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The Last Bible on Earth

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  • The Last Bible on Earth


    ...or the first.

    ...and all it is is Genesis 1.

    ...and it's not even that much, yet.

    It's just v. 1.

    Next week it will also be v. 2. (That's when you get to read both verses, together.)

    The third week it's also v. 3.

    You find no way to change any of this. It just displays one new verse per week.

    And you did not know, the first week, that it would EVER change. That's when you were left wondering what's the rest of the story.

    So, when it finally showed v. 2 in addition to v. 1, you were overjoyed.

    Why were you overjoyed? Because:

    1. you had never encountered any cosmology before in your life;

    2. nor ever had any ideas or thoughts about the origins of everything;

    3. ...until earlier that same day that you happened to find v. 1.



    The universally unassuming reading of Genesis 1 includes that it teaches a Young Earth-and-Cosmos ('YEC') that God created in 144 hours. But this is only the beginning. In fact, this, in itself, is not anywhere near enough of a beginning. It is textually correct. But by itself it may as well not be there. It either is (A) profoundly ecologically associated, or (B) a less-or-more shallow, arbitrary detail.

    And, so, for a fallen world so far downstream from Adam, we have a profound shortfall in our understanding of Genesis 1.



    I maintain that is the height of empty presumption to think that we fallen moderns, so far biologically and neurologically downstream from the fallen Adam, are as perceptive of every detail and nuance of our natural world as he was. But we can, with some inquiry, observation, and openly driven curiosity, figure out a lot about what he saw and understood.

    The Old Testament alludes to the Sun as a man, and as a groom. This suggests that the ancient Hebrews saw Genesis 1 in that light. And if Earth is the bride, then we must ask which of the two is center-stage. More so, if Earth is the main subject of the account, then from whose frame of reference is it given? Must we ascend to heaven, to the Father? Or, instead, does Father God come down?

    Unfortunately, the cultural context of the modern world drives us to presume that Genesis 1 is told in a narrowly consistent manner. After all, we want most easily to avoid, and most effectively to oppose, errors of interpreting it. But this narrow presumption may be why so many people get the impression that Genesis 2 contradicts Genesis 1!



    The first eight verses of Genesis 1 use many equivocal terms. By why? If it is so foundational to the Christian world view, shouldn't it more clear that it seems to be? Notice that this question carefully ends by allowing that it is conceivable, as such, for there to be a different view of the equivocal language of the account.

    There are at least five different imaginable answers for why Genesis 1 uses equivocal language:



    1. It is God's way of teaching us not to inquire into things that He has not seen fit to spell out;


    2. God simply is teaching us humility in face of our collective failure to arrive at a consensus as to the exact meaning of the equivocal terms;


    3. In addition to 2., God also simply wants us to make the effort to study the account, and, in so doing, to be more sure to keep it in mind for the good that it already has for us;


    4. In addition to 2. and 3., God actually wants us to build our understanding of the account, and thereby, at least eventually, to come to a complete basic right understanding of it.



    Before identifying a fifth answer, at least four things should be noted about the above four answers. First, 1. presents an ugly and arbitrary contrast to 2.-4., namely by rendering God obsessively, even insecurely, defensive. Second, 3. is more meaningful than 2.; and 4. is more meaningful than 3. and 2.. Third, all four together show a progressive spectrum along which an answer may be sought. Fourth, that progression suggests the possibility of a fifth, best, answer.

    So, a fifth answer would admit that 2.-4. have merit. But, a fifth answer also would see 2.-4. as not quite getting to the main point. That main point is found in the fact that Genesis 1 addresses a broad subject about which we humans have a basic natural familiarity. So the fifth answer has to do with the relation between the broad subject of the account and the author's intended audience. Is that audience some Platonic beings? No? Is that audience some species of sentient creature that is designed to be most at home inside cold hard spaceships traveling through intergalactic space? No?

    So, is there nothing about ourselves as Divine image bearers that could possibly imply the fifth answer? Yes. When we address an audience on a subject about which we know they have a basic normal familiarity, we normally use some equivocal terms. In fact, for many speakers or writers, the more taxed are their brains, and mouths or hands, in addressing their audience, the more they use equivocal terms, incomplete sentences, and other effort-reduction means of getting their point across to at least the bulk of the audience.

    Of course, we should not expect God to be too tired to be clear in His telling us things. God has no limits in that department. But we have limits in how much pedantic explicitness we can stand before our brains falter in following a long-winded lecture or text. This implies that even a maximally communicative text is a dynamic balance in relation to the intended audience.

