I just blew your mind a little bit... deal with it

Deal with it...

I am currently in the process of memorizing Genesis 1-3 for one of my classes. One of the mnemonic devices I find helpful is simply to attempt to picture what I am describing. I recently also read a lecture by one of my professors in which he talks about an exercise he does with his students in which he has them draw each of the days of creation. If you’ve never done this, I strongly recommend it. It is an extremely helpful exercise, even if you are not very artistic. It makes you pay closely to details in the text that you would probably think nothing of otherwise.

What begins to emerge as you do this exercise is an awareness that the writer (or writers) of Genesis 1 had a very different cosmology than we do. Of course, this seems obvious, as they didn’t know much about the universe that we now know. But, there are so many people in our churches who insist that Genesis presents an accurate account of the creation of the universe. If these people actually took the time to examine the type cosmos that Genesis describes, I think much of this debate would go away.

No one in the creationist camp would accept the ancient cosmology (which is not unique to the Bible) that the Biblical writers describe. For instance, on the second day, God creates a dome and separates the waters that are below the earth from the waters that are above the earth. The dome is then named Sky. Because it says the dome is sky, I have always read this as God creating the atmosphere around the earth. But, on day four we are told that God sets the sun and moon in the dome (below the waters above the dome). In Egyptian hieroglyphs, we find similar descriptions and drawings indicating that they thought the sun flew (as a bird) across the top of the dome of the sky.

This is a very brief explanation of the ancient cosmology. But it is quickly obvious that this view is incompatible with what we now know to be the case. In light of this, it would be foolish to believe that Genesis 1 should be taken as history and science. In the end, you end up with a cosmology that looks something like this (this particular drawing takes its queue also from other places in the Bible). This cosmology has meanings of its own and it is sometimes important to recognize this in order to properly understand the writers and original audience of the Bible. It doesn’t help us understand the Bible better if we simply try to take this worldview and shove into our own. In fact, the Bible is distorted by this uncomfortable fit.

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