Answers about Genesis

Someone posted questions from a high school student in a Facebook group that I am part of. Here are the questions with my answers, in case anyone else finds them interesting:

Let me offer my own answers:

How long are the days in Genesis 1?
ANSWER: The text is referring to literal days, but the order is due to parallelism, and they are part of a depiction of God having a working week, which I consider anthropomorphism. “How long are the days” seems to me to be an unhelpful question. One of Jesus’ parables might refer to a day, and mean it literally, but that would not mean that the story itself is not symbolic.

How old is the earth and life and why?
ANSWER: The scientific answer, supported by evidence from geology, genetics, paleontology, astronomy, and many other scientific disciplines, is the best answer we can give at present. Trying to offer a different answer based on the Bible’s genealogies is a mistake. Try comparing Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus to his source material in Chronicles, and counting the number of generations carefully, and you will hopefully get my point.

Did man and apes come from a common ancestor?
ANSWER: Yes. You should learn more about the evidence for chromosomal fusion in our chromosome #2 if you are not already familiar with it. Ken Miller offers a good treatment of the topic in his books.

Were Adam and Eve real people?
ANSWER: Adam means “Human” in Hebrew, it isn’t a name – our English name Adam derives from treating it as such. If the character in Genesis 2-3 were named “Human” it would help readers grasp more quickly that this is a story about what it is like to be human, not about just a particular first human or human couple. I note the irony involved in approaching the text as though it were about “them, not us.” Many today blame Adam and Eve for the mess we are in. But the end of the story in Genesis 3 highlights blameshifting as one symptom of the breakdown of human relations. When creationists use the story to shift blame onto these two symbolic people, they are, ironically, doing that which the story highlights as inherently sinful.

Would you have answered any of these questions differently? Anything that you think I should have mentioned but neglected to? How would you have responded to them?

  • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

    The answers seem incomplete if you don’t address Noah and the flood in the same breath. That is, since you deny the historicity of Adam and Eve as individuals it will be wondered whether you do the same with Noah and the flood.

    • http://twitter.com/JTarb William Tarbush

      I agree with Mike. At what point does the histories in the Bible become equal to real human history?

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        I do not think that Noah was historical either. Noah is the Israelite reworking of a figure we know existed in mythology long before the Israelites existed as an identifiable people.

        All ancient peoples traced their lineages back to mythical ancestors who lived long ago, and for long periods of time. This is just part of ancient storytelling. When we get to the Patriarchs, we are at least beginning the transition into something we might call history, but that doesn’t mean that historians can feel confident about what happened. For historians to do their work requires confirmation from other sources, and for that, we really await the period of the monarchy. That does not mean that stories of earlier periods do not contain details that reflect things that actually happened, but at historians are not poised to be able to confirm whether they did or not. Hence the blurry boundary between prehistory and history.

        • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

          And so when Jesus alluded to Adam, Eve, and Noah do you think he did so with the thought that they were mythical figures not to be considered as actual human ancestors?

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

            It is hard to say, since we do not have everything that Jesus said. But on the one hand, it is likely that he assumed that these figures actually existed, while in the other hand, he clearly appreciated the symbolic character of the stories in a way many of his modern fundamentalist followers seem not to. The story of Adam and Eve is appealed to as a symbol of marriage, as it is in its original context. The story is not about two people who become one flesh, it is about two people who are one flesh and become two separate individuals. But it symbolizes two people becoming one, and Jesus clearly understood that, if the story in the Gospels in anything to go by.

            • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

              If Jesus considered them actual people I think I will, too.

              • rmwilliamsjr

                Jesus believed demons caused disease, so are you going to deny the truth of germ theory?

                • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

                  I think the awareness of germs is helpful, but if I could demonstrate the power to heal disease as Jesus did I think that would be even better.

                  • rmwilliamsjr

                    then discard modern germ theory, join faith healers and Christian Scientists and treat medicine with the same dismissive attitude that YECs treat physics, geology, and biology. after all the germ theory of disease is only a theory. BE consistent, treat your child’s scarlet fever with prayer not antibiotics.

                    YECs are inconsistent and hypocritical, they want modern science up to about 1859, let them get rid of all the other “just theories” like immunizations(well some are a-vaxxers), public health and clean water, antiseptics&anesthetics, everything which is just a theory they want to use without acknowledging the value of the ideas that created them.

