Thoughts on Genesis

The following Biblical passages have been proposed as a type of proof that the Author of Genesis was recounting Creation in a literal sense.  I wanted to use this objection to help clarify my own thoughts on reading the Bible, a book that offers us a glimpse of the wisdom of God, the ultimate and fathomless deep:
Exodus 20:
8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
2 Peter 3
3First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4They will say, "Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." 5But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.
These are consistent with a poetical interpretation of Genesis. In Exodus, the point here is to have a day of rest, not that it be on the literal day. This is seen that we now worship on Sunday, commemorating the Risen Lord Jesus’ ressurection and conquest over death and sin. Praise God.

In Exodus, God was acting as temporal Ruler of the nation of Israel politically. Israel was the chosen nation, so the OT Exodus is written to codify rules specifically for them. The heart of the law remains in force, but the discipline is no longer applicable for a different nation and different culture. Indeed, Jesus said to go out and baptize all nations!

It follows then, that Exodus is a specific rule for a specific people that uses the moral poetical and absolute law laid down in Genesis that there be a time of rest. The Church determines that time for the sheep of Christ.

Therefore, I think we can dismiss reading Exodus as a rebut to a poetical reading of Genesis, though be as poetical as you like there was an Adam, or else how could Jesus be the new Adam?

I’d beware of prooftexting. It runs the risk of treating the Bible as less than what it is, the wisdom of God, a deep thing indeed.

Peter, the first Pope, is and was infallible in matters of faith and morals. He was not a scientist. At one time he was a fisherman as you no doubt know. Peter talks as the leader of his Church, the Catholic Church and admonishes them not to scoff at the promises of Christ to have faith He affirms that God made the heavens and earth, but he is not laying down a scientific proof of how it happened, merely reiterating the poetry itself as the best description of the event of creation. It’s not like he or the Genesis author had access to carbon dating when they described the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.

As far as the Flood, again Peter reminds them of the truth of the Flood and the washing away of wickedness which is an allusion to true baptism and a call to faith and away from sin: repent. From a pastoral, not a scientific statement, it is a perfect sermon. This is a call the scoffers cannot hear, so they risk being unaware of the transformative and real power of God, both now and in the promises of Christ and in the past events of creation and the flood. Notice Peter is not reinterpreting the flood to suit his agenda or trying to refine what happened back then, he simply reiterates the poetic imagery of wickedness washed away as a warning and an invitation.

At least that’s the best I understand it. YMMV.

For a much deeper and spiritually insightful take on Christian thought in the modern age, try Faith and Reason.

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