• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.
  3. Please note there is a new rule regarding the posting of videos. It reads, "Post a summary of the videos you post . An exception can be made for music videos.". Unless you are simply sharing music, please post a summary, or the gist, of the video you wish to share.
  4. There have been some changes in the Life Stages section involving the following forums: Roaring 20s, Terrific Thirties, Fabulous Forties, and Golden Eagles. They are changed to Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Golden Eagles will have a slight change.
  5. CF Staff, Angels and Ambassadors; ask that you join us in praying for the world in this difficult time, asking our Holy Father to stop the spread of the virus, and for healing of all affected.
  6. We are no longer allowing posts or threads that deny the existence of Covid-19. Members have lost loved ones to this virus and are grieving. As a Christian site, we do not need to add to the pain of the loss by allowing posts that deny the existence of the virus that killed their loved one. Future post denying the Covid-19 existence, calling it a hoax, will be addressed via the warning system.

The Creation Story: Literal, or Figurative?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Saint Steven, Apr 22, 2021.

  1. public hermit

    public hermit social troglodyte Supporter

    +7,151
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    US-Others
    Literalism is a huge commitment, one I'm not willing to sign up for precisely because of Jesus Christ. But, that is the way of faith. What are we committed to? Every jot and tittle, or the risen, living Christ?
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2021
  2. public hermit

    public hermit social troglodyte Supporter

    +7,151
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    US-Others
    There's no rush to figure it out, I don't think. I do hope I have not caused harm, that is my greatest worry in these discussions. But, you know I intend the best, so...
     
  3. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

    +6,839
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    Perhaps if book titles were better conceived, we could do away with books completely.

    And maybe that's the problem with the Holy Bible. It really needs a more descriptive title.
     
  4. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

    +6,839
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    Yes. Inerrancy is wearing pretty thin with me for that very reason.
     
  5. public hermit

    public hermit social troglodyte Supporter

    +7,151
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    US-Others
    That deserves a thread all it's own. ^_^
     
  6. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

    +6,839
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    All good. I never mind a respectful challenge. And I know your intentions are good as gold. No worries, brother.
     
  7. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

    +6,839
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    I need to call it a day. Thanks.
     
  8. Cis.jd

    Cis.jd Well-Known Member

    +1,378
    Catholic
    Single
    I think, that even if Genesis was literal in terms of the creation. It's probably not the same universe we are living in now.

    When you think about our ecosystem, photosynthesis, the hydrogen cycle, etc.. and even features in the anatomy of all living organisms. Their designed to make sure we live. Why would any of this be needed in Eden when there was no death prior to sin?

    Even your teeth has purposes, you need your teeth to eat. Animals have various natural features and abilities to help them either catch prey or defend against a predator. Why would all of this be needed back then? What is the point of eating?

    Thing is, if read literally, Adam and Eve ate in the garden.. so that also poses problems of a pre-existing universe completely different to ours.

    I think the best thing is to just embrace that we don't know much and we are not sure if Genesis is speaking of a pre-universe or everything is figurative. It can't be literal because being literal does face so many educated scrutiny.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  9. Bobber

    Bobber Well-Known Member

    +2,457
    Non-Denom
    Wouldn't think it's a metaphor. Why? Because the same phrase, "and God saw that it was good" is found 6 more times in the chapter in 10,11,18,21,24 and 31. In those it's talking clear of exactly what is taking place as described.
     
  10. Bobber

    Bobber Well-Known Member

    +2,457
    Non-Denom
    Actually I think one can make heaven their home without absolutely believing in YEC. I don't get what you mean that literalists come after. Sorry but it seems to me the OEC's from what I've seen on the internet make light of with mockery YEC's. (and I'm not claiming some have on here) From many places YEC's are made to look like some of the most ignorant among men for they won't bow down to the golden idol of "science". YEC's are usually always the ones who it's suggested they need to explain what science thinks it sees. So as far as those who hold to a figurative view being open to other opinions....some do I'm sure but some most certainly don't. So let's make a fair assessment.
     
  11. myst33

    myst33 Well-Known Member

    +1,208
    Czech Republic
    Christian
    Single
    What if there are inspired only basics (like monotheism, salvation by Christ, doing good works, not harming others etc.) and we do not have to solve puzzles how to make ancient cosmology compatible with our universe and similar?

    That would be very refreshing and tons of problems would disappear. And instead of living according to some details in the book we would live by the Spirit in us. Imagine how many arguments and killings would disappear from the human history with such a view. We would live according to the main points of the Bible without arguing about whether the Leviathan in the sea is literal or just represents chaos. If waters in Genesis represent chaos or if God created from literal waters (and who created waters) etc.

    Imagine how much energy and time we would save and could invest into other things. Sometimes Christians look like Flat Earthers, investing all their free time to proving something that is obviously wrong. The text in Genesis is not even preserved perfectly, but Christians argue about single words in it... its like doing precise math from unprecise numbers.

    TLDR: If the text is not preserved perfectly, if its not translated perfectly and if it was not dictated by God word for word, but written by human authors in their cultural language and ideas, why to make it to be some eternal perfect literal scientific and historical text book?

