The Earliest Readings of Genesis 1

One of the areas we need to get sharper on is knowing how other Christians — ages ago — read Genesis 1. The singular problem of reading Genesis after Darwin is that he reshaped how we all read Genesis 1. That is, the pro-Darwin crowd sought either some kind of concord between science and Genesis 1 (for example, seeing aeons and aeons between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2) or concluded that Genesis 1 was ancient near eastern myth. The anti-Darwin crowd then said it’s history, science proves it, if science is done properly. Both sides, then, relearned how to read Genesis 1 in light of science. Darwin casts his shadow over most readings of Genesis 1 today.

What do you think of the idea that we are all influenced by Darwin in our reading of Genesis 1? Is the creationist, the intelligent design, the theistic evolutionist — is each of these a Darwin-shaped reading? How so? Is there a non-Darwinian reading of Genesis 1?

That’s simply too bad. For us. Because there are readings of Genesis that are not forcing the scientific questions. Andrew Louth, in his contribution to Reading Genesis After Darwin, examines how the Greek fathers — his focus is the great theologian, Basil of Caesarea — read Genesis 1. What he turns up is well worth serious consideration today.

To begin with, a number of theologians wrote interpretations of Genesis 1 in the early church.  Theophilos of Antioch was deeply concerned with the rise of Gnosticism and so his focus was that God indeed created this very earth and God created this very earth out of nothing. It cannot be argued this was a widely held view in the Bible or in Judaism, for it is found in only two texts at the explicit level: 2 Macc 7:28 and Shepherd of Hermas Mandates 1. But Theophilos also emphasize that God prepared earth for humans — so humans are the highest order of creation. Creation leads to wonder and pondering the goodness and wisdom of God.

Basil. He did not read Genesis 1 allegorically and fought the allegorists; he read Genesis 1 literally: “I take all these as they are said” (47). Basil, however, did read some things allegorically but he thought Origen did too much allegory in Genesis 1 so he pushed against him. The focus of Genesis 1 ought to be on proclaiming God as creator and marveling at the goodness of creation.

Basil appealed here and there to contemporary science. He used Genesis 1, evidently, in the lens of Plato’s Timaeus.  There was for him no opposition between Bible and science; science filled in the sketch of Genesis 1. The Bible is not a scientific account, he argues. He pondered time as “indivisible and without extension” so that Genesis 1:1: intersection of timelessness and time. Creation has inherent sympathy — it all hangs together. It’s a marvel of wisdom.

And humans are the center of creation. The human is cosmos in miniature. Humans have a role in creation analogous to God and humans are a “veritable shepherd of being” (52).

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://jesus.scilla.org.uk/ Chris Jefferies

    While it’s interesting to understand how the Church Fathers thought about the early chapters of Genesis, I don’t think we should look to them for a solution to the science/faith divide that we sometimes struggle with. That debate goes back a long way before Darwin; it begins, perhaps, with Galileo.

    I’m not a creationist because I cannot accept creationist arguments against evolution, cosmology, and geology. These arguments are scientifically unsustainable.

    On the other hand I accept Genesis because it has much to say about the nature of the Almighty, about human nature, and about the fractured relationship between the two.

    The Church Fathers knew nothing about evolution and little about cosmology or geology. If they had approaches that may help us by all means let’s consider those if we have overlooked them. But we still have to do so in view of current scientific understanding.

    In the end we must debate these issues for ourselves. But I have to say I do like Basil’s idea of an intersection between time (created) and timelessness (not created). This can also be seen as an intersection between mortal and immortal, between the human race and the Almighty, or between physical and spiritual.

  • RJS

    Chris,

    The church fathers knew nothing about evolution – any attempt to read modern science into their writings will fail as it fails when we read modern science back into Genesis. But I think the point here is really that the way we read Genesis, especially Genesis 1, is shaped by our culture and context. The opponent shapes the view. In this case a push against enlightenment “scientism” forces for many an excessively literal view of the creation narrative. The claim is often made then that this is the “always, everyone” interpretation prior to the upstart challenge from western rationalism. Reading the writings of folks like Basil (not to mention Origen, Tertullian, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Augustine, and others) helps us appreciate the multivalent approaches that have been taken through the centuries.

    Interestingly enough we are going see a bit more from Basil in my post tomorrow – he is the subject of the next section of Peter Bouteneff’s book.

