Adam and Eve – What’s in a name?

In an earlier post, we explored the use of “Adam” in Genesis, and how common translations obscure the true nature of his name. When that nature is revealed, the sense of the text changes a lot. It turns out that something similar happens with the name “Eve”. In this post, we’ll briefly look at the similar confusion that occurs with her name, and then bring these observations together to see what they suggest about the beginning of Genesis. Continue reading

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Lifting the Veil of Translation that Obscures “Adam”

Recently, while doing some word studies in the New Testament, I realized how much of what we read is colored by the choices made in translation. Often, there is no direct English counterpart for words in the original language, so the translators have to make decisions between multiple imperfect options. Ideally, the choices accurately convey the original meaning. But once in a while, traditions develop that obscure details that are evident in the original languages, making it difficult to appreciate how the text would have been read by the original audience. This isn’t very common, but it can be interesting when we run across it. Once such example is the way “adam” is translated in Genesis. Continue reading

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God’s Sabbath Rest and YEC Claims

In an earlier post, we looked at Genesis 2:1-4 and saw how the description of God’s rest agrees best with other Scripture when it is interpreted as “repose” — a picture of ceasing work and being refreshed. This became clear when considering the immediate Sabbath context of the passage, as well as both Scripture passages that refer to the creation timeframe. However, that analysis was a little abstract and, at least for me, didn’t really convey how a reader of that time might have interpreted the text. In this essay, we’ll try to bring those details together in a way that paints a better picture, and then take a look at how something that’s really quite clear in Scripture can be so misrepresented in YEC writings. Continue reading

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Our Very Good Creation

Imagine looking out at a beautiful vista overlooking a vast forest, or contemplating the endless expanse of water at the ocean’s edge. Or recall a time you stood enraptured by the starry host at night, or gazed in fascination at the intricacies of a flower. Perhaps your bent is science, and you’ve marveled at the beauty of the Standard Model, or been astounded at the biochemical complexities of life. How do these things make you feel? How would you summarize them?

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Genesis 1:31 Continue reading

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Reading Genesis with the Mind of Christ

Debate over the creation time frame largely boils down to how one interprets Genesis 1. For those who interpret it as a literal description of physical events, the answer is clearly that creation occurred in a six day period. Others see it as figurative, describing spiritual things. For them, it says nothing about the natural timeframe, so we are left with science to provide the answer. But how do we choose an interpretation in the first place? Paul had some wise words that can be applied to interpreting Scripture with the proper mindset: Continue reading

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Context of Biblical References to Six Days, Part 1: Exodus 20:11 and the Ten Commandments

MCC-31231_thmIn an earlier post, we looked at the nature of the two six-day creation references in Exodus (Exodus 20:11 and Exodus 31:17). They both relate it to the establishment of the Sabbath, but they differ in specific Hebrew words used and the mention of additional details. We found that they both pointed to an anthropomorphism in Genesis 2:1-3, as does that text itself. This obviously figurative element in the creation account supports a figurative interpretation for the whole thing.

However, when we looked at the two Exodus passages, we took them out of context. Would our conclusions change if the contexts were considered? I don’t think so, and in this and some future posts, we’ll take a look at what the contexts of Exodus 20:11 and Exodus 31:17 tell us about interpreting those passages. I think it will become apparent that the context not only supports a figurative interpretation, it even suggests a perspective for Genesis 1 as figurative that is consistent with other Scripture. We’ll also see how such a perspective would have made it easy for ancient Israelites to miss the figurative nature and establish a long-standing tradition that is strongly defended today.

We’ll start by looking at the Ten Commandments as immediate context for Exodus 20:11. Following that, we’ll include the rest of the Law, of which the Ten Commandments are the centerpiece. Lastly, we’ll look at the context of Exodus 31:17 — instructions regarding construction and operation the tabernacle. In looking at these contexts, we’ll see that other Scripture teaches us how these Exodus passages present physical pictures that echo unseen spiritual realities. Seeing the Genesis references embedded in such contexts, it becomes even more apparent how the narrative is best seen as a figurative divine oracle. Continue reading

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