    But, the point is that, if the audience of Genesis 1 is not some ever-enduring Platonic being, but rather humans who call Earth 'home', then the main answer to why Genesis 1 uses some equivocal terms is because its author takes for granted that we already have a basic familiarity with all the things therein addressed. The author assumes that his audience finds his every meaning obvious.

    This fifth answer may not set well with people who presume that the account was dictated, word-for-word, by God. But, that presumption is both premature and profoundly counter-productive to apologetics. As Amy Orr-Ewing explains, it is precisely because the four books of the Gospels were authored by actual human persons, in the actual places, times, and cultures that were involved, that those books bear every textual evidence crucial for establishing their accounts' historical reality. They demonstrably are not myth or fiction, and this because they are actual histories written by the people who were there, complete with the particular kinds of details that have been found to have been current in the places, times, and cultures in which their authors wrote.


    ~



    How did Adam know that Eve was made from part of himself? Some, in at least logically admitting their ignorance of how either Genesis 1 or 2 possibly could indicate a specific natural means by which Adam knew this, will prefer to believe that God 'revealed' this to Adam by God's miraculous power to cause someone to know something that they have no natural means to apprehend. But this preference is premature so long as it is, indeed, ignorant of how either account might indicate a specific natural means by which Adam knew this.

    Therefore, in ignorantly considering the question of how Adam knew that Eve had been made from part of himself, we must allow the possibility that it cannot properly be answered until we complete the study of Genesis 1. But, we universally have failed a complete study of Genesis 1. In fact, in a way, we have not even begun to study it. Many modern Bible-faithful people assume that Genesis 1 is merely God's word-for-word dictation. This is mentally easiest, but it is grossly premature. It even is worse than premature. It is nothing more than an unthinking, unknowing, passive reception of every detail that the account spells out.



    Jesus has been thought, by some, to be a myth. Christians have responded by showing that the Gospels bear every likeness of historical accuracy; of having been written with intimate knowledge of the times, places, and cultures within which they represent themselves as having been written. Adam, too, is thought to be a myth. But Bible-faithful people have not considered whether Genesis 1 and 2 bears any particular likeness to having been composed in mind of the full humanity of Adam (and Eve). For example, most who defend Genesis 1 reason as if a basically accurate understanding of every one of its details does not depend on whether we assume it was composed by Adam and Eve, or, instead, was word-for-word dictated by God.


    Worse, most moderns who espouse the Young Earth-and-Cosmos ('YEC') paradigm of Genesis 1 maintain that the account itself spells out everything necessary to a basic apprehension of all of the account's most crucial teachings. It is due to universal inheritance of intuitive-but-suspect ways of adapting to various adverse philosophical challenges, this simplistic notion tends to cause humans to leave out some of the language of the rest of the Bible that may inform on some of this account's own terminology. Most notably is phrases employing the word 'darkness' and variants of the word 'upon'. Genesis 1:2 uses such a phrase, but this is seen to be reduced merely to what that phrase spells out.

    The scope of humans' Divine image-bearing is by no means exhausted by the 'large' issues such as ethics, morality, spiritual, faithfulness to what the Bible spells out, etc.. In fact, there is no hard distinction between these 'large' issues and the host of finer issues. One can enforce the 'large' issues by profoundly offending in regard to the 'finer'. For example, it is possible to prevent theft of prosthetic property by stealing individuals' general God-given right to physical and mental liberty, and thus humanity and individual uniqueness.

    Shall we never allow a probate to get out of his bed lest we afford him the opportunity to make an attempt at our own blankets? Did God prevent Adam from getting out of bed?

    But we today tend to abide the notion that Genesis 1 and 2, especially Genesis 1, either were, or can just as well have been, dictated word-for-word by God; that God is telling His own story in Genesis 1, and this from His own, supposedly a-cultural omniscient frame of reference. In other words, we tend to deem this General account to be using some universally neutral mode of description, and that, therefore, the only real way to grossly misunderstand any of it is by simply refusing to abide its supposedly neutral, and fully explicit, standard of description.

    Jesus has been thought, by some, to be a myth. Christians have responded by showing that the Gospels bear every likeness of historical accuracy; of having been written with intimate knowledge of the times, places, and cultures within which they represent themselves as having been written.

    Adam, too, is thought to be a myth. But Bible-faithful people have not considered whether Genesis 1 and 2 bears any particular likeness to having been composed in mind of the full humanity of Adam (and Eve). For example, most who defend Genesis 1 reason as if a basically accurate understanding of every one of its details does not depend on whether we assume it was composed by Adam and Eve, or, instead, was word-for-word dictated by God.

