5 Responses to The Unique Genre of Genesis 1

  1. bruce r bloomberg says:

    Let us consider for a moment that there may be a fourth genre, the conceptual. The use of so-called figurative language may only be a dumbing down of higher concepts. In the sower and the seed,( Mk.4…), what is the seed? Vrs. 14 says it is the word, yet in vrs. 20 ‘they are those who are sown on good ground and they bear fruit’. Now who are they, the words? Where exactly are words sown? Scripture say that they multiply, (bear fruit). So one word turns into many words, a sentence or even a dialog and this dialog of truth is able to save. But let us go back to where words are sown and they are sown in our minds or heart if you will, but scripture say in the good ground, the Greek word “gene” which also means earth. In keeping with literary consistency (scripture claiming a single authorship), the word we tag as, ‘earth’, the meaning or some variant of that meaning must remain throughout, e.g. the “erats” of Egypt, the land of bondage, the place of slavery to sin (“erats” being the Hebrew word for earth in English). The point being that this genre is conceptual. Does that mean that Jesus is conceptual? No, because some one must speak the word. God has used many to speak his words and sometimes we hear the truth in our consciences. This ‘place’ of the conceptual is not seen yet concepts become into the physical all the time. This is a small example of many, (see my earlier post on the way the word light is used). Do not take my word for it but try it yourself.

    • jim0211 says:

      That is an interesting way to think about it, Bruce. Conceptual rather than figurative. Fundamentally, I think the thing we need to keep in mind is the degree to which God (including in the incarnation) spoke in non-literal means. It is a characteristic of His voice. As you point out, that doesn’t mean everything in Scripture is non-literal, but it does mean we need to be discerning.

  2. bruce r bloomberg says:

    If we are take literal to mean physical and the issue is then about physical and figurative, how then do we reliably separate between the two? Even the apostles were befuddled by this. When Jesus spoke about the leaven of the Pharisees, they supposed he was talking about bread when actually he was speaking about teaching. The question is what is God’s meaning for any word used and not what “we” think it means because we are familiar with that word. For instance, the evidence suggest that in scripture water is not about H2O: Jesus spoke of the water that he gives…., that a one would never thirst again. This is clearly speaking of a water of the spiritual, which at the face of it is conceptual.

    • jim0211 says:

      I don’t think literal means physical. In addition, we have to pay attention to the meaning of a word and what is being communicated about meaning. When Jesus said bread, He meant bread, but he was talking about teaching. When Jesus said we had to eat His flesh, the word still meant meat, but He wasn’t talking about cannibalism. When Jesus said we are vines, the words meant plants, but He wasn’t calling us plants. He was describing physical things that were pictures of spiritual truths. Literal doesn’t necessarily mean physical, it means stopping at the plain meaning and not discerning that there is more.

  3. bruce r bloomberg says:

    I have a “REAL” problem with Jesus saying one thing but meaning another, isn’t that the definition of a lie? That IS the problem with saying the language is figurative! No, when God says we are ‘of the vine’, that is what he means: It is not what we think any word means, but what he means by his use of the word. We really can not just attach a meaning to a word, expand on it, and call it truth, it is not fair. It took me a while to consider your post. Sorry?

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