  • Rick

    RJS-

    “The opponent shapes the view.”

    Is that how it should be?

  • RJS

    Rick,

    What do you think?

    I think we will do better if we realize the factors that drive us to “extreme” positions. So no, I don’t think that is how it should be.

  • CGC

    Hi Chris, RJS, and Rick,
    I quess I am with RJS on this one. Chris, it depends upon what you mean by we must debate these issues for ourselves? I for one think we will be better off taking what God has shown through his church through all the centuries, especially the earliest Christians and not do independent studies without them. Rick, the early church fathers were dealing with variant readings of Scripture. They were dealing with opponents. Even the early Genesis narrative is probably critiquing opponent religions and false cosomologies of its day. I certainly agree we should be proactive rather than reactive but there is always a context that most of us write and respond to. Even your question is a possible response to RJS (even if you do or don’t think of her viewpoint as an opposing viewpoint).

  • http://www.robsownworld.blogspot.com Rob Dunbar

    @Chris Jeffries:

    It’s true, as you say, that the early church fathers had no knowledge of our science. OTOH, they knew theology. As RJS points out, the real value in studying the early church fathers’ beliefs about the meaning of Genesis 1. Knowing that respected orthodox theologians differed in their interpretation undermines the literalist who insists that rejecting a 24-hour, 6-consecutive-day scenario makes us heretics who don’t really believe the Bible is the Word of God.

  • http://www.robsownworld.blogspot.com Rob Dunbar

    Umm… I meant to say “the real value IS in studying the early church fathers’ beliefs about the meaning of Genesis 1.”

  • Gill

    I well remember sitting in the garden of a Romanian Orthodox priest and his son, also a priest, with a group of young Anglicans who were sitting very lightly to the holy Scripture. Their leader was joking with them about whether God made the cosmos in 24-hour periods. I asked the priests what they thought. Oh no, that’s not possible, they said. Why? Because the sun and moon, which give us the 24-hour day, were not created until Day 4.

    That silenced them! – as it should silence all literalists.

  • Norman

    To really hone in on how to read Genesis we need to stay within 2nd Temple Judaism’s track record as that is the literary environment that fostered Christianity’s messianic reading. There were literalist then just as there is today; Sadducees, Pharisees, and Essenes all had their approach. It appears however that the messianic reading Jewish Essenes were essentially the same during the 2nd Temple period as the First Christians and therefore I would venture that the Essenes were the catalyst for Jesus and the Apostles interpretive method or hermeneutic. As the church spread to the Gentiles the contrast between the Jewish church and the Gentile church became muddled and we see a segment of that mindset in the difference between the Eastern and Western church even today.

    The battle of interpretive hermeneutics that fostered Christianity was lost early on by the church as it gradually reverted back to the literal rendering of the Jews that rejected Christ. It’s a mistake IMO to put too much stock in early church fathers that were not part of the original process during the first century as they naturally gravitated toward the literalizing method. The pharisaical Jews essentially influenced the church in the long run more than the Essenes who birthed it.

  • CGC

    Hi Norman,
    Your first paragraph is great but I was scratching my head on your second paragraph? If you appreciate the Eastern Orthodox Church hermeneutic over the western church (?), it’s anathema to the EO’s following the kind of line that the Anabaptists did of the fall of the early church. The Anabaptists put the fall with Constantine and you seem to suggest the second century forward? All I can say is I for one don’t buy into the early church lost or “fall” paradigm. Actually, most arguments of people who want to priviledge the first century church and argue against the second or third century church or whatever all have the same strengths and weaknesses. There never was a pristine church that did not have its own sets of problems. And who in the second century followed a literalizing method? and the second century did not happen in a vacuum, they were strongly influenced by the first century patterns and practices (with their own contextualization and develpment along the way). I sometimes wonder Norman if you don’t have problems with the second century apologists because their eschatology is different from yours?

    May I just add that some of the early second century writings were actually put on par with Scripture. It’s much later centuries, more removed from the first century that starting putting down more definitive lines and boundaries for the biblical canon, etc. I also think you are right about including much of the early Jewish apocalyptic from the time right before Christ till right after him. I suspect many of these “extra-canonical” writings were viewed on par with Scripture as well (especially by the more Jewish groups of the early church). My shameless plug for the Eastern Orthodox is the Ethiopian Coptic church is probably one of the oldest and has maintained its early Jewish influences more or better than any other to date that I am aware of.

