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Featured It is not possible to take all of the creation account in Genesis literally.

Discussion in 'Creation & Theistic Evolution' started by Chadrho, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. JacksBratt

    JacksBratt Searching for Truth

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    So, you think that God couldn't do it the way it is written.
     
  2. mreeed

    mreeed shalom...

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    Trying to bring more common ground to the discussion and make sure we are talking about the (somewhat) more operative issues...

    Could the tree be literal and the fruit more symbolic? That is, the Tree of Knowledge was a tree with trunk and branches. It bore a physical fruit that Adam and Eve ate and physically digested.

    As far as I can tell, the forbidden fruit needn't have had any physically intrinsic properties that any other fruit from trees in the Garden did not have. (Though God could have done it that way too if He felt it was important.) But the word fruit has a very biblical symbolic meaning, which often relates to results or characteristics of a way of living. By their fruits you will know them/the fruits of the Spirit/good trees cannot produce bad fruit/etc.

    At least part of the question of literalness here seems to be: what was the essence of man's first sin? Was the first wrong action just eating a forbidden snack? (Adult toddler test!?) Or was it a different sin whose essence is hidden by use of the tree/fruit metaphor? Doing something God said not to do. Does it matter what the first sin actually was? Does it matter why that sin was wrong? Or is the point only that they failed this test? I am curious if/why anyone might say it matters for someone to not believe in the literal Tree/Fruit if they believe in a literal first couple and a literal first sin/Fall?

    If you say you cannot form a conception of such a tree, what do you mean by this? Do you mean to say that you can't imagine that the simple act of eating a fruit could be a question of morality? That it could not be 'wrong enough' to be *the* sin to have such consequences (so it must be representing something else)? That actions are not wrong simply 'because God says so', but that even God must have His reasons, so to speak, undergirding related violated Truth if you will, beyond the setup of this test? That you can't imagine a fruit physically having the property of conveying knowledge of good and evil? Or that knowledge being an abstract concept cannot literally equate to a physical object? If the last, I might suggest that reason you can't take it literally (ironically) is that you may in fact be taking it too extremely literally and thus rejecting it when there is really a simpler literal understanding that still involves a tangible tree and its fruit.

    That said, now that I think about it, who knows, depending how 'heavenly' the Garden was, maybe it wasn't only the two trees in the middle of the garden that had titles; for all we know each one could have had a spiritual connotation/benefit. Perhaps spiritual truth is more tangible in the heavenly realm than we are able to understand on earth.

    One reason I believe it was likely a literal tree and fruit is because sometimes people seem to go sideways here and guess at what the sin was, for example the way some people think it was a sexual sin perhaps because of the immediate realization that they were naked (I read vulnerable), but whatever gets plugged in here could tend to skew our 'hierarchy' of sin.

    On both sides of the literal/metaphoric debate, to what extent can we agree that there was literally a first sin, based on Adam and Eve disobeying the only commandment they were given, whatever the content of that commandment happened to be?
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  3. DamianWarS

    DamianWarS Follower of Isa Al Masih Supporter

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    this is really the crux of the matter.

    it really matters not if it's literal or non-literal there is spiritual truth within the text that transcends the literal issues. Regardless of your take on the literal view in practice, the text is read as a non-literal account (even if you think it's literal).

    non-literal accounts exist in a vacuum where everything in it is absolute and there are no details outside the account that matter so any and all theorising the in-between the lines are in vain because they don't matter. The creation account is pre-history written 2500 years after it actually happened. We don't have a historical narrative, eyewitnesses or competing accounts outside of other myths to collaborate the details. we accept anything irrational without question and should not build information in between the lines to reconcile the account. So the account must be accepted as is without adding any information to the text, exactly how a non-literal account is taken.
     
  4. roman2819

    roman2819 Author, "Understanding Prayer, Faith & God's Will" Supporter

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    In Genesis 1, a day refer to a stage. Six days mean that God created the heavens, land and sea, marine life land creatueres etc in 6 distinct stages. However the word 'stage' would not fit the prose of writing in a religious manuscript, so the author used the word 'day'.

    I believe Adam existed, he had descendents.

    It is not about taking Scripture literally or not. It is about understanding. Some parts of Scripture is literal, others are not, and we have to know the difference.
     
  5. Chadrho

    Chadrho Active Member Supporter

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    Yes. If I am being asked to take the tree and/or its fruit literally, I don't understand what literal fruit I am being asked to take literally. I take it the fruit of the tree was "knowledge of good and evil." I have no idea what that fruit literally is. Metaphorically, I get it.

    This is an interesting suggestion. Maybe it was a literal tree, with everyday fruit (say apples) and the eating of it gave them knowledge they were forbidden to have. I will have to think about that, but if someone is dead set on taking it literally, then that might be one way to do it.
     
  6. LightLoveHope

    LightLoveHope Jesus leads us to life

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    Put simple 100% correct.
    Genesis 1 is the equivalent to be an observer on the planets surface with cloud obscuring the sky and only able to see a local area. We know light is electro magnetic radiation coming from an energy source. Light does not exist in isolation. A day and a night is caused by the rotation of a planet beside a big star.
    The appearance of the sun and moon, is like drawing back the clouds to reveal what was already there.