    Worse, most moderns who espouse the Young Earth-and-Cosmos ('YEC') paradigm of Genesis 1 maintain that the account itself Bible spells out everything necessary to a basic apprehension of all of the account's most crucial teachings. It is due to universal inheritance of intuitive-but-suspect ways of adapting to various adverse philosophical challenges, this simplistic notion tends to cause humans to leave out some of the language of the rest of the Bible that may inform on some of this account's own terminology. Most notably is phrases employing the word 'darkness' and variants of the word 'upon'.

    Genesis 1:2 uses such a phrase, but this is seen to be reduced merely to what that phrase spells out. This dutifully mindless interpretation is extended to v. 3, and, from, there, to v. 14-18. The justification claimed for this mindlessness is that of 'context determines meaning'. Thus is the rest of the Bible left with no voice concerning the 'darkness' of v. 2, and therefore concerning one or both subjects of v. 1. Yet the rest of the Bible typically, if not always, uses this 'darkness upon' terminology to imply dense cloud that blocks the Sun. The reason would be obvious to any small child who experiences dark dense cloud that blocks the light of the Sun. Even we today do not need to spell out as to what the phrase 'blocks the light of the Sun' implies? It implies the surface of the Earth, where life abides. We clearly do not mean that the total of the Sun's light, as such, is being blocked, but merely that that bit of its light that has reached some portion of land, or even merely of our living room, is being blocked by something.

    The total details comprising Genesis 1 and 2 implicitly oppose humans' unchecked fallen ways and ideas. But there is a problem. We have all-but-lost how to read the account.

    If we assume that Genesis 1 was composed, word-for-word, by God, then we miss seeing any of its details in light of the possibility that it was composed by Adam and Eve. This is complicated by the status quo among YEC proponents regarding how to interpret certain parts of the account. In short, if we are asked whether Genesis 1 consists only in what it spells out, then we cannot answer in the affirmative without implicating the whole rest of the Bible in the same shallowness.

    Human dignity is undercut by abiding merely what the Bible spells out. This strongly suggests that the entirety of Genesis 1 and 2 must constitute nothing less than history's first, and most profound, demonstration of humans' divine image-bearing.

  • #2
    I thought Moses wrote Genesis (and the next 4 books, too).
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by atpollard
      I thought Moses wrote Genesis (and the next 4 books, too).
      Ergo Peneteuck 😊
      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by wfredeemed009

        Ergo Peneteuch
        *Pentateuch*
        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by atpollard View Post
          I thought Moses wrote Genesis (and the next 4 books, too).
          Yes.

          And I just now wrote (below), 'I thought Moses wrote Genesis (and the next 4 books, too).'

          I thought Moses wrote Genesis (and the next 4 books, too).



          ...And I'm going to title it, "A Lesson in Tautology".


          Do you see my point?

          (I have been presuming, too, that, in my OP, I always used the term 'Genesis 1', rather than 'Genesis'.



          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by No Mind (TLS) View Post
            Yes.

            And I just now wrote (below), 'I thought Moses wrote Genesis (and the next 4 books, too).'

            I thought Moses wrote Genesis (and the next 4 books, too).


            ...And I'm going to title it, "A Lesson in Tautology".


            Do you see my point?

            (I have been presuming, too, that, in my OP, I always used the term 'Genesis 1', rather than 'Genesis'.
            Actually, no. I have no clue what your point is.

            you said ...
            Originally posted by No Mind (TLS) View Post
            If we assume that Genesis 1 was composed, word-for-word, by God, then we miss seeing any of its details in light of the possibility that it was composed by Adam and Eve. This is complicated by the status quo among YEC proponents regarding how to interpret certain parts of the account. In short, if we are asked whether Genesis 1 consists only in what it spells out, then we cannot answer in the affirmative without implicating the whole rest of the Bible in the same shallowness.
            This appears to claim that the only two choices for authorship Genesis 1 are:
            option 1: "composed by Adam and Eve"
            option 2: "composed by God"

            To your binary choices, I replied:
            I thought Moses wrote Genesis (and the next 4 books, too).
            My point being that Moses is NEITHER "Adam and Eve" nor "God", the two choices that you gave for the authorship and the basis for understanding the point of view and intent of the author.

            So I really do not understand how 'tautology' enters into the discussion.

            Comment>
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