Sunday, July 26, 2009

Genesis: How to approach it?

I'm discussing 'the old chestnut' of how to approach Genesis with a few friends at the moment. It's not a bad issue to discuss or return to occasionally but it is a secondary one. There is truth to be had, and errors to avoid but as a benchmark for orthodoxy, it isn't. Just to be clear, the truths are that God made the world, it suited his purposes, humanity is a unique creation and in Adam humanity fell. Adam, given Romans 5, needs to be a historical reality for Original Sin to work. Original Sin needs to work because that's what Jesus' redemptive work was to rescue us from, the origin of sin isn't demonic but human. An obvious error to avoid would be the idea that the world is fundamentally chaotic at its core, the careful pattern of Genesis obviously speaks against such a view. In all this I admit my view has been shaped by Henri Blocher's In the Beginning: The Opening Chapters of Genesis. (He suggests the framework theory which holds that Genesis 1-3 is a literary framework that contains a mixture of literal historical things like Adam and symbolic pictures such as the six days of creation.) I also think that intelligent design offers some useful ways of taking good science and fitting it inside a Christian worldview. However if I felt the Text was leading me to other conclusions I'd follow them.