                    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E7Z3TKCXJOJ3NP2MZJVXJME2HA David

                      God does not disallow doctors or medicine He just wants to be consulted first so He can lead you to the right physician and medicine. faith healing should only be done if God leads a person that way.
                      most people do not grasp the fact that faith does include trusting God for medical care.

                    • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

                      Devotion to Jesus Christ does not require devotion to faith healers and Christian Scientists. Neither does it require devotion to YEC’s or liberal Christians.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E7Z3TKCXJOJ3NP2MZJVXJME2HA David

                  Chapter and verse? Considering that demons can cause diseases and other problems–i,e, the man with 3000 demons was consider insane and upon their removal he was sane. your lack of open-mindedness to the reality of the world that we live in leads you to ignore the fact of supernatural involvement in people’s lives.
                  I would suggest that you talk to some missionaries who have spent their time dealing with demons on the missionfield and get the whole story before condemning Jesus and the biblical writers. I would also suggest you stop relying upon science as the authority for what takes place in this world, it is far too limited to know what is going on especially since unbelievers lead the field.

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E7Z3TKCXJOJ3NP2MZJVXJME2HA David

                smartest comment on here yet.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E7Z3TKCXJOJ3NP2MZJVXJME2HA David

              So you are saying Jesus is not God, was not present at creation, did not see Adam and eve created and watched them sin, reproduce and on it goes?
              That is heresy of the highest order. Then you say Jesus thought they were symbolic? Then how can you accept Jesus’ teaching about heaven? Or accept His word when he said ‘if it were not so, I would have told you?’ Obviously He knew that they were the first humans and parents on earth and HE knew that they were real or He would have said something.
              Your ‘one flesh’ statement is in direct contradiction to biblical teaching and is a lie as well as heresy. I do not think there is any hope for you anymore.

              • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                So you deny the truthfulness of Luke 2:52, that Jesus was a human being who grew in wisdom, not someone who came and pretended to be human but really knew everything? If so, then it is you who are the heretic. Do you perchance know what Apollonarianism is? If you are going to subscribe to that heresy, it may be useful for you to know what it is called.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E7Z3TKCXJOJ3NP2MZJVXJME2HA David

                  It seems you forget the incident when Jesus was 12 and he baffled the rabbis withhis wisdom. I think you are way off in your assessment of who Jesus was and what He was on earth.

                  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                    I didn’t ask you whether Jesus was smarter at 12 than many older people, although even in the story in Luke, Jesus is asking smart questions, according to the text, which many who dislike what Luke wrote rewrite as though it said he was already answering their questions at that age. He impressed them with his wisdom, by asking wise questions and learning. And as a result, a bit later it says that he continued to grow in wisdom. Do you accept the plain meaning of Luke’s Gospel at this point? Or do you rewrite it and twist it because of your doctrine about Jesus, just as you twist other parts of the Bible because of your doctrine about the Bible?

                    • Dr, David Tee

                      Stop putting your own ideas on what Jesus was doing.

                    • http://johnmarkharris.net/ John Mark Harris

                      And because Luke was obviously written after AD70… ;-)

              • rmwilliamsjr

                kenosis

                Philippians 2:5-85″Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (NAS Phil. 2:5-8).
                quoted fromhttp://kenosis.info/index.shtml#Philippians2
                a nice read on the topic if you’re unfamiliar with the concept

        • http://twitter.com/JTarb William Tarbush

          I appreciate the answers to my question. Not just Dr. McGrath’s but the other answered that were spawned.

      • rmwilliamsjr

        re:
        At what point does the histories in the Bible become equal to real human history?

        probably never, the Bible is not modern history, modern history is a specific cultural invention taking form in the 16thC. we are it’s children, our minds are so involved with it that we can not see that everyone at all times in the past did not share this set of beliefs and values. it is a cultural construct, a paradigm, an interpretive matrix, a way of seeing the world and our place in it.

        our need in history is for a story that is anchored to an explanation of the events as a sequences of forces, people, dates and events.
        if it is not written this way we do not find it believable or persuasive. look at historical novels, they follow this pattern, in order to talk to us history is presented in a certain way. this is not how the Bible presents it’s history, it’s stories of the glorious past.

        we think of this as real history and it’s intellectual competitors as myths. this is an example of the winners writing history-literally. look at Armstrong’s distinction of logos and mythos, this is the science/history v mythology story told well.

