Read the assigned article by C. Marvin Pate, �Genesis 1�3: Creation and Adam in Context,� Criswell Theological Review 10 (2013): 3�25 (available thru the ATLA database). After you have read the article, answer the following 3 questions:
1. Explain your interpretation of the creation account in Genesis 1. Do you read this as an account of a literal six-day creation or do you hold to another interpretation? What specific details or evidences most influence your understanding of this text and your belief that the text should be read literally or figuratively? (300�400 words)
2. What is your view on the age of the universe, and do you believe that the data in Genesis 1�11 can be reconciled with an old Earth view? Why or why not? (200 word minimum)
3. What evidence shapes your view on the issue of the historicity of Adam and Eve? Explain your understanding of the theological significance and importance of this issue. (200 word minimum)
Interact with specific details and issues raised in the assigned article as you answer each of these questions. You are also free to interact with other sources. Cite sources that you reference or quote, and your answers must be your own work. Be sure that your reply engages specific issues, questions, or passages related to the thread.Religion and Theology
Religion and Theology
My interpretation of the Genesis 1 account
The Genesis chapter 1 account discusses creation as an activity that took place in six days with God resting on the seventh. For one I believe that it is accurate in its representation of how things came into existence through the hand of God, in an orderly manner that works well to this day. The Account in Genesis tells a story of God somehow building the world from the ground-up starting with the building blocks for life both in the context of humans, animals and plant-life. I however feel that the six days that God took to create the world is something that needs not to be taken literally. As complex as man is, it is important to note that God remains the creator and this means that the plane in which God exists is much different from that one where humanity exists. As such it will not make sense to count the days as six days literally. The naming of six days must have been done to express the narrative in a format that humanity will easily fathom. Furthermore if it is to be taken as six literal days, humans should consequently have the power to supernaturally command things into existence and make other humans out of mud then breathe life into them like God did when he was creating Adam. The impossibility of these things in human terms conversely implies that the six literal days is not possible but rather figurative. While scientific approaches to creation tend to appear to be on a collision course with the Biblical account, I believe they have a lot in common and tell the same story but from alternate perspectives. On one hand the creationist perspective tends to be over-simplified by its proponents to the point of almost lowering the power or position of God. On the other hand, scientific approaches such as the Big Bang theory point to an immensely powerful force that suddenly came about leading to a chain of events that brought the world forth. This process is believed to have taken billions of years. I am inclined to believe that the six days God took if taken literally would be in the region of billions of actual days. Last but not least, I believe the inability of both old world theorists and new world theorists to tell the actual age of the world is testament to God’s power (Marvin, 2013).
Old Earth View and the account of Genesis 1: 1-11
I am inclined to believe in the Old Earth school of thought which proposes that the Universe is much older than the estimated 6000 years generally agreed upon in the New Earth theory. The reason for this is the ambiguity of the Bible and also the use of language. The narrative first begins with the existence of God’s spirit moving around a ‘formless and desolate plane.’ This formless and desolate plane cannot be said to be the earth but rather the medium in which the earth would be created in. Conventional wisdom dictates that night and day are caused by the rotation of the earth around the sun with alternating sides being exposed to light while the other side is exposed to darkness. Before this, God created the light, highly likely to have been the sun. The earth’s creation therefore comes about at the point when there is day and night due to the phenomenon of rotation. My belief in the earth’s being billions of years old is based on the scientific theories that estimate the period of time these things would have taken place from a human point of reference with the units familiar to us. The human system of counting day and night could only have come about on the sixth day, but it should be noted that the first six days take place from the perspective of the creator and humans have not yet occupied the earth. Psalm Chapter 90 verse 4 better explains the fact that God’s system of counting days is much different from the way they are manifested for humanity (Beggren, 2014).
Historicity of Adam and Eve
With respect to the issue of Adam and Eve’s historicity, I tend to rely on Biblical evidence based on the fact that the lineages of various Bible Characters can be traced back to Adam and Eve. If they were mythical individuals used in a representative way, then this means that the names of people on the Biblical lineages are also fictitious and this brings to doubt almost the whole Bible since many of the stories told involve the lives and times of people who descended from Adam.
From a theological perspective it is important to accept Adam and Eve as real people as this validates the entire history of humans and also their relationship with God. While it is important to distinguish between real and figurative references used in the Bible, it is necessary to also take into consideration the implication that each direction has on the larger picture. The fall of man, the Exodus, God’s laws in the Old Testament, the New Testament and God’s salvation plan all have meaning based on the acceptance that Adam and Eve were living, breathing human beings. Given the fact that they had a personal relationship with God which was ruined at the fall of man, their susceptibility to sin and its consequences is a critical element in explaining and understanding this spiritual concept and its specificity to the lives of individuals (Marvin, 2013).
Berggren, William A., and John A. Van Couvering, eds. Catastrophes and earth history: the new uniformitarianism. Princeton University Press, 2014.
Marvin Pate, “Genesis 1–3: Creation and Adam in Context”, Criswell Theological Review 10 (2013): 3–25