    This story though is dictated by God to Moses. It is His testimony to what He did, spoken in His way as He decided. It is an allegorical story to lay the foundations of what is important for us to know about our reality.
     
  7. Chadrho

    Chadrho Active Member Supporter

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    I want to thank everyone who took the time to reply to this thread. You have given me a number of things to consider, and I am grateful for that. I am still learning and growing. May the peace and grace of our Lord be with each of you. Thank you.
     
  8. RaymondG

    RaymondG Well-Known Member

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    I can understand the slippery slop discussed by some that follows the idea that some things are literal and some arent. Why cant the whole bible be a metaphor?

    How can we use our carnal minds to determine which is literal and which metaphorical? The things our minds can envision as possible physically, we accept and those ours minds cant grasps are metaphors......then we use the same mind to interpret the metaphor? All while the bible states that the carnal mind cannot comprehend the things of the spirit....and the mind is enmity against God.

    If any lack wisdom, let him ask of God.
     
  9. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things" Supporter

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    I think this is a really important question, and the way to see the answer is to read with a truly listening attitude (openness in your mind/heart, and not talking over the scripture by thinking about a doctrine as you read....). One thing that came to me after is that Adam and Eve stopped trusting the Lord, and trusted the serpent over God. They broke faith. (faith is to trust in God)

    Also the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil in actual life is learning about (however well or poorly in actual learning) good and evil, right and wrong, and that removes us from innocence. In innocence we do not try to consider whether to share something for example, but simply share it naturally, without thought, or perhaps at time withhold it, again without thought, but based on a kind of inbuilt natural reaction to the situation/person, but it would be very unusual to have someone ask one for something and then as a child not simply give it to them. They asked!

    But after we (all) eat this fruit, and eventually begin to judge... -- notice this huge change, to go from innocent relating to instead judging others...this extremely fraught new relation: to make judgements, to judge others even. To act as if we are God. To take for ourselves the authority to decide what is Good and Evil. What a trick the deceiver played, but to fall for it, Adam and Eve trusted the serpent over God.
     
  10. timewerx

    timewerx the village i--o--t--

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    You're right they are not literal.

    Sadly, many of the answers people seek are in the Book of Enoch. And Christians automatically disregard this book being not part of canon.

    Ironically, it confirms many of the passages in the Bible concerning creation and vice versa. It complements the creation accounts and the nature of the Messiah in the Bible. Fills in the blanks concerning heavenly bodies.

    It would blow your mind knowing what those two trees are (Tree of Knowledge and Tree of Life). But I can't share that information.

    I think some of you would say The Tree of Life is Jesus Christ. That is correct but who or what Jesus really is, that's the huge mystery that I can't reveal. You must find this out for yourself. Only very very few among other Christians figure this out.
     
  11. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things" Supporter

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    Hi Ted, here I've isolated a section where you make an assumption, and it's worth your while to reexamine. See the Tree of Life was in the Garden, and before Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they were not yet ejected and still had the Tree of Life with them there in the Garden. So, you see, it's from scripture that we can know that their life there in the Garden was not like mortal life since. It's not a speculative notion brought in from outside, but just the opposite -- it's relying entirely on scripture, and not just a few verses, but more the entirety of scripture. We can understand better what Adam and Eve had in the Garden, and lost, if we've read through all of the Bible, and including the New Testament, and have heard about Life (eternal life), and so much begins to fit together, come together, scriptures. No matter how totally it destroys some doctrine about the age of Earth some people invested too much into, the reality is we don't know the duration of time that passed on the Earth while Adam and Eve had Life in the Garden with the Tree of Life and the eternal One for Whom even a thousand years are only like a mere day.
     
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  12. KomatiiteBIF

    KomatiiteBIF Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion, we can take scripture as 100% truth without it necessarily being a literal truth.

    Someone can believe in truth in the message and story of Genesis without literally believing in a talking snake for example.

    I think the "house of cards" analogy is fitting for literalists. I think that literalists have a weaker faith in that without their own rigid interpretations, they feel as though they would lose their faith, or they seem to think that scripture would be referred meaningless.

    But one other danger in literalism, is that if concepts are accepted at face value, regardless of if they make any sense through a literal viewpoint, a person could literally believe anything and everything, given that scripture states it.

    If scripture stated that there were flying elephants, literalists would accept it at face value, no matter how absurd such a concept were when taken literally. So long as it comes from scripture, there are no limitations to their beliefs.

    With that, bizarre ideas come about like Ken hams ark adventure where Noah was petting baby Brachiosaurus amidst a flood in which waters blasted out of the mid oceanic ridge, and koalas swam like Michael felps back to Australia.

    Some literalists even go as far to believe that Noah's ark was bigger on the inside than it's outside, in order to fit the world's animals.

    There are no limitations to what literalists are willing to believe, no matter how absurd their interpretations are.
     