        • http://twitter.com/JTarb William Tarbush

          I appreciate this answer as well.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E7Z3TKCXJOJ3NP2MZJVXJME2HA David

      Read John 5:45-7. If you do not believe Moses how can you believe Jesus?

      • http://blogforthelordjesus.wordpress.com Mike Gantt

        John 5:45-47 was spoken to first-century Jews living in Israel. For me, it’s the other way around. That is, I don’t believe in Jesus because I first believed Moses; rather, I believe in Moses because I first believe in Jesus.

  • Beau Quilter

    James

    I would correct only one of your answers:

    Did man and apes come from a common ancestor?

    The great apes are primates of the family hominidae. This family consists of orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and humans.

    Thus, the answer to the question is that humans ARE apes.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Thanks for that!

  • Dr, David Tee

    “Would you have answered any of these questions differently? Anything that you think I should have mentioned but neglected to?” Yes and you neglected to tell the truth.
    “How would you have responded to them?” Here are God’s answers:
    1. They are 6 24 hour days as evidence by the terms ‘evening and morning’ . God did the work in that amount of time to set an example for His creation to follow. They are to work 6 days and rest 1 and God is not a hypocrite or a ‘do as I say not as i do’ type of authority. he is consistant with His word.
    2. The age of the universe and earth are not germane to the issue of creation. Who did it and How it was done is important for it shows that God is responsible and that He is so powerful all He has to do is speak and it is done. This tells us that no matter what human or evil power we face God is stronger and we can have confidence in Him to help us through the struggle.
    The age of the earth an dniverse is a mere distraction from the lessons God wants His creation to learn and it is false teaching.
    3. NO!!! There has been no fusion process observed and no scientific experiment that proves fusion true. The reason there are similarities among species is because they have to exist in the same enviornment. genetic design does not provide any evidence for an evolutionary process and genetic experiments have proven this so for the absence of just one chromosome means instant death. Dr. Ridely pointed this out in his book Genome. the common ancestor woul dhave to possess all genetic codes in their entirety and then pass those complete sequences on to each individual kind for evolution to even have a prayer in being true.
    4. YES THEY WERE!. If they weren’t then God lied and there is no God no Jesus no salvation no heaven. The meaning of a name does not determine if a person was real or not. Everyone has a meaning to their name. The name Derrick is associated with an oil rig, does this mean that everyone named Derrick (or a form of the name) is rich or a machine that helps bring liquid from the earth? Of course not.
    The people who use meanings of names to determine the fact or fiction of biblical people do so only to avoid the truth of the Bible. They are unbelievers, false teachers and need to be put from the church, the bible college the seminary. They are leading people astray and into destruction.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      You keep saying the same things over and over, even when problems are pointed out with what you claim. Should I conclude that you don’t have answers when it comes down to it, or will you begin to actually interact?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E7Z3TKCXJOJ3NP2MZJVXJME2HA David

        The truth doesn’t change unlike your answers. There are no problems with my answers, there are only problems you create to avoid hearing the truth.
        What problems exist with my answers above? Adam and Eve are considered real and individuals which relieve the problems you created with yours.
        The wonderful thing about Genesis is that it provides the answers all people need–1. where did everything come from? God Where did humans come from? First God created 2 people and gave them reproductive capacity and they started the reproducing children who reproduced and on and on. No waiting millions of years for reproductive organisms to ‘develope’ 3. Where did disease come from? Again the answer is in Genesis.
        Genesis is the book of Answers for origins. Evolution, in any variety, is the book of questions and more questions and more questions. It cannot provide one single answer. (of course, secular scientists like that because it gives them something to do but sooner or later people get tired of only seeing questions and will demand answers. God has provided them in Genesis.)

        • rmwilliamsjr

          re:
          First God created 2 people

          depends on which story you’re referring to:
          A.God created a pair in Gen 1.
          B.in the other creation story He creates just 1-Adam, and recreates Eve by separating the baculum that Adam did have and human beings do not now have, (although the great apes like most male mammals do have one). and shaping it into Eve.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E7Z3TKCXJOJ3NP2MZJVXJME2HA David

            You obviously do not know the difference between providing the general scenario and providing more details.

        • rmwilliamsjr

          re:
          The wonderful thing about Genesis is that it provides the answers all people need

          different cultures and different ages require different kinds of answers. Genesis is one culture in one times concerns and answers, it is far from universal one-size-fits-all.

