Genesis One Commentary In Light of Modern Science


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~ Modern Interpretations of Genesis 1 ~

This interpretation is drawn from many traditional Bible commentaries, based on the fact that before the creation of the sun on the fourth day, the terms day and night could not possibly have carried their commonplace meanings. Aviezer analyzes the subsequent days of creation along the same lines, generally interpreting the Bible in line with scientific knowledge, sometimes having to depart from the plain meaning of the text in order to deal with problems such as the fact that according to Genesis, the sun was created on day four, after the emergence of plant life on earth.

The argument of In the Beginning is less straightforwardly scientific than it seems. But this is, of course, a theological argument, not a scientific one. Although many physicists agree that scientific knowledge cannot explain everything, being limited to the period beginning a split second after the Big Bang, evolutionary biology is affected by no such sense of modesty.


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Not so Schroeder. For him, Genesis is a literal account of the scientifically established process of creation.

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Time being relative, six days in one frame of reference could well be equivalent to 15 billion years in another. This claim raises difficult religious questions. Since relativistic time dilation is a function of motion and gravity, are we to understand that these forces operate on God, in other words that God is part of the physical universe?

It seems that in an attempt to extricate himself from an annoying textual problem the discrepancy between the age of the universe according to Genesis and the Big Bang theory , Schroeder has opened the door on a much more significant theological one. Second: Schroeder claims that people who think that Genesis clashes with modern physics have not read the Bible carefully enough—the Torah must be understood through study of the canonical commentaries: Onkelos, Rashi, Maimonides and Nahmanides.

On the face of it, for example, the Bible contains no hint that the creation of the universe was a process of expansion from an initial singularity. From the initial concentration of this intangible substance in its minute location, the substance expanded, expanding the universe as it did so. He reads the Bible through the lens of the rabbis, medieval commentators and kabbalah, assuming that their homiletical and midrashic perspectives are identical to the plain meaning of the original text.

Yet, our common experience is that the sun moves across the sky from east to west during the daylight hours.

We speak of the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. God also uses this language of common experience in the Bible. Our second conclusion is that God in the Genesis 1 account was speaking to his people in terms that they could understand rather than through a modern scientific account which would have been totally incomprehensible to them. Two part piece on the timing of creation events:. InterVarsity Press, More Posts. I like where you are going. One thing I would certainly agree upon is the problem of reconciling divergent cultural perspectives.

I think however that God is a genus! This particular scripture is one on which I have given considerable thought.

~ Early Church Interpretations ~

I would suggest that this scripture, though intended to speak to a people lacking in a modern scientific understanding, was intended to convey eternal knowledge. Faith and understanding might then lead us to conclude that it is not the scripture that are coming up short but rather our understanding of the universe. Our modern scientific understanding is flawed. This would not be the first time. Evolution is one obvious example.

I would suggest to you that contained within those verses are the seed for another more scriptural harmonious understanding of the universe. As it were a new Genesis point. Not an intrinsically religious understanding but rather one based on divine knowledge. Thank-you Dave! I like how, at the beginning of each post, there is a link to previous articles.

Thank-you for the reminder Andrew. It is so good to read that you are enjoying the series. Tom Ingebritsen has been an excellent contributor to the ESN blog. To God be the glory! This tense in English is at present indefinite, as it does not determine the state of the event as either beginning, continuing, or concluded.

It is not improbable, however, that it originally designated the first of these states, and came by degrees to be indefinite. The English present also may have denoted an incipient, and then an imperfect or indefinite. It might be the time from the beginning of the one to the beginning of the other, from the end of the one to the end of the other, or from the beginning of the one to the end of the other. The last is the most suitable for all the passages in which it occurs.

These are ten in number, all in the law Exodus ; Exodus ; Exodus , Exodus ; Exodus ; Leviticus ; Numbers , Numbers , Numbers ; Numbers The slaying of the evening lamb and of the passover lamb, the eating of the latter and the lighting of the lamps, took place in the interval so designated. The first day's work is the calling of light into being. Here the design is evidently to remove one of the defects mentioned in the preceding verse, - "and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

The interference of supernatural power to cause the presence of light in this region, intimates that the powers of nature were inadequate to this effect. But it does not determine whether or not light had already existed elsewhere, and had even at one time penetrated into this now darkened region, and was still prevailing in the other realms of space beyond the face of the deep. Nor does it determine whether by a change of the polar axis, by the rarefaction of the gaseous medium above, or by what other means, light was made to visit this region of the globe with its agreeable and quickening influences.

