Biblical Accounts of Origins: Slideshow 4 from Denis Lamoureux

Today we continue Denis Lamoureux’s series of brief slideshows on his popular book I Love Jesus & I Accept EvolutionIn the previous three slideshows, Lamoureux covered chapters 1 and 2, chapter 3, and a supplement to chapter 4 where he looked at the sources of Genesis.

Today’s lesson covers chapter 4 of his book, “Biblical Accounts of Origins.” Lamoureux covers the stylistic and perspectival differences between Genesis 1 and 2, the importance of the role of story (rather than straight history) in biblical theology, and other matters.

Lamoureux is associate professor of science and religion at St. Joseph’s College in the University of Alberta. He holds three earned doctoral degrees—dentistry, theology, and biology–which uniquely qualifies him to speak to the issue of human origins and Christian faith. He gets the science, he gets the hermeneutics, and he articulates both clearly for non-specialists (full bio here).

I Love Jesus & I Accept Evolution is a great introduction to his view of origins called “evolutionary creation.” For those of you who are beyond the beginner’s stage, you can read his much thicker book Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution.

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  • Denis, in my opinion this is the best segment yet! These are all things I believed already, but I have never heard them explained so clearly. Thanks! I am recommending this to others.
    However, I have one question. Throughout your presentations you say that these accounts were guided by God or the Holy Spirit. What is your basis for that? I believe they are good stories, but I don’t yet see why we should think they are particularly guided by the Holy Spirit.

    Thanks again!

    • Denis O. Lamoureux

      Thanks for your comments.
      My belief in God and that the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit is just that–a belief. It’s an assumption that I make about Scripture. And of course, the notion is affirmed in the Bible (“All Scripture is God-breathed” 2 Tim 3:16; the OT being “the very words of God” Rom 3:2). To defend this belief involves another series of arguments. And this is not a far-reaching assumption since it is held by evangelicals and conservative Catholics.

      • Muzi Cindi

        I understood this in a sense that even all science is inspired by the Holy Spirit. As a Universalist Christian I find a lot of Holy Spirit inspiration in Buddhist, Hindu, Taoists, and other writings.

  • Susan Gerard


    I have enjoyed your excerpts and have no difficulty with your analysis of Genesis (in fact, I am grateful for it). However, you threw a fastball in there with your assessment of Job. I know it was an aside, and you treated it like one, but your reason for claiming it was not factual had as it’s basis (as given) your concept of the goodness of God. Do you have any other support for this? Some particular narrative style/reflection of contemporary stories/other? Because people have struggled with Job for ages, as I have personally. To my mind, we need to defend such assertions, for it gives the appearance of picking and choosing Scripture according to our own preferences, avoiding struggling with hard passages and confining God to what we can easily handle. I understand Job is an old book, so it may well be that it is only a story, but I would very much appreciate some supporting evidence.

    Thank you for sharing your work,


    • Denis O. Lamoureux

      Dear Susan,
      Thanks for your question. I love your winsome spirit.

      No doubt about it, this is challenging the first time you hear of it (I remember that well!). Wisdom literature is a defined body of literature in the ancient Near East. For example, there is a Sumerian Job and also a Babylonian Job. The literature of these ancient peoples including the Hebrew is much more sophisticated than most of us today realize.

      The biblical Book of Job is brilliantly crafted. I suspect that if the author knew most evangelicals today were reading it as history, he/she would be horrified.

      Here’s a suggestion: Please buy Kenton L Sparks, Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible (2005). It surveys the ANE literature and gives summaries of the accounts.

      It’s the most important book (other than the Bible, of course) I’ve ever read. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

      • Susan Gerard

        Thank you! Doing so now.

  • Nancy R.

    This segment emphasizes the importance of stories in conveying
    essential messages, and I wonder if we tend to approach the Bible with
    an inappropriate concern with factual accuracy. We require journalists
    to be diligent in reporting events accurately, down to the smallest
    detail. But if we approach the Bible with that same mindset, we are
    valuing one method of conveying essential truths over other methods (and
    the errors of young-earth creationism are based on that deeply-held
    conviction that the Bible must be factually true in every regard in
    order to be of value).
    Why did Jesus teach in parables? Why didn’t
    he just flat-out explain exactly what the Kingdom of God is, or use
    real-life accounts of people rather than invent stories? He certainly
    could have done so, but instead he taught using fiction. Perhaps some
    messages can be best understood through invented stories, after all.
    Even if Adam and Eve were not real people, we can understand through
    their story how easily it is for us to turn away from God even though he
    has met all of our needs. The story of Job cries out to be read as
    parable as well (God and the devil wagering over a man’s soul?) but is
    wonderfully effective in showing us how God cares for his creation but
    that his ways are ultimately beyond our understanding.