  • Alan K

    I think a non-Darwinian reading of Genesis 1 is offered by Karl Barth in his third volume of the Church Dogmatics where articulates his doctrine of creation. Since there was no human witness to the creation, it cannot be categorized as “history” and thus Barth refers to it as “pre-history” and calls the genre “saga” (for the sake of not utilizing the confusing term “myth”). There most certainly is a recognizable cosmology–that of the ANE–but the Word of God is free to not have to obey the dictates of the cosmology. Instead, the sun, moon, stars and sea can do nothing but obey the Word.

    There is an incredible amount of energy that the church expends upon this issue, as if the proclamation of Jesus Christ is upheld by the background of a particular worldview. But this would imply that the Word really isn’t free, that it requires the foundation of this or that particular background. I cannot help but believe that while all the energy spent is well meaning, at the end of the day it is wasted energy. Any and every worldview is provisional. The Word is free to enter and inhabit these worldviews, but does not require them. In Genesis 1 the ANE worldview is utilized but then is eventually exhausted by the Word. Worldviews will always come and go. Let us save our energy for the testimony: Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.

  • CGC

    Hi Alan,
    Now you are sounding like an early church father? (and Barthian :-) Hey, great points . . . Keep em a coming . . .

  • Norman

    CGC,

    Obviously I have problems with eschatology that moved away from a fulfilled version of the Kingdom which I believe the first century church expected and embraced. To continue to draw out a futurist timeline of fulfillment after the establishment of the Kingdom and to have a perpetual expectation in the future of what occurred in the first century just undermines the themes of messianic 2nd temple Judaism IMO. The first century messianic church was looking for a terminus conclusion of the end of the old covenant and the beginning of the New everlasting Covenant which indeed occurred. I understand that the perpetual idea became orthodox for the church whether Eastern or Western but that is hardly the only theological fault that has crept into Christianity over the centuries. IMHO ;-)

    I’m also not comfortable with any idea that writings post Apostles should be considered as scripture. They may be and are often instructive but are not inspired IMO. However I also accept writings that the first century church accepted such as Enoch whereas the church by and large by the 3rd Century had followed the literal reading Jews and rejected those highly messianic writings. If my supposition is correct the DSS reveal a close collaboration with the earliest Christian accepted literature and reveals why Christ was accepted by Essene minded Jews largely and rejected by the majority of Jews.

    Now practically speaking I don’t believe these errors of the church are unexpected in the Kingdom. History tells us that there are multitudes of misunderstandings some more pervasive than others yet the essence of Kingdom living in the Spirit is alive and well. It doesn’t hurt though to point out in our day and age that it might be beneficial to grasp the essence of the earliest mindset and determine if there are better more original views to consider.

    I’m really not as anti-church history as one might think because the nature of my work is to illustrate the contrasting differences and you have to compare and draw conclusions in order to do so. If I had started my studies when I was in my 20’s instead of in my 50’s I might have moved into a more extensive examination of the historical church fathers by now. As it is I have to limit my work to the area that I deem has been overlooked until recently and will consider the later church historical issues in due time, God willing.

    By the way I’m not letting the Eastern Church off the hook but am saying their hermeneutic approach is closer to the original than the western.

  • Rick

    Does He have a role in determining our hermeneutics? If so, what is God’s role? How does He illuminate? Through opposition? Should we be seeing it more clearly, or is it just part of the process of theological advancements?

  • Rick

    Let me clarify that 1st sentence: Does God have a role….

  • AHH

    The introductory paragraph to this otherwise worthwhile post is muddled, as it seems to say that it was not until Darwin that the church started down some dubious paths in attempts to make Genesis line up with science.

    But this started long before Darwin. One can look at Galileo as one commenter noted. More closely related, decades before Darwin it had become clear from geology that the earth was much older than a few thousands of years, and it was this (not Darwin although that gave further impetus) that led to “gap” theories, day-age readings, etc. Similar in effect was the (mostly pre-Darwin) realization that the Earth had never been covered by a global flood; there is a nice book on that topic by Calvin College prof Davis Young called The Biblical Flood: A Case Study of the Church’s Response to Extrabiblical Evidence.