  13. eleos1954

    eleos1954 God is Love Supporter

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    It's both ... literal tree(s) with a metaphoric/symbolic meaning.

    Literal/physical - Yea shall not eat of it
    She saw is was good for food ... she ate ... then gave to Adam he ate.

    Yea shall not eat of it, else you will die.

    They ate from the tree (physical/literal) and death entered the world.

    Metaphorical/symbolic meaning ... Disobedience, not believing God ... one will suffer earthly death and eternal death.

    What kind of tree(s) it/they were doesn't matter.

    Up until that time they ate from the tree of life and all other trees in the garden. Again what kind of tree(s) it/they were was doesn't matter ... they were obedient until they were disobedient ... and because of their disobedience sin and death entered the world.

    Then onward throughout the bible, trees, fruit, branches, roots, vines etc. are used metaphorically/symbolically as well, used either in the context of goodness .... or in the context of evil ... and we are reminded of the original Genesis story.

    Believe God and live. Do not believe God and die. Be obedient (live) or do not be obedient (die). It is the basis for the entire Word of God.

    We should ask ourselves ... what tree do we eat from?

    Revelation 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
     
  14. Akita Suggagaki

    Akita Suggagaki Well-Known Member

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    I think you may be right. The more rigid a belief system is the more vulnerable it becomes. Vulnerable in that it cannot accommodate development.

    Reminds me of Fowler's Stages of Faith: #2 Mythic-Literal.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  15. Queller

    Queller I'm where?

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    A literal day is one rotation of the earth about its axis. You can't have a literal day without a planet.
     
  16. Queller

    Queller I'm where?

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    It also suggests Paul was wrong about the OT laws not being applicable anymore. You sure that's where you want to go?
     
  17. Bible Highlighter

    Bible Highlighter Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Supporter

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    So is Jesus lying about jots and tittles being fulfilled or did He mean something else?
    Jots and tittles would kind of be like the crossing on our letter "t" and the dotting of the letter "i."

    As for Scripture suggesting that Paul was wrong that the OT laws are not applicable anymore:
    No such Scripture suggests that. Paul correctly taught that the OT Law as a whole or contract is no longer binding upon the New Covenant believer. Paul was not condemning the breaking of God's Eternal Moral Laws for mankind (like do not murder, do not steal, do not covet), but he was concerned for going back to the ceremonial Laws and judicial within the OT. Hebrews 7:12 says the Law has changed. We are under a New Covenant with New Commands. This is why Paul was correct in saying that if you seek to be justified by the Law (i.e. the Old Law as a whole or contract) you have fallen from grace in Galatians 5:4. The context of this statement is "Circumcision Salvationism" (See Galatians 5:2) (Note: Circumcision was a ceremonial law).
     
  18. Queller

    Queller I'm where?

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    To me that means the specifics of the laws.

    Do you honestly think Jesus was referring to physical marks in the letters of the Hebrew alphabet?

    Yes, Paul writes all that. Jesus said something different with His words in Matthew 5:18
     
  19. Bible Highlighter

    Bible Highlighter Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Supporter

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    One can say King David is a metaphor, or Jesus is a metaphor. But they are not. There a markers and indicators to let you know that they are not metaphors. I usually find that when people do not like something in the text, it is either because it conflicts with their previous world view or they cannot believe that such things are possible by God; So they tend to allegorize those portions of Scripture they do not like. This is the real reason why anyone would not want to accept the Genesis 1 account at face value. You have to admit, if this was any other verse or passage in the Bible that talks about a day transpiring, you would not immediately jump to the conclusion that it was metaphorical. For there is no reason to do so. Genesis 1 you have some kind of outside motivation that forces you to take the metaphorical approach when that is not how other verses in Scripture that are clearly metaphors (like in Revelation) are read. No Scripture should be read with any outside potential bad ideas trying to influence you to see the text otherwise. The Genesis account completely works in being read in a literal way. It is the most natural way to the read the text, as well.

    Truth is not learned by the wisdom of men. We learn the truth by comparing Scripture with Scripture and by having the "Anointing" in 1 John 2:27. No man can teach you the truth. Only God with His Word can do that.

    As for the Science in Genesis 1:

    Well, God sets normal laws of operation but even these laws are created by GOD. They seem normal to us, but to GOD, He created them. God does not have to conform to the normative laws of nature when creating the heavens and the earth. God can do that which is impossible for man.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  20. Bible Highlighter

    Bible Highlighter Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Supporter

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    Yes, because that is what they are. To allegorize that to mean what you want it to mean does not do such a text justice. Surely you would not fly on a plane so as to test it where the creators had allegorized the certain portions of the blue prints in the creation of it. Why would you want to do that with the Bible when our eternal souls are at risk in properly understanding it?

    Christ nailed to the cross those ordinances that were against us in the Old Law (See Colossians 2:14-17). So Christ fulfilled the Old Law, so as to bring in the New Law that is a part of the New Covenant. When Jesus died upon the cross, it officially began the New Covenant (and the Old Law to no longer be followed anymore as a contract or as whole package deal).
     
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