    Even Jesus said that some things in Jewish Law are not from God, but from Moses. If even Jesus says that, who am I...
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2021
  12. Shrewd Manager

    Shrewd Manager Through him, in all things, more than conquerors. Supporter

    +3,085
    Australia
    Christian
    Single
    There's no 'universe' per se according to the Biblical worldview. There's a flat stationary earth sitting on pillar foundations beneath a firmament with the air (a couple of heavens) and the sun moon and stars in the firmament, between great waters above and below. Hence the fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky.

    I believe there's both an earthly and spiritual interpretation of Gen 1, but we can't get the spiritual hit unless we accept the earthly (ie literal material) sense (...how then will ye believe when I speak of spiritual things?). Most of the obstacles to accepting the plain sense of the scripture have been created by modern theoretical 'science', none of which are proven, including the nature of heavenly bodies and their distances from earth. One day the sky will roll up like a scroll and the stars fall to earth.

    When you deny the Biblical account (by rendering it as merely or solely figurative) in order to accommodate the secular position, it results in problems all down the line, because scripture is interwoven with a creation account that is foolishness to the world. But that's ok, because the wisdom of the world is foolishness to God. So who's true, and who's lying?
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
  13. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

    +6,839
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    That's an interesting post. Thanks.
    The last sentence really caught my eye.
    "It can't be literal because being literal does face so many educated scrutiny."

    Except for the eating of the forbidden fruit, we really aren't told what Adam and Eve ate. It seems assumed that they ate only from the trees in the garden and the trees were fruit trees. But I guess we don't really know. We have canine teeth, which means we are carnivores. However, the idea that there was no death before the Fall of humankind brings meat eating into question. There should have been eggs for protein. Who knows?

    My understanding is that God created the universe knowing how things would go and where we would end up. A vapor canopy covered/protected the whole planet before the flood, which broke the canopy. Thus the planet's temperature dropped rapidly. Which is why they found "woolly" mammoths quick-frozen in the northern glaciers with undigested tropical plant vegetation in their stomachs.

    Genesis 2:5-7 NIV
    Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
     
  14. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

    +6,839
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    Could you list your top five problems with being a literalist. I loved your use of the word "legion". - lol

    Perhaps they are already covered in the thought of people that "defend the lamest things because of literalism"? Any pet peeves, or ones that really irk you? I don't imagine you are easily irked. - lol
     
  15. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

    +6,839
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    Wow. Here's a new facet to explore. Thanks for weighing in on this. Now we add a flat earth view as a literal interpretation. Interesting.

    In case you haven't read the whole thread, I'm arguing from (defending) the literal view of creation and humanity. I should say, the standard literal view. Earth as a globe, Adam as the literal first human, created in the image (likeness/appearance) of God. (physical family resemblance)

    I like your introductory sentence: "There's no 'universe' per se according to the Biblical worldview." I wouldn't call what you are proposing "THE" Biblical worldview. The majority literal view would be a globe shaped planet. (be it right or wrong)

    Could you provide some visuals for those who aren't really familiar with how your view works? It's hard to visualize from only words. A cross section view of what you have described in your post, and a world map are most helpful. Thanks.

    What you are putting forth here may actually answer some of the questions that have come up. Like, how do we get a sunset and sunrise on day one when the sun wasn't created until day four? Is that a fair analysis? What other problems with the global view does a flat earth view solve?

    How would your view align with what happened on each day of the creation week? Do you subscribe to a 24 hour day for each day of creation? Any other agreements with the standard literal view?

    I find problems with all the views. (including the standard literal view) Could you admit to potential problems with your view?
     
  16. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

    +6,839
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    That's fair.
    Interestingly though, you have both disproved and proved my point in the same post.

    On this topic, it seems that those with a figurative view have remained more level-headed about it. Whereas the literalists have been more defensive and argumentative. IMHO

    Saint Steven said:
    That's a great point.
    Literalists come after those who hold a figurative view, with guns-a-blazing. Literalism leaves no room for another opinion.
     
  17. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

    +6,839
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    Aren't BOTH "ancient cosmology" and our current view (which could change) of the universe theoretical? I don't see any reason to make the current scientific view absolute.

    How many billions of years have been added to the age of the universe over the past five decades? We may even be in the trillions by now. It seems that they need to add billions of years every time they need a higher probability factor.

    Saint Steven said:
    It used to bother me that we couldn't put the puzzle together, as it were. Then it dawned on me that if we could, then faith would not be required.
     
  18. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

    +6,839
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    I see plenty of word parsing from those with the figurative view. Like the day/age theory.
     
  19. public hermit

    public hermit social troglodyte Supporter

    +7,151
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    US-Others
    I wouldn't say it's a matter of accommodating a secular position. Christian writers from early on have commented on the internal issues with the creation account (e.g. Origen, Augustine).

    I'm sure this Augustine quote comes up every time this topic comes up, so I'll keep with precedent:

    "Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although “they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion."

    Even Augustine was unwilling to reject the deliverances of reason and experience in favor of a particular reading of scripture. The book of scripture and the book of nature both come from God, and it's up to us to figure out how best they relate.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  20. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

    +6,839
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    Well... Jesus was pretty specific about those things. He put the law aside, but he didn't discount its prophetic value. (of the Law, capital L, the Books of the Law) But that's another topic. (available now on this forum)
     
Loading...