    Re: the question asked in the post, I would say that “non-Darwin” readings include those that put Genesis 1-11 in their literary genre and context of ancient Near East creation stories, stories giving Israels’ self-definition and telling about Yahweh and about humanity without any intent to be scientific descriptions. So this would include people today like Pete Enns and Tremper Longman, and going back one could look to Meredith Kline’s framework view.

  • Norman

    Rick,

    Who are you addressing concerning your question?

  • CGC

    Hi Norman,
    I am in agreement with you about EO’s approach is closer to the original than the western Church. And like you, I don’t neceesarily run outuside the borders of the Protestant canon of Scripture when it comes to these other early church writings. After saying that, I am saying that the early church’s canon was more messy and over-lapping than the boundaries that us later Christians inherited. One should also note there are differences within the biblical canon itself between Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants. I am only realizing more in my early fifties that these other early Christian writings played a role in many of the early Christians lives and I should give them greater attention since I for one have basically ignored many of them most of my life. So my hat is off to my Eastern Orthodox friends who continually show me that there is “more” to history than what I was taught in Bible college and seminary. I have even taught church history to others but I just consider myself a novice on the subject with so much more I desperately need to learn! I now consider myself what one Baptist church historian calls a “suspicious protestant.” Henry Newman was right even though many Protestants would disagree, “the more one immerses oneself into history, the less one becomes Protestant” (my own paraphrase).

  • CGC

    Hi Rick,
    Does God have a role in hermeneutics? Yes (illumination of the Holy Spirit in understanding and applying God’s Word). As far as opposition goes, I have already spoke that many of us respond to our context in many different ways. Even Christian orthodoxy was a response to heterodoxy!

  • RJS

    Rick,

    Basil’s reading of scripture was shaped in part by Arianism.
    Augustine’s reading of scripture was shaped in part by Pelagianism.
    Luther’s reading was shaped by his experience with the excesses of the RCC.

    In all of these cases I think there was a tendency, sometimes explicit, sometime unconcious, to make as strong a case as possible against a real or percieved challenge. This led all of them to some rather extreme positions or interpretations in certain cases.

    I think that the response to the challenge of western rationalism is to plant a stake and hold firm. Some readings of Genesis are shaped by the challenge of naturalism and biblical criticism and in the effort to make a case some rather extreme and indefensible positions are sometimes taken. I think that the YEC position is in many ways a response to such a threat.

  • CGC

    Hi Ahh,
    Thanks for some good points. And you may be even right on this point but I have question mark when it comes to Peter Enns “non-Darwin” approach? Since Enn’s writes and does videos for the Biologos website, he seems to be a spokesperson both for ANE of Genesis as well as Darwin’s Evolution. Maybe Enn’s keep them like separate but equal? It just seems to me that there are times when I have heard Enn’s speak on Genesis and science that I for one am not so sure I would call his viewpoint “non-Darwin” as he is such a big supporter of Evolution as God’s way of doing it and this still begs the question, did Darwin not effect his theology or did Darwin challenge his theology to where it is now?

  • Rick

    Norman #17-

    I was not addressing anyone in particular. The conversation involved just a critical and reactionary approach to hermeneutics, and little has been said about God’s role in all this. If, as RJS points out, some interpretations are “shaped” by opposition, is this a tool God uses to guide us, or is it something we have to sort through with our limited (and sinfully broken) minds?

    In short: Why is Genesis so unclear (or misguided) without opposition shaping (or correcting) our approach to it?

  • http://www.twitter.com/aaronlage aaron

    Thank you for sharing that insight Alan K. (#11)

    “The Word is free to enter and inhabit these worldviews, but does not require them.”

  • Norman

    Concerning how my views of scripture have changed along with my acceptance of evolution.

    Early on when I first began contemplating Genesis I kept my options open but tended to a literal understanding unless proved otherwise. As I became more comfortable with an Old Earth idea and especially of the antiquity of humans and their various stages of evolution I begin to see the need to investigate more thoroughly Genesis. My concern during this investigative period was that I would find out that scriptures were an absolute fabrication; however I would not turn away unless I found a smoking gun issue that could not be rectified. Thankfully during this period I begin to stumble upon perspectives such as Hugh Ross that allowed me to see that there was an issue with understanding Genesis accurately. After about a year or two though I begin to see that Hugh Ross’s approach was inconsistent as well. Next I stumbled onto Bruce Waltke and Meredith Kline’s approach and that begin to unlock the doors on a deeper level of literary exploration. I was still Old Earth even at this point but was an avowed anti evolutionist as I could not see how the Cambrian explosion or life at all could have enough time to come about without divine intervention. I remained a biblical and science concordist at this point.