          Genesis doesn’t answer our culture’s need for materialist, scientific, how-did-it happen type of answers, which is why we are in the middle of this controversy. Gen doesn’t think in these terms, it answers those peoples’ issues, not ours. it does Gen injustice to force it into a Procrustean bed as you are doing. better is to see that the big ideas transfer from culture to culture, not the culturally specific details. when you try to transfer the cultural details you deform not just the receiver’s culture but you miss the really important big questions.

          for an example, missionaries in Hawaii put mumus on the ladies but missed the issue of social justice and stole all their lands(the missionaries came to do good and their children did very well).

          straining at gnats they swallowed camels.

          • Dr. David Tee

            Sure it answers ‘this culture’s materialistic, scientific…’questions. You just do not like the answers you are getting.
            There is NO controversy. it is a simple battle between belief of and unbelief of God’s word. As I pointed out numerous times, if you claim to love God, you would believe His words over those who reject Him but most of you are siding with the unbelievers in disobedience to God
            it is not a question of science v. supernaturalism, it is a matter of obedience and disobedience, coupled with the aforementioned belief/unbelief.
            I have also asked, where in the Bible does it give permission to follow science over God’s word? No one has answered that question because it doesn’t give it.
            The core of the issue is not science but your unbelief and disobedience to God.

    • Beau Quilter

      “Evolution is science; creationism is pseudoscience.” – Dr. Matt Ridley

      My guess is that “Dr. Tee” hasn’t even read “Genome”, he’s quoting some YEC rag that pulls a bogus conclusion from Ridley’s book.

      “Dr. Tee”, you still haven’t answered the question: what, exactly, are you a doctor of? Are you a doctor of anything? Or is your pseudonym a lie?

      • Ken Gilmore

        I’m beginning to wonder whether he’s a dedicated poe or a deep-cover atheist.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E7Z3TKCXJOJ3NP2MZJVXJME2HA David

        Wow…you think you are a mind reader and know what I did or didn’t do. it isn’t just Ridley’s book that states that there are many other credible sources that say the same thing.

        • Beau Quilter

          Wow . . . You just avoided TWO questions!

          So rather than say, “I most certainly did read Dr. Ridley’s book, and I was referring to page #, where he states . . . ”

          You cop out with “what I did or didn’t do”.

          And rather than say, “Why, yes I am a doctor of _____, with an advanced degree from _____.

          You cop out with removing the “Dr.” from the name on your next post.

          “David” or “Dr. Tee” or whoever you are – the more you type, the less credible you appear.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E7Z3TKCXJOJ3NP2MZJVXJME2HA David

            I didn’t answer the question about ridley for the simple fact that the book is not where I am at and won’t be for another 2 hours or so.
            No, I didn’t remove the Dr. it is the way this website is working. If I make a straight reply it puts Dr. but if I reply to a post it changes and puts david. out of my control.

            • rmwilliamsjr

              what is happening is that you have at least 3 accounts with disqus:
              david, dr. david tee, and dr, david tee
              your browser is saving log in cookies, you are probably using different browsers on the same machine(chrome and firefox for example) or using 2 different machines(one at work and a laptop). you have one browser logging in one account tied to your yahoo account-david, and another tied into 1 of 2 different dr david tee accounts. the david account has just appeared in the last few days, before that your postings came from 1 of the 2 DDT accounts.

            • Beau Quilter

              So . . .

              Are you really a doctor? of what?

              And how exactly do you take Dr. Ridley’s book (a man who backs up evolutionary science and discredits creationism as a pseudo science), and make it mean something Dr. Ridley never intended?

              • Dr. David Tee

                Yes I am but it doesn’t matter because if you do not listen to me when I am silent about my credentials then why would you listen to me if I told what they were?
                it isn’t about me, but God and the words He wants me to say. You want something human to attack so you can dismiss God’s message to you so why give you the ammunition?
                One thing I have learned over the years is that though unbelievers do not have the truth and credit everything to an alternative to God, they are still looking at God’s creative work and have information that is useful for everyone. I am very frustrated with most christian authors as they do not have the information and always preach a salvation message when they should be dissecting the evidence they see and making a good argument pointing to God
                it just takes a lot of work to seperate the unbelief from the real information. I enjoyed Ridley’s book because he knows a lot about genetics and he gives great insight into the unbelieving mind and how they process what they see.
                I didn’t enjoy his evolutionary bent because he is wrong and misses vital data that would alter his conclusions.
                I may have misquoted him and confused the source of where I got the information I posted. I did find one quote but hit wasn’t the one I was thinking of.

