Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Literal Interpretation of Genesis One (Pt 1): Narrative, Poetry, Science

(1) Genesis 1 is not Hebrew Poetry.

Hebrew poetry is distinguished by three main features:
(a) Parallelism of Clauses
(b) Metaphoric and figurative language
(c) Lack of Narrative structure

(2) Genesis 1 is most closely related to Narrative.

Hebrew narrative is distinguished by:
(a) the conjunctive WAW to coordinate clauses
(b) Lack of figurative and metaphoric language
(c) lack of repetative parallelism.

(3) Genesis 1 has minor literary and poetic features.

(a) Delayed Parallelism of phrase regarding 'night and day'.
(b) Title and summary statements at the beginning and end of divisions.
(c) Genesis 1 reads as a structured narrative to a Hebrew reader.

(4) The Uniqueness of Genesis 1 is based on structure and content.

Unique features include:
(a) The content and topical focus is unique: i.e., Creation
(b) The narrative unfolds in 7 'days'.
(c) It contains literary forms common for AME documents and tablets.

(5) Genesis 1 presents primarily as a historical and descriptive document.

(6) Genesis 1 has no overt allegorical or parable-like features.

(7) Genesis 1 was in its earliest history interpreted literally (Exod 20:11, 31:17)

(8) Some Key Logical/scientific questions concerning the sequence
and order of events in Genesis 1 are non-existent.

(a) No Contradiction with Science having Light on 1st Day, the Sun on 4th Day.

If we check any scientific account of the Origin of the universe,
its obvious we have the creation of energy and light before
any stars including the Sun were formed.
Genesis has the order correct.

(b) No Contradiction with Science in having Light and Dark cycles prior to the Sun.

If the Light/Dark cycles were describing those we experience on earth, then
both the earth and the sun would have to exist. Since the narrator knows
in advance that neither have been created, the Light/Dark cycles described
cannot be intended as descriptions of what an observer on earth would experience.
Its a false contradiction, since what is described is not what takes place on earth.

(c) No Contradiction with Science in regard to the length of time for first 3 days.

Popular scientific theories like the Big Bang pose that drastic changes occurred
in the very short time-span of seconds and minutes in regard to the formation of
the universe. While the events do not correspond closely between Genesis 1 and
modern hypotheses, the modern hypotheses are speculative and allow for free energy
and light to appear within 24 hours of creation.

(d) No Contradiction with Science on relative age of Earth and Moon on Day 4.

Astrophysicists agree that the rough age of both the earth and moon are the same.
The only remaining issue is the interpretation of the overall length of time
between the creation of both and the present.

(e) No Contradiction with Palaeobiology on the Order of species creation.

The geographical record suggests that plants existed before animals,
and that sea creatures formed before land animals, and that birds (dinosaurs)
formed before mammals, with man coming late.

Biological science agrees that plants had to come before animals.
Palaeontology agrees that land animals came after sea creatures,
birds predate mammals, and man came last.

Given that the the Genesis account is so brief,
the only issue remaining is the actual
assigned time-periods between events.

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