    Next I begin to simultaneously consider the NT perspective of eschatology and that is when all the cards started to fall into place one by one. This led me into an investigation of what and how exactly did the early church understand their literature and it’s been downhill ever sense. I eventually shed my concordist view of interpreting Genesis as I realized that scripture didn’t really need to be squared with science. It took a lot of reading ASA articles to help me through those transitional days but my study of the nature of the literature of the Bible was the most freeing aspect.

    Along about this time I realized that if scripture wasn’t about science then I was free to examine evolutionary science more deeply. I begin by studying North American evolutionary cycles tied to the ice ages and it was clear that patterns of evolutionary large animals came and went in cycles of the environment which would isolate and allow for species diversification. The coming and going of the Ice Ages demonstrated this cycle of dynamic changes over and over. Once you grasp short term evolutionary process then your mind becomes open to long term possibilities. It’s just a matter of time before you start to realize that evolution is a well-documented natural process that systematically works in our ancient environment.

    So my science and biblical understandings worked hand in hand together; with each one freeing the other to explore more deeply concepts that I generally would not venture into because of presuppositional emotional or mental blocks that I had setup for myself. However if I met myself 20 years ago on the street and could converse with myself as I think now I would not have been

  • Norman

    I cut this part off by mistake.

    comfortable then with whom I have become intellectually. It’s not a bad thing it’s just the way we are as we adjust and change to the changing landscape of knowledge that we uncover.

  • CGC

    Hi Norman,
    Thanks for sharing your story. I found it both helpful and interesting to see the twists and turns in your own growth and understanding on these issues. I don’t have the time to go into my story except to say that when I studied these issues in seminary, I was more progressive than my profs in that I did not take a literal interpretation of Genesis. I was probably the other extreme from the ghost of Kant in taking it all the early chapters of Genesis symbolically while others took Adam way too literally from my perspective. As I began to study history, especially church history and the early church fathers, I began to disassociate myself with a kind of dichotomous western Enlightenment thinking that radically separated literal from figurative or story from history. I did not see this kind of polarized thinking within the Scriptures or the early church fathers and I have greatly relaxed through the years on reading the Bible only as doctrine or only as presuppositional turth or only as “sola scriptura” and the like. I found truth and history to be much more polyvalent and inter-relational. I have also learned to appreciate the imagination side of things and not just the rational or logical; the awe and wonder and mystery of Scripture and not just the systemtic or linear approach to it.

  • AHH

    CGC @21,

    Good question — I don’t know the history of Enns’ thoughts on these topics. Certainly his reading of Genesis is useful in avoiding the tensions aroused by Darwin for some other views, and BioLogos has made use of that. And recently (such as The Evolution of Adam) he has been doing more in the way of applying his scholarship to help the church deal with such issues.

    But whether the challenges of science played any role in his coming to these conclusions about Genesis I don’t know. I think his reading is pretty close to what most people who get a Ph.D. in Old Testament come to, independent of science — I gather that ideas like early Genesis being polemic against surrounding gods and Israel’s self-definition in mythic form, with multiple sources (not necessarily JEPD), much of it dating to around the time of the exile, are not controversial except in conservative evangelicalism.

  • John C. Gardner

    Several queries:
    Did the church fathers believe that Adam was a real historical figure? Also, Ben Witherington states that Jesus and Paul believed that Adam was a real figure. John Walton of Calvin and John Collins also posit some interpretations consistent with this view I personally agree with John Walton’s interpretation of the creation and his statement that Adam(and of course the Second Adam) was a real historical figure.

  • RJS

    Rick (#22)

    Ted Davis has an interesting post on Theistic Evolution over at BioLogos today, the last in a series. But an interesting point in this post is how the view of theistic evolution was colored by a larger threat from a very real liberal modernism that reconciled theology with science by eliminating all real religious content. This is/was a threat from a truly unorthodox belief rising up from within the church.

    So where it the leading of God in all of this? Frankly I think many of those who have reacted by pushing the interpretation of Genesis 1 to a YEC extreme hear the voice of God far more clearly than those who take up a de-supernaturalized “faith.” But they still take it to untenable extremes in the face of this real challenge.