                • Beau Quilter

                  You still haven’t mentioned what you are a doctor of?

                  Thank you for admitting that you misquoted Ridley. Your inability to reference reliable scientific data, demonstrates that your assessment of evidence has no credibility.

                • Beau Quilter

                  We don’t listen to you because you have no credibility. Your distorted and dishonest use of Ridley’s name to support ideas he opposes, is typical of the kind of deceitful rhetoric you practice.

            • Beau Quilter

              By the way, David, thanks for turning my attention back to Genome! It had been some time since I first read Ridley’s book, and as I’ve been going back over the chapters describing the evolution of humans, our genetic history, I’m reminded what a terrific writer he is!

              I particularly love his description of our close ancestral and genetic relationship with chimpanzees:

              “If you held hands with your mother, and she held hands with hers, and she with her, the line would stretch only from New York to Washington before you were holding hands with the ‘missing link’ – the common ancestor with chimpanzees.”

              Hey, everybody, take David’s advice! Read “Genome” by Dr. Matt Ridley!
              I still don’t quite understand how you take this wonderful book about the evolution of the human genome, and somehow read from it the opposite of what it actually says! Is this how you read all of your “credible sources”?

              One even has to wonder . . . is this how you read the bible?

              • rmwilliamsjr

                i reserved _genome_ at my library. thanks for the head’s up.

    • Sunny Day

      LOL After reading Tee’s first point I thought, “This is a guy who thinks, I love my wife, I love steak, I love my children, and I love this Tshirt, mean the exact same type of love. It must be horrible to go through life so confused.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E7Z3TKCXJOJ3NP2MZJVXJME2HA David

        You really do not know what you are talking about and do personal attacks instead of actual refuting.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Pieret/100000023960330 John Pieret

      If they weren’t then God lied and there is no God no Jesus no salvation no heaven.
      You do know that an argument from consequences is a logical fallacy, right? Now, you’re not required to be logical about the Bible … but then no one need take you seriously when you try to use “logical” arguments (about derricks, for instance) against other interpretations of it either … right?

      • Dr. David Tee

        what are you talking about? it is not an argument from consequneces but stating the reality. If God lied, then there is no God you have said He sinned and is in need of a Saviour. If there is NO God there is NO morality, no right or wrong, NO SALVATION for there would be NO Jesus You can’t have a perfect child coming from an imperfect being.
        This is what Dr. McGrath and others who think like him are saying. Think about it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Pieret/100000023960330 John Pieret

          If God lied
          No, if YOU misunderstood him …
          I suppose you are so unable to process the arguments of your fellow Christians, much less non-Christians, that you cannot conceive that this is an argument about what God SUPPOSEDLY said, not about what God ACTUALLY said. Your argument for your interpretation of what God said is that bad consequences happen if anyone disagrees with you. Failed logic. Whether your interpretation is failed hermeneutics, I’ll leave to your fellow Christians.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      For those who may be more open to evidence than Mr. Tee, Biologos had an article on chromosomal fusion just yesterday:
      http://biologos.org/blog/denisovans-humans-and-the-chromosome-2-fusion

      • Susan Burns

        The Biologos folks are very heavy on the logos and short on the bios. I read their website and the one biologic system that they said could NOT be a product of evolution is the flagellum. WHAT! They obviously do not understand science. Every single particle and living organism on this earth is an evolutionary product.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Are you perhaps confusing Biologos with the Intelligent Design organization that calls itself the “Biologic Institute”? The dubious argument about the flagellum is a classic ID point, and not something I would expect from BioLogos, which has been an advocate for Christians acceptance of mainstream science.

        • Dr, David Tee

          You are very wrong. Evolution does not exist, never has an dnever will. If it did, you would be able to produce the actual process for all to see. But since you can’t, all you have done is replaced God, a Being you can’t see except through His creative work, His words, His followers etc. who possesses foresight, has intelligence, creativity , wisdom, emotions, morality, who protects His creation, interacts with them and so on, WITH an unseen ‘force’ that has no intelligence, no emotions, no morality, no foresight, no desire to protect his ‘creation’, no involvement with it, and possesses no creativity and other chracteristics.
          Do you see the difference.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christopher-Buchholz/1203282337 Christopher Buchholz

    I think in #2 and 3, it helps to give some explanation of how our lifetimes are so short, what seems like forever to us – decades – is really barely a blip. We may be incredulous at changes that could happen over time, but that is due to our conception of time, and how difficult it is to conceive of long timespans, or far distances.

