were NOT asking scientific questions. They were asking about God and humanity and our relation to each other and the world (as they knew it). By the time of the early monarchy when this was written, Israel was in conflict with surrounding nations who all had their own gods and goddesses. The constant question was “Who is this YHWH of yours anyway!” since Yahwism was relatively new to Canaan. . . .

There is a similarity in the way in which the two bloggers are viewing the text, and I agree with them both on this. This series is likely to be good.

With reference to the sources of the early chapters of Genesis, I have thus far presented a working translation of the first 10 chapters of Genesis, and I plan to post the 11th either later today or sometime tomorrow. The purpose of using my own translation is not that I think mine is better. In fact, due to a number of factors I would consider it worse. But I wanted a copyright free, modern language translation which I could slice up according to the sources. You’ll find these posts with the sources color coded in category “Genesis” on my Participatory Bible Study blog.

I think that will do for now.

Similar Posts