We only read that it did not then illuminate the deep of waters, and that by the potent word of God it was then summoned into being. This is an act of creative power, for it is a calling into existence what had previously no existence in that place, and was not owing to the mere development of nature. Hence, the act of omnipotence here recorded is not at variance with the existence of light among the elements of that universe of nature, the absolute creation of which is affirmed in the first verse.

Genesis Then said God.

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From this we learn that He not only is, but is such that He can express His will and commune with His intelligent creatures. He is manifest not only by His creation, but by Himself. If light had come into existence without a perceptible cause, we should still have inferred a first Causer by an intuitive principle which demands an adequate cause for anything making its appearance which was not before.

But when God says, "Be light," in the audience of His intelligent creatures, and light forthwith comes into view, they perceive God commanding, as well as light appearing. The First Day. God said—This phrase, which occurs so repeatedly in the account means: willed, decreed, appointed; and the determining will of God was followed in every instance by an immediate result.

Whether the sun was created at the same time with, or long before, the earth, the dense accumulation of fogs and vapors which enveloped the chaos had covered the globe with a settled gloom. But by the command of God, light was rendered visible; the thick murky clouds were dispersed, broken, or rarefied, and light diffused over the expanse of waters.

Enduring Word Bible Commentary Genesis Chapter 1

The effect is described in the name "day," which in Hebrew signifies "warmth," "heat"; while the name "night" signifies a "rolling up," as night wraps all things in a shady mantle. Matthew Poole's Commentary He commanded , not by such a word or speech as we use, which agreeth not with the spiritual nature of God; but either by an act of his powerful will, called the word of his power, Heb or, by his substantial Word, his Son, by whom he made the worlds, Heb Psa , who is called: The Word, partly, if not principally, for this reason, Joh , Joh There was light; which was some bright and lucid body, peradventure like the fiery cloud in the wilderness, giving a small and imperfect light, successively moving over the several parts of the earth; and afterwards condensed, increased, perfected, and gathered together in the sun.

This phrase is used, nine times in this account of the creation; it is admired by Longinus the Heathen in his treatise "of the Sublime", as a noble instance of it; and it is most beautifully paraphrased and explained in Psalm as expressive of the will, power, authority, and efficacy of the divine Being; whose word is clothed with power, and who can do, and does whatever he will, and as soon as he pleases; his orders are always obeyed.

Perhaps the divine Person speaking here is the Logos or Word of God, which was in the beginning with God, and was God, and who himself is the light that lightens every creature.

The words spoke were, let there be light, and there was light: it at once appeared; "God commanded light to shine out of darkness"; as the apostle says, 2 Corinthians this was the first thing made out of the dark chaos; as in the new creation, or work of grace in the heart, light is the first thing produced there: what this light was is not easy to say. Some of the Jewish Rabbins, and also some Christian writers, think the angels are designed by it, which is not at all probable, as the ends and use of this light show: others of them are of opinion, that it is the same with the sun, of which a repetition is made on the fourth day, because of its use and efficacy to the earth, and its plants; but others more rightly take it to be different from the sun, and a more glimmering light, which afterwards was gathered into and perfected in the body of the sun f.

It is the opinion of Zanchius g , and which is approved of by our countryman, Mr. Fuller h , that it was a lucid body, or a small lucid cloud, which by its circular motion from east to west made day and night i ; perhaps somewhat like the cloudy pillar of fire that guided the Israelites in the wilderness, and had no doubt heat as well as light; and which two indeed, more or less, go together; and of such fiery particles this body may well be thought to consist.

The word "Ur" signifies both fire and light. Menasseh ben Israel conciliator in Gen. Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure, Sprung from the deep, and from her native east To journey thro' the airy gloom began, Sphered in a radiant cloud, for yet the sun Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle Sojourned the while. It is only through the Revelation of the N.

Reading Modern Science into Genesis

Light is the first created thing, that upon which depends all life and growth known to us on earth. The Hebrew view of the universe was cf. Genesis extremely limited; the modern scientific view of the universe is practically infinite in its capacity for development, and is continually being enlarged. There is little room for comparison between them. Pulpit Commentary Verses

Genesis One Commentary In Light of Modern Science Genesis One Commentary In Light of Modern Science
Genesis One Commentary In Light of Modern Science Genesis One Commentary In Light of Modern Science
Genesis One Commentary In Light of Modern Science Genesis One Commentary In Light of Modern Science
Genesis One Commentary In Light of Modern Science Genesis One Commentary In Light of Modern Science
Genesis One Commentary In Light of Modern Science Genesis One Commentary In Light of Modern Science
Genesis One Commentary In Light of Modern Science Genesis One Commentary In Light of Modern Science

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