    I don’t understand the point of your last question though – “Why is Genesis so unclear (or misguided) without opposition shaping (or correcting) our approach to it?” What are you trying to get at?

  • http://brokenstringsworship.blogspot.com/ Mark P

    I’ve never met anyone who maintained a Darwinian model of life and at the same time was an active participant in a regular miraculous lifestyle…

    And before the bullets fly let me clarify…I think holding to biological evolution (which is different than micro evolution) and being someone who gets to actively see miracles on a regular basis are somewhat exclusive worldviews…(in my opinion and experience)…

    Which begs the question, why is it not hypocritical to support the miracles of the New Testament and then discount a literal miraculous creation event? Because science says its not possible? Doesn’t science discount the miraculous anyway?

    What on earth has Darwin got to do with any of this? Because his research raises questions?

    Why on earth?

    I am not suggesting we ignore science, but I am suggesting it is completely the wrong direction for us to be going, we should be heading INTO the miraculous not away from it…our very faith depends on it.

    I’m pretty sure the earliest church Fathers were participants in the miraculous…

    I think a better viewpoint for reading Genesis would be from the perspective of those who were actively involved in the miraculous…(not to belittle Basil in any way).

    Your mileage may vary.

  • Norman

    Mark,

    First, how do you define a “Darwinian model of life”?

    Secondly, how do you measure whether one is an “active participant in a regular miraculous lifestyle…”

    Do you have some form or survey that validates your premise?

    If a theistic evolutionist told you he/she believed in God’s miraculous handiwork in the lives of the faithful from Adam to now, would you doubt his veracity?

  • http://brokenstringsworship.blogspot.com/ Mark P

    @Norman…pretty simply…

    Miracles, are miracles…

    Blind eyes, deaf healed etc…

    A simple survey is easy, I just ask…have you seen with your own eyes a miracle that you personally participated in? Healing? demon deliverance? Supernatural provision? Etc…

    You can suggest that everything is a miracle but why bother, if everything is, then nothing is.

    From my reading of the earliest church fathers most if not all participated in some fashion with this metric.

    And no I would not doubt the veracity of a theistic evolutionist, just the consistency…to suggest that God would be intimately involved in bringing someone to a conversion faith but leave them there seems inconsistent.

    With the exception of a few people like Peter Wagner, or John Wimber I have yet to meet very many professors who actively demonstrated even a passing interest in a daily demonstration of the miracle lifestyle that Jesus said would be the hallmark of his disciples.

    Paul makes his case in Romans 15:19 that his “fully preaching” the gospel was demonstrated in mighty signs and wonders, this posture places the preaching of the gospel outside the realm of mental and intellectual discourse if Paul had said he had fasted 40 days or fed the poor so that “the gospel was fully preached” we would have seminary classes on fasting and feeding the poor, instead he places the gospel squarely in the realm of the miraculous and I find it hard to believe that he or any other church father would place the Genesis reading into a purely intellectual discourse.

    And as far as a “Darwinian Model” the idea that life or anything “evolves” into more complex and more refined expressions is up for debate, adaptation is certainly provable, but even here in church culture we assume we are “evolving” with our consciousness and understanding, this is an assumption that has no proof. Without a pre-emptive activity of the Spirit “hoovering” over the face of the deep we all remain in darkness.

    I am certainly not interested in debating Darwin or evolution here, and I do appreciate that he has raised the issue of what we believe…

    But it was Jesus who laid down the particulars of what believing in Him would look like and He suggest it would be a life of miracles, (good works ordained from the Father/Jesus makes it clear that good works were the miracles he performed)…NOT some scientific measuring of life.

    I suggest if there is to be any “evolving” it needs to come from the scientific community and not the community of faith, good gravy its only been less than 200 years that science has taught doctors to wash their hands to prevent contagion, something the Jewish text gave us nearly 4000 years ago…(Se Ignaz Seemelweis)

    Maybe its just my limited perspective, but I have never met anyone who held to Darwinian Biological Evolution and practiced praying for miracles and seeing results, something I cannot hoist upon the backward and uneducated Pentecostals I came from…they practice miracles…

