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Who wrote Genesis 1? Poll

Discussion in 'Creation & Theistic Evolution' started by jereth, Apr 21, 2006.

  1. God (or Adam) wrote Gen1 on a tablet. Tablet was passed down to Moses. [or something similar]

  2. God spoke to Moses in a dream/vision. Moses wrote it down in Gen1. [or something similar]

  3. Moses wrote Gen1 all by himself, to teach theology (not history). No direct input from God.

  4. A wise Israelite wrote Gen1 after the Exodus, to teach theology. No direct input from God.

  5. Gosh, I don’t know! / I've never thought about it!

  6. I have another theory. (Please explain in a post.)

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  1. jereth

    jereth Senior Member

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    I think we need to have a serious debate about the authorship of Genesis 1.

    I'm exasperated with hearing YECists say: "God told us how he created the world in Genesis 1. He made it very clear -- it took 6 days. Why won't you believe him? Why won't you trust his infallible word? Why do you believe man's fallible science instead? No man was there at creation - only God himself was there. Isn't he is a reliable witness?"

    Can YECists please explain what exactly they mean by "God told us"? Have you actually thought this through?

    Are you aware of the "Tablet theory"? This is the best attempt that YECist "scholars" have come up with to explain the "divine" authorship of Genesis 1. According to this theory, God wrote down Genesis 1 on a clay tablet and gave it to Adam in the garden of Eden. Adam passed this tablet on to Seth, who passed it on to Enosh.... who passed it on to Lamech, who passed it on to Noah, who took it aboard the ark for a year, then passed it on Shem, who passed it on to.... Abraham, who passed it on to Isaac, who passed it on to Jacob, who took it from Canaan to Egypt, after which it was kept somewhere for about 400 years until Moses got his hands on it. Moses then copied the tablet into the book of Genesis, which he was writing.

    Here is AiG's take on it:
    "In that case, such [historical] records would certainly have been preserved by being written (probably on clay tablets) and handed down from father to son via the line of Adam-Seth-Noah-Shem-Abraham-Isaac-Jacob, etc.
    ...
    "The most likely explanation is that Adam, Noah, Shem, etc. each wrote an account of the events that occurred either right before or during his lifetime, and Moses, under the infallible inspiration of the Holy Spirit, selected, compiled, and edited these to produce Genesis in its present cohesive form."


    The AiG website provides a link to a more detailed essay:
    www.trueorigin.org/tablet.asp
    Regarding Genesis 1, this essay says:
    "In this first tablet [Genesis 1], there’s no author’s name in that closing verse. Who could have personal knowledge of what was written there? Only the Creator Himself. God could have written this with His own fingers (like He wrote in Exodus 31:18). I think it’s just as possible that He orally dictated it to Adam. At that same time He might have been using this as a teaching tool, showing Adam how to write, and maybe this served as Adam’s “practice slate.” Whatever the mode, God was the personal author of that first tablet, the actual creation account. "

    Please be honest -- do you really believe this theory? If not, do you have a plausible alternative? Please tell us if you do!


    Regarding the poll options:
    Please note that although options 3 and 4 say "no direct input from God", all this means is that there was no supernatural dictation/dream/vision etc. Choosing either of these options does not mean that you reject the divine inspiration of Scripture.
     
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  2. Willtor

    Willtor Not just any Willtor... The Mighty Willtor

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    I think Moses wrote something. I surmise he wrote quite a lot of what we have, today. This supposition, however, is mostly due to my distaste for documentary hypotheses which only have one form of the text in question. Not at all like the synoptic gospels where quite a lot of detailed analysis is possible. However, I am hesitant to throw out JEPD altogether because I also know that it provides solutions to a number of legitimate questions about the text that are difficult, otherwise.

    I couldn't very well select "I've never thought about it!" though. I don't know who wrote Genesis 1. A tablet is out of the question. In what language was it written? Not Hebrew, that's for sure. Did God give the author a dream or vision? Maybe. Did the author write it to teach theology? Of course.
     
  3. DailyBlessings

    DailyBlessings O Christianos Cryptos; Amor Vincit Omnia!

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    I would imagine that a great many people contributed to the first chapter of Genesis in the millenia before us. And oughtn't there be something in between "God wrote it" and "no direct input from God"?
     
  4. ebia

    ebia Senior Contributor

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    I picked option 4, but in reality it's probably a gradually evolved story, inspired (but not written) by God that has (and still does) serve a variety of purposes. It seems a bit unlikely to suggest it can be ascribed to any single author or period of time.
     
  5. PaladinValer

    PaladinValer Traditional Orthodox Anglican

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    Option 4 is closest, although it was God (Holy Spirit) speaking through the authors about theological matters.
     
  6. stumpjumper

    stumpjumper Left the river, made it to the sea Supporter

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    I agree. I believe Genesis was inspired by God but it is clear that it has human origins as well and is dependent upon oral traditions that were passed down from generation to generation...
     
