He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness -Job 26:10
What sort of imagery does the verse above cause in your mind? For me, it causes me to envision the planet earth from space, mostly blue, circular, surrounded by darkness. Does that image seem familiar to you? It should, I am describing earth as it appears from space. This is one example of the way that language can be interpreted depending on the context of our preexisting notions. If I believed in a flat earth, for example, I may interpret it more like this:
As a Christian, I have seen quite a few strong reactions from my fellow brothers and sisters regarding evolution. There are many claims made regarding the evolutionary process that Christians could never accept, and rightly so. However, I think something that the Christian community may consider is whether or not all of the premises the atheist evolutionary community provides as evidence against God are at all required by actual scientific observations regarding evolution.
In this article I hope to make a sound argument for how the biblical story of creation can align with modern scientific theory. I suppose, in order to accomplish this goal, there is no better place to start than with Genesis 1:1.
Yom is the Hebrew word for day, and is used as such throughout the Bible. In most cases, there is no question of the meaning of the word due to the surrounding context. However, when it comes to the creation of the universe, or anything really, we don’t have any context at all unless we know two things; the thing that is being created, and the process that is being used to create it. These are two things that we really do not have an understanding of when we look at the book of Genesis. We do not know what the universe is, and we most definitely do not know, with complete certainty, the process by which it was created.
Humanity has had many opinions about the earth’s role in the universe throughout our brief history. Only recently in our history have we even understood that there was much more to the universe than earth, that we might be able to travel beyond earth. For many centuries we thought that the earth was the center of the universe, but the Copernican Principle taught us that the appears to rotate around our sun just as the other planets within our solar system do, and that the earth is not particularly special within the universe. This seems to fly in the face of the Judeo-Christian idea that the universe was created for humanity. If we don’t exist within a special place in the universe, how could the universe be “for us”?
Evolution is something that has troubled a great deal of Christians and swayed a many people from accepting the possibility of a Biblical God. I think the biggest reason for this is that theologians have historically had a certain way of interpreting the Bible and are not strongly convinced by the evidence for evolution. This lack of conviction in the scientific theory causes people either question science or question their faith. I think that this is a mistake.
Any Christian that chooses to adopt the idea of an earth which is older than the direct numbers presented in the Bible, roughly six thousand years, will need to account for several things, one of which is the fact that it would be difficult to accept a claim which agrees with the estimated age of raw materials, rocks, water, etc, but does not agree with the estimated age of human remains. This is, of course, resolved if one accepts the idea of divinely controlled evolution, but that too comes with its own set of challenges. Those challenges are what I would like to focus on right now. Can evolution and Adam be reconciled?
The emergence of life from dead matter, or abiogenesis, is the the generally accepted reality derived from the concept of evolution. There are many questions surrounding the details of this process and many theories have been proposed over the years. Indeed, it is up to science to determine how this process may have occurred, however, it is up to philosophy to determine the why. Was this a chance occurrence, or was it by design?
The Garden of Eden is such an unique story in Genesis as it portrays the fall of mankind into sin or rebellion against God. What I find most fascinating is the common interpretation of the story, that Adam an Eve were first ignorant of good and evil. It is assumed that they lacked the ability to distinguish between bad and good. However, this distinction requires reason and intelligence in order to be performed. Understanding the story in this way presumes God created Adam in an animalistic state and his sin was actually rewarded by elevating him to a full human state. This actually goes against the idea that all of mankind started with Adam, who was created directly by, and in the image of God. When we throw in the commonly portrayed talking snake there is quite a bit to unpack in this story.
When reading Genesis 5, we are presented with the genealogical record of patriarchs leading from Adam to Noah. Most of the names have very little information regarding them, but one thing that does stand out is the substantial ages that are associated with each person. Methuselah is especially noticeable, as he lived for 969 years before his death. This chapter of Genesis has spawned quite a few questions, and many of them still remain unanswered today. Perhaps, if we break down the way that we approach this chapter, we might be able to glean some additional information.
This is an important question to address as we examine the possibility of a local flood. Why save Noah if others could survive? Why not have Noah leave the area? Why build a boat? Why save the animals? Noah could have just left the region with his family, cattle, and belongings. Doesn’t this prove that the flood must have been global?
The term Nephilim is a greatly debated title used in Genesis, and other books of the Bible. Not only is the origin of the Nephilim debated, but also their physical attributes and nature. In Genesis, the Nephilim are contemporary to the author, and so it appears that there is an assumption that the reader will understand who, or what, the phrase is referring to. Given this, let’s examine some of the possible origins, and thus nature of, the Nephilim.
When reading Genesis 11, the most unquestionable takeaway is that God miraculously changed the languages of the people so that they could no longer communicate and that prior to this there was only a single language used. In almost every interpretation of this story, at least the ones which I have read, this is the case. Personally, I would like to question this for a moment.
Abram, or Abraham as he will later be known, is such a tremendous Biblical character. The father of the world’s largest monothesitic religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and others, Abram is known throughout most of the modern world. If you have read the Bible, you know the story of Abraham, and it is an awesome one. However, Abraham’s story is not one of earth-changing miracles, parting seas, plagues, but rather, it is one of prophecy. A simple promise from God, and Abraham uproots his life, his family, and heads into an unknown land. The most captivating part of this narrative is the fact that Abraham does not seem to question, or have doubts about this decision. He just does it. Personally, I think we should take some time to examine what we might learn from Abraham’s decision, fortitude, and unshakeable certainty.
The story of the destruction of Sodom is certainly a very grandiose claim from Genesis, and frankly, it should be possible to prove whether or not it actually happened given the amount of architectural ruins found in the area. So, did Sodom and Gomorrah actually exist? Were they really destroyed by fire and brimstone as the Bible suggests? Let’s take a look at what history has shown regarding this particular story from Genesis.
As we reach the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, we will most likely find ourselves questioning the morality of God. We have already had a flood, and now we have two cities that will be destroyed by sulfur raining from the sky. So let’s take a moment to highlight some important elements of the Sodom and Gomorrah story.
Imagine being told that you have no choice but to murder your own son. How would you deal with that situation? Disbelief? Bargaining? Rebellion? There are many ways that we could choose to try and come to terms with that sort of task, but imagine being Abraham. He is literally commanded by God to sacrifice his son Isaac as an offering. What is the point of this moral conundrum? Has Abraham lost his mind?
The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau. Was Isaac truly fooled by Jacob on his deathbed, or does this narrative from Genesis 27 convey a deeper meaning regarding the nature of the world? There are many lessons to be learned from the story of the rival sons of Isaac, but I wanted to focus in on this particular scene, where Isaac seemingly blesses Jacob by mistake, to investigate the possibility of a deeper meaning in the text. Of course, in order to get to the end, we must start at the beginning.
Does the Bible attempt to explain the origin of striped animals in the story of Jacob? I must admit, I had never heard this claim before and found myself a bit perplexed. The claim is that Jacob caused the first speckled and striped sheep and goats to appear by laying out branches of various trees in front of his flocks. Since the Bible is claiming that this is the origin of striped animals, the Bible must be lying. This is obviously not what Genesis is stating, but we will get to that in a moment. Read the claim for yourself below.
If God is able to use our actions to produce a desired outcome, do we really have free will? If mankind is unable to resist sin, do we have free will? Does the existence of an all-knowing God imply that we have no free will? This group of questions came to me after finishing the story of Joseph at the end of the book of Genesis and I think they are an appropriate set of questions given Joseph’s statement to his brothers at the end of the story.