  • Norman

    Mark,

    Let me illuminate what the bible presents concerning miracles. Miracles have accompanied the faithful of God ever since man’s acknowledgement of Him. God is always the provider of the miraculous and has always been there. However the bible projects that there would come a time when God Himself would miraculously enter into Humanities realm and become their High Priest and King. This was evidenced by signs and miracles to establish to those who had eyes to see and ears to hear; however it was a perverse generation that looked for signs alone and expected to be hand fed in order to remain faithful. The Messiah told his generation that they were a special people whom the prophets had looked forward to seeing but had not been privileged themselves to realize in their age. He also told this generation that they would pass through a time of trial and judgment that would come upon the Jews as foretold by the prophets of old. In order to accomplish this trial and to complete the work that this special generation was called to they would receive the helper who would enable them with the power of signs and miracles just as Christ performed to complete the establishment of that work that Christ came to accomplish. That work was to usher in a new covenant to replace an aging and decrepit old covenant that was found wanting in regards to fellowship with God. The sign of the completion would be when trials of that age culminated with the judgment of God as prophesied by Christ would come to pass with the destruction of the Jewish Temple and fiery judgment upon physical Jerusalem. At that time the work of the helper would have been completed and the Kingdom of Christ would have replaced the Kingdom of Death under the Law. At this time of consummation the only known Apostle to have lived to see this occurrence would have been John who was prophesied by Christ to have lived to that moment. At that time the perfect Kingdom would be complete and fully manifested and the need for special miraculous signs to help usher the faithful of the time through to the Promised land would have been consummated. It was time for the Messiah to then take His Seat by the Right Hand of God and turn the Kingdom back to the Father so that everything would be complete. Christ Kingdom has been established and will reign forever and ever. God lives in our hearts and Christ is the light and there is no need for a Temple made by human hands. We have been returned to the power of Garden living in which we have full fellowship to commune with God. Prophecies have passed away, tongues have ceased, knowledge has revealed its course and the perfect came while the partial passed away. God’s faithful still see the wonders of God’s miraculous power in their lives as it always has occurred from the dawn of time for mankind and their walk with God. However Christ has taken His seat in Heaven and the Helper has enabled the faithful first fruits of the church to endure the times of tribulation and waters that they had to pass through. They entered the Promised Land and we are their offspring.

    “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

    We are new creatures living in a new creation and God miraculously provides for His people as He always has. No man provides miracles except through righteous petition to our Savior and God who provides for His flock as long as the earth endures. People of faith have always and will continue to see the miracles of God.

  • CGC

    Hi Mark,
    I think it would be better to ask Christian evolutionists how the miraculous works or does not work in their lives than to make broad generalizations from one’s limited experience. I used to think that God did not work miracles in liberal Christian theologians because I always was taught about them and never really knew any very well. I was shocked to find that even the kind miraculous things that people think of associated with Wimber and Wagner I have found true among some liberal Christians even if it may be more rare among both conservative and liberal Christians in general. And I still hear many American Christians say from their very one-sided experience that they really don’t believe how somebody can be a Christian and support a candidate from another political party. If being a disciple of Jesus is a student and one who is learning, ask questions on the journey rather than drawing conclusions from one’s limited experiences. There is always so much “more” than what we think we know.

    I do agree with you that living a life for Jesus in the power and demonstration of God’s power is so much better than any kind of scientific mechanics of life. But if all truth is God’s truth than it does no good to say I am for this truth over here but I am against or deny this truth over there. Truth must be sought wherever it leads and wherever it is found. For Jesus is the truth, the way, and the life.

    So here is my question for you, obviously as one who is skeptical of the claims of science and rightly promotes a kind of superanatural lifestyle in Christ, does your life exemplify the miraculous? If your professors lives do not measure up to the criteria you are using, does your own life? I only ask because it seems to me it does no good to look out the window at other if we are not willing to look in the mirror at yourself!

  • John I.

    What I find interesting about early interpretations is that they show how far off base the YEC approach is. All of the early interpreters considered Genesis within the framework of what was reasonably possible given what they understood about the world as a result of their own investigation of it. That is, they did not believe all the “science” of the day to be corrupted and unable to provide truth that could be used in understanding the Bible. They trusted what they could find out by using the faculties God gave them–the senses and reasoning. There was no apriori ruling out of acquired knowledge.

  • CGC

    Hi Mark and all,
    If people in our churches who believe in creationism and are against evolution don’t walk in the miraculous (generally speaking) then I don’t know how belief in evolution or not in evolution has anything at all to do with whether people walk in the miraculous or not?


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