  • http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com Jayman

    Regarding #4, doesn’t Hebrew vocalization (le adam) at 2:20 indicate it is a personal name at that point (see Nahum Sarna’s JPS commentary)?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Perhaps I should have been clearer. I meant that it does not start out as a name. As I said, if we wanted to render this into English, we might call the character in the story Human or perhaps Earthling. And so the point is not that it does not become a name, but that it is a word that was not normally a name being used as such, indicating the representative character of the individual so designated.

  • Straw Man

    Is there in fact a scholarly consensus that Adam is a representative figure of humankind, and that naming him “Man” was intended by the editor to signal this to the reader?

    The question may be confused by the fact that mythic writers were not familiar with the genre of history as we understand it, so it’s possible that they could simultaneously recognize a character as archetypal, AND believe him to be historical, AND be indifferent to the distinction. On the other hand, they must have had some distinction in their minds between a tale of conquering a demon in primeval time, and telling your wife, “I’m late because a demon attacked me on the way home.”

    • Straw Man

      Still hoping for a reply…

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        Part of the delay was practical (plumbing emergency last night), part was hesitation because I am primarily a New Testament scholar and unsure that I am up to date on the consensus in this area, and part was feeling that you had answered your own question – it is hard to discern exactly how ancient people thought, and they seem to have been capable of treating the same stories as both symbolic/figurative and as factual, in ways that we would perhaps find it more challenging to do.

        • http://johnmarkharris.net/ John Mark Harris

          Yes. The stories become more “historical” when written more contemporaneous to the audience. This should not bother us. Personally, I think there was a Noah and an Abraham (even if not actually named such in “real life”) but these are stylized stories to paint the broad brush truth of who Israel was to God (who certainly is real).

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Pieret/100000023960330 John Pieret

        I won’t presume to answer for James (especially since I’m not a believer) but take this account:

        Poor ignorant things, the command to refrain had meant nothing to
        them, they were but children, and could not understand untried things and verbal abstractions which stood for matters outside of their little world and their narrow experience. Eve reached for an apple! — oh, farewell, Eden …

        It was pitiful. She was like one who wakens slow and confusedly out of a sleep. She gazed half-vacantly at me, then at Adam, holding her curtaining fleece of golden hair back with her hand, then her wandering glance fell upon her naked person. The red blood mounted to her cheek, and she sprang behind a bush and stood there crying, and saying –

        “Oh, my modesty is lost to me – my unoffending form is become a shame to me — my mind was pure and clean; for the first time it is soiled with a filthy thought!” She moaned and muttered in her pain, and drooped her head, saying, “I am degraded — I have fallen, oh so low, and I shall never rise again.”

        Adam’s eyes were fixed upon her in a dreamy amazement, he could not understand what had happened, it being outside his world as yet, and her words having no meaning for one void of the Moral Sense. And now his wonder grew: for, unknown to Eve, her hundred years rose upon her, and faded the heaven of her eyes and the tints of her young flesh, and touched her hair with gray, and traced faint sprays of wrinkles about her mouth and eyes, and shrunk her form, and dulled the satin lustre of her skin.

        All this the fair boy saw: then loyally and bravely he took the apple and tasted it, saying nothing.

        The change came upon him also. Then he gathered boughs for both and clothed their nakedness, and they turned and went their way, hand in hand and bent with age, and so passed from sight.

        That’s from Mark Twain’s “Passage From Satan’s Diary.” Now Twain could recognize a character as archetypal and NOT believe him to be historical, AND be indifferent to the distinction when making a point. What’s the difference?

        And Twain could certainly tell his wife, “I’m late because a demon attacked me on the way home.” It would just have had a funny ending.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    It turned out that I was mistaken in my impression that the student was in high school rather than at university. Also, here is a page that another person in the Facebook group where the question was asked put together:
    http://evolvingcreation.com/four-questions-part-1-how-long-are-the-days-in-genesis/


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X