Three Modern Myths in Interpreting Genesis 1

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    Three Modern Myths in Interpreting Genesis 1

    Vern S. Poythress

    How do we reconcile Gen 1 with science? Three modern myths often interfere with understanding Gen 1. We propose to uncover these myths, in order to remove obstacles to understanding Gen 1. Rather than beginning with the myths immediately, let us first consider one strand in contemporary interpretation. This approach begins by reading Gen 1 within its ancient Near Eastern context. It compares and contrasts Gen 1 with ancient Near Eastern myths. By so doing, it endeavors to show that many modern readers misread Gen 1. They read with scientific assumptions and scientific questions already in mind, and they may easily read into Gen 1 detailed scientific information that is not there. Depending on what they read in, they may find that Gen 1 does or does not agree with modern science. But the whole procedure is mistaken, because it involves misinterpretation. Readers should not seek for scientific teaching in Gen 1, but treat it for what it is, a document that comes from another culture than our own.

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