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How Should We Interpret Genesis?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

The first eleven chapters of Genesis are the most attacked section of the Bible (and with increasing intensity nowadays), and were understood to be actual history by most Christians throughout church history, until Christians began ceding science to secularists about 150 years ago. There's a good reason for understanding Genesis as written, since Jesus, Peter, Paul, and others referred to Genesis as literal history as well. Still, riders on the Old Earth Owlhoot Trail want to force in millions of years by way of the latest trends in man-made science philosophies, and tell God what he said and meant instead of taking the natural reading of Genesis. Naturally, atheists support them.

Compromisers and outright Bible-deniers are using misleading, loaded terminology to poison the well against those of us who actually believe that the first eleven chapters of Genesis are not poetic or allegorical. So, how should be interpret them?
The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise, Benjamin West, 1791
One area of compromise came from Scottish preacher Thomas Chalmers in 1814, who proposed a gap of long ages between the first two verses of Genesis, but the "Gap Theory" simply does not work. Others will try to spiritualize the early chapters of Genesis, referring to it as poetry (even though it doesn't read like Hebrew poetry), or say that they contain spiritual truth. How can you have spiritual truth from something that is false, including the order of the days of creation as compared to evolution?

For that matter, most Christians have understood the days of creation to be actual days, and not long ages. Some will do an "Aha! Gotcha!" approach when saying that the word used for day, yom, יוֹם, can possibly mean something other than an actual day, it can mean an age. Actually, that's not true. There are "qualifiers": evening, morning, and a number. That means day, old son. If God wanted to impress on us long periods of time, there are other (better) Hebrew words that could have been used (such as olam, עוֹלָם, instead of people reading into the text (Prov. 30:5-6). Not good enough, you still want to compromise? A section of Exodus kind of nails it down, doesn't it?

By the way, ask a compromiser what is there in the book of Genesis that somehow looks or reads differently after the eleventh chapter. Why are chapters twelve through fifty historical, but the first chapters are not, according to their view? Where did the textual style change? 

Theistic Evolutionists, disciples of Hugh Ross, and others like to ridicule those of us who believe that the Bible means what it says. One way of doing this is through loaded terminology and redefining words; we are "literalistic". Well, when something is written with the intention of being taken literally, people take it literally, don't they? Unfortunately, since there are so many negative connotations from compromising tinhorns who misuse the word literal that biblical creationists need to clarify: we use historical-grammatical exegesis. Although some people don't cotton to those expensive words, they're needed to make things more specific.

When one starts with faulty theology at the beginning, it has a domino effect throughout Scripture. Here is the first of two videos that I'm going to present without embedding (since embedding slows down the page loading time). The video is "A World of Compromised Faith", and it runs about half an hour. (It's actually audio in a video format, so if you use one of the free online YouTube-to-MP3 converters or other software, you can grab it and listen to it at your convenience.) The source is an episode of Chris Rosebrough's "Fighting for the Faith", and I excerpted the pertinent section. Scott McKenna of Edinburg's Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church gave some fine examples of intellectualizing and spiritualizing Genesis, Pentecost, and the Bible in general in "Pentecost: A World of Faiths". Such heresy shouldn't be surprising from someone who puts in quotes from Schopenhauer and H.G. Wells in the "What We Believe" section!

The second video is an actual video (not just "audio in video format" like the one I did above). It is "How Should the Bible be Interpreted?" from Creation Today, runs about half an hour.

Here are some resources and supporting documents for your edification:
I suggest — request — that you save (and share) this article to help edify and encourage Bible believers who are dealing with compromisers who want to slap leather with them. The truth is on our side, and we don't need to be intimidated.