Barry Newman's Blog

April 10, 2011

Science and Genesis 2: 4 – 25 (Full Series PDF)

Filed under: Genesis,Science — barrynewman @ 11:18 pm

Here is the full series



  1. I read your article on Genesis 2: 4-25 and came to this:
    “Did the original writer or narrator of the account really believe that it all happened just this way? We can’t really tell. However it is not impossible that, as with the earlier material, someone made it up. The person would have been in contact with cultures that had various
    accounts about the creation of man and woman and their relationship to the world of other creatures.”

    Are you saying then that Genesis is just a story that was cobbled together from other pagan stories? That assessment agrees with atheist Huxley when he said that in the evolutionary pattern of thought there is no longer any need or room for the supernatural. He says that everything evolved including religion.

    So if it is just a made up story and there is no need for God then what is the point of “However this writer/narrator wanted to remove from such accounts any indication that the creation of humanity was independent of the one and only true God – Yahweh Elohim and in any way contrary to his character and his purposes.” What does this writer of Genesis know anyway? If he can’t get the facts right why should anyone take any notice of his theology?

    We must meet over coffee sometime and discuss this sometime.

    Comment by Tas Walker — April 20, 2011 @ 5:45 am | Reply

  2. Hi Tas,

    Thank you for your comment. I understand your concerns but I hope I can make my position a little clearer.

    I do not think that the Genesis account is another pagan myth or that it has been “cobbled together” from pagan myths. I wrote: “I don’t know how Yahweh Elohim gave him a correct understanding of his (God’s) nature and the relationship between himself and mankind and his provision for mankind. However working with the truth about these essential matters the writer may well have made it up using some concepts from surrounding cultures but making sure that his hearers/readers would not be lead astray by the false theological beliefs emanating from those cultures. Thanks be to God!” Huxley and I have very little of importance in common.

    I believe as Paul wrote, “The sacred writings able to instruct for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3: 15 b-17) I do not think any writing by anyone has that same high status.

    Go has chosen to reveal to us the truths we need to know in a way that is sometimes in part,reflective of the millieu of the culture in which the text was written. For example, when Paul refers to “every man praying or prophesying having something on his Head (lit. “having on head”) he was dealing with a problem associated with a behaviour associated with males in idol worship being transferred to how a believing male prayed or prophesied. So in Gen 1 -3 etc. the writer is dealing with false beliefs that abounded in the world in which the patriarchs and Israel found themsleves. In each case, the writer constructed (made up) what they wrote. Paul did it, the writer of Gensis did it. I think in both cases, the writers knew exactly what they were doing and so did their readers. In the case of Genesis (and in some of Paul’s writings also) I think that in time we lost the information that would have helped us to understand what they were doing and how they were doing it. Thanks be to God he has been helping us to see some of our ignorance. I am not talking about interpreting a text by bringing information to the text that is extraneous to the text. To be correctly instructed, reproved, trained in righteousness etc. one has to understand the text itself correctly. To understand the text correctly we need to work at understanding anything which in any way is behind the text, and this will include, sometimes, some aspects of the cultural situation which is reflected in the text.

    Fo example, until relatively recently, most peoples of the world thought that the sky was solid. There is no evidence that anyone from the ancient world thought that it wasn’t solid. In Genesis 1, Day 2 speaks of God making a solid sky and pushing apart the water to have some water on the other side of the sky. To have written about a sky that wasn’t solid would have completely confounded the readers/listeners. (It also appears that the only other people who clearly believed there was water on the other side were the Babylonians.) In Luther’s day when it was becoming more common to believe that the sky wasn’t solid, Luther on the basis of the Hebrew text claimed that the sky certainbly was solid. A little later, Calvin, apparently having been convinced on the basis of the science of his day that the sky was not solid, claimed that the Hebrew text could not have been referring to a solid sky. I think Calvin made the mistake that we all have fallen into from time to time, writing into the text one’s own understanding of things. I am trying to avoid that, wanting the text to stand in its own right. I may be wrong with respect to many of my suggestions but I try under God to learn.

    I trust what the writer has to say about “God’s nature and the relationship between himself and mankind and his provision for mankind” because I trust God who raised Jesus from the dead.

    Best wishes


    Comment by Barry Newman — April 27, 2011 @ 11:30 am | Reply

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