Tag Archive | Genesis

Biblical Parenting

Garden of EdenI’m not a great parent. Too often, I’m grumpy, impatient or distracted by something I find more interesting than my offspring – even, believe it or not, this blog.

But I’ve decided to do something about that. I’m going to take my lead from a book that’s often held up as the ultimate – or indeed only – arbiter of morality, right and wrong, good and evil. There are plenty of parents in the Bible who should be fine role models, but more importantly, God Himself is described as a Father to all of us. With His superior power, maturity and understanding, this is surely the ultimate example of what a parent should be like.

So I’m going to start from the beginning, with the first chapters of Genesis. Tomorrow, I’m going to leave a big, incredibly sharp razor blade on the floor while the boys are playing Read More…

Let’s assume the creationists are right

Adam and Eve

I’ve recently been debating with a Young-Earth Creationist (YEC) for the first time in ages. I’d forgotten how soul-destroying it is – locked in an argument with someone who will insist that the world was created in exactly six days, that all scientific investigation to the contrary is worthless, misleading or fraudulent, and if all else fails, that God created everything to look really old in order to mislead anyone who doesn’t have genuine faith.

It’s a bizarre belief, but once someone’s got to the point of taking the Omphalos hypothesis seriously, they’ve effectively and conveniently ruled out any evidence they don’t like. There’s no way of shaking their belief, because this sort of special pleading allows them to explain away absolutely anything. So I’m going to give up arguing – clearly, as they say, Genesis is literally and unambiguously true in every respect, and anyone who says otherwise is just wrong. Read More…

Atheist Fundamentalism

No, that title doesn’t mean what people usually mean by the phrase. This isn’t about equating any outspoken opposition to religion with the sort of extremism that leads people to commit mass murder in the name of a God of love. Rather, it’s about how atheists often act as if literalist fundamentalism is the only game in town, and liberal belief is either irrelevant or non-existent.

A typical example of this might be countering Christian arguments by asking pointed questions about how Noah got all those animals on his ark, or dismissing a comment about the implausibility of a particular scientific theory (let’s say evolution) by observing that the questioner, being a Christian, believes in the much less plausible story of a magic tree and talking snake instead. Maybe “Atheist Straw-Manning” might be a more accurate title, but that rather prejudges the issue. Read More…

Rise and Fall of the Human Empire

Christians set a lot of store by the opening chapters of Genesis, and they’re the basis for various doctrines, especially original sin. I don’t think it will surprise you to discover that I don’t hold to a literal interpretation of the garden of Eden, but I do find a lot of good stuff in the story anyway.

The most important question in approaching Genesis is what form of story it is. Fundamentalists treat it as history, even though one of the central characters is a talking snake. Others reject that idea for obvious reasons, generally treating it as a story, albeit one with a message – a parable, or a myth. In my experience, most call it a myth, but treat it as a parable, i.e. an illustrative story with an intended conclusion, or prescriptive subtext. Hence doctrines such as human dominion, male headship, creationism and of course the Fall of Man. That’s a shame, because I think it’s a very interesting creation and profound creation myth when properly handled. Read More…

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