3603330964_f4b2b78f11_z

Pre-Modern Readings of Genesis 1

Biologos posted a three part reflection on Pre-Modern readings of Genesis 1 that are worth a closer look. And no matter what your particular way of reading this portion of Scripture, let’s pay attention to what edifies the Church and whether our reading contributes to that.

From Part I of the series:

Key theologians of the early church (such as Origen and Augustine, as we’ve discussed) read Scripture with multiple senses and meanings—with a literal sense and multiple spiritual senses. However, not all fully agreed with this methodology. Though most all would certainly hold to multiple senses of Scripture, some readers insisted upon a more profound attention to the literal sense, and the use of the literal sense to help restrain or hold in check the possible spiritual readings. Such 3rd- and 4th-century Church fathers, as St. Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, St. Ambrose, and Theodore of Mopsuestia insisted upon a much more restrained literal reading of Genesis 1.6

Yet even those who insist upon a more literal—or more historical—interpretation of Genesis 1 still contended that the primary purpose of any reading was to edify the Church, which entails setting forth the key theological teachings of Genesis 1, rather than focus on the material specifics. Again, such teachings include that the world is created, that God create the world out of nothing, and that the creation account demonstrates the great order and harmony of creation as a testimony of the God’s glory, beauty, and goodness.7

Image by P K. Sourced via Flickr

Category:
Tags: , , ,

Related Reading

The Bible Is Insufficient

 Patrick Feller via Compfight Kurt Johnson wrote a piece a few days ago on the proper place of Scripture in the life of a believer. He reflects on the fact that we have elevated the Bible to a place that God really never intended. We are a people centered on a person, not a book.…

How do you respond to Bart Ehrman’s book, “Misquoting Jesus”?

Question: I just read Bart Ehrman’s book Misquoting Jesus and it’s sort of rocked my world. How can we believe the Bible is God’s inerrant Word when we don’t even know what the original Bible said? Answer: I actually went to graduate school with Bart Ehrman (at Princeton). We used to smoke pipes together up…

When Did Jesus Bind the Strongman?

Question: In Luke 11:21-22 Jesus said: “When a strong man, with all his weapons ready, guards his own house, all his belongings are safe. But when a stronger man attacks him and defeats him, he carries away all the weapons the owner was depending on and divides up what he stole.” My question is, when…

A Rational Defense of Belief in God

The New York Times recently posted a review of Alvin Plantinga’s book, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism. In it, Plantinga argues on philosophical grounds that, among other things, theism is not in conflict with science, that a belief in naturalism along with evolution is contradictory, and that “Faith…is another basic way of forming beliefs, distinct…

Revelation 17:8 refers to people whose names haven’t been written in “the book of life from the creation of the world.” Doesn’t this conflict with open theism?

As in Revelation 13:8, the clause “from the foundation” (apo kataboleis) need not mean “from before the foundation” but simply “from the foundation” (= since the foundation). It’s not that names either were or were not written in the “book of life” before they were ever born. Rather, throughout history, in response to the choices…

Christ the Center

The center of the Christian faith is not anything we believe; it’s the person of Jesus Christ. The foundation of my faith is a person, not a book and a set of beliefs about that book. Rather than believing in Jesus because I believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, I came…