Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Living Spiritual Rhythms - December 9

Many argue that there is either contradiction or complementarity in Genesis 1-2:3 and 2:4&3. Our take in From Evolution to Eden. Making Sense of Early Genesis is that neither of the arguments applies. In our view, it’s likely that these are separate founding stories of beginnings that point to God and give a raison d’être for national Israel. The editor, who at some point put them together, didn’t see fit to rearrange or smooth out the “narratives.” We suggest that the two different stories are purposefully left in tension and both remain avant-garde in their own ways right up to today.


RMRising said...

If evolution is true, then what is the meaning behind the forbidden fruit story in early Genesis which sets the stage for the entire Gospel? When did humans have their "eyes opened" and when did the "gods" look upon humans saying, "they have become like us"? The Tree of Life is in Genesis and Revelation. If only a metaphor, what does it mean? Thanks and God bless! -Peter

Living spirituality said...

RM Thanks for your comment and excellent questions. If evolution is an accurate account of the way God creates through the natural world, these are inevitable questions, among others, that arise and have to be thought through. In our book From Evolution to Eden, which I suggest you read, we deal with the interpretation of Genesis 1-3 and what it means in light of what we call the "natural world informer." For myself, I must say I don't have all the answers to some of these theological questions, but that wouldn't necessarily be a cause for a rejection of what nature seems to be telling us. So, the "biblical text informer" and the "natural world informer" have to be in dialogue and things worked out from there. Here's an attempt to respond to your questions, but keep in mind that I'm working on them myself. As to your first question: I think that what we find in Genesis 2-3 is a narrative that is exploring and explaining the plight of Israel in the context of humanity. How did Israel's present state of being in rebellion against God come about? The story seems to be looking back from Israel's encounter with God over time, perhaps a post-Exodus recounting, to one that surpasses memory. As to your second question: I'm not sure, and I don't think the biblical writers are either, about "when." After all if it was long ago, no one would remember. It's not as if someone would have been there to write it down or be able to pass it on it oral form. What we have is an Ancient Near Eastern (very important to recognize this - other ANE creation stories should be read to assess the similarities and Differences with Genesis - See FEE book) narrative that represents something of the present and then is retold into the past in a semi-symbolic fashion. Seems fitting in an ANE context that ancient Israel would have operated this way. Lastly, the "Tree of Life" I suggest means access to God that is now available through Christ and the Spirit. I also have a short commentary on Revelation (Living Apocalypse) if you're interested.