  7. Athene

    Athene Grammatically incorrect Supporter

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    I believe Genesis is mans attempt to understand why we are here, who God is and how we relate to God and how God relates to us and in that sense it was inspired by God, I don't know how the story was formulated . . .. but it was passed down from generation to generation by oral tradition before it was written down.
     
  8. starelda

    starelda Guest

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    I picked option 4...I think humans have always been asking how we got here and Gen 1 was the best answer to they came up with at the time. I think it has some truth in it (i.e. however we got here God was involved) but I don't take it literally or believe it was a story handed to humans by God.
     
  9. shernren

    shernren you are not reading this.

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    Now, here's the funny thing about the tablet theory. It relies to a large extent on an idea external to Scripture:

    (Trojan horse emphasis added)

    A whole lot of stuff is loaded in that word "truth". We do indeed believe that the Bible is truth; we don't believe that the Bible intends to be historically true. And of course when the author says this:

    there isn't a shred of Biblical evidence that God actually did this. A lot of personal projection here - if I were God, and I had just created a human, I wouldn't leave him preliterate (if I created a human I wouldn't have created him with innate knowledge of language - further personalization) but would instead teach him how to read and write.

    The obvious alternative hypothesis is that the compiler of Genesis didn't know who he could logically ascribe it to. A hypothesis that isn't so much as whispered.
     
  10. jereth

    jereth Senior Member

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    It's so very nice to see the TEs having their say on this thread!:)

    But I actually intended it to be a challenge to YECs to explain their understanding of Genesis 1. I will therefore reissue my invitation to YECs to please come forth and make their views known. Specifically, do any of you agree with the Tablet Theory (option 1)? If not, do you then hold to some form of "supernatural dictation" (option 2)? Or do you have some other idea?

    Please don't be afraid -- no one is going to jump on you! (I won't, anyway, and I hope the others won't either! :D)
     
  11. rmwilliamsll

    rmwilliamsll avid reader

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    if your desire is for only YECist answers that is the purpose of the protected forum at: http://www.christianforums.com/f425-creationism.html
     
  12. ChetSinger

    ChetSinger Well-Known Member

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    I'm a YEC, and I'll put in my $.02.

    But that's about all it's worth, because I'm just speculating.

    And I don't think this is necessarily a YEC vs. non-YEC issue.

    First, I think that the pre-Flood portion of Genesis is so small that it could conceivably be an oral tradition passed from Adam through Noah and Seth.

    Second, I hear that the ruins of Ebla date to about the time of Abraham. And they certainly knew how to create tablets by then. So, that first portion of Genesis could have been placed onto tablets by that time. Abraham and his immediate descendents, being a rich men, could have afforded scribes to create tablets that contained the highlights of their lives.

    So, although I'm pretty much a YEC literalist, I'm comfortable with Moses using earlier sources when compiling Genesis.
     
  13. RenHoek

    RenHoek What eeeeeez it man?!

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    I have no real need to know how it was passed down. I have faith that God got it to us in the desired format, and Jesus accepted when He was here. That said, my assumption is that is was Moses under inspiration, same tact as the NT.
     
  14. jereth

    jereth Senior Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion, but I think that is against the rules. We're not allowed to put "debate" posts on that forum.


    I disagree. Because YECs believe Genesis 1 is historical, they must believe that it was somehow given directly by God. No human could have known what happened on days 1-5.

    By contrast, I think you'll find that very few TEs (or OECs for that matter) believe that Genesis 1 was composed with supernatural intervention. Judging by the posts in this thread, the consensus seems to be that Genesis 1 grew out of the theological contemplation of one or more persons over time.

    Fair enough for Genesis 3 onwards. But how could Adam have possibly known what happened before God made him on Day 6?

    All I ask is that we be reasonable here. Do you really think that the tablets could have been preserved for ca. 2500 years? Bear in mind that Noah would have had to take them on board the ark, Abraham would have had to carry them from Mesopotamia to Canaan, and Jacob would have had to carry them from Canaan to Egypt. Then the tablets would have had to have been stored for a further 400 years until the time of Moses. All of the patriarchs lived a nomadic/tent existence. Is it really conceivable that the tablets (if they even existed in the first place) would have survived?

    Why is there not a single mention of these tablets in the book of Genesis?

    The question is: what kind of earlier sources? Oral traditions -- fair enough, if we're talking about Cain, Noah, Abraham, Jacob. Written traditions -- very unlikely. And neither oral nor written traditions can explain how Genesis 1 came to be. That requires supernatural input whether you like it or not.

    I'm sorry, but I don't accept that you can just sidestep the issue like this. The Bible is real, physical, historical human literature -- thus, we have to at least attempt to account for how it came to be. (Yes, even if we can never be 100% sure). This is what sets apart the Christian Bible from the book of Mormon and the Koran, which were (purportedly) given via some kind of supernatural dictation, with virtually no human involvement.


    YECists -- thanks for your $0.02, but the floor is still open. Apologies, but I'm still not satisfied with your responses so far. (Do the other TEs agree?)
     
  15. RenHoek

    RenHoek What eeeeeez it man?!

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    2Ti 3:16 -
    All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

    This coupled with the fact that Christ accepted what was written gives me enough to support my position. I still see no reason to dig back to find a mere possibility as to what occurred. Seems to me the more we look back the more things become confused by mans limited wisdom. If that is a side step, so be it. I do not see it that way.

    I find the same to be true of end time discussion. We can sit here and debate forever what will happen and when, but I prefer not to waste time on that either. Yesterday is gone and Christ addresses tomorrow. To quote a famous movie (OK Wayne’s World – Garth) “LIVE IN THE NOW”

    Matthew 6:
    31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
     
  16. ChetSinger

    ChetSinger Well-Known Member

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    For the creation itself, that is my belief: God had to tell someone. It could have been Adam himself, who knows? At this point, I'm just speculating.

    I don't think I'm being unreasonable. Like I said earlier, I see no need for Noah to carry anything onto the ark. Oral tradition could easily account for the pre-flood portion of Genesis.

    Likewise, the post-flood and pre-Abraham portion of Genesis contains very little: a short genealogy, the dispersion at Babel, and the table of nations. That, also, is easily within the realm of oral tradition.

    So the only time period I see tablets being required is during the time of the patriarchs, and during the slavery in Egypt. And tablets survive just fine, unless they're lost or deliberately destroyed. The tablets at Ebla are reportedly more than 4,000 years old. Ugarit, also, contained tablets that are thousands of years old.

    And even after all that, I don't see tablets as really required. People nowadays memorize entire books of the bible. If we can do it, so could they. That is, if it was important to them. Or important to God.

    I'm not easily swayed by arguments from silence.

    Of course. But why would a Christian who accepts the miracles and resurrection of Jesus have any difficulty accepting supernatural input? If anything, God telling somebody something seems a lot less miraculous than raising someone from the dead. Or curing all the diseases in a town.

    I want to repeat that I'm just speculating. And I have no problem with God telling Moses everything personally during the 40 years in the wilderness. That seems plenty of time to write everything down.
     
  17. shernren

    shernren you are not reading this.

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    You're right, somehow - the Bible never really presses its own claim to divinity. I mean, of course the quoted words of Jesus Himself have authority, depending on how you view the theology of the Incarnation. We have reliable historic corroboration of details in the Gospels and in Acts. We see contemporary events described in the OT histories. But by and large we never really see any big "I DROPPED THIS BOOK FROM HEAVEN" signs. God always seems to go through human authors.

    Muhammed explicitly named an angel, a place, even an order of receiving revelation. The Quran is said to be uncreated.
    The Buddha apparently meditated for very long under the bodhi tree before coming up with his wisdom.
    Mormonism rests on additional divine and mystic revelation, too.

    But Christianity is surprisingly prosaic about where its holy book came from. It can actually be analyzed and we can say that such-and-such a part sounds like it was authored by so-and-so. We even needed a canonization (to be fair, the Muslims' Riwayat and Hadith needed some form of verification too, but the Quran is taken by divine fiat) for our Scriptures, we only got around to it long after the main star of the Book Jesus was gone from the earth, and even up till now we have alternative canons, deuterocanons, and scandal-o-canons (like the Gospel of Judas). It's fitting, really. The central message of Christianity is that God was incarnated in frail, biological flesh. What better vehicle to carry this message than in the inspired writings of ordinary people practicing and writing of ordinary (as it must have seemed to them) everyday relationship with God?
     
  18. relspace

    relspace Senior Member

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    Ok here is my theory/opinion. I think that Genesis 1 was an oral tradition handed down from who knows when (perhaps from the time of Adam) and finally written down by Moses. But at some point the parts from before the existence of man came from God, of course. It is as good as memory and should be accepted on faith. It is not however a scientific text, intended to give us the details about how God created the world, the point is only that God created the world.

    Furthermore that also goes for Genesis 2, which was a slightly different oral tradition about the same thing. This explains why their are two different stories of creation written down by the same author.

    Oh, I guess I am an exception. I am not going to advocate picking and choosing which parts of the Bible you think are worth taking seriously. However, any portion of the Bible can be misused for a purpose for which it was never intended.
     
  19. Dave Taylor

    Dave Taylor Senior Member

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    Too bad the poll author didn't give what relspace said above as an option. I agree with relspace, that is the most likely passage. God preserved, passed down by Godly men through the early generations, until the time it was written down by Moses.

    Then at that time, as Moses recorded it, what the Lord deemed necessary and relevant from the oral tradition was recorded.
     
  20. mark kennedy

    mark kennedy Natura non facit saltum Supporter

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    Moses wrote Genesis 1 but it need not have been through a dream or vision. Actually, it was never recorded that revelation came to Moses in this way. Moses spoke to God often and they are said to have talked as friends. God also spoke from the Tabranacle but I think Genesis 1 was based more on revelations made on Sinai. Where Moses got the geneologies is another issue, I don't know that it was a direct revelation or just a commonly understood geneology.

    There is a reason that Genesis 1 is the first chapter in the Bible. It is strange that Christians in the modern age have lost sight of it's foundational revelation with regrards to